Andrew Warner 0:04
Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, for an audience of entrepreneurs and my fascination is with with companies that have recognized that the world has changed after COVID-19 and that they’re changing with it. And they’re and I want to understand what’s working now for my audience of entrepreneurs so that we can figure out how we can grow in this in this new economy. Go to me is Ron rock, he is the founder of micro share. Micro share is they make these devices Internet of Things, I think is the way that you’d classify them, right, Ron? Yep. Before COVID-19 as he was explaining to me since I work out of a Regis office, if I happen to have gone into one of the conference rooms here where I have to pay if I’m in there, and snuck in there for an hour. In the past, people do this in the past if I would have done that recently. wouldn’t have known I would have gotten away with an hour of free conference use. But if they had a micro share device on the door, and I would have been there say maybe they give me a little bit of consideration and say 15 minutes, Andrew could or anyone can just walk in there. But if someone’s in there for more than 15 minutes, and they didn’t book the conference room, we’ll have a receptionist just walk in there and gently say, this is for paid members, can I charge it to your account? Or would you rather that we put you in our, in our other space? And that’s one of the things that their devices allowed buildings and other facilities to to to add, post COVID-19 they’re now enabling people to stay safe, and to figure out if any other team members got COVID-19. Am I right, Ron? Absolutely. Right. All right. We’re gonna find out how he built this business. What’s happening post COVID-19. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first will host your website, right? It’s called hostgator. And the second if you’re hiring developers, they will even if it’s Internet of Things, anything, they will help you find the best developers is called top towel. Run. Give me an idea. example of how somebody can use micro share post COVID. Give me Give me something that’s amazing, but also realistic.
Unknown Speaker 2:07
Sure. Well, first of all, thank you, Andrew. Thanks for having us. And before we get started, let me just make sure to clarify that I’m one of the cofounders of micro share my two partners would be quite confused if I was declaring myself as the founder. So thank you for that introduction, Chip. So micro share, we are as as you said, we’re in the Internet of Things space, which is really about putting sensors on all kinds of our environment. There’s a term called digital twin. Digital twinning is we’re going to create a virtual replica of our physical world. We’re going to digitally work before going
Andrew Warner 2:43
in the weeds. Give me Give me a specific example. Like you were talking about earlier, you’ve got a bracelet that looks like a watch. If I put that who would put it on there people and what happens if they do COVID-19 related
Unknown Speaker 2:55
post COVID-19 there’s a need now to track contact tracing. More we read every day in the paper just yesterday in the Wall Street Journal’s talking about the real fear of COVID-19 isn’t necessarily about touching dirty surfaces. It’s about you and I talking face to face closer than six feet for more than 10 minutes, that is the most optimal opportunity for COVID-19 to spread. Okay, so now think about factories and warehouses across the world that have had to shut down. white collar workers have also had to shut down. But we’re all successfully doing better than not working out at home. But we got to get these factories open, we have to get these distribution warehouses open. Because even working at home, we still want to consume our stuff. So how do I protect my employees in the most efficient way possible to make sure that I contain the spread of COVID-19. Also, how do I deep clean spaces frequently enough to limit the spread of COVID-19 I can’t afford to deep clean everything. So much Accra share has developed a contact tracing solution. It’s spun out of something we were doing for hospitals over the last few years, tracking the whereabouts of hospital beds, wheelchairs, and infusion machines inside hospitals, indoor asset tracking, we now use that same base technology to provide a wristband for every employee, okay, and it’s a wristband that does two things. It tracks are you and I Andrew talking to each other closer than six feet for more than 10 minutes. And then what happened
Andrew Warner 4:31
if we are
Unknown Speaker 4:32
it all it does is it tracks what’s called a contact event anonymously. And we’ll get back to that in a minute. So all it does is it tracks contact events. By the way, we’ve just added a really cool feature. If you and I are standing closer than six feet for more than seven minutes will start flashing a little blue light. And if we cross the 10 minute mark will will cross will flash a red light so we try to even get you to separate before the event happens. Okay, track that data anonymously. Suppose three days from now you call in sick? Yep. Hey, hey, employer, guess what I tested positive for COVID-19. Your employer will then take that badge, that wristband that you were wearing, they will look at. Who else did you have a contact event within the last two weeks, I will get notified, they won’t say hey, Andrew called in sick, they’ll let me know that you’ve had a contact event with a COVID-19 positive patient in the last two weeks. Ron, we’d like you to go get tested. The other thing we’re doing with that wristband is we’re tracking exactly where you go in the factory. So now I can look at where Andrews been in the last two weeks, and I can isolate just that part of the factory and do a deep clean. I don’t have to shut the whole factory down. Okay, so it’s that level of anonymity. privacy, what we’re doing is we’re running a two week real time database. So the under two weeks, if no contact events happen, that data just gets you gets lucky. What about this apple? Google there? They’re adding this to their mobile devices. Isn’t that competitive that then they solve it? Fantastic question. First of all, there’s a lot of environments that cell phones can’t be used. A lot of regulated industries like manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, any kind of military base, many healthcare facilities, you have to leave your smartphone in your locker. Also, when I talk about deep cleaning, the cell phone knows that you’re at 19th and market and Philadelphia, guess what’s at 19th in market a 40 storey building, right? It doesn’t know that you’re on the third floor or the 30th floor. And so I
Andrew Warner 6:42
also got to tell you, Ron, I love my iPhone. I’m obsessed with all my devices. And I can tell you all the little details of how to do everything on I don’t freaking know how to turn on one of these. What the feature that’s supposed to tell me whether I’ve come into contact with somebody else who has COVID-19
Unknown Speaker 6:59
Well, you’re not alone. But here’s one of the reasons you don’t know how to turn it on. First, you got to go download it. So I am going to ask you on your personal phone to download an app for me to track your whereabouts, meaning the employer is not going to be able to get me to go do this. And so that’s what you’re focused on. That’s around the buildings around the companies. That story doesn’t work really well. And unions, we’ve had lots of conversations with unions. unions are very protective of privacy. The last thing that Andrew needs to be worried about, I don’t know if you’re a smoker Andrew, but I’m going to, I’m going to guess probably not. The last thing you want is me tracking how many times you go to the bathroom, how many times you take a cigarette break. And so there’s there’s people are very afraid to put these apps on their phones. So now here’s the conversation. While you’re at work, I’m responsible for your well being as well. So while at work, you’re going to wear this wristband when you leave work, you take the wristband off. Now if you choose to download the Google Apple App That’s great. And there’s probably a future over the next few years where a lot of this data comes together. But right now, tactically, I need to worry about your well being while you’re in my facility, our facility, and I need a granular level of information of where you’ve been. And I need the ability to track you across multiple floors. And also one of the things I’ve heard from a lot of CEOs, they want visible signs of their efforts to show that they care. And so by having everybody wear a wristband, that’s about as visible as it
Andrew Warner 8:34
gets. Right now, everyone sees the company’s doing something. Exactly. What are you? What are your revenues?
