RJ Schultz on Disrupting the Billboard Industry and the Intrapreneurial Spirit – A Scroll Sessions Recap

In the eighth episode of the Scroll Sessions podcast, hosts Dan Page and Shane Hickenlooper welcome a remarkable guest, RJ Schultz. RJ, known for his role in disrupting the traditional billboard industry with his company Blip, shares insights on his journey from government service to being a pivotal figure in the business world.

The Unexpected Path to Entrepreneurship

RJ begins by discussing his unexpected journey into the business world. With a background in aeronautical science and a stint in government intelligence, RJ’s path was far from the typical entrepreneurial route. A turning point came when he realized the need for a change after seeing the impact of his career on his family life. This realization led him to business school, where he discovered his passion for business and entrepreneurship.

Lessons in Execution and Efficiency

Throughout his career, RJ emphasizes the importance of execution over strategy. He cites experiences at Amazon and Lucid, where he learned the value of efficient execution and the power of a well-coordinated team. His experience in these companies shaped his approach to business, focusing on creating effective systems and fostering a culture of efficiency.

Blip: A Revolution in Billboard Advertising

RJ’s current venture, Blip, stands as a testament to his innovative spirit. Blip, akin to Uber in its business model, serves as a scheduling algorithm that connects digital billboard owners with advertisers. This model has democratized billboard advertising, allowing businesses of all sizes to participate in a space once dominated by large corporations with significant advertising budgets.

The Future of Marketing: Personal Connection and Leverage

Looking ahead, RJ predicts a shift in marketing towards personal connections and leveraged audiences. In an era where consumers are bombarded with digital ads, RJ believes that marketing strategies will increasingly focus on building emotional connections and utilizing influential voices to create demand.

Embracing the Intrapreneurial Spirit

RJ’s journey is a compelling example of intrapreneurship – driving innovation and new business ideas within existing organizations. His story is a powerful reminder of the impact one can make by combining the security of a traditional career with the creative freedom of entrepreneurship.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/schultzrj/

https://www.blipbillboards.com/


Podcast Transcript

For the full story and insights from RJ Schultz, listen to Episode #8 of Scroll Sessions.

[Music] baby [Music]

0:12

welcome RJ thank you good to be here we’re excited to have you on the podcast I’m Dan I’m Shane and uh this is scroll

0:19

sessions fantastic well RJ uh can you just tell us a little bit about your

0:25

background sure um and who you are here I am RJ Schultz I am a business transplant like I did

0:34

not grow up thinking I would be here today to not grow up with aspirations to like start companies or even work at a

0:40

company right I spent the first few years of my professional life in the

0:45

government like the military went to school studied aeronautical science concurrently got a pilot’s license and

0:51

then joined a like an intelligence program affiliated with the Army right out of school and so

0:57

that sent me into three years of training okay so here I am like 26 27 28 or whatever never

1:04

having really worked in the real world yet um but I went operational after that training and

1:11

had fun man I had a lot of fun got to see some of the world that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise yeah got to

1:16

see some places I have seen again but like through different glasses which has been been pretty cool

1:23

um but I realized very quickly that I did not want a life in the government in fact I I decided to transition to

1:30

business through business school and the impetus was I was home I was gone a lot with the government when I came home once I had a three-year-old son he’s

1:36

like two and a half three at this time and we were playing with these trucks he’s like obsessed with cars and trucks

1:42

at this time and he’s just like Dad fun I’m like yeah buddy I think so too

1:47

and he’s like next time I want to do it at your house I’m like oh man like my

1:54

son doesn’t even think I live here you know what I mean yeah yeah and so that

1:59

year I quit and I or I went inactive still Affiliated

2:04

um but I went to business school and at that point like I’m up all night Googling like what is next if not

2:11

government like what’s out there for me I had no idea um I Googled you know

2:16

best ways to further your education like what are my options and I settled on an MBA program and I went and took the test

2:24

I’m like what do you got to take this test what is this thing it’s a monster and so I I went in and took a cold I was

2:30

like putting my application together and I’m starting to realize people like identify the desire to go to business

2:36

school like in high school sometimes and they select their college based on that yeah and they’re like taking GMAT prep

2:42

courses on the side and paying thousands of dollars for um tutoring and like help on all this

2:48

and this is like their goal I’m like oh my goodness dude I am I am behind yeah

2:53

and when I got to business school like I applied to one School uh luckily I really really enjoyed it because when I

2:59

got there I realized oh my gosh this is like a world where people are like plugging into options and all this and I

3:06

get there and I am a fish out of water dude you know like going from the government yeah nothing I can talk about or I’ve done is

3:14

applicable to any of these conversations with you people you know like one one guy’s you know his he’s the son of the

3:20

CEO of a global Hotel chain that you’ve stayed at and his dad’s like go back to school and get an MBA and prove yourself

3:26

and so you can take over the family business everyone else is like yeah I just sold a business for a cool little

3:32

million but I want to learn how to do it you know on bigger scale and you know one guy was an early investor in Pixar

3:38

and cashed out and he just was going to school because his wife’s parents are from that town he didn’t even recruit for a job afterwards you know what I

3:44

mean like all these folks and here I am just like I don’t even know how to spell entrepreneurship literally don’t know if

3:51

the e or the U come comes first you know what I mean yeah don’t ask me good thing for spell check that’s what gram release

3:57

for yeah I went to Duke University oh wow okay

4:02

and it was it was fun man it was a lot of fun um I took this class so I uh through the

4:09

government I’d applied to this McKinsey and Company thing this McKinsey emerging scholar thing and I became a

4:15

semi-finalist I thought oh this is what I want to do for sure and then I got to school and started meeting these people

4:21

and I’m like that is not I want to do like I don’t want to work for anybody let alone like yeah anyway I don’t

4:27

disparage that publicly but um because it’s a fantastic route but I I started taking classes that

4:34

really changed like helped me find that thing that I was like okay I need to put my claws into something yeah and what

4:40

were the classes that you took that shift your mindset on that yeah good question there were a few one one was uh

4:47

consumer behavior in nature I’m not sure exactly what it’s called but you know on day one we had the CEO of either

4:53

starkist or Bumblebee tuna come in and he’s like hey I’m so-and-so I’m the CEO whichever one of those I can’t remember

4:58

but we’re chasing down the other one so if it was bumblebees like we’re chasing down starkists they’re crushing Us in this part of the world for these reasons

5:05

and I I just want to know why right like we’ve put these what I think are very Innovative things into place and they’re

5:11

just not taking um I’ll be back in 12 weeks or whatever the semester length was and I’ll hear

5:16

your pitches and I’ll give five grand of the the idea we Implement right so right there it’s like we don’t even have class

5:21

we had access to some of the starkist or Bumblebee team and we were talking with them and like

5:27

getting to work on their problems and that was the first time that I was ever like this is fun like yeah strategy and

5:34

execution and like making changes you could go to a grocery store and see implemented the next week type thing I’m

5:39

like this stuff is really really fun yeah and um so stuff like that um it was a blast there’s another uh

5:47

class I think it was called like entrepreneurial execution I should remember that because I stay in touch with the professor but he uh

5:54

he is someone who I am like patterning my life after because he went and he got

6:00

an MBA and then a PhD but then jumped into entrepreneurship and he stayed in the Research Triangle so in North

6:06

Carolina you have like you have Duke and UNC you have NC State in your Wake Forest and lots of research comes out of

6:14

those institutions right and a lot of the research is ripe for commercialization and so you’ll see a

6:20

handful of professors adjunct and otherwise that stay there and just kind of like shoot fish in a barrel with

6:25

student-led research of like this commercialize that and so he had done it

6:30

three times and he’s on his fourth uh and that the previous three they had exited for a total of 1.5 billion and so

6:37

this like these things are happening right they’re not just like apps in people’s basements and so

6:43

he like opened my eyes man just opened my eyes to how simple and let me qualify that simple entrepreneurship

6:49

entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship is very complex and very difficult yeah um but we make it increasingly so right

6:56

like it is as simple as build something for someone in particular right like that’s as simple

7:03

as it needs to be and and so he really drove that home that class was

7:08

Monumental for my mind shift that’s cool like my mindset shift and then there is

7:13

another one you know with all that that research going on like like Duke in particular has has a huge law school and

7:19

a huge Medical School a big PHD programs in in the biomedical and Engineering spaces and so a lot of research is

