In 2002, Piyush Patel left his tenured teaching position at a local college to start his own business. Digital-Tutors began as a small company creating online training for 3D animators and digital artists — the legions of men and women who create the breathtaking visuals and the impossible action we see in Hollywood’s blockbuster films.
For the first couple of years, everything was great.Digital-Tutors was financially successful, the entire team was awesome, and he loved coming to work every day. Over the next few years, the company grew, work increased and more great employees were brought in. Then things started to change.
More and more, Piyush found himself stuck in the weeds, fixing other people\’s problems and putting out minor fires across the various teams in our organization. Days, which used to be fun and energizing, now felt ineffective and draining. He began to hate going into the office.
He realized that he had lost something along the way — a sense of purpose and meaning in his job. That led to an even bigger revelation — most of the employees felt the same way!
Culture. That’s what was missing. A lack of culture can’t be directly observed on an accounting spreadsheet or in a sales forecast. But culture is like the gravity that holds your teams together — without it, everything just drifts apart aimlessly.
Defining core values transformed his company from a place he hated going to every morning, into a place that every employee loved to call home and where we all felt like family. That shared dedication was a direct catalyst for the company\’s financial and popular success.
In 2014, Puyush received an offer from Pluralsight LLC to purchase Digital-Tutors for $45 million. After careful consideration, he accepted the offer and rewarded a portion of the sale to every single person in my company. At the end of the day, it was their hard work and dedication that helped put Digital-Tutors on the map.
Today, Piyush works as a mentor and advisor for entrepreneurs at all stages in their careers. He helps business leaders realize their own dreams, and gives them the tools to help make that possible. He focuses heavily on culture as a driver of business, because learning from first-hand experience that you can do everything correct and by-the-book, but without a strong culture, a business will never be able to reach its full potential.
Chair of the Day
Jake Yunker is the Vice President of Corporate Relations and Major Gifts at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Prior to his position at The Cowboy, he had an extensive career in Federal, State and Local Government and nonprofit development. He has held positions including serving in the Office of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin as Policy Director and Deputy Policy Director; The White House as Assistant Press Secretary to First Lady Laura Bush; The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives as Associate Director; Office of Congressman John Sullivan as Press Secretary; and the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan as Press Deputy. Jake has also held positions in nonprofit organizations including the Oklahoma State University Foundation as Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; the Director of Development for the Louisiana Children’s Museum and Program Director for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative in New Orleans.
Jake also enjoys serving as a member of nonprofit boards and civic organizations including the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma City Ballet, Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, and the Oklahoma Autism Foundation. Jake graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Public Relations.