Ep45: How BCDVideo Grew Its Business By 40% During A Recession

JeffBurgessToday we’re talking with BCDVideo Founder Jeff Burgess. Working in the IT business since 1979, Jeff ventured out on his own and opened up  his own company in 1999. A chance meeting steered the course of his business into IP video in 2008. While the middle of a recession wasn’t the most promising time to change courses, it was the right risk to take. After a few tough years, the IP business thrived and today earns $30 million in revenue with a projected $50 million by 2015.

Keypoint takeaways:

A Chance Meeting

BCDVideo serves as a video security integrator for airports, arenas, hospitals, retail stores and corporations like HP. But Jeff says it’s not really the grim news about security issues funneling BCDVideo’s success. Instead, it’s helping businesses use video and software for intelligence and marketing analytics like what customers are doing in their stores.

Despite the the company’s rapid growth (they expect to grow over 40% in the next year), Jeff says the new video IP division of BCDVideo took shape after a chance meeting. He describes it akin to a blind date where he met a guy with the IP idea and needed a system builder. BCDVideo was already building systems for GE and other corporations, and thought the opportunity sounded like a good one. The next day, they started drafting out the specifics. Blind dates seem to work well for Jeff – it’s how he’s found several clients and his wife of 29 years.

Changing direction during a recession

The chance meeting to revolutionize the business was a great idea, but with terrible timing.  It was 2008, and the housing crisis was hurdling the entire economy into a tailspin. Jeff’s finances were also tied up building a house for his family. BCDVideo ended up losing a lot of money at the start, but knew the IP video idea was a sound one.

Today BCDVideo is almost exclusively IP oriented with only one IT customer left. Jeff seemed to intuitively know technology was rapidly changing and it was time to make the shift. He also has a solid understanding on how to get out of his own way to let the company thrive and hire the right employees to keep the business running seamlessly.

Jeff attributes successful business building with a great work ethic and infrastructure. Their current revenues are around $30 million and they expect to earn $50 million by the end of 2015. But Jeff says they’re ready to support that $50 million today. Companies looking to scale need the infrastructure in place right now, not wait and scramble to piece it together. He says a competitive marketing just won’t wait for you to do that.

Finding the right employees

But there’s something more important than building infrastructure for scaling.  Jeff says finding the right employees and offering flawless service is really the key to success. At BCDVideo, the receptionist and shipping guy are the two most important people in the business. It also happens to be the two people who make the first impression and last.

Even when BCDVideo was an IT based business, they focused on building a solid foundation by hiring the right people, and not focusing exclusively on the  boxes and wires of the business. Jeff relies on his gut instinct and weeds out gypsy wanderers to hire people invested in the company. He wants young at heart, hungry employees who are engaged and not just mindlessly pushing buttons.

“Foundation is people”, Jeff says and offers great health care coverage and traditional investment plans to keep employees happy. But more importantly, he engages employees in the company to take ownership and accountability for how they help propel the business forward. The more you get them involved and how them why what they do is vital, the greater the success.

Jeff sees business as a team sport. Without the right chemistry and vision, employees aren’t playing for the same purpose. So far his gut seems to be right. It also stands out how often he gushes over his wife after nearly 30 years, a rarity in the technology world with high-stress startup and growth demands.

First 100 customers 

“There’s no greater motivator for a sales person than debt,” Jeff tells us when asked about the hard transition in 2008. Eventually they worked their way into the position as HP’s authorized security for video, giving BCDVideo credibility as an enterprise provider.

Jeff discloses he did ask select customers in confidence before making the business model shift into the IP world. He used their feedback to take the leap, but notes that their biggest customer in that first year wasn’t even one he brought with him. It was one he met on a “business blind date.”

BCDVideo relies on word of mouth and an impeccable reputation to grow their business with an impressive 100% retain rate. BCDVideo doesn’t sell to the end user. Since they’re a security integrator, the consumer needs actual hardware to integrate with the component. They also rely on trade advertising and some social media to help spread the word. Technically, they only have 50 customers, though that means they have thousands. Their product services branch offices all over the world. When you work with one, you work with them all.