Unknown Speaker 8:41
our revenues were privately traded company, we finished last year at about $3 million, okay, and this year will be significantly higher.
Andrew Warner 8:50
Let’s go back to what you were doing just before what were you doing before and where did this idea come from from micro share?
Unknown Speaker 8:56
So so the genesis of micro share is as we start bringing all this data together from digitally twisting the world creating sensors in our homes, our cars, our our human bodies, our eye watch all this data coming together, how do I begin to make sense of that data? We’re not necessarily interested in knowing exactly what the temperature is in a building. But we are interested in knowing what’s the temperature compared to how many people are in there compared to what’s the weather outside comparing
Andrew Warner 9:25
Why did you Why did you look in the world and say, we need to tell businesses what the temperature is in a room compared to outside.
Unknown Speaker 9:32
Because all of the goal right now, primarily in the last few years being driven by ESG and sustainability, this idea of reducing our carbon footprint, how do we begin to drive our physical world more efficiently? So we want to be able to reduce the carbon footprint we want to reduce the amount of energy we want to optimize how our space is getting used. If you look at an income statement of most companies, real estate is probably one of the top three expenses that were incurred. Yeah. How do I make sure that that space is being optimized and utilized properly? I’m looking at where would you even home? Is that expenses? Really? We wonder if white collar workers are going to come back the way they did? Right? So, occupancy, predictive cleaning, environmental monitoring, indoor asset tracking, is what you’re doing. They told you this is a problem.
Andrew Warner 10:26
What you’re doing, what were you doing before they told you this is a problem that I need to solve in the world? How did you even know it? I’m looking at your background. I don’t see where you figure that out.
Unknown Speaker 10:36
I’m not sure I understand. The question is, how did you know that this was a problem? You weren’t working in real estate? You weren’t a facilities manager somewhere? Where did you understand that? This is how did you know that this was a problem? So that’s it. That’s great. So the core software platform that we had, which is hosted on Microsoft is your, the software that we we had was designed to bring lots of disparate data together. We actually started the company seven years ago, bringing cloud services like DocuSign and Salesforce comm combining that data with data behind the firewall and your old accounting systems and your old database systems. And one of our customers at the time, in the United States, a fortune 50 company said, Hey, we’re going to get into IoT, these new sensors that are typically under $20, with a five year battery life, suddenly give us the ability to start capturing data from the bathroom, the conference, the refrigerator, the, the the environmental monitoring systems now, and and we looked at that and said, Wow, all that data is gonna have to come together. And nobody knows how to do that. And we’ve got this software platform that’s designed just to do that. So that began our interest. So
Andrew Warner 11:50
already, all these devices are making their way into offices.
Unknown Speaker 11:55
Well, the way that this company was getting ready to launch these devices, okay, and there’s a global standards body called Laura started by Symantec. And folks like orange and Vodafone and British Telecom and, and Microsoft and IBM are all members of this look Global Alliance. And we were the only software people that understood data. We joined this alliance. Okay. Next thing you know my partner, one of my co founders, Charles Paul becomes the chairman of the of the Marketing Committee of the Laura Alliance. We start seeing all these new sensors hit the market, battery powered low cost, we start marrying those sensors with our software and our packaging. And we could have gone after any vertical industry. We chose real estate because it’s not regulated. For all you entrepreneurs out there. If you can avoid a regulated industry do it because regulated industries are great for IBM and Microsoft, but not for an early stage company living off of investment dollars. So we even though my pedigree and my team financial services, insurance, health care, highly regular Related space, we went after real estate, because it’s the most expensive line item on your income statement, usually after payroll. And secondly, it’s unregulated third, everybody in the world got it. And finally, it’s been underserved from a technology perspective. Okay, so we started understanding these sensors, everybody was trying to sell them, very few people were being successful. The analogy I use is everybody was selling camshafts. They were selling really technical stuff. And we were the first to say, guess what, nobody wants a camshaft they want a car. And boy, they actually like a red one.
