Deep Dive with Jeremy Swift

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This is a podcast episode titled, Deep Dive with Jeremy Swift. The summary for this episode is: <p>Today on The Daily Bolster, Matt welcomes Jeremy Swift, co-founder and CEO of Cordial. Jeremy’s career began in a dorm room, where, inspired by the rising activity around the internet, he and his friends started the email platform BlueHornet.&nbsp;</p><p>Several leaders now on the Cordial team came from BlueHornet, and Jeremy talks about the importance of trust in building the company. He and Matt also discuss scaling a team, how being a second-time founder worked to his advantage, the knowledge gaps that still needed to be filled, and the value of humility.</p><p>This is a fantastic episode you won’t want to miss!</p>
Starting BlueHornet in a dorm room
03:19 MIN
Continuing to build the business
04:09 MIN
Breaking down the earn out
03:18 MIN
Starting up Cordial
03:44 MIN
Building the Cordial business
04:53 MIN
Fake it 'til you make it
02:23 MIN
Cordial today
01:12 MIN
Scaling a startup
04:17 MIN
Building operational discipline
02:14 MIN
Scaling a team
03:19 MIN
Scaling your board
01:28 MIN
Scaling your company culture
02:47 MIN

Intro: Welcome to the Daily Bolster. Each day we welcome transformational executives to share their real world experiences and practical advice about scaling yourself, your team, and your business.

Matt Blumberg: Welcome to The Daily Bolster. I'm Matt Blumberg, co- founder and CEO of Bolster, and I'm here today with my friend Jeremy Swift. Jeremy is the Co- founder and CEO of Cordial, which is a cross- channel marketing platform. Jeremy is someone I've known for many years in the digital marketing industry and now in a couple of the same venture portfolios together. Jeremy, welcome to the Daily Bolster.

Jeremy Swift: Thanks. Really fun to be here with you, Matt.

Matt Blumberg: Yeah, so I'm excited to dig in to your career. Which, it's always interesting when I look at someone's LinkedIn profile who I know because I don't necessarily know everything they've done and exactly how they got where they got. And I looked at yours and I was expecting to see three or four or five things and there were two. There was a co- founder of BlueHornet and founder of Cordial. So I'm guessing from the dates that you started BlueHornet in your dorm room-

Jeremy Swift: Yeah.

Matt Blumberg: ...possibly with friends from college. And so let's start there. 15 year run, how did you conceive of an email marketing platform in college? There's a lot of stuff. Like Facebook you get how Zuckerberg came up with that. He got the printed Harvard Freshmen, whatever it's called, wanted to make a platform out of... How did you get to founding a B2B enterprise SaaS company in your dorm room?

Jeremy Swift: Yeah, I mean somewhat accidental and I would just say whimsical optimism of I wanted to build a company way more than I wanted to go to classes in college. So I think I was looking for any way out on some level. Maybe not many people will remember this these days, but there was actually a first internet bubble that was going on then, that was still kind of the heyday of it. It was, what? A year or two removed from when the kind of proverbial bubble burst, so to speak. And I just wanted to be in that. I mean, there was so much just activity and fervor around that it was kind of intoxicating. I wanted to be doing that more than school, like I said. And the idea for BlueHornet and an email marketing who was actually not even my own, it was a buddy in college of mine, and we were in a business management class together, and this guy was always daydreaming off on other things too. And he shared the idea of what he had. We called it an e- communications platform at the beginning.

Matt Blumberg: That sounds contemporary, doesn't it?

Jeremy Swift: Totally. With the hyphen in there as well. And so I could have cared less what the idea was, I just wanted to go build something and to be a part of that whole ecosystem that was going on there. So, myself and a bunch of other friends and buddies in college all jumped in. We started making cold calls out of our dorm rooms. We paid some guy with equity to build the first version of the software and it didn't work. And then one of the guys who was selling the software, that we didn't actually have a published version of it yet, when we got the first version that didn't work back from this guy, he said, well, I closed a deal. I closed our first deal, so I need to give him something. And so this guy was just an uber genius, and he went to Borders Books and he bought a PHP for Dummies and MySQL for Dummies. And he literally laid in bed and taught him himself PHP and MySQL, and he eventually became our CTO and he built the platform from the ground up at that point. Yeah.

