HOW TO USE SOFTWARE TOOLS FOR CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION

Tips on how to use software tools for customer communication with Ian Reynolds

  • Customers expect you to be able to respond to them, very, very, quickly, as quickly as possible.
  • Try to encourage real conversations. We put our phone number right up on top of our website because we want people to call us. We always want to try to get to as close to in-person as possible.
  • Give people multiple avenues to communicate, as opposed to pigeonholing them into one or few limited software mechanisms for communicating, especially when there's a problem.
  • You have this confluence of multiple tools, that are being consolidated down into insanely powerful business applications.

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Give people multiple avenues to communicate especially when there's a problem.

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Doug: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today in the studio, I've got joining me, Ian Reynolds. Now, Ian is a Partner and Chief Solutions Architect at a company called Zibtek. It's a software development firm, focused on helping businesses of all sizes in the US to solve their core problems with the software. They empower entrepreneurs, growth companies, enterprises, and visionary firms to have greater profitability, efficiency, valuation, and ultimate success by building the right tools through custom software. 

Ian has spent the better part of his career consulting, as he's served in a diverse number of industries, such as finance, oil and gas, retail power, field services, midstream energy, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, transactional financing, mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, eCommerce, retail, and software development. 

I really had a great conversation with Ian, as we talked about automation, and how he sees automation, sales and marketing automation especially, coming together for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and how to leverage that. And, the key deciding factors that are going to affect our businesses in the future, in terms of speed, and that speed of response to our potential customers, and also how Google is looking at speed. With that being said, I'd like Ian to dive into that a little deeper, so I'd like you to help me welcome Ian to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today. 

Well hey, Ian, welcome to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today. 

Ian Reynolds: It's good to be here, thanks for having me. 

Doug: I'm super excited because you have, at least in my experience, a really unique background. You've got one foot … Actually, I can't say you have three feet, but you have one foot firmly planted in the tech development side, and the other foot planted in marketing, as well as being an owner. 

Do you want to give just a little background on how you ended up in that role of owner, tech, and marketing? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah. I wasn't exactly aiming for all of those positions at once, but yeah sure, I can give you a quick background. 

Two years ago, I acquired 50% of Zibtek, which is a software development firm, we've been established for 10 years. We, as a business, had grown ourselves out of being a startup. Some 15 odd years ago, we grew a company, sold it, and exited to a Fortune 500. Or, I guess now a Fortune 500. The company wanted to keep the band together. 

The company has grown very steadily, historically out of that raw, engineering context, and really needed to mature into positioning ourselves in the marketplace, positioning our knowledge in the marketplace, rather than just referrals, and the traditional mechanisms by which a consultancy engages with clients. We were growing outside of the bounds of that traditional bump into folks and say, hey, what do you do? We had our sales team, we had these disparate teams together, but they didn't have that unified structure around marketing and sales, jointly. 

After the acquisition, we had a bunch of process things we had improved really quickly, but then the objective is always sales and marketing, or marketing meeting the sales, et cetera. That ended up being the role that I took on amongst the partners, and has been my charge ever since. 

Doug: Well, that's really cool. Often, very similar when you talk to IT, IT has certain boundaries they want to work within. Often, marketing is bumping up against IT, trying to get stuff done. They have the same conflict, often, with sales and marketing as well, not all pulling in the same direction.

For you guys to go off and develop your own solution for sales and marketing is a pretty dramatic and aggressive approach to solving your appetite to grow. 

Ian Reynolds: It is, and it continues to be. We were using five, six, seven tools. A calling dialer, we were using email automation, sort of a MailChimp, and we were using separate database systems, with Salesforce and all those things. Getting all those systems to talk together was just not ideal. 

So, we said to ourselves, we're a software engineering company, certainly, we can come up with a solution that is the best of both worlds, and combines the best of all of these tools together. So, that's how we launched our Oncore sales automation platform. It continues to … Speaking of the core business, the core software development business, it actually informs a lot of the work that we do with our other clients. It's a larger-scale project, and it helps us be reflexive of, when we did this for ourselves, as opposed to a consultancy that only does work for other people, you think about things in a different vein. You can put a foot in both worlds, both the client world and your own perspective, in a way that, I think, a lot of firms are not able to do. 

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Give people multiple avenues to communicate especially when there's a problem.

