Personal question for you. Do you do “the video?” You know, video… like you do “the phone,” “the text,” or “the email?”
Today’s guest is here to help you communicate with video faster, easier, and in a more personal, human way to grow your business. And why video shouldn’t be used any less than text, email, and phone and should be just as convenient.
And listen until the end to hear why decades ago he drove a 70 seater school bus around the country for Microsoft.
Please welcome Ethan Beute.
- 0:22 – Ethan Beute’s Background
- 5:09 – Bombbomb Services
- 8:45 – Solving Problem
- 11:44 – Bombbomb Uniqueness
- 18:34 – Experience of an Expert
Learn more about this guest:
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Ethan Beute, thanks for jumping on learning from others. How are you doing awesome. Thank you so much for having me. I’m looking forward to the conversation. Yeah. This has been a little while in the work, so good to get to chat with you. You know, we’ve sent videos back and forth, which we’ll get into. Um, but before we get into the conversation, let’s start with question number one, which is what are we gonna learn from you today?
And, you know, what’s your background. Yeah, it depends where we spend our time. Of course. I mean, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was younger. I find myself in television. I spent a dozen years inside marketing, uh, organizations inside local television stations. Uh, we could get into the transition out of that, which is through project work and exploring your interests and seeing what people will pay for, and then ended up joining a very, very tiny software company about nine years ago.
Uh, called BombBomb and had been with them ever since. And we’ve grown from, you know, six or seven employees and a hundred customers to about 150 and about 55,000 customers. And so it’s been a really fun, uh, several years with this team. And it’s been really interesting this nine years, which I’ll hit here next month.
A full-time commitment to the team. And they were one of the companies I was doing project work with years ago when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Cause I was just done with television. Um, It’s been interesting because it’s more than twice as long as I’ve been anywhere else in three or three and a half times my longest or my average stay with any organization throughout my career.
And so it’s been really fun and interesting. Uh, we’ll obviously be talking, uh, quite a bit about how to be more personal and human every single day through video messages in place of typed out texts. And that’s a lot of what I’ve spent my time on is. Building awareness that there’s a different and better way to work every day.
And, uh, and the tools and tech are all available to us. Um, and we can do better than what we’re doing. Yeah. Yeah. I have a lot of questions on that specifically on that, that last topic, you know, why aren’t more people doing this, but not until I ask you question number two, which is what do you suck at Ethan?
Um, I eat a patients. Um, I’ve grown more patients as I’ve aged. I’ve grown more patient as impatience has cost me something. Uh, you know, like those where it’s maybe embarrassing how impatient you’ve been in a moment or a situation or with the person. And so when it starts to cost you something, it starts to become more real.
But in general, I’ve always struggled with patients and that manifests itself, of course, in a wide variety of ways. Uh, and. Yeah, I, if I was more patient earlier, uh, I think I’d be something would be different and probably better. Do you have, do you have anything you could elaborate on that? Is it as much as Lincoln example?
Um, and so I’ll go straight to like a professional setting. I do enjoy building into other people. Sharing what I know, asking them questions, where they can learn about themselves and get on a, a better path. And this could be within a company I’ve worked in and people I’ve managed or outside in a less formal setting, more in an informal mentorship or even a conversation.
And you just, I just lose patients for, um, some of specifically in like a management capacity. I lose patience for some of the, um, You know, when, when adults don’t act like adults, you know, like this person said this thing, I’m like, did you talk to that person about that thing? No. Like talk to that person about that thing.
Like, I have no patience for it, you know, you know, and even just some of the administrative stuff to keeping track of who’s who, and what’s, what is, um, I just generally don’t have as much patience for it. I don’t draw a lot of satisfaction from it. And I think that’s part of why I become impatient with it.
So I really enjoy. Producing work, developing ideas, running projects and things like that. And so I’ve intermittently throughout my career, finding myself in larger leadership and management roles and then intentionally moving to smaller ones so that I could have this more careful balance between, um, I keep saying leading and managing, they’re obviously two very different things and you do not need a formal title to lead.
