This week on the PRmoment podcast, I’m talking to co-founder of Tyto and previous global CEO of Hotwire Brendon Craigie.
Brendon joined Hotwire in 2000, three months after it was founded and went on to become its group CEO. During his time at Hotwire the firm grew to have a turnover of $31 million.
Unexpectedly for most observers, Brendon left Hotwire in 2017 following its acquisition of Eastwick. He set up Tyto in October of that year.
Eighteen months later Tyto has a fee income of approximately £1m.
Here’s a flavour of what Brendon and I discussed:
[00:01.18] Why Brendon left his position as global CEO at Hotwire after it acquired Eastwick.
[00:01.25] How he and the management team gew Hotwire to become a $31m, multi-sector, multi-geography PR firm.
[00:05:56] Why Brendon decided it was now or never for his own start up.
[00:06:09] Why Brendon's first boss Kristin Syltevik at Weber Shandwick had a massive impact on the rest of his career.
[00:10:39] How he went from Hotwire’s third employee to become its global CEO.
[00:12:37] Why “growth creates opportunity” is such a truism in the agency world.
[00:14:07] How working in a business that is growing makes for a much more positive culture.
[00:15:40] Why Brendon thought about setting up a mail order coffee business.
[00:16:29] Why Brendon decided to stick at Hotwire for 17 years, rather than twist and make a move to another firm.
[00:16:59] How Brendon thrived under the leadership of Kristin Syltevik and Anthony Wilson at Hotwire as they provided a "conveyor belt of challenges" for him.
[00:17:41] Why Brendon found the reporting requirements of working for a holding group and the "canvas on which you've got to operate" limiting.
[00:18:17] How to grow businesses you need to be entrepreneurial and speculative, but conversely to deliver the kind of results that a holding company requires you need to be a brilliant manager.
[00:19:23] Whether the departure of Kristin Syltevik and Anthony Wilson from Hotwire in 2011 left Brendon feeling isolated or empowered.
[00:21:16] Having worked on the buy side of Hotwire’s purchase of Eastwick, Brendon gives his advice to people who are looking to build and structure their agency with a view on a sale.
[00:22:36] Whether Brendon had a tear in the eye when he left Hotwire for the final time.
[00:23:12] Why Brendon used to get jealous of people doing their leaving speeches.
[00:23:39] Why leaving Hotwire felt like a divorce.
[00:24:39] How post-leaving Hotwire Brendon found himself feeling stressed about not having anything to do.
[00:25:17] Brendon explains Tyto's proposition.
[00:27:45] How Tyto has a location-agnostic approach.
[00:28:36] How Tyto attempts to integrate its people into dynamic client teams despite them working in numerous locations, often alone.
[00:30:59] Why, following Brendon’s experiences at Tyto, he believes that when all your staff are remote, no one feels remote.
[00:37:23] How just 18 months after launch Tyto has a fee income of £1m.