The Items That Michael Hoffman, CEO of Gather Voices, Needs to Lead

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Written by Alton Zenon III
Published on Jan. 27, 2021
The Items That Michael Hoffman, CEO of Gather Voices, Needs to Lead
Gather Voices

CEO Michael Hoffman co-founded Gather Voices in 2017 with the mission to make it easy for companies to master their own marketing videos. The Chicago-based startup provides businesses with software and resources to record videos on their phones and other devices. From there, users can upload videos to the Gather Voices library, where they can be edited and published.

Hoffman lives and breathes his company’s core values, so he keeps visual representations of each at his desk. Some items may surprise you. For example, which core value could golden retrievers possibly represent? Read on to find out.


CEO Michael Hoffman desk items chicago
Built In

1. Picture of Beatrix and Teddy: One of the Gather Voices’ values is “be human.” To keep that top of mind, Hoffman looks to a photo of his English cream golden retrievers — not because he thinks they’re human. But because dogs are man’s best friend, which reminds him it’s important to connect with customers personally and professionally. Plus, Hoffman said, “they’re super cute.”


2. Ring Light: The company’s core value, “be engaging,” reminds Hoffman that high-quality videos lead to user retention. Hoffman subscribes to this belief so much that he uses a ring light to enhance his visuals during video meetings from his office. 


3. “Traction:” Used by thousands of startups to master management systems, the book “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,” by Gino Wickman, is the gift Hoffman gives to each employee. “It’s the management system that we use to operate our business,” Hoffman said. “It best represents the company’s core value of ‘ambition.’”


4. Whiteboard: What better to represent the value of “openness” than a blank whiteboard? “My whiteboard lets me do big thinking, explore new ideas, and see where they go,” Hoffman said.


5. Blue Yeti Microphone: “People will watch low-quality video with good sound, but they will not watch high-quality video with bad sound,” Hoffman said. To demonstrate the core value, “be engaging,” he uses this microphone to engage the end user in videos with optimal sound quality.

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