ASOTU CON Sessions Episode 17: Ryan Osten

October 25, 2022
Ryan Osten and Kyle Mountsier sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2022.
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Ryan Osten is the Executive Vice President of Gubagoo.

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Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly, Ryan Osten

Paul Daly  00:03

You're listening to the ASOTU CON Sessions by Effectv recorded live in Philly.

Kyle Mountsier  00:10

Alright, welcome to the ASOTU CON Sessions. This is Kyle Mountsier and I'm sitting with Ryan Osten of Gubagoo, man. Thanks for joining us here.

Ryan Osten  00:18

Yeah, thanks, Kyle. It's great to be here. And I love the energy of the show. Everything's been great. Good conversations and good friends. Yeah. First,

Kyle Mountsier  00:26

I want to thank you for helping us put on the show last night. So this is Tuesday of ASOTU CON Monday night we had 12 South band rocking in this place and Gubugaoo Naked Lime that hogs crew just allowed us to be able to put that on and serve the people that were here. So that's that's a big

Ryan Osten  00:44

Yeah, it was super fun. Backstreet Boys who doesn't want to know about two Backstreet Boys they had

Paul Daly  00:49

everything was awesome. It was cool. Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier  00:52

You know, I think we talked a lot about kind of the energy around Gubagoo, we had a conversation with you. But I think what what we're finding is that the the concert vibe, that kind of like energy around everyone dancing and that kind of vibe, that when that when companies and industries bring that to what they're doing, there's, there's a different thing that they can do on the other side, like when that's the vibe internally, the way that they can present their product, their team, their business, their service, it goes further, I know that you've done a lot of that within Gubagoo, the way that you organize that culture inside and then allows the product to go further. Can you talk through, like how you've seen a culture build, bring value to how you deliver a product and a service?

Ryan Osten  01:45

Sure. Yeah, I mean, I think culture is probably the number one thing that will influence the success of a company. Because it's all about the people, right? The people are the ones who take care of the customers, the people are the one who build the product. And culture is really how you behave, and the things that you value within the company. And so if you want to attract really great people who have great values, and do awesome work and are passionate about it, you need to have that culture and the culture comes from the people, you can't write down culture, you can try and write it down and say, This is what I want the culture to be. But ultimately, it's going to be the behaviors of the people that you hire, especially as you grow, right. And it gets wild, it gets out, you know,

Kyle Mountsier  02:28

so you know, I used to ask this question in interviews, and I want to get your thought on it. But I had this question that was like, Hey, we've got a really cool culture right now. I've got five 7 10 people on the team, whatever team I was managing at that point. And I would always ask this question like, What do you bring? That's additive to that culture? It's not like I think a lot of people ask, because because they perceive culture is something that they've crafted and not what's been created by their people. But and they asked the question the other way they go, do you feel like you can fit into a culture like that? Do you feel you can conform to our narrative kind of thing? Yeah. Yeah. And what you're saying is, no, you actually bring a unique skill set to the narrative.

Ryan Osten  03:09

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that the one thing that the question there presupposes of how do you fit in is that culture is static, and it's not. Right. That culture is always that's literally what culturing is. Like, it's like growing something in like a Petri dish right or so it Yeah, culture is always growing. And it's what are you? Yeah, what do you bring to the culture? What are you going to contribute to the culture? Anyone who thinks that you can just write down culture and then everyone's gonna, like, follow that thing? But I mean, that doesn't mean that you don't need to observe and keep a watchful eye that it's a healthy culture, right.

Kyle Mountsier  03:47

Yeah, I think culture within guardrails, yeah is an option, you know, that there's there's an ebb and flow within some guardrails of best practices, a way that you manage people of the way that you encourage people, those things that leadership can do, yeah, drive culture, but within those guardrails, it's, you're not sitting on the rails, you're, you're within guardrails.

Ryan Osten  04:07

Yeah, and you know, and there's another point of like, culture being what you tolerate, also, right, what you reward, right? What you were worn what you tolerate. So if you tolerate you know, someone who is not bringing a positive energy, let's say or they're, they're defensive, instead of learning mindset, let's say, right, when they get feedback, right? And when you see them behaving badly in a meeting, you don't say something to them, right? That's tolerating that everyone sees that someone gets promoted, who is a questionable, questionable promotion, questionable decision, people see that and they see what gets rewarded in the company too. So so there are things that you can do behaviors that you can exhibit that will, you know, promote the healthy growth of the culture.

Kyle Mountsier  04:55

Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And I think any good like if you're a parent Correct. Yeah, yeah, three kids. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, any good parent knows that like, yes. You're you're ever especially with three, right? I have three now I don't the thirds, the personality is still tight. Yeah, six months yesterday, right? Yeah. But like, as a kid grows up, they each have their own kind of personality and, and the way that they see and perceive and approach the world, but as a parent, it is our it is our job to grow them up into something. And there's so there's a trajectory there. And I appreciate that you kind of approach the culture that way. So have you, I'd like to hear this. Because, you know, a lot of times, what I see is that you do, you've got kind of culture over here and product over here, and you've got a product and development timeline, and the culture runs parallel to it. And they never like come together, where, because of that kind of the product starts to just kind of, it's all dedicated to the sales engine, because it becomes transactional, and not ingrained in the way that the Collect the product is not born of culture that the culture just has to serve the product. Have you seen instances are built in are a bit built in an ecosystem where the product and the culture actually are synchronous? Instead of feeling like Oh, products over there, we just have to sell it. Great thing. We have a culture, you know,