Um, all you need is, you know, something that people want to follow in a very practical sense. So they’re not interchangeable even though I’m saying them in the same breath. Um, so, so I’ve moved to situations where I could more balance, uh, doing, producing, creating directly affecting, uh, with, you know, leading and managing and getting things done.
Through other people. Uh, and my work is simply. Supporting those people in doing that work. So it’s been constant tension for me. Thank you for the opportunity to talk that out. Yeah. Well, I w I want to talk about a couple of things, um, but, but I kind of want to string everything together, so let’s work backwards a little bit.
So you mentioned BombBomb and that’s where you’re at now. Explain what bomb bombs services are. And then from there, I, I kinda want to. Jump back in time to the TV thing. Cool. Uh, so again, we’re called BombBomb. We’re a software company based in Colorado Springs. Uh, legally founded in Oh six, kind of go to market was 2011.
So we’ve been at this a long time. It’s essentially in two words, you’d say video email, but obviously that’s just far too simple. Uh, but just to get people in, in about the right zone, our whole premise is that you are better in person that you win when you’re face to face. That relationships are fundamental to your success, and it doesn’t matter what role or industry you’re in.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a solo preneur or you’re in a fortune 50 company, you win by connecting and communicating and ultimately converting more effectively every single day. And so when you take one step further there, and you think about how you’re doing that, you know, pandemic makes this whole dynamic much more mixed the pain, more acute in the problem, more obvious, but.
Uh, people have had this problem for years, which is we don’t have the time to get face-to-face with everyone that we need to connect with in a personal and human way. And so what we wind up doing is typing up emails, typing up text messages, typing up LinkedIn messages or other direct messages, Slack messages, et cetera.
And. We have millennia of human brain training in communicating with each other eye to eye, face to face. And we have HD cameras in our webcams and our smoke smartphones. Our internet connectivity is good enough that we can record and send videos and people can play them back. And so our, our. Idea is that instead of exclusively, relying on faceless, digital communication and plain typed out text for almost all of your messaging that you can replace.
Some of that typed out text with a simple, casual, conversational. Unscripted video. And so what the service is, is a platform that works from our web email@example.com from our mobile apps for iPhone and Android. We have Salesforce integration out, uh, outreach, Zen desk, a bunch, just a bunch of platforms and, um, uh, the Google Chrome extension, which activates a tool set inside the Gmail inbox.
Uh, it’s just, we give you tools to make it fast and easy to record and send video messages. Not for. Making an amazing YouTube channel or for, you know, nicely homepage videos, but instead to replace, what would otherwise be faceless, digital communication, where we’ve all been misunderstood. We give away all control over how the messages read.
People don’t necessarily feel like they know us or feel like they’ve know us before they’ve ever met us, which is something that happens with video. And so there are a number of benefits to it. Uh, that may be, we’ll get into, but that’s that’s the, the main idea is you’re better in person. And so why not get face-to-face more often with more people and.
We’ve got about a thousand customers. Who’ve sent a thousand or more videos. Each I’ve personally sent more than 10,000. One of my team members has sent more than 18,000. And so you don’t, you don’t do something 18,000 times. If one it’s not fast and easy to do. So we’re, we remove a lot of the steps that slow you down.
And then two, you don’t do something 18,000 times, or even a thousand times. If it doesn’t give you better results than what you would do otherwise. I actually wanted to give you the opportunity to talk about the fast and easy comment, because I imagine that’s what a lot of listeners are thinking. You know, I don’t have the time to upload a video.
Um, I don’t have the time for it to process through my, my email outbox. So can you kind of answer how BombBomb expedites and solves that problem? Yeah, absolutely. So we have a recorder that again is present with you in all those places I mentioned. So you open it up, hit record counts you down three, two, one, you talk we’re live recording securely to the cloud associated with your account and it lives there until you choose to delete it.
