The Motley Fool is on the road in Seattle! Recently, we visited Coinstar -- now officially renamed Outerwall (NASDAQ: OUTR ) -- to speak with CFO-turned-CEO Scott Di Valerio about the 22-year-old company's well-known coin-cashing machines, as well as its more recent acquisition of Redbox, and future initiatives to expand into other aspects of the automated retail market.
In this video segment, Scott explains how Coinstar's identity and focus has evolved over the years, and how its corporate culture and values support its belief that "The best is yet to come." The full version of the interview can be watched here.
A full transcript follows the video.
The retail space is in the midst of the biggest paradigm shift since mail order took off at the turn of last century. Only those most forward-looking and capable companies will survive, and they'll handsomely reward those investors who understand the landscape. You can read about the 3 Companies Ready to Rule Retail in The Motley Fool's special report. Uncovering these top picks is free today; just click here to read more.
Eric Bleeker: I liked walking in the building here. You've got a history timeline of the company, and milestones, and you've got "The best is yet to come." It's a nice way of motivating people to do better. It's much better than "Maximize shareholder value," and then some smiling guy in a suit.
Scott Di Valerio: Right.
Bleeker: When you're looking at, "The best is yet to come," and getting people to think about that, when did the company culture change in that respect? Was it optimized along Coinstar from the start, and once you hit Redbox you said, "You know what? We're an automated retail company?"
How long has this thought process on becoming a larger place of the retail chain been in place?
Di Valerio: You know, companies always evolve. About four years ago, we set a strategy around the automated retail space, and really focusing the company in that area.
The company had done a number of acquisitions over the four years ago -- some which made good sense, like Redbox -- some that were kind of outside of the automated retail space, and stretched the company out where it wasn't really strong.
What we went about was a process of divesting those businesses, and then really getting innovation energy around, an engine around, bringing new automated retail solutions to the marketplace; not just for what retailers are doing today, but we're really trying to look out five and 10 years as to, "Where are retailers going, and how can we then help them in that regard?"
One of the things we're able to do in very small square footage is be a very high profitable part of the store for our retailers. In most cases, we're the most profitable square footage for our retailers. What we want to be able to do is continue that on, and bring great value to our retailers, but also do it in thinking on where they're going with their business over time.
That's what we'll stay focused on. That's why we think the best is yet to come. That's why we think we can continue to grow this company, and bring great employees into the company, and bring great returns for our employees and for our shareholders, by making it a fun place to work, an inclusive place to work, and one that really focuses on the right things, which is doing the right things for our customers, our retail partners, and for our employees.
Bleeker: Do you have any specific company values that everyone at the company knows?
I know with The Motley Fool, we have several. The last one's "Motley." Just do whatever your best trait is. Do you guys have something in place like that, that you espouse to keep people with that vision on, "The best is yet to come" and "We're looking forward to more?"
Di Valerio: We do. We have a set of great values at the company, that we established about three-and-a-half years ago. We also have turned the company around three commitments. All the employees have the same commitments as their teams do, as their bosses do, as the company does, so everybody knows the direction that we're going, and then how they fit into the company.
It's something we put in place this year which, if you think about it, everyone has to make up goals or commitments each year, and then a lot of times, you put them away until review time. Then there's also a lot of work that tends to have to go to match all of them up to see if we're going to achieve what our annual plan is, but what our strategic vision is, as well.
What we've done is we've made the company around three commitments, and all the employees have the same commitments so you know how you snap into the course that we're going. You match that up with the values that we have, as well as the work we're doing and continue to do, and build out around corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and those types of things that we've added into the company over the last couple of years.
The employees are pretty energized about where we're going, and pretty energized about how we're going about it. It's sometimes easier to get there if you don't really worry about the "how," and our employees are great about worrying about the "how" as well as the "what."