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The lynda.com Story: Founders and key executives share accounts of learning, teaching, and building their company.
Company cofounders Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman, with CEO Eric Robison and other top executives, present the early roots, current landscape, and future vision of lynda.com. This short-form documentary covers how Lynda and Bruce's careers, relationship, and company started and evolved, and how their vision and high standards have shaped the lynda.com mission to help others.
(music playing) Eric Robison: I started my career about 30 years ago, working--starting, actually, in advertising-- working on brands like Coca-Cola and Microsoft. These were the early days of Microsoft when they were just beginning advertising, then transitioned into broader business initiatives and having a chance to work in the film business as a film producer, working for Paul Allen in Venture Financing, also working with him on Experience Music Project. About that time I started serving on boards.
I have been on five public company boards and about 15 private company boards, and that's been a great experience because I get to see as an insider gets to see on the board all of the good and the bad with growth of a company and all those learning experiences which really lead me to today, being able to apply those experiences to our growth opportunities and our growth challenges. Bruce Heavin: The MBA I never had is what I'm learning today from Eric. Eric is really giving me a grand education in learning on how businesses work, on how companies work, but not just how they work, how they work effectively and how to manage effectively.
And I think it's the guidance of Eric that has really helped us do well and attract the right people to build a surprising company within lynda.com. Eric: Back in 2007, I was consulting with companies and serving on probably four boards at the time. I met Lynda and Bruce through mutual friends, and they were looking for help with where to take lynda.com as far as a next step, and they were growing incredibly fast, incredibly successful, and they knew they needed some additional help, some additional adviser help.
I met them in October 2007, and January 1st, 2008, I was here full time, no intent to go back into a company again full time because I really enjoyed consulting. But it was such an amazing opportunity to work with Lynda, with Bruce and this company, and you know, I have never looked back. Lynda Weinman: I'm so grateful that we met Eric. I think we found a needle in a haystack when he came into our life, and you know, Eric has this great ability to be both business savvy yet very creative and very open to new ideas and adaptable and sensitive, and I just don't really think there are very many other people who could have filled his shoes and grown the company with us the way that he has.
Eric: In my role of CEO, I help provide business insight and perspective, and I think that that's in part gained from all the years that I spent working with companies through a variety of growth situations. Another part of my role here is working with the team that we have and attracting the right team, and we spent a lot of time both looking at the skills someone has, but also how they fit into the culture of the organization. And we are a business about people, and if I can help people realize their full potential through mentoring and coaching them, then our company has that opportunity for growth.
Jacqui Burge: He acts like a mentor in so many ways. He gives you a project, and you have a complete ownership of the project. If you feel like that trust creates a very great relationship where you can learn a lot, where you are also have incredible accountability. You really get to learn when you work with Eric. Eric: There is a couple of things that I really love about my job, first is I get to work with incredible people: Lynda, Bruce, the Senior Management Team. Really, frankly, everyone here at the company is just an amazing group of people to work with. It's a group of people that are very, very passionate about the product.
It's not often you get to work for a company that has a product that changes people's lives the way we change people's lives. Cynthia Scott: Eric's guidance has been awesome for this company. He has just been a driving force in our success, in our future, and it's thrilling to be with all three of them. Michael Schaeman: Eric has the extraordinary ability to build great teams and great companies are built by great people and Eric has really built an amazing team at lynda.com. Eric: I spent a number of years teaching music, primarily jazz, saxophone and flute.
Music has really helped me a lot in business in one: it's just a great relief from a stressful day, but also there are some really good lessons of music. When you're playing a solo, it's oftentimes notes you leave out, the notes that would otherwise get in the way of what you're trying to communicate and allows you to focus on the notes that are really, really important. The notes that really tell the story, notes that create that arc of communication. In business, it's not only about what you do, but it's also about what you don't do, and music is very much like that.
We have to collaborate. We have to always listen. Michael Ninness: You know, there is something about Eric that I've learned personally in my role as a leader here and just always learning myself. You know, things can get pretty crazy in a company like ours. We're growing very quickly, we continue to grow, but what Eric brings to the table is that long-term vision, that poise. One of my favorite quotes from him is, you know, we are not running a sprint, we're running a marathon. And that really helps us focus on what's important in that long-term goal and getting there, not getting caught up in the angst in the fire of today, but really keeping your focus on where you want to be in 2, 3, 4, 5 years.
Eric: I feel really fortunate and grateful to be partnered with Lynda and Bruce on this business. I think the three of us together have an unusual set of backgrounds that just work. Every Tuesday we get together for a pretty extensive meeting, talking through the business. It doesn't mean we also get together almost every day in some form or fashion, but we work together in a manner where there's interaction, communication, and this diversity, again, that we all bring to how we run the business.
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