Andrew Warner 13:33
So what did the sensors do before? Before you added your software to them? And then what were you able to help your customer do with all the data that you got them? So the sensors before simply said
Unknown Speaker 13:46
yes or no, it’s all set.
Andrew Warner 13:49
There was someone created a sensor that said yes or no and yes, meaning somebody just passed through it.
Unknown Speaker 13:54
Well, yes. Could be on wet. Yes. Could be somebody just passed through. Yes. Could be It’s cold.
Andrew Warner 14:00
So that’s how they did. They just created the sensors. And they didn’t know what the sensors could do and what they were used for.
Unknown Speaker 14:06
The sensor manufacturers made really cool technology, a lot of interesting technology that’s in our iPhone, you know, knowing how many steps should take knowing how, how fast you’re moving, knowing where you are, okay, but that sensor still needs to then take that simple piece of data and turn it into a business insight.
Andrew Warner 14:25
Okay, now let it What’s the first business insight that you came up with that you could occupy? Our people here and how many are here?
Unknown Speaker 14:33
Are they here? How frequently they’re here? What times of day are they here? Guess what happened? Right away. Our first customer was the company that owns British Gas in the UK, the the first couple months of having our information. All the data they got was contrary to what their beliefs were. They thought they knew what the most popular spots in the building were. They thought they actually thought they needed more office space. We found out that they weren’t even using half Have the space that they were already paying for. It’s just a few hotspots and his network and people were spending
Andrew Warner 15:05
more time in, in certain areas, which made it feel like it was packed, other areas were being ignored. And so what do they do with that insight? You know?
Unknown Speaker 15:13
Sure, they begin to understand then why, why are certain areas packed and why are other spaces not? And what you find is there’s a whole lot of new thinking around around office design around a shared office space about more open spaces, little little sections. The analogy I like to use Andrew is it’s a lot like Starbucks, you know, Starbucks, 10 years ago figured out how to create a Starbucks with lots of intimate spaces. Man before then you used to go to Starbucks, and it’d be five tables always taken, and half was empty. And yet you would get your coffee and leave. Why didn’t you sit there either. They were uninviting spaces. And so being able to optimize the way that my space, my current space, it’s a much better return on investment to create space and companies like that. We work companies like Regis, they’re really good at this. So you come into these shared office spaces, and they’re at the cutting edge of understanding how to make them environmentally friendly, inviting, optimizing the square footage per person. All of those benefits come out of at the very tip of the sphere, occupancy drives everything. Okay? And so first real business solution who is buying predictive cleaning? Here’s a radical idea. But before we get to that, who
Andrew Warner 16:27
was your first client? Was it the real estate owner? Was it the the tenant or was
Unknown Speaker 16:35
that made the Internet of Things device? That’s a great question or first? first client was the tenant?
Andrew Warner 16:41
The tenant? They said, they were paying money for real estate? Why should we? Should we buy more real? Should we spend more money on real estate or is there something we could do? They were your first customers got Let me take a moment talk about my first sponsor, and then I’m gonna come back and find out about cleaning and how that became an addition to your service. My first sponsor is a company called hostgator. If you’re out there, you are listening. To me, because years ago, I decided I’m just going to experiment. And one of the experiments was what if I interview people who I’m fascinated by entrepreneurs who I want to know, know more about, and publish it. So one Friday night, I dragged the most comfortable couch that we had in our house into my home office, I sat there with my laptop, and I created a site where I could post interviews. And then that next Monday, I said, I kind of liked this idea. And I started posting interviews on there, and it became this obsession. So my little discoveries on my little experiments just closed up didn’t go anywhere, that one took off. The beauty of having a Hostgator account is if specially if you select that middle option on the page I’m about to give you as you can have unlimited hosting, so you could have unlimited experiments and see what feels right what you like, keep what you like, cancel the others. And frankly, my sense is even if you don’t like any of them, you’re going to learn how to create a site in the process. You’re going to have the the muscle memory that you’re going to be able to count on when you do have a great idea. So go to hostgator.com slash mixergy start your first experiment, maybe it’ll grow into something, maybe it won’t. Either way you will grow into something because you’ve experienced this. And if you use my slash URL, my URL with a slash mixergy at the end of it, you’ll get their lowest possible price. Hostgator comm slash mixergy and of course, it’s 100% money back guarantee. Let’s talk about cleaning and how you discover yours. I’m getting a thumbs up from Ron. I, good to see you. Did you just put yourself on mute? Yes, you did unmute yourself. I love the
Unknown Speaker 18:28
right. That was fantastic. Very well, for that.
Andrew Warner 18:30
Right. I’m gonna pat myself on the back for two. Totally did people sign up? We’re gonna find out. Tell me about. That’s that’s the way I measure success for everything that people sign up. Did I get the sale? Let’s talk about cleaning. What happened next and how did you end up cleaning. So it turns out
Unknown Speaker 18:46
that occupancy drives everything. Here’s a radical thought. How about if I just clean more thoroughly the spaces that people are using, and I use the same resources that are spending a whole lot of time cleaning faces that weren’t being used. I’m sorry to interrupt you. But you know, I’m an interrupter. I’m from New York, so I do it. I’m an I’m going to Regis office right now.
Andrew Warner 19:07
There’s nobody in the office on the floor except for me and two other people the account and someone else, the cleaning people are going door to door door to door trying to and they might be thinking that they’re making me feel more comfortable. They make me more anxious because it means somebody has opened my door. Somebody has touched the garbage to see if it’s saved themselves the time and keep me feeling better by not coming in here to clean it when I’m not in here, which is four months not coming in. That’s what we’re talking about. Right? Why are they spending time
Unknown Speaker 19:36
really what we’re talking about? That is absolutely right. So how
Andrew Warner 19:38
did you discover that that was a thing?
