Every month at Wajam, we host a Lunch & Learn where we invite guest entrepreneurs and thought leaders to come and share their experiences with our team. We’ve hosted visionaries like Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani, the creators of men’s online retailer Frank & Oak, as well as Nicolas Bélanger, an entrepreneur and investor who created the world’s leader of in-flight entertainment technology.
This past week, we had the pleasure of hosting Richard Speer, founder and CEO of Attraction, who recently won an ARISTA award as Young Entrepreneur in Quebec – Medium/Large Business. Attraction is a media group that includes TV, film and advertising production as well as content distribution and radio broadcasting.
Some of Attraction’s current household TV shows in Quebec include: Dans l’œil du dragon, Émilie, Un air de famille, Un chef à la cabane, Les mal élevés, Meilleur avant le 31, bon pareil le 1er, Lire, Paquet Voleur, Paquet Voleur Express, La Galère, Belle-Baie, Burquette, DoodleBook et L’autisme au gré du vent.
Richard Speer with Wajam CEO Martin-Luc Archambault
BUILDING ONE OF CANADA’S BIGGEST CONTENT CREATION COMPANIES
Richard started out in advertising as a partner and later owner of commercial production company Jet Films. He quickly realized that the problem was that advertising didn’t generate intellectual property.
So he started Go Films to produce movies, and subsequently went on to produce TV series in a quest to get away from the dependency on subsidies required in the Quebec film industry. Through the years, Richard has had many notable successes such as being the executive producer for award-winning films such as C.R.A.Z.Y, documentaries like Burlesque, and game shows like Paquet Voleur.
He is currently president of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television in Quebec, and his company has diversified by adding radio stations to its portfolio of businesses. Today Attraction is considered one of the biggest and coolest content creation companies in Canada.
LESSONS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
1. Identify your unique skill or competency. He didn’t know anything about the business of managing artists when he started, but discovered that he was really good at it. So he capitalized on that to build his business, and today manages 150 talents in television, cinema, advertising, radio, distribution and new media.
2. Your average at-bat makes a difference. In the content world, you can experience huge ups and downs depending on the contracts you get from major broadcasters. By not being too emotional during bad breaks, Richard was able to creatively find new opportunities.
3. Choose something you are passionate about. At the end of the day, making money can be fun but it’s not the best driver. You have to be passionate about what you do. Richard loves TV. He loves movies. And that’s why he’s in the space.
4. The more you know, the less you do. He actually went back a couple of years ago to do an MBA, and dropped out soon after because he found that people built barriers to innovation by over-thinking. One of his favorite quotes is from Wayne Gretzky, “You don’t score on 100% of the shots you don’t take.” You can find a similar lesson told by fellow Quebecer Martin Villeneuve who gave a talk at TED explaining how he made an impossible movie because he didn’t know it was impossible.
HOW TO HIRE GOOD PEOPLE
At Wajam, we’re constantly growing our team, so we asked Richard what he thought were keys to his hiring success.
- Talent. Simply put, you need the best, most talented people to work for you.
- Judgement. Do they make good decisions?
- Values. Do their values correspond with that of the company?
- Fun. You’ll be spending a lot of time working alongside this person. Can you imagine having fun with them?
- Social skills. Will they be able to get along with the team and have a positive impact?
Thank you Richard for inspiring us with your visit!