Who Is Derek Miner?
Derek Miner rules this world with an iron fist of positivity and love. Seriously, he exudes joy and care to all. Having been around him a few months, I’ve seen how his attitude has brought Lemonade Stand a tremendous amount of business.
Derek jumped into the world of internet marketing with Ah-ha.com, followed by founding OrangeSoda. That company went gangbusters and was acquired by Deluxe in 2012. After doing other entrepreneurial ventures, he joined up with Greg Trimble at Lemonade Stand and together they are a force to be reckoned with.
Hope you enjoy this podcast!
Derek Miner is a businessman who believes in ruling with an iron fist of positivity and love. He’s a man who is passionate most about building a viable, creative business, and using both curiosity and a zest for imagination in life to succeed more than ever before. Working out of Utah, Derek has helped a lot of local businesses become international powerhouses.
Looking to always work in fast-paced and trusting environments, Derek is an entrepreneur with a lot of experience in making your own way. With an always-positive attitude, and a lot to give whatever he turns his mind to, Derek is a very generous and bouncy businessman.
Consistently optimistic, Derek has a variety of ways to motivate his teams, whether they work directly with him or simply pass him in the corridor. Passing out respect and kindness freely, past teammates tend to have nothing but positive things to say about their time working with Derek.
Indeed, it’s not surprising that he’s had three top success stories with the companies below.
Derek was a business builder long before ever making a name for himself in the internet marketing sector. He had a lot of success with putting a company together from scratch and also being able to acquire as many resources as needed to ensure that company went from success to success.
He was a big part of the management team involved with Ah-ha.com’s early success, and the website was successfully smoothed into public acquisition in 2004. Ever since then, Derek has had a taste for making his own way, leaving nothing but good behind him, and looking to inspire every single person he works with.
Founded in 2006, OrangeSoda is an internet marketing company that operated for over seven years with Derek at the helm. As a co-founder of the company, Derek believed in the message and knew wholeheartedly that the work being done was made up of high-quality content and of an experienced caliber.
In one year alone, the company grew from only five employees to having a full-blown team of 65 people. Making good use of investments from private sources, and working steadily up with their profits since the mid 2000s, OrangeSoda made $19 million in 2010 alone. From 2011 onwards, OrangeSoda served at least 6000 customers per year.
However, OrangeSoda went gangbusters down the line, and the founders were forced to let go of their company that they had been building up for so long. At the height of their success, 250 people worked for Orange Soda and serviced thousands of clients and their companies to market their goods and services online. Purchased by Deluxe in 2012, the company no longer operates under Derek’s guidance or tutelage.
Ever since March 2020, Derek has turned his hands and mind towards the company Lemonade Stand. Partnering with Greg Trimble, owner and founder of the company, the work they’ve been doing together has made them a force to be reckoned with. Derek joined Lemonade Stand as a partner, helping to continue their message of valuing customer transparency, having digital integrity, and always seeking to bring a good experience to anyone they work with.
Lemonade Stand itself is a digital marketing agency which prides itself on having an amazingly skilled and tight-knit team at the helm. Lemonade Stand likes to let their customers know that they’re not typical of the average digital marketing agency—they look to be a trusted digital marketing resource, with a lot of integrity and dignity in the way they do their work, and look for achieving tangible results every single time. This business model very much fits in with the way Derek himself likes to do business.
Lemonade Stand has gone on to create the software known as Yalla, which Derek also partners in. This is a team management and collaboration platform that focuses on ensuring teams are 100% happy with how their projects are proceeding. Lemonade Stand, overall, is a company that likes their staff and customers alike to smile, and with Derek’s reputation in positivity, motivational management, and plenty of optimism to share and share alike with anyone he works with, the company has soared since he joined on with them.
Derek Miner Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey guys, welcome to the Lemonade Stand podcast. I’m your host, Charon Backer, and I am here with Mr. Derek Miner, and I’m so grateful that you are here. And it’s kind of interesting because Derek is actually a part of Lemonade Stand. So it’s kind of like I’m talking to myself, but Derek is also here.