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Doug: Yeah, absolutely. Now, in terms of your sales and marketing, you said that when you were first launching this, you had no inbound sales at all? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah. 

Doug: Now, you've moved to all inbound sales. Do you just want to walk us through that process? 

Ian Reynolds: That's correct. When I say, no outbound sales, we of course do. I would say, the vast majority of the opportunities that are interesting, are the ones where folks come and raise their hand, and come talk to us. 

We did the traditional prospecting of, if we go to trade associations, we go to conferences, we speak at conferences, we are building RFPs, responding to RFPs, responding to white papers, sending out white papers. We still do all those things, however, we recognized that, with large demographic changes in the market where people are increasingly shopping online, everyone has a mobile device, everybody's searching online. 

The change, even, to online purchasing of just physical goods, services were going to go the same way. This isn't 100% true, all the time. But, we also talked to a number of folks, we talked to Gartner, we conducted our own research study with a third party, and we also did a university study. We had a bunch of MBA students go conduct a study for their final class. All three of those reports indicated the shift is moving away from who you know, to what company is the best fit for our needs. We really had to do some soul searching within the business to say, okay, who do we want to be? We can't be everyone to all people. What do we want to specialize in? How do we want to present the process that we bring to the table to market? 

We had to rethink all of that, very, very quickly. Then, put in a plan to market against that. There're many ways to skin the proverbial cat, even in online marketing, so we had to build a plan to go to execute that. 

Doug: In terms of what you guys have built, I know that automation is something that's creeping in, more and more, into a discussion. Automation, AI, machine learning, big data. What do you see is the future of using those tools, as you're building a new platform, that's new and nimble, and not tied to a legacy system or big database? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah, I think two things.

One, the first is speed, right? Customers are going to expect you to be able to respond to them, very, very, quickly, as quickly as possible. They're going to expect that platform, that engagement with you, that automation, to be near-instant. They're going to expect when they submit something, or they reach out to your site, or they're even clicking through your site, and they're receiving some of those automatic replies … Most consumers understand they are automatic, and they are system generated. They expect that to be near-instantaneous and get them to the next step of the conversation. 

So, that's not only from the consumer side, but it's also from the … A lot of the market research is suggesting that Google is really pushing speed and its measurement of its market metrics. There were 200 million websites created last year, 200 million. Companies … 

Doug: I'm sorry that number's just … 

Ian Reynolds: It's nuts, and it's increasing. 

Doug: 200 million. 

Ian Reynolds: As more people have access to the Internet, right? It's the speed. 

With the automation tools, we've tried to think about, okay, how do we get things under 10 milliseconds? 10 milliseconds is the threshold at an interaction that becomes near-instantaneous. That's the benchmark we're holding ourselves against, and in the tools we're building we're also keeping that benchmark in mind for the user interaction, and the execution of tasks. Because we want that interaction with the user to be around that 10-millisecond mark, so it's near-instant, so they can really focus on their sales and marketing tasks at hand, for one. Then, also to really provide that next level experience. After that point, you get diminishing returns, you really can't go any faster. 

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Give people multiple avenues to communicate especially when there's a problem.

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Doug: Well, what's funny … You're talking 10 milliseconds. I think of the number of times I'm on the other end of the keyboard, using somebody's user interface of whatever SaaS software I'm using, and how long I need to wait for the data to fill, or the task that I've asked it to do. There's one piece of software that I use, it's very good at what it does, but usually, I will put in the parameters of what I want, I will hit search, and then I will go make myself a cup of coffee because at least I feel like I'm doing something productive, instead of sitting, waiting for the software to catch up. 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah. I'm over here nodding because that's the case with things. With that online experience, the move to online, both products that are in the cloud, cloud-based software, this experience of speed is homogenous across markets, and across products, and across services. So, thinking about speed at the forefront of what you're doing, really, is going to be mission-critical for a lot of these companies to not only survive but thrive. 

Doug: Well, I said that consumers expect an instant response, and that's certainly true in a lot of cases. I wrote an article not too long ago about, make sure you have a welcome message on your email subscription, and the fact that three-quarters of consumers expect to get it, and less than half the people use it. That's pretty low-hanging fruit, and it shouldn't be difficult to do that. 

When I'm hitting a bot, or I'm hitting an email list, or I'm doing something SMS, I expect an instant response. At what point does it get creepy for the consumer? 

