ImagiNation with Kristian Schwartz


Kristian Schwartz

Founder/Partner at The Montgomery Group

Occupation: Founder/Partner at The Montgomery Group

Age: 45

Favorite Productivity Tool: Pick one, that’s tough. Aside from the usual, I have a daily productivity planner, I live/die by. It’s a mash-up of Intelligent Change’s Productivity Planner and 5-Minute journal. The objective is to start your week/day with specific work and personal objectives, then close each day/week with a recap of what worked and did not work.

Most Recommended App: Outlook for iOS and Business Insider (I know, it’s two - not one).

Last Thing You Read: Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft, by Thor Heyerdahl. We all read Kon-Tiki as kids, yet the deeper story is amazing. Any fusion of adventure and travel is a book you will find me reading.


Twitter or Instagram handle: @kristianschwartz

Tell us about your journey? My career started at Wired magazine in San Francisco. I was young and could not fully appreciate what I was being exposed to, yet with hindsight, it left a huge imprint on how I see the world. After Wired magazine, I spent close to 20-years with digital agencies/consultancies such as Sapient and Razorfish. I loved my line of work, yet life stage wise, it was taking a toll. My wife and I had twins in 2008 and change was needed if I wanted to tuck my kids in each night. I had given a lot of thought to my Plan B and knew I wanted to be my own boss, have a flexible schedule and be able to produce a work product which is incredibly high in quality. The ‘lightbulb’ moment hit when I was sitting at my desk in San Francisco, with the following thoughts crossing my mind: When I needed specialized talent, the internal and external recruiting teams I partnered with, would always struggle. So, I took it upon myself to find these people, as I had a first-hand knowledge of was needed. I love to connect people and solve problems. I can stay close to the industry I love, yet still tuck my kids in. The rest is history. The Montgomery Group focuses on executive search assignments for marketing leaders at the intersection of brand, technology, and media. We have an incredible client roster, which includes: Intel, Disney Parks and Resorts, DigitasLBi. On a daily basis we work with the best and brightest.  Recent clients include: Intel, DigitasLBi and HBO.

What what's your favorite part of your day? All of it. I start my day and when it ends, I am shocked. I have never found myself wanting my day to end.

When do you feel most successful? When I see and make a connection that was driven by intuition. My role is part science and part art. Science is matching skills to the role and can be learned. Yet the art is best compared to Malcolm Gladwell and his concept of ‘thin slicing,’ as without my varied and collective career experience, I would be lost.

What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained? I swim laps to recharge. I try to make it to the pool six-days a week. I tried meditation and found it to be helpful, yet my challenge is time and that there is only so much of it. Swimming allows me to fuse working out and mindfulness as my brain turns off when I am in the pool.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? Cash flow. Period. Until you own a business, this will not matter. When you own a business, it will matter. You can have your best year ever, yet your accounts receivable will have peaks and valleys. How you plan for and manage these peaks and valleys is a matter of life or death. Cash flow kills a lot of businesses.

How do you optimize your day? I don’t know if it’s age, wisdom or both… yet I am rather ruthless with my time. It’s easy to focus on extraneous things to occupy time. I have my weekly/daily plan and I know what needs to happen by when. If it’s not on the plan, sorry. At the same time, this allows me to go deep and focus 100% on what matters.

Who is the person/people who allowed you to imagine more? Family. My wife and kids. My wife has supported and believed in me from day 1. I owe my success to her, hand’s down. My kids as the job and lifestyle I engineered is for them. I see them leave and come home from school every day. It does not get better than that. Going back to day one in life, I need to give credit to my parents, who taught me to work hard for what I want and to never stop.

What does imagining more mean to you and your story? It’s about knowing what you want and being fearless to attain this. The biggest barrier we face is getting in our own way.

If you could do more of one thing every day what would it be? Honestly, I’m finding my day to be working well. Maybe small things can be tweaked, yet after 20+ years of finding my way, I think I have things down. For today, as you can never stop learning.

Favorite social media platform? For work LinkedIn. For pleasure Instagram - it’s easy on the mind and who does not like looking at pretty pictures.