Episode 42: Startup Maven Garry Smith

Heather Newman:  Hello everyone. Here we are again for another episode of the Mavens Do It Better podcast where we interview extraordinary experts who bring a light to our world. I am super excited today. I am here with my good friend, colleague, so much. Uh, Garry Smith. Garry say hi everybody.

Garry Smith:  Hello everybody. Pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, you bet. So, Garry and I are here in Marina del Rey. Actually in person than a lot of times I do these over a conference calls so we get to be in person today and uh, gosh, Garry and I have been friends for a long time.

Garry Smith:  14 years, or 15maybe.

Heather Newman:  14 or 15 years. Yeah. Starting out back in SharePoint days back in Seattle. So, and you were running a company back then.

Garry Smith:  Yeah. Echo Technology, it was a SharePoint company and ISV that we spun off. I even had an office.

Heather Newman:  I know you had those cool offices.

Garry Smith:  Down in Pike street.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. Pike Street.

Garry Smith:  520 Pike.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah. So I, uh, Garry and I met during those SharePoint days doing events and then, uh, he was a client for a while and then gone off and done other things and we both ended up in Los Angeles at the same time, uh, which is pretty awesome and actually live in the same apartment building. So

Garry Smith:  in the same building!

Heather Newman:  In the same building. Yeah. It's so crazy. So, um, and Garry has a new offering, um, that he's working on. And I wanted to have him on to talk about that cause it's super cool. So, will you talk about Revealit?

Garry Smith:  Sure. So actually when I sold Echo Technology in 2014. Uh, it was a mildly successful exit, which is great. I certainly had the privilege of being able to take a sabbatical and go home and remodel, which was, and then I found during that process, there's just the sort of why I started Revealit. Uh, I found these beautiful pendant lights in House of Cards and they were the ones right there in Frank and Claire's kitchen. And it was, I was really frustrated. I thought, well, why can't I shop for these? Why can't I search for them? Why can't I share them with my wife so she will give me the tick of approval that I'm allowed to have them in the house. And I thought, this is just nuts, I mean people are pumping ads to me of stuff I don't want, but the thing I wants right there, I can see it. Why can't I do it? And I thought, well, you know, what if there was a way that, you know, that everything that you see inside video, you could shop it,, you could search it and you can be social with it and you could buy it right there. And I went off and formed Revealit. And that's what Revealit does. We make anything that you see inside of video shoppable.

Heather Newman:  So searchable and shoppable video with the technology that you put together.

Garry Smith:  Yeah, I mean, I like to call it shopping, but the easiest thing to think about is shoppable video, but if you think about what people do on the path, the shopping these days, there's some solid research around that. Most people spend, they'll watch two or three videos. They'll watch an unboxing. They'll look at, you know, what their friends are saying in their social network. So shopping, you know, is becoming very self-directed. Um, and, and, and viewers like it that way. Yeah. They like to do their own research. They like to do, they check in with their social network, they share stuff out, they get approval. Um, so you know, the whole idea of shoppable video, you know, you've got to facilitate that process. And you know, as far as video is concerned, it's very distracting to have ads popping at you all the time of things that you don't want. And, and broadcast video is pretty dumb. I mean, you can't do any of that stuff unless you've got Revealit. And with Revealit you can do it all there in frame, you know. Um, so people's attention spans Heather are so fractioned. They don't have time for this stuff. I mean, if you look at what viewers are, uh, are doing, they're installing, $40 billion of ads are locked every year. You know, there's 100 million new subscriptions of Netflix this year.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. Those numbers, I saw those numbers too. Those are crazy. And you said 40 billion?

Garry Smith:  40 billion. B. 8 billion of ad fraud. Right? Like viewers are, 50% of people, of millennials have abandoned appointment TV. So there's like a clear message there from viewers, please respect us. We would like to be respected. Don't interrupt us with things that were not interested in. So, you know, the whole idea is that, uh, you know, and people think it's just about ads. Ads a more the symptom, the cause is that people want to be self-directed. All their other forms of media are self-directed. You know, they can, they can do whatever they want whenever they want,

Heather Newman:  Or are you can opt out? Right? So as a marketer sending email messages, you know, somebody can unsubscribe. You've got All those laws around can't spam. But yeah, you're right. Like what gets into our eyeballs. Is it necessarily, you know what I mean, policed in that way or, yeah, you can probably with remarketing too, you can, I mean it's amazing. You look something up on a search engine and then all the sudden or, or on Instagram and you like tag it or you know, do something or sit on it for a minute and then all of a sudden it shows up everywhere. So, you know, you've got to be careful what you're searching for, I guess. But you know, but that's kind of,

