0:03 So I've been CEO of the Winning Group for now about 7 years, and it started off with with me being CEO of Appliances Online and then being asked by my family to take over the family business, at which point we created the Winning Group and I've been CEO since then.
0:21 So it's interesting, the Winning Group from an outsider looking in, we're a retail business, but really from an insider looking out we are a logistics business, a marketing business, a retail business, a technology business.
0:32 We've got so many moving parts, so I guess predominantly we're known for retail, we've been in retail for over 110 years now and certainly in recent times online retail, but we're in the process of setting up a logistics business and using our network that we have to service our own retail businesses and offer that to third parties to give the Winning Appliances, Appliances Online service to other businesses in Australia.
0:56 So I guess the history of Winning Group really sits within the Winning Appliances retail business. And it started off basically by my great-grandfatherselling parts for the horse and carriage trade. Then obviously went through the Depression, couple World Wars, went into selling parts for stoves and cooktops and appliances.
01:17 And from there went into wholesaling appliances, and then at one point we were wholesaling a brand by the name of Simpson, and we lost that distributorship, and my dad and his father and the general manager were left with a warehouse, a ute, and no one to deliver to, so at that point they came up with the idea of becoming a retailer.
01:36 And they set up a small show room in the back of a warehouse here in Redfern and started selling appliances, which really was just a way of having a use for the warehouse and delivery truck they had at the time. And so from there, grow out into multiple stores around Sydney and then the rest is history from, I guess, starting Appliances Online, which has now grown to over a couple hundred million dollars and Winning Appliances also growing from outside of Sydney to now be present in Queensland and Western Australia as well, and our recent Canberra store.
02:11 How do I measure success? Well I guess, for me personally, I think that, if you go back through time, it really depends whether you're looking at success in business or success in life, and I think that success in life is generally, I think that Aristotle came up with the fact that people measure success by happiness, and everyone's on this pursuit of happiness. And for me I think that we try and mix that with success from a business term, which obviously has its own financial KPIs, but we're also here for probably the most of our waking life through our working career, so internally we measure our success, one on a financial measure, but equally on how better staff are, and we've spent a lot of our time making sure that we set our business up in a way that we're working with people that pass the pub test, so to speak. That you would actually happily go to the pub with a co-worker and sit down and have a beer, and also making sure that we do have that right team in place that can perform the financial success that we require for the shareholders to give a fair return to them.
03:15 I've always thought that a good leader is someone that rolls her sleeves up and works very hard alongside the team that they have in place to do the job that's required, someone that has a good vision, that is motivational.
03:29 I think the one to date, the biggest challenge that I have is probably trying to balance the Winning Appliances business with the Appliances Online business with a bunch of other things that we've got going on, and we're very hands-on leader. And so for me, the challenge is being able to take on a lot and not drown.
03:50 My secret weapon is probably that I don't have work and I don't have life, they are all blended into one, and that makes you extremely productive. It's always something going on and moving forward in the right direction.
04:03 I am inspired by a lot of people, but I guess some of the people that really inspire me close to home, my dad, for sure, growing up and watching how hard he worked and what he'd done with the business and how much people respected him as a leader and we're willing to band together and really work.
04:18 The warehouse have a term called "work for Woody". Woody's my dad's nickname and they really always say that when things get really tough they just band together and say, "We're working for Woody." I find that's a really interesting and inspiring thing that I've learned from my dad.
04:33 Most recently, probably our advisory board chairman David Gordon, who's a phenomenal support to me, and I think that someone that is so humble but yet has achieved so much is really quite inspiring. Outside of Australia, say, the likes of Elon Musk, certainly very inspiring. Steve Jobs obviously, an obvious one.
04:54 Best decision I've ever made. I think we make lots of decisions, it's hard to pinpoint one. Probably to start Appliances Online, I think it set me on a good path in my career, gave me some focus, and I think at that point in my life, I was to be a lot more driven, a lot more motivated, had a really sure direction, and I think that that's really set me up, almost a little bit of a head start to everyone else.
