Cars have been a part of Aaron Montgomery’s life from Day One. Born in the Motor City, the car culture has found its way into his persona in an inseparable way. He read Lee Iacocca’s book at age 12. He sold his first car at age 17. And his professional career has been a series of experiences that collectively have helped him hone an understanding of the industry few can claim.
But, Aaron wouldn’t call himself a car person. He’s an entrepreneur first and foremost, having co-founded CarLotz in response to what he saw as a broken car buying process. At CarLotz, private sellers are paired with buyers in a low-pressure environment. Their sales people don’t work on commission and the culture is driven by a passionate desire to give buyers and sellers the best customer service experience possible. Aaron’s speaking covers how they have built the company, and culture, that is changing the way people buy and sell cars.
— Keynote —
The start-up Paradox
If you ask many start-up founders, the idea they started with is not the business they ended up running. Along the way, they had to try, fail, pivot, try again, fail again, and pivot again. Each time, they were testing an idea, learning from the experiment, and applying that learning to the next step.
Aaron knows this process well, and in many ways is still living it. When CarLotz was founded, Aaron and his team envisioned a marketplace for the DIY car seller. What they ended up with is a place for people who don’t want to DIY but still want the benefits. Along the way, they had to develop and test many theories about how the car buying and selling process works.
In this keynote, Aaron takes participants through his own journey as an entrepreneur and extracts the tools and techniques he used to build a successful business.
Participants will learn how to:
- Evaluate opportunities like an entrepreneur
- Develop business hypotheses to test
- Evaluate and refine the tests to generate new ideas
- Build a culture of continuous incremental innovation
Aaron’s experience in strategy and operational design brings audiences an approach to conceiving, planning, and implementing new ideas that make it easier to win support, marshal resources, and ultimately succeed.
— Keynote —
STRATEGY OR CULTURE, WHICH CAME FIRST?
Fast Company magazine once published an article titled “Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.” In it, the author discusses how a toxic culture can override any good strategy. What they don’t cover, however, is how good strategy can shape culture.
Aaron Montgomery and his partners founded Carlotz with one driving strategic goal – provide the car buyers and sellers with an experience unlike any they might encounter in the traditional car dealer environment. As a result, they have made many strategic decisions which have created a unique culture within the company. Their strategy has shaped how they hire, how they compensate, and even how they designed their stores. Each of these decisions has shaped their culture to be one of teamwork, transparency, and customer focus rarely experienced by the car buying public.
In this keynote, Aaron takes participants through the story of Carlotz, sharing some of the key decisions that were made in service of their strategy, and how those decisions have created culture the founders envisioned.