7:26

coming out of there and the schools will get together once a year and hold this like this Shark Tank like event instead

7:33

of pitching your idea for investment and this one in particular you’re pitching your idea uh trying to get like

7:39

a business component to your team right like I’ve been you know heads down for five years researching and I’m ready to

7:45

start thinking about commercialization and so I went to one of those joined up with a team and

7:51

that became like a semester or two of my classes like the the University was giving credits for that I didn’t have to

7:57

go to class but like literally building a business with these professors who were independently wealthy themselves

8:03

from their Enterprise and now they’re here you know volunteering their time to help us do the same and so that type of

8:09

experiential learning was just like oh my gosh I love this wow yeah what a cool program it was awesome to me I feel like

8:16

I actually didn’t finish school so and I owe it not always but a lot of times

8:21

I’ll talk so much crap on yeah undergrads but then I hear about certain programs

8:28

that just blow my mind the fact that uh Duke has such a cool program where you were able to be immersed in actual

8:35

business and work with companies like that’s what school should be so that’s just such an awesome absolutely such an

8:41

awesome experience and to backtrack on that you applied to one school which was Duke and you got it yeah because and you

8:48

took a test to get in blind like what the GMAT like just the regular I mean

8:54

everyone takes it NBA wow yeah but I was lucky because like a business school and

9:01

I I served on the admissions committee in my second year just to kind of give back and I learned a lot I’m like dude I was lucky because a business school has

9:08

to think about okay um you know like there are rankings right

9:13

um a business class to think like I’m going to bring in 400 or 800 people and I need to make them happy on the back end or

9:20

else our name is dragged through this price so if they bring anything up yeah if they bring in uh if they bring in a

9:26

class full of people from Wall Street who want to go right back to Wall Street like 90 of those people are not getting

9:32

their dream jobs and they’re going to be disgruntled right so they have to piece together a class that allows them to

9:37

deliver on this transformative experience right and so I was like literally the only guy coming from the Pentagon yeah and so

9:45

um I didn’t have to be like the the best at the test and you know and stuff like

9:50

that I think I was unique enough they’re like oh this guy can come in oh and he wants to do entrepreneurial things so we

9:55

don’t have to worry about him like we’ll focus on everyone else so I just kind of slid in my luck

10:01

100 got into Duke off of a blind GMAT test yeah just amazing goes to show I

10:08

think uh who you are and what your uh education is I appreciate the kind words you brought up you brought up execution

10:15

and simplifying entrepreneurship I think like following you on LinkedIn and

10:21

seeing a lot about what you talk about a lot of it has to do with like execution and executing you know even if you don’t

10:29

exactly have a plan right um talk to us a little bit about that seems like that’s kind of maybe become

10:35

your your mission lately and it kind of maybe came from probably military but

10:41

yeah I I think execution is extremely important in business and it’s it’s like

10:47

the least sexy part of it right strategies wherever it wants to be I want to be an analyst I want to be a

10:53

strategy guy yeah it’s like cool how much money is that paper strategy bringing into your company like it’s

10:58

nothing until it’s executed upon yeah and so I think the most important thing that we’ve done

11:04

um you know I’ve worked at three companies Amazon Lucid are now blip since business school and each of those

11:11

places had a really particular focus on execution that taught me how important

11:17

it was right like it it it all comes down to how you execute you know I was even

11:22

last night as I was doing a little bit of like strategy and planning personally right like I love LinkedIn and I see so

11:31

much gold on there like so much and I’m like man that person just just said it the right way and I’m like I gotta save

11:37

that because I need to reference it later I wish LinkedIn LinkedIn if you’re listening I wish there was some type of uh

11:42

um organizational component to the saving because it only goes yeah just one little yeah it’s kind of annoying

11:48

yeah on that so I have a spreadsheet and it gives me a second pass I’m like why did I say this uh and I’ll delete it or

11:55

something but if if the second pass I’m still like man that’s amazing I’ll put into the spreadsheet you know based on

12:01

topic and as I’m building this I do refer to it quite often when we need but

12:07

I’m thinking how worthless are you know these 30 or 40 posts I have saved here

12:12

until I like it’d be better I’d be better served to just pick one of these

12:17

highlight it yellow and refer to it every day until I Implement what it’s teaching me right yeah and it all comes

12:23

back to activity versus accomplishment we get so lost you know this false sense

12:28

of accomplishment when we’re just doing activities when we’re just like spinning the wheels busy um busy yeah I

12:35

help I advise companies on the side and and was talking to someone who’s like yeah dude my bread and butter is I work

12:41

hard I’m like the last person to leave the office I’m always working I’m like what what have you accomplished like what are your top three needle movers

12:48

just like well I mean I I and it was just like I work hard I work hard I work hard I’m like well

12:54

man I think I’d rather have someone that works less hard but does things that are meaningful to the company which ties

13:00

back to the the root of your executionary path your executional path that has to start with like vision and

13:06

the way you communicate it and the way you hold people accountable in yourself and things like that but yeah execution

13:11

is an art that because it’s not sexy is not it’s just not a focus yeah and and I’m

13:18

sure all conversations will lead into this since we’re since we’re in the text space but the way that Tech is

13:24

conditioned like the rock stars so to speak to emerge where companies can

13:29

exist based on the ability to grow Top Line only and like that doesn’t

13:35

highlight the need for really fine-tuned execution right like forever it’s just like I can grow and grow and grow it

13:43

costs me a ton of money I’m not profitable yeah people like me you know what I mean like and you’ll do that for

13:49

10 years 10 15 years yeah and then it’ll just die off it’ll just go away I’ll cash out before then it’ll be someone

13:54

else’s friends I think we’re seeing a shift where you know business owners we are forced

14:01

to start treating our business finances like we do our personal finances you know what I mean words

14:07

unit economics should Rule and execution is the Crux of whether or not you can

14:12

play the unit economics game right yeah one thing that I’ve noticed in our agency is uh it’s hard to reward

14:19

execution on the Fulfillment side where it’s easy to reward it on the sales side but as far as compensation goes yeah

14:26

yeah it’s really easy to say hey if you sell something you make X percentage of commission that’s how sales is always

14:32

gone yep but on the Fulfillment side I’d love to hear your thoughts like how do you reward execution from like a comp

14:38

plan uh where fulfillment gets a new task and they have to do it and you want

14:44

to be able to reward them for hitting a certain level of execution so let me

14:49

Define fulfillment real quick to make sure I understand correctly is that just the the execution of the service you’re providing right right yeah okay yeah

14:55

yeah yeah I think that you know um and this this gives some insight into

15:01

my my style of leadership here it’s like I don’t need to be the guy to answer that at blip I need to have have leaders

15:08

in our company that can do that in a tailored manner for their Department we do that together and so I will answer

15:14

that question because I do have some great thoughts on that um great in terms of size maybe not

15:19

quality we’ve thought a lot about this year but like um where you can’t Quantified dollars in

15:25

tomorrow from what you’re doing today what can you use to measure whether or

15:30

not you are implementing or executing effectively and so I think that you need to find some of those maybe more

15:36

qualitative dipstick measure marks you can do this in conjunction with with

15:41

customers like level of Happiness level of ideation I think that anything that

15:46

we’re doing in delivering in terms of delivering our service need to start with a baseline like where we’re at that

15:53

forces our executioners to really be intentional about what they’re doing because if they

15:59

can’t say I’m trying to do this for this purpose then it’s not going to be optimal it’s not going to be optimally

16:04

done and it’s not going to make a difference if no one recognizes the change that has been made from it right so even if you’re not bringing in

16:10

dollars it’s like if we’re setting out with a campaign to try and affect you

16:16

know your organic traffic or your this or you’re that let’s let’s start with a baseline measurement so that we can

16:21

track how well our execution has moved the needle yeah I love that I like that

16:29

because sales people always get rewarded for the sale of what will be executed

16:35

but yeah execution is all the work and a lot of times fulfillment doesn’t necessarily get rewarded for that so

16:40

we’ve been playing with that idea like how do we uh how do we reward our fulfillment team for extremely quality

16:47

execution and what is that like quantitative uh yeah we have a it is hard

16:54

um we have a team internal team at blip that we call a

16:59

data and automation team right and um four individuals who are

17:06

just I’m not even going to tell you their names because anyone listening might try and steal them they are

