Hi! My name is Tyler Vawser.
I create connections with people and growth in companies. Right now, I spend my waking hours building the brand and reach of Apptegy.
Nearly all of my best moments and memories involve meeting someone unexpected. For that reason, I believe in creating moments when serendipity has a higher probability.
The best way I know to do that is to bring thoughtful and interesting people together — and make it easy to talk about ideas. Outside of work, I do that by hosting dinner parties. At work, I do that in conversations and interviews. It's been a few years since my last dinner party and I expect to start them up again soon.
I spent ~4 years finding thoughtful people that find meaning in excellence at a great company, Apptegy. We've created a company in particular way without compromise. Our culture is visible, real and ever-growing. Yet the two more subtle ways that our culture stands out are: 1) challenging assumptions and 2) running contrary to traditional practices—even when that offends our expectations and egos.
Before Apptegy, I had nothing to do with recruiting, HR, People Operations. I had only ever hired and managed for my own teams. In fact, most of my career has been in marketing and working with CEOs. Now, I'm back in a lead marketing role, but it's different from past marketing and requires a different psychology.
For me, having a particular career or following a linear path means little. What means a lot is being able to visibly see my work progress and last after I’m on to what’s next.
What’s next? More serendipity. If you’re reading this, let’s chat. Set up a call for us.
Early in my career, I learned the hard way that intelligence, fame, money, and title don’t create happiness. In fact, having all of the above often leads to misery and embarrassment. Since that point, I’ve kept away from social media and done my best to live a more private life.
On the one hand I enjoy hosting dinner parties with strangers. And on the other hand, I’m someone who likes to be left alone. I want people to enjoy being around me and I also want to keep to myself.
My ideal weekly routine involves challenging myself physically, hosting a dinner party that brings 10+ great people together, a 4 hour silent meditation, a long bike ride, reading Japanese novels, building stuff with my kids, and playing a RTS game alone.
The people I respect the most are not looking for attention and don’t seek it out. If they have it , they’ve earned it and would rather it fade away.
I want those around me to be aware, creative, and thankful. Before my kids were born, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted them to be when they were 25 and 35 years old. Like my own career, I don’t particularly care what their title or field is. What I care about, and hope they do too, is that they are aware of themselves, of others, and stay out of their own head.
Creativity to me isn’t painting a canvas, but figuring it out —whatever it may be. When life throws something at you or you create your own mess, do you assume that there is a way forward and then start acting on a solution? Or does life break you and you can’t see a way forward?
Thankfulness or gratitude is the only way to live a happy life. Without it, I obsess over the future or what should have been in the past. With it, I can live in the moment and really see and hear the people that are closest to me.
Happiness to me is defined by being calm and having a challenge. I want to have (and often do have) a calmness in my mind and body. Yet, I also want a challenge that requires me to push harder than I’m used to and makes me doubt if I’m capable. When boredom is on the horizon, I lose both: calm and challenge.
Something I think about a lot but don’t talk about often is the Continental Divide Trail. If I have one big regret, it’s not hiking the CDT after college. To me the trail offers so much of what I value: an intense challenge that bears down on you for months, requires you to focus on the essentials and no luxuries/conveniences, and time alone (really alone) in the world.
In the past…
In 2015, I became friends with Nick Gray, who founded Museum Hack. There are all kinds of people in this world: extroverts, introverts, creators, consumers, thinkers, doers, etc. Nick is one of the best friends you could ask for. He showed me first hand how to be intensely intentional. Nick is an expert at bringing people together, making them feel wonderful, and connecting them to other awesome people. Nick is one of just a handful of people that shaped what I expect of myself and also gave me hope in people. With Nick’s encouragement and advice, I kicked off a series of dinner parties when I moved to Little Rock.
In 2015, I built the first marketing team at Sticker Mule. The company accelerated rapidly after we brought on some of the best teammates I’ve worked with. My experience there gave me confidence that the best people you can hire are intrinsically driven to do their best and when given autonomy will surprise you in the best ways. We achieved a lot together and built something really great that continues today.
In March 2013, I replied to an email from Noah Kagan and showed him that his email system (Aweber at the time) was sending each email 3x to his entire list. I had a good amount of experience with Aweber from some other projects and offered to help. His response, “omg. please let me give you money. you on skype?”
That kicked off my informal training into the world of Quant Based Marketing and high growth startup marketing. (Noah was #30 at Facebook and worked with Mark Zuckerberg in the early days of Facebook.) Among the marketing “lessons,” I learned to reverse engineer and “just figure it out.” For the next 2 years at night and on weekends, Noah helped me learn how to think about marketing generally and I helped Noah grow Okdork (his personal site) and email list as well as help out with some Appsumo/Sumo work.
Before all of that, in 2010 I worked for The King’s College in NYC. I started as an Executive Assistant which quickly became a wild 80-100 hour week Chief of Staff role. I’ll skip over the details to say it’s the most I’ve worked in my life and it shaped how I work now. “There’s always more time” became my mantra. Unfortunately, the work and this mantra burned me out, nearly wrecked my marriage, and showed me that if you’re going to work hard you should be careful of who you are working for and their own integrity. I continued at King’s for awhile, taking on Marketing and Development (Fundraising) before jumping into the world of startups.
Prior to living in NYC, I lived in Japan for a year + a few summers. My wife and I wanted to live internationally and decided it would be best to do that before we were too comfortable, had kids, or came up with a good excuse to stay home. We moved to Seki, Japan (Gifu-ken) —north of the large city of Nagoya. It was the same city that I spent my summers in high school living in. I like to think that I experienced normal Japan —not the otaku, anime-loving, western-projecting Japan that Americans (and others) are so weirdly obsessed with. At the time, Seki and Japan, felt like a second home that I returned to each summer.
I’m pretty sure that spending summers in Hong Kong (1x) or Japan (3x) “on my own” when I was 14 to 18 taught me that I just have to get on the plane and I can figure it out when I land. Looking back, it was probably the best preparation for real life. I booked my own flights, made my way through international airports without really knowing what I was doing (I have stories), met many new people that were both entirely different from anyone I had known and oddly familiar. Most days I set my own schedule, did manual labor, and also read a ton. On weekends, I explored, spent time with great friends, and played in the river.
This is the most I’ve written about myself but hopefully it gives you an idea of who I am, what I value, and what I’ve done so far. If you’ve read this far, my hope is that we can connect by phone, email or Zoom. I’d like to hear your story and know who you are and what you’re working on.
The easiest way to connect is by picking a time here that works for you.