Episode 144: Cory Trefiletti of Catalyst S+F on Rethinking Agency Inefficiencies, Digital Influentials and The Pyramids of Egypt
Cory talks about his history with agencies over the last dozen years and how the business has evolved.
He shares some of the client work he's doing now at Catalyst S+F and how to sign up for his fun and pleasantly "semi-regular" Digital Influentials newsletter.
Learn how to approach social media and what Cory and team call the WTF approach to social influence.
Some questions for Cory:
What have I been up to lately?
I have been having a great time, balancing my life, building a business with a great business partner and raising my little boy who is now 9 months old. I love what I do for a living, but the last few years have been amazing; getting married and having a little boy have made me an even happier person than I ever thought I would be.
For Catalyst S+F we’ve been working with a number of start-ups and established brands including Wowd, Track Simple, University of San Francisco and Del Monte Foods. Our work ranges from standard go-to-market strategy and positioning work to monetization strategies that drive a measurable increase in revenue. We create content that will help deliver messages, we program events, we develop media strategies and execute them, we create sales strategies and materials and do what’s needed to drive business. We sit squarely at the intersection of Madison Ave and silicon valley and we pride ourselves on the ability to create relationships and strategies that are meaningful for our clients. It’s not what a typical agency does; it’s proof of concept for what we think an agency needs to be in order to be successful and to be a valued partner for their clients. Additionally, trying to stay up to date with my weekly Online Spin for Mediapost and the semi-regular Digital Influentials column that I run through our Facebook group. Also we’ve been incubating an idea – some IP which is still being refined and not yet launched– based on a saying that I have which is Life Doesn’t Suck (find out at www.whylifedoesntsuck.com).
I admire people who….are able to find the right amount of balance in their lives. The people who when you speak to them, are 100% present in the now. These are the people who when you speak to them, they make you feel valuable and as if you are the only person that matters to them right at that moment. Those people have an aura about them and they are the ones that seem to be the most successful.
In what area do you feel superior to people? What area are you most remarkable? This is a fun question because I don’t think I am superior to anyone, but I do think that I am better at many people and identifying who the right team is and who may be better at something than I am. I have a strong ego, like anyone else who starts businesses and has ideas, but my ego is based on pride, not a sense of superiority. I have a lot of pride in what I do and the team that I work with and I never have to be the smartest person in the room. I just want everyone in the room to respect me and to respect each other and if they do so, then good things will happen. I guess what’s remarkable is that my ego extends to the team around me, its not exclusive of them. When they succeed, I succeed.
We have a philosophy at our company that you should always take your job personally, not just seriously. The idea is that you cannot separate personal from work and why should you? Your professional interactions are with people and these people are going to remember you as you were with them, so it naturally becomes personal. The best relationships I have personally extend into my professional life. I even met my wife through the business, so how can I not think that business is personal! Without this business, I never would have met the love of my life!
What is your life purpose? I always wanted to be a writer. And a rock star. But I can’t sing. My purpose had to change; and its quite simple. I want to have a positive impact on the world and the people around me. I choose to do that through marketing because it is creative, and I tend to get stressed out too much because I take it too much to heart, but I want people to remember me and think well of me. I hate it when people think ill of me, so my purpose is to have a positive impact.
One thing I am doing to change or improve myself? There is not one thing, there is actually a number of things. I have spent the last 12 years, incidentally when I have lived in California) trying to be the man I want to become. I have glimpsed the man I think I can be and from time to time he comes out, but I want him there more of the time and I try, in my free time, to remember who he is and become that man more often. Does that make sense?
An experience that moved me to tears… this is easy, the very first time that my little boy began to recognize who I am. That moment will be etched in my mind forever as the moment when my family was truly created.
Travel experience that changed my life… I went to Egypt with my father about 9 years ago and we saw the pyramids, among other things. That made me feel small and powerful all at the same time. I realized that people had created those monuments with not even half the technology we have today and they are still there. Why can’t I create something that lasts that long? That and being able to spend time with my father, who I am very close with, and really enjoying being together. That was one of the best trips and times I have ever had.
If I could spend my time how I wanted without financial issues… I would spend time with my wife and my son, I would balance my days with work and personal time and I would leave my email off when I am focused on my time with them. Email, as wonderful as it is, invades the moment too often and I wish that we could just truly unplug for periods of time each day. That would be a wonderful feeling. Oh – and I would probably see pearl jam once a week.