Matt Blumberg: Wow. So 15 years, good long run. As someone who's familiar with good long runs. You had a bunch of different roles, at least according to LinkedIn. One of them is not CEO as far as I can tell, but it was customer success, strategic accounts, partnerships. You were on the board, you were not on the board. So sort of front of the house, makes sense. Would love to hear just a little bit about the journey over 15 years. How big did the company get? What was the exit like?

Jeremy Swift: Yeah. I mean, it was kind of at a time where everybody wore every hat and we were all doing sales at the beginning, and then we started to sell stuff and we started to have clients, and then we started saying, well, we need somebody to support these clients, so who feels like they have that acumen or wants to gravitate towards that side of the business? And so that was the side of the business that I put my hand up and said, I'd like to lead that. And we, gosh, grew the business to about two and a half million in ARR, which felt massive at the time, this was 2004. We had overtures from a bunch of different companies out there because email marketing as a category was kind of starting to get a little frothy and a little hot there. And so we ended up selling the business to a public company out of Minneapolis, Minnesota called Digital River. They were in the e- commerce space. They were trying to build, acquire the stack, so to speak, of they had the front end and then they wanted to acquire all of the other tooling that would drive traffic to their front end stores for their clients and whatnot. And so we were the email marketing engine of that. We thought, man, this is the greatest day of our lives to be able to sell a business like this. Lo and behold, as I have joked on a number of occasions with my now friend and one of my investors in Cordial, Scott Dorsey, we sold way too early and his exit had a few more zeros on it to Salesforce than ours did to Digital River. But for a bunch of 20 somethings in college, it was a pretty darn good exit. We felt good about it. But we only raised, we had one angel investor within the company. We didn't go-

Matt Blumberg: I was going to say, you weren't venture funded.

Jeremy Swift: We knew nothing about that. We didn't raise any capital outside of this one individual. Made a bunch of mistakes in terms of how we managed our cap table, and we gave away majority ownership in the company early on as a result of it. There's all sorts of just tragic mistakes, but you live and you learn and you gain hopefully a lot of wisdom from those moments. And we did a three- year earn out with Digital River, learned the pros and cons of an earn out process. And after that ended 2007, so we sold it in 2004 for, earn out into 2007. I got married then and I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I didn't have something next in mind and Digital River was actually a pretty darn good company. I really enjoyed being there and they allowed me to really write my own ticket for what I wanted to do. And so I moved into roles of strategy. I got to travel around the world. I did a lot of public speaking in that role. And then eventually I had a mentor in my life who said, Jeremy, if you ever want to go start something again on your own, you need to learn sales. And I said, no way. I don't need to learn sales. Sales is for used car sales people. I don't want to do that. And a year or two later, that individual said, so are you ready yet? Because you have to learn this discipline and you have all the ability to, they felt. And so I moved into that role, took the advice, ended up leading the sales organization for that company, and super grateful that I got that advice and ultimately took that individual up on it too.

Matt Blumberg: Interesting. I want to back up on something for a second. So three- year, not a topic that I've covered yet on the Daily Bolster and an interesting one. So as an acquirer, Return Path acquired lots of companies, one or two times we did an earn out, but we did a really narrow one like a 6 month or a 12 month. Earn outs are usually the thing that bridges the gap. I want X, the buyer wants to pay Y, they're willing to come to X, but only if there's a performance metrics associated with it. Talk about what you learned about that, what parts of it worked, what parts of it didn't work?

