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Episode 1: How Covid Trashed The CULTURE goodr Podcast

Episode 1: How Covid Trashed The CULTURE goodr Podcast


Episode one is about how Covid-19 trashed this podcast and how goodr was set up to be successful amidst a global pandemic.
Our “why” behind creating this podcast is to share the behind the shades (HAH! Get it?) look at our culture with the world so we can help and inspire others. We planned on launching mid April, and then BOOM. Before we knew it we were flipped into The Upside Down (thank you Stranger Things for coining that one). Coronavirus became a serious thing. The first couple of weeks were spent stabilizing the business and making a plan. Once acceptance sunk in, things became much sunnier.

“I could feel what normal was like, and I could feel it slipping through my fingers, and during that time I was just housing cookies.” Expressed Chief Relationship Officer, Shaun Tinney. How real is that quote? Amirite?!

Our team of 60 employees, many of whom were used to coming into the office only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, thanks to our already in place rad remote work policy, were now working 100% from home. During this time we talked a lot about leading with calm, and controlling only what you can control. As Stephen Lease, Chief Executive Octopus (because we create our own titles here and octopuses RULE), shared his uncertainty with the team, acceptance followed. goodr was able to evaluate the situation, create a visual, and say, “This is where Covid is taking us, and if these lines meet in August, we’re good.” Stephen further explains, “The ability to show dates and details are really important. You don’t have to lie and merrymake. We did not try to sugar coat anything.”

Ultra runner Scott Jurek says in his book, the worst thing you can do is tell a runner in a race information that is inaccurate… like, “Oh! You’re 5 minutes off the lead.” Or, “you’re half a mile from the finish…” Even if it is only a smidge off, this is NOT helpful. You can’t sit there and lie. So we created a Prime Directive (where my Trekkies at?!). Our Prime Directive was to make sure we stay on track. We have an extremely flat reporting structure broken into 12 Flocks (you can thank Carl the Flamingo, our other more pink CEO for that). We knew what areas of our business were doing okay, and we knew to direct our energy there. This gave everyone the collective goal to move forward, and what a sigh of relief that was. This is probably something we’ll end up keeping around. It was the ultimate clarity needed to charge ahead with gusto. Everyone knew what they needed to do, and we knew where their focus was directed.
quote from goodr sunglasses CEO about energy
It was a long day with our Finance Flamingo, but we looked at every budget, and cut an insane amount of money from our spend, adjusted revenue targets, and in the end, had to lay eight people off. This was extremely unexpected, Stephen goes on to explain, “We were growing at such a fast clip.” The reality was that we had to stabilize and focus. And once all options and check-points were reviewed as a team we could EXECUTE, and we’ll be executing for the rest of the year.

For goodr to move forward and thrive as a company we had to make hard decisions. “Pandemic” was not in our backup plan. The plan we have now is known as the New World Order, and we have seven backup plans for it.
ALRIGHT! Let’s get out of the Upside Down. Some of you might be asking, what the fuck is goodr!? Well, let us tell you…

The brand started in 2015. Stephen was a slow AF runner, with a bunch of buddies who wanted to do something with fun and fashion. It wasn’t originally going to be just sunglasses, could’ve been apparel too, but they realized they sucked at that. The crew noticed a trend: running sunglasses are expensive, ugly, and over-engineered. “Our entire solution was making running sunglasses that are affordable, stylish, and all fun without the bullshit.” The brand plan came to life in March 2015. With the first product launching in the run space in November 2015. goodr took all of the learnings from the run world and established that it’s not a run brand, it’s an eyewear brand. October 2018 BEAST goodr launched, January 2019 came BIKE goodr, June 2019 goodr got into the golf space with GOLF goodr.

We love F words at goodr. We will not make a product if we can’t check off all four of these Fs:



Functional (meaning made for an athlete)

Ffordable (because when your name is the misspelling of a grammatically incorrect word like goodr, you can make up words! All of our sunglasses are $25 or $35.)

The company has grown to about 60 employees, we receive absurdly wonderful fan mail, and have won four product awards (Runner’s World Gear of the year for two different models, PGA Buyer’s Choice Award, Men’s Health Gear of the Year, and Inc. Magazine’s Best Places to Work).