Jeff reminds us that price is important—no matter the market. BCDVideo isn’t the cheapest out there, but guarantees everything can be fixed remotely. Their integrator doesn’t have to spend extra money to fix issues or stress about technical issues. If customers always face a hassle, they’ll just go somewhere else. It’s important to have a great product, but at the end of the day customers can get that product elsewhere.

Business blind dates

Jeff seems to be the master at blind dates. It’s how he met his wife, sprouted a successful new division and landed a huge customer in that rough 2008 transition. He says he merely listens to his customers and reminds us people love talking about themselves. Hear where their pain points are and don’t rip the product they’re already using. This is good advice, since you don’t know if they personally installed it or are responsible for how it affected their bottom line.

When I ask what ratio he adheres to in terms of letting people talk over pitching business, Jeff says if he goes to a meeting and doesn’t talk at all, he feels good. He also makes a point to take notes with paper and pen and not rely on smartphone. Otherwise people may suspect you’re texting and not vested in the conversation.

No regrets

Jeff is our first guest to says he really wouldn’t give any advice to his 25-year-old self about business. He has no regrets and imagines he’d do it the same way again and thinks you learn more from your mistakes than successes. The way BCDVideo built their business, stumbled and came back was important to who they are today. Jeff figures they’re better off going through pitfalls than without.


“Building a Magnetic Culture” – Kevin Sheridan writes about taking actionable steps to creating and maintaining a company and environment with similar attraction.


Eric: Hi everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Growth Everywhere where we interview entrepreneurs and bring you personal and business growth tips. Today we have Jeff Burgess from BCDVideo. Jeff, how are you going today?

Jeff: Just fine Eric. How are you today?

Eric: Good, good. Thanks for being on the show. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself first and then we’ll go from there.

Jeff: Gladly. Happily married for twenty-nine years. Three kids. I’ve been in the IT business since 1979. Was an IT reseller. Opened up my own company in ’99 as an IT reseller. Migrated over to IP video in 2008 with about four people in the company.

Eric: BCDVideo, why don’t you tell us a little about what you guys do exactly and how are things going?

Jeff: Things are going great. What we do is we manufacture IP video recorders that run the IP video cameras and projects all over the world in airports, arenas, hospitals, schools, retail stores, big box retail, etc. We work with great partners. We work with leading camera manufacturers in the world, the leading video software manufacturers in the world, and we work with all the global and national security integrators and business is booming not so much because of the tragedies that go on every day, but really we’re seeing a lot more people using the video software for business intelligence, video analytics: what customers are doing, where customers are going in a store, etc. So a lot positive stuff going on in the way of video surveillance, not just the negativity around it.

Eric: Got it. So, what made you want to jump from, you worked in IT for a while, what made you decide to do your own kind of thing in the video surveillance storage world?

Jeff: Well it’s interesting. I just happened to meet a guy in the same kind of blind date like I met my wife. We started the company as a vision, just pure opportunity. He was looking for a system builder. We were building servers for IT Fortune 500 companies. One of those companies was GE and their security division. I didn’t realize I was building a video server for the last six year. He told me that I was. We literally, on a white paper placemat at breakfast the next day, mapped a whole strategy to take the company from IT to IP. The timing was pretty good for the most part because of what was going on in the IT world in 2008 with the housing crisis and such.

Eric: Pardon my ignorance. So, IT is information technology, obviously. What does IP mean?

Jeff: Well, it’s just a code. It’s basically Internet Protocol. [OVERLAPPING 00:03:00] It’s basically video over IT is basically what it is.

Eric: Video over IT.

Jeff: We just used the phrase IT to IP because it’s easier for me to think it that way.

Eric: Got it. Cool. So the company’s been around for thirty-five years, is that correct?

Jeff: No. I’ve been in the business for thirty-five years. The company’s been around since 1999, like fifteen years. We moved into the IP world, if you will, as a division. The original company was called BCD. So, BCDVideo was a division of and has kind of taken a life of his own and we have one IT customer left that we work with and the rest of our market of our revenue’s coming completely from the IP security integrators and distribution.

