Episode 011 – Gil Gerstein: worked on the first movie website for Toy Story in 95 and then went on to launch one of the fastest growing companies in the world
Tony G’s business partner of 19 years is today’s guest. Gil Gerstein and Tony G grew up together, causing ruckus and and running wild. They are great examples proving that where you start does not determine where you end up. Gil went off to college before Tony, studying design, computer graphics, and product design. The internet, back in that day, was unfamiliar territory waiting to be pioneered. Gil worked on the first website for a movie, which was for Toy Story. No one was creating websites for movies at that time. Tony, who had zero clue what the internet was back then in 1996, was introduced to his eventual career path through Gil. This podcast and Tony’s other internet endeavors were largely influenced by Gil. Listen in to what those early days were like and the evolvement into today’s #EntrepreneurUnplugged.
The start of ShipOffers.
The business Tony, Gil, and Doug Roberts run is called ShipOffers. This is their “second rodeo” and they have been at it for fifteen years. The supplement industry has evolved, but the core values of people wanting the benefits from supplements remains intact. Knowledge has changed, the variety has grown, and now there seems to be a supplement for everything. When the trio first stepped into the industry, it was the “wild, wild west.” Now, the government has created regulations ensuring supplements are safe and effective. Tony and Gil have grown right along with the industry’s growth. ShipOffers has forced them to figure out what what is at their core and what they do best. They now balance a workforce that has grown into twenty people. Be sure to listen for an inside look into Tony and Gil’s journey.
“Let’s go into business with our best friends.”
Most people hold to the belief that you should avoid going into business with your friends. Tony G and Gil went against that thought, opting to go into business with their best friends. Gil uses an analogy of being pulled by a corvette to reveal what it’s like working with Tony. It’s tons of fun, lots of craziness, and an exciting ride. The dynamic of getting to hang out with their best friends at work all day is foreign to some people, but they love it. It all started in the midst of Gil attempting to sign papers to purchase his first home. Tony G called to say it was time to leave their company at the time. Gil thought he could not quit his job, he needed the stability because he was signing papers for a home. Gil did not even realize he was going into business with Tony, he just went along for the ride. The pair learned a powerful lesson through leaving a company they had ownership in. They left without a fight, leaving all they could possibly claim. They did not need “their piece” of it to follow their dreams. They just needed out. Listen in to the influences behind starting a business and pursuing a dream to do what had never been done before.“Let’s go into business with our best friends.” ~ Tony G. Click To Tweet
The “Tripod Philosophy”
Tony G, Gil, and Doug make up the tripod of ShipOffers. Their “tripod philosophy” is one main thing they have relied on for their success. Each person stands on one leg to balance and keep tension to keep them upright. Simply put, if they do not all agree on something, they don’t do it. All opportunities are viewed as win-win or non-options. Whether it is questions about products or pricing, the three come together or do not move forward. The balance and play out of this philosophy stems from their very different skills and personalities. At the beginning they struggled with their differences. Things started to turn around when they realized the differences were not meant to pull them apart, but rather the very reason they should work together. Their three roles are: Tony G as visionary driving the business, Doug Roberts as accountant keeping them grounded and keeping their financial decisions strong, and Gil Gerstein, the middle person who understands the perspectives of both and creates harmony and the bridge they call all walk across.
Go bigger and go for it.
If Gil could go back and give himself some advice, it would consist of going bigger, pursuing dreams faster, trusting his gut, and just going for it. His journey is one of transformational thinking about how to live life and pursue dreams. For both business partners, it has been fifteen years of figuring it out and making it work. It’s been all about relationships and waking up with just as much passion as day one, not necessarily the money. They can and do fail, but they are in it together. Together they believe they can do anything, which has become the driving force of their business and success. When they said yes to this endeavor back in the day, neither thought they would be here now. This is an inspiring story of two best friends who believed and worked to make their dreams their realities.“Go bigger. Go for it.” ~ Gil Gerstein Click To Tweet
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE
- [0:36] Tony G’s introduction of his business partner and today’s guest, Gil Gerstein.
- [1:24] Tony G and Gil: growing up together.
- [2:14] Gil’s background and education.
- [4:58] ShipOffers and the supplement industry.
- [6:20] What it’s really like working with Tony G.
- [7:28] Their evolving vision for business.
- [8:02] Gil’s passions and side-projects.
- [9:19] Managing growth at ShipOffers.
- [10:12] The Tripod Philosophy.
- [11:15] Going into business with your best friend.
- [14:48] The balance in making the tripod philosophy work.
- [17:27] Gil’s final nugget of wisdom.
RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED ON THIS EPISODE
Tony G, Gil Gerstein, and Doug Roberts business website: http://www.shipoffers.com