Ryan Osten  06:24

yeah, I think I think that the attributes of the culture and what those attributes are, and really what you what you are bringing what you are communicating to your team every day. So for example, something that would affect product is a country, customer centricity, like, principle or value, right that you bring to your team, right and saying, we need to be talking to our customers, we need to be solving problems for our customers, we need to be having x amount of conversations with customers per month, maybe you're building that into your quarterly goals, right, that we're going to do X visits. And actually at our company, we have a certain number of visits that we do to dealerships each month. And that's expected because that comes through in the product also. Now. Yeah, right. So because

Kyle Mountsier  07:08

if you do visits, then you get feedback and feedback. accounts to

Ryan Osten  07:14

product. Yeah, right. And you can build that into your culture. You can bring that customer centricity to the forefront, if you're always talking about it, right? What are our customers saying? What are you hearing from our customers? If you have values that you lay out, make sure one of them is around customer centricity? Right? And, yeah, so the other thing that you have to be aware of, and in a software company and many companies with a sales organization, is that there are certain things that have perceived value, right, this difference between actual value and perceived value, perceived value is something I would say that the sales team can sell, it looks sexy on a demo, but in my heart of hearts, I know that it's probably not going to bring actual value to the user. Interesting. And sometimes you do need to do those things. But you should have an awareness of am I trying to drive perceived value with this feature? Or do we believe this is actually solving a problem, it's going to have a big impact. And so having the awareness of it, I think, is really important, because you're gonna have to do both.

Kyle Mountsier  08:19

So as you approach especially right now, and in a key pivotal time, we've kind of, you know, I think people are starting to use the post pandemic language and but we're still in a very, you know, industry endemic issue, or where, where we've got chip shortages and inventory shortages. And, and as it as a software company that lives in the digital retailing, showroom, retailing chat space. I'm sure you hear particular problems that people are asking you to solve, what are those problems that you see that that you're approaching right now that you believe can provide massive value to our industry?

Ryan Osten  08:56

Yeah. So I really think if I think about phases of messaging, and digital retailing, e commerce, or just commerce in store, it's online now today is just commerce, right? That's how we work in the automotive industry. We're like using terms from years and years ago. Exactly. Right. I think the next evolution of that is for digital retailing to become fully transactional. And bringing that experience that, you know, dealers are trying to offer online, bringing that into the store and having one tool and one experience for the guest whether they're online or in store,

Kyle Mountsier  09:37

or the is there any barrier other than time to that right now. You can you can speak honestly and candidly.

Ryan Osten  09:44

Yeah, I mean, there's always barriers I think time is probably is probably the primary one is that things just take time, especially when you have to engage with and work with many third parties in order to get things done. I think another barrier to that, frankly, is the stack that you have within your company. So with Gubagoo. Now, being part of Reynolds, and having the products across the entire stack, like DMS, CRM, digital retailing messaging it, it makes it a lot more feasible to accomplish these things. And frankly, I'm not sure if you can do it effectively. And and with that level of guest experience that you need to if you don't actually own those pieces. And so yeah, because it's it's really, it's really tough. I mean,

Kyle Mountsier  10:40

because up until a year ago, that was your Yeah, well, that your constant struggle. It's like, we're just running into Yeah, tech stack issue. Yeah. Because we're one piece of a giant puzzle. And especially at this dealership, we're a part of this giant puzzle, then this giant puzzle, then this time, yeah, and this, and it's and for. So for a tech partner like you, it's like, I'm dealing with 38 variations, that's probably a very light number, but 38 variations of tech stack dynamics, of which we have to provide for the dealers that want to use us as a single part of a dynamic tech stack. And so your question is, is, can you? Is it possible to have multiple different tech stacks within an industry that can align the same thing? Or do we need to have single level tech stacks that it's like, Hey, this is a plug and play, this is a plug and play these, this is a plug and play? And these are the ones that just like, we have to get more streamlined with that to be able to even accomplish this. Yeah, I

Ryan Osten  11:39

mean, to own to solve really tough problems, you often need to own the whole vertical experience, right? The whole stack as much as you can, frankly, I don't think we would have got there without without the Reynolds combination. And so that was and that was a big vision for for Reynolds and for us as to why it all made so much sense. But it just it's just not feasible with you know, when you're only one piece of the puzzle,

Kyle Mountsier  12:13

yeah, yeah. Well, I think that where we started was this kind of culture and people conversation and tying that into the way that you're looking to serve the industry with the problems that you've been presented by the culture and the people that you're talking with every single day. I think it's a value add for our industry and I'm excited to see where you guys are headed. But Ryan, thank you so much for hanging out with us here on ASOTU CON Sessions by Effectv always a great combo.

Ryan Osten  12:36

Awesome. Thanks guys so much. And again, thanks for putting this on. I think it's it's great.

Paul Daly  12:41

Awesome, thank you. Thank you for listening to this ASOTU CON Sessions by Effectv if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday, here and podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto Collabs, Auto Collabs. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to We'll see you next time.

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