Ian Reynolds: I think the point at which it gets creepy for a consumer is when you're targeting doesn't allow the consumer to retain the degree of anonymity they want, before the conversation even begins. We have seen, through competitor websites, some of these … even the ChatBots on certain pages are retaining data elements between sessions. It can carry that over, even, into an incognito mode. 

So, we have a competitor's website, where somebody accidentally filled out Zibtek.com in their thing. So, if anybody from our site goes to the competitors' website and is just looking around, it's like “Hey, Zibtek, how's it going?” Obviously, we can't do further interaction on that site without them knowing we're taking a look around. 

I think, though, in many cases, the anonymity of the Internet is something that is somewhat valuable to the consumer, because it lets them shop, in an unperturbed manner. You're going car shopping, you don't want the guy to harass you, you really want to look at the cars on the lot first, before you start asking questions. I think that the level of pushiness is going to have some pushback. The people who are going to be able to balance the get enough information, get enough data about your end-consumer, and then also present context-relevant information, context-relevant marketing is going to be valuable.

I'll talk about chatbots. You see the rise of chatbots. The valuable chatbots that we've built for customers are not the ones where we're just taking the raw data and saying, “Hey Jim, how's it going,” and we're talking about the person specifically. But, we're providing context to the page, and information they are searching for on the site, and we're presenting that information to them in a way where they can engage with that chatbot, to get more information.

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Doug: Yeah, that totally makes sense. I've had both experiences, where one's just, let's be honest, you just want to sell me something. You're not asking me anything other than for my phone number, and my email, and all this other stuff. Then, I go to other chatbots that are set up really well, where I can actually engage. Now, I realize it's a chatbot, it's not a person, but it helps me to find the information that I'm looking for like you said. You really, in that case, you're allowing the consumers to set the pace at which they receive the information, and you're not just all about, hey, give me all your information, then I'll help you find what you want. 

Ian Reynolds: Right, very much so. 

I think, actually, the standard deployment of tools like that, they'll be increasingly common because the costs are coming down. There are even open source, exceptionally powerful chatbots that are getting used by Fortune 500 companies, like Rasa, and these things that can be pretty easily implemented, pretty easily trained, pretty easily customized. I think it's going to be increasingly common. 

Now, using some of this automation, we do want to … For our Zibtek business, we try to also improve the ability of our reps and salespersons, and marketing persons, to actually have a real conversation with a person. We try to encourage those real conversations. I mean, we put our phone number right up on top of our website, because we want people to call us, we always want to try to get to as close to in-person as possible. I think a lot of companies have a tendency to try to push people to email, push people to SMS, and they lose that human touch to how they're actually marketing their business, or how they're actually selling their business. I think that's just a mistake, that's actually going to cause them more problems.

Doug: Or, they have just a contact form, right? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah. 

Doug: … which is even worse. I'm going, seriously, that's the best you can do? You can't give me your address, and all you have is a contact form? Are you a real business? 

Ian Reynolds: Correct. Yeah, very much so, it sends the wrong signal. 

Doug: What do you think the first-mover opportunity for people following your lead, in terms of automation technology in their customer relationship, or having that conversation for inbound? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah, I think that first-mover advantage is going to be for businesses that adopt a system that allows really seamless interaction between the information captured from the web, that includes where that lead came from, how many times that lead visited your site, all the typical marketing information that you can get from browser history, browser interaction, and then ties it seamlessly into that CRM system, which then encourages the sales party to have the closest thing to a face-to-face interaction as possible. Then, going back to our earlier conversation, do all of these things in near real-time, right? 

If you can get that information that is valuable, and allows you to have a real material conversation with that end consumer quickly, and earnestly, in a way that adds value, and the data is provided that end-user, and to your end sales rep, or end Chief Marketing Officer, in near real-time, then provides insights into that. Like, you have sentiment analysis with phones, and you can do AI, in terms of lead scoring, in terms of the priority of which somebody is likely to convert, based on historical data. 

Doug: Sure. 

Ian Reynolds: You're going to be able to execute much more quickly, and much more effectively on two fronts. 

One, you'll be able to appropriately prioritize a customer, and give them the attention that they deserve, because they're likely to convert, et cetera. So, you're going to provide a better end-user experience, for that customer.

Then, B, you're going to more appropriately, as a business, pay less attention to leads that are otherwise going to waste your time, that you can appropriately re-market to, and simply educate before they're really ready to make a transaction. 

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Give people multiple avenues to communicate especially when there's a problem.

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Doug: Yeah, that makes sense. In terms of the sales funnel, we know that there's only three or four percent of the people who hit your website, if you're running ads, are in a buying mode. So, what do you do with the rest of the people? As you said, you move the people to the front of the line that needs your help today, and the people who are just looking, that are going to be a month, six months, whatever, down the road, you can appropriately market to them. 

It's funny that you're talking about the all-inclusive solution. I was working on a marketing plan for a health and wellness project I'm involved in, and that's exactly what we're trying to do is figure out how do we get CRM, chatbot, Facebook, social, email, all to operate in one platform, so we really give the communication channel decision to the consumer. Instead of saying, “If you want to communicate with us, you must talk by email,” or “You must talk by phone.” Our goal there, really, simply, is to say to the consumer, “Okay, Mr. Consumer, how do you want to engage with the company? Here are all the channels, pick one. You pick one that works best for you, and that's how we'll work with you.” 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah, very much so.

In fact, I ran into just an anecdotal problem, where we were trying to update a software license that we use to build some software for our client, and just renew our license. This is a billion-dollar company, a multi-billion dollar company that produces this software. They don't have a phone number on their website, they don't have a contact email, they just have a contact form. They do have a chat widget, but it only appears and stays available on one page of, basically, your purchase flow. So, if you leave that page to try to get any other info about why you're having trouble completing a transaction, you'll lose the conversation history. 

The bigger companies have built, I think, pretty effective connections between all of those tools, to combat those problems, and present options for them to talk to their end customer, but clearly, a lot of companies really don't understand precisely what you just mentioned, in that we need to give people multiple avenues to communicate, as opposed to pigeonholing them into one or few very limited mechanisms for communicating, especially when there's a problem. Like, in this case, we needed that updated, so we could be effectively billable. 

Doug: That's funny. So, where do you see automation going to, in the future? I've heard Elon Musk say hey before we rush into AI, we should take a really serious look at that. Then, I talk to Christoper Lockhead, and he was talking about the data flywheel, and the fact that Tesla really isn't a car company, it's an information-gathering company that's going to likely move into the insurance business because they know all your driving data. 

Ian Reynolds: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug: A little contrary to what he's saying. So, where do you see the future of automation? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah, I think that's a great question. You raised insurance, and I think insurance actuaries, they spend all their time looking at tables, and creating tables of, what is someone who smokes, how long are they likely to live, et cetera. I think we're moving further towards a much more cohesive, much more powerful behavioral economics, with things like AI. It really is adding those additional data points to consumer behavior, to make a determination as to what they're going to do, or provide predictive responses to communications. 

Take, for example, that when you now type in your phone, and you're maybe responding to a text, you get pre-populated responses that you can swipe right with your thumb, or your finger, to give an answer for that item. Now, that may not seem significant, at first, but considering that most people are communicating via their mobile device, and there're billions of people on the planet, and you're using that system multiple times a day, communication is accelerating at an incredible pace because we're able to cut out some superfluous action of sending otherwise repetitive communication. It's also using that behavioral mechanism to send that communication for us, and that's also seeing its way into an email. 

So, I think what you're going to see is a creep towards increasing behavioral elements, that can be put into that linear algebra equation, that can be automated away. Then, I think, over time, that is going to go into, actually, the ultimate tool selection that companies are using for their businesses. I think you're going to get pieces, parts of that, calling, you can get call dispositions very easily now, that's a well-understood science. But, it's going to find it's way into other things like SMS, like email, in a way that it hasn't before. 

Doug: Well, let's hope we don't go too far down that path, like that movie Click with Adam Sandler, where once it learned his preferences, it skipped all the family stuff he didn't like, and he woke up one day, and he'd missed the whole family growing up. 

Ian Reynolds: That's right, yeah. That's a great movie, I haven't seen that in a while. 

Doug: It's funny because that's really what we're talking about now. I know when I open an email, to respond to an email, I've got two or three populated answers there, that I can just instantly click and send. I'm seeing that now on LinkedIn as you said, you're seeing that now with SMS. Obviously, that's where it's moving. 

