In episode 138 Kerel and Erik sit down with Phil Schraeder, the CEO at GumGum, a company that empowers advertisers to deliver creative advertising campaigns without the use of personal data. Phil grew up as the middle child in Illinois, stayed close to home through college at Northwestern University, and started his career at KPMG. He didn’t feel he could be open and express himself in ways that he wanted in that environment so he took the opportunity to move to Los Angeles to find himself and explore who he is. Out West, Phil started working in the accounting sector of the movie industry, which made him much more comfortable, he found connections and eventually moved into the tech space.
In this conversation, Phil talks about his experience of his 10 years so far at GumGum, how they are addressing privacy in the online space, creating a workplace culture that is accepting and open to feedback, and bringing authenticity to digital environments.
“With all the exciting things we're doing, it's really, how do we bring the authenticity to those digital environments? How do we use technology to be really smart about what's going on? All the images, the text, the audio, use all of that stuff, don't use the personal data, and then help advertisers find the right message to reach me.”
We want to welcome all of our listeners to another episode of Minority Report podcast with Eric and Kerel. Each episode we talk with leaders in business, tech, and media. And we're thrilled, today joining us is Phil Schraeder. Phil is the CEO of GumGum. Let's jump in and get to know Phil. Phil, how are you?
Phil Schraeder 0:27
I'm doing incredible. I'm so excited to be here. How are you doing Erik and Kerel, good?
Yeah, I think all is good. And we're pumped you're hanging out with us for a little bit. So for our audience that may not know you, tell us where you're at because it looks really, really nice behind you. The weather looks great. Tell us where you're at today and maybe bring a little bit of sunshine to us in the cold weather. (laughs)
Phil Schraeder 0:51
Yes, to everyone in cold temperatures, not to make anybody feel jealous or envious, but I am fortunately, in Palm Springs, California, my partner, myself and our 14 year old dog over here. We recently purchased a home here so we're really excited. And we're going to be heading to Coachella both weekends so we're also gearing up to get ready for that, which is really exciting as it's coming up this weekend.
Aw That sounds awesome.
Phil Schraeder 1:18
Yeah the weather's like 80 and sunny and gorgeous. (laughs)
Is that it? Don't worry, we're just gonna let the audience know that maybe next year, we're gonna do a live recording from Phil's place. (laughs)
Phil Schraeder 1:28
There you go. (laughs) You're always welcome.
Excellent, thank you. So tell us a little bit about you. Where were you born and raised? You're in Palm Springs, and a lot of times in California, but tell us where you're from. Tell us where you were born and raised.
Phil Schraeder 1:42
Yeah. So I was born in a town called Elmhurst, Illinois. And that's basically where I grew up, which would be the west suburbs of Chicago. So around an hour west of Chicago, I actually spent most of my childhood in, you know, around a 20, some 1000 person town called Glendale Heights, Illinois, and I grew up as the middle child. I had an older brother and younger sister, and pretty much with my parents, Catholic, you know, conservative family, and pretty much spent my entire life in the suburbs. I even ended up going to college at Northern Illinois University, which was just like an hour, hour and a half, even further west. So I really spent most of my life there. And that's where still most of my even immediate family reside.
So I gotta ask you, is it less pressure being the middle child? Like, I feel like the oldest one is the first one, the youngest one is maybe the most spoiled one and tell us what it's like to be the middle child.
Phil Schraeder 2:41
It is exactly that. You might spend your life fighting for attention, hence, why yeah, I had to be the one that just decided I'm going to quit my job, bolt to LA and find myself and all of that. But luckily, I did have the ability to kind of have the crutch of my older brother that can make sure mom and dad are in good shape and stay close, and my younger sister to be able to have all of that fun grandchildren and all the other stuff. So I kind of get to just be that spirit that gets to kind of do everything, you know? So, as the middle I kind of feel really lucky and great support for my siblings and bookending.
That's great. That's great. Phil, you mentioned your journey, we'll ask you a little bit about that, how you ended up out, you know, on the west.
