A quick sit down with Rootstrap CEO, David Jarrett.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you joined Rootstrap.
David Jarrett: I am the CEO of Rootstrap. This award-winning custom software development agency builds web and mobile apps and software for startups, publicly traded companies, and public figures.
At the beginning of my career, I worked in the service industry while going to college. I then continued in the field afterward by developing and operating high-end restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, as well as producing events. In 2009, I started branching out into other industries by founding, investing in, or advising startups working in industries that interested me, like consumer products, education, and technology.
Rootstrap’s origins date back to 2011, with the founding of a Los Angeles-based digital agency in which I was an early advisor and subsequently partner, as well as a web and mobile app development firm based in Uruguay. The two companies developed a close relationship over a period of years by collaborating on client projects before we decided to merge in 2017 and create Rootstrap. I originally served the company as CFO at the time of the merger before moving into the CEO chair four years ago.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
David Jarrett: My day-to-day work involves tons of meetings with internal and external stakeholders and a near-constant stream of inbound communication requiring timely response – not to mention actual work that I need to roll up my sleeves and complete. As a result, quiet, focused time is always in short supply, although critical for high-quality decision-making and strategic thinking. Whenever possible, I avoid early morning meetings, Slack, and email correspondence in order to work on priority projects for the first hour of each day while my mind is fresh and uncluttered. I also try to keep Fridays as meeting-free as possible in order to have time for deep, focused work on strategic initiatives – not to mention cleaning up all of the “surprise” items that emerge each week. Finally, it is a cliché, but I can’t overstate the positive impact of regular exercise, healthy eating (I’ve followed a vegan diet for over twenty years), and adequate sleep on my productivity and general well-being.
How does Rootstrap market its product/services online?
David Jarrett: We generally try to follow the “show, don’t tell” rule of marketing and sales and lean heavily on social proof via case studies, reviews, and testimonials to emphasize the quality and impact of our actual work while also illustrating our particular approach to client experience and customer service as well as our long-term, relationship-oriented approach to doing business.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
David Jarrett: Our core marketing tech stack involves a combination of HubSpot, WordPress, and Google Analytics. Within specific channels, we also use Google Search Console, Google AdWords, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and various intent and data enrichment tools to give us a holistic view of our clients.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
David Jarrett: We’re always looking for talented people to join our team and recruit using everything from traditional job postings to direct outreach to referral programs, career fairs, etc. We then run candidates through a four-part interview and hiring process to assess values and cultural fit, technical proficiency, English language proficiency, and communication skills. Candidates who successfully pass through each of these phases then have a final interview session with leadership/management.
We believe that employees stay with companies that provide them with continual opportunities for personal growth and career development and foster cultures of empathy, caring, and respect. We aim to create an environment where people have the ability to do meaningful, impactful work while working with amazing colleagues and having fun along the way. And, of course, we offer great benefits, flexible working policies, and market-competitive pay.
How are you funding your growth?
David Jarrett: Since day one, we’ve been bootstrapped, which forces us to be extremely disciplined in our operational and financial decision-making. We then simply reinvest profits back into the business to pursue continued growth and operational improvement.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
David Jarrett: We compete in a global, highly fragmented market against an endless number of competitor agencies and firms from all around the world. While we obviously keep an eye on our competitors and peers, we try to spend more time focusing on the fundamentals: doing great work, building strong relationships with our clients, and pushing ourselves to keep learning and to be a little bit better at what we do with each passing day. There are plenty of opportunities out there for everyone.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
David Jarrett: MasterClass, an online education platform, is one of our key clients. Back in early 2020, MasterClass was looking for a strong development team to help scale its development processes. Our engineers worked on many of their internal projects, and as a result, MasterClass experienced massive growth and even doubled its revenue over a few short years. Combining with the higher demand of people looking to take online classes during the lockdown, MasterClass has seen tremendous success thanks to our team.
Your final thoughts?
David Jarrett: Rootstrap strives to become ‘globally recognized digital masters.’ We are working diligently to expand in both size and geographic footprint while working on engagements that stretch our capabilities and offer growth opportunities to us both as individuals and team members.