Derek: Glad to be here with you.
Charan: Thank you so much. But Derek, you are the original citrus man, if I don’t mind saying so myself, because before Lemonade Stand was even a thing—when the internet was first coming to fruition, dial-up was kind of becoming a thing or past dial-up and past AltaVista, when Google was happening—we knew that in order for just different businesses and whatnot, to get recognized, people needed to master the internet and they needed to kind of figure out how do you market and get your business out to the world.
Charan: And so Derek formed OrangeSoda, if that’s correct, and you formed OrangeSoda as a digital marketing agency to help businesses, local businesses and bigger businesses that really don’t know how to use the internet, market themselves. It was like a whole new platform. And when you have typical brick-and-mortar stores that have only been doing retail sales and just kind of doing billboards or whatnot, to get their name out there, it was difficult to navigate this internet landscape. And so you formed OrangeSoda, not Oranade Stand. That was weird. You formed OrangeSoda and then from there transitioned to what is now Lemonade Stand. I would love to hear your story, hear your journey in the world of digital marketing, how you’ve even got into digital marketing. But yeah. Thank you, Derek. Thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.
Derek Miner Talks About How He Got into Digital Marketing
Derek: Yeah, absolutely. So I think just starting with the question of how I got into digital marketing. Way back in the olden days-
Charan: Yeah. Go on tell me more.
Derek: … you were talking about some of those ancient digital marketing companies. It’s really interesting to see. I was a part of a team that started Ah-ha.com, that was one of the first paid search companies out there. And I joined this company early on. It was amazing working with such extraordinary people. And I didn’t really realize at the time what I was a part of, there were so many ups and downs, like a true startup experience here. I joined not very many employees.
Charan: What year was this? If you don’t mind me asking.
Derek: Long time ago, 2000.
Charan: Okay. Wow. It’s like 20 years ago. Almost last millennium, but not.
Derek: Yeah. And so I joined this company. I’ll never forget walking in I’m like, this is going to be awesome. The internet at that time, there’s a whole, if you had a .com at the end of your name, you were getting funded. And I joined this company and then literally a few months later, we were all gathered together in this—I’ll never forget—in this family room of this office and the CEO stood up and he’s like, “Hey, guess what?” And he’s like, “We’re out of money.” And I’m like, “Cool, I’m going to college.” I’m like, “What does that mean? ‘We’re out of money?’ We’re just going to keep working, right?” And they said, “No, we’re done.” And I had just two or three days before signed a significant distribution deal for us that was going to produce a [inaudible 00:04:59].
Derek: And I was so excited about it. And I remember going home, like, “What do we do?” Because this was the end of the day. And I’m like, I don’t know what I want to tell… this guy. And I don’t want to be done. This is so cool. We’ve got so much great traction. What’s going on? And so I’ll never forget coming back to the office and when I walked in after we’d heard we were done, I saw so many other people that are there. I’m like, “What are you guys doing here?” They’re like, “We’re taking care of our customers.” I’m like, “Well, sweet, I am going to as well.” So literally we jump in, and I’ll never forget, some of the team members, that we just all rallied together. And many of us worked for free, for months. And it’s like, Hey, we’re going to build this amazing company. We’re going to work for stock-
Charan: This is still Ah-Ha, right?
Derek: … Yeah. And we were going to make something that’s going to be incredible. I believed in the vision of where they were going and the team, and just like any startup, you have incredible ups and downs and we had just that. Fast-forward, we ended up being acquired, and I’ll never forget this, being around this management room table when they announced to the management—and I was one of just a few that was under 30 at the time—and the CEO, who was absolutely extraordinary, said, “This has been an incredible journey.” I’m like, “Yeah. You think? I mean, ups and downs, out of money, growing.”