Garry Smith:  Well it is, it is spooky, but I consider that incrementally better than being, like, uh, you know, it's still annoying and spooky. It can be annoying and spooky if you're not interested in that ad. You know, sometimes you say stuff in a house and you wonder if Alexa is listening and then it popped, cause it pops up on your, like your web search. It's kind of spooky, right? But you know, I don't know what's worse that or having a broadcast ads thrust down your throat, like at the beginning in the middle and the end of something that you're truly not interested in. So I don't know what the lesser of two evils are. Um, I mean, the way that Revealit does it we don't do either of those things. I mean, it's completely zero interruption. You do not get interrupted whatsoever with any ad. You've got to stop, pause, like what you see, and interact. You know, so if you see Jennifer Aniston's sweater or the fridge, fridge in Friends, you can pause, you can get a, uh, you can, uh, yeah, I keep tapping. Sorry. I'm too passionate about Revealit and video.

Heather Newman:  He's like tapping on the butcher block. I'm like, stop it!

Garry Smith:  You can, you can just get that information in frame right there, you know, and then you can get an educational, like you could say, if you see a set of knives or wine, you can look at Wikipedia links for that. You know, you can watch a research video about how to, you know, maintain your car if you see a car like, or how to do a certain thing. So that's what Revealit does. And it's, it's, it's, yeah, it's exciting.

Heather Newman:  Totally.

Garry Smith:  It is the future of video. I, I strongly believe video is headed that way, you know, um, you know.

Heather Newman:  I want to hear, so I'm going to jump backwards cause very Revealit is super cool. And that's what you're doing like now, today. Let's go back and um, how did you get started in technology, IT, entrepreneurism and all that stuff? Cause this is, you've had quite a number of startups?

Garry Smith:  I have. Um, yeah, I have a business degree with a major in uh, computing. So it was, I'm a little on the older side compared to most entrepreneurs I'm swanning around with these days. But back when I did that, it was kind of a bit weird as a combo.

Heather Newman:  Where was that from?

Garry Smith:  The University of Technology in Sydney.

Heather Newman:  That's right. Sydney, Australia.

Garry Smith:  Sydney, Australia.

Heather Newman:  As you can probably tell Garry has got a great dialect.

Garry Smith:  So, thank you. I did that degree, uh, the last couple of years of that, I started at full time, but the last couple of years I, so I went out and I worked for a job for a couple of years before I went back to University and then I thought, aww I've got to get a degree, you know, like I can't do these jobs. Like I really need to go and finish my education. So I went back to university full time for a couple of years and in the last year, you know, the full last year of my bachelor's degree, I went to work for Microsoft and I did it part time. So

Heather Newman:  Did I know that?

Garry Smith:  No, I don't think you did know that, or I might've mentioned it, but such a long time ago. So in Microsoft Australia, I worked there and I was an excel support technician.

Heather Newman:  Oh, my goodness.

Garry Smith:  On the phone, like answering 50 to 100 calls a day about,

Heather Newman:  How do I do a SUM?

Garry Smith:  Yeah. How do I do this macro?

Heather Newman:  How do I do a pivot table?

Garry Smith:  Well I thought it was going to be super, super simple like that. But you know, then there's people doing all this imaginative stuff and all this programming and all these finance experts, it actually could get quite complex quite quickly. So that sort of, you know, that that floated my boat in terms of, well, I was doing a business degree with a major in computing and, and then like while I was at Microsoft a bit, I became, I think the first certified DOS person in the world or something like one of the first. Certainly in the first three months, which is kind of weird. And then I became certified in windows, then I became a certified teacher of developers. So I taught people how to in developing visual basic, I taught myself how to develop and then I passed that exam. And so, you know, you're on the phone call taking 50 phone, taking 50 to 100 phone calls a day and you're helping people out with these complex, uh, um, algorithms in a spreadsheet, you get offers to do consulting all the time. Well, you sound really knowledgeable, Mr. Smith. You want to come and help me? So then I eventually left Microsoft and started my own consulting practice and I became a Microsoft certified partner in Sydney and just started, you know, those relationships from being on the phone. Then I started teaching developers, if you teach developers, they've all got projects in their companies and that's a, and then we started this consulting practice called Livepoint Sydney that specialized in SharePoint and, uh, in the, in the, uh, in the finance area with banks. Uh, and we became a Go-to partner or a gold partner. I don't even know if that still exists today. And um, and then, you know, we built the consulting practice up and to be, I don't know, 30 or 40 and it was a pretty good practice. But, but consulting is hard work.