Another fave F word… FRIENDS. Keri and Ben, the co-founders of goodr, with Stephen, are all friends, they went to high school together. Mike, who Stephen worked with and became pals with at a previous job, was our employee #1. He helped us for free at the beginning. The next four employees were people Stephen met through his run group. In the beginning, “legit maybe 15 people from the team were friends in some way shape or form.” You can run a successful business and surround yourself with people you enjoy spending time with.

At goodr we say, “You better like the culture here… it’s a really fun place to work, and really rewarding to work here IF you lean into it. But it’s not easy. At our core, when we talk about fun, we talk about how being good is fun. You need people to love what they do, day in and day out, and that’s what we created, and that’s why people gravitated towards us.”

“There are two kinds of fun, the kind you can just have, and the kind that’s on the other side of hard work. And that’s the one we’re shooting for.” ~ Shaun Tinney ~

It’s not just a party at goodr. People assume because of our content that we’re slamming margaritas all day.

We love this Abe Lincoln quote: “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree I’d spend 6 of them sharpening my axe.” ...Or something like that, because who knows what Ol’ Abe really said. Sharpening our axe is one of our strategic anchors and is nicely compared to running. When you sign up to run a marathon, you’ll likely spend four months training for four to five hours in the future. Why? Stephen sums it up nicely-- because, “on race day you want to be ready to ball out and beat your chest when you finish because you gave it everything you got. That’s what it’s like to work at goodr. You’re going to shoot big, and you’re going to prepare your ass off.”

Noone ever gets dinged for making a mistake at goodr, you get dinged for not owning it. Everyone thinks that they want autonomy. And they probably do, but they don’t know what that means in the beginning. You have to take ownership when you fuck up. The most inauthentic thing you can do when you fuck up is not own it.

Alright, let’s move into some lightning round questions!

Worst digital meeting failure:

We didn’t have any! We already were used to remote life. However, with larger meetings, we turned into a bunch of mute rookies. You know… the whole… “Whoops! I was muted!” conundrum.

Proudest moment so far:

The proudest moment during this New World Order was sitting with Lauren, our head of finance, during 14 back to back meetings, cutting the fuck out of our budget. Our Flock Leaders showed up big and were all on board. It was a long day, but super rewarding, and a huge turning point.

What’s one thing you’d like a do-over on:

Making a plan for this a year ago! But seriously… if only...

Something surprising that happened during all of this:

We received the help and understanding from a lot of key partners. Everybody gets this, and everybody wants to help each other get through.

Best news so far:

The best news is that Covid didn’t hurt the sun, and people still need sunglasses!

Most excited about:

The creativity that this has sparked in our team is wonderful, and it will end up changing a lot of things for the better for everyone moving forward.

What’s one topic from today’s podcast that you’d like to take a mulligan on:

Let’s revisit this... How to bring a sense of calm during times of chaos:

1. Lead by example

2. Communicate with transparency

3. Provide focus

These are what will help you turn on a dime. Stephen explains, “When you are transparent you don’t have to lie or make a face. When you just drop your chips on the table, everybody knows where you sit, and that made this way more palatable.” He goes on to say, “There is only going to be 10 seconds of uncomfortableness before you say what it is. Think about the load that would be off your shoulders if everybody knew what you were going through, bottle that and drink up. Then go from there! I mean what other choice do you have!”

For each podcast we are going to outline your NEXT ACTIONS to help inspire you to enhance the culture in your workplace:
This week we’d like you to experiment making your own decision matrix on money. This basic concept has saved us a lot of agita moving forward.

Start by classifying your revenue into four categories along the y-axis (great, fair, poor, bad). Then classify your expenses along the x-axis (critical, important, nice to have). From here, wherever you are currently sitting on the revenue classification (y-axis), that’s where you need to be for expenses. If you create this matrix, look at revenue and expenses, and tag everything, you will know exactly what you need to drop. So if this happens again, you won’t have to determine during a time of panic what to cut. It will be predetermined. All travel, continuing education, contractors, fun culture stuff, is just gone for the foreseeable future. Everything we are doing is on a thinner budget. Raises are on pause. That cold brew coffee on tap is great… buttt… when the supply chain is breaking down and every last dollar counts… Byeee felicia.
Thanks for tuning in to episode one of the CULTURE goodr podcast! Next time, we’ll be diving more into the behind the shades of making the next plans.