Unknown Speaker 19:40
Well, it turns out that the number one complaint in offices both in North America and Europe because we do a lot of business in Europe right now. The number one complaint dirty bathrooms. Now you’re at a Regis building and I bet the floor you’re on is probably one of the more crowded floors when it’s a normal time. I primarily work out of a we work in London. I can always go to the second or third floor above my floor and I’ll find a clean bathroom. The bathrooms on my floor are just asked, but the people push the cart, and they clean every bathroom the same time every day, whether it needs it or not, right? Here’s a radical idea clean the bathrooms that need to be cleaned when they need to be cleaned, improve customer satisfaction, and lower cost,
Andrew Warner 20:23
right instead of going back and checking on the bathroom that doesn’t need anything, because hardly anyone uses it. Spend twice as much on the bathroom that’s being used twice as often. How did you discover that is what I’m trying to understand, though. I would throw out that that’s a thing.
Unknown Speaker 20:36
Starting with occupancy. We’re meeting with our clients and they’re saying what else can we do with this data and viewing the lots of people in the building? And we started hearing this constant theme. Well, the bathrooms are always dirty, the bathrooms are disgusting. And they were the nice words they were using sometimes to describe the bathroom. And so we said well wait a minute, let’s let’s start counting how many people go into the bathrooms. Let’s start then we also you know The sign in sheet, often you go into a bathroom and there’s a there’s a sheet that illegible by the way with a pen hanging down and the person that cleans it is supposed to sign in. When they when they clean the bathroom. I don’t see it here in my office, but I’ve seen it, of course, said that chip Oatley, and places like that rang did now as we put it, we put a push button up that says oh, by the way, come clean the bathroom, come replace the toilet paper, please refill the soap. Oh, there’s a water leak. We had one client, they figure they saved a half a million dollars because we caught a water leak. The day it started happening as opposed to six weeks later when the ceiling below caved in. So so simple little things like that real time feedback. And and so now when you say come clean the bathroom, what you’ve really done is you’ve started a clock ticking. When the cleaner shows up. They have a small magnet on their key chain. They touch the same sensor. And now we know the cleaner has just showed up. Now the cooler is there for seven or eight minutes. When they leave, they touch it again. So now I know did you show up and stay for eight minutes? Did you show up and just stay for 30 seconds and phone it in? Right? So a lot of your facilities management companies work on service level agreements, SLA, increasingly they say, look, we’ll clean the building at cost, we won’t make any money. But we’re now going to get bonused based on meeting certain service level agreements, meaning what what that rooms are, how frequently they’re claimed, is becoming the way that they make their money. We now have the technology infrastructure to take all the guesswork out of it. Here’s how many people are pushing the button. Here’s how quickly you’re responding. Here’s how quickly things are getting cleaned. So that’s the big, big deal.
Andrew Warner 22:42
You mentioned earlier talking to your customers what was your process in the early days of talking to customers?
Unknown Speaker 22:49
So So there were you know when when you’re starting out with a new technology, you know you I’m sure your your listeners are used to hearing about Crossing the Chasm. Right, we’re very much in the early adopter phase. And so in the early adaptors right now, it’s typically people that have a problem. In the case of our first customer, their problem was they were under a lot of pressure to build new buildings. And they had a hunch that they weren’t necessarily using what they had to start with. So we had the opportunity to put in our technology and meet very frequently, because it was our first customer as well in this space. So we were keen to learn what their problems were. They they were keen to be telling us constantly. Well, what about this? What about that, and suddenly, these brainstorming sessions with your customers, nothing’s better than talking to real live customers with problems. You can’t create these solutions in a vacuum by yourselves. And a lot of entrepreneurs make that mistake. So we had real, real live customer problems that we were able to start figuring out. The other thing we brought into it early on was was data scientists. We were capturing all this data, but we wanted to make sure sure that we weren’t just making intuitive leaps that there was some data science behind. All of this data is being produced, you hear a lot about machine learning AI, big data analytics. This is this fits into all those categories. What do you know? From all this data, for example, we learned a whole lot about the difference between men’s rooms and ladies rooms. We learned a whole lot about the frequency of usage about supplies. We learned so much that as people are building new buildings in London, and we think about transgender bathrooms right now, we have more data around how you think should be thinking about designing bathrooms than probably anybody. What do you mean by an architect on a piece of paper, how do
Andrew Warner 24:44
you have transgender information
Unknown Speaker 24:47
because a lot of our in London especially there is a lot more single use bathrooms, common use bathrooms there is in the US and so tracking frequent They’re being used and and how they’re being used and what kind of supplies they’re consuming. And it’s, you know, the joke for a long time as GE micro shares really gone into the, into the bathroom, right? But, but it’s it’s amazing. It’s it’s at the cornerstone of every building we occupy has bathroom facilities, and nobody has ever captured all the data to understand based on the number of people coming into that building. What’s getting used more frequently, what supplies are being used, how do I need to think about cleaning them? How do I think about creating the mechanism for my users to communicate, there was a problem, something we all use every day and none of that infrastructure was in place.