Heather Newman:  Yes, it is.

Garry Smith:  It's feast or famine and it's a, it's people management. And, uh, I always, I spun a hobby company off, you know, I, I seeded the thing with 50 grand, which I think I, I forced my aunt to give me, you know.

Heather Newman:  Thank you very much.

Garry Smith:  Thanks. And my business partner at the time was like horrified because we were doing pretty well in consulting, it was just before the financial crisis. And as I said our clients were in finance, in banking. And uh, you know, I spun this thing off. And when I sold the first two copies of my product Echo for SharePoint to the US Army in Fallujah and Booz Allen Hamilton were my first two clients. So, okay, well, Gee, okay. Well, and I said to my business partner, see? See, told ya. And then I kind of took that hobby company and came over to here to live in the US around, you know, started investigating around 2005, 2006 and then came here on a visa. Uh, and um, lived in Seattle for nearly five years, five and a half years with that company. So that's why it's, and then I've never, the only time I've had a job, I think I was 21 or something, I worked for Microsoft. I'm 51 now, soon 52. The only time I've taken a job is when I got bought out and I had to be handcuffed at that company for two years. So in that time, it's the only time I've, I've always worked for myself. Always. And um, I'm kind of like tortured by ideas. That's why I sometimes wonder why I do it.

Heather Newman:  No, I know. Well, I mean, I think that autonomy is so great, right?

Garry Smith:  Yeah. You're running your own race. I like running my own race.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, I do too. I mean, we, Garry and I talk about all of this a lot. We talk a lot about business and and running a business and technology and bounce things off each other a lot. And uh, I, I love your brain on that, you know, it's cool. Yeah, absolutely. No, it is.

Garry Smith:  There's a saying, I think you know, might be a cliché now, but you know, the, the best day, uh, the worst day working for yourself is equal to the best day working for someone else.

Heather Newman:  That's a good quote. Yeah.

Garry Smith:  I think it's pretty true actually, for me anyway, I found it. I mean, I really love my former CEO, him and I are still friends and he's on our advisory board. But it was rough and tough and I mean we didn't like each other like, when, but we became friends in the end. But you know, working for someone else when you've worked for yourself, the whole of your life is difficult I think.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I don't know, I, people have asked me like, would you go and do that again? And I mean I, I have my hands in two companies, you know, my own with Creative Maven and then with Content Panda and it's, you know, I mean, never say never, but, um, it is an interesting premise of like, you know, cause people are always like, you can never go back to Microsoft. And I'm like, oh, maybe, I don't know. You know, I don't know.

Garry Smith:  Maybe. Well, people that don't work for themselves don't kind of understand it. They just have a little bit of a different risk profile.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, that's probably true.

Garry Smith:  You know, I have people say to me, well, aren't you afraid of running out of money? And I go, well, sometimes, uh, yeah, especially running a startup, where all we do is spend money, we don't earn any. Um, but then I think the of, you know, there's a passage in the Bible, there's a biblical passage about the birds don't know where they're getting their food today. They seem to eat. You know, I think of that.

Speaker 3:        Yes. That's a good, I've never heard that.

Garry Smith:  I mean I don't do the passage justice whatsoever, but there is a very, you know, and I think about that when I'm stressed about where's my money going to come from and where's my food going to come from? And I'm blessed with a big family and you know, I often say to them, look, I'm, I'm headed for the men's hostel any day now if I don't like continue to raise and get this company off the ground, and they, and it's nice to know that you've got a little bit of family behind you that helps a little. You know, you've got a bolt, bolt hole. Um, it won't be the men's hostile. I joke about that and I think about the birds. I kind of have these kind of like mental things that stop me being fearful.

Heather Newman:  I think that's an a, an a an amazing visual. If you think about it, you know, really visualize that.

Garry Smith:  about the birds?

Heather Newman:  Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Garry Smith:  There's no plan for them. They don't have, no one's employing them.