17:11

fantastic um we’ve got HubSpot experts on that team people who are neck deep in the

17:17

gpt4 movement and the stuff that that can do right and so what they’re doing is going around to every unit every

17:24

business unit in the company and just saying can I sit next to you for a week what do you do like what are your daily

17:29

tasks and how are you executing against us and they’re making observations and then putting plans together with those

17:36

stakeholders to like automate their job and so we will um have regular touch points where we

17:42

talk about okay what do we learn about what the customer success team or the marketing the sales team are doing in their day-to-day and how much time are

17:48

they spending and so with the automations we can track how much more efficient those teams are

17:54

becoming yeah how are spent or whatever and and that helps us start to quantify

17:59

the the effect of execution as it moves further and further away from like Revenue one and that I mean that’s my

18:06

favorite that’s my favorite initiative favorite meeting that we have yeah just to watch that our saved column grow it’s

18:11

it’s I mean I’ve done the same thing at our company we’ve been going around and

18:16

literally uh I mean with our Riders especially with our copywriters and

18:22

people that are writing SEO content people that are writing blogs like we’ve taken one of our Riders and basically

18:29

10xed the amount of output that she can do so there’s automation tools yeah and

18:35

just pretty much completely eliminated all of our writing contractors yeah yeah so I mean it’s it’s pretty it’s pretty

18:42

amazing we’ve done the same thing with our with our Facebook and Google teams I’ve built tools that will allow them to

18:48

be able to execute it’s awesome in a faster Pace it’s super fun right now like AI is going to quite literally

18:55

change the landscape yeah I mean it already has and it’s you know just moving at an incredible speed I mean it

19:02

used to take like a year or two you know for people to roll out products and you see

19:08

Microsoft acquire this and literally inject it immediately into all of their products in a matter of weeks I wonder

19:14

if Microsoft asked chat GPT how could we incorporate yeah

19:20

but yeah no yesterday we have two people that are out uh because one got married

19:25

and one just had a baby and they’re both ad buyers so I had to kind of step in

19:31

over the last few days and take on all these be tactical yeah and I literally yesterday was building a brand

19:38

new Google campaign for a customer that had never ran one before and the customer does like noise surveys I had

19:46

no didn’t know anything but yeah I knew nothing about the industry they work on

19:51

construction sites a lot and I didn’t have a ton of time to dive in on this but I literally put the website into

19:57

chat GPT and said act like a Google ads expert help me dissect this come up with

20:02

keyword suggestions it helped me just wow it’s formatted everything for me so

20:08

it’s like hey here’s some keyword ideas I’m not gonna just use them word for word but man it saved me an hour and a

20:15

half of research by just formatting the research for it wow wow wow crazy what

20:20

it’s able to do in our industry and Dan’s been building out a lot of products that when somebody submits an onboarding form all those prompts are

20:27

already done so our team gets a filled out form that’s like hey we did a ton of research it’s dissected here you go go

20:33

build the campaign within about 30 seconds after our client

20:41

fills out the off-boarding I mean onboarding form please not the yeah

20:46

automated the onboarding form within about 30 seconds our entire team gets a document that four-page document that is

20:54

all dissected information based on what they filled out and gives them everything they need to go execute so

21:00

this is like requirements for the campaign yeah exactly here’s keyword suggestions here’s

21:06

headline suggestions here’s descriptions here’s an audience breakdown based on

21:11

their target audience here’s like all this stuff you know so that’s pretty cool it’s not perfect no yeah but it’s a

21:18

really good start and that’s at least for now how you should use AI like yeah

21:23

hopefully people are using it to enhance like you’re and especially like what

21:29

it’s doing is taking average people and making them like excellent for the most

21:34

part yeah that’s me yeah it’s like wow you know a lot about noise

21:40

surveys yeah well and the problem is you you want you want and need and should

21:45

become excellent you know yeah use AI to do that but absolutely but um so as far

21:52

as blip goes you started at Amazon after school what did you do for Amazon so I was part I was in their Emerging Markets

21:59

department and essentially this is 2016. so what we were doing was um extending

22:05

we’re taking the the marketplace as you know it to other countries right and that became a game of like we want to

22:11

set up fulfillment centers and you know contract agreements with suppliers and stuff in these countries uh no we do not

22:17

we just want to make like a extend the internal eBay part of it right so we go to like the UK or Mexico or Canada and

22:25

uh or rather we’d go to the the sellers in the U.S who are doing really well and just say hey can we cross list your

22:30

stuff in the US and Canada and the UK and Canada and so we’re just extending the marketplace to other countries and

22:36

it was just fun that was another another like um I mean there’s a high job yeah it was a

22:43

good little travel job but it was another another like first for me really getting a taste of what it’s like to be

22:49

an entrepreneur um because we’re meeting with all these manufacturers and I realize that these manufacturers have Engineers on their

22:56

team who are just building stuff like coming up with ideas ideating and just creating things and they’re all you know

23:04

ready for white label no one’s touching them yeah half the world doesn’t even know they exist and I’m just thinking like what is that oh yeah I just just

23:11

made this who’s buying it nobody can I like yeah so we we and Amazon

23:16

encouraged us to do this because it made us better at our jobs we all had e-commerce stores running on the side

23:21

and I was like man I put my first product and this is probably gonna get in trouble for this but

23:27

um I put my first product on the store I didn’t know what I was doing and I

23:32

checked my account like a month later I’m like 10 grand in profit I haven’t even touched this thing yeah so this

23:38

thing’s like bringing in 10 grand a month yeah and that was the power of Amazon back in those days that has since

23:44

changed um I ran an Amazon store Amazon yeah that’s what led to this I sold it and it

23:49

helped me oh really about this but yeah fantastic same thing oh so you know the you know the fun you know the highs and

23:55

the lows like yeah I I still do Amazon on the side I’ve got teams that run it so I don’t I don’t I don’t do it but

24:02

when I get into it I’m like I don’t even recognize what’s going on here anymore it is so complex yeah like I couldn’t do

24:07

it by myself so did you work with sellers or did you work with like as Amazon you worked with independent

24:14

seller accounts right and yeah I’m listed yeah we work with both um suppliers and sellers we tried to

24:20

create sellers you know I mentioned we try to convert sellers to other countries yeah yeah we’re just we looked

24:26

at a country and we’re just trying to improve price and selection you know for for consumers there so you are an

24:33

entrepreneur on the side still there because you’re running this Amazon business yeah same one that you started in 2016 yeah yeah and you have va’s

24:41

around it for you now yeah that’s awesome Epic that was like my goal back in the day yeah that’s really cool so

24:46

you went from Amazon to lucid yep and talk about you talked earlier about kind

24:53

of execution and how each of these companies like I guess the culture of execution was a little bit different how

25:00

going from Amazon to Lucid here were you back in Utah at this point I came to

25:06

Utah before Lucid yeah where were you with Amazon Seattle Seattle yeah did Amazon by the way have a good culture of

25:15

for example everything I would assume of Amazon is that they care 100 about

25:20

consumer yeah right so like as a seller on Amazon I always felt like oh Amazon

25:25

does not give a crap about me they just yeah okay they’ll shut me down if they want you know but yeah what was the

25:30

culture at Amazon when it came to Sellers and consumers did they want you to focus on the consumer more or the

25:36

seller yeah I can only speak to the culture of like my department right because Amazon is an ecosystem but my

25:43

hiring uh my getting hired there coincided with I think it might have been the same summer or or right after

25:49

if you remember though was it New York Times or Wall Street Journal article that talked about how people are crying at their desks yeah yeah and so I

25:56

brought that up in every interview and like explain this you know like what do you have to say yeah and I thought my

26:02

interviewers handed it real excuse me handled it really well um one piece of information that we

26:07

didn’t get I think that the article took some journalistic Liberties like most of all of them do

26:13

um yeah one of my interviewers just like look that person the source for that article the main source was on my team

26:20

um she had been gone for a year by the time the article was written she left on her own accord and in that year I have been

26:26

invited to her wedding and I attended we’re still friends to this day when I read that I’m like I don’t remember you

26:34

know what I mean um but that’s not to say that like harsh conditions didn’t exist Amazon is a very customer-centric

26:39

company a customer obsession is like Chief among their their principals for leadership right