05:19 And maybe without that idea of starting Appliances Online, then that may never have happened, I might not have had that motivation and that direction, and I might still be wondering what I want to do with my life.
05:31 Probably from my dad who, it's not even directly,the best piece of advice that he ever gave me, I mean he always was drilling into me that you could do whatever you want, whether it was in sailing, in work, in sport, in life, in school.
05:45 At times he just said, "Look, if you want to do it, you can do it. That's simple. Obviously we can do whatever we want, it's just making the decision of what you want to do." I really bring that into our organisation, one of our company values is assume every problem's solvable and I'm always trying to tell the staff that for me it's always a simple answer, you can do it, it's just whether you're willing to make the sacrifices involved in doing it.
06:06 I think that the thing that matters most in business is probably a little corny to say, and it is the word that popped into my head, and that's integrity.
06:13 I think that being able to be a man of your word, being able to say to a supplier, "Thanks for the 30 day account, I'm gonna pay in 30 days." I think that one of these things these days that really sort of bothers me, the people who think that they can shake hands on an agreement and then get out on a loophole, or think that it's okay to have an agreement to pay someone on time and not pay someone on time, or to hire staff and then put yourself in a position where you can't pay their salaries.
06:39 If you get in that position, I think banding together and being open and having an open conversation and saying, "Guys, here's our situation, here's where the business is, here's our options. What do we want to do?" Versus just going ahead and doing something that probably isn't true to your word or to your promise.
06:58 People make mistakes and I think people are quite forgiving, but now a lot more forgiving if you're open and honest with them. I think in this organisation, we have a very open strategy and we share that strategy with our staff and with our suppliers, and I think that we get a lot of respect for that because there's no surprises.
07:14 I think that we're in a business and the team knows there's no surprises, they know the direction, they're much more motivated to do a better job and I think that equally, with your supply partners you'll get a lot more support as well.
07:24
What matters most to me is probably doing something that, at the end of my life, I can feel like I've added value. The greatest way in my opinion to really shape something meaningful within society is to make some money so you can fund your own ideas, and most great ideas are the big ones. And then come up with something that is probably a greater impact or contribution to society than just delivering a fridge on time.
07:51
Wearing a meaningful fashion with a smile on your face by doing something that is much larger. What we're aiming to head towards, I see the current state of play and that's the retail businesses is really setting our group up for something greater. I really get slightly concerned with the way that I see the world going, with social media and technology, artificial intelligence, and the divide between probably the lower class and the world's richest 1% and I think that it is the world's richest 1% that will end up, if they haven't already or not already, even more so, controlling the way that society runs.
08:36 You've seen it already happening in manufacturing most of our lives, certainly in our space most of our lives, manufacturers in the car industry and alike, that's all done by robots now, there were people's jobs 10 or 20 years ago.
08:47 I think when we start to see artificial intelligence come through a lot stronger, I think a lot of these admin roles, receptionist, you hear of things like Chatbox, to even customer support, how long till artificial intelligence is answering a phone and doing phone support?
09:03 I think that a lot of these things – Dominos pizza with their robot delivery and look, there is a lot of the world's jobs that are about to become automated, and I just don't know what's gonna happen to the greater population when that happens, and I'm hoping to be in a position of influence when that does happen in 10, 15, 20 years, where hopefully we can do something meaningful and not have too much of it in life.
09:28 Some things that I think are quite interesting, some of the next developments that are happening for our group, I think our logistics business. So it's a bit of a fight against big corporate, so to speak, we like being an underdog, and we like helping underdogs, and so from our point of view, how can we try and use the systems that we've created internally to then band together with some other like-minded smaller-to medium-sized businesses to give ourselves a scale to then hopefully compete with those bigger global brands or large domestic brands.
09:58 And so I'm really, really excited to take that next step of our journey. And that doesn't mean that anything's changing for us from a retail point of view, we will continue to grow Winning Appliances and Appliances Online as we are, but equally branch off and try and join forces with some of those other businesses to create a powerful force that might be able to compete with some of these larger organisations.