Derek: And he said, “You’ll spend the rest of your life trying to recreate what we have here.” Now that’s from basically the very start until the end. But there’s so much that happened in between there that I learned, not only about digital marketing but also how to build a winning team and how to build a winning culture. And the culture really is its values, your core values, in action, and the relationships that I’ve built and had with all those team members were so incredible. And that is what shaped and frankly spoiled me completely rotten to understand what it’s like to have a high-trust environment to work in. And so the founder of Ah-Ha, myself, and Chris Finken, and Jay Bean said, “Hey, there’s a huge market where small-, medium-sized businesses have no idea how to market themselves online.” And so we started talking about some ideas, I’d since left after Ah-ha was acquired-
Charan: Yeah, let me ask you a quick question. Did you always have this desire when the internet came out to be like, “I want to learn that business” or “I want to learn what that role is like”?
Derek: Well, it was so interesting, because here you had all these traditional forms of marketing that were working for so long for so many other businesses. And now this whole landscape was shifting underneath their feet and they didn’t know how or what to do, and it was amazing. And one of the things that I’m most passionate about and love even today is talking to customers and helping them navigate this world that still continues to change even 20 years later.
Derek Miner Talks About Starting OrangeSoda
Derek: We launched OrangeSoda. It was kind of a fun story. Jay and I were talking about like, “There is such a need out here and no one is really addressing this; what do you think?” And he started shooting over some emails. He and Chris and I met and were like, “Hey, are we serious about doing this?” What do you think about these names? Green Hat Media was one and then all of a sudden, I’ll never forget, he’s like, “Hey, what do you think about orangesoda.com?” That’s awesome. It’s our domain name because it is going to be so much fun to build a brand around that version. And the previous company was called Ah-ha.com so the domain was Ah-ha.com. “Hey, this is Derek from Ah-ha.com. Hotdog.com? No Ah-ha. Let me spell for you. A-H-H-A.com.” So when you’d say OrangeSoda, people would almost just smile, which was a ton of fun.
Charan: Yeah, that was amazing.
Derek: We started that in 2006, Had some amazing team members. As I reflect back, as we’re building here, just surrounded myself with extraordinary human beings that wanted to build and contribute, and as I look now at the digital landscape, not only here in Utah but across the country, there’s a lot of people who had their fingerprints on OrangeSoda. And it was an incredible experience to build amongst those team members.
Charan: That’s amazing. Okay, and I have some questions first off before we really get into it, Sunkist or Fanta?
Derek: The Mirinda from Mexico, with actual orange and real sugar is probably my favorite.
Charan: I want to try some of that. No, the real question was, you get into this digital marketing landscape where you solely focused on, “Hey, let’s help people figure out how to do SEO and how to get a web presence online.” Was that your primary focus for OrangeSoda?
Derek: Yeah, because what we saw again in kind of the 2005, 2006 timeframe, you do a search and you get a whole bunch of directories, with directory listings, and no businesses were showing up there because they didn’t know how to optimize for those longer or even really specific local keywords. So we work with a lot of national brands who’ve transacted them on a local level and helped optimize that presence, but they didn’t know how to navigate that. And it was really complex. So yes, it started with a website and Google’s algorithm continued to change and we stayed on top of that all along the way.
Charan: Did you find that it was a bit challenging to navigate those landscapes? Because it kept changing all the time, right? I mean, I remember when I was first getting into just looking up things on the internet and it was always like AltaVista and stuff like that. And then Google was this thing that came along and I’m like, “Wait, what is Google?” And then Google just demolished everything else. And now I know Yahoo was a thing as well, but Google, I feel destroyed everything. So it was almost like you had to be on the Google search engine, right?
Charan: So when a potential client comes to you and says, “Hey, I have a lawn care company.” Right? “And I want to take care of my clients.” How would you go about helping them maintain a web presence?
Derek: Right now?
Charan: Sure. I guess I know. Well back in 2006 or even right now, yeah.