Jeremy Swift: I mean, there's a number. But, first and foremost is the time horizon that you think about that too. And in our minds, again, as young 20 somethings, we thought, well, three years, they attached a bigger dollar amount to that, man, that gives us more time with a well- capitalized parent company behind us now to go hit that and achieve that. But ultimately, there were things like EBITDA that we had to achieve within that. And so when you're thinking about margin profiles you need to hit and achieve, that truncated and we had really not done a great job of probably marking how that would impact the ability to invest in the business as well. So it was very hard. There was no external investment coming from the parent company. It was we could only reinvest back into ourselves additional profits after we were returning a certain amount of EBITDA to the parent company. And so-

Matt Blumberg: Interesting. So you had more control over it than a lot of founders have on an earn out, but it sounds like it was something you weren't quite equipped to go crush.

Jeremy Swift: Not at all. Not at all. So yeah, I would definitely shrink the time horizon on that. Earn outs sometimes are a requirement and a necessity in certain acquisitions, so you don't always have the ability to say no to that. But I do think making sure that you're really thoughtful about what you're modeling in terms of your ability to go and achieve those numbers, understanding what kind of control and investment posture you have behind that. At the end of the day, I think all of those things are quite important.

Matt Blumberg: Yeah, yeah. Interesting. And so in the end, if the earn out potential was X, what percent of X did you and your co- founders end up with?

Jeremy Swift: We actually negotiated an early end of the earn out, about six months early, and we did in the end, gosh, probably 60% of the total.

Matt Blumberg: That's not bad.

Jeremy Swift: It wasn't bad. It wasn't bad.

Matt Blumberg: So you're at Digital River, you're in a selling role, you're learning, you're growing. What's the founding story of Cordial? So Cordial basically is a next generation version of BlueHornet, so obviously subject matter expert. Presumably you had to navigate some kind of non- compete or something or other. But you got advice from someone that says, hey, if you're going to do another one, you got to learn sales. You do sales. Now what?

Jeremy Swift: Yeah, I fell in love with sales. I fell in love with the process start to finish. Nothing kind of felt boring or intimidating to me, whether it was the cold call outreach side of things all the way to getting a contract and building that relationship long- term with the individual or collection of individuals. The thing that was the pivot point for me, and I'll give a brief version of this story, is that a very close friend, this individual had become a close friend because she had brought us in as a solution at three different stops in her career, and we had done quite well for them in those places. She landed at a new co reached out to me and said, hey, we're about to make a decision on a provider. I told the team, stop, I want them to look at you and evaluate y'all. Because of her position and authority, the team felt inclined to probably move forward with us. We made a bunch of over- promises in terms of what we could deliver and do for them at the end of the day, and we completely missed and failed for them. And that individual was so disappointed and kind of so somewhat heartbroken over the fact that I had let her and her team down as a result of that. That story really carried me forward then into Cordial where I said, all right, there's an opportunity to build something from the ground up. We think that enough time has gone by and there's been enough maturation with cloud and just overall software technology that we believe we could make not just a half step but a significant step forward in terms of the evolution of this technology in this space. And so that led us into building Cordial, but it was really through the premise of I ended up losing that relationship. That individual to this day has not responded to a single email or outreach that I've done to them because I broke my promise. I broke trust with that individual. And that was one of the things where it's kind of an underlying thing for me personally in founding Cordial, is I said, come hell or high water I'm going to do everything I can to never do that again. We're going to sell what we've got. I mean, it is all funneled back into the name, it's why we're called Cordial. That's a big part of it. It's why our incorporated name is Cordial Experience. It literally is about the experience that we are creating from start to finish for an individual, for teams. And it's because I would say I didn't do the cordial thing in terms of how I handled that relationship and that trust that was given to me, which was quite sacred and I think I took advantage of that.

Matt Blumberg: I love that that's the name. I actually never knew the name story. So, super interesting. All right, so you start Cordial. Any of the same co- founders?