We’re in coding that video for you on the fly. So when you hit stop, whether it’s 37 seconds or a minute and 48 seconds or three minutes in. 24 seconds. It’s pretty much ready to send the second you get done with it. Right? Whereas you, if you upload a video to LinkedIn or Facebook or something, it’s like, Hey, we’ll let you know when this thing’s ready, you know, we’re live and coding it.
And so it’s ready to go. We send to represent your video. We automatically take the first three seconds and tournament into a little animated preview, which gives you some opportunities to do creative things like write people’s names, logos, like on a whiteboard here. Um, yeah. And things like that, or, you know, have teammates in the shed.
There are lots of different things you can do with that, but we automatically produce this three-second animated preview for you. So when people get your email or your LinkedIn message or your text message, you’re already there, it’s your smiling face. It’s not an attachment. It’s this animated preview.
And when they click play, we dynamically start smart playing your video again from our cloud storage, again, associated with your account. And then we close the loop by telling you. Who’s opening your emails. Who’s clicking play on your videos. How long they’re watching on average, are they clicking links in that email as well?
And those other things. So you know how to follow up more effectively. And so
parallel if you were to do this on your own, and you can, if you’re using something like a MailChimp, because we do have like a nice email composer and list management, if you want to do that, instead of the lighter weight, sending through Chrome or Gmail or Salesforce or something, If you wanted to construct nice emails and send them to lists of people, you could do that.
But if you were to do that with something like a male champion would record a video, however you would do that, we give you the recorder, you would. Uh, upload that video into YouTube, which were live uploading as you’re recording and live and coding. As you’re recording, you would Mark it. It’s private because it’s not for your YouTube channel.
It’s just for these four people at say, or this one person or those 22 people. And then you would probably screenshot that video. So you’d have something to represent the video instead of click this text link to go watch a video, right. Might as well look like a video. Place that in there cross-link that over to YouTube, you send it out.
And then, uh, when people click play, now they’re watching your video on YouTube. At the end of the YouTube video, you get 85 other videos to watch because that’s what YouTube wants. And it’s just not as clean, professional or faster or more steps involved in. You have to take much more direct responsibility for all of those steps.
The analytics component is interesting. And then you talking about integrations and different features of it. I wanted to ask or give you the opportunity to kind of differentiate BombBomb versus something like loom, because I imagine you get a lot of people that compare it to Liam. Sure. Absolutely. And I would say, I mean, both services offer something free.
Uh, we offer a two week free trial. I think they have a freemium service. My only caution on freemium is that when something is free, typically you are the product. Um, you know, and that’s true of something like Facebook, where they’re monetizing the time you spend there. And it’s the same thing. Most of the freemium services that we see when someone clicks play on your video.
The playback experience is pretty much an ad for their surface. That is your video, and they are providing something very nice, but our free trials full access to the entire software. So I would let anyone, I mean, there are lots more players in the space. Like four years ago, we were, it was us. And a couple other companies, uh, but really in the past two or three years in particular, a ton of VC, like we’re, we’re a bootstrap company, a ton of very large well-funded companies.
So by large, I mean, you know, sitting on 30, 40, 50 million in venture capital, Um, so they can do things that we haven’t been able to do growing on our own revenue, um, which is an interesting dynamic, too. It comes with privileges and drawbacks, as you can imagine, just like almost everything in life does. Um, and so, uh, you know, they, they came out primarily as a screen recorder.
They came out primarily as a Chrome extension. So it’s not as robust a, an ecosystem. So with us, you can move from your CRM. To the BombBomb web app to the BombBomb mobile app, your tracking feed is the same throughout your video. Library is with you throughout recording and screen recording are with you throughout.
Um, so, you know, if you’re, especially, if you’re looking just to screen record and you don’t really care as much about, um, you know, a full experience, like again, our vision for this is that. Recording and sending a video should be as common within the foreseeable future as picking up the phone or typing up an email or jumping on a zoom call, or whenever it’s, whenever we all do this and it’s culturally normal and safe.