Eric: And how are revenues looking today?

Jeff: Very healthy. We did 30 million dollars last year. We’re forecasting 50 million dollars by 2015. That’d be about 40% growth.

Eric: Wow.

Jeff: Yeah, it’s a pretty exciting time.

Eric: Okay. It’s funny, I read another interview or another article with you in it and it seems like you guys have been growing year over year and it’s consistent for you guys. Is this unique to the IT/IP world? What contributes to that growth?

Jeff: A lot of it is work ethic and hard work. We built a very solid infrastructure here to support 50 million dollars of business today, not in two years, because we subscribe to the theory that you’ve got to have the infrastructure in place to support that business. You can’t get there first and try and scramble and get the right people and pieces in place because I don’t think the market will wait for you to do that.

So, a lot of our growth has come–like we are prepared to do 50 million dollars today. We’re still in that process of getting the revenue. We’ve got the customers. We’ve got the products. We’ve got the opportunities. It’s just a matter of when they come in. In our market a lot of the projects that we work on are for schools that aren’t even built yet because all the contractors have to get their bids in and all that. So, a lot of times we’ll see projects come to fruition that are two years old.

Eric: Got it. You talk about building an infrastructure for the future, you’re talking about 50 million dollars. Can you tell the audience, walk them through the process how you start to plan for the future? Do you have any key takeaways that can translate to different industries?

Jeff: Yeah. My background is IT. The guy who I met is market, but it’s just the old IT infrastructure of building a solid foundation and I honestly believe that comes from people, not from boxes and your wire and all that. We’ve really done a great job of hiring people who are invested in the company. They’re engaged employees. We’re very transparent, as much as we can be with the employees. They all realize what we do, why we do it, who we do it with, and how vital they are to our success.

I’m old school, I’m 57, I still contend that two most important people in the company are the shipper and the receptionist because she’s the first impression and he’s the last impression. So, we really went out of the way to invest in hungry young, young at heart, if you will, people who get it and cross train. I think being built as a Fortune 500 reseller really helped us because when we built our CSR infrastructure it was all based upon proactive response, really adhering to the needs and in some cases the demands of a Fortune 500 company.

All we did when we moved this over to the IP world was take that same infrastructure and just moved the pipe. Because if you think about it when you look at the global security integrators out there, like Atyko [ph 00:07:19] or Siemens, or Johnson’s Control, there’s all these great companies, they are no different than a Fortune 500 company in way of size and scope.

Eric: Got it. You talked about working with Fortune 500 companies. When you first started out, I always like to ask the question, how did you acquire your first 100 customers?

Jeff: In this business?

Eric: Yes.

Jeff: You know what? The good news is we only have fifty.

Eric: Okay.

Jeff: And by having fifty we have thousands because when you look at a lot of global integrators that we work with they’ve got branch offices all over the world. By working with one you’re working with them all. Most of the gain was done either by walk in for the camera or the software manufacturer because they sought our light solution as a solid platform to run their software on and then at that point it was mostly word of mouth. We do a lot of advertising in the trade rags, which is normal. We do a lot of twitter and all that, but for the most part it’s just word of mouth and reputation.

One thing that’s pretty amazing for us still is we’ve got 100% retaining rate with the integrator that we brought over who was using an off the shelf, even an off the shelf HP or a Dell solution because we do have a different sauce for video. Video writes differently than IT data does. With the IT background, I’ve got that background. That, to me, is the most incredible thing. I don’t believe that’s your product as much as that’s your service. We’ll always be a services company first. I don’t ever think we lost our way on that. And you can have a great product and lousy service and no-one’s going to want to buy your product.

Eric: Got it. Cool. And that makes total sense. I want to back track a little bit. It sounds like everything, the foundation of everything starts with people. What do you do to keep the people motivated? Do you have any special profit sharing equity type of stuff that you can share with the audience? Whatever it is, to retain them?

