History of Thriveal
When Jason Blumer worked for a multi-office firm in South Carolina from 1998 to 2003, he saw the benefits of firms collaborating to meet common goals. However, this collaboration happened within a large alliance and did not meet the need for community. Still, the seed was planted and the idea for a network of small firms joining together for support was planted in his mind.
In 2003, Jason became what is known in Thriveal as a Cliff Jumper, one who leaves employment to run his or her own firm. As many new firm leaders do, Jason wore a suit and tie and copied a lot of the paper processes and ideas of his previous employer. Feeling the need and the desire for support and relationships, he reached out to local CPAs in Greenville, SC. While these relationships have been valuable, Jason was less traditional than the CPAs he was meeting locally.
In 2007, Jason began blogging at Thriveal.com. The name was meant to inspire his own customers to move beyond survival and to thrive instead. As he became a more active blogger, the focus shifted to an audience of CPAs rather than small business owners in general. Online relationships began forming with CPAs around the country and were further solidified as social media became more and more popular. A community seemed to be growing.
The name was meant to inspire his own customers to move beyond survival and to thrive instead.
Jason Blumer officially formed the THRIVEal +CPA Network in November 2010 with a press release and an online family meeting to share the vision with potential members.
In February, 2011, Jason Blumer hosted the first Thriveal Community Call for members. Since then, online Community Calls have been held every other month for members to discuss a topic relevant to small firm owners. Topics have included marketing, pricing, building an onboarding process, family support, and more.
In July 2011, Jason Blumer began leading the first Pioneering the New Firm Coaching Course with seven members. Chris Farmand, Adrian Simmons, Tyler Winn, Carol LeBlanc, Jonathan Godwin, Scott Kregel, and Mac McSwain were the first group to take the course. Each of them have become leaders in Thriveal and in the wider accounting community. The course guides firms owners to be more strategic in every aspect of their business, including pricing, customer selection, services offered, etc.
It was the introduction of the LinkedIn group and the membership explosion around this time that created the need for a community manager.
Also in July 2011, Thriveal began using a private LinkedIn group as an additional way for members to connect and build community. It was the introduction of the LinkedIn group and the membership explosion around this time that created the need for a community manager. Jennifer Blumer began her work (officially) in Thriveal, helping new members join and moderating the LinkedIn boards. Jennifer’s role has expanded as the community has grown. The LinkedIn group is still available to members at all levels. However, it is less active now that members in the top two levels use Yammer to collaborate.
One of the goals Jason had for Thriveal from the time it launched was to produce a podcast. Jason met his co-host, Greg Kyte, in January 2011 at a VeraSage event in Napa, CA. Greg was asked not too long after that if he would consider co-hosting the new Thriveal podcast with Jason, officially titled The Thrivecast. The first show was released on August 4, 2011 with Jason and Greg interviewing one another and discussing articles from The Harvard Business Review. Beginning with the second show, Jason and Greg have always followed their discussion of relevant and interesting business topics by interviewing a guest. The first guest was Greg LaFollette. Other guests have included prominent people within the accounting profession as well as thought leaders in the business world. Most shows are released monthly around the 25th. There have been a few shows recorded with a live audience as well. A live show in Las Vegas featured Tom Hood and Mark Koziel, a live show in Austin, TX at SXSW featured Jody Padar and Tom Hood. Two shows have been recorded at the Thriveal Learning gatherings in Greenville, SC. The first one featured Ron Baker and Ed Kless and the second one featured Jody Thompson.
The podcast was originally co-created with The Cloud Solutions Alliance, which consisted of Shoeboxed, Avalara, Freshbooks, SmartVault, XCM Solutions, and Fujitsu ScanSnap Community.
In October 2011, Thriveal hosted it’s first live Learning Gathering with Ron Baker and Ed Kless as the speakers. The gathering was held in Greenville, South Carolina and included two full days of teaching on the topic of value pricing at The Firm of The Future Symposium. The event also featured a live recording of the Thrivecast with the speakers as featured guests.
In December, 2011 a second online Family Meeting was held for members and the 3 membership levels were introduced. Yammer was to become the main platform for building community beginning in 2012. Subgroups within Yammer were created for Thriveal tribes, each led by a firm owner who had demonstrated leadership in the community. The tribe leaders were Adrian Simmons, Joey Brannon, Jody Padar, Jonathan Godwin, Scott Kregel, Mac McSwain, and Chris Farmand. In the summer of 2012, a new tribe was added and was led by Carol LeBlanc.
Thriveal hosted its first Software Week May 14-18, 2012 with the goal of helping members know what is available to them and their customers in the area of cloud computing. Eight online software companies presented demos to the Thriveal members including Saasu, Freshbooks, Bill.com, ConceptBoard, Fathom, LessAccounting, Intuit, and Wave Accounting. All demos were recorded and made available to members in Yammer.
The Pioneering the new Coaching Course was offered again in 2012 with a new group of students. Additionally, a new self study version of the course was introduced as an more affordable and flexible option for taking the course.
Thriveal’s second learning gathering, called Deeper Weekend, was held in October 2012. The Big Ideas Journal was introduced at the welcome reception, and Jason Blumer led a Design Thinking workshop the first full day. Jody Thompson, co-author of Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It was the speaker for the second day. She taught the attendees how to implement a Results Only Work Environment. Thriveal also introduced the new logo, tagline and website preview at Deeper Weekend 2012.
The third Family Meeting was held in December 2012 introducing three new levels of membership (Builder, Craftsman and Artisan) to further encourage the members growth in the profession.