Again, we jump into a conference room or we needed a coffee shop, or like all these things that we do to run our businesses. Like for some reason, right now we’re still in this window where video seems like it’s. Something, we have to talk about it as video and doing video. Like no one talks about like I do the phone, you know, I do email, you do email.
Now my friend, Jeff does email though. Jeff is great at email. I’m not really comfortable with email. Like it’s so crazy. Like I want to see us at this other. And so we just have a bit more of a, a broader vision and robust set of, um, Places to do and use these tools. And so again, I’d say it’s up to the individual user.
I recommend looking at, there are a number of services. Every one of them has some level of free engagement. Um, and right now ours looks like a two week free trial. And so, you know, I would leave it to each person, but, um, they it’s, their software is beautiful. Um, it’s it’s well-developed it’s well-funded they have a bunch of smart money, too.
They have Instagram money and some other really good companies behind them. And so they’re not going to do a bad job for you. I would also say the other thing that we’ve done differently for people is, again, we’ve been at this for about a decade. And so it’s one thing to give people software. It’s another thing to help someone make a change in their daily behavior for the better results in their business.
And that’s something that we’ve done like. So this stack of books here is a book that I coauthored with my longtime friend and team member, Steve and Ellie that lays out this kind of relationships through video philosophy. We call it that in order to separate it again from lights. And scripts and editing and drones and green screens and all these other things that people often think they need.
When they think video in a business context, uh, you know, we do monthly training by email and by webinar. And, uh, we have a support team of people in Colorado Springs. Now, currently they’re at their homes, but, uh, previously they were all in our, in our office together. And so I think we provide a much different level of support.
Encouragement engagement with other human beings and a growing community of people who, who know that a relationship orientation is right for them and their business versus a transactional and automated, you know, obviously we need a blend of both and it depends on what you’re selling and what your go to market strategy is.
But. Um, we found that, uh, people really appreciate the level of engagement, participation education that we’re able to provide by, you know, we’ve been selling one account to one person with humans for a decade, and you can say, gosh, you’d be so much farther ahead if you had made it automated completely.
And, you know, we have some self-serve functions, but we’ve learned a lot in that process. And I think we’ve done a pretty good job of turning that around into, um, expressions. I content generically speaking, that that are valuable to people in making a real change in their businesses, not just acquiring a piece of software to do a particular job.
Yeah, the, I agree with a lot of that, especially the comment about, you know, with humans, because in, I’ve learned over the years that I’ve done business, at least compared to others, I’ve, I’ve done business a little bit backwards and you know, I don’t have an email list. I don’t have a YouTube channel. I don’t have I, I until the last year.
So we never spent any money on advertising. Even in the last year, it was just experimental and at all, all the paid ads failed miserably. And so the thing that has grown us is very specifically that human element. And so anytime, you know, I personally get on LinkedIn or whatever platform it’s, you know, here’s this human thing I’m offering.
Here’s this relatable, vulnerable thing, no call to action, no funnel, no go here. And it’s very much that communication, you know, what’s funny is just yesterday I was on a call and, um, The the one, if, if you can say that there’s something nice about the coronavirus, then I would say what that is is that it’s exposed people.
That it’s, it is natural to do this engagement and virtual communication and video. But, um, yesterday I was on a call. And so, you know, for the listeners on audio only I have, if you could see on video, I usually. I’ll often wear this, this back thing, you know, this posture thing to keep you straight. And so I was on a call yesterday and I had it on and I was just like, I don’t even care anymore.
And so the guy that I was on the video, he’s like, Holy crap, I got one of those too. That’s awesome. And he puts it on and he goes, it usually everybody’s like, what the hell is that that you’re wearing? And so. Everybody else is on the other side of the coin going, I don’t want to look like I’m doing something awkward or be different, but usually it’s those unique things.
