Written by The Business Journal Staff
CEO | gigRONIN
Age: 44 | Family: Married to Brittany Cook, we have an eight-year old son Tosh B. Cook, two dogs and three mischievous cats. | Education: MBA Pepperdine, BS University of the Pacific
What we do:
Connect workers with available work shifts using a dynamic technology platform.
What sets gigRonin apart from other temp staffing services?
gigRonin is a temp-staffing service disruptor. Traditional staffing is generally a stodgy industry using a method of distribution that is decades old.
We provide a platform that allows worksites to match available shifts with a vetted, rated, on-demand W2 labor force. Matching elements include skills, experience, certifications, geography, language, etc.
What led to the idea of an “Uber” service for staffing?
Having spent the last 15 years in HR technology I have interacted with thousands of businesses and a consistent theme is the need for employers to easily and affordably balance staffing needs with available labor.
Of all the industries you’ve had experience in, (martial arts, marketing, HR, real estate, economic development, etc.) which one has been the most challenging?
The technology industry has the highest cost of failure when things go wrong and highest reward when things go right.
Being an outsider to the usual San Francisco/ Silicon Valley circles is also a tough hurdle to overcome since only a fraction of the venture capital that gets deployed in California goes to the Central Valley.
We mitigate these challenges by bringing great products to market and relentlessly innovating new ideas.
How has your experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helped you in your approach to business management?
After 22 years of training including earning a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu from UFC Champion Royce Gracie, I have learned that keeping calm is crucial, even when things get hectic.
Jiu-Jitsu is about applying leverage to solve problems while minimizing risk. Strategy and execution is key, just like in business management.
What did your time in the California Army National Guard teach you about leadership?
We sleep safe at night because brave souls keep watch over us. As a country and as a community, we need to do better for our veterans.
What are some of the biggest challenges in getting an app like yours off the ground?
To build the gigRonin app was a very long process. We started by hanging pieces of paper on a wall and drawing the screens.
The next step was building a functional mobile and web prototype that showed the screen mockups but was not connected to a functional back end.
Finally, we built an engine that drives the rules and workflow. Doing this is a balancing act between integrating the capabilities of today with scalability for tomorrow.
What are your roots in the Central Valley?
My great grandfather Hans Cook emigrated from Denmark in the late 1800s and worked his way across the country on the railroad.
He won enough money in a poker game to buy a farm in Clovis and was one of the first grape growers in the area.
My Grandfather Einar Cook manufactured farm implements on Shaw/Peach in the 1950’s and was one of the largest employers at the time.
My Dad Jerry Cook was the founding CEO of Grundfos Pumps, today he develops commercial real estate along with my brother Todd Cook.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Root for the Raiders, which unfortunately is frequently a great way to practice optimism in the face of adversity.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
Teaching martial arts at 15 years old taught me to be energetic and positive.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
“Life is too short to do business with jerks” is something my dad has always said.