The Forgotten Middle: Possible Solutions for Middle Income Senior Care

There is a cavernous gap in senior care options for the broad middle class.  For the truly, low income and low asset senior, Medicaid provides significant options for the senior.  For high income seniors, they can afford the services they want and need.  The majority in the middle struggle to afford the services, forcing seniors and families to stretch to meet their care needs. 

There is a business opportunity in all of this.  The question is how to put it together.  It’s doubtful that the solution is one thing. 

The solution to the problem likely lies with home and community-based senior care whether funded privately, by the government, or a combination of both.  It’s likely to include in home non-medical care, volunteer/unpaid family care, technology, home modifications, meal delivery services, and adult day services.  These are services that supplement existing housing options whether single family or multi-family housing.

The NIC study suggests building assisted living services for this group.  I’m sure there will be some properties who are able to figure it out if only because as the buildings age, they lose competitiveness.  Yet, the underlying cost of the institutional care (even just looking at personnel expenses) suggests that this is going to be difficult. 

There will be many creative solutions.  I’m looking forward to finding them and writing about them.

However, this senior care entrepreneur is focusing on and investing in adult day services to be the core solution to this dilemma of the booming care needs of the middle-class seniors.  I envision adult day centers to be a hub of services empowering seniors to remain in their homes and in their communities.  The adult day experience supplements current housing options whether in a traditional single family home, an apartment, a condo, a townhome, or in an independent living community. 

Adult day is a platform from which to provide the senior care services seniors need.  The center is a community hub.  Services emanate from the center into the community allowing for superior experiences at a lower cost.  The more expensive senior living options can be a supplement towards the end of life rather than a multi-year housing experience that drains financial resources.

I’m still working on the particulars, but when I envision the adult day center of the future it includes: 

  • Social, Recreational, and Spiritual Programming
  • Significant Health Care services to include chronic care services and engaging in the post-acute care and post-rehab spaces
  • Reaches into the home with sophisticated and expert home care services
  • Leverages Medicare funded services such as physical, speech, and occupational therapy, and medical social work services
  • Professional care management resources.

I’m still exploring the strategy.  I’m still trying to understand product market fit.  It’s clear that the middle market won’t be able to afford senior living in 10 years because they can’t afford it today.  The  middle really is forgotten.  We need a solution.  I’m betting on Adult Day.

What’s the solution for the forgotten middle?  Is it residential?  Is it community-based? Or a combination? 

Middle Class Senior Care: Cavernous Gap In Affordable Services

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care released their study in the spring of 2019:  The Forgotten Middle: Middle Market Seniors Housing Study   I just recently became aware of the report as several news outlets covered it. 

The report looks at the ability of the fast-growing senior populations ability to afford senior living services in 2029.  Not surprisingly, the study finds that the majority of seniors will not be able to afford to pay the expected average cost of senior living of $60,000 per year even though they will need it and want the service. 

The study concludes that this inability to afford senior living will adversely affect governments as families are forced to spend down until Medicaid takes over.  This creates a substantial drain on state and federal resources.  It affects families who need to spend the resources of multiple generations to care for parents.  The headline conclusion from the study is that if the average expense could be reduced by $10-15,000 annually, the demand for senior living would increase dramatically. 

The study authors also conclude that the senior living industry needs to figure out how to develop a housing product for the broad middle class.  There appears to be a significant business opportunity for the right investors and entrepreneurs.  They identify a political risk by observing that if the industry is only seen as focusing on upper income seniors, then there will be push back from politicians as the majority are not able to find housing and healthcare to fit their needs.

As a senior care entrepreneur, I immediately found this article provocative.  The are not many senior services designed for the broad middle class.  What is readily available in the Atlanta area is either designed for the low-income seniors and is governmentally subsidized or it is expensive and designed for higher income seniors.

On the low-income side, there are several options.  There are low-income 55+ communities.  These are usually subsidized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development or local housing authorities.  There do not appear to be many of these building under construction.  Many that exist in Atlanta are several decades old; although, some have undergone some recent renovations.  The Darlington, a fixture in Atlanta for decades and known by its sign with the Atlanta population numbers, recently converted from a low-income housing building to a market rate building.  I have seen some low income properties developed in the 55+ space using tax credits.  While all these communities serve a large need in the community, they do not offer extensive assistive services.  Essentially, these are apartment communities, for independent seniors. 