Jeremy Swift: Yeah, the individual who taught himself PHP and MySQL, yeah, he is our CTO and was one of my co- founders. And then we ended up having two other co- founders that we brought into the business with us as well. David Baker, who's a dear friend and colleague of mine for many years. And then another one, Chris McGreal, who was kind of part of the early founding team of BlueHornet as well. So yeah, there was a lot of trust, a lot of equity built around that team and obviously a lot of kind intellectual property in terms of what we knew about the category and the space. And it wasn't a guess, we weren't making a guess on what we thought we needed to go do. It was very intentional, very deliberate and explicit on what we were building and why we were building it.

Matt Blumberg: And actually that was going to be one of my questions of how did you think about the sort of customer discovery, validation, product market fit, all that stuff when you were such deep domain experts for 15 years? Did you feel like you approached that differently?

Jeremy Swift: I mean, I don't know what I don't know because it's only the second time I've done this and the first time was just a blur as a 21- year- old. But I think we got to jump the line a little bit so to speak, with respect to product vision, trying to create product market fit, or do we have enough data points to try and get to product market fit quickly. I mean, we had already sold Cordial into multiple brands before we even had an MVP of it out. And part of that was because individuals said, I know y'all know the problems that exist within this category systemically and I hear your vision, I'm bought into it. And again, trust was a big piece of that with them. But man, we were able to hit the ground running pretty quickly with a product offering largely because we knew what already existed, we knew what the problems were with that and we kind of could separate it out the inaudible from that too. A little bit of the Apple model of Apple's rarely the first one, but they take the best of and then they build that into their product and they leave a bunch of the other features behind-

Matt Blumberg: Sure, yeah. Opportunity

Jeremy Swift: inaudible there. We are far from Apple, but a little bit of that methodology.

Matt Blumberg: So I love the comment you just made, you skipped the line. So one of the things about being a repeat founder is you kind get to skip the line on a few things. So first you started with a bunch of people that you've already worked with, you have a high degree of trust. Second, you're deep domain expert in the space. Your second company was in the same space as the first company. What were some other areas where you feel like you were able to skip the line or at least cut having brought forward some learnings from company one?

Jeremy Swift: And if it's okay, I might hit on that one but then also talk about some areas where I think there were some gaps though too.

Matt Blumberg: Yeah.

Jeremy Swift: We very quickly and easily were able to identify a target list of potential customers that we were going to engage with and reach out to. So you think of a sales motion so early on you're trying to figure how do I get in touch with people? How do I start selling this to people? How do I get people to know who I am? And so we were able to leverage our networks. We had so much intel about the market and what customers were using, what the pain points were there. We just knew how to be quite surgical fairly early on with that. And I think that was a huge advantage, especially in terms of being able to gain some early traction. Now, a couple of areas where I don't think it served us well. One, going back to that point I just made actually is an area I think it backfired on us is we just created a large list of people we knew and companies we had enough intel on that we could go after. That is not an ICP that is just called spraying and praying. And so we did not do a great job right out of the gate of having a very focused and targeted ICP. We were across categories and verticals, size of clients within that. And I think that was a detriment early on for us there.

Matt Blumberg: So interesting. So yeah, that's a clear, you cut the line and actually you shouldn't have.

Jeremy Swift: Yeah. Well, you can cut the line there, but it has to be done thoughtfully with that approach of being very laser focused on a particular ICP, especially early on in starting a business.

Matt Blumberg: Any other things you carried forward, either ones that worked or ones that didn't?

Jeremy Swift: Well, I mean the topic we talked about earlier with respect to fake it until you make it. The area where I ran into an absolute buzz saw on that was raising capital. I'm the CEO and so my other co- founders are like, well, you're going to go do that. We'll go build this thing, but you're going to go get the money for it. Right?

Matt Blumberg: You hadn't done that before.

Jeremy Swift: I'd never done that before. But, externally, people we would talk to who either knew me or would look at my profile would go, oh, second time founder, totally knows this process. And so people would speak to me in a way, a manner. They would use all sorts of language and jargon, kind of like fundraising jargon is what I would put it in a bucket, as assuming I knew it all and that I was very experienced and very well versed in that, and I wasn't. I was tripping over myself trying to maintain these conversations. And I'd get off the phone with people and I'd sit there and say to myself, I have no idea what they just said. And it's because I was trying to fake it till I make it. And man, it took months in before I finally hit a point went, I can't do this anymore. The only way through on this is I have to be incredibly vulnerable and let me just be the dumb guy in the room that says-

Matt Blumberg: Seek help.

Jeremy Swift: Can you explain that? What does that acronym mean? When you say that term what does that mean to you? And the second I did that, Matt, it was crazy, everybody, and I mean everybody, there was not a single person I spoke to that made me feel dumb or in fear or went, how do you not know that? They all went, oh my gosh, absolutely. Yeah, let me dig into that or let's talk about that. My just knowledge and growth skyrocketed at that point. So, that was-

Matt Blumberg: That's such a good point. Look, it doesn't matter how many times you start businesses, you do not know everything. Even if other people expect you to, it's okay not to.

Jeremy Swift: Amen.

Matt Blumberg: All right, let's talk a little bit. So Cordial has been nine years now or so. What roughly size and scale of business day, how many employees or whatever you're comfortable talking about?

Jeremy Swift: Yeah, yeah. We're about 150 now. Very fortunate to be growing quite rapidly. The business has had a absolutely off the charts a year from a growth perspective. Our entire category and sector is quite hot right now. We have a competitor in our market that serves the lower end of the market that just filed an S1. We have another competitor that we directly compete within the enterprise that is a public company now too for a couple of years. Yeah, we think we're at a really interesting category and the company is reaching a very different growth clip. I mean, we've got 100 million ARR in our sights over the next 18 months or so. And feel like that's a very different pivot point for this business in terms of how we think about how we execute the talent, how we're all trying to mature and grow systems, people, processes, et cetera. But it's an exciting challenge though too.

Matt Blumberg: It's super exciting. So I want to come back to the scaling topic, which will be next, but I want to press on one thing that you just said that I think is interesting. You are competing with several companies who are enormous, the world's biggest enterprise software companies, infinite resources as far as people like you and I are concerned. You're also competing with other companies that are of your vintage that I think are significantly more capitalized than you, or at least have raised a lot more money. Maybe they've burned it. So I'm curious how you think about that. You've been able to do a remarkable job on a 3rd of the money or a 10th of the money, I think, that a couple of your competitors have raised, and you may be a little smaller than they are, although it sounds like you're starting to catch up. How have you thought through that?

Jeremy Swift: A couple of things. I just have a fundamentally different belief system or approach to raising capital and what it is there for and what the purpose of that is. I mean, we have modeled every single fundraising event as last money into the business. It's just been an approach that we took. We never wanted to believe that there was a money tree behind us that we could go and pull on and pull, well, we ran out of this one, let's go grab another bucket of money. And so we modeled last money in. We kind of built the business in just a different manner as a result of that. Could we have probably grown faster? I'm certain we could. But, I also know in those early years, I don't know how responsible you can sometimes be with that capital in the sense of you're still learning so many things and you make a lot of mistakes along the way as well. And so, I do think that we've tried to be quite thoughtful in terms of how we are spending and deploying capital as a business. Even in a sector like you said, where we've got competitors all around us who have raised significantly more capital than us at the end of the day and it can be somewhat alluring or a feeling of I need to catch up or I need to play that same game as them. I think you can still build a really great business at the end of the day, and it's not about who raises the most capital at the end of the day as well.

Matt Blumberg: I love that mentality. I think that's something that you and I share. And I was at a CEO dinner for one of the VC portfolios that I'm in, not one of the ones you're in, maybe two years ago. I was sitting there with another multi- time CEO, and then a whole bunch of first time CEOs. And my contemporary and I, shall we say, we're both struck by the fact that everyone one around the table other than us was describing their company and where their company was in terms of, here's what I have to do to get to my B, here's what I have to do to get to my A, to my C. As opposed to focusing on what problem am I solving for customers and what journey am I taking them on? But it was very much like, yeah, if I burn this much for this amount of time, then I should be able to raise more at that valuation. And it's definitely a different playbook for sure.

