Shaun MacGillivray is the CEO of MacGillivray Freeman. Shaun is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Shaun provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of MacGillivray Freeman. Shaun MacGillivray joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team is delighted to have Shaun join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview.
Shaun, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to answer our questions about leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. Shaun, please tell us about MacGillivray Freeman. What is the elevator pitch?
MacGillivray Freeman is a family company, having grown over the years to about 30 employees in our Laguna Beach headquarters. We operate as a mini studio, from production and fundraising to distribution and marketing.
We are storytellers. We make films for clients across all platforms – whether TV, social, media, VR, giant screen – from iPhone to IMAX. We are best known for our IMAX films, like Everest, which was the highest grossing doc of all time. Our films play to millions of people throughout the world in theaters for decades, but audiences can also see our films on their own screens through streaming on Netflix, Amazon and other broadcasters’ platforms. Earned local media from the theaters, resulting in billions of media impressions, drive awareness around the film and our partners. With so much content out there, we are able to rise above the clutter by building out large global marketing campaigns that generate great word of mouth and ultimately lead to people seeing films either in the theater or on their TV screen.
2. What is the one thing that makes MacGillivray Freeman great?
MacGillivray Freeman recreates the experience of all kinds of places and people in our films, allowing others to see destinations worldwide they wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Having grown up filming on location with my dad, I was fortunate to travel and have amazing experiences, whether it was on location with my family or on field trips with my peers. Allowing our audiences to take part in new cultures and places is an amazing thing, that way anyone can fly like an eagle and see remarkable places, opening the eyes of the next generation.
3. Please tell us what is the key to being a great entrepreneur?
Make sure you have an obsession and a love around what you are building. If you do, then you are less likely to give up quickly. Also don’t be afraid to pivot, iterate, and continue to be curious.
4. What is the best advice can you give to a young entrepreneur just starting out with a new venture?
First off, not everything is going to go according to plan. When a roadblock appears, try to see it as a learning opportunity. If you’re unable to see a way around the problem yourself, ask someone else. A pair of fresh eyes can sometimes help you see an easy solution that you may have missed.
Second, keep setting goals. Set short term goals and long-term goals. Always be working towards something bigger and better. It keeps the drive alive and it will make you an expert of your craft. With that in mind, never forget why you started to stay driven toward those goals. There are good and bad days in every profession. Remembering why you started in the first place is a great way to help when things get rough.
5. What is the one thing that you, as a person, want to be known for?
That I stay curious and never stop learning.
6. When building a business, what is the one most important thing to keep in mind at all times?
Cash flow is a good one to think about 🙂
7. When hiring employees, what is the one most important thing you look for?
An entrepreneurial spirit and a self-starter.
8. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning?
I love what I do, and I am so lucky to be able to work on films that have impact. Our films inspire, educate and actually change people’s behavior. Being able to work with incredible companies, foundations and investors with the same values and goals is why I get so excited to do what we do. But we can’t do it without having a sustainable business, and fortunately we have been able to continue to grow as a company for a long time.
9. What is the one thing that makes a great company?
Jim Collins’ Good To Great, is a fantastic book on this topic. There isn’t just one thing. I love and respect companies that have a goal that is bigger than just profits. Conscience Capitalism is another good book on the power of a goal besides profit.
10. What is the one thing that makes a great leader?
Inspirational, while being humble and continuing to learn and grow.
Shaun MacGillivray, thank you so much for participating in the DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We appreciate you participating in this important roundtable interview series, and helping our readers learn more about what it takes to build a great company and become a great leader. We wish you, your family, and of course MacGillivray Freeman, nothing but the best.