Growing with Purpose Podcast: Give a Sh*t with Carl Erickson
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On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Carl Erickson, the recently retired Executive Chairman of Atomic Object, a design and development software consultancy he co-founded in 2001.
Previously a tenured professor at Grand Valley State University, he enjoyed teaching, but didn’t so much appreciate the affinity in academia for sticking to the status quo. So, when a former student asked him to help manage a team for a startup, Carl took a sabbatical, and eventually resigned, to pursue the new opportunity. The innovation happening in such a new industry was thrilling. When that startup didn’t make it, Carl took the ashes of that business and created Atomic Object.
Carl takes pride in having formed a team of longstanding Atoms who have helped him to shape the company from the early years into what it is today (their first intern, Mike Marsiglia, is now a co-CEO of the company). And part of that is due to Carl’s self regard, combined with his lack of business training - unburdened, he simply created a company that he wanted to work at.
Tune in for this episode as Carl and Paul discuss Atomic’s handcrafted employee ownership structure, how moving states as a child shaped Carl’s personality, and the humbling lessons he’s learned on the company’s aspirational journey to becoming 100 years old.
Choosing an employee ownership structure that made sense for a young team.
- Two Atoms are always better than one.
“I'm very willing to learn from anybody, regardless of their age.”
“One of our business strategies is that culture is our strategy.”
Book that Inspired Carl:
Low Anthropology by David Zahl
Listen to Carl's story below: