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Core Values – Boston College Ralph Folz, CEO WordStream. September 8, 2010. Outline. Introduction – Who am I? Core Values – The early years (@ Molecular) Core Values Revisited Stories, experiences Core Values – Making them real Core Values – New Entity. My Career. Co-Founder and CEO

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Core Values – Boston College

Ralph Folz, CEO WordStream

September 8, 2010

  • Introduction – Who am I?
  • Core Values – The early years (@ Molecular)
  • Core Values Revisited
  • Stories, experiences
  • Core Values – Making them real
  • Core Values – New Entity
my career
My Career

Co-Founder and CEO

Internet Consulting Firm

1994 to 2007

Global Chief Operating Officer

(Isobar Acquired Molecular)

2007 to 2009

Chief Executive Officer

SaaS software for Search

2010 to Present

a brief history of molecular
A Brief History of Molecular


  • Founded 1994 – Distance Learning Focus
  • Caught the Internet Wave
  • High end Internet Consulting Firm
  • Raised $20M at the peak of the bubble (April 2000) from CMGI
  • Survived the dot-com crash
  • Ranked as a top-5 firm nationally
  • In 2005, sold the company to one of the largest media services companies in the world (Aegis)

A global network of world-class agencies










core values late 1990 s
Core Values – late 1990’s
  • Challenge
  • Learning

(that was it!)

2000 core values
2000: Core Values
  • Nice, but 18 of them?
  • No focus on enacting the values
  • Raw – Bulleted lists
  • Created in a brainstorm
revised core values the process
Revised Core Values - The Process
  • I created a draft (after reading articles from Bob!)
  • Circulated to the Executive Team + Advisors / Mentors
  • Created a committee:
    • Long time employees
    • Short term employees
    • Senior staff / junior staff
    • Every department
    • Dozen people in total
  • Rankings by Exec Team
  • 7 iterations of the values, with multiple meetings for discussion.
  • 8 to 12 week process





Can anyone guess what company’s core values these are?

core values
Core Values
  • Our values must truly represent our company and mean something (not hollow – like Enron)
  • We will weave our values into everything we do. Recruiting, performance reviews, orientation, decisions with clients, etc.

“Core values are the deeply ingrained principles that guide all of a company’s actions; they serve as its cultural cornerstones…… they can never be compromised, either for convenience or short-term economic gain” – Harvard Business Review


We believe in fostering a culture of transparency. We are committed to promoting open, two-way communication, where every person knows where we stand, and where we need to focus our energy to improve the company.

customer intimacy
Customer intimacy

We work diligently to build customer relationships based on mutual trust and respect with every client and work hard to make them successful. Our belief in customer intimacy means that clients can count on us to understand their goals and motivations and success criteria, as we strive to exceed expectations with every interaction.


Our people are authentic and adhere to the highest level of ethics and integrity. We believe in doing what is right for our people, and clients and we have the courage to address any issue in an honest and open manner.

molecular s core values
Molecular’s Core Values












making core values real stories
Making core values real – Stories!
  • Real stories
  • Prominently displayed
  • Submitted by staff
making core values real mvp awards staff recognition
Customer Intimacy

Client trust, respect, partnership

Business development

Ongoing growth and improvement opportunities for all


Team member growth opportunities

Regular feedback

Time and dedication

Exceptional Execution

Experienced Consultant

Organizationally savvy

Completely committed and accountable

Traveler Extraordinaire

Fluent in Flight Attendant speak

Mentor in United Mileage Plus and Hilton Honors management

Ambassador - Red Carpet Clubs

Making core values real – MVP Awards (Staff Recognition)

“I’ve never seen someone balance the line of consultant so well – he delivers at such a high level to both of our organizations.” -- Marc Gunning, Content Integration Services, HP

making core values real mvp awards staff recognition1
Making core values real – MVP Awards (Staff Recognition)
  • By taking on new projects, new roles, learning new skills and developing new tools Devin is a huge part of the Endeca practice and is a key contributor in every area where we’ve been successful.
    • Borders:
      • The largest record-set Molecular has worked with: 7 million
      • Only A graph implementation for Molecular, very few at Endeca overall
  • Premiere Farrell/ Newark InOne:
    • Tech lead/ sales engineer: Developed sales deck onsite that led to engagement and potential add on work.
    • "Devin has made a significant and positive impression on both the business and technical teams here at Premier Farnell.  He is the primary reason we feel we've made the right choice by going with Molecular.“

Jeremy Higgins, E-Commerce Team Leader

  • Endeca Practice
    • Driving the development of a relevance ranking testing tool we can use to display our technical & thought leadership
    • Creating tools to ramp up Molecular Engineers on Endeca
    • Not afraid to wear an orange poster board and sing in front on the whole company.

Embracing Change!

making core values real additional mechanisms
Making core values real – Additional mechanisms
  • Part of every Sales presentation
  • Core value mugs for clients
  • Core value Calendars for clients (show)
  • Core value cups for coffee (show)
  • Intranet
  • ……. Wherever we can
  • One of the most important things we have ever done
  • They can’t be fake. You are your core values, your core values are you.
  • Engage your staff – at all levels
  • Make them real (KEY) – Live the core values.
next chapter what is wordstream
Next Chapter – What is WordStream?

Keywords are a company’s most strategic marketing asset.

WordStream’s product suite helps you manage and act on this valuable, proprietary data, significantly impacting your ROI from search engine marketing.

wordstream next steps
WordStream - Next Steps
  • WordStream does not have any documented Core Values
  • The company needs to form a strong culture (void of this today)
  • We will do a core values exercise later this year (I need to live in the company for a bit first)