26:44

in my experience though I my managers were fantastic my team was great I had

26:50

all the time off that I wanted as long as things were getting done right they really valued work-life balance I loved

26:56

it in fact when I went to Luca I’m like dang I made the wrong choice I miss Amazon I I’d love to Lucid though Lucid

27:03

is fantastic but um I loved Amazon I really did and Lucid seemed like it has

27:08

a I had had some friends that worked there it’s pretty amazing work culture

27:13

for the most part and they like they have their hackathon and they’ve got some other really interesting work

27:19

culture things talk a little bit more about lucid or for people who don’t know what Lucid is I’ll start by talking

27:25

about Amazon because Amazon there are a lot of fantastic people but it’s hard to it’s hard to really

27:31

hone in on where support plus luck stops and like raw

27:39

talent and just perseverance starts because even though we each operated as like independent little entrepreneurial

27:45

units like we’re part of Amazon you know I mean like you had funding anything you wanted to do had money behind it

27:51

um so I get to lucid and it’s small at that time and there was none of that backing them and so I got to see like

27:58

the silhouette of how fantastic these people were and the the early leaders of that company are among the best I’ve

28:03

ever worked with in my career they are fantastic people fantastic entrepreneurs

28:09

like so good I mean look what they’ve done with a flow chart yeah you know what I mean with the simple yeah the

28:15

simple idea of what they started with into what it is today is pretty darn cool yeah so I felt like the big aha

28:23

like wow this is fun Talent blah blah blah at Amazon that I experienced or was first exposed to because that is not

28:30

what you find in the government um I feel like that big aha was just

28:36

diluted to its truest most foundational component in everyone I met at lucid and

28:42

I was just like this place is awesome yeah because you went from a very customer-centric company right Amazon

28:48

was we want to focus on the consumer and the consumers really build the product it’s like the consumers asked for

28:54

something Amazon goes and tries to build it where at Lucid was it a shift of uh

29:00

we’re just a product focused company we want to build this really amazing flow chart like where was it at when you were

29:08

there yeah it was starting to turn that corner because of all the traction that just building that flowchart product had

29:15

brought yeah all the organic growth you know caused everyone’s eyeballs to be turned

29:22

toward who was finding this on their own and like what can we do to start building for them and so in the first

29:27

couple of years of my tenure there um what did you do what did you do for them by the way Business Development

29:33

okay strategy and operations in a partner ecosystem a couple of things than the last year I started the

29:40

government vertical which is now thriving with not because of me just

29:45

because of the opportunity there but they’ve got a really good leader in place of that unit and it’s just

29:51

crushing like he’s taking them into fedramp certification which allows them to serve the federal government I mean

29:58

like it’s rocking because of who’s leading it federal government has has a nice budget yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah I I

30:07

mean yeah yeah well that’s cool well and so with with Lucid so you came in you

30:13

were helping develop the product with like your team and trying to go after

30:19

new verticals or what what exactly were you doing a good question yes so my first team in this business development

30:24

Focus we had was really taking the product as it had already been built excuse me in finding better ways to

30:31

distribute it through Partners so for example we recognized we have a ton of users who are also G Suite users or are

30:38

also 365 users right so let’s go knock on Google and Microsoft store and say

30:44

we’re serving the same person and in the case of Microsoft like they’re choosing us over your crappy Vizio right yeah so

30:51

let’s work together in something in PowerPoint yeah it would be a huge win

30:56

if we could take this product and even if we needed to you know Lop off the top tenth and and rebuild that you know last

31:02

10 percent for your customers purposes or your ecosystem purposes like let’s do that let’s build an integration and then

31:09

just have you push it down and so you’ll notice in in Excel for example you can have a lucidchart button add in like in

31:16

your Ribbon like bam natively oh that’s cool through integration so stuff like that or we partnered with Salesforce

31:23

yeah um Google and those guys so it was a partnership play for distribution so

31:28

um and go you kind of had an entrepreneurial route then right where you worked for Amazon but you had a very

31:35

entrepreneurial role at Amazon and then same with Lucid you had an entrepreneurial role it seems like

31:41

you’ve done a lot of Entrepreneurship can you talk about why you feel like entrepreneurship has maybe some more

31:47

benefits than entrepreneurship yeah um that’s a really good question I think

31:52

I have to open up my heart to like pour out the answer because you know with uh

31:59

the e-commerce thing on the side and I like I have a brand I’m about to launch so I’m very excited about a very Niche

32:06

brand happy to talk about but um as I’m doing those things and then simultaneously doing the intra type

32:13

stuff you notice the stark contrast between like doing something for someone who has a ton of money and it’s funded

32:19

in their support and there’s like help and over here it’s just like dude I don’t know if this is going to be a thing tomorrow you know what I mean

32:26

um so you really I really have felt the difference between um I choose my words carefully here but the

32:32

difference between the level of ease with which you can like find progress

32:38

when you have support and you don’t have support and you have funding you don’t have funding when this is somebody else’s half-baked idea where 10 other

32:45

people smarter than you are helping you bring it to life and this is something that’s happening in your closet you know what I mean yeah um and so I don’t have

32:51

a full picture of the straight up entrepreneurial route because if the interest stuff wasn’t

32:57

there and I was focused on this brand full time I would have a semblance of that team like helping me out right we

33:03

would have more eyes and more power behind it but for now in The Limited

33:08

capacity that that’s been the stark contrast and the difference yeah tell us about the brand oh I’m curious to know

33:14

yeah so um or yeah launching a crowdfunding

33:19

campaign can’t say Kickstarter or or Indiegogo or anything because they won’t allow the product on the platform

33:25

because it’s related to Firearms okay but it becomes it comes from a problem that I experienced time and time again

33:32

with the weapon of choice in the US government so we use the M4 or the air 15 yeah style weapon right has a star

33:39

chamber in it to extract and load each bullet okay and that Star Chamber gets gunked up with the residue from the

33:47

explosion that sends the bullet out the barrel right and so a few hundred rounds in like you’re jamming and there’s even

33:53

a butt and a Fortis it’s called a Ford assist there’s like a jam Rod button thing that I like trying to shove the

34:00

bullet in there in case it’s gunked up and it’s just like you’re building this into your product because you know it sucks you know I mean that’s uh

34:06

Star Chamber is just so finicky it needs to be clean right and so we would spend hours after using the weapons to like

34:13

make sure they’re maintained and cleaned and when you’re in the field that’s really hard yeah and even when you’re

34:19

not in the field it’s very very time consuming like if you’re in a regular line unit in the Army and you have like range day for example where everyone’s

34:25

going out to qualify with their rifles like your training officer will schedule four hour block after that for everyone

34:32

to clean their weapons and so we built this machine it’s about a foot long

34:37

maybe six inches high and worthy to note that the AR-15 or the M4

34:43

they are two pieces joined together right there’s a lower and an upper and so the machine

34:49

is designed to replicate the shape the reception excuse me this liquid death is crushing me yeah sorry it’s so good uh

34:57

replicate the reception of the lower so you take your weapon apart and you put the upper on top of the machine the

35:03

upper is what has the Star Chamber and the dirty place and then we’ve just really borrowed technology from like a

35:09

dental water pick um yeah transducer powered um jewelry

35:15

cleaner and like a a regular old yard sprinkler and so it’ll this boom will insert into the Star Chamber and just

35:22

rotate with pressure that you can control and just clean it in 30 seconds and so we built a prototype I call my

35:29

buddies in the Army and I’m like when are you at the range next so we showed up at the Armory when they had that four

35:34

hour block to clean their weapons and I’m just like line them up put it on the table 30 seconds 30 seconds and

35:40

everyone’s just like sign me up and so um

35:45

good and bad a lot of demand because it solves the problem that everyone I mean if you when we did our little bit of

35:50

customer research it’s like what what is the worst part about owning an A and they’re just like cleaning that thing

35:55

man Star Chamber you know yeah and so that’s good but the bad part is those people don’t have any money you know

36:01

what I mean like the Army does not make you rich yeah so um yeah and since it’s gun related like

36:07

it it can’t it’s time yeah it’s a lot harder to Market them for sure but it’s

36:13

that’s a super cool product and obviously you’re solving a a big need and big problem that’s the first place to look when you’re creating products

36:20

yeah the military like this is an issue that happens even in the military that you can go and Pitch to the government

36:26

and get yeah exactly so that’s yeah so we’re hopeful that if we can crowdfund

36:32

enough to like manufacture this thing like right now the the biggest cost of

36:37

his hurdle will be the injection mold required to like make this thing and 77 000 ticket item right there geez

36:45

um but if we can crowdfund enough to produce this um that that is the path we’ll pursue

36:51

yeah you know like contracts with the government for sure wow that’s really cool yeah that’s super cool and so you

36:56

you’ve gone from Lucid now to blip how did that transition happen it

37:02

transitioned with a website forgot to mention while we’re still plugging

37:09

starchamberspaw.com go check it out and if you’re interested in that kind of stuff it’s crowdfunded

37:15

so you can get it yeah so yeah so right now the starchamber spa.com will take you to a page that lets you know a

37:22

campaign is forthcoming like uh give us your email to let you know you’re you’re interested in learning when it’s

37:28

launched so cool taking taking interest now but yeah yeah so you asked to

37:34

transition from Lucid to blip yeah um so Lucid Lucid is not a small company

37:42

anymore it’s a very very large company and as it made that transition um many of the

37:48

people at that time myself included were just like hey it’s not for me anymore I like the smaller stuff for sure I like

37:54

the yeah it’s the earlier stages are a lot more fun and once that gets in your

37:59

blood like anything else just feels like it’s inefficient or just like yeah

38:05

um but lucid’s done a great job of carrying their momentum and even even building on top of their early momentum

38:10

it’s still a fantastic company to work for um but I just started looking and got a

38:17

couple of offers which just once you yeah once you just make that switch in

38:22

your mind it’s like it’s hard to turn off so I was like yeah it’s time for me to leave um accepted an offer from Facebook but I

38:29

never made it there I got a call from a business school classmate who’s like hey I didn’t know you’re leaving Lucid like I’m offended you didn’t even look at our

38:36

startup man like even ask a question I’m like I didn’t know you’re doing anything so and this was blip he talked to me a

38:43

little bit about it and I flew out to Utah I had one dinner with James who’s a co-founder I’m someone I respect a ton

38:50

and love working with and after that one dinner like I renewed on Facebook and

38:55

came to blip four years ago have not looked back well three and a half years ago I have now look back man it has been

39:01

fantastic and some of those things I saw in James and then later Brent who’s the

39:07

other co-founder and and in the product and in the opportunity was like this is truly Innovation like first movers has not

39:14

been done before and maybe it’s worth taking 30 seconds and just outlining what blip is yeah

39:20

um it’s best explained or best understood when using Uber as a proxy right so like uber is a piece of

39:27

technology it’s a scheduling algorithm that sits between in the middle of a two-sided Marketplace between car owners

39:32

and car riders right Uber does not own cars they do not ride blip is exactly the same we’re a

39:37

scheduling algorithm but on one side of our Market it’s people who own signs and billboards are the most popular but

39:42

we’re talking like car Toppers or wall Scapes or whatever digital signs and then the other side of the market is people who want to advertise and so the

39:50

value prop split up is to the board owners it’s like you don’t have to

39:55

employ another sales effort to go fill this slot on your board and sell it you know

40:01

on a contract basis you can just give us access through software integration to your player give

40:07

us access to your open slots and we’ll just rifle all this demand from the other side of our market and fill them

40:12

up for you and then we’ll split the revenue on the other side of the market it’s like man I’m starting out start chamber Spa right like I don’t have a

40:19

million dollars to go spend on and who even owns the board in Times Square is there one owner is there 50 like how do

40:25

you who do you call to get up there you know what I mean and so for them they just come to a Google Maps like

40:31

interface on the website it’s like Circle in the I-15 you’ll see little dots represent boards in our ecosystem

40:36

and and you know associated with their location and hover over them for some metadata to show you like you know 400

40:43

000 people past the point of the mountain every day your best you know shot is between four and six pm or

40:49

whatever and they’ll just say like yeah this sign that sign this sign this sign in my campaign I don’t want to spend any more than you know a thousand bucks a

40:56

day or whatever it is and we’ll take those inputs and kick them out of campaign and then run it for them so

41:01

it’s like access to signs that they couldn’t have before yeah yeah your interface is real

41:07

quick do you guys do uh creative work at blip or we do yeah because that’s a that’s a big hurdle and and for us it’s

41:13

something we want to solve before it becomes a problem because people throw the craziest stuff up on a billboard and

41:20

they think like I’m gonna drive it’s gonna work yeah I’m gonna drive signups and traffic I’m like no one’s remembering your phone number no one’s

41:25

taking them like there is no call to action that should live on a billboard really yeah and it’s all in cursive and

41:32

it’s just like the weirdest contrast colors it’s just like you’re gonna cause an accident and you’re not going to get

41:38

the return you want so we do have in-house designers that help them simplify um their messaging and help them achieve

41:45

what they’re trying to accomplish and what that comes a lot of well a need for a lot of customer education on the part

41:51

of sales and marketing because Billboards do not work by themselves they’re not a single Channel

42:03

yeah expect this to happen exactly you know the the thing we like to talk about

42:09

is we like to just go to like where the rubber meets the road man there is a website out there called o

42:16

aaaoa.org and it’s the Outdoor Advertising Association of

42:22

America if I got that correct um unaffiliated totally independent but

42:27

they have a section right on their home page it’s like it used to be called proof that ooh out of home works

42:34

um it may now be called case studies or vice versa but you can drop down that menu and buy

42:40

excuse me industry have case studies and we direct people to that quite a bit one

42:46

of my favorites is is What’s Done by McDonald’s McDonald’s had a menu item they were relaunching in five cities and

42:52

these are like Dallas Oklahoma City type dmas five cities and for all five cities they did a six-week Facebook campaign

42:58

leading up to the launch and then four of the five cities they coupled billboards with that Facebook campaign and the four cities outperformed the

43:06

control City by 729 in sales 729 and that’s the message

43:12

it’s like use Billboards to make everything else you’re doing more effective and I am interested this is

43:18

going back to that consumer Behavior class I’m interested in why why does that

43:24

happen why 729 like what what is the scientific reason that’s happening and

43:30

it it touches on a little of of well you know I mentioned the three years of training six months of that was an

43:35

interrogation school and then a follow-on learning how to like work with people in in particular situations and

43:42

so I’m really interested in Psychology like yeah and the stuff that we try and

43:47

tap into wittingly or unwittingly when we when we do business right and so I think the best that I can describe it is

43:54

like when you are sitting on the toilet or whatever you’re doing with your phone and an ad is served like you’re just

44:01

you’re swiping that away as quickly as you can you’re not in shop mode but when you’re driving on the road and you’re

44:06

confronted by a billboard for eight seconds

44:12

it’s all like you are forced to psychologically ingest colors logos

44:18

maybe a couple words so the next time and you’re not going to do anything with that but the next time it surfaces on

44:23

your phone like it becomes a psychology of survival it’s the fight or flight Instinct we have fight flight or freeze

44:29

and it’s like yo Dan we’ve seen this logo colors in these words before do we need to dwell an extra second to

44:36

determine whether or not it’s a threat or a benefit and like the answer is automatically yes that is just like

44:41

human nature and that’s why Billboards plus bottom of funnel stuff is so effective you know that reminds me I

44:48

don’t know if you’ve seen Mad Men Parts because of these things with the

44:53

advertising industry like that that it’s such a good show like if you ever want

44:59

to be inspired by like old school advertising it’s such a good show but in

45:04

there they he this takes place in uh I think six it’s like the latest 50s all

45:10

the way through about the 80s is where the show ends it’s like a 30 20 year timeline

45:16

um but Prime cigarette marketing yes and they talk about one of one of the ad

45:21

agency’s main clients as a cigarette company but they talk about kind of that time when the government was like

45:27

cracking down on cigarette advertising and the psychology that went into how

45:32

they were gonna still advertise even though now this is causing cancer yeah yeah so it’s just really fascinating

45:40

horrible stuff but same with McDonald’s and the same with I mean that one of my favorite episodes is when the main

45:47

character breaks down one of their other uh clients is Kodak

45:52

yeah the film camera but they also they were releasing the film Carousel I don’t

45:57

know if you remember this it was a carousel with slide film and you could have it into a projector yeah the

46:03

projector at home right and they got I mean it’s like the only episode of probably make me emotional because I’m