Andrew Warner 25:41
I am noticing a lot of
Unknown Speaker 25:44
MCs all that exclude
Andrew Warner 25:45
that their bathrooms that are not for men, not for women, but for anybody and what the way it works is the toilet has its own door and you just go in and then when you’re done, you come out and you wash your hands in a shared men and women and everybody
Unknown Speaker 26:00
Andrew Warner 26:02
Right? And so are you imagine those take up a lot more space and that they you need more of them right? Or am I wrong? What have you learned about that?
Unknown Speaker 26:11
It’s it’s not a question of do they take up more space or not? It’s a question of, how many do I need per floor? Based on the anticipated use of a space to do you need more than regular bathrooms, which are men and women bathrooms, or actually know it? The more the more you shift to this, you think of all the real estate space that you take up for a full blown men’s room and a full blown women’s room, you know, about like, not surprisingly, a lot of the men’s rooms are over built, and a lot of the women’s rooms are under built.
Unknown Speaker 26:38
Yeah. So here,
Unknown Speaker 26:41
there’s understanding that at a very granular level, but when you combine the entire thing this gets back to my, my conversation earlier about digital twinning. This is a perfect example. We’re creating a virtual replica of our physical world. We’re able to learn things from that data that we were never never able to learn by simply Physically observing with a clipboard. And this is, by the way, this is how we used to capture this data in the last 20 years. And our first client had college interns there with clipboards, counting how many people were using desks. And no matter when you did it, you come back and you give them your report. And the first thing that the business manager says is, Oh, no, no, wait a minute, that week was different. It’s always a different week. Right? Right. Now you’ve got the data real time seven by 24. So even as we’re having the conversation about bathroom utilization with a client, I can say, Well, hey, let’s take a look right now. right this minute. Let’s see how the bathrooms are being used. What percentage of businesses is monitoring bathrooms?
Unknown Speaker 27:43
It’s a small percentage now, but it was it’s a step along the way. Because now we look at bathrooms as under the broad umbrella of occupancy first, predictive cleaning, second, okay, real time feedback, three those push buttons Or what we have something called touch free feedback where you just scan barcodes with your phone. And you can do all the same. How was your barista bar experience? Hey, please come help me get the TV working in the conference room a big problem at Regis. Oh, please come and empty the trash. We can do that now with smartphones and or push buttons. So you put,
Andrew Warner 28:22
I’m sorry. So you put a QR codes I’m imagining on devices. And if there’s an issue, somebody just holds their phone up to the QR code.
Unknown Speaker 28:29
Yep. Or we put really neat banners that with five buttons on it and a QR code. And as soon as you scan the QR code, those five buttons show up on your phone. Gonna be Hey, I need help getting the AV system working. Hey, please come clean the conference room. The previous folks had lunch and they didn’t clean up after themselves. Look, how was your barista bar experience today? We have one large employer who’s laying off people they’re a global fortune 500 they put them all over the place just saying how are you feeling today and again with the idea that over time We can track trends of when are people starting to get over the shock and trauma of layoffs. So there’s an infinite number of use cases for that kind of stuff. So we do occupancy, predictive cleaning, real time feedback. And then the last two of our clean equal safe is, is asset tracking, asset zoning and contact tracing. And the, the contact tracing is what we talked about with now COVID-19, you marry all those things together. And this is now what’s making our business take off. Because of this. And because of some work we’re doing with Microsoft, we found ourselves on the front page of the Financial Times about a month ago, we’ve had reached outreaches from press globally, right now, everybody wants to know about contact tracing, and what do we do to make it safe to get back to work?
Andrew Warner 29:47
You mentioning digital twinning, and I interrupted you as the first question of my interview. I said, let’s just set this right by interrupting. I’m ready to understand what that is. Now. Now that we’ve got an understanding of the business. What is digital
Unknown Speaker 30:01
Digital twinning is creating a virtual replica of our physical world. Sounds like a mouthful. Basically, it means we’re going to put sensors on everything. Our dogs and our cats, our kids, our homes, our cars are where we work. So I’m working with a company in the UK right now. They’re making sensors that go into clothing. And they want to use our platform, by the way for the data management. So imagine Andrew you’re wearing that looks like maybe a nice Ralph Lauren, nice fitting shirt, you’ve got an eye watch on, you probably have nice Nike sneakers, in the very near future. They’re all going to have sensors. And so this company is going to be monitoring that data for you. And imagine, not only are they monitoring, you’re paying them $19 a month to to get all this data off for you. we’ve now created a digital twin of Andrew, why are you doing that? Yeah, imagine getting a push notification on your phone, just as this interview ends that says Andrew, we think you better go to the hospital, we’ve been tracking 100,000 men just like you your height, your weight, your education level, your diet. And every time one of them has a heart attack, their data looks just like yours does now the day before. Okay? That’s digital twin. You can do the same thing with your home. You can do the same thing with smart cities with airports with transportation. I have a friend that works globally consulting in public transportation, we we are now building digital models that they’re tracking very precisely when people are getting on and off of buses and trains and planes. And and and being able to do this with anonymization. But to optimize travel patterns that end up reducing the amount of carbon footprint the amount of emissions and fuel that they burn, you know, so so this is about saving the planet extending the quality of life and new business opportunity. These companies like Microsoft exist, because digital twinning is starting to to explode. And it’s been thought of for more than 30 years. But the economics didn’t support it. Both the cost of the sensors and cloud infrastructure. It’s only in the last two years that Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have cloud infrastructure that what would have cost me millions of dollars just five years ago. I can now do $400 a month.
