Hey there! A while back our Sr. Copywriter sat down with our COO for a chat. The two of them spoke about ymarketing’s past, dog versus cats, and some relaxation techniques. Enjoy this as text, or listen to it in the embedded video below.
Hey, everybody. This is James Ninness, the Senior Copywriter at ymarketing, and we’re gonna do another interview. Today I’m sitting down with Brian Yun. Say hi, Brian.
Hey, how’s it going?
So, first question, who are you? Why am I talking to you?
I’m the Chief Operating Officer at ymarketing. I’ve been doing this for a little over twelve years now, and yeah, I guess that’s it.
What does that mean? You come into work, what does that day look like?
Well, it’s changed and evolved over the last twelve years.
When we first started my focus was a lot on finances, also doing a lot of the campaign work, client work, client interfacing, stuff like that. As we’ve evolved and we’ve grown and hired people I’ve tried to focus more working on the business as opposed to in the business. So during that time the evolution has been focused—still on the financial end—but also on operations, facilities, HR, pretty much anything that has to do with how we function as a company and trying to improve that each and every day.
When you tell people what ymarketing is— I mean, we have the “digital agency,” but really, what are we? What is this company to you, specifically?
Well, you know I probably have a different view than most people in my position. Actually, I look at ymarketing as simply just a family. I mean, to me work has always been work. I’m passionate about whatever I’m doing. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t. I’m passionate about the people that believe in us, that have invested in us over the years. To me, it’s really all about just being a family, working together, and that’s kind of how I approach every single day.
Nice. All right, so settle this once and for all: dogs or cats? Which is the superior pet?
By far and away for me it’s dogs.
Yes! That’s the correct answer. Please continue.
I have a Silky Terrier. He is, actually his birthday was seven days ago. He just turned eleven.
Oh, wow. Nice.
Yeah, I think in dog years that’s probably, like, 72 or so. But he is— People still think he is a puppy because he has so much energy. Cats, you know, they’re just not the same.
You’ve been here for twelve years—twelve plus years–
How has ymarketing changed from the day you came onboard, and your understanding of what we were doing then, versus now. How have we evolved?
When I started it was three of us, you know, like I said, literally doing everything from campaign managing to client services to figuring out finances… You know, it evolves into hiring a couple people, opening an office, creating a payroll system, which at the that time, you know, at the beginning, was nonexistent.
Three of us working remotely. So it was all internet, telephone, and, yeah… And we did that actually from 2004 til 2007. And then we opened an office out in Costa Mesa. We had an office we subleased from a friend of ours at the time. We hired a couple people and that turned into another couple people… I got a phone call one day from someone saying that people were literally sitting on top of each other. And I was like, “That’s— No.” And so I—I was coming out here once every four or five months just to—
Where were you at that time?
I was in Chicago.
So, working in Chicago. I came out here and I literally saw people almost sitting on top of each other, sharing like a table for a desk. So it was exciting and kind of scary at the same time. So we immediately started looking for new office space and found a really cool space that we took over just down the street in Costa Mesa. At that time it was, you know, everyone had their own office and we had more than enough room. And then over the course of the next year, two years, we started, you know, growing and people were sharing offices, more desks were getting put in, buying furniture left and right, and then we ended up—instead of moving—we built out a storage unit that was upstairs, built a stairwell, created a second-floor loft. That was, again, super spacious. Turned into—that— We exploded out of there. And then we came to our current space, which, again… This is about 8,500 square feet. We moved here and lots of—probably like 15-20 open desks and we’re, you know, kind of running into the same problem here. This has always been a great problem and I actually welcome the challenge—I love the challenge. I love just seeing the family grow and grow, and the personalities here and the evolution, the people and the culture—It’s pretty great and uh— Yeah, so it’s been— We’ve been here for, I think, maybe three years or so?
It’s been— You know— We’re trying to manage space again, which is always a good thing, so…
What does ymarketing look for in the different types of clients that we are pursuing, that we want to work with? Maybe not who we have now, but moving forward what are we looking for new business?
Well, I think that there’s a couple ways that I look at it.