Derek: Yeah. So it starts fundamentally, I think, with a website, and people… now they’re searching, they didn’t have to use their hands anymore. You can just use Alexa or Siri and say, “Hey, find this local business for me.” As a consumer, I have now more options than I’ve ever had before. And so in commoditized landscapes where you have access to anything and any type of information, it’s the experience, right? That really creates the differentiation for my perspective in working with, anyone can choose to work with anyone they want. And so the experience is what makes it really different. So for a lawn care company who says, “Hey, I need more customers,” obviously we’ll look at a web presence. And what they’re currently doing; some are very sophisticated with online marketing, which is fantastic. And others just need an extension of their team. Someone that they can trust, that they can count on.
Charan: To me, it all goes back to relationships. Right? And I feel like that’s kind of how you guys really succeeded in OrangeSoda was you really took care of your customers. And so they built like a sense of loyalty and they’re like, we want you guys to do the thing. So let’s keep going back to OrangeSoda. You built this agency up and then clients started coming in? Is it one of those “if you build it, they will come” type of situations or what happened? How did that go?
Derek: So when we first started, we had this idea and I had some deep relationships in the industry, which was great. And these were all search-marketing-specific agencies that were working with really big brands. And I said, “Hey, what are your minimums?” And they’re like, “Man, our minimum is just to manage; these accounts are six figures.” I said, “What about on a monthly basis?”
Charan: On a monthly basis?
Derek: Yeah, and I said, “What about people that’s their budget for the year?” They’re like, “Yeah, we just turn them away.” I’m like, “Where do you turn away?” “We don’t have anywhere.” I’m like, “Well, there’s a pretty interesting business model.” Right? As part of this. And so I’ll never forget when, when I said, “Hey, this is what I’m doing.” Reached out to a few people in my network.
Derek: I think it was, we started in September 2006. And in October we had one of my friends named Jeff. He’s so awesome. He reached out, he’s like, “Hey, by the way, we’ve just come across a client that we’re not going to be able to service because they don’t meet our minimum requirement. And would you be able to handle this?” And it was a substantial amount.
Charan: Are you kidding me?
Derek: And I said, “You’re turning that away?” And I said, “This is this on a monthly basis?” “Yeah, this is on a monthly basis.” So we had just started and they said, “Well, you probably need to fly out to Chicago and present to the company.” I’m like, “Okay, I guess that’s what we’re going to do.” So we booked plane tickets. We fly out there, we put together a whole proposal and present it to them.
Derek: And I mean, it was literally… So Mitch who’s here now, Mitch was back at the office. We had Chris and Jay and we’re like, “This is what we’re going to go do.” And we pitched and presented and we ended up winning the business and they said, “Okay, how do the terms work?” And I said, “Because you’re a new client, we’re going to need you to prepay for the first month.” I’ll never forget when that check showed up. And we’re just starting the second month. And I opened this check. I’m like, “We’re onto something.”
Charan: Yeah. That’s huge.
Derek: Yeah. So that was a lot of fun in that I think that helped fuel our growth at the same time, a lot of relationships we had from another company, we knew where they were relocating. And we were able to hand-select some really key team members. And we had people who believed in us early on to say, “Hey, we want to be a part of this.” And so we were able to grow. And now as you look back, it’s like, man, there was a ton of bumps in the road and we had all our challenges. But what’s so amazing to me, when I see former team members that I’ve worked with, it’s like, I just run up, like, “It’s so good to see you again,” because we created so many memories there and we try to be so deliberate around our core values. We call it the “six-pack.”
Derek: Everything around this going to six-pack and a six-pack of core values. And we did our best to hire and train and invest in our team members. And it’s been really fun to see other companies that have been started who have roots back to OrangeSoda.
Charan: That’s amazing, man. And OrangeSoda was an existence for like six or seven years before it was acquired, right?
Charan: Okay. So how did that, how did that go? Did a company just say, “Hey, we like you guys enough to buy you” Is that what happened?
Derek: I won’t bore you with all the details. As we grew, we worked with a lot of amazing channel partners as well, where they had access to clients, and they said, “We want to white-label and have you guys do all the fulfillment for us,” but we had a lot of interest based on what we were trying to do. And some partners came along and said, Hey, we’re interested in your business. One of the craziest scenarios is we literally ended up having two term sheets. And we were like, all right, what are we going to do? It was a pretty tumultuous time. And we ended up signing with Deluxe and they purchased the company in 2012 and it was great working with some amazing team members there.