Jeff: Yes, well we have, obviously, a great healthcare program, Cadillac of insurance that we invest in, we share in. We’ve got a simple IRA, all that stuff. But more importantly I think just making them as engaged employees, that they’re not just hitting keys all day, they know why they’re hitting keys all day, why they do it. I think the more you get your employees involved in why what they do is vital to the overall picture, I’ve had great success in seeing employees grow and cross train and move on to different positions in the company because they feel they’re a part of something, not “If I’m not here it’s no big deal.” Quite the contrary. When they’re not here it is a big deal for us.

Eric: Got it. Okay.

Jeff: Sounds pretty vague, but it’s always worked for us.

Eric: Got it. It’s interesting because—it sounds like everything that you said, you talked about being married for, I believe twenty-nine year, right? It sounds like you understand–.

Jeff: Twenty-nine wonderful years.

Eric: How many years?

Jeff: Twenty-nine wonderful years.

Eric: Twenty-nine wonderful years. I think that’s a big statement in itself and that’s something we can talk about later. It seems like you know how to keep people happy overall and that’s something we can talk about later.

Jeff: They’re tougher than employees though.

Eric: When I go to your website, going back to user acquisition I look at how do we buy IP surveillance storage? On your site I see that the only way to buy is by reaching out to territory sales reps, as the main way. Do you guys sell on line? And if not, why?

Jeff: First of all we don’t sell to the end user. My end user is the security integrator whether he buys it from us directly, through size a Tyco, right through one of our distribution partners in either North America, South America, or in EMEA. But we treat the integrator as our end customer on the theory that if they like our product and it’s a consistent performing unit, and they trust it then it’s like he has this go to camera, his go to software, we’re going to be his go to box, and they’re out there project by project using one of our platforms. So, we intentionally don’t sell to the public directly. That would be for the integrator because he’s the one who’s—you couldn’t buy my box and go ahead and do a project. You still need the cameras and the other components. Our website’s more geared for the security integrator and for the distribution sales people.

Eric: Got it. So, it’s much more specialized. Okay. Great. One thing I read, did a little more research as well, you describe yourself as a non-techy person. Is that correct?

Jeff: Yeah. I’m technical to a point.

Eric: More or less we’ll just say how does a person who’s technical to a point end up hiring so much great talent? What’s one secret you can share with the audience on that?

Jeff: Well, a lot of it is that gut feeling when you first interview them, for an opener. But a lot of it is their background. We look at resumes carefully; are they gypsies? Are they a year here, a year there? Or do they have a long life at a certain locations? And we understand why people leave jobs and stuff. We’ve got other people in the hiring process beyond me who are more technical, like we’ve got the senior technical engineer here who would be the first pass anyway because he’s the one who’s going to make sure you have the certifications and all the things we need.

We have great partnerships with all the major technical companies, HP especially, where we do certification through them. But mostly that’s what we’ve got. And we’ve made mistakes, but more often than not—we put a lot of emphasis on chemistry. We’ve got thirty employees today. We’ll probably going to have like forty, forty-five within twelve months and it’s really important that there’s a chemistry, and if you will, kind of like a team sport where you’re all playing together for one purpose, and that’s a big part of our hiring is; do they play well with others?

Eric: Okay. I want to go back to the twenty-nine happy years of marriage. A lot of entrepreneurs watch this show and it’s not easy. People are so focused on business. What’s your secret to being married so long and being married, not only just twenty-nine years, its twenty-nine wonderful years? What’s the secret there?

Jeff: You probably have to ask my wife because I don’t know how she does it. All I can tell you is I kiss her goodbye every morning at 5:30 and I keep waiting for the dream to end. How’s that? It’s just compromise and knowing each other, and respecting each other. I think it’s the respect more than anything. I wish I had a better answer, but I respect her more than anybody in the world.

Eric: Great. Maybe the key is just respect. Maybe it’s as simple as that. What really interests me is, you talked about retaining 100% of your clients. What percentage do you attribute to actual product, or is it service, what exactly is the secret sauce there?