Heather Newman:  You know, there's no guarantee that, you know, like I moved out of my house and I stopped putting stuff in the hummingbird feeder because I've moved. Like I hope the next person did it. I feel guilty about that all the time. I actually do, I think about those humming birds that I've left cause we moved and I'm like, I hope somebody is feeding them.

Garry Smith:  Well, I'll send you the passage so you can get to sleep.

Heather Newman:  You know, I do think, you know, speaking of, you know, having to hustle and that kind of thing. I do think that, you know, we all are, oh gosh, you know, some people are really good at saving, some people are really good at like, you know, retirement and all those things. And I do think that, you know, unfortunately most people are not really good at that stuff and that we are probably two to three paychecks away from really being in serious trouble. I have before, you know, I've, I recall not so long ago having 37 cents in my bank account, somebody decided, a client decided to not to pay me. Um,

Garry Smith:  Hang on. Did you say paychecks? You lucky, lucky bastard. You get paychecks?

Heather Newman:  No, but you know. I haven't gotten a paycheck in I don't even know. Yeah, right, right. Yes. No, I mean I get, I get paid for the work I do, but not, you know, I'm a W2 or so.

Garry Smith:  Yeah. You know, my, my mum said, oh, I didn't get a payroll recently. I said, I haven't got, I haven't yet issued an invoice for two years. Frightening.

Heather Newman:  It is frightening.

Garry Smith:  You know, the way, like running a startup this, this time I did it differently. It's super, it's, when you think, if you actually take time to think about it, I'm like a professional beggar. I'm like the guys begging on Venice, I just smell better. Right? I'm really, professionally, my job is professionally begging for money. And if I don't do a good job begging, then all the people that I've got on board in the company, all the people that are working in the company all the developer, well they don't get paid.

Heather Newman:  And they don't get paid. Yeah, yeah. Which is a lot of the problem with when you are working with startups, you know, and you're helping them, you know sometimes like you're like oh I'll do it for whatever and this and maybe partial this and da-da-da-da-da and then you know, a lot of people unfortunately don't always come through on that kind of stuff. Right? And you're left having done a lot of work without getting paid for it,

Garry Smith:  That's, I mean, yeah, I mean it depends on the type of startup. A lot of these startups, I mean I'm going to startup events at the moment because I am out raising but, and you know, I raise the first round in friends and family, which was pretty easy because I had an exit. But now I'm at the next level that I'm at this startup events. And a lot of these people, they've got these startups, they're bootstrapped with nothing but free work from friends. And uh, and you know, we did it a little differently, but we raised some money and you know, to date managed to pay out most of our bills. But yeah. But you know, these people are doing it on shoestring budgets and on the smell of an oily rag and it's hard. So, you know, they've got to try and, and get somebody to come and work for them. It's hard for them to get the right people necessarily, until they get money. It's just all donations of time.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. Hiring is interesting too. And you know, I keep my business pretty lean as far as that goes and have. It’s ebbed and flowed over the years, you know, but I feel like for me, I keep it really kind of lean as far as employees and stuff right now. I didn't really want that for the business. But it is interesting when you're bring people on, you know, how much can you afford? What's your cashflow like and all of those things that I think sometimes people don't, people are like, I'm just going to start a business. And it's like, okay, it's not just, you know, putting up a website.

Garry Smith:  Well I have seen this. I've seen this a lot. And I try to help people when I can. Like I've helped a couple of people, I've seen this a lot in the like 20 somethings. They get together, they like each other very quickly. They form a company, inverted commas, which means that they don't form a company, they get a business, a website with a name. There's no legal advice. There's no contractual advice. I've seen this happen multiple times over the last three or four years in particular. There's such a, um, I don't know if it's a gloss about being an entrepreneur and running your own company at the moment.

Heather Newman:  Everybody wants to be a unicorn and

Garry Smith:  Right. I mean, you know, I call them wantrepreneurs.

Heather Newman:  Ah, oh. Like a one hit wonder?