Another option for low income seniors are smaller personal care homes.  These are smaller, older buildings ranging in size from 2-3 rooms on the low end to 30-40 beds.  If the building is under 24 beds, the community can enroll in Medicaid.  These communities generally offer personal care services.  The services offered are generally lower priced, but very limited in services.  Staffing ratios can be higher.  Activities programs are limited or non-existent.  There are some small buildings that charge higher rents, but mostly, these rents are lower.

The vast majority of what is being built today targets the higher income seniors or high-income children who are willing to subsidize their parents.  These properties are financed institutionally.  These investors expect high returns to justify their investments. The primary focus of the assisted living industry is high rent for high income.

Most cost studies such as Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey peg the average cost of assisted living in the $3,500 to $4,000 range.  It’s misleading.  The average includes senior living aimed targeted for low income seniors.  It also includes the newer, fancier buildings.  For the lower priced communities, the pricing might be in the $1,500 to $2,500 range.  For the newer, fancier communities, rents might officially start in the $3,500-$4,000 range, but quickly increase.  The monthly rent increases once extra charges for laundry, utilities, medication management, housekeeping, and personal care services among others.  The actual monthly expense can quickly increase to more than five or six thousand dollars.  For memory care, the expense can go higher still.  In some cases, families are then required to hire a home care aide for 24×7 individual coverage, which pushes the costs still higher.  When the money runs out, the individual is forced to move out to find less expensive options or utilize Medicaid elder care services. 

It’s no wonder that most won’t be able to pay for senior living in 2029.  Most can’t pay for it in 2019 either.  The gap is real right now. This is a significant challenge for seniors and their families.  For many families it is a significant pain point.  They are solving the problem by dipping into savings, providing free labor, and quitting the work force. 

This is an opportunity for the entrepreneur.  The problem exists right now.  We need to identify the solutions now in order to meet the demand for care in 2029.

What do you think? What solutions are available for middle income seniors?

Strategy, Cash, and Value

When I was in business school, we spent a lot of time thinking about strategy.  I learned to analyze an industry using Porter’s 5 forces.  We talked about Judo tactics in business.  I really enjoyed the classes. 

I’m a small business owner now.  I own an adult day and home care business.  From an industry perspective it has a lot going for it.  The biggest is that we operate in the midst of a massive demographic wave.   Our niche is solving care problems for the broad middle class.  No other industry is doing this affordably and with high quality.  On the downside, there is a ton of competition.  It’s fragmented.  Adult day is typically reliant on government payments.  I can go on. 

Much of this doesn’t really matter for strategy and industry analysis.  I own the business.  I can’t easily quit and find a day job if I suddenly think the characteristics of my industry stink.  I can pivot and move in a different direction.  Over time, I can change, but not immediately.

I’ve been thinking about Skylark’s strategy over the last couple of years.  We survived a Medicaid freeze several years ago.  The strategy became simple: survive and diversify away from Government payments.  We invested in more modern sales and marketing programs.  We are growing in ways that we were not before the freeze.

I also have diversified my learning.  For a long time, I spent most of my time trying to understand our little world of adult day services.  I’ve read some great business books.  I started looking at some different blogs and observing companies in completely different spaces. 

One company I learned about was Navix Consulting.  They specialize in exit planning for the small business owner.  I also read a book called Buy, Then Build by Walter Diebel.  Neither offers a unique service, but they were the ones that introduced the concepts to me. 

There are two implications for strategy.  First, plan for the exit.  The CEO/Owner ensures that the company is in a position to be sold for a good price.  The company must be structured properly so that a buyer can take over without undue risk to their investment after the closing. 

Buy, Then Build is a book about acquisition entrepreneurship.  The main thesis is that starting a company from scratch is a risky endeavor with a high failure rate.  An acquisition greatly diminishes the risks of entrepreneurship assuming a fair valuation at purchase.  This book opened to me an entirely new avenue to growing Skylark.  In addition to organic growth, acquisitions fuel growth.

At some point, my business is going to be in someone else’s hands.  I’ll either sell it, pass it on to the next generation, close it down, or get hit by a bus (or something else equally unsavory).  Failure is not an option.  My wife, my kids, and my employees, and my customers depend on me.  (An important question for this conversation: could my wife step in as the owner if I’m suddenly incapacitated?)