One is the vertical. There’s a lot of people here that have a lot of experience across certain verticals, like automotive for example, that are things that I’m also interested in personally. So it’s one of those things where, when we see a potential client that has a business that we are excited about, we have experience with, we know we can make a huge difference— They’re also passionate about their growth and the evolution of their company, that adds even more excitement and intrigue to that potential relationship.
I think the other thing that I look for in the back of my mind is… A lot of our clients over the years—we’ve had a lot of our clients for a long time and I think the biggest thing about those clients is, uh, they’re great people. They’re people that I want to spend time with outside of work. If they’re not local they’re people that, when they do come by, or I travel to see them, it’s like I look forward to catching up with them about what’s been going on with their life and things like that—all the things outside of work.
Those are things that, again, it just kind of like, a client’s an extension of our family. It’s nice for them to be really like-minded, not just in terms of wanting our campaigns and our analytics and all that stuff to really shine, but it’s also about our relationship with them shining and we have just a great team of people across every department that has those connections with our clients today and hopefully with all the future clients that we have.
When you come into work every day, what do you look forward to the most?
Today that answer is just seeing people. I love when we come up with new ideas and new things that can help us work better together. Again, this could be related to a client’s work, or it could be just related to our team building and our culture here. I just enjoy being around people and getting stuff done and doing it in a way that’s positive and just helping each other out. Just being good people to each other. I think that’s what I, and I know it sounds a little cheesy, but that’s what I enjoy.
Ten years ago it would have been Ryan and I focused on growth, you know? How do we get to that next stage? And we get to that next stage and you high-five and you look for that next one and next… Obviously, that stuff still excites me, but there’s people here today that focus on that’s their goals. My goals are to make sure as we grow we maintain our identity and who we’ve always been and don’t lose sight of that.
All right, so this is a nice, little follow-up. Personal question for Brian: You’ve had a long day at work, you go home, how do you unwind? Is it wine? Is it bath salts? Is it— What does Brian do to relax at home?
For me, I have a great community of friends in Orange County today. I didn’t have that two years ago. I just started establishing myself here a couple years ago. My son started school, so that was a big thing for me. It was—Him being in school and starting sports started to force me to be, I guess, rubbing elbows with other people.
And how old is he?
He is, just turned seven a couple weeks ago.
So, two years (ago?) my unwinding is probably a glass of wine. And today it’s a glass of wine plus spending time with my son. He is the brightest, greatest thing in my life. I think everything in my life revolves around him. Wanting to give him a better life than I gave (had?) and actually, just, something that I remind myself every day. I feel like that relieves me of my stress or why I’m doing all this.
And then my friends. If there’s a really bad day, there’s, you know, just other things that are really stressful, I reach out to my friends. I spend a lot of time just having dinners or, you know, going out with them, or playing sports with the kids and stuff just to unwind and be able to vent a little bit and some things. I think I’m very fortunate to have what I have here in the community. I can’t even— I wish I could explain in words how blessed I am to be surrounded with the people that I am, but they’re just people that are so genuine and so caring and it’s, uh, that’s kind of how I unwind.
So, we’ve talked a lot about the past and how we got to where we are. My last question to you is: Where is ymarketing a year from now? And then five years from now? Ten years from now? Where are we headed?
I’m not the biggest futurist. I’d call myself a five-year planner – a one to five-year planner. I don’t go the ten-year route because I take more of the steps to get there. Ryan is, you know, my business partner, he is more of that ten-year planner, or maybe even a twenty-year planner. That’s why I do operations, because I look at the steps it takes to get from today to tomorrow. And a lot of times it involves a lot of stuff.
So, if I were to look at the next one to five years, I really want to see— I feel like we’re one of the leaders of digital media in Orange County, in southern California. I think we can do a lot more with our analytics with our digital media capabilities. I mean, the world continues to evolve in the digital space and it’s non-stop, you know? For us, really staying ahead of the curve, proving, obviously to our existing clients first, and then our new clients, what digital marketing is really capable of doing. It’s such a unique thing that advertising has never seen before and I think that— Well, I know that we have the capabilities today, and I want to see that just continue to evolve and grow and help other businesses in the future
All right, that’s it. Great! Thank you very much for carving out some time. I know you’re a busy guy and I appreciate you sitting down to chat with me.
I appreciate it, thanks.