Digital Measures CEO and founder Matt Bartel was recently recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of the “40 Under 40” business and community leaders making a difference in southeastern Wisconsin in 2018. We sat down with him to talk about the honor, and what it means to him and Digital Measures.
Q. Talk about what it means to you to build a company like Digital Measures.
A. The person at the top of an organization gets the credit, but Digital Measures is not just me. DMers, what we call our team members, have built this company. There’s a lot of excellence here, and we’ve done it together. The company’s success is neat, but success is just a happy byproduct of doing meaningful work and making a difference for our clients.
Q. What new perspective does the “40 Under 40” recognition give you regarding your work at Digital Measures?
A. I’m thankful for the honor; it’s kind of them to recognize me like this. I think about DM’s core value of “humbly confident,” as it’s really meaningful to me. I endeavor to be humbly confident in what I do. I don’t need the spotlight of recognition. That’s not what motivates me. What gets me out of bed in the morning isn’t wanting to win awards—it’s wanting to make a positive impact for those we serve.
Q. You’re active in community service. Talk a bit about why that’s important to you.
A. I only have one life to live, and I don’t want to squander it. The thought of laying on my deathbed wishing I’d done more is terrifying. That ultimately motivates me. I want to expand my perspective and do what I can to make things better for others. It’s also important to me that I’m authentic to myself, so I serve on boards where I’m passionate about the organizations’ mission.
The three boards I’m involved with are in the spheres of arts, education and business. I’m on the board of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater because I’m an avid theater-lover, on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Entrepreneurship major advisory board because it’s my alma mater and I’m passionate about cultivating entrepreneurship, and on the Executive Committee of the Wisconsin chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) because I value the professional and personal learning and shared growth I’ve received from my experiences in YPO.
Q. You make yourself available to entrepreneurs working to start or grow a business. Could you share a bit about that experience?
A. I have significantly benefited from the help of others who have given without expectations of getting anything in return. I’m fortunate and blessed to have had those opportunities and relationships. So I make the offer pretty often—if an entrepreneur asks, I’ll take a meeting. And I love the passion and enthusiasm people have for their ideas. It’s energizing.
[You can ask for a meeting here: mbartel at digitalmeasures dot com.]
Q. What advice do you give to entrepreneurs?
A. Entrepreneurs often ask, “Is my idea going to succeed?” My response is always, “I have no idea. That’s on you. Can you make it happen?” Entrepreneurs must be willing to knock down walls to make their idea fly. Are you 100 percent committed?
Q. What response have you had to the “40 Under 40” story?
A. It’s been really cool to hear from people who I haven’t seen in years—from the person who sold us printing services for our first printed materials to old college friends. It’s been great to reconnect with people from across so many different areas and eras of my life.