That really means that the business has to be in a position to sell or have someone else assume its leadership at any time.  No matter what, I need to get the company in selling shape.  First, I’m building the organization.  There are not many multi-site adult day centers in the nation.  It’s a challenge to be an operator and build the structure and capabilities that are required.  We are determined to build a private pay business.  There are very few adult day centers who successfully attract a significant private pay clientele.  We need a great leadership team and repeatable business operations.

But, it’s not just about growing the organization.  I need to grow the business in a what that increases value.  What is it worth?  Can I sell it for what I need to sell it for?  Can I sell it for more than what I have in the company?

This is where understanding valuation is important.  First, it’s all based on cash.  The valuation for most small businesses are based on the documented (tax returns) from the last 3 or more years. The projections don’t mean much if the recent past isn’t very good.  It’s based on Seller’s Discretionary Earnings (SDE).  While there is a pretty definite equation for determining SDE, the main idea is that businesses sell for a multiple of all the cash including the owner’s compensation that is available to a new owner.

I had a wake-up call when I did a rough valuation of Skylark:  upon a sale, it won’t fund my retirement, pay for college, or fund future investments.  With a rough sense of Skylark’s current valuation, we can pivot our strategy in order to increase future value.  Some investments increase value; some don’t.  The Skylark Mission is very important to us, so the investments answer to the mission. 

For Skylark, we will meet our Mission while increasing the economic value of the company by:

  1. Building cash flow and an adequate cash capitalization.  This means we will be efficient and increase productivity.  We’ll need to learn to manage our line of credit effectively and maintain adequate cash balances.
  2. We need to grow.  Smaller companies receive a valuation approximately 2-3.5 times their SDE. As revenues and profitability increase, valuation multiples expand.  I don’t know that we’ll go for breakneck growth, but it would also be good to have the resources that come with a bigger budget.  When you’re smaller, sometimes the solution is: who needs sleep; we’ll get it done tonight.

What else?  This really is the beginning of my thoughts on business strategy.  What more should I consider?  How have you developed strategy?  How do you increase value while staying honest to the mission?

Why Write?

I’ve had this blog for several years.  I’ve not always been the most consistent blogger.  I know bloggers who write every single day.  I’m impressed by this, but it’s a daunting challenge.  As a small-business owner, I’m already moving in a million direction juggling business challenges not to mention family obligations and community interests. 

Ultimately, I suppose this blog is a new business venture.  It seems a bit crass, but for it to be worthwhile it needs to be different and add value to an audience.  That’s a challenge, especially considering how many web site are out there.  I’m not naturally inclined to write often.  It’ll be a challenge, so I need to make it relevant to and interesting for me. 

I’ve been thinking about this recently though.  I’m excited that I’ve got two articles this week. I’d like to focus on:

  • Exploring business: I am an entrepreneur.  I’ve been at this for about 13 years now, so perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m a small business owner trying to lead my company to the next level. This is an opportunity to explore thoughts on strategy and certainly the questions I have moving forward.  Even though, I have an MBA from a great school, there is still much that I just don’t know about leading a business.  As we grow, the challenges are familiar, but different.
  • Family man: I really love being a husband and a father.  My boys bring me great joy, even when they are a bit whiney.  The stakes have increased exponentially.  It’s just not an option not to succeed.  My wife and my kids need my contribution to the family to pay for the home, daily needs and wants, college, retirement, and so much more.   
  • Faith: I’m a business man, but also a Christian businessman.  I earned a Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary.  This is an important part of who I am and helps explain why I’ve spent so much time in the world of elder care.  I’ve observed a couple things: the first is that there are many individuals who try to live out their faith in the work place.  The second is that I’ve seen many who try to explore what it means to marry faith and career, but are challenged to think deeply about it.  Sometimes the language is there to inform the effort, but often the theological understanding is not present. 
  • Serendipity:  At Skylark, we are in the process of opening our 3rd center.  It’s exciting.  According to my plans, I was probably a year or two away from doing this.  The opportunity came because one of our vendors had some space that had previously been used as an adult day center, and they approached us.  The opportunity arose from the business relationship.  I’m finding that as we get better, I’m becoming a resource for my industry, which also includes some fantastic business opportunities.  I hope that this blog will lead to more serendipitous relationships and who knows what.  I’m not sure what will happen, but more happens if I’m out there. 
  • Establish Expertise:  I’ve developed expertise in two main areas: the business of elder care specifically in adult day, home care, and understanding how to care for seniors in their home and community and in small and middle market business. 

