An introduction to House of Sticks
Here’s an article that recently got published about House of Sticks. If you’re interested in the original link it can be found here.Here’s an article that recently got published about House of Sticks. If you’re interested in the original link it can be found here.See our services Check out our team Read more about HoS
Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Stickane.
Scott, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
House of Sticks started as a group of uniquely talented individuals stuck in Corporate America. We all hated it.
All of us wanted to be able to use our skills to do better work and make a difference. Our goal was, and still is, to create a highly competitive video production company and use it to fund a non-profit to help young people navigate life by offering unparalleled opportunities through employment. Real opportunities, not coffee grabbing internships. Since then the vision has expanded to include a software development division across 3 countries. Where we make iOS and Android apps, websites and provide data security and systems architecture to clients. It seems like the international world is hungry for what we are doing as well.
However, our focus hasn’t changed. We want to invest in people because there are more important things than money.
The goal is to grow our reputation to the point where we are creating projects everyone has heard of and everyone wants to work on. Once we have that reputation we want to use it to bless others. Our roster is growing and our work is really stellar. The quality of our work is in large part due to the quality of our team. We spent a lot of time hand selecting the people we wanted to work. We took one or 2 people from every film crew and created a go-to team and it shows in the work we are able to pull off. Its really exciting.
Now that we have a bit of momentum, we are finally getting the non-profit side of things going. We have 3-4 college kids we work with and are starting to work out the details of our resident program and intentionally teach them on set. Internationally (UK & India) we have a similar program going for web development and some other creative skills. We are now a full on creative agency.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The great thing about us starting out of corporate America was we could use our day jobs as a runway to get things going. Its not like we just all up and quit our jobs one day and decided to start. It was a very gradual process. Honestly, for me, there wasn’t much of a future in my day job. The work was terrible. Like really boring and mundane. So I started House of Sticks as a “side hustle”. After a while the side hustle took more time and paid way better than the day job. I actually got laid off, which was cool because I was going to quit the next week anyway.
The biggest struggle in the whole thing is finding the people you want to work with and managing growth. When the company is only yours and you are the one doing all the work, its easy to control the quality and client expectations, but as you grow you have to depend on others to accomplish the work. We can’t afford to make a bad hiring decision because it reflects poorly on the whole organization at this point. So, we use a lot of contractors. Some have turned out to be great, like our CMO Jason Montes. Some have been really bad. Designers can be a fickle bunch. Designers who understand how to run a business can be difficult to find. But the good ones are like gold.
Managing growth is another aspect that has been difficult because you really need to have your finger on the pulse of the accounting. Everyone wants to grow quickly, but its not good long term unless you can keep the quality high. We are in a reputation based business and we are aware of that. Sometimes we just have to turn down clients or projects for that matter.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the House of Sticks story. Tell us more about the business.
We are most well known as a video production company. We make videos as well as anyone in LA or NYC. Typically, we can do them cheaper since we aren’t on the coast and don’t have to mess with unions and high costs of living for crew etc. But, we aren’t cheap either. We won’t ever make a wedding video. We want to play in the realm where you are judged on talent, not price alone.
What really sets us apart on the video production side, is the environment we create on set. What sets us apart as a company is the fact we can create all the assets you need for your business in house. Not just the video, but the delivery mechanism as well.
As far as video goes, often times, a film set can be very stressful. Lots of yelling and dog cussing people. We won’t do that. We don’t work with people like that. Since I direct most of the videos, I can control the environment with my tone and calmness. Since we are interested in investing in people, we want to make the film business (which can be a dark place) be fun. We are just making pictures at the end of the day. Good environment plus a fantastic product is super fun.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
None of us really believe in luck. We believe doors open for a reason. Its up to you to be able to see the opportunity and be ready for it when it comes along. Typically, that means working hard towards a solid goal and knowing when to change paths.
We believe hard work and a good self awareness go a long way. Ultimately, we believe we have been put here for a purpose and the accomplishment of that purpose is paramount in creating happiness.