Now, is there a breakthrough, or a success story of a specific client you would like to share with us? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah. I think a recent success we had … This is actually in the healthcare space. We had a client who was doing post-op clinical trials, and they needed a mechanism for systematically following up with these … they call them patients or people in the study. They needed some way to automate that communication out to those end parties. Then, they needed a separate tool, which we built, which allowed them to place those people into systematically random stratified samples, so they could collect this data in a statistically meaningful way, and make sure the data was actually random, you're not getting false positives, et cetera.

Doug: Sure.

Ian Reynolds: We built an entire application that facilitates that, and we did that off the back of the technology that we've used for some of this email automation, through tools like [Oncourse 00:23:43].

The result has been that they've been able to scale this thing, so they now have hundreds of clinicians in it, they're doing multiple studies, in various sites across the US. It has allowed these MD, PhDs, the statisticians to collect a lot of material data about people post-surgery, post-treatment, and ultimately drive better outcomes. If you think about it, at the end of the day, it's a piece of software, and it helps facilitate all that, making the healthcare system more efficient for me and future generations. That's a lot of fun, that's a great thing to do. 

Doug: Yeah. It's pretty amazing to think the computing power these days, to be able to run through, and run those analyses, and run all those tasks, when you compare back five years ago, even 10 years ago. 

In terms of people's feedback, obviously I hear feedback when I'm out and about. When you're out a cocktail party and people say, hey Ian, what do you do? What sort of work do you do? And you tell them your experience, and what you're doing, what's the bad advice that you hear from, likely other marketing people, around automation, AI, and the way it's moving? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah, I think the thing you hear is, well, it's too impersonal, and it is basically making it so that you can't really have a real conversation anymore. I think there's some truth to that, I think that is a bit more limited to some of these tools which are the spammers, the robo-callers of the world. My phone gets constantly blown up, but now identifies things as, hey, this is likely a spam caller, so I just don't answer those. 

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Doug: Yeah. 

Ian Reynolds: I think that's where the bad rap is coming from. But, I think these thoughts and items that are semantically tied to the execution of otherwise mundane activities like the automatic responses to text, or the quick responses to texts, and then listening to audio on your behalf to come up with a call disposition, these things can seamlessly fit into the workflow that would be the sales and marketing process, are really, truly value add. They're going to allow companies, and sales reps, to have more meaningful conversations with their clients or otherwise move on.

I think that if we can have a better, more genuine conversation, everybody's going to be better off. 

Doug: Yeah. On the other side, if you can go through and use some form of technology, whether it's AI or learning, to identify whose not your prospect, the big advantage I see, from the company point of view, you don't waste resources. But, from the consumer point of view, I don't waste their time. I don't waste their time if the guy is a … I don't know, what's your favorite sporting team? I don't waste my time sending you an offer that's not relevant. You're not going to buy a jersey from my team if that's clearly not your team. Knowing that, in advance, saves you time, saves me time, and money. 

Ian Reynolds: Right. In fact, if you look at … Depending on how your company's structure, you may look at customer service differently. You may be able to direct that customer … You may have extra time, where you can then direct that customer to an appropriate competitor, or appropriate company, or resource, that can serve them in a meaningful way. In that time you've saved by saying, “Hey, you're basically not a good fit for us,” or, “We're not a good fit for you,” you can still create value for that person, and they may come back and create value for you. 

I think that's actually going to accelerate transactional velocity for a lot of companies, by taking that mentality and using tools that are going to facilitate that. 

Doug: One of the things I've seen more of in, probably, the last six months than ever before is when I'm on a company's website, and I'm purely looking for information, or I'm asking questions with their chat, or I fill out a form for a demo, is I'm now seeing a qualifying call before a sales call. For me, I normally find that annoying, because I don't want to talk to someone for 15 minutes to find out if I'm qualified, I wouldn't have asked. Of course, I get their point. 

The other side of that is I'm not getting emails back saying, these are the parameters that we work around. This is our terms of engagement, these are the clients we like to work with, these are the budgets. I appreciate that, because it clearly, again, saves me time. If I'm not a fit, I can just say, this isn't a fit, this doesn't work for me, and both parties get to move on. 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah, I think, again, with the general movement to online shopping, online purchasing, and online discovery of service providers, this element of self-selection is not only becoming more powerful for the consumer, which is great, but it's also allowing vendors to more clearly articulate to their end client, “I facilitate this service, this is what I do particularly well. Do you fit into these parameters, and is this what you are looking for?” That is going to lead to a stronger exchange of goods and services. 