Charan: There you go. That’s amazing. So that happened and then you guys exited the company. And then what did you do after that?
Derek: I stayed there for about two years. And then there were some other passion projects that I was really excited about that I wanted to go spend some time in and building and creating, had an amazing opportunity to work in the action camera space, which was fun for a short period of time. Yeah, I studied industrial design at BYU, which is the major for inventing. And I remember working on all these amazing projects and I said, “This would be really cool.” My friend Danny had just left his job at Apple to come and help run this company. And there’ve been some real challenges with the company. They relocated to Utah. And I remember showing up and there was a ton of challenges and I’m like, okay, I’m going into this eyes wide open and jumped right in.
Derek Miner Talks About Getting Involved with Lemonade Stand
Derek: And we helped the company grow and scale. And I was there for just a short period of time because I realized we were able to create and engage with a lot of our brands. And that brand ambassadors that we had before, they were really excited about what we were doing. And they were like, “Hey, we’re back. We’re able to build.” And then that company was actually just acquired. And then I spent some time with some of the other investments and one of the coolest experiences was getting reconnected with some friends and introduced to Greg Trimble.
Charan: I’d love to know how that transpired.
Derek: And now I’m a Lemonade Stand. So the citrus runs deep.
Charan: Yeah. That’s deep, man. You got lemon in your blood.
Derek: That’s right, yeah. So Greg and I were introduced by a mutual friend and they said, “Hey, why don’t you do- this guy Greg started a company called Lemonade Stand.” I’m like, That’s awesome. The digital marketing company. That’s a ton of fun. So we met for breakfast and I was super impressed with him. He’s got an amazing track record with what he’s done. And he actually told me, he said, “We built this inspired by OrangeSoda.” I said, “Oh, that’s awesome.” We met, had great conversations. And he told me about his clients and just his philosophy and the culture and how they build their team and how they invest in their team. And then he told me about the platform Yalla that they have built and showed me the client retention and how well they were servicing and taking care of customers. “This is awesome. Let’s stay in touch.” And we did, we stayed in touch and we-
Charan: How long ago was that when you-
Derek: … It was almost two years ago.
Charan: Two years ago when you met him for the first time, awesome.
Derek: Yeah. So we stayed in touch over the course of those years. And I think it was last October, he said, “Hey, Derek, we’re getting some real traction here and we’re excited about what we’re doing. Do you want to come and jump on board?” I said, “Well, I’ve got some other commitments that I’m working on right now. So let’s touch base first part of the year.” And 2020 rolls in, okay, we got this, and so I stayed in touch with him and he said, “Hey, I really want you to come and join the company.”
Derek: And so March 9th, 2020, was my first day locking arms with Greg here at the Lemonade Stand and super excited. And literally a week later COVID shut down everything and we’re like, “Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?” So we did our best. We put our heads down and went to work for our clients and making sure that they were having an amazing experience with us and producing real results for them. And the last five months have been some of the best months at Lemonade Stand. Really excited to be here.
Derek Miner Talks About Overcoming Challenges
Charan: That’s super-duper cool. I saw you eyeing that. [crosstalk 00:20:54] Yeah, go ahead and drink it. Drink it, a little bit of it. Product placement, guys, product placement. So I guess we talked a little bit about struggles that you went through, right? With Ah-Ha, OrangeSoda, stuff like that, just different pitfalls, because the life of an entrepreneur isn’t just smooth sailing, you’re going to have your pitfalls, your ups and downs. Can you talk about some of those things, those challenges that you faced kind of building and developing whatever you’ve been developing?
