Studio IX: First question-
Phillip Pegelow: Yeah.
Studio IX: ...what'd you have for breakfast?
Phillip Pegelow: I didn't eat breakfast this morning.
Studio IX: What do you typically have for breakfast?
Phillip Pegelow: Depending on how much time I do, or do not have. I have either two eggs, over easy and a piece of toast. Or cereal and milk.
Studio IX: You like the yolks, the runny yolks?
Phillip Pegelow: I do. I'm into the runny yolks.
Studio IX: Me, too. I'm a fan.
Phillip Pegelow: If my wife is off, sometimes she adds hash browns to the mix-
Studio IX: Aww.
Phillip Pegelow: ...and it's a special morning, when that happens.
Studio IX: That's great.
Phillip Pegelow: Yeah, and lots of coffee.
Studio IX: Yeah, lots of coffee. Constantly, coffee.
Studio IX: All right, so our listeners know, who are you and what do you do?
Phillip Pegelow: I'm Phillip Pegelow:. What I do is, I work for a digital marketing company, based in Seattle, called New Engen. Our mission is to help marketers more effectively advertise their products or product.
Studio IX: So this could be related or totally separate, but what are you passionate about?
Phillip Pegelow: To the extent that it relates, I'm passionate about software engineering. I like building things. I like to see how things work. It can take many forms. It's taken different forms over the years.
It's been beer brewing, at some point. Not just focused on creating the perfect beer, but creating systems and things that make the process of brewing beer different, or more precise. I work on my vehicles at home and friends' vehicles. Basic maintenance and things like that.
Then sometimes, getting in too deep, and doing more stuff. I enjoy that. How can you design and build systems to solve problems? That's how I ended up where I am. I think segwaying that into the realm of what's true, or what's good and beautiful.
I think we're all kind of on our own quests, to understand the world and how it works, and where meaning is found in it. That has been through faith, specifically Christian faith, so I'm really involved in church kind of community, on that quest, or that journey, to understand what is true and meaningful. Most people agree that the answer to that question revolves around this word “love”.
Studio IX: Yes.
Phillip Pegelow: So the Christian faith is kind of where I've found that to be most revealed, in my own life, so yeah.
Studio IX: What do you enjoy most about the work that you do for New Engen?
Phillip Pegelow: I work closely with two guys, here. We compose an engineering team, and I enjoy working closely with them. Just imagine with me, a culture where the company presents us with a particular problem, or design for a feature. It's this cool process from designing a solution to it, to coding it out, to testing it, validating that it'll meet all of the requirements that it needs to meet, and finally delivering it. And deploying it, in the form of a server, somewhere in the cloud.
That process is really enjoyable to me. I like sitting down with them. I think the culture that we've kind of organically grown there, has been really sweet and enjoyable. To talk through different solutions, working together to identify what's going to be most effective. What's going to be easiest to deliver? What's going to be, kind of taking into account all these different factors, being on this journey together to find a solution.
There's also an individual component where you're head down in your code, solving the problem, or executing the plan that you've collaborated to come up with. Every step along the way, checking in. It's a unique environment that not every programming shop has, but that we found works really well for us.
I think it's a little bit more human, than maybe a lot of other places might practice, so. Just being able to have that community aspect. I wouldn't necessarily say it's like, we did that in the name of efficiency or to increase productivity, by any means. But it does happen to have that effect, as well, despite maybe it being a little counterintuitive.
Studio IX: Was that a deliberate choice, or just an extension of your personalities and values, or both?
Phillip Pegelow: Yeah, it's both. It's kind of organically grown from that.
Studio IX: How old is New Engen?
Phillip Pegelow: Our company is a little over two years.
Studio IX: Exciting.
Phillip Pegelow: Yeah.
Studio IX: Is there a memorable story that stands out to you?
Studio IX: It could be with the history of the company, it could be within the history of your work, your own personal path, a turning point?
Phillip Pegelow: Let's think about that...(long pause)
Studio IX: Can I ask you another question?
Phillip Pegelow: Yes another question.
Studio IX: We’ll return to that one?
Phillip Pegelow: Great.
Studio IX: How about an aspect of what you do that might surprise people to know?
Phillip Pegelow: I don't know that there's any particular surprise with our business. I've worked at other marketing companies, where maybe some people would be surprised to hear certain things that we did.