Andrew Warner 32:27
So digital twin, digital twinning is having the day the did the did the data that kind of replicates me in the cloud somewhere. And we’re talking about we have a little bit of that now. Right? I think Google Maps will keep track of where I am. That’s part of digital twinning. But there are so many more things like what my temperature is on a minute by minute basis that my digital twin should have that record in there too. How often I move my ideal would be what I’m putting in my body. I want the food that I Eat somehow recorded somewhere that’s part of my digital twin. Am I right? That’s right.
Unknown Speaker 33:04
That’s right. And I were I met a company in Germany two years ago, fascinating company. Turns out that when you’re chewing a piece of meat, it’s different than chewing a piece of chicken. And when you’re drinking a glass of wine, it’s different than drinking a glass of water, your mouth makes noise. And they’re using very sophisticated microphones to pick up the difference in noise. And soon I’m going to be able to know you consumed 800 calories today, and here’s exactly how you did it just by listening to the noise. And this is all good example the question you asked me earlier. All of this data in and of itself is interesting. But what you care about Andrew is, am I healthy? Am I about to have a significant life altering event or not? Although that data by itself does nothing all that data pulled together, integrated into one actionable insight that says Andrew go to The hospital because I’ve got 27 data points that are all being collaborated together. Even though some came from Nike, some came from Apple, some came from your your Ralph Lauren shirt. But all that data is coming together to give you an insight to take action on. That’s the big deal about that’s what Microsoft is going to do not create the devices but make sense out of it with a primary focus of businesses using it to monitor their real estate and eventually monitor and monitor people to my right. Correct. And we’re doing real estate and people right now, but we can take this same idea. Like I said, I have a health company that wants to use it for personal healthcare information. We’ve got government agencies that want to use it for lots of different, you know, private public sector initiatives. So there’s all kinds of use cases. But for an early stage company, we decided to focus on this because again, early stage companies need focus if they’re going to get themselves the combustion they need to be successful. Alright, I’m gonna talk about my second sponsor, it’s topped out every time you’ve mentioned something like a data scientist or position that involves Internet of Things. I’ve gone to top towel to see, do they have specialists in this? And sure enough, they absolutely do. The thing that top towel has been known for is starting out with this really sophisticated hiring process, to say,
Andrew Warner 35:19
let’s see if we can get people to be so revved up about how tough it is to be in the top towel database of developers that they will train for it, that they’ll spend time on it, that they’ll boast to their friends, that they end to their colleagues that they got into the top down network so that when a company like yours, Ron, like mine needs to hire a developer, we can go to top towel and get these people who’ve gone through the screening process who’ve actually made it and have been proven to be the top of the top the best of the best developers. So if someone’s listening to this interview and says, You know what, I have an idea for an Internet of Things, device or way of making sense of Internet of Things, devices that our customers already have, if they have an interest in it, but they don’t have a developer on staff to do it, they can go to Taco Bell and hire somebody who will help them with that if they need a data scientist, if they need any type of developer, the best thing they could do for their business is to go to top Tao comm slash mixergy. When they do, they’ll get put in touch with a matcher who somebody who understands the developers that they have in a top down network, who can understand the client needs, and then say, Yeah, we do have somebody like that. Let us go and find that person for you and connect you with them. If you want, you can hire them if you don’t, nothing lost. All you have to do if you’re interested in hiring, especially for those unique positions that you don’t even know where to get started finding the right person, go to top towel. In fact, if you use this URL, as you know, if you’ve listened to me for any amount of time, if use this URL that I’m about to give you you’ll get 80 hours of developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours in addition to a no risk trial period of up to two weeks. That’s top as in top of your head talent and talent to ptl comm slash mixergy top towel comm slash mixergy when you think of that, thumbs up on that Adam Very cool, very cool. Well, you could you know, when I when I was a kid, I used to love watching infomercials just to see how they sold just to see what they said. Were you into that were you into when you were a kid?
Unknown Speaker 37:12
What No. When I was a kid I I was the first kid that would repair everybody’s 10 speed bikes, then that graduated into repairing everybody’s cars. And so I’ve always been a tinkerer. I like to build things I like to to fix things I’m my wife likes to say I’m a MacGyver
Andrew Warner 37:29
today. What have you macgyvered recently,
Unknown Speaker 37:31
recently, we had a major power failure. 10 days ago, we have small tornado touchdown here in Philadelphia. We have a backup generator that was running most of the house and that was great until the backup generator failed. It kept overheating, okay and turns out air cooled and there was a foam sleeve that had rotted and I ended up taking a vinyl cutting board from my wife’s kitchen and cutting it down and duct taping it together and getting the generator to work which powered air conditioning in a nice degree plus heat wave after the tornado. So I was quite popular with my MacGyver skills and never underestimate the power of duct tape.
Andrew Warner 38:08
That’s my wife would love it if I did stuff like that. Instead, what I used to do is call somebody in and then I didn’t call them fast enough so now she is the one who just calls people in. But I would love that kind of a skill. Did you do it though, as a kid because you were charging people were you an entrepreneur too or just a tinkerer who loved it for the, for the sake of tinkering and building and making things better? I wasn’t charging people but I guess
Unknown Speaker 38:31
I was in a way when I think about it, I basically got everybody to do what I wanted them to do. will tell so my currency was I was fixing stuff so it was always Hey, let’s play basketball. Hey, let’s build a raft and go down the shabby Creek let’s, let’s go. So so you ended up becoming the natural leader. And interestingly, my very first company I started at 25 I was the first company in the in the United States to remanufactured toner cartridges and metal donor cartridges out Those things that cost a ton unless you can find a way to get old ink into a new ink into the old cartridges. But it was the exact same skill set. Andrew was tinkering with. My clients were complaining about what they cost. And it seemed crazy to me to be throwing this stuff away. And I just figured out how to do it. And so that same skill set is even a play here with micro share with our I just finished a three hour call today with folks as we’re designing the next several iterations of what contact tracing is going to look like in the next four and six quarters. And so that tinkering skill set really, from the time I was 12 is the same to today.