Phil Schraeder 3:22
But tell us a little bit about your partner. Tell us a little bit about how you met.
Phil Schraeder 3:25
Oh, yeah. So we met, my partner is Wes Harris, we've been together now for 17 years, actually, which is crazy. And it's funny when you ask, we met the old school, you know, Friday night at a bar at one in the morning type thing. So you know, the old way before you had any apps or match.com, or any of that. So we met, obviously hit it off that night. And then it was interesting, within a couple of weeks, we were getting ready to go on a date, another date. And I just said, it was Valentine's Day, like shortly thereafter, a few weeks after I said, he's like "Do you want to go to like a drive in movie," because coincidentally, he's from Chicago as well. And so growing up in Chicago, or the suburbs of Chicago, drive-in movies were a big thing. And I said, "Well, that could be cool," I'm like, "But what if we just drove to Las Vegas?" And he's like, "Yeah, that's cool, too." And when he said Yeah, so I was like, "Okay, this is a cool person." I literally met you three weeks ago, and we're gonna get in a car and drive to Vegas, right? And you know, and there was no hotel rooms and we had to sleep in the car. And, you know, it turned out to be such an amazing experience. And now 17 years later, here we are. And he works for YouTube and he's also in the ad tech space. So he does a lot of the brand marketing and strategy for YouTube.
Phil Schraeder 3:58
I love it a good old fashioned love story where you met face to face. (laughs)
Phil Schraeder 4:53
Which is a great point, because it's interesting for some listening where for that, thee concept of that just has never happened, you know? I mean, thank you for sharing that sort of like, OG love moment, right? But it's amazing thinking about the sort of way you grew up and your surroundings at an early age - tell me a little bit about some things that for you growing up were impactful, thinking about how you grew up, and then where things really changed for you just personally, professionally and growing?
Phil Schraeder 5:29
Yeah, that's a really good question. I think for me, it's always interesting, like, I think back to just early times and early memories that we have. And one for me that sticks out, one of my earliest memories is actually in preschool. And I was in preschool and the teacher said, "Okay, it's time for, you know, make believe or dress up or something," right? And I remember, just like, all the kids were excited. And I just know that I ran to the girls box. And when I started to go towards the girls box, my teacher really grabbed me by the shoulders. Like, I can still feel it as an adult because, you know, that wasn't in my family, we didn't grow up with that type of- it was new for me. So she had grabbed me, squeezed my shoulders and I could see her face was like right in my face. And she's like, "You don't go over there. That's where the girls go, the boys stuff is over there." And it's a memory of mine, because I just remember that whenever I was, like, maybe talked to in a stern voice or something, it's because there was something I knew I did wrong, right? Like I didn't listen to my mom, or, and in that instance, I didn't understand what I did, right? So it's a memory that really sticks out. And to build off of that I knew I was different, or I don't know if I would say gay, because you know, in third grade, when I was feeling different, I didn't associate it with sexuality or sexual. I knew that there was something different. And so in knowing that, and then picking up signals, I think, from that first experience, it really did affect my life, as that started to go into different situations, school, first days of school, and you really approached it differently. I think, in some way, I lost a little bit of part of my childhood, because I really went into a little bit of a survival mode, knowing that there was something different and knowing I didn't know what it was, but that it wasn't right by what society was saying at the time. And remember, this is now 25 years ago. So you know, it's not like this is 25 years ago, I'm sorry, 25 years ago, I came out, we're talking like 40 years ago, that I'm feeling a feeling. So I think for that it really changed kind of just like how I sized up and showed up even in school and everything else around my life. Ultimately, I bottled that up, and really focused on all the other things I could be perfect at and do right by with that peak that I just kept hitting.
So I'm curious to hear from you about like, how do you think that experience shaped how you approach leadership today? In terms of, I know that moment, obviously had a big impact on you for a number of different reasons, but even just the standpoint from the perspective of leadership and making sure that your employees feel supported and that they are allowed to do what they need to do and, you get what I'm saying. I'm just curious to hear from you on that.