Garry Smith:  Wantrepreneurs. They'd like to be an entrepreneur, but they don't really know how to do it. And they get together and they start working together, um, without any agreement about who's putting what in. All of a sudden they're putting their hand in their pocket and they're paying expenses for this entity that doesn't really exist. It's just a website. They are very focused on getting the logo right and the name right and the website out there. And then, they start working and no one agrees who's paying for anything. But they're out there like presenting themselves as a company and it just all turns to tears pretty quickly. You know, soon as someone pays too much at the event that they organized out of their credit card, they're trying to get it back out of the other two people. The business breaks down in about a heartbeat and they suddenly realize that they haven't thought about it. So it's kind of an interesting, I see this a lot now, you know, and, and even the thing that you mentioned of people doing a lot of free work, sometimes those people don't realize they're working for free. You know, they've been engaged and then it's all, and that comes after the fact. You know, that can sour a relationship, an important relationship very quickly. And, um, so I've seen a fair amount. I mean, you know, did a lot of travel, particularly in the blockchain space, which has lots of young people developing. I saw these companies, form and storm rapidly and dissipate just as rapidly, you know. It's fascinating to watch and, um, anytime anyone asks me, I'd say, no, you guys should talk about what the reason for this company is. Like, why are you creating it? And like who's paying for what, when, and where and how and why. I know it's a little ugly and uncomfortable, but it's way better than getting lawyers like six months from now.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Those things tend to, it all comes out at some point anyway. You know what I mean? It's like somebody gets, and it comes down to money, you know, money and time when you're like, oh, wait a minute, wait a minute,

Garry Smith:  I'm paying for that?

Heather Newman:  Yeah. I need to pay for my stuff. You know, like, all of that that too. So it's kind of like, yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Garry Smith:  I mean, that's, um, you know, startup world is fascinating. I mean, I think it's really exciting when I go to these pitch events and I see some of these companies that are sort of, I really like being around entrepreneurs. That's one thing I will say. You know, I like risk takers. I like people that put it on the line. Um, they're exciting to me. Um, I like enterprising people, I like new ideas. Uh, so go to these events and hearing these pitches is, is, is, it's, it's, boy, it makes me feel buoyant anyway when I see that. I don't know why I like that. I just do, I guess I'm like that. They're my profile.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, completely. Are you doing most of the pitch events here in Los Angeles or are you going all over the place?

Garry Smith:  So, I, um, as I said, I raised the first amount of money with, which is, we raised a million and a half dollars in, uh, our first seed round, uh, over the last year and a bit. And, but now we've got to get strategic money. So, you know, I've started pitching to funds. And so what you asked, um, I'm kind of, I'm in kind of pitch training right now, so I'm a bit nerdy. So, my pitch was like super nerdy and I showed it to you, and you said, well, what does this mean? You were right. You know, like what worked for my first round is certainly not working out in the valley and at these pitch events. So I've, I've been in a bit of a learning, uh, um, in a bit of a learning phase over the last five or six weeks. I've been going to what I call, you know, pitch training events, small events that don't cost much. Uh, you know, we're entrepreneurs are pitching against each other to sort of be voted as the best pitch. So, and I have been doing that both in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley and I'm, I'm, and I've been getting my deck from 30 pages down to what is considered a Silicon Valley deck, which is 12 to 14 pages and quite formulaic about how they do it. And it's been very hard for someone like me that's nerdy and thinks that more information is better. And, uh, so it's taken me quite a while to do that, but, so I feel like I've been in pitch training now for about five weeks and I've got my, my first kind of, uh, um, pitch to a fund coming up this next week. So yeah. What I would consider a more, you know, it's game on now. Preseason is over. So we'll see how we go.

Heather Newman:  Rehearsal is over. Time for opening night.

Garry Smith:  Yeah. Well, yeah, I mean refining your elevator pitch and you know, getting all that stuff right. Uh, is, as you know, it's taken me five or six weeks of going to these events to work out what I was doing wrong and why and what and how to position it and what, what these funds require to give you money. So I haven't got any checks from them yet, so I, uh, I'm, I'm about to go out and try. So that's kind of exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

Heather Newman:  Oh yeah, absolutely. Both. But that's, you know, I love it that you are like, this is a learning thing, you know what I mean? Like you never, I don't think anybody ever stops learning and none of us have all the answers, you know what I mean? Like I, people are like, how do you, and I'm like, I just say yes to a lot of things and I also am curious. I think that's you and I share some curiosity, you know, of that if I don't know something, one, I'll say it cause I don't care about being, you know what I mean? And I'm like, you can go learn. There's so, YouTube whatever. There's so many things or just talking to people and going to a pitch event, like, that's awesome.