Unknown Speaker 39:37
What happened with your ink business?
Unknown Speaker 39:40
ended up selling it to a company in Colorado in 1989. So I was 25 when I started I was 29 when I sold it and I’ve since I’ve started several companies since so you don’t
Andrew Warner 39:51
see it here on your LinkedIn. This wasn’t Brook rock was it?
Unknown Speaker 39:54
That was Brooke rock. It was okay. Very good. You’ve done your homework. Yeah. I’m seeing
Andrew Warner 40:00
right now I’m checking it out as you’re talking,
Unknown Speaker 40:02
and I’m gonna put up until a couple years ago, you could still find Brook rock products available for Turner. And there is a nationwide program in Italy right now that is still reselling Brook rock supplies. How much did you sell the business for? Not enough. And it was 1989. So so the answer wouldn’t wouldn’t give us all the right the right perspective life changed because
Unknown Speaker 40:27
Unknown Speaker 40:29
It helped. It certainly helped. It was I was newly married and it bought a beach house and did that so yeah, so it was Wow. Okay.
Andrew Warner 40:38
I see an old infoworld article about you about now There we go. Cash for toner cartridges Brooke rock No, this might be an ad. Brooke rock is offering companies the easy and easy way to save money. Brooke rock is interested in purchasing used canon toner cartridges and the Greenfeld strip ones that’s you right. employees would actually steal
Unknown Speaker 40:58
brand new ones and send them to a For $5, so, cancel that program. We ended up doing the program with the United Way nationally called trash to beams. Okay, wow, you would send us toner cartridges and we would donate $5 to United Way on your behalf. And we were able to attract global companies like Roman Haas and get the CEO behind it with our trash two beams, take trash and put beaming smiles on recipients of United Way. Got it. So Gosh, we’re just we’re talking 1987 when that happens, so I’m surprised that that’s still available. Look
Andrew Warner 41:33
at this. And I’m going deep into the archives to find out
Unknown Speaker 41:35
all that. Oh, my Yeah.
Andrew Warner 41:38
Old classified ad. Let’s not talk about things being just perfectly in sync. things going perfectly well all the time. After COVID hit. You guys did have some customer loss, right. What happened? And then we’ll talk about the recovery. But
Unknown Speaker 41:54
what was the challenge? We had a match. We had a massive hit. We were We were targeting
Unknown Speaker 42:03
facilities management companies. So think of some of the largest in the world companies like Sodexo ISS surco, Aramark, and again, facilities management, they’ve got the most to gain and the most to lose in this in this world prior to COVID-19. They’re all working on razor thin margins, and they they need to, they’re being asked to do more with less. So it was it was a great opportunity there. But also we were going after the shared office space. So you happen to be sitting in a region. There are global companies like I wg and we work that they have a big problem with revenue leakage as you articulated in your opening. So not only do I want to clean the spaces that are being used, not only do I really care how many people are in what space at what time because every square foot matters in that business. But I have a lot of people that are coming in and using my facilities without paying for it. And they’ve agreed to pay for it so that you know they’re not really stealing. They just Hey, Andrew. Let’s let the Let’s let’s just step over here and have a quick chat. And we find ourselves squatting in a conference room for 15 minutes that matters. So we inked a large global deal with one of the biggest companies in that space. And it was significant. It might have been the largest commercial real estate IoT deal ever. And Microsoft help us help us get that deal. We wanted in February, and we lost it the week of March 16. A global si firm chose us for all of their offices around the globe. To put in perspective, both of these clients would have been about 10 million a year for five years. So that’s a big that, you know, that’s $50 million of business, the week of March 16. Both were put on hold indefinitely. Suddenly, companies like Regis, their revenues are down 70 80%. You said you’re sitting in this region right now and you’re the only one on the floor. That even before
Andrew Warner 43:55
even before San Francisco had a stay at home order. There was nobody coming into the Office. It was kind of weird. So then did you freak out Ron? What was it like for you? Did you worry?