Phil Schraeder 8:28
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Because for me, how I approach it from a leadership perspective is, is I felt like for me in just moving out to LA, not having a job, that's what I did, I had to leave everybody I knew to go figure out myself and come out of the closet and find my own way. And finding that way, which I'm very blessed and fortunate that I was raised and had access to tools. Eventually, I was able to overcome that which is not always a blessing that other people have. And so getting to that point, feeling good knowing that as I became, deepened my career and took on more leadership roles, it really impacted me in the sense of doing more and really vocalizing my story and vocalizing that because I think what happens is, you then own it. But for me, I go the extra mile to make sure I over index and I overshare and I over communicate, because that's going to give people comfort and support proactively than leaving it just on them to find their way. Right? If I can help encourage anything to pull it out or give them a little bit more of that safety net that maybe they didn't feel they had like maybe I did, ultimately, to give me that competence. How can I do that and then ultimately, show off that my career and a lot of my success is because of what I went through. And because of that part of me really, really allowed me to see the world differently, connect with people differently, and has really been a huge motivating factor for why I think I've been successful in my career, if that helps. And so now it's really about that and then it's also about just pulling people out of their authenticity, because to me, I feel one of the things that's so interesting is, and I'm still doing it, you know, I'm still like, you know, a lot of times you're like, "Oh, good, they know that I'm gay. Whew," right? But then it comes to other things. Like, "Wait a second... Okay, now everyone knows I'm gay but I'm not gonna not talk a certain way." So then I need to push through and be like, "Hey, how you doing, girl? You have a good time," right? That's how I talk. This is how I might talk to my friends. And so then it's not just about coming out and helping encouraging that, it's about encouraging us to be authentic in all of the nuances of our life. So I'm also always like, "Hey, you have a side hustle? What is it? Oh, you do that? Cool! Talk about it!" Like, talk about the parts of your life that give you joy, and that are who you are. And I think, partly because I want people to celebrate what sometimes is perceived, especially in work, as stuff you're not supposed to celebrate.
Love that. Love it, Phil and I want to come back around to that a little bit, because you're just doing so many great things at GumGum and we'll circle around to that a little bit around social responsibility and all the different efforts that you're doing. How love has no labels, sound it out together. But we're gonna pause for a second on that, because we're gonna come back to that. But I want to ask you about some of the fun and exciting stuff happening at GumGum, JustPremium and then a playground move. And so tell us about some of the exciting things that are happening at GumGum, around the industry and around what you do every day as the CEO and with your leadership and the rest of the crew there.
Phil Schraeder 11:48
Yeah, well, that's a great question, Erik. It's so, so nice to be able to, you know, talk about what everyone at GumGum is doing. It's so interesting, because, you know, especially when you think of advertising, you think of ad tech, you're always like, it's for us. We look at it as yes that's the industry in but as a company, like what are you all, giving 150% to? And our vision is how do we use our technology, our contextual technology, and now our attention technology really to help create amazing advertising experiences in digital environments, right, without using any personal data. And when you say that, it not only provides you to thinking about how massive an undertaking that is, but how really critical and important it is globally. As we start to move into these areas like the metaverse and all of that we need to understand those environments so we can protect those generations and protect who they are. And some of the exciting things we've been doing because of just privacy around that and just it's such a global issue, that we really have been so blessed and fortunate to be able to secure amazing additional investment for our solution with Goldman Sachs, which ultimately has helped us to go out and acquire companies all over the globe. In Australia, as you mentioned, Playground xyz and JustPremium in the Netherlands. And tying back to the questions around culture and being an openly gay, pretty eccentric CEO and leaning in to these different companies and their cultures and seeing just so much similarities, and so much love and so much openness, and so much excitement around, really paving the way to setting up the future of digital to be just such a more amazing place for everyone. And people rallying behind that and the leaders rallying behind that has just been really amazing and amazing to watch. And I think for people especially what I love that's so nice that you guys are taking the time to listen to my story, and to listen to other stories that surround minorities in different things that we all experience, because we have to be mindful of that continued awareness has to be discussed, because it translates into technology. Like what we're setting out to do is to try to use technology to understand people's authentic voices, and help those authentic voices be able to make money and tell their stories. And it sounds really silly, but it's a big deal. Last year with George Floyd, for example, the tools that our industry uses, they just blocked all that content, because they're afraid to be around it because it's sensitive. But really over 60% of the content that we saw, Erik and Kerel, were positive or neutral content. And so instead of funding it with monetization for those people that continue to write what they're passionate about, we're blocking it. And so those little nuances are gonna, what do you think people that are passionate about, they're gonna have to change the content that's gonna monetize. This is their livelihood. And so, you know, I think people with all the exciting things we're doing, it's really, how do we bring the authenticity to those digital environments? How do we use technology to be really smart about what's going on, all the images, the text, the audio, use all of that stuff, don't use the personal data, and then help advertisers find the right message to reach me. And that's a great exchange, for me as the person engaging in that environment, for an advertiser to reach me.
Phil Schraeder 15:34
So that's a long way of saying we've got a lot of cool things going on and there's a lot of different elements to our tech. And it's just an exciting time, because people are ready for it. And it's just great to have a seat at the table. And the GumGum team has been working for over 14 years on building this, it's not like an overnight thing. And so to be finally at the table, and to just have the opportunity to represent this team, as the CEO to talk about this is just something I couldn't have imagined. And it's really exciting.
Phil, what's kept you GumGum for as long as you've been there? You've been there for over 10 years, which in our industry is just unheard of, but that is to be celebrated, right? And so always they curious to hear for folks that have been at one company for a long time. What is it that keeps you there? Because obviously, I think the culture and the people have a lot to do with that, so I'll let you go ahead and speak on that.
Phil Schraeder 16:34
Yeah, totally. It's like you wake up every day and I always say definitely people first. You can have a great product and you can have a great vision, but if you're not surrounding yourself and thinking about the team that's going to be able to deliver on it, you've already lost in my opinion. And I spent my whole life in situations every day until I came out at 23, in environments and around people that didn't even know who I was, and that I was uncomfortable with. And so I just wanted to be at a place where I felt the culture was somewhere we could build it together. This isn't my culture, our leadership's culture, it's just everyone being who they are, and pushing and channeling us to build our own identity and owning that identity, which has kept me there. And you know, I always say, to push myself through the scary parts, right, as you know, we grow fast. And look, I'm acquiring a company, I've never acquired a company before as a CEO and it's scary, right? You're gonna make the wrong thing and you're doing it on behalf of all of these people, and investors and shareholders, and you get scared, and then you say to yourself, "Well, what's the worst that can happen? No one can take away the fact that you've helped make someone's career, you've helped them have their dream wedding, you've supported them through multiple treatments of having a baby that they needed to, you've given them a voice, and you've created opportunities to educate and give back to the community. So for me that. It's like someone I've just worked with for nine years, almost, just had a baby, her first baby. And it's like, you're seeing these moments, and you're knowing you're championing that, and you're surrounded by so much passion, that you just want to make sure you keep fueling it and pay that back to them and seeing all of those incredible moments. And I can tell you one thing, COVID was really hard for us at GumGum and for the company. And that was another thing that keeps me going is that you get to celebrate the joys and the wins, but when you're a committed leader, and this team and a committed leadership team with the team around you, and you go through something so horrible and watch how it affects so many people, you're in it. You're emotionally in it and you're there and they need support. And they're looking to you to lead. And so as long as they still think I'm the person to represent their values and represent the culture and represent moving towards executing and delivering on our vision they have me. Until of course, I could also say "I don't think I can give you what you need," right? Because that's also the sign of someone who is truly in love, is when they know that they can't give you that. So for me, I haven't been bored, I've continued to be excited. And I feel like I'm doing well in representing this. So as long as they'll have me and I can keep doing that I'm gonna stay another 10. (laughs)
That's awesome. That's great, Phil. Because I wanted to ask you a little bit more about that. It's great, that ability to sort of stay connected, stay excited, stay driven, right, within the same organization. And I want to ask you about your career path, because you've clearly been able to sort of get started and you didn't come in as a CEO, right? There's kind of a mini story in itself about you know, sort of being there and then also working through whatever it is you needed to work through, right, to get to that point. Love to know that but then also would love to know how you got into the industry as well. So tell us a little bit about that.
