Josh Singer

CEO, Kognitive & optimy.ai

20 years as a serial entrepreneur with 4 companies under his belt. Marketing Magazine Top 30 under 30.

What do you like to do for fun on your spare time?

 

What excites me the most is watching my New Orleans Saints football games on Sunday. People who have watched the game with me in the past say I might be a little intense watching the games… and a little is definitely an understatement!!!

I also enjoy playing hockey (1 – 2 times a week playing defense), working out, eating out (I looooove going to new restaurants and trying new things), spending time with family & friends and travelling (I’ve travelled much of Asia, Europe, North America, Central America and recently South America).

 

Walk us through your career progression. What roles did you have and what did you learn along the way?

 

Oh, where do I begin!

My career started off getting rejected after 2 separate job interviews that no one ever gets rejected from: Cineplex Odeon and Shoppers Drug Mart. Since I couldn’t get a job, I decided to start my own gardening company. Going door-to-door, I signed up 4 customers in my first year of business at the age of 15. Since I didn’t have a drivers license, I rollerbladed behind my lawn mower & weed-wacker from house-to-house to save the time from walking between houses. After 2 years, I grew the business to over 90 customers with a truck, trailer and the best lawn equipment in town! 3 years after that, I sold the business to focus on my university studies (aka parties).

That didn’t last long. 1 year after starting school, I got the itch to start another company. This time a lawn enhancement business focusing on making people’s lawns more beautiful (vs the original business of maintaining their existing laws). That lasted for 1 year as I got the idea for Kognitive Marketing and dropped this lawn enhancement business like it was hot.

On February 3, 2006, I started Kognitive Marketing. It was originally founded as a company that turned nightclub parties into trade shows as a way to advertise to students. Our first party drew over 4000 people to 1 event and we gave away $150,000 of MAC cosmetics to students who attended. Kognitive then evolved to help companies sponsor existing campus events by acting as the campus experiential marketing agency.

We got our big break when we signed with Canadian Tire to help them sell their Credit Card within their retail stores. Canadian Tire told us we could pilot in the Saskatchewan region. We originally sent out 2 team members and expected them to stay for 1 month. 6 months later I was out there working to setup the program with 5 other team members. During the process, we lost partners, almost ran out of money, worked 24/7 with literally no days off and struggled beyond belief. But, we made it and that started the rocket ship that we are on today.

Since then, we have adapted our business to focus only on sales programs and have also started a wireless phone sales business and a tech company. For some reason, I don’t think those businesses will be our last (hint, hint).

 

What are your core strengths?

 

This is such a tough question because I am so hard on myself, that the first thing I think of when asked about my greatest strengths are what I need to improve on.   I’m a lot more aware of what I need to improve then what I’m good at as I’m constantly looking to grow & improve as a person and as a leader.

If I had to say my 2 greatest strengths, they would be my ability to create value within a business and my ability to be a quick starter.  In creating value within a business, I combine my critical thinking of finding new opportunities in this world with my business understanding and my financial background to create new businesses & opportunities that have never been done before.  As a fast starter, I have little hesitation between idea an action.  I just go with no hesitation or oversight needed to ensure I get things done. 

My greatest weakness, and something that I’ve been working on for years is my lack of patience.  At times, this causes me to choose the quick route rather than the correct one.  With coworkers, I can come across harsh when things don’t go accordingly to plan.  Coworkers have said that I’ve made massive strides over the past few years, but I still feel there’s lots of room to grow. 

 

What do you love about your job?

 

The favourite thing about my role is supporting my two direct reports (David Liu and Eugene Hartman) in creating amazing companies and supporting them to live the happiest lives they can have.  Not only does that include me supporting them in their role, but also in helping them develop into the people that will allow them to live the most fulfilling lives.

I also really enjoy all the personal & professional development that I participate in to ensure I stay on top of my game.  From peer-to-peer mentoring groups, to 1-on-1 business/life coaching, to events & reading books, I love learning new things I never knew before and truly implementing them in my life.   Then, helping others learn & implement what I already learned.  That is truly rewarding.