And you can only have the opportunity to communicate or showcase or have those conversations about those unique things in a, in a visual environment. And so I. I’m fully behind the whole, you know, human angle of these, these video-based conversations. Two things there. One, I mean, I can see because we’re doing this over zoom.
I don’t know if you release audio only, or if you’re released video as well, but, um, I see that you have a guitar that is something we could talk about. I’m not a guitar player, so I couldn’t say, Oh, dude, let me tell you about my experience. Well, you tell me about yours. Um, you know, I can see your logo. I see that you’ve got something on your wrist.
That’s interesting. Are they weighed, um, you know, uh, you know, there are things and I offer this, whether it’s live on zoom and if you were on zoom calls or Microsoft team calls or. Google meet or whatever else is out there. And you’re not turning your camera on. You’re missing a huge opportunity to have people feel more connected to you.
It’s not about you. It’s about them. Uh, it’s not about you. It’s about the way you make other people feel and your ability to open up and show. And I love what you shared there about that posture thing. Is that, is that effective by the way? Do you like it? Uh, I’ve, I’ve tried. I am the, the definition of, uh, an impulsive hack buyer.
And so I’ve, I’ve tried, like, I haven’t made the commitment, that one, the one I got I’ll show you when we’re done. The one I got is probably the best one that I’ve found, uh, you know, the other nine out of 10, they did nothing. Okay, cool. So, so you’re, you’re giving people whether you’re in Zoomer or whether you’re recording a video and I just want to draw this distinction.
We’re all doing live video. It’s super important. Turn your camera on. Do not miss that opportunity. You’re going to judge yourself more harshly than anyone else will. You’re going to be in your own head about your hair or your makeup or the background or whatever. I’d say as long as there’s not an exercise bike from 1973 and a basket of dirty laundry behind you, you are suitably professional.
Like I’m in my bedroom, in our home. I like my bed is right there. So we have a very small home. It’s like at a certain point, you just have to not care and no, so that these things that people can see, whether they’re on a live synchronous collagen, we had to agree on the exact time to meet on the right day and the right time and make sure that it was good and your system sent nice reminders and made it easy for me to show up on time.
But what we do and what other tools do is allow you to record these moments and send them to people. And so instead of the synchronous live calls, This is similar, but it’s asynchronous recorded messages so that people can have these little in-person moments with you. You record them and send them at your convenience.
People, open them up and experience you in person at their convenience. And then again, tracking closes the loop so that you know, that it happened. And in both of these dynamics, we give people the opportunity to know more about us. Obviously there’s rich nonverbal communication through our bodies and our faces and our pace and our tone and all these other things.
But even in the background around us, there are things that allow people to connect to us, to ask us questions, to go one step deeper, to feel like they truly know us. And then last point on, on, I’d be curious what you’re doing, kind of with your business model around it. My content, my broad, this is independent of the, kind of the work I do specifically, but.
You know, there are two tracks that we’re going down. One is ultimately fully self-serve truly artificially intelligent. I don’t think that there’s a lot of AI truly deployed right now. I think a lot of what’s being sold and positioned as such is really just kind of automation really, but, but that’s one track and that’s going to be a much more personalized, typically higher volume, lower cost, highly scaled situation.
That’s Amazon. Essentially and other models like it, the other direction is the human stays involved because it’s necessary or appropriate, or the customers are willing to pay for it. And so we are going to need to push prices like you just can’t afford to get caught in the middle. When you get caught in the middle of that dynamic, you’re going to try to compete with the low cost of the volume self-serve automation play.
But you can’t afford to because you still want to provide that personal and human touch. At some point, you’re going to have to make a commitment a little, much more heavily to one direction or the other. And what I would say is if you go the automated route, you still want to add some human touches, either truly personal one-to-one video messages and video calls or recorded, right?
There are webinars services that allow you to record webinars. Just like you can record a video once with a service like BombBomb. Put it in an automation sequence. And so, you know, in the third email of the sequence, they’re going to get a video because it helps explain it differently, or it puts a human face on the company or whatever the case may be versus, you know, going the other way.
