Bryce Maddock: Failing His Way to Success

Frequently (and often painfully), the path to success runs straight through failure – a truth that applies equally to both professional and recreational endeavors. The road to competing an Ironman competition is littered with failure (and pain), but it makes the success of achievement that much sweeter. Bryce Maddock, founder and CEO of TaskUs, has been down that road, and tasted that success. He started with marathons, trained up to a half Ironman and finally did his first full in 2015. Ever more determined, he pushed himself to a personal best sub-ten-hour finish time before pulling back a tad on his dedication.

Ironically, that just about mimics his professional path too.

It seemed like a good idea …

"We started TaskUs as a means to have work justify our desire to travel internationally and impact the lives of people all over the world," he explains. "Our original concept was to create a virtual assistant company that would allow people to delegate individual projects or tasks rather than employ someone full or part time to complete them."

Bryce envisioned having a network of people across the globe qualified for any range of specific tasks. Creating detailed and accurate profiles of abilities and talents would allow a client's request to be routed to the best person for the need. It certainly seemed like a great concept at its inception, but reality would prove otherwise.

"In retrospect, the entire business model was a horrible failure," admits Bryce, rather frankly. "And it took us two or three years to actually realize that."

His business path may have run through a point of failure, but it did not end there.

Finding success in a start-up flop

"At some point during that three-year mess, we opened a small office in the Philippines … we realized we needed to have resources work in an office rather than from home," he explains. "That way they could be trained and managed and the operation could be run more like a traditional call center. And, we realized there was money to be made that way."

Rather than target major multinationals to pitch for call center business, Bryce consulted his friends and colleagues running start-ups. By providing a scalable service for content moderation or customer service outsourcing, TaskUs could help them scale cost effectively and profitably.

Today, TaskUs has more than 8,000 global employees with six offices around the world. They have landed companies like Tinder, Twitter, Flipagram and Eventbrite as clients, and they continue to pursue and achieve new ‘personal bests'.

Running for relief

His love for running dates back to high school, but it was not until he started TaskUs that running became a necessary diversion from his hectic – and stressful – life. In 2012, he began training for and competing in marathons.

"In 2014, I wanted to step it up another notch and start competing in Ironman Triathlons," he shares. "I started by completing a few halves and then did my first full in Idaho in 2015. That's when I started getting more and more into it."

That is also around the time when Bryce joined YPO, and the Run-Bike-Swim Network was one of the first resources he tapped.

"The Run-Bike-Swim Network has been awesome," he continues. "At once, running became not just a way to de-stress and spend time outside your mind and more in your body, but also a way of meeting other incredible people and sharing those challenges and successes. Because of the network, I have competed in triathlons in the Philippines, Vietnam and all over the world; there is always a familiar face there to with whom to share the experience."

Tasting success and wanting more

To say Bryce was bit by the running bug for a few years is an understatement. One he completed his first Ironman, running started to take over his life. In 2016, he competed in and completed six events, culminating with a personal best sub-ten-hour run in Arizona. He has realized his commitment to running was not sustainable, and has already planned a less intensive run schedule for 2017.

Just like in his business, the failures along the path in training for the Ironman were the motivations Bryce used to continue pushing towards success. When he finally did finish, the change in mindset led to his temporary compulsion to dedicate most of his waking hours to running (or thinking about running).

"During training, it is difficult to conceptualize how you can possibly complete such a feat. It's doubt that becomes the biggest barrier and causes those failures. But when you actually do it, you quickly become more comfortable and more confident," he explains. "The little voice in your head stops asking if you can finish and instead starts asking how quickly."

Michael Buenaventura

April 19, 2017