Jeff: I think the product is certainly the attention getter because it is different than off the shelf. We have a 23% higher performance video than even off the shelf HP and yet we build on HP. So, we do add our own technology into the build. It’s optimized for video streams and all that stuff. I think that’s the first attention getter. Price is always important. No matter what market you’re in people are looking at price. We’re never going to be the lowest people on the street.

We do position our product as a onetime five year cost for the cost of the project, one for five years. When there are hard drive issues and that happens to anybody who’s server, everything’s fixed remotely, it’s all done on site, third party by HP. The integrator doesn’t have to spend any extra money by putting waiver out in the street to help fix that server. So, that’s been good. But I think the service carries the day because if you don’t have the good service, no matter how good the product is, people want to deal with people who are easy to deal with. Bottom line.

There’s no different than when we go to the food store or somewhere else. Is it convenient? Are they nice? Is it always a hassle when I go there? Well, there’s also, if it’s always a hassle when I go there, I’m probably going to end up going somewhere else, because meat is meat, or vegetables are vegetables. We’ve really been very fortunate that our partnerships with the software companies and the camera companies have really helped give us credibility to new customers because they’re the ones basically promoting us to these customers saying, “You really ought to be using these guys because we know our cameras run seamlessly or our software runs flawlessly on this product.” In fact we just did a partnership with a software company that’s actually starting to sell our service, which is actually pretty cool for us.

Eric: Okay. Got it. One thing that I always ask, what’s one big struggle that you faced while growing this business?

Jeff: The fact that we started doing this migration in early 2008, around April when the U. S. housing market went to crap and, I can say crap, right?

Eric: Yeah.

Jeff: Let’s just say it wasn’t the greatest timing especially when you’re counting on your IT foundation, a very strong $21 million base of IT business, I was counting on that to fund my migration over to the video world and, let’s just say the IT market went flat at the time. The IT market went south. So, it was a struggle especially when you’re a private held company. It was an interesting struggle. We’d just started building our house.

The timing probably wasn’t perfect, but as I learned a long time ago from a guy smarter than me there’s no greater motivator for a sales person than debt. We just kept our nose to the grindstone, we kept our core competency, we kept working our path, and we’ve had great success. I won’t lie to you in 2008, 2009 we struggled for this company because we couldn’t get that transition done fast enough to IP. But we did get some early success in ’09 which really helped us when a couple of the largest integrators committed to our product which gave us, we already had the confidence, but it restored our confidence in that we were going the right way.

Eric: So was that more of, you got those deals in ’09, was that more of a timing thing than anything?

Jeff: Yeah. It wasn’t like they were big multi-million dollar deals, but they were certainly multi-million dollar opportunities and they had basically committed to our products. So, we knew we were on the right path, we just still had to maintain our way and get through the ’08, ’09 stuff which we did and again, those two companies, these are still two of our largest customers.

Eric: You just brought up an interesting question. When it comes to pricing, you typically sell, correct me if I’m wrong, it sounds like five year contracts, something like that?

Jeff: It’s not a contract or a lease. They buy it outright, but for the most part the integrator is on the hook with the customer for five years, for the life-span of their project. What we say is, “This server is built to run all five years and then some.” It’s not going to die on the first day later, but it’s built to run for five years with no touch anymore.

Eric: Okay. Got it. It’s always interesting to hear about pricing from different companies. How do you guys go about pricing your product?

Jeff: You’ve got to be competitive to the street. The street dictates the price like anything else out there, shoes, cameras, whatever. Dell, for the most part dictates price. People buy Dell. I always contend people buy Dell for the video market because they just don’t know any better and part of our process is education. Any chance we’ve had to go against a Dell we have products that do spec out against the Dell price point wise and we’ve been very successful in moving them over to our platform.

We don’t set our price system. Market dictates the price. And luckily we’ve been very fortunate by working with HP. HP is very committed to what we do. We are their authorized video security arm for the world. I guess we’re called HP for video. That’s their terminology. They’ve really helped us on price points and giving us, not only the products, but the price points we need to go attack this market. They’re our biggest fans as we’ve had this great success HP is president of the BCDVideo fan club.