Some people, I would assume that, you know, SEO, you’re a deep partner in a lot of people’s businesses. And I want to feel like I know you and I’m willing to pay a little bit more for that. I don’t want to be presumptuous again about your go to market strategy. You know, I, if you are a true partner in my business, just like a financial advisor, You are a true partner in my life.
If you are my financial advisor, you have a lot of influence over my wife and me and my son and the direction of how we’re going to do things and, and all like I’m willing to pay for a human. For a lot of different things in my life for confidence, for security, et cetera. And so we need to, we need to make that decision about our go to market strategy, because I don’t know when the, I don’t know when the divides is going to ramp harder than it is now, but it is going to, and you can not get stuck in the middle because you’ll be, you’ll just be late to either one of those parties.
Yeah, you have to define your value propositions on one side or the other. And no, you’re exactly right in, in how, how I run SEO national is, you know, in the 14 years we’ve been in business, it’s, it’s almost entirely grown based on that human element and referrals. And I’ve talked several times with past guests about.
You know how certain high-profile clients that we’ve worked with would have never came any other way, other than personal relationships. And, um, yeah, so we do, and, and you brought up an interesting point about even that there is a benefit to automating certain things. Like it just make sense, but what you, the little asterisks next to that comment you had was add some personality.
And so on a lot of our automation, like we are. I don’t want to say self-deprecating, but you know, like it, and the things that are clearly automated. We call ourselves out. Like some of our automated messages, the first line is beep boop here’s, here’s our automated thing that says this and give a sense of humor.
And then they’re like, Oh, okay. Yeah. And then, and then they can, and there’s still that personal touch. Yeah. I can’t cite the specific study, but I’ve, I’ve seen a study and had one of my friends. Tell me about it. Another one that she had read where people hate, they hate when, whether it’s a chat bot or some other type of automation.
Acts as if it’s human. It is totally cool. We, as consumers, we’re all very comfortable dealing with automated things. And in a lot of cases, like I don’t, I would so much rather my dentist office text me an automated reminder about my appointment, that pick up the phone and call me and cause I’m not going to answer it because they’re not in my phone as a, as a specific contact.
So I’m not going to answer it. And it’s going to leave a voicemail and I’m like out of curiosity, maybe I’ll listen to the voice. Like. Just texting. Like we’re perfectly okay with automation. The one thing we should not do as, as business operators is act as if it’s something besides what it is. And so I love that approach.
It’s like, it’s just acknowledging what we all know. And it’s, it’s the honesty in it is, um, a refreshing, sadly honesty is very refreshing in sales and marketing right now and often unexpected and, um, The other element, is this a little bit fun? I like it. I like what you all are doing. And, and it’s, um, as long as you’re not acting and this, this, this is where the ethics of getting into moving beyond automation to AI, where machines are making decisions based on human guidance, but not on, you know, humans.
Aren’t making all of the calls. When we set up automations in our business, we get to make all of the decisions and set them up and then it gives us feedback and then we manage it. As things get more and more intelligent and start acting on their own based on learning things that we pointed its attention at.
Um, the ethics around that and making sure that it’s acting as it is rather than acting as a human, uh, will be really, really interesting and important. I don’t know how we got down this road. Yeah, no, it’s I like these conversations, this, uh, you talking about being refreshing. That’s probably the number one comment that I get back in some of my outreach, because certainly for scalability have to automate or semi-automate some of it, but I, I ensure there’s some, it has a personal feel and what w literally, probably the most common reply I get is exactly what he said about it being refreshing, where I.
In the message blatantly say something like this is the last message I’m going to send you. Okay. And guess what, that’s the last message I send them unless they reply. And so that, that transparency and ethics and all of that is really what’s differentiating, um, a lot of businesses now. And, you know, one good example is with the whole virus thing.
Um, understandably, a lot of businesses, uh, in, in marketing and just every industry have been negatively impacted. I, if anything were up, just because of the relationships for the reasons you said, because as people want to stretch their dollar further, they want to give it to somebody that they know has their best interest in mind, or they’ve established those relationships with a hundred percent.
And it’s, it’s really, really interesting. The, there of all the people listening right now, I would doubt that any of you would say that you’re in a space that is not being commodified. Or has already been commodified. I think you Damon would agree that SEO services. At some level are a commodity. And so how do you break out of that?
And by commodity, I just mean, and I would say video, the space that we’re in has gotten more commodified. I don’t know that it’s commodity yet. I think there’s still a lot of norms and best practices to figure out it’s still relatively young. Um, so the market still needs to sort itself out, but almost every single business because, uh, everything is so much cheaper.
The barriers to entry in almost any business are so much lower, all. Just think about the legal paperwork to found your company, right? It’s so much easier to do now than it was even a decade ago. Um, how to build a business, how to build a particular type of business. There are YouTube channels. There are podcasts, there are Instagram feeds.
There’s so much available to people. And so the, these barriers to entry are getting lower and lower. And so we wind up with hyper competition. We wind up with. Essentially product and service parody. Uh, you know, if some company has a, a video feature, for example, that all of our customers start asking us about we’re days or weeks or at worst months away from having the exact same thing to take that objection off the table.
And so it’s this chased a parody, which in some ways as a chased to commodification. And so what we need to focus on and customers get to make all the decisions, right. We don’t get to. There’s no fooling anybody anymore. There’s no strong arming anyone anymore. Customers have the control over who they want to do business with.
And why? So why? The rise of purpose is such an interesting thing. Your value seem to align with mine, but you cost 22% more, but I’m going to go with you anyway, because my values are important to me and I’m willing to pay that premium. All those dynamics are all part of generically speaking customer experience and the experience we provide people, uh, and, and you’ve illustrated it very well with your specific intentional efforts to add some personality, even to the automated pieces, to build into relationships, to be a valued partner, to generate referrals.
Um, That’s where it’s at. That’s where we have to go. We have to think about how we make our customers feel because that is going to be our differentiator and it is going to support whatever our go to market strategy is because you’re only best, fastest, cheapest. I mean a th no one believes the many way.
This is a purlative and B very rarely are they true because there’s a new competitor that you don’t even know about. It’s not a month goes by before an employee or a customer, or a friend of mine sends me a link to a website that says, Hey, are these guys like you guys. Like, yeah, a little bit like this a little bit that it looks like they’re trying to go more that way.
You know, it looks more like a, kind of a, a video hosting platform for fortune 500 companies where it’s like a, you know, kind of like an, a video based intranet type thing. So kind of, yeah, really. And so like, it’s just, it’s not going to stop. Yeah. So especially now that you have, you know, millions of people that are like my career or my job just got pulled out from under me, what am I going to do?
There’s this is like a creative destruction moment where, you know, both sides of that are wonderful and scary. Um, There are going to be so many problems that are currently being solved in a, in a kind of a half-assed manner. They’re going to be solved so much better because businesses are going to change to solve it better.
Or new businesses are going to be created to solve it better. Right? There’s in the barriers to doing that are so much lower and so no one can afford to rest on their laurels. No one can imagine that being the best is going to win. The many thing we have to think about how we make people feel in the relationships that we’re building with people.
Yeah, it’s, uh, that’s one thing that I, I have gotten, I’ve been interested in seeing how we look back in this whole coronavirus era is what innovation came from it because it’s bound to be something. Realistically, it could be monumental, you know, and who knows what it is at this point? Um, Ethan w we’ve had some good stories.
I skipped over the TV, um, for the second time, or maybe round two on another time. But before we go, I do want to ask you about, I started reading about your bus story, but I didn’t get through the whole thing. So it, do you have an abbreviated version of your. Bus driver. Perfect. First job story. But thanks for bringing that up.