Derek: Absolutely. One experience that really stood out to me when I was… I was stuck. The CEO and the VP of sales had given me this charge, “Hey, can you help us build the strategic accounts team? We think there’s so much opportunity here.” And had the opportunity to build a team and create some really amazing results. But I remember there was one day that I was stuck, and because of the culture and because of the team, I walked over to the CEO’s office, the door was open and I just walked right in, and I’m like, “Hey,” I said, “Paul, I got some questions,” I said, “I’m stuck on something.” And I know how busy CEOs are, especially with what he was doing. He spun around. He said, “Hey, tell me what’s going on.” So I sat down. We started talking about some of these challenges and he listened to me.
Derek: He’s like, “Okay, he says, “I think you’re on the right track.” Gave me a little bit of guidance. I ended up solving my own problem. But what that did for me was establish this trust and credibility. And because he listened to me, now what am I going to go do? I’m going to go execute and do my very best for him and for everyone else on the team, even though I was stuck. In what company can you walk in now and say to a CEO, “Hey, I’m stuck?” And they go to everybody like, “who is this guy? Why is he still here?”
Derek: “If he’s stuck on a problem, why isn’t he solving these problems for us?” But he listened to me. And literally he had the ability to lead and bring so many people along based on that vision. But there’s always struggles in business and surrounding yourself with amazing people who can help you solve really hard and tough problems, and who will literally lock arms and go to battle with you, makes all the difference in the world.
Charan: Absolutely. I think about films that I’ve worked on and TV shows and whatnot, every film set, it has its own set of problems. It’s just, you’re limited budget or your actors didn’t show up or whatever it is. It’s just some problem that you have to kind of resolve. I’ve noticed there’s certain personalities that if they get together, it becomes very volatile. Right? And you’re like, “Oh man, this project is never going to happen.” And they stop the projects just don’t succeed because the energy behind it is kind of negative. But I’ve also seen the flip side where you have really great people, really humble people. They work together as a team and they say, “”Okay, this happened, what can we do? And how do we resolve this issue?” And I remember I was working on a pilot a couple of years ago, “Pen Pals,” actually.
Derek Miner Talks About How to Create a Successful Team
Charan: And when I was doing this pilot, the team that we had, the four of us, the main four, that decided to start it, we’re already really good friends, and we had certain personalities. The director is just this really relaxed, chilled guy, but he got stuff done. And he was so nice that when you called the crew to come and help him, everyone came and showed up and did work for free for a couple of days. They just came and they showed up because they’re like, “Hey, we just want to help you guys out.” And I just thought that was super-duper cool that people who are professionals in the industry would come and give their time just because they wanted to see us succeed. And so I really remember thinking that’s the key: creating the right culture, the right team. You’ve done that a couple of times already. So what would you say is the most important thing when you want to create a team?
Derek: Great question. Building a team, everything revolves around trust. Trust, from my perspective, is the deepest form of love. And when you have trust you have everything. In the absence of trust you’re always looking over your shoulder thinking goofy thoughts. “How do we navigate through this?” But I don’t know that there’s any specific thing outside of… Really, trust is the foundation of any team and building. There’s a lot of people that we brought on that took a chance on us, we took a chance on them, and it was just amazing to see when you have clear roles and goals and a strategy where you can go and execute. And there’s also times in the absence of that, where there’s not a lot of clarity.
Derek: “We’ve got to go blaze a trail; who’s up for it?” And you see people volunteering and saying, “I’m in, I’m going to come and help. In fact, I was just thinking about…” I’ll never forget Devin, he’s an amazing team member. He came in… I’d spend time with all of our new employees and all our new team members, just getting to know “What are they passionate about? What brought them here? How did they learn about the company?” and finding out where they really wanted to go and had a great meeting there. And I remember he walked by my office. He’s like, “Hey, Derek, you don’t know me, but you will.” And I’m like, “I love that, I love that confidence.” I’m like, this guy’s going places. And we were super intentional around hiring the right culture fit because I think that’s so critical to bring people in that you literally can lock arms with him and go to battle with.