Phil Schraeder 19:58
Yeah, so for me, I think my background is in finance and accounting, actually. So that's where I actually started my career at KPMG, right out of school as an auditor. And I realized very quickly, I didn't enjoy that work, I didn't like it. And I also, you know, public accounting and large corporate companies, when I was trying to figure out my sexuality, it just was very conservative. And it was just a really tough environment. And so I quickly left. And I love finance, I love business, I love what I had done in my career, I just didn't know how I could find the right environment that would allow me to be an accounting or finance or business professional while being myself, be out of the closet and be maybe a little bit more of a personality than people are used to and seeing that type of function. And so I actually went in really aggressively found an opportunity in entertainment, in finance. And so I worked in helping to do some feature film financial, like modeling for a production company, early on in my career, and it was a smaller production company. So that was my first taste of like a smaller environment, where I actually was out of the closet, right before I took that job. And when I was starting in that job, it was just such a gay friendly and open LGBTQ, just really amazing work environment. And my boss, at the time, was just so instrumental in my own development, both in my career, but in my ability to kind of really tap into sharing more about that part of me and just work. And so that's really how I found smaller companies. And so the next question of how did I get into tech was then from there, I think, for me, I was like, so excited to be in an environment where I could be gay, but I'm like, I'll work 150 hours a week, I don't care. I just, no one ever take this from me again. And so I really put a lot of effort into my career, and I just was like, "This is so great. Like, I'll work, whatever I need to work, just nobody take this because I didn't even know that this was a reality that I had found." So to me, it was so special. And little did I realize that all that work and what I was putting into the building relationships, I was recruited into a couple other tech, smaller companies, right? And so I was able to be in the finance side early on and see the growth, but also see how when you're early on in finance, and accounting, you tap into people operations, and you get some BD work, and you get to be exposed to having to help build an Operations Support Team, maybe or you're thrown into raising money, and you know, you're thrown into everything. So I love the family element of a smaller team. And that world allowed me to get my hands dirty in so many things so that when I made it to GumGum I was employee number 10 as the VP of Finance, but I was really quickly able, because you just have to, like "What's the business model? What's the go-to-market strategy? Oh, we need an ad operations team. How are you going to deliver these ads? Oh, well, I guess I'll take that or I'll do that and I'll do that." And so before I knew it, I just found that I started to really use a lot of these tools that I had not even realized I had been adding to my toolbox at GumGum and it really helped shape me going from VP of Finance to then CFO and COO and President and throughout that whole tenure and then to becoming the CEO three years ago. And now when I look back on all of it, I've definitely found like, this is my passion, this is where I feel I'm the best, but I just look at all of what I had experienced lies on that side and it's just helped around out me, I think as a leader. It's just interesting that I've tapped into that visionary creative side of business that I guess I yearned for and didn't realize I really loved as much as I do. Which is very nice to fall into, I guess.
Yeah, I was gonna say it's interesting. And I was sort of thinking back, and I love how earlier, you reminded all the listeners in our conversation about how, you know, if you rewound 10 years ago, it's not the same sort of operating field that we have now. Right? You rewind five, eight years prior to that, same not operating sort of feel that we have now. Right? So I think it's really good to sort of think about that, as you're explaining that and for those listening to sort of bring that context into the understanding. That's fascinating. You know, I want to ask you a little bit about that time that you've experienced in those environments before. I have to imagine you face moments where they weren't the best day. Right? You had moments where it wasn't the greatest office experience or interaction with some co-workers and it sounds like those days are long gone, but there's always listeners that are going through that or may not know how to handle situations like that. Can you help our listeners understand your personal experience and facing discrimination or moments that you had to overcome? And can you help them understand how Phil dealt with that?
