Steve Shelley has a fascinating career as an entrepreneur, manager and racing car driver.
Deputy has now become a standalone product and company, employing over 100 people and recently securing US$25m to attack the US market.
Some of the highlights of the interview include:
- Pivoting from a services company to a software company: “we were able to grow and scale the business was because of this beautiful systems that we were inventing on the way.” (Video from 01:01)
- The biggest lesson Steve learned in management: “People love to be trusted and have an autonomous approach to achieving goals.” (Video from 4:11)
- Making yourself redundant to grow both yourself and your business: “to be successful you need to make yourself redundant to move onwards and upwards.” (Video from 5:09)
- The differences in managing businesses of different sizes throughout Steve’s career: “[If] the people are approachable, and they are friendly, and they are respect to each other I don’t see why you need to have a different style when your business grows.” (Video from 10:01)
- Seeing Deputy as a family: “You instantly consider trust and respect, loyalty, responsibility, these are traits that you would have for people that you do genuinely care about.” (Video from 12:43)
Steve Pell: I’m Steve Pell from Management Disrupted. I’m here today with Steve Shelley from Deputy. Thanks for joining us today. Could you start and tell us a little bit about your background and the company?
Steve Shelley: My background is soft drinks of all things, I was born into a soft drink manufacturing family. I did that for 12 years before I stepped out of that and went into the wide world of aviation ground handling services.
That was a bit of an unusual step I had no idea what I was doing, but I saw a great opportunity. Before I knew it I was an employer in an industry I had no idea about. That was in 1992.
So, it took me a few years before I started to find my feet and develop some business processes and employ people and scale the business. It was a really exciting time, there was nobody doing anything like that in aviation. There was no such thing as contractors or outsourced labour solutions at all.