46:09

also a photographer oh okay that’s my background but it was they couldn’t sell

46:14

this basically they couldn’t sell this Carousel um they released it to the market they were having a hard time selling it and

46:20

it literally came down to the emotionality of it came to the Ad Agency they took that

46:26

Carousel and made an incredibly emotional campaign surrounding like family memories at home you know all

46:34

this kind of stuff and just the psychology behind advertising is so fascinating but obviously turned around

46:40

the campaign and made Kodak into at that point well I think it’s all

46:45

about awareness too right like I might be sitting at home on my couch and see an ad that Chick-fil-A launched a new

46:52

sauce and then I think nothing of it and I forget about it but then I’m driving

46:58

on the freeway and again I see Chick-fil-A talking about how they launched a new sauce and all of a sudden

47:03

I start to create this sense of fomo where I’m like okay everyone okay all the paid social

47:11

awareness everywhere are telling me that like there’s this new I gotta go try this yeah so I think that that awareness

47:18

is huge and the funny thing about our Industries is in a way um

47:23

we fight against each other and work together so for us we tell people who

47:29

don’t have a lot of budget we’re always like oh don’t do Billboards because if you don’t have a lot of budget like

47:34

that’s not going to go anywhere I’m sure you guys would say the same thing probably yeah but then people with big

47:40

budgets we’ve totally uh played with that same concept of

47:46

Billboards are there for a reason and they provide a ton of value so I think that it’s no Triple A is that

47:52

motionplate.org yeah I think that that is going to be a super cool place for us to use to talk to people about

47:58

potentially using blit because I think I honestly think we partner yeah we are

48:04

we’ve had yeah we’ve had some quantities but because I think it would be a really uh unique approach to test uh that

48:11

system especially here locally how where do your Billboards go how many uh

48:17

areas do you work is it just Utah or you’re all over the country now all over the country okay I’ve got your partners

48:22

now right yep yeah so it’s like Times Square yep Times Square wow how cool is that yeah it’s cool how much take like

48:29

you know Chase Field and Phoenix baseball field for the Diamondbacks how

48:34

much money or even Staple Center for whatever it is now crypto Arena yeah in Los Angeles how much money are people

48:41

paying for eight seconds of their ad to appear on a screen like that like

48:47

what were your thoughts on that it probably I would ballpark like maybe a hundred grand around something around

48:54

there probably yeah for eight seconds same range eight seconds in one of those Arenas when it’s full yeah uh just for

49:01

one event yep just eight seconds one blip I would say I I’d go way lower actually I’d probably

49:09

go with like are you saying through blip or not through blip I was thinking not through yeah not through Bluetooth

49:15

well sorry let’s let’s say yeah through blue yeah because I mean if the benefit to blip is if you don’t go through blip

49:22

you have to probably sign some sort of agreement where you show up every game exactly right so I would say hey if I

49:28

want to show up for eight seconds in one of those Arenas on the main screen is that what you’re saying I don’t know

49:34

five grand five yeah it’d be a totally different service through blip but

49:39

that’s right yeah it’s average of like four to six cents so so much or six

49:44

cents wait what pennies four to six pennies for eight seconds yeah you know

49:49

Times Square 15 seconds um 20 bucks but that’s because the board owner is like I won’t do it for any

49:55

anything cheaper right um that’s crazy like this this has revolutionized going back to the

50:01

conversation with James like revolutionized the 90 eight percent of businesses that you’re talking to that

50:07

do not have and we wouldn’t tell them to spend on billboards with you because we don’t want them to come back three months later and be like it’s not

50:12

working yeah you know like the 98 of people who do not have a budget for out of home or for anything type of funnel

50:18

you know yeah like they now have access to this when they want where they want for as much as they want to pay now

50:25

granted like you’re gonna get absolutely nothing but a story from spending five cents on eight seconds right we we

50:30

recommend that a client we start working with a client when they are prepared to spend five grand a month a month

50:38

three months in conjunction with some pretty strong bottom of funnel stuff because again that’s what we’re trying to Benchmark like your return your

50:46

conversion your traffic growth stuff like that and it’s usually

50:51

five grand a month ish based on our current prices it’s a bit auction right so you pay what other people are willing

50:57

to pay yeah if I rent them on for three months and you’ll start to see things uptick like that McDonald’s yeah so how

51:03

do you uh sense I mean even in digital advertising the reason I got into digital advertising was because I’m an

51:09

analytical free yeah yeah and I love this song man and I love to track uh

51:15

everything well uh ended up not being the case because iOS 14 and cookies and

51:22

everything that’s happening so now I try and track for example I tried to track a campaign the other day integrated

51:28

shopify’s API with Facebook which should be the direct yeah yeah

51:34

correlation close as we can get these days and it’s like okay yeah you spent 1500 you made sixteen thousand I thought

51:40

wow that’s crazy good I I can’t believe that their roas is so good I hop into

51:46

their Shopify and I’m not seeing this crazy lift in their Shopify so I I get very curious about the numbers I

51:53

spend two hours diving in don’t find an answer so with blit what’s uh

51:58

attribution do you guys dive into attribution a lot what what do you do with customers so we

52:04

are trying to dive an attribution because it’s it’s it’s very hard it’s it’s a whole right and I’ll say two

52:11

things on this the first is and this is where the need for more customer education comes it’s like you have to

52:16

divorce yourself from the digital marketing way of thinking where it’s transactional one for one like I pay I

52:23

get I can check that every day it’s just not going to happen with out of home yeah um and it shouldn’t like that’s not

52:29

what you’re advertising for on a billboard right yeah it’s top funnel awareness it’s awareness and so the

52:34

second thing I’ll say is like what you should be shooting for is really understand those metrics for your

52:40

business like really understand to the degree to which it sounds like you guys do and then understand that when you

52:46

layer the Billboards on top what is changing there and so our White Glove service like our customer success team

52:52

is really forthcoming with data and dashboards and communication like regular communication we treat our

52:59

clients as like business partners to help them fine-tune the lift they are seeing and that requires starting out

53:05

with like identifying or defining the the base yeah Baseline right so it’s

53:11

hard because especially in an economic downturn like the one that we may be feeling or

53:16

whatever else to say yeah the first thing people want to do is like I got to cut my costs and then they cut off an

53:23

entire channel it’s like that’s stupid yeah I agree that you need to cut your costs your advertising spend but you

53:28

need to do so proportionately or you’re going to miss on like these exponential effects of efficiency that out of home

53:35

bring to your digital marketing stuff so yeah it’s hard man yeah or invest when other people start cutting there you go

53:42

it comes cheaper it becomes cheaper more Market yeah that’s that’s really the best time to advertise is in a downturn

53:49

when all when all of the big Brands start exceeding budgets because then everything just it just speaks well it’s

53:55

easier and to be honest this year Dan and I said we’re focusing 25 of our time on content which is why we’re doing this

54:01

podcast yeah we probably said that in every episode now um the the thing that I’ve noticed is we

54:08

have had an amazing year and we’ve grown way faster than we anticipated we’re not spending more and honestly my engagement

54:15

is way down on LinkedIn but for some reason I’m getting a lot more meaningful

54:21

business relationships just because of the consistency so and it can’t be dirt

54:26

it’s like this dark funnel thing that yeah we’ll keep talking about our dark dark social it’s we can’t directly

54:32

attribute our content to it I mean some things sometimes we can but not a lot of

54:39

the time but we can see as we’re starting something yes that something is changing yeah so I think like my whole

54:46

thought process as an entrepreneur who owns a company is I want to be seen on LinkedIn in the morning by someone I

54:53

want them to see our ad that day I want them to get on ksl.com and see an article of ours on the home page I want

54:59

them to drive into work and see a billboard of us I want them to come home and see us post from me I’m my social

55:06

platform yeah and then you know two months might go by and they’re like man I see this kid a lot like what are they

55:12

doing again I need to reach out and where do you attribute it you know you don’t it’s that top funnel awareness

55:17

you’ve got it you’re you’re pre-loading like the answer to a question they’re going to have in the future and if you

55:22

are top of mind like it will eventually will load yeah yeah I I also think I

55:29

think there’s some psychological benefit there to ramping up the awareness type

55:34

stuff in a downturn because the downturn is a signal a clear signal that the consumers you know upon whom we’re

55:40

focusing here are scared there’s fear there’s conservatism and like I don’t know but they assume we assume humans