Phil Schraeder 25:09
Yeah, definitely. One, I want to say that I believe the advertising and technology space is definitely a lot more accepting and advanced than many other industries. And you know, state by state, right, so if you're listening from other places, in other states and in other industries, like you might be really in a different time than maybe even how we see it. And I think that's really worth calling out. So one thing for me was, even though I had sourced and went into and looked for industries that I felt were going to lean more towards acceptance, and they were, I was buying that the team that would know you would know that, right, but when you would be in other meetings and external meetings, or you'd be with bankers or board members, and you hear the comments still being made, right? Or I've had a board member say to me, "Oh, everyone's gay, nowadays." Right? Discount your story. I've been told "You really are that gay, aren't you?" You know, I've had people really just kind of made comments. And these are bosses and these are people who have run companies that you work closely with, that are really even making these comments over the course of, of this. And so, you know, I think overcoming those are really difficult because you have to navigate how you're going to show up. And 15-20 years ago, it's like, they're not in where they are now. You could have easily been fired and how do you navigate those examples? And so I think, for me, it was always just maintaining that level of confidence and like, "Oh, you really are that gay?" "Yeah, I actually am that gay and aren't you lucky?" Right? And it's always really for me even putting it back on them, right, to like own what they're saying, and be proud of the comment. You also find that there's, just as we look at more diversity, just overall women, black, right, really that representations that are just all of these so many different groups with different stories in different ways that I can never understand. You at least recognize that, hey, that boardroom talk, and that kind of commentary, you can start to take a stand against, right? So regardless of what you're talking about, like, everyone, right away will know. I make it a point like I'm an openly gay man, here we go, like watch the language, watch how we're talking about things, right? This isn't a frat roundtable business thing. And you can imagine from finance and accounting in that world, there still can be that element, even though I know it's come a long way. And so I think it for me, part of this is what I always try is like with people as they're asking my opinion, it's just try to find environments where you can step into them as much as owning who you are, and letting them know who you are, in whatever way works for you. Like, you don't have to go into an interview and say "So, you know, I'm gay. So tell me about how this is," but you can mention, "Oh, I was out with my partner or my boyfriend or I went out," right? Whatever it is that you're comfortable, so that you know that you're getting true authentic responses from people that are gonna allow you to know whether that's an environment you feel you can thrive in and survive. But it still happens with these undercutting comments that are still something we have to navigate and can be kind of a punch to the gut.
Phil thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences and being able to communicate that to others, you know, that are listening and with us. Thank you so much.
Phil Schraeder 28:36
And I think I'll say, one other thing I'm going to say, just as I say that it's also part of like, at least for me - it was where I've come even involved from when I started, when I you know, I came out, you know how many years, 23 years ago, right - but now just sharing the parts about me that I will talk like, I didn't come out until I was 23, right, but I've been focused on my career just like everyone else. Since I was growing up.
Phil Schraeder 29:01
So sometimes I always try to stay out of someone, I might be 23, 25 year old executive in business, because that's what I've done through my education through my school, and I've been committed, but I've only been an openly gay man for 22 years. So there's a whole other part of my personal life. Like, I do love going to EDM concerts, I'm really excited to go to Coachella, because these are parts that I really love and I can now really express myself to do and so I have a youthness to that part of my life because it didn't start as an authentic part for me to really learn and understand what it was until much later.
Phil Schraeder 29:39
And I think there's always that disconnect like, so sometimes it's how do you take me seriously as a CEO, when I'm going to Coachella and I'm excited to see Harry Styles. And those are the things you have to overcome because people then equate your seriousness, your capabilities, and what you do and we all know that that's wrong. But that's something I still have to battle and own and focus and still say that's on them, and still be comfortable to share that part of me that is still so new and has still a lot of growth in it that is just behind my career because of when I was able to accept that part of who I was. I don't know if that makes sense.