Eric: Okay. When you first started this company, you’ve been in IT for a while, these Fortune 500 deals, did you already have these relationships to get things kick started?

Jeff: Yeah. When I opened the company in ’99 I had two or three accounts, if anybody would tell you differently they’re crazy, but you want to find out before you go do this, you ask a customer in confidence and you hope it stays in confidence, “Hey, if I do this, I’m not asking you to move your business, but would you at least give me a shot?”

Eric: Okay.

Jeff: They all said, “Absolutely” and that’s really how it started because you want to have that customer. As it turned out my biggest customer, we did $10 million our first year with three people. No warehouse, just an office. Our biggest customer for the year wasn’t even one of the customers that I took with me.

Eric: Wow.

Jeff: So, yeah.

Eric: Okay.

Jeff: It was a chance meeting in a restaurant, one of those blind dates. Blind dates are great, man!

Eric: Walk us through how this feels. Because, I’m calling this enterprise sales, when you go into meetings like this where you’re talking about six or seven figure deals, do you have any secret to preparation, any secret you can share with the audience on how to do these?

Jeff: The real thing is to listen to the customer. He is going to tell you what he needs if you can find him. He may be vague, he may not be vague, but if you listen you’re going to find opportunities within that conversation where you’ve got a like solution. It’s really hard to start a meeting telling him all the things you can do without knowing what he needs.

That’s where we’ve had the success is hearing where their pain points are, never ripping the product that he’s using because for all you know he’s the one that stuck it in, so if you’re ripping the product you’re ripping him, and find ways, without mentioning it by name, things that your solution does differently. That’s seems to be very fortunate for us.

Eric: Okay. I’ve read sales books. I’ve heard from other sales executives, you should listen a certain ratio and talk a certain percentage of the time. Do you have a ratio that works for you?

Jeff: People love to talk about themselves. My ratio is; if you’re at a meeting and you just shut up the whole time while the guy’s talking to you, you had a great meeting. Seriously.

Eric: Dale Carnegie.

Jeff: Yeah. Let the guy talk. Let him talk about himself and he’ll feel good. You don’t know when he’s going to start tuning you out. Just keep your mental notes and by the end of it give him a quick recap so he knows that your listening skills are there and say, “Hey, look. Here’s where I think we can help you.”

Eric: Sometimes I find myself waiting to speak instead of actually listening because it’s difficult for me to recall all these notes at the end of the conversation so it’s like I need to get what I want to say out immediately. How do you go about dealing with that?

Jeff: I have a very strange photographic memory to a point, although older age is kicking in. I have no problem taking notes during the meeting. I have my little notebook and I just make notes. I don’t think the customer sees that as a weakness. If anything they might see it as a strength because I’m detailed enough that I want to make sure I don’t miss anything that I think is key. I don’t do it on my smart phone because I think that’s when the customer thinks that you’re texting somebody else, that you’re not taking notes, so I use an old fashion notebook, a paper notebook and a pen.

Eric: That works?

Jeff: It works. Yeah.

Eric: Okay. Great. Aside from the time in 2008, it sounded like there was a struggle there, but was there any point in time, maybe when you first started or a year after, was there any point where the company was on the brink of failure?

Jeff: We were never on the brink of failure. We were lucky. We had built, by 2008 we were like nine years into it. We had built great credit up with our vendors. We had a couple of tough years as we were doing the transition, lost some money along the way, significant money along the way, but we noticed that no-one cut our credit lines because we always paid our bills on time. That never stopped. No question back then they were probably asking for more report statements than usual. They had scrutinization, and we got it.

But, like I said, they never cut our line. It was a tough couple of years that we certainly have recovered from since and like I said, we just stayed the course. We believed in what–took us a long time to get our proposal of what we wanted to do through HP legal, because it was contrary to HP’s go to market strategy. We had to go through their whole compliance program and we were steadfast in; this is the only way we’re going to succeed if we’re building on HP. We’re building on a white box like everybody else, be it a super-micro or some chassis, we’re no better than anyone else. By having an HP brand solution that we co-brand it gives us credibility as an enterprise solution to the market.