This blog is an opportunity to share what I’ve learned.  It’s an opportunity to develop new tools that help make business easier.  I want to develop my toolbox and to improve what I’m doing.  I should explore issues and challenges and come up with better ways of handling challenges.  I want to refine the processes in my businesses, especially as I look to become more profitable.  From time to time, I think a great business opportunity would be to develop a chief operating officer service for small businesses.  In essence, how does a company move from revenues of $500,000 to $1,000,000 up to revenues of $2-4 million.  That’s an awkward stage to be in.  I don’t know if it would be a good business opportunity. But, it’s my challenge.  The challenges we have require the resources of a larger company.  I don’t have those resources yet, so we need to be creative. The challenge is get from here to there. 

Right now, this is where the blog is heading: Exploring business, faith, and family while finding the serendipitous in the midst of building expertise. 

Let me know what you think? Any thoughts on this writing journey?

Government Relations: Six Tips for Working With Uncle Sam

At Skylark, we work with the government. A lot.  You would think that our customers are our Seniors and those who love them.  You’d be right of course, but Uncle Sam pays us a lot of money each year.

We also work extensively with private individuals and insurance companies. 

There are some great advantages to working with the government: the business is relatively steady even during bad times and there is a steady flow of new clients.  We are also able to help individuals who would not normally be able to afford our services.

There are some disadvantages as well: payments are generally lower than what we receive from private clients, there are significant compliance issues, and the programs can be put on hold or discontinued.  Another big disadvantage is that they will audit your performance against a contract and ask for earned revenue back if performance isn’t properly documented or doesn’t meet expected standards.

Most of our government work is with Medicaid and the Veterans Administration.  We also work with local agencies at the city and county level.

Here are a few tips that we’ve learned the hard way:

  1. Competitive Advantage: Read and learn the regulations.  Many competitors don’t read the regulations and don’t know the rules of the road.  When working in a government contract, we’ll want to maximize the revenue opportunities as well as minimize expenses.  Without knowing the regulations, its next to impossible know what is possible as well as what is not.
  2. Find the government official who knows how to get things done:  Don’t expect special treatment, but there are individuals working in government who know how the system works and has the relationships to rise above bureaucratic red tape.  These individuals are awesome sources understanding how the regulatory environment is changing.  When you find these individuals treat them well.
  3. Government Relations: As a small business owner, you probably didn’t start your business to spend time with government officials.  Yet, as the CEO, I’ve found it vital to show up to speak at the state legislature to advocate for needed industry changes, meet government officials, serve on industry advisory committees, and the like.  As we grow, I will need to invest in professional government relations services (Lobbying) in order to stay abreast of our industry and advocate for our company and our industry.
  4. Compliance Program:  Develop your compliance program.  It’s for employees (are you ready for an immigration audit of your I-9s?); it’s for OSHA, the health department, state licensure boards, Medicaid, Medicare, the VA among others.  Compliance failures can bring down your company quickly.  Our best friend in compliance is the custom checklist.  We’ve also been working with our software provider to build compliance into the company workflow. 
  5. Join your industry association and make sure it has a great public policy arm:  This is intimately tied to the need to be involved in government relations.  Many state legislators do not want to just meet with an individual company.  They would rather meet with an association that represents many companies.  There are two many companies to meet with all of them, but if the association can consolidate an industry’s needs and communicate those interests professionally, there is an opportunity to impact public policy.  This is especially true the higher up in government you are looking.  It’s difficult but not impossible for an individual to make a difference at the city, county, or state level, but probably impossible to have an impact at the national level without that association backing.
  6. Long-term investment: A small-business owner needs to invest in their public policy efforts over a long period of time.  It’s not a one and done process.  In Skylark’s niche of the healthcare world, we woke up one morning realizing that our regulatory environment had changed.  It changed in an unfortunate and challenging way. 
  7. Be a good actor: It should be obvious, but be nice and polite.  Be a great resource to them. The employees, legislators, and staffers are often berated and not treated well.  Make it easy to help you.  If you yell, curse, complain loudly, and generally are a pain, your credibility will go downhill quickly.

Government work brings challenges and rewards.  Know the laws and the regulations.  There is a lot that can be accomplished by working through the system.  I didn’t quite understand the importance of government relations when I started the company, but it is an area of expertise that I spend a fair amount of my time on.

What else?  What involvement in government do you have in operating your business?  How do you manage the commitment?

Interviewing CEO Candidates: Questions for Strategy

I am currently serving on a search committee for a new executive director for the National Adult Day Services Association.  It’s been a long process where we have had to identify transitional leadership, do some significant strategic planning, and identify and then interview candidates.  I’ve learned so much during the last few months.

A friend of mine and a fellow search committee member sent our team a link to this article by James Citrin of Spencer Stuart: How Boards Interview CEO Candidates.

The article is an interesting guide for a board to use when hiring their next CEO or Executive Director or other leadership position.  He’s has hit on some great questions that cover a wide range of a CEO’s responsibilities.  In his interview guide, he covers the following areas:

  • Growth, Financial, and Operational Management
  • Strategy and Vision
  • Leadership and Team Building
  • Technology
  • Culture

He includes some additional interview questions that are useful, but a bit outside of the above categories.  The most important question according to Citrin: “What questions do you have for us?”

Read the article.  Here’s my question for the small business owner: can you answer these questions about your company?  In a resource constrained environment, how do you lead your company forward?

At least those were the questions I was asking myself.  I’ve got some work to do.

 

 

What Seniors and their Children want?

This will be a short marketing musing.

I had a lunch with a friend, who had recently heard a well known Atlanta real estate developer discuss the differences between what and where current seniors wish to call home and what their adult children desire their parents to call home.  The thesis is that seniors wish to stay in their own home, aging in place; however, once the adult child becomes involved in a parent’s care, they would rather that their parent leave their home and move to a residential setting that includes care services.

It’s a provocative thesis for community based providers, of which I am one.  I can’t agree completely with the premise, as I’ve known many families to work heroically to keep their loved one’s in their homes and out of assisted living and skilled nursing settings.  Yet, as I witness more and more assisted living facilities being built, the competition increases for the attention of the Baby Boomer adult child, many of whom are choosing the residential option for their parents.

This is a key marketing questions for the senior care business leader: whose desires reign supreme.  Much of the literature suggests that the Senior wants to stay put and live the rest of their days in the family home.  But, what if the decision maker is increasingly the adult child and their interests no longer coincides with their parent’s wishes.

If the interests of the Senior and their adult children are increasingly diverging, the implications are significant.  Some areas that warrant further consideration:

  • How do our target markets change?
  • Where should we locate our businesses?
  • How do sales and marketing strategies change and evolve?
  • How sensitive to the local demographics is this divergence?
  • If the community is newer, wealthier, younger, or older than average, does that skew the results one way or the other?
  • Are we seeing a change in what adult care giving children want for their parents and their lives?

These questions are just a start.  What I do know is that there are very few interactions with our Senior consumers that do not involve their adult children.  This is true even when the primary caregiver is a spouse.  Understanding the relationship between the two is key to the success of the community based senior care business.

What are your thoughts?  What business implications do you see in the evolving relationship between the senior and their children?

Care Partners: Fighting the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom

With this blog, I’m interested in exploring senior focused businesses. Let’s face it, it may be just a bit too broad. My business is senior care.

A few weeks ago, I took a three-day class to become a certified to teach the Eden at Home curriculum. Going into the training, I was, more than anything, curious to learn about the Eden Alternative and The Green House Project. While I suggest learning more about these affiliated organization, they are noted for being leaders in the “culture change” movement, which basically means that they have been very influential in making nursing homes more humane.

The starting point for the Eden Alternative came when Dr. Bill Thomas was rounding at a local nursing, when he met a patient who poignantly said to him: “I’m so lonely.” He realized one major problem is that the culture of the institution forced care decisions for the benefit of the company, management of staff, and regulatory compliance. Juggling all these items is actually quite difficult and requires help from advanced computer programs. In the process, it is easy to lose track of the person.

I found the training fascinating from a business management perspective. Looking at the Web sites of The Green House Project and the Eden Alternative, a very different vision of the nursing home, assisted living, and senior care in general is presented. It requires different architecture. It requires different staffing models. It requires more involvement of the care recipient and the caregiving family. It’s different. But is it profitable? Can the business communicate it in its positioning and strategy?

In the world of adult day services, I think we tend to be person centered, if for no other reason than that we see our participant’s families on a regular basis, and in many cases, on a daily basis. Yet, there is something compelling in becoming more intentional about reimagining the relationship between the participant (care recipient), the family, the center, and other service providers as a care partnership. The three plagues in the title are real for both the care recipient and the care giver.

Should we adopt many of the ideas presented in the Eden at Home curriculum? There is much that is interesting and worthy of consideration. Perhaps we need to adapt the principles or use them to spark a conversation about what are culture needs to be, how we need to train our associates, and how we should improve our services, operations, and strategies.

Culture: Government Payment Centered to Private Customers Centered

In the adult day services arena, which consists of programs alternately described as social or medical model, adult day center, adult day health, or adult day care. It tends to be center based. In the United States there are approximately 5,000 centers. Center providers received compensation from families pay out of pocket (including long-term care and life insurance products, and loans), through grants and community fundraising, and through government payment sources such as Medicaid, the Veteran’s Administration, and other state and federal programs such as the Older American Act and the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Government payment sources are by far the most significant source of funding for adult day services. How does this affect the company’s culture? First, many of the government payment sources also have significant case management program in place with sophisticated intake and referral processes. Consequently, the customer becomes the case management system rather than the individual client. The center tries mightily to serve the participant and her family, yet the case manager is the one who has to be pleased: nurses and staff drop everything to take their calls; the case management care plans form the foundation of the center care plan so the center doesn’t get cited and lose money in recoupment; and significant energy is expanded to ensure documentation compliance rather than excellent care. The payments tend not to move up for years at a time (if not decades), so there is constant pressure towards cost cutting rather than staff and program improvement. The pressure is intense to have a culture responsive to mandates and regulatory compliance.

In Georgia, I’m seeing resistance from Centers. In some cases, programs are simply closing in response to the increasing costs, increasing regulatory requirements as it has become difficult to develop a viable business model. Others are bucking the system. For one non-profit, they decided to drop their participation in Medicaid and government payment programs. They had the ability to continue serving their existing Medicaid clients because they were able to raise money and they found significant savings when they focused on what they valued rather than regulatory compliance. Other centers have announced that they will no longer take new government payment clients.

This appears to be the change that most programs must adopt to become healthier businesses with reasonably levels of profitability.

The change is not easy. In conversations with NADSA members, this goal as proved elusive. Much money has been spent developing beautiful, upgraded physical plants; yet, the needle hasn’t been moved. They find competition from assisted living, in home care, nursing homes, and other senior care providers. It’s difficult to be successful in that market, because it is easy to become dependent on the sophisticated case management referrals.

The first change the adult day center has to be in the corporate culture. The culture that succeeds with government payment sources is not the same culture that succeeds with families determined to provide the best care for their loved ones with their own funds. The culture that will Wow the family with sufficient funds to care for their loved one is different. This is a person-centered environment, in which families expose intimate details of their lives as they become care partners with their loved ones. These customers won’t be impressed with a focus on private paying clients simply because the center needs a better source of revenue.

The next few entries will explore the adult day center’s corporate culture. Clearly, it is and must be unique to each organization, but it FEELS key to effort to change.

Let me know how corporate culture of your program impacts your ability serve and attract a healthy mix of customers.

Corporate Culture: the only thing completely within our control

I’ve been thinking about Corporate Culture for a while now. We find ourselves facing increased competition for employees. There have been times in our organization’s history, where it is very clear what the culture is, what is needed, and what is not acceptable. I’ve also found it very difficult to define our culture in a way that all can understand and embrace it. It became exponentially more difficult once we added a second location where employees had very little face to face interaction from one location to the other.

Because of regulatory and business environment changes, we’re in the process of proactively reacting and reexamining our operations. If as David Cummings suggests that corporate culture is really the only thing completely in our control, we’ll be starting there. We’ve struggled and worked at keeping our culture strong, but now it needs to be tweaked. To continue growing, we’ll need to move and pulse faster. As we hire, we’ll need to become more sophisticated ensure we’re bringing the right people on board. We’re large and spread-out enough that not everyone can be hired by one person. It’s been a long time since one person could supervise everyone on staff.

Over the next couple of posts, I’ll share some thoughts about our culture and some of the ways that I think we need to change.