It absolutely does.
Phil Schraeder 30:20
So they're like, "Wow, you're so young, you can go out still," and I'm like, "Because I'm living this life that I'm growing into that's personal that I'm still finding." And it's very different than my career and I will crush and do my career like I have been since I've been moving towards that. I always try to communicate that.
200%, makes sense.
Yeah totally makes sense. Phil, I got a question for you. So thinking about like the last couple years and all the emphasis that's been placed on diversity, equity and inclusion and education around that - ave you seen a shift in the last couple of years where you think things are starting to get a little bit better in terms of just how people treat each other in the workplace and unconscious bias and really everything that you just talked about with your experience? Have you seen a shift?
Phil Schraeder 31:12
Yeah, I think we've seen a shift, I think it's just holding on to that and not letting it just be a moment in time to address it. And that's always my concern, right? I've seen a shift, because what I love to see is the raising of awareness in other industries that are really coming out around that. I'm a huge football fan, and to watch what's going on in the NFL, and the lawsuits are calling out the hiring practices and those types of things. And people finding voices in very legacy, old mentality areas like that, and bringing that to the forefront, just gives me so much hope. And for me, I think it really boils down to companies and leaders. And I say that because I'm learning all the time, right? Just because I know what it's like being gay, I don't know what it's like to be a woman, I don't know what it's like to be black, I don't know what it's like to be what anyone else walks in their shoes, so I still am a steward of learning. If we can also start to acknowledge and provide honest, real feedback back to people and help people learn, which it's nice to see more of that, right? Even in an instance, I used, and we were addressing Ukraine, right, and I use the words 'the Ukraine' because we, the United States of America, so that's how I associated with it, but someone on the team gave feedback and said when you say 'the' it makes it sound like it's less, or it's not it's country, the name of the country is Ukraine, not the United States, not the- right? Those are little things that I love, I eat up, like, please give those to me, because that's the last thing we want to do. And I'm bringing it up here because it was a learning moment for me. And even though I know I say the United States and the US or whatever it is, it doesn't matter. If that's how someone saw that, how come we don't learn from that? And those moments, I think is where I'm also seeing excitement is because I think if leaders can continue to be vulnerable and foster that, and then they keep giving that back, then I think we're on the right path. Even for us, we have ad reviews where we have a diverse group of people who review the ads to make sure we're aligned with value systems or launching the voice coalition so that it's representing the voices of different people, diverse backgrounds, and how things we do impact them, and what we can do to better serve and make a difference. So I think it's getting better. I just think we can't let it just be a moment in time. And we can't let it be a catalyst from a tragic or awful event that is what's sparking it, right, we need to continue it as an effort.
I love it. I love the excitement around it too, because I was just going to ask you about what's keeping you excited recently, and I think you just touched on it. So I love it. I'm gonna ask you though, currently in like right now, where are you drawing inspiration from, Phil? Like, what are the things that inspire you professionally? And then also, personally?