I think, in part, you're also going to see a tighter niching down of those products and services, to a given market. Very, very, very detailed niches that, I think, will ultimately allow for the better transaction of goods and services. I think, even in the medical field, I have seen an increase of … We're serving various physician groups, that have specialty clinics, and we're seeing they're even getting more niche with some of their services in a regional area, as compared to other competitors. They're presenting themselves in a certain way, or they need help building a piece of software that helps them support that nice in a given way, in a way you never would have imagined. But, I think increasing differentiation is ever-occurring. 

Doug: That's really cool. 

What are you most excited about, as it relates to what you're doing in either tech, or marketing, or with either one of the companies you're involved in? 

Ian Reynolds: Yeah. I think there are two things I'm exceptionally excited about. 

I think one is, you have this confluence of multiple tools, that are being consolidated down into these insanely powerful business applications. Because of the recent technology developments, that speed of those tools, and … Let's call them the wise Millennials, who are so fed up with slow applications, and they expect things to look pretty. You're having these user experiences that necessarily have to come about and be accessible to all parties.

The iPhone is something that can be used by just about anybody. I have an 85-year old grandfather, and he understands how to use every single component of an iPhone. The user experiences are necessarily simple, they're necessarily something that can engage with, and these tools are increasingly powerful. I think that's one thing, that's really that Oncourse sales automation platform we're building. We're going to see increased automation play a part in that, naturally. That's one thing they're interested in. 

The second thing is, again, this confluence of, going back to the healthcare discussion … This confluence of really, really powerfully available tools, increasingly on the market and specialized, that are not yet adopted in the medical profession. We're seeing an increase adoption, partially, of course, because we're focused on that market … But, we're seeing increased adoption of newer and better tools, that are affecting patient outcomes. We're also seeing these medical groups, for the first time, innovate in a way they haven't. They've been more device focused, or more care focused, but now they're looking more towards these digital tools, to look at large swaths of data, and glean insights from that data, and then provide value to ultimately result in better care. 

As a younger person, and seeing just what tools are out there, existing tools, these things look kind of archaic, in terms of the existing toolset. So, I think technology is going to continue to transform medicine. That's something that I'm particularly interested in, and something I want to help too, not necessarily disrupt, but continue to change, and influence, and help bring new ideas to. 

Doug: Well, even the whole attitude of … I don't know if the right word is usefulness, in terms of productivity, but you've got guys like Gary Vaynerchuk said, “If you're 50, and your life has taken a turn, don't worry about it. Start something new, start your entrepreneurial adventure at 50.” You've probably got another 35 or 40 years, after technology comes along, and keeps increasing the way it is, to keep living. You're right, technology is aiding and pushing the medicine forward. I'm seeing people that would normally retire at 50 and 55 that, by choice, are launching off into entrepreneurial adventures, and with the aid of technology and being able to be a mobile workforce, to live a happy, productive life, working at something they love to do, and make money while they're on the road. 

Ian Reynolds: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think … I did read an article somewhere about these retiree entrepreneurs, and the route they were taking to start a business has been online.

Doug: Yeah. 

Ian Reynolds: Overwhelmingly, because the startup costs for … I read somewhere else, too, that the startup costs for creating a business, post-2008 crisis, adjusted for the downturn, was something like $580 or $540,000, some really, really large amount. 

Doug: Wow, yeah. 

Ian Reynolds: To create the average business. I think they were blending numbers between a restaurant and some other things. But, they're saying that as of 2018, 2019, the average cost to start a business, in terms of input capital, is something like $200,000, and they expect that to continue to go down. I think that's, in large part, due to the Internet, and the creation of software, and online shopping.

Doug: Well, it's funny, because I've got three adult kids, and I've got grandkids coming up. Looking at what my kids are doing, and work, and thinking, wow, to think that you could make a whole career out of developing a following for your passion. Like, my son was a huge rugby guy. If you really liked that, if you developed a following, people will pay you $1000 to send out a post on an Instagram account to talk about rugby.

Ian Reynolds: Yeah. 

Doug: In the industry that didn't exist when I was going through with school and college. 