Derek: And literally—Devin was his name—and he was leading our sales team, I think eight months later after that. He’s now head of Google Fiber, running that. He’s such a great person. We had so many people just like that. That’s one example that I just… I think about so many extraordinary people who literally their hearts and their minds were totally engaged in what we were trying to accomplish, despite our weaknesses and all of our challenges. They still showed up every single day and did great work.
Derek Miner Talks About What Brings Him Joy
Charan: Man, I love that. That’s fantastic. I keep thinking about the word you were saying regarding trust, right? Like you have to trust your employees. You have to trust the people you’re working with. Now, when I was in college, I learned that the word trust means “to be comfortable while you’re vulnerable.” And I really liked that. So it’s like, who could you be comfortable and vulnerable with? And I think that if you’re vulnerable around your employees and around people that you are in your inner circle or whatnot, it almost, like, gives them permission to be vulnerable around yourself and to say, “Okay, you know what? This guy is like me. And we can kind of empower each other and help each other and, and grow,” instead of that mentality of like, “Oh, I’m the boss, you’re my subordinates. you have to do what I say” type of thing. So that’s awesome. Okay. So shifting gears a little bit, you’ve had different struggles and whatnot. What brings you joy right now?
Derek: What brings me joy? I’d say, the thing that brings me the greatest joy is a couple of things. My family obviously brings me the greatest joy. And when I say family, there’s really two families that I’m a part of, there’s my own family and then there’s my work family, and our clients are part of that family as well, and I love spending time with both of them. Because we dedicate a lot of time to our co-working family and also our own family. I love seeing them discover new things and recognize and learn and push themselves to the next level.
Charan: You’re talking about both your work family and your own family?
Derek: Both, yeah. Seeing them grow and overcome obstacles and solve problems and build and help because if you take a step back and think, what are we really here to try to accomplish? And you think about all the incredible mentors and team members that I’ve been around, they’ve all inspired me in one way or another. And isn’t it interesting? We think about whatever we do professionally is meant to help and bless and someone else, and we’re really here for each other.
Charan: Yeah, absolutely. And I think I’ve just been learning more and more about, it really isn’t just about you. It’s about helping everybody else and by helping other people, you gain a sense of purpose, you get a sense of joy, especially because during the situation with COVID, right? Where the entire world kind of shut down and a lot of things changed. A lot of things changed for a lot of people. I know a lot of businesses that were thriving and now they’re out of business. How did you navigate those times when you barely got to be a partner at Lemonade Stand and then boom, the world shuts down?
Derek: Yeah, great question. I’ll never forget a night when I stopped by the office, Greg and I were both working late and this was right after it started. And he says, “Hey, can I show you something?” And so we sat down on the couch and in our little office here and we were talking and he said, “I want to show you this video.” And it’s really interesting, Ryan Smith, founder of Qualtrics, gave a talk at the BYU commencement. And he said, “Look, I’m probably not the most qualified to speak here.” And he talked about being “all in.” And I think that was one of the most profound things, even though having been in business, having been around, but I’ve seen when team members come in and they’re “all in.”
Derek: And as I’m now making this transition, Greg’s betting on me, I’m betting on him. We’ve got to be “all in.” And it was one of those moments where I just sat back and I’m like, if we’re going to make a difference, if we’re going to grow, if we’re going to build and bless people’s lives, not only here at Lemonade Stand and make sure that we keep everyone employed and have them still have their jobs, it means we got to go to work; I got to go to work. And so literally I rolled up my sleeves and started talking to customers and taking calls and being super responsive with what we were doing. And I had a great time doing it. That’s what’s been so amazing. And to see from that it was a decision point to be “all in” when I first came, but within a couple of weeks after starting realizing, “All right, this is our new norm, what are we going to do?” And saying, “We’re ‘all in,’ we’re ‘all in’ on supporting each other because we’re ‘all in’ on supporting our clients.”
Derek: And it’s been so amazing, some of our clients were impacted, but a lot of our clients that we work with are still in business and still thriving, because everyone’s moving to this digital context and searching for and trying to find products or services that they need right now. And I still don’t think we’re out of it. And I still think there’s tremendous challenges ahead, about the unemployment, and there’s so many people who have been affected by this and that’s one of the things that Greg and I talk about all the time is how can we help more.