Phil Schraeder 34:12
Yeah, I would love that. So from an inspiration standpoint, I'm enamored by a lot of what I'm seeing from the Gen Z, you know, generation that's coming up behind us. You know, when I look at the Greta Thunberg, and like what they're doing with like climate change, and like how they're really moving, staying with and bringing awareness to that at such young ages, it just makes you realize the power that as leaders or as people in business you really can make a big impact. So that always makes me really inspired from that standpoint. I also get very much inspired by people in my community, the LGBTQIA community and watching them continue to push. I'm very inspired by RuPaul. I'm very inspired by what RuPaul and what he's been able to do with the platform and continuing to bring awareness and win Emmys and really lean into that. And so I think there's a lot of inspiration that still comes from the arts and the creative side of things that I look at that are breaking boundaries, or breaking glass ceilings. And the younger generation is making such an impact, seeing just continued momentum and excitement around what's happening in our community and how it's showing up. And that's why excitement around this podcast, and that there's opportunities more for that to translate into other parts of the business. This is inspiring, you're both inspiring. The ability to have this as a platform is inspiring. And these things weren't really present 10-15 years ago, and they're more and more, and people finding time to make these things happen is what pushes me and then you know, that as a leader, how you then translate that and how can I bring that into our organization and our company daily, because you get it from everywhere. You know, one of the things we're also really focused on is sustainability. We got rid of all of our offices because we're replanting our offices, no pun intended, into these urban GumGum farmhouses, GumGum tree houses, because we want people to want to go to work, we want to come in and see each other, I don't want to have to force people to do that, right? And I also want to bring a level of like, connection to other things we can do. So we're going to retrofit everything, we're going to grow plants, we're going to do things, we're going to make it a place where you'd want to go a couple of days a week and have something that you're building bigger globally, so that our offices are really connected and we're giving back to the world and bringing local farmers markets, local businesses. And so just those types of things really get me excited, and are inspirational to me, because it's amazing that now you can actually incorporate that into your business vision, and still make another impact on top of it. Which is such a bonus nowadays that really no one really thought to look at before. It was always like, "How can I make you have the most fun at work?" And now it's like, "Well, how can I get you to want to show up here and feel like we're all in a bigger cause outside of our vision, of our work into the rest of the world making a difference and feeling really connected and inspiring one another and building those types of things together as well.
Awesome. Love it. Love it. All right, fun question I love asking every guest that we have on the podcast, which is to give us the top three apps that you use on your phone on a regular basis, but you can't name email, calendar or text messaging, because those are just way too boring.
Phil Schraeder 37:39
Sure. Well, right now, it would be the BBC. So BBC is my news source so I just love the BBC, so I'm there all the time. I would argue that it would be a toss up between Mr. Porter, or ssense, I've been really, if you're not familiar, it's like clothing and fashion. So I've been on a little bit of a shopping thing lately. So I've been going on there all the time. (laughs) Buying lots of things. And Redfin probably because my partner and I just recently sold our house in LA and we're also looking for a home in LA so now I'm just constantly, I think I'm a glutton for punishment in this market, as I'm sure anyone who's looking for homes is. (laughs) And the real estate Redfins one, I get my news, I check to see if there's homes and then it's like okay, I can't find that, let's buy some clothes. And of course, well, number one, for sure, wait, I'm skipping when that's too important is Spotify. I am a huge runner. I run around probably four to five miles a day. And I am a big music EDM type person and I need that to run with. It helps really, in my morning set the tone. So Spotify for sure is number one.
Oh, that's great. That's awesome. Well, thank you very much.
Phil Schraeder 38:57
I gave you four. (laughs)
We like four.
Phil, it's been a lot of fun hanging out with you and thank you so much for sharing a little bit about you and a lot about your experiences. And for those listening, what are some ways that they can follow you or get in touch?
Phil Schraeder 39:15
Yeah, you can definitely find me just at Phil Schraeder at LinkedIn. My Twitter is also @PhilSchraeder, I think you guys have that as well you can reach me there. And yeah, I mean email, yeah, any way you want, I mean, just reach out. I think those are probably the best ways to track me down.
Well, thank you so much.
Phil Schraeder 39:31
To both of you - Thank you to both of you, like on behalf of just thank you for wanting to hear my story. Like, how grateful and how lucky am I? I mean that, you know, so appreciated, but also, it's just a small sliver of many 1000s of stories within the community and it's nice that I appreciate you bringing the voice, a small, tiny, very, very, very annoying voice for that but just bringing it to allowing us to talk about it. It's so incredible and thank you for your great work on this.
Much appreciated Phil. Phil Schraeder, CEO of GumGum, and thanks everyone for listening to another episode of Minority Report podcast. You can find more episodes where you find all of your audio and video, just search for the logo. And thanks again for listening to another episode.