Garry Smith:  Yeah. I mean, you know, a couple of these pitch events are kind of like survivor, they vote you off the island and you don't necessarily get to the last round. I mean, that pretty clearly sends a pretty clear message to you that you screwed it up. Right? And you know, I took my EA, uh, to one of these events recently. She goes, oh, how do you feel, Garry? You okay? I said, look, you know what? Yeah, I'm okay. I mean, this is pitch training. I'd rather make the mistake here then later on. And the only failure is a failure to learn. So let's, and she says, right, so I'll come over, because she's my EA and she's like, keeps me in line. She said, right, I'm coming over tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to type the pitch out that you did today and then you're going to take what the investors said that you didn't do and you're going to put it in there and I'm going to record it and I'm going to type it again. She was fantastic.

Heather Newman:  She's hired. I mean, that's awesome. I've met her. She's great.

Garry Smith:  So just sort of taking what you, very rapidly taking what I, uh, I'm not doing and, and, and I'm kind of in that kind of loop, of, you know, I'm happy to admit I don't have all the answers and no one does, you know? Sometimes these investors ask me a question. I don't have the answers. Sometimes I say, I don't know. What do you think?

Heather Newman:  Yeah, no, I know. Answering a question with a question is awesome. So

Garry Smith:  Well, it throws them off. You're off the hook too.

Heather Newman:  Well, totally. I feel that way about technology as well and when I'm, you know, there's certain things I'm like, I don't know everything about Microsoft technologies. I don't, you know, but I don't claim to or profess that, you know, and I find that everybody is so awesome in the tech community in that way. You know, there's a little bit of like, Oh, you don't know, or Blah Blah Blah, you know? But I just, I kind of hate that. And I, those people aren't my friends.

Garry Smith:  What do you mean? The know it all, you mean? People who don't want to give up their information?

Heather Newman:  The know it all. Or it becomes like a, like a, like I'm cooler and smarter than you. You know what I mean? Like there's a little bit of that and that, that tends to be sometimes a little bit of the male thing with guys, you know, like I'm a smarter tech person than you kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm competitive and I totally like people who are ambitious and wicked smart and all of that. But I just also like I find that kind of stuff kind of boring

Garry Smith:  The best people are the people that share information. I think that's kind of fascinating about where I am now because particularly people in, the tech people are much more, I think, uh, likely to do that. And particularly the Microsoft community are very much like that. Given that I have a strong partnering culture. That I haven't seen necessarily in other tech companies, but you know, here in LA now and my business requires a bit of work with creatives and start to work with creatives and they're another whole kettle of fish. They can be very protective about who they know and what they know much more than the tech people. And so, dealing, one of the great challenges of, of running Revealit compared to say working with just technical people is you've got this different culture. And trying to understand them and make sure you communicate with them. And it's a, so that's kind of like an interesting challenge, you know, they don't give up as much information.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. Well, and I feel like with, there's so many agencies and it's such big money, you know what I mean? Like ideas are gold. Right? And if you come up with the next like, just do it or whatever, you know? And you've said that out loud into the world or to somebody like, you know, good ideas are all over the place. It's just about who plucks them down and actually makes them happen.

Garry Smith:  They're a lot more protective about them here, you know, I've got 105 people have sign my NDA in the last two, three years. The only one that sent it to their attorney or the only two people that sent it to their attorney are Hollywood people, with changes.

Heather Newman:  Wow. Huh? Wow, that's interesting. Yeah, no, for sure. Yeah. I feel like, I don't know, I like, I, I'm enjoying dipping into Los Angeles. It's very different than what you and I like. We both lived in Seattle. You know, and sort of

Garry Smith:  It's super different. It's like another planet. In a good way.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, totally.

Garry Smith:  In a good way. But at first it's kind of like, who are these people? But after a while, I mean LA grows on you and, and I love it now.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, I do too.

Garry Smith:  I really like it.

Heather Newman:  I am a big fan as well and we do, but you know, we live in Marina del Rey, so we live close to the beach, can walk a lot of the places and all of that. But I still think you, you still complain about the not having a really good coffee shop close.

Garry Smith:  I do. That's why I have this thing behind you.

Heather Newman:  Garry just made me the most delicious latte ever. So, you know, he always does. You make good coffee.

Garry Smith:  Yeah. That's one thing that uh, yeah, Aussies are a little bit snooty about that.

Heather Newman:  I don't not hate that. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Yeah. And I like, I think I've, the flat white has become a big favorite of mine too, which I didn't quite understand what that was at first. I was like, isn't it a latte? Oh no, no, it's not a latte. Okay, fine. Whatever.