Ian Reynolds: Absolutely. It's wild. It really is … I think a lot of industries are going to be disrupted, much like retail is being very much disrupted right now. I think we are very much close to the second Industrial Revolution, if not going through it right now, and I think this creative destruction, yes, it's going to take away jobs. One of the fears is automation is going to wipe out jobs, and no one's going to have anything to do. 

Doug: That's funny. 

Ian Reynolds: Every technology shift through history has shown that, well, no. In fact, it's going to create more jobs, just things that didn't exist before, like Instagram rugby posts. 

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Doug: Yeah. 

Ian Reynolds: I think you have to be willing to not know what you don't know and jump in to learn it. 

Doug: Well, the guys that I hear complaining the loudest right now, in terms of disruption, are the media. 

Ian Reynolds: Very much so. 

Doug: In Canada, I saw them put together an actual website, to lobby the government to prevent Canadians from advertising in the US, and allowing it to be tax-deductible. The reasoning was that Google and Facebook populate fake news, and what we really need are more reporters. 

Ian Reynolds: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug: There's an example of an industry that's becoming irrelevant, because they're not getting with the program, they're trying to stay with the status quo, the way they've operated before. 

Ian Reynolds: Running a newspaper, if you were a one or two-newspaper town, was basically a license to print money, but that's not the case anymore. People have alternative mechanisms for searching for specific information, that solves their need, right? 

Doug: Yeah. 

Ian Reynolds: They can go to Google, they can type in a query, and Google is going to try to serve a result that best answers their question. 

Doug: Absolutely. 

Ian Reynolds: That's the future of literary writing, or even just writing in general. I think certain news outlets, certain media outlets, will continue to exist in perpetuity, and do well. I'm a big consumer of the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and some of these other business publications. I think there's going to be other outlets that are going to do very well, but by and large, it's going to be voices like you, where you're speaking on a particular subject such as business, that people are going to be listening to, and people are going to be reading about, as opposed-

Doug: Well, people are paying for content, as well. I mean, I'm a subscriber to the Journal. I want to read the Journal, so I have to read it online, and that works well. So, I'm happy to pay my whatever it is, $30 or $35 a month it is for the subscription, to have that content delivered to my desktop every day. 

Ian Reynolds: Right, right. Very much so. 

Doug: So, a couple of questions, and I'll let you get back to your day. Whose one guest I absolutely have to have on my podcast? 

Ian Reynolds: I think Perrin Carrell, at Ranq.io. He is an exceptionally bright marketer, and actually, speaking about … The reason that sparked that off was, you were talking about the decline of writing. This is somebody who is very deep into SEO, and very much understands the technical nature of how to write something that Google is trying to present to an end-user for their result. 

I think he would also be able to talk about the transformation of how people the searching for info on the web, and probably has some insight into the decline of journalism, as well. He was a communication major, coming out of college. 

Doug: That's really cool. You're right, as technology becomes more familiar, we probably search differently as we get more mature in how to use the computer to get the result that we want. 

Ian Reynolds: Very much so, very much so. 

Doug: The most important question of the day is, how can people track you down and connect with you? 

Ian Reynolds: Great question. 

Our parent company website is Zibtek, Z-I-B-T-E-K.com. I'm actually CC'd on everything that goes out, from the contact form, so I see everything. Whether or not I respond, I see everything. That's probably the best way to get a hold of me. 

Then, I will share my LinkedIn credentials with you. You can also email, this goes to a good number of folks, [email protected]. I'm also CC'd on that. 

Doug: Well, cool. Hey, thanks so much for taking the time and sharing with us today, Ian. 

Ian Reynolds: I really appreciate you having me on, Doug. 

Doug: There you go, listeners. This is a bit more tactical discussion. I love what technology's doing, and have found just a huge advantage for our clients be first movers, and getting involved in running a clean database, using tools, and technology, and automation, and whenever possible, get them all bundled into one. I was introduced to Ian from a previous guest I had on my show. 

So, I just want to say thanks for tuning in, I hope you found this conversation today helpful. Don't be shy to head over to their website, have a look around, take a look at what they're doing, what they're building. I'll make sure that all the information that we shared today is transcribed in the show notes, I'll make sure that there's a link to Ian's website, Zibtek, as well as his LinkedIn profile. 

Thanks for tuning in, I look forward to serving you on our next episode. 

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