Charan: Well, okay. How can you help more? What does the future of Lemonade Stand look like? Because I know part of the company’s motto and ideals are to build and bless, right? So what does that look like?
Derek: We have a lot of opportunities right now that we see on the horizon, where I see Lemonade Stand in the next two to three years is continuing to build and bless, we’ve added team members, significant number of team members just within the last 45 days, which has been awesome to be hiring in this environment. So we’re doing our part and doing it in a wise way to make sure that we’re delivering for our customers and also bringing on the best, most-qualified team members. So that’s how we’re helping in just a small way, but I see that starting to grow and expand. I’ve had a number of people who’ve reached out to me who were looking and helping point them, based on their skill-sets and also bringing additional team members in, continue to grow and build. So that’s what I’m most excited about.
Derek Miner’s Advice for His Younger Self
Charan: Well, it’s awesome. I look at it from my own personal point of view. I was doing these Zoom call interviews just for fun, for no other reason, other than just to share some goodness in the world. And the fact that Greg would be like, “Charan, do this for Lemonade Stand.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? This is insane.” You know? And so it’s interesting. And I love the mindset that you guys have of wanting to create, like, blog content, video content, anything like that, that’s sole purpose is to just promote good in the world and to just kind of be a light, because unfortunately there is too much darkness in this world. And so I think it’s great that you guys have that motto and that desire to build and bless. All right, last question for you. What would you tell your younger self, the self that graduated high school in ’94, I believe, right? Just like not entirely sure what the future is going to be at all for you. What would you tell that self as you left high school?
Derek: “Be nice.” It’s so interesting, as I think back on the experiences where people have been kind and reached out in one way or another, and I’d also say, “You know what, future’s bright, keep your head down, work hard, be persistent, be resilient. You’ll have a ton of things that will come at you and all of these challenges, but there’s an opportunity every single day, as we wake up to wake up curious and find out how can I help out? What can I use my talents and abilities to do to help or lift someone else?” You know? And a lot of times nowadays where we have access to any type of material, we don’t know what we may say or do that may help someone else. But man, I think those would be the biggest opportunities. Good things are to come.
Charan: I totally agree. I think sometimes when you look, and especially right now, everyone’s like panicking, right? There’s so many different messages out in the media, a lot of negativity. And yet I still think there’s so much room for positivity and light and joy. So I think that message of just being nice and being kind and figuring out ways to keep that wonder alive is now more of a problem than ever.
Derek: Yeah, for sure. So if you think about what hope can do, right? Having hope in something, hope that we’re going to be able to get through this, hope that we’re going to be able to… And you think about how resilient human beings are, the opportunity, but you think what happens when you have hope versus not having hope, right? Hope gives you this inner drive again to say, “Man, we can go and we can do this.” It changes not only the trajectory of the day, month, year, but having that ongoing hope and reminding yourself it’s, like, things are going to get better. I believe that as we look back through history, challenges, but the degree to which hope remained strong and alive, where the ability for people to be successful and come out on top.
Charan: I love that. That’s a great way to end this podcast. But seriously, hopefulness is an incredible quality that hopefully should, I say again, should reside in our hearts, because I have found that in my own life, right? The more I’ve had hope, the brighter my future was. And I’ve had my own life where things have changed drastically all the time. And yet I’ve had hope and as a result of it, I find myself always on top, always with a positive outcome and a positive result, even though at the time it might be, seem kind of negative. It yields like a positive outcome down the road. If you have to wait a little bit.
Charan: So, Derek, thank you, man. I really appreciate you taking the time and joining me on the Lemonade Stand podcast. I’m excited to keep working with you and building and blessing the lives of people.
Derek: We’re so glad to have you here. Thanks for all you’re doing.
Charan: Of course. Thanks again.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to Lemonade Stand podcast and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and the reviews, and if you are someone who knows has an awesome Lemonade Stand Story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.