Bryce Maddock is the CEO of TaskUs, a leading provider of outsourced customer support, photo editing, data entry and product description generation for rapidly growing internet companies.
Four years ago, Bryce started with a small team of five offshore agents. He and the TaskUs team have since scaled to one of the most talented workforces on the planet, over 450 strong. With headquarters in Santa Monica, California and a call center in Manila, Philippines, TaskUs continues to power the daily operations of the world’s fastest scaling internet businesses.
MO: Can you talk about launching your first business when you were just 19 and how you’ve managed to leverage your early success into other ventures?
Bryce: A lot of entrepreneurial ventures start with questions like, “How could we….” or “What if we could…”. In this case, my question was “Why can’t we go to nightclubs?”. In high school we went to house parties and keggers, but we really just wanted to dance and I was determined to find a way past the velvet ropes! Through a little research, we figured out that LA nightclubs are licensed as restaurants and therefore could serve people of all ages. We also exploited the fact that most nightclubs were closed on Mondays, so club owners were motivated to profit from “off” nights. Each Monday, we’d bus a thousand 14 to 17 year olds to some of the hottest clubs in LA and take profits from cover charges at the door. Needless to say, it was the greatest summer job of all time. Despite the fact that this was my first venture and I was only 19, my business partner and I saved every penny and bootstrapped TaskUs from earnings made in our nightclub venture.
MO: What inspired you to launch TaskUs?
Bryce: My time as an investment banking analyst. Other than busing tables in high school, this was the only “real” job I ever had, and in two years it taught me three things:
One, I never want to work for anyone else.
Two, how to work extremely hard.
And finally, I learned that companies paid way too much money for entry-level employees. I was getting paid over $100,000 a year by an investment bank for work that probably could be done by someone in India, Kenya or the Philippines for $20,000 a year. I was determined to find a better solution for businesses that allowed internal teams at companies to focus on innovation and contributing at their highest value.
MO: What are you doing differently or better than your competitors?
Bryce: TaskUs supports the world’s most innovative companies. These include big publicly traded technology firms and rapidly growing startups that are looking to become profitable, while maintaining the amazing service that made them popular in the first place. We take ownership of entry to mid-level work like managing customer service phone lines for peer-to-peer marketplaces or retouching images for ecommerce companies. This allows our clients to focus on the highest value areas of their business. Our competitors come in two varieties – crowdsourced labor marketplaces that push the management headache on to their customers or large call centers that are expensive and impersonal. Nobody in the world performs customer service, photo retouching and product description work, better on a dollar for dollar basis than we do. Nobody.
MO: What advice would you give to a company contemplating outsourcing their customer support?
Bryce: Do it in-house first. I can’t emphasize this enough. When a company that has just raised a Series A or Seed round comes to us to do their customer service, we almost always turn them away. Customer service is so crucial in the early stages of a business that it must be done in-house. You want the people talking to your customers to be able to walk across the office, grab the developer, and tell him to fix something immediately. When you perfect a process in-house, establish documentation and implement productivity metrics, you will be infinitely more successful in outsourcing. Outsourcing is ideal for scaling your business. Create a solid base and then expand with a company like TaskUs.
MO: Can you talk about the core values you’ve instilled at TaskUs and how they’ve helped shape your company culture and your remarkable success?
Bryce: At TaskUs we evaluate our employees quarterly. Each employee is assessed with two simple questions – 1) Did you deliver what you said you’d deliver? 2) Did you live the core values? Our core values include thing like: inspire others by believing in yourself, work hard & have fun, and teamwork makes the dream work. If you deliver 100% of the projects we assign to you, but you can’t live, even one of these core values, then TaskUs isn’t the right place for you. At TaskUs, our product is great work. Our core values represent the building blocks of our product and they will remain instrumental in the future and success of TaskUs.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Bryce: In the next decade, the way the world works is going to fundamentally change. Think about how commerce has changed radically in the past years. In 2003, I bought all of my clothes, groceries and school supplies at physical, brick-and-mortar stores. Today, 80% of my purchases are made online, mostly through Amazon Prime, but also cool clothing vendors like Gilt and HauteLook. The same shift is going to happen to work in the next 10 years. More and more work will be done by third party services – whether that is a mom working from home in the midwest or a traditional outsourcing company. TaskUs is going to become the Amazon of labor for global enterprises and I am thrilled to be a part of this movement. On a personal note, I started the TaskUs Foundation last year that raises funds to improve primary education in the Philippines. Our goal is to build a school in the Philippines, my home away from home. At 26 years old, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and amazing coworkers, friends and family that make every single day exciting and worth looking forward to.
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