Unknown Speaker 44:06
I worried a little bit but the same time that week, Microsoft called us and said we have a global pharmaceutical company that just reached out to us. And they asked us about micro share. And they said, We noticed that micro shares doing asset tracking in hospitals. It’s a really big deal. Knowing where the hospital bed is. I learned that if you’re in the hospital, Andrew, your relationship with your bed is more important than your relationship with your room. What do you mean? Why? So it turns out that your hospital bed is used to transport you all around all around to radiation to to rehab, whatever. Depending on your illness, that bed needs to be treated a certain way it needs to be disinfected a certain way. It’s it’s managed a certain way for turnover. And hospital beds get confused and often the cleaning crew shows up Your room and they’re cleaning the bed that somebody else wheeled in there, not the bed that you were sick in hospital bed. And then the next big thing was wheelchairs. It turns out maternity is the culprit across the board, they hoard wheelchairs. And so now if you’re in cardiology and you’re discharging a patient, you can’t discharge them till you find a wheelchair until you discharge them. You can’t bring a new patient in tracking wheelchairs, and then yes, yeah, and you were doing this before COVID. You are okay. And then why does Microsoft part about that they they brought us into the company that surco which is helping us resell these products to NHS hospitals, a Microsoft client called Microsoft and said, We noticed they’re doing asset tracking for beds, could we use that for our employees or us? pharmaceutical we will be announcing it in the press in the next three, four weeks. Because they’re global pharmaceutical that it’s really hard to get the permission to talk about but they’re getting putting us in 30 factories around the world. And guess what their very first criteria was we can’t use cell phones. Nobody’s allowed to have cell phones in the pharmaceutical manufacturing environment. Secondly, we have multi story buildings. And we not only care about contact management, we care about where you’ve been. The cell phone solution won’t work for that. And so that was the beginning of the post COVID-19 and Andrew asked if I had it, if I was worried. I’ve I’ve I’ve said many told many stories now about the week of March 16. It was the best of both worlds it was the worst of worlds. And it will all happen so quickly, that I no sooner was able to have a have a heart attack about losing all that business that we spent six months to win. When simultaneously I was getting sucked into Oh my god, this is huge. And we we also lost investors I had investors lined up in q1 we were raising a quick bridge round. $5 million. It was already committed it was done when they were going to fund in March all sudden, and these were high net worth family office sites. And they both backed out apologetically, but said, Oh my god, the world has just changed in the last two hours, and we’re just gonna have to get on the sidelines. Well, I understand that. That’s great. But my payroll isn’t taking a sideline. Right. So I suddenly had to scramble to replace the investors, which I did. I scrambled to accommodate the new opportunity. So I think I will probably have a breakdown around the middle of July. And I’ll grieve for everything that happened. But right now, I haven’t had time to do that. And meanwhile, you’ve got to be on call to do interviews like this to talk to the New York Times, Financial Times. I think you mentioned earlier, all of this and then I had to change things because of COVID earlier today and you adjusted or yesterday and you adjusted for today. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Andrew Warner 47:55
Let me close out with this. Since you mentioned investors, I was looking to see who’s investing in Micro share, and I saw Motley Fool. I thought they were a company that analyzed stocks. How are they investing?
Unknown Speaker 48:07
Well, they’re a company that analyzes stocks but they also have a subscription base for self investors. Right about the Motley Fool brand. They’ve always been the anti investor investor. That even starts with their name. And some of the biggest success in the last 20 years in startups and high tech have become Motley Fool members. Several years ago Motley Fool their members were saying, hey, well, why don’t you put together a fund where we can opt in and make investments and that’s what they did
Andrew Warner 48:41
syndicate where individuals are getting to decide that they want to invest in
Unknown Speaker 48:44
you. So individuals, no individuals decided to invest in a fund at money in the fund invested invested in you. Correct. An idea. I’ve always avoided VCs, I think we could have a whole conversation about that. I Don’t know that VCs are necessarily good for true entrepreneurs that are trying to figure things out and get the right market opportunity at the right time. So I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve been able to raise money over the last 30 years from high net worth family offices, some private equity on the low end. But when when I got the opportunity to meet these Motley Fool, I think of them as the anti VC VC. They’re very, very cool. They’re, they care about the business, they care about the entrepreneur. They try to help every step along the way. There’s no adversarial relationship. There’s no callbacks, there’s no it’s really about how do we together make this limb? So that’s why we decided to take money from other people.
Andrew Warner 49:43
I think I found them it’s Motley Fool asset management, right?
Unknown Speaker 49:47
I guess a different group.
Andrew Warner 49:49
Okay. They might report up into them. I thought it was Motley Fool ventures but Okay, all right. I’ve been googling as we’re looking. And then here’s the other thing I google. This is your device. You’re the one That goes around people’s wrists. It looks like a watch sample
Unknown Speaker 50:02
of a device. We have all different form factor badges. We have all kinds of cool stuff. Yep.
Andrew Warner 50:09
That’s it. Wow. All right. Congratulations. Congratulations on the recovery. Congratulations on finding your way in this in this new world. I feel I can understand why people and businesses are going to want to use micro share. The website is micro share.io. Right.
Unknown Speaker 50:24
Right. Cool. What’s the one free? Why
Andrew Warner 50:26
are you even doing this interview? It sounds like my people are facilities managers. What are you hoping to get out of this?
Unknown Speaker 50:30
I love being part of the entrepreneurial community and the startup community. I’ve gotten involved a lot at Drexel University. Over the years I’ve spoken at Penn. I try to mentor as much as I can. And I love the what you’re doing and I love the audience that you’re going after. And my advice for you guys is keep going. Don’t be afraid to pivot and listen to the market. If you do those things, you’ll be successful. So that’s why I do it to be able to share that of evangelical excitement with my fellow entrepreneurs and I look forward to listening to some of them. Interview with you and give me some tips as well.
Andrew Warner 51:08
Thanks Ron, the man with a great last name Ron rock with a cool frickin last name. Micro share.io is the website. Thank you so much for doing this. And thank you to the two sponsors who made this interview happen the first for everyone out there who’s hosting a website at this point, you know, tell your friends to if they’re if they need a website hosted Just go to hostgator.com slash mixergy bulletproof hosting will just nothing bulletproof. It’ll work though and they won’t charge you a lot of money. It’s really solid. And number two, after you go to hostgator.com slash mixergy when you’re ready to hire developers go to top cow comm slash mixergy. Ron, thanks so much for doing this.
Unknown Speaker 51:42
You’re welcome. Thank you, everyone.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai