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A Video Conversation with Michael Spinosa, CEO of Unleashed Technologies on Growing & Managing the Company

Click here for Part 1 Setting the standard for web design and enterprise hosting Michael SpinosaMichael Spinosa is the CEO of Unleashed Technologies, an enterprise web and hosting—what the company calls “Wosting”—firm headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. Unleashed Technologies offers a comprehensive array of hosting, development, and design services that span ecommerce, mobile, and cloud technologies. The company specializes in serving publications, franchises, and private and military nonprofits, among other clients. Unleashed Technologies made the Inc. 5000 list in 2013 and 2014, and this year, SmartCEO named the organization one of its 2015 Future 50 award winners. Michael Spinosa spoke with citybizlist founder Edwin Warfield for this interview.   EDWIN WARFIELD: How would you describe Unleashed Technologies to someone who had never heard of the company? MICHAEL SPINOSA: Unleashed Technologies is an enterprise web and hosting firm—we call it Wosting. We’re the 12th fastest growing company in Greater Baltimore, 30th in the State of Maryland, 58th in professional services, and top 18% in the nation. Has it been difficult to lead a company that’s that large and growing that quickly? Growing and managing an organization effectively has probably been one of the hardest professional challenges that I’ve faced. Sometimes I feel like my team even handles it better than I do, which is really great. But, growing effective teams, one of the things that you have to do from the very beginning is bring a sense of ownership to everyone in the organization and say “understand the vision of where we’re trying to go at all times.” Anything that we do, if it doesn’t apply to that, then it needs to be put to the wayside. Our goal, our dream, is to be the most premier, most well-respected, best product-driven company in the United States. We want everybody to understand that our web services and our hosting—Wosting—is unmatchable. So, in order to do that, we are constantly redeveloping. I always talk about how we’re the biggest little firm that anyone’s ever seen, because we have strong processes, we have defined roles, and, as we work through those, each of those people in those roles is responsible for making every new experience with an existing client or a new client better. We’re very serious about documentation. We’re very serious about how everybody is getting communicated that these changes are working. And then we go through an audit again, and we remove process for the sake of process. We’re growing, putting more processes in place, taking them away, refining them, doing it again, over and over again. Can you talk a bit more about the philosophy behind the strategy you just mentioned? What gets you to one spot isn’t going to get you to the next spot. When you’re a small fledgling firm, and you’re growing, and there’s only three or four people, that’s very different than at 11 and then at 20. Now, you know, we’re over 30, and we have to continually reinvent ourselves in how we’re delivering product so our clients are always getting the best of what we have to offer. From a management perspective, the only way you can accomplish that is by everybody feeling like they can speak up at any time about what they’re seeing or what the experiences they are having are. How important is securing funding at this point? When you look across this country, and then you go even farther out—internationally—you’ll see that internationally, America has really established a culture of taking a lot of equity—and, by the way, this works for others. I don’t know that this works for Unleashed Technologies, because we believe that you have to have a model that really fosters from profit and grows from profit, because that’s how you know that you have something that really works in a modern landscape. When you look at China, or other areas, they’re responsible to generate profit regardless of how much money is put in or put out. I know that other firms they do the same thing, but there’s this culture here in America that we have to take on money to be successful in a modern business landscape. Unleashed Technologies seeks to defy that and show that we can really be different, and we can say we don’t need the money, we’re going to do it from our hard work and our can-do attitude and by building a better product. We understand where every hour is going at all times – billable, unbillable, to which clients, to ensure that they’re being serviced—against every staff member that we have—to ensure that every client is getting everything that we promised them. We haven’t seen this in any other organization to date. All of that data is available in dashboards so that we’re able to understand from sales to project management to solutions architecting to finance, all the way through every division of the organization: we’re all on the same page. And we keep working towards that, and we’re there now, but it could always be better, and that’s if we keep refining it, and it’s made all the difference for Unleashed Technologies. Have you garnered investments in the past? Unleashed Technologies is a 100% from profit. We have no investors. We’ve taken no loans. We started with $500 of capital between myself and my other founding partner, Scott Greenwell, who is our creative director, and we’ve taken that to about a $4–5 million company. Jury is still out this year, but it’s going to be in that zone. I’d love to be over the $15-20 million mark in about five years. I think that that’s very doable. Why I feel like that’s the main benchmark is because it shows how many people have committed their faith into your organization; it shows you are a premier company. To be that size in our kind of industry and to be an entirely commercial firm, that says a lot, that says a lot about the type of product that you produce and who believes in you. To us, every client that stays on with us is someone who believes in our organization and the mission of our organization. It’s a partnership. It’s not a one-way thing.

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