Jeremy Swift: Well, and even another side of the same coin I would say on that too is so often the intro or the question or how people want to get to know me and Cordial would be, wait, so how much money have you raised as if that was the-

Matt Blumberg: A metric of success, right?

Jeremy Swift: Yeah. That's the barometer of how well are you doing? And especially in a peer circle too. So many CEOs would be like, oh, so how much money have you raised? It was like, that's how we are equating. Are we on the same level with one another and can we relate to one another? And it feels so inauthentic at the end of the day.

Matt Blumberg: My answer to that is always too much.

Jeremy Swift: I love that.

Matt Blumberg: What's the biggest way in which you have... sorry, try to articulate this question the right way. That philosophy, what's the best thing you've gotten out of that? Is it operational discipline? What's the best thing you've gotten out of that? Lack of delusion is clearly one of them.

Jeremy Swift: Yeah, I think that goes without saying hopefully. Yeah, I think there's, I want to say operational discipline, but I also wouldn't want to infer by that that means that we have that all figured out as well. I think the exercise of needing to consistently make tough choices and tough decisions make trade- offs, I guess that might be how I articulate that is in the absence of that, you say yes to everything and that's just not reality. And you then take a look at what the last 12 to 18 months has been within SaaS or within just venture backed companies in general. I think a lot of companies then had to start learning or developing that muscle and they had to start exercising quickly to be able to develop that too. Or in many cases they just ran out of time to develop it. I think for us, we went, we're familiar with this. We always wished we could have done more and wanted to do more and wanted to say yes to more things. But we already had a muscle built there of what do trade- offs look like and how do we go through that decision- making process to try and land on the best trade- off decision at the end of the day.

Matt Blumberg: That's so important. A lot of people that talk about being a founder is going to the school of hard knocks. I actually think it's going to the school of hard choices.

Jeremy Swift: Amen. It's not prison, but it is definitely a life of a lot of hard choices and they never stop. The money doesn't solve them or change them. They never stop. So I love that. I think that's the proper articulation of that.

Matt Blumberg: All right. I want to ask you a series of rapid fire questions about scaling.

Jeremy Swift: Okay.

Matt Blumberg: This is a topic I'm obsessed with. My books are all about this. Bolster is all about helping companies and founders scale more successfully. And you've done that really well twice now. So most important thing you've done to scale your team?

Jeremy Swift: I would say therapy and coaching.

Matt Blumberg: Therapy and coaching for the team or for you? My next question is most important thing you've done to scale yourself. So let's focus on the team. Most important thing you've done to scale the team?

Jeremy Swift: Yeah, I think it's democratizing that. Therapy and coaching is not just for one individual, I think it needs to be for as many people as are interested in it and that you can provide it too.

Matt Blumberg: How have you navigated that? I'm going off my rapid fire here because it's an interesting question. I get how you navigate that for coaching. Everybody needs a coach, here's the list of coaches or here's the coach we use. How do you navigate that for therapy, which is a much more personal thing?

Jeremy Swift: Well, yeah. So I was at, I think one of the first HIFA ExO Summits and they did a show of hands around the room and they said, how many of y'all have a coach? And there was a handful of hands that went up and then it got around to myself and another CEO and they said, do you guys have a coach? And I'll say I'm grateful that this other individual came before me because I don't know that I was at a healthy enough place to be vulnerable enough to say this. But this individual said, oh, I don't have a coach, I have a therapist, and there's a big difference. And it got to me and I said, ah, same as that individual.

Matt Blumberg: inaudible-

Jeremy Swift: So, I think that this is a human being's game still. Meaning, building a business is about a collection of individuals and humans that come from a wide degree of backgrounds, completely different family of origins. The start line is totally different for everyone. And to just give somebody business coaching I think can only take you so far. I think the reality for all of us, myself included, is we also have to process who we are and where we've come from in order to try and make all of those pieces and parts fit better together. So I'll be honest, it also feels a little bit like a bit of a grand experiment on some level because when we started doing this, gosh, maybe three or four years ago, it wasn't a thing. People didn't talk about it. It was-

Matt Blumberg: For sure.