55:49

assume that everyone else is feeling that same thing and we drive down the road and we’re like oh not those guys they are okay that’s something I want to

55:56

follow like that that person what did they know that I do not yeah like can they lead me to safety type thing and so

56:03

um not something to put all your your money into but something to be aware of like we are playing a psychological game

56:08

in business all the time okay so an idea I have is we do a partnership with blip where done we just go uh we travel to

56:17

all these unique places and time it and just go and take pictures I’m totally down totally down scroll

56:25

around the country yeah I like it I like it that’s the new tagline but that way

56:32

it gives them Insight it gives insights to people about how these are the places that you could

56:37

advertise although I’m sure that that’s like the worst customer for you guys right a

56:43

person that’s like I just want just when really you’re like know what you

56:48

want is four hours on I-15 every day or something like that

56:53

yeah I mean worst customers to build a business around but best customers for a

56:59

virality and just yeah like we are not in this only to make money right like we

57:05

feel somewhat like Robin Hood and little John because because of blip and and

57:10

this let me just think for a second to make sure this is absolutely true because I say this a lot

57:16

it feels good like yeah because of blip and only because of lip kizzic for example can

57:23

advertise in front of or right behind Nike in the same spot for a fraction of

57:28

what Nike is paying right and so totally that is like a feel-good thing for SMR you can’t build a business around people

57:34

who are spending a thousand bucks a month or 100 bucks a month or whatever it is like that is what we’re building for to give opportunities to people who

57:41

can’t and yeah I’m all about it yeah well you completely shifted my my view

57:47

on on billboards like when you said sense and I was like man all right well

57:54

we’re gonna need to change some strategies Dan always thinks big though I do think in a good way yeah

58:01

and I’m not wrong like there are some ad spaces that will cost that well definitely and I feel like you’re

58:07

thinking like oh man this is an arena Super Bowl boom you’re running before commercial yeah a couple million bucks

58:14

for yeah you think then 10 seconds you know you look at behemoths like Amazon

58:19

they spend 60 of their ad budget out of home yeah they know something that we

58:24

don’t right like and for anyone you guys included anyone listening to this podcast like hit us up directly on

58:31

LinkedIn or RJ billboards.com um and we’re happy to get people started

58:36

we’ll match call it a five thousand dollar spin will match one to one so we’ll give you ten thousand dollars of

58:42

advertising space cool in that first month um we we want to become a standard part

58:49

like a part of the standard candidate of advertising right like this is so

58:54

the opportunity to make your current efforts effective is so great like we we

59:02

just need to do what we can to get people started right like this is I mean for the times that we did go to school

59:09

took a marketing class willing to bet you never talked about Billboards like yeah that was never part of the

59:14

curriculum we’ve grown up in a generation where that’s just like a thing of the past it’s unsexy yeah well it’s not anymore like it’s it’s back

59:20

it’s back and history repeats itself we’re seeing a big Resurgence like especially because we work with a lot of

59:27

Home Service guys we’re a big Resurgence and mailers and uh you know yeah direct

59:32

direct to Consumer stuff even door hangers and door hangers like people just pulling because everybody’s pulled

59:38

back so if you do something that is stand out yeah like yeah 100 it’s super

59:43

good awareness and works right and same with billboard so but also consumers are so sick of getting blown up on their

59:50

phones at home oh yeah yeah they’re so sick of it so they’re used to seeing Billboards outside of the house and

59:56

honestly it’s a game for a lot of people like for example homie is probably the

1:00:01

greatest example of billboard usage in Utah they drove a narrative down

1:00:07

everyone’s throats yeah everyone knew who homie was I never saw an ad for them that’s true on my phone in my life yeah

1:00:14

they’re super unique about I mean spent a good from what I understand from rumors like almost like 80 of their

1:00:21

budget on billboards that was it like the rest was to other other marketing

1:00:27

agents but it’s like 100 Billboards in the markets that they were in but it’s crazy to see that how you can control a

1:00:33

narrative locally homie was focused on the Utah Market originally they controlled that narrative everyone knew

1:00:39

who they were and they’re a massive business that does a lot of Revenue now whether or not you like their model

1:00:46

um but they kill it so uh or killed it but uh there is a huge advantage to

1:00:55

Billboards that people leave out right it try marketing approaches that other

1:01:00

people aren’t trying yeah everyone’s bidding on Facebook now how do I know because cpms have gone up so much yeah

1:01:06

uh same with Tick Tock cpms are already starting to get expensive on Tick Tock so

1:01:12

Billboards are freaking awesome if you have the right marketing approach and that’s what’s cool about you saying your

1:01:18

customers are kind of like business partners you have that white glove service you have graphic support people can actually come in and get a billboard

1:01:26

that’s going to make an impact compared to like Sue’s flowers yeah yeah yeah

1:01:31

yeah yeah no dogging on whoever owns Sue’s flowers I’m sure it’s good yeah I mean

1:01:37

yeah Sue the sues of the world are actually doing something great as well like they are consistently on boards

1:01:44

within two miles of the brick and mortar store right and that drives a ton of awareness and conversion yeah so I guess

1:01:52

going back to your career path and in blip what was your career path in blip

1:01:57

to get to your CEO roll that you are in now uh and then come about for almost

1:02:03

four years maybe three and a half um and I’ve been serving as a CEO for nine

1:02:08

months eight or nine months so I started in strategy and operations on the supply side of our market and I knew less than

1:02:17

nothing about what I was doing and to this day like I am the biggest imposter out there I wake up every day I’m like I

1:02:24

shouldn’t be here you know what I mean but that that’s a good thing for a couple reasons because it means you’re

1:02:30

being stretched it means you’re developing it means you’re growing and like it means we are truly if we are

1:02:36

facing problems we’ve never solved before that means we’re making progress and like there is innovation taking place underneath our feet now you know

1:02:43

that’s really good mindset yeah so I started there in the supply side of the business and luckily

1:02:49

um Chad Smith had had that side of the business on lockdown and so he he was

1:02:54

like my chat GPT before GPT was a thing he literally knew everyone in the

1:03:00

industry knows everything about the business and so we worked together to like fine-tune our approach to making

1:03:07

money for the sign owners and making sure we had the inventory that the

1:03:12

advertisers actually wanted to spend on yeah right because Time Square is way different than rural Iowa and yeah for

1:03:18

sure you know one board is not one board not all boards are created equally so I started there moved to more business

1:03:24

operations uh General operations for the business so I started to Encompass that started to encompassing some of the go

1:03:29

to market side yeah the marketplace um and in 2021 with the same number of

1:03:36

employees we uh three and a half x’d our revenue and I’m talking like um on the

1:03:42

order of double-digit millions yeah same number of employees at 56. wow at the

1:03:48

time and what that means is the team got hyper efficient like yeah super focused

1:03:55

super efficient and that speaks to the execution thing right execution can’t be what it should be if everyone’s not

1:04:02

executing on the same thing right so that yeah that creates the need for a driver in the business to say like what

1:04:10

are we trying to accomplish for whom and why and how and as you move away down

1:04:15

that waterfall to the how you’re relying increasingly so on people that you know

1:04:20

are outside of your own brain like this is where it becomes critically important to hire the smartest people you can find

1:04:26

you know what I mean yeah like I salivate in the interviewer seat when I

1:04:32

find someone that I just can’t even hang with intellectually I’m like you’ve got to come work here you know what I mean because five of you are going to be the

1:04:39

reason I can step away you know what I mean yeah and so super cool yeah and that was that

1:04:45

was huge for us in 2021 to just maintain the same number in place because this this gets into a pet peeve I have of

1:04:53

it’s not a pet peeve about scale it’s a pet peeve of like like misusing words words have meaning you know what I’m

1:04:58

saying like words they mean stuff and you hear people say yeah we scaled from like 50 to 100 people like that’s not

1:05:05

scale just we just talked about yeah adding people it’s not actually like

1:05:12

scaling is literally what you just talked about it is growing more with the same number yes that is scaling yeah

1:05:20

growth is not scaling growth is growth you know what I mean scaling is a disproportionately increased output

1:05:26

compared to your increased input right if you can increase your input 1X and

1:05:32

then grow your output by 5x you have scaled I mean so it’s it’s a it’s a ratio it’s a relationship between inputs