Maybe the biggest thing people would be surprised to hear is that New Engen is a robust company. We have a startup mindset, that's where our roots are. A lot of companies have that as well. What comes along with that, is kind of a scrappy mentality. In terms of how you get things done. Just quick, all hands on deck, scrambles to resolve particular issues, to prevent impacting clients, and things like that.
By in large, we have incredibly smart people that can resolve pretty much any issue that could ever arise. We've made an intentional choice to design systems in such a way that our people can intervene when they need to, instead of over engineering. Integrity checks, and things like that have been a key to fast growth, but it's probably something that will transition overtime.
Studio IX: How did it start? How did the company start?
Phillip Pegelow: The company has its roots in New Zealand. One of the early online retail shops. The founders of New Engen had reduced that world to a science, applied data-driven principles to budgeting and managing our advertising accounts. Some of the principles they developed there have been a key to our success in this retail world, and there doesn't appear to be solutions like it on the market. Like why can't we solve this same problem that we solved for Zulily for all retail corporations that are out there, for all the varying marketing companies that exist.
So that's exactly what they set out to do. They started developing software that made that process more optimized and easier. As you're probably aware, there's so many different advertising channels that come and go, on the day to day basis. Being able to apply all those principles across many different channels has been really valuable.
Phillip Pegelow: Seattle is where the bulk of our company is based.
Studio IX: Where do you see yourself and the company in five to ten years?
Phillip Pegelow: From my experience, a little over a year ago, we were half the size that we are now. And we're continuing that growth trajectory. Feels like we've still been getting a recognizable client name, and growing all the time. We're becoming self funding. That's our goal by the end of the year. Over time, I anticipate us to dramatically grow in size. I think one of the tough parts of starting a business, especially in digital marketing, is it's really hard to import experience, because it's a relatively new field.
That's where and Nate has come in. We have really unique backgrounds in digital marketing, but you're starting out and you're getting people in different client accounts. You have to grow them, and that takes time. You really are limited in how quickly you can grow your knowledge base. I think New Engen has struck a good balance, between hiring what they've needed to and growing what they're able to. They also take a more conservative approach to growth than most startups do. In that they grow carefully, instead of throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. Just being able to prevent some of the more volatile aspects of growing a startup has a been a key in remaining successful in the marketplace. Our world also requires a degree of stability all the way through the business, that maybe other startups don't require. Startups that are managing all these fortune 500 companies, advertising assets has a little more luxury of being wildly optimistic.
Studio IX: Yeah. It sounds like relationships are pretty important to you guys.
Phillip Pegelow: Yeah, for sure.
Phillip Pegelow: When I started, they have these small scale training opportunities, maybe once a month. In terms of how leadership approaches and communicates with the people that work there, they're just present, available, and quick to come by or see how things are going and chat. Sometimes it's about the work, and sometimes it's not, and they're always interested in both aspects of it, the people and the work. Our people are by far the biggest asset, and it's prioritized accordingly.
Studio IX: Smart.
Studio IX: So let’s talk about Studio IX for a moment. What do you enjoy most about being here?
Phillip Pegelow: Well there's people that do similar work to us, so it's been interesting to connect, and see what other people are doing in the same world. There's people that do things that are completely different from us, so that's been really cool to connect with them, and see things that people are doing that I never thought of.
There's a degree of synergy around here that makes working so much better than working in a regular office environment. In my opinion, that’s because everybody's not doing the same thing. You have very different people, from different backgrounds, and it creates an atmosphere that's unique in this world of corporate America. It makes it a lot easier to come into work and be able to work in that kind of an atmosphere.
Studio IX: Last question-
Phillip Pegelow: Yeah.
Studio IX: What's the story behind the coffee mug? (laughter)
Phillip Pegelow: Story behind my coffee mug, I don't really know, honestly. My coffee mug is this guy, he's hunting, and all the wildlife in the world is around him. But he's asleep, gun in his hand, at his stand.
Studio IX: And what is this sign on the tree say?
Phillip Pegelow: It says “Stand #13”, so he must have his stands marked out. It's probably from like, I don't know, 1998. There's your answer.
Studio IX: I love it.
Phillip Pegelow: But yeah, I don't know.
Studio IX: It's just a mug.
Phillip Pegelow: It's just a mug.
Studio IX: That's it, Big Man.
Phillip Pegelow: Cool.
Studio IX: Thank you.
Phillip Pegelow: Thank you.