Jeremy Swift: ...almost somewhat taboo. It's talked about quite a bit more now, but I think that's a big piece for us.

Matt Blumberg: Yeah. What's the best thing you've done to scale your board? And that's both the people on the board, but also the utility of the board.

Jeremy Swift: Well, my first premise always when raising capital was, and I would tell this to every single potential investor that we would talk to, so what matters to you? What are you looking for out of an investor, out of a board member? And the number one thing I'm looking for is I'm looking for wisdom that I can get from this other individual. It is not about the check. Everybody would go, well, are you valuation sensitive? Or what are the things that matter to you most here? I'd say, yeah, sure, all those things matter, but the number one thing I want is I want wisdom and I want somebody who I believe is going to be able to partner with me and bring that to me. Going back to the whole piece of fake it till you make it. I want to surround myself. I don't want to assume that I know everything. And I think the best path to an outcome for this business and just building a great business and that journey is if I can surround myself with wise people who've been there and done it and can help me see blind spots or can help us as a company see blind spots, I think that's the best thing. And I think I've been fortunate to be able to do that. I've got a really tremendous board, a very diverse board and a board that has just, they're great human beings, but they bring great wisdom to the table.

Matt Blumberg: That's a great approach, for sure. Most important thing you've done to scale your culture?

Jeremy Swift: Try and make sure that the company is about the people at the end of the day. And one thing that I think it was more accidental, it wasn't conscious early on, it's definitely become much more conscious. But is early on for whatever reason. And maybe that was my own therapy journey, I started sharing fairly regularly at our quarterly all hands and things like that. One time I shared what my priorities were in life and I said, my first priority is my wife, my second priority is my four kids and my third priority is Cordial. And I didn't think anything of it. And I had so many individuals immediately and then in the weeks and months to follow who came up to me and approached me or Slacked me or in the coffee and catch- ups that I would do with all of our employees throughout the year would say, hey, when you shared what your priorities were, that was the first time I'd ever heard a CEO articulate, A, their priorities and that B, their priorities were not the company and growing it at all costs. I was kind of shocked by that.

Matt Blumberg: They didn't realize you were a human.

Jeremy Swift: Well, I think people, again, wide diverse set of experiences, they've come from all sorts of places and maybe they've come from companies where it was such a breakneck pace that it did not matter if they burnt themselves out and there were casualties in their personal life all along the way. It was all about building the business. And I just said to myself at the very beginning of this thing, whatever the end state is for Cordial, I'm uninterested at... I've had this picture and vision in my mind of looking out at our team and our company and this picture hit me of I didn't want to look out and see a bunch of unhealthy individuals that could be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, whatever it may be, I didn't want to look out on that and go, hey, we just achieved X, and I looked out and I just saw all these tattered individuals. I definitely didn't want that for myself. My kids would not celebrate that. My wife would not celebrate that. And that would be probably the biggest letdown or tragedy for me in building Cordial if that was the end result of this.

Matt Blumberg: That's a great note to end on. Jeremy, it's been a pleasure having kind of a front row seat as you've scaled your business and scaled your career. I really appreciate you joining me on the podcast to share some of your experience and wisdom. Thank you.

Jeremy Swift: You are so welcome. You've been an amazing mentor to me along the way as well, so thank you for that.


Today on The Daily Bolster, Matt welcomes Jeremy Swift, co-founder and CEO of Cordial. Jeremy’s career began in a dorm room, where, inspired by the rising activity around the internet, he and his friends started the email platform BlueHornet. 

Several leaders now on the Cordial team came from BlueHornet, and Jeremy talks about the importance of trust in building the company. He and Matt also discuss scaling a team, how being a second-time founder worked to his advantage, the knowledge gaps that still needed to be filled, and the value of humility.

This is a fantastic episode you won’t want to miss!