1:05:38

and outputs and we’ve we’ve just lost sight of that you know as a on the whole but um Tech side well and you see that

1:05:44

you get Twitter and lays off 80 of their staff and they’re still working just

1:05:50

fine like the whole Tech sector yeah social media it’s all bloated

1:06:00

yeah another Trend I think that plays into that or plays into what we’re going to see unfold is this solopreneur trend

1:06:07

yes I think there are going to be a lot of one-person businesses out there who serve contractually like the Enterprises

1:06:14

we all interact with every day you know what I mean and I love that I love that a lot yeah it’s going to be the power

1:06:19

back to the people of like I don’t want a W-2 I’m gonna go 1099 and you’re gonna pay me 15 more or 15 less and I’m gonna

1:06:28

have three of these you know yeah and I control my time I control how much I do for you that’s something oh my goodness

1:06:35

like I’m pushing 40 now about to turn 40 and I feel like I’ve learned way too late

1:06:41

I look back at my career choices and I’m like man if I’m honest how many of those decisions were made with people’s voices

1:06:48

in my head like thinking this is what is expected of me this is what success looks like like man if I could I can’t

1:06:55

go back and do it all over again so I will make sure that my children don’t fall victim to this but like

1:07:00

like the currency of success is level of control of your own time you know what I

1:07:06

mean like all that matters is not the conversation not the Sip Circle conversation about like what do you do

1:07:12

and how’s it been going the Kennedy’s been all that matters is like what my

1:07:17

four kids will say in the Relief Society room right before the funeral begins and

1:07:23

the viewing is ending and like my casket is going to be closed are they going to be like you know what

1:07:28

he did love us like despite whatever like he was it was good he was good or

1:07:33

are they going to be like uncontrollably sobbing like there he goes you know it’s like my spiritual Rock that’s my leader

1:07:39

like duh that yeah that mindsets mind shift

1:07:45

happened for me that mind happened for me and it is kind of yeah it is like

1:07:51

that mind shift happened for me way too late um sitting on a hill in Syria I’m just

1:07:57

like this is the literally the only thing that matters there is nothing else matters that’s amazing man and now

1:08:04

you’re taking your family to Ecuador

1:08:13

and the ability to do this because now we wouldn’t even be able to give it

1:08:20

all of the credit it serves I would love to do a second episode yeah man absolutely absolutely virtually I will

1:08:27

sing the the blip Praises as loudly and often as I can Brandon James have created something that is special that

1:08:34

is like it is so fun to be a part of blip and it starts with those two guys right there I’ll talk about that all day

1:08:40

that’s awesome yeah well we’d love to do it when you’re back in Utah because absolutely Ecuador or virtually

1:08:48

um because I think that that’s a topic we haven’t touched a lot on in this podcast and the fact that you have uh

1:08:54

just a really cool situation going on right now would be awesome to talk about okay um the the last thing that we really

1:09:01

like to ask everyone though is where do you feel like marketing is going in the future and we know that this answer is

1:09:09

uh I have no clue because marketing is always changing yeah but there are some predictable uh things so we’d love to

1:09:17

ask you like where do you see marketing since you’re in a marketing company uh where do you see it going in

1:09:24

the next five ten years one Trend so I’m not a marketer I need to make that clear so take this for what it’s worth but

1:09:32

anytime I step into like an arena where I’m not the expert the best thing I have

1:09:37

the best tool I have is to look backwards and just make sense of what’s been happening and see if I can take

1:09:42

maybe two or three data points to project a line in front of me right and so that was the most operational

1:09:50

marketing is going to operations so I I you know you think about our

1:09:56

parents and their parents and I Define marketing very simply as creating demand

1:10:02

like it’s just creating demand for whatever so it should be at least yeah yeah it’s what it should be right and so

1:10:07

back in the you know 80s and 90s demand was created from a catalog that JC Penney’s like put on your dinner table

1:10:14

right it’s like I’m gonna buy the best thing washer dryer money can buy for this family you know and because of that

1:10:19

stamp of validation like demand was being created and that’s where everyone knew to go and we’ve seen a shift in

1:10:26

that as devices have made information so accessible like people don’t want to

1:10:31

hear JCPenney tell you that JCPenney has the best washers and dryers people want to buy from people they want to buy from

1:10:38

their friends they want to see it socially validated and I think that we’re seeing that trend on LinkedIn right if I were to talk about blip all

1:10:44

day on LinkedIn we’d have zero dollars in the pipe coming from LinkedIn we have a lot of dollars in the pipe coming from

1:10:49

LinkedIn and I’ve never said a word about blip on LinkedIn right yes and neither does anyone in link then it’s

1:10:54

because I think the trend is going to even grow in the future where people

1:11:00

want to buy from people with whom they have an emotional connection like I know that guy I love what he stands for like

1:11:06

you know I’ve seen her operate under stress she is just fantastic like personal is going to win the day in

1:11:14

terms of creating demand and I think that is one of the places it’s going based on what we’ve seen in the past like the shift that’s been taking place

1:11:21

I love that I think yeah we’ve seen this shift the last I don’t know the Creator economy right the last 10 years I think

1:11:28

with the rise of influencer marketing yeah and like the d2c space and now the

1:11:33

last couple of years we’ve really and I think it’ll explode in the next couple years this this influencer Marketing in

1:11:40

B2B and I mean it’s always been a thing here’s the thing it’s always been a thing we’ve always bought emotionally

1:11:46

from people that we like but yeah it’s never like come to the Forefront it’s

1:11:52

always there’s no reason to really talked about it but we’ve always bought from people that we like of course but that’s a great Point uh it’s now just

1:11:59

becoming more apparent yeah we want to buy something like yeah we want to buy from people and I think a second thing

1:12:05

that we’ll see or or maybe not see but a second thing that will benefit those who

1:12:11

adopt fit earlier is leveraged audiences will do so much in the future for

1:12:17

creating demand for your product right so whether it be influencers or Affiliates or or otherwise like yeah

1:12:24

leveraged audiences are going to be huge for demand creation opportunity I love

1:12:30

that it’s awesome well RJ I really appreciate the conversation today super cool story we’re gonna talk more I have

1:12:38

no doubt about it it’s really cool just to hear your career path and your story of kind of coming going from the

1:12:45

government into entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurship and kind of where you are today it’s really really appreciate

1:12:51

the conversation today oh thank you thank you for having me and also blip is just such a cool

1:12:57

product the fact that it’s changing the way people can do Billboards I mean just

1:13:03

talking to you you’ve got a customer in US I’ve already been thinking about how do we create our new local strategy to

1:13:08

get Billboards online let’s do it man yeah so for us and for a lot of our local clients like we’re trying to build

1:13:14

a bigger presence here in Utah locally like 80 almost 80 90 of our clients are

1:13:19

outside of Utah yeah really yeah that’s an awesome client basis how do you guys what are your acquisition channels that

1:13:25

have been the most successful for the social social paid social LinkedIn organic yeah that’s cool man 90 Partners

1:13:33

we work with we work with a couple large white liberal partners and partners have been or probably our second biggest

1:13:39

acquisition Channel we we have plans to become a white label partner to agencies in fact I only walked in 10 minutes

1:13:45

early because I was in the parking lot answering an email from an agency owner that’s like yeah it’s time let’s do it

1:13:50

you know they handle all the advertising for a franchise a big franchise and it’s like man if we could partner with them

1:13:56

and make it easier for you guys to have all of your thousands of franchisees like marketing effectively I mean it’s

1:14:02

good for you and it’s good for us oh we’re gonna talk then yeah yeah I’m definitely gonna talk

1:14:07

um well this has been awesome thank you thank you again RJ thank you guys where did people find you

1:14:13

www do they say that anymore blip billboards.com it would be blip.com but

1:14:19

Disney owns flip.com domain I know they they bought it for a video

1:14:25

company 10 years ago shut it down and it’s just on a shelf so if anyone can

1:14:30

there’s a bounty out for blip.com yeah we’re join scroll but Twitter

1:14:36

um what about uh you personally starchamberspaw.com and also RJ on

1:14:44

LinkedIn if you just type in RJ and blip there will be no other there won’t be another one yeah

1:14:56

you’ll know which one switch I love it thanks again RJ appreciate it thank you

1:15:01

guys very much [Music]

English (auto-generated)

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Contact us today and get an audit.

Get More Leads, Close More Deals.