We had the good fortune of connecting with John Bertino and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, how do you think about risk?
When it comes to entrepreneurship, a tolerance for risk and the ability to take measured risk is critical. It’s obvious, even cliche to say that risk must be “calculated”. But it’s the degree to which we commit to making good calculations that will literally predict our chance of success. The more complex a decision, the more we must be committed to diligence. And the more diligence you must do, the more it pays to be committed to continuous learning. Ironically, whereas half of us are perhaps prone to risk-taking without proper diligence, the other half finds itself on the side of overthinking and regularly grappling with paralysis by analysis. At some point, entrepreneurs need to be willing to take a leap of faith without knowing for sure that risks will pay off. This is where it becomes advantageous to develop a tolerance for failure. If we look at each failure as a learning experience, we can extract value from the experience and leverage the data we’ve accumulated toward better calculations in our next effort. Entrepreneurs must find a way to transmute the pain and difficulty of failure into a mechanism by which they become smarter, stronger and more committed to the process of continuous learning.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We’re really proud of what we created with TAG. Our model solves problems on both sides of the client-agency equation. The typical way a client finds a reliable marketing agency is riddled with pitfalls, misinformation, and bias. On the other hand, for the agencies, the traditional approach to hiring business development personnel and relying on them to create miracles is often a salary wasting disaster. We’re creating value on both sides, by matchmaking the right agency solution to the right brand need. We’re also taking into account size, scope, personality and even things like risk tolerance when trying to align both sides. It sounds cliche, but we’re literally in the business of creating win-wins.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. But if I had to single out one factor that has been hugely important, it would be having a personal and professional commitment to taking ownership of successes and failures. When things aren’t working, I feel that one of the worst things we can do is look outside of ourselves to find a scapegoat to shoulder responsibility. So that means, not pointing the finger at any government policy, client, or higher power to shoulder responsibility for outcomes. Sure, some of these elements can influence outcomes for us. But ultimately, our willingness to take responsibility is critical in controlling our own destiny. Earl Nightingale once said “We’re all self-made but only the successful will admit it
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve been known to haunt SD’s signature coffee shops. I’m definitely partial to the old school local spots – the type you can sit down at for hours on end like The Living Room La Jolla, Cafe Bassam or Lestats. I actually came up with the idea and business plan for The Agency Guy while doing an all-day grind session upstairs at Living Room La Jolla. When I’m not at a cafe, I’m regularly hiking the San Diego trails or hanging out in the Temecua vineyards.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
TAG wouldn’t be where it is today without synergy and chemistry we have across the team. TAG’s core team consists of experienced marketers who truly love building relationships, and genuinely enjoy solving problems for others. Moreover, the flexibility and forward-thinking nature of the team has been key to our success. I’ve always said that one of our secrets is the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. You can’t replicate what we’re doing at TAG unless you replicate the team, and that is one tall order. So my shoutout goes to Steven Picanza, Melissa Rautenberg, Tim Martinez and Maresa Friedman,
Credit: Black Moon Images