I don’t know that I’ve talked about that on a podcast before. Um, so yeah, I had a mutual friend of mine, uh, introduced me to this Microsoft rep back in the mid nineties, late nineties. And, um, she was putting together a bus and they needed someone young and trustworthy to a learn how to drive a bus. So I got a commercial driver license, right?
Well, they, they were for business purposes, they were putting together a bus. Yeah, absolutely. So, so Microsoft, this woman had this idea of taking a full size school bus, 70 seat school bus, 70 kids would ride on this thing gutted it, turned it into a 10 station, mobile computer lab. And then. I turned out to be the driver and I demoed a bunch of software from like the games that were out at the time.
Like there’s a little magic school bus, video game. I don’t know if you remember that cartoon kind of like an educational cartoon monster truck racing at the time. You know, of course a lot of the tools were still on CD rom. So I had the Encarta encyclopedia hunt CD rom on a server in the back. I had all the, um, a bunch of office products and things.
Um, Microsoft maps and, uh, so I would drive, I drove to 24 cities in one year from kind of Toronto and Ottawa, Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati Columbus, down through the central region of the VUS to, uh, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio and Austin, and kind of a bunch of cities in between. So like Tulsa Louisville, Indianapolis, like I was, it was not like, and there was no mobile internet.
Like I had to study the map and know like, so, so I’m driving in Houston, Texas, a city I’d never been to, which is interstate, like it was designed around the interstate, you know, cause it’s a young enough city. And so I’m driving this giant school bus. With no, you know, um, they don’t have any automated navigation or anything.
So I get on and I’m like, okay, I know that I’m looking to make this to get onto this other road. And it turns out that the exit is a left exit two miles ahead. And I’m like four lanes over and shoulder to shoulder. So I took it to like best buy comp USA. Those were both still very viable businesses at the time.
Zoos, museums, retailers, wherever the local Microsoft rep in that market. Would look like they would know that I was going to be in town for four days, let’s say, and they would book me at different places because it was kind of like an, you know, this fun, interactive thing where, you know, it’s obviously a benefit to best buy, to have this giant colorful.
They look like people told me it looked like the Partridge family bus. I don’t know the Partridge family. I keep thinking the Oscar Meyer Wiener mobile a lot like that, not like that, but imagine that you would come aboard in, you know, hang out and, you know, demo software and have a little bit of guidance around it.
And so it was, it was super fun. It was interesting. I saw so many cities and so many neighborhoods, like just the challenge of it alone from the social side and imagine. Microsoft even then was an enormous, enormous company. And most of these people didn’t have any way to directly communicate with a human from Microsoft.
And so here I am subdued, that’s been trained for a few months on this stuff, just getting berated about their problems. And they’re like in the install or the like, and so some of them were like hardcore, like the hardcore nerd. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way like that. I mean, they were deep into it later, later kind of like.
Um, pro-sumer developer types that were like, you know, deep questions like, man, I got nothing for you. So like just the, all of that, right? The fun and the ugly part of dealing with thousands and thousands of people in a compact period of time to, again, navigating the whole thing, just the social aspect of it.
It was super fun. It was amazing. And so I didn’t get paid very well. Um, but it was. I imagine that’s one of the greater highlights I imagine, despite the pay, it’s one of your greater highlights of your career though. Yeah, it was a great way to start. Yeah. All right. Ethan view, I appreciate jumping on learning from others.
I’ll give you the floor for the last moment, but I had contact information, how our listeners can find out more. Cool. Yeah, I mean, we did not talk much about video. If that is something you’re interested in, if you like kind of the, the, we dipped our toe in that pool. If you want to know more, uh, you can reach out to me directly.
I’m Ethan Bute on LinkedIn and pretty much on every social network. Last name is spelled B E U T E. I welcome a direct connection. You can email me directly. It’s Ethan, E T H a firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like what you’ve heard about video and want to understand our philosophy more, you can visit bombbomb.com/.
Book. And of course the website is just the word bomb twice. M B B O M b.com. I appreciate it. Thanks so much, Ethan. Yeah. Thank you.