Eric: Wonderful. Wrapping up here, a few more questions for you. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your twenty-five year old self?

Jeff:  To my twenty-five year old self?

Eric: Yes.

Jeff: You know what? I have no regrets on the business. I know we went through some tough times, made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I think that’s part of the learning process. If I had to start it all over again I’d probably do it the same way. I probably would probably hope that the 2008 financial decisions wouldn’t happen, but other than that we had some trial and error points along our way, but those were early on, I think you learn from those. The old adage, it’s not mine, is; you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. I wish I knew then what I know now. That’d be great, but other than that I think the way we did it was important to who we are today because what we really are is a mosaic of all those lessons learned along the way. I think we’re better off by going through those pitfalls and pratfalls, frankly then just being able to open the door and say, “Here we are and this is right.”

Eric: Interesting. Okay. I’ll take that. What’s one productivity hack you can share with the audience?

Jeff: What’s one what?

Eric: Productivity hack.

Jeff: Productivity hack?

Eric: Yeah. For example, you talk about waking up at 5:30 in the morning. Sometimes I try to wake up at 5:30 or 6:00. I leave my phone really far away so I for sure have to get up when the alarm goes out. That way I have to get up. It’s stuff like that.

Jeff: One of the things I did was I don’t keep my smart phone on my night stand anymore. My wife made a comment to me three years ago, “You never hold my hand anymore because your phone is always in it.” That struck me and since then when we go out for dinner I keep my phone home, actually, because who’s more important. Now what I do is I keep my phone way down the hallway by the backdoor because I don’t want to be able to turn over at night at 2 in the morning to check my emails because once I’m up, I’m up. So it does help me sleep better.

I don’t get out of bed to go check my phone at 2:00 in the morning. We have a lot of European customers. The problem with being global is somebody is always open. So, if you go ahead and see what’s waiting for you at 2:00 in the morning all of a sudden your day has just begun. I’m not sure I answered the question correctly, but–.

Eric: No, you got it. I think you really hit home when you talked about your wife saying, “You don’t even hold my hand anymore.” That’s a big thing I think. The phone is really starting to take control of everyone’s life here.

Jeff: Yes, it really struck me. It really struck me because, it’s like, “Wow!” I never realized it frankly. Now, I’ll never forget it.

Eric: Got it.

Jeff: As you can tell my wife’s a very important part of my life.

Eric: It’s great that you have that prioritization because a lot of times you see, especially in the technology world it’s all about work, work, work. It’s really refreshing to see that. I’ll just put it that way, and it’s impressive.

Jeff: It doesn’t mean I shut off email at 9:30 at night. If we’re sitting on the couch watching a show together she read’s books, I read email, but again, there’s a time and a place.

Eric: Got it. Okay. Final question or you. What’s one must read book you’d recommend to the audience?

Jeff: Oh, I’m not a big book guy, but, she got me for Christmas last year a book by, I think it was Kevin Sheridan called “Managing” or “Corporate Culture” or “Magnet Culture in Corporations”, I should know it, but I devoured the book in four hours and I’m not a book reader. I couldn’t put it down. It talked about it engaging employees. I was actually annotating the book and bringing it to other officers here in the company saying, “You’ve got to read this. He’s talking about us.” Yeah, it’s called, oh darn it, something about managing corporate culture or magnet cultures in corporations. It’s from Kevin Sheridan.

Eric: We’ll make a note of it and make a link to it in the actual interview. We’ll find it.

Jeff: It’s really a great book.

Eric: Perfect. Cool. I’ll have to pick it up to, to help my company. But anyway, Jeff, thanks so much for being on the show. Definitely want to have you on the show again some other time.

Jeff:  Well, thanks for having me I really appreciate you reaching out to me and I hope it all works out.

Eric: Alright. Take care.

Jeff: Alright Eric.


About Eric Siu

Eric Siu (@ericosiu) is the CEO at Single Grain, a digital marketing agency that focuses on paid advertising and content marketing. He contributes regularly to Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes and more.

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