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To build a digital culture, forget the digital tools

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Want to build a strong digital culture? Do it in person.

"Tools like Slack are great, but they cannot communicate your culture," Patrick Tucker, founder of True Measure Wealth Management, said at a panel at SourceMedia’s In|Vest conference in New York this month.

His point may seem like an odd one to make at a conference dedicated to technology, but he was also addressing a challenge many firms and advisors are struggling with: How to adapt to a digitized marketplace without losing the essence of what made the team successful in the first place.

"I think you have to be careful not to undervalue the importance of getting together,” said Tucker, who, in addition to running his RIA, has a second business as a coach to other advisors. "Yes, it can be a big deal. It can be expensive. But when events like this is where you have those little interactions on the side, that's oftentimes when the most important things happen."

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For his part, Tucker brings his students to Omaha, Nebraska.

"To a lot of people that's not a destination. It's not L.A. or New York or London," Tucker says. But it is home to Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. And Tucker structures education and entertainment around Berkshire's annual meeting for his students. (Thousands of people attend the conference.)

"I lose money every year on it. I don't make a penny, even though I charge for it. But I don't lose a tremendous amount, and I always get referrals out of it. And that makes up for it in another way," he said.

Find the event that works for you, he says. "Your culture will get communicated in person."

For Augustine Hong, CEO of Alexandria Capital and a fellow panelist with Tucker, communication can never be overestimated.

"I think that's the biggest mistake business owners make," Hong says. "They assume everyone will just sort of know. You need to communicate, communicate, communicate so that people who have agreed to get on the bus with you know what's expected of them."

And sometimes it’s best to say it in person, he added.

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