Garry Smith:  Yeah. Australians and their coffee.

Heather Newman:  It's not just Australians though. I mean everywhere I go, I think people are very coffee. I don't know. Australians for sure though.

Garry Smith:  But it's also hard in LA, even like, you know, even if there was a great coffee shop here and there and there are a couple of great ones up on Abbot Kinney, but that by the time you get to your basement and get in your car, I mean there's a 40 minute round trip. Minimum.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. And those places are always banging busy too. So it's just kind of ridiculous. Yeah, it's fun. So, um, one last question. Um, what kind of, you know, you talked a little bit about the beginnings of your career. Is there something that you can pinpoint that really kind of, aside from what you've already said, like sparked to you to kind of go forth on, on this journey? You know, like something like there, is there a moment in time when you were like, yes! And it can be about, you know, whatever business or Revealit?

Garry Smith:  I think the exciting thing for me is seeing people use my product and seeing, you know, um, I told you earlier in this discussion that I'm tortured by ideas. Like my roommate complains that I have very long showers and that's because I've just in, when I'm in the shower I'm thinking, thinking, thinking, ideas, ideas, ideas, and I think what are, you know, and this probably goes back to the two sales that we made for, you know, like to know that you something that was an idea in the shower one day, someone's using on the other side of the world. I mean that's kind of what does it for me. I mean, you know, there are different reasons, motivators. You could talk about, uh, why people start businesses. They, you know, I like to think that they do it either for love, money, glory or uh, yeah, they're the main motivators. Love money, power, glory. I mean, I guess I'm a bit of a power guy. As I said, I like running my own race. That's a motivator for me. But in terms of the creative. I'm a bit creative for a nerd and I'm nerdy for a creative. So I think the enjoyment I get is knowing that people are using something that I dreamt up in the shower one day. That might be a power motive as well.

Heather Newman:  I think that's a presentation right there and an interesting, uh, kind of nugget for your pitch.

Garry Smith:  I mean, I love that. Look, the current project, I believe we can change the world. I believe we can change how people are consuming video and I strongly believe that's where it's headed. So participating in what I know is going to happen is really exciting me right now. Knowing we can make a change and knowing that's where it's headed and attempting to execute that. Even the, I mean, just the process of attempting the journey of attempting it. It's stimulating, it's draining, but it's stimulating. And um, and I don't know, I'm just wired like that. I love doing that. I love implementing ideas and I have a high risk threshold. So, you know, that's, I, I'm just, that's genetic I guess. And so, you know, if I'm not going to do it who else is going to do it? People with a high threshold need to do this stuff. It's kind of like,

Heather Newman:  I agree, I agree. I say my job on this earth is to x, Y, z. You know, like when you start thinking about like, okay, what's my purpose? Right? And like you just talked about that, you know, it's about dreaming up ideas in the shower and putting them forth and implementing them in the world. You know, like,

Garry Smith:  Yeah, I mean I think that's something that I can do better than other people. I'm not saying I'm the best at it. At all. But I, you know, that's kind of like, uh, what I like doing and what I'm capable of doing. So that's what I need to do. You know, people, I mean, people that work with me and know me and my family, I mean they start hyperventilating when they think of what I'm doing. So obviously their risk profile is very different. And so, you know, this would never be for them, but their life would never be for me. And so that's, that's yeah. That, that's what does it for me.

Heather Newman:  I can dig it. I know what you mean about the product. And I think our first couple of sales with Content Panda it was the same thing. And like a couple of them are like, I'm like, I can't talk about it, but like there's a, you know, airliner, pharmaceutical or whatever, and then I'm like, I can't, you know, I can't believe it. Like, that's amazing. You know, and it's, it is that that gets you right in the gut and gets you super excited.

Garry Smith:  Yeah. Cause you know, you made a difference. You know, people, uh, you know they either save time or money or they got enjoyment from what you did. They got something from what you delivered to them. And it's not even just for them about writing you a check for it. It's like, well, they wrote me a check for it because they believe they perceive the value was higher than the money. That's awesome. I actually added value.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. And it, to me it equates, like when you were talking about being creative as well, is that, you know, like that's like the ultimate thing for an artist or an actor or you know, being onstage or presenting or whatever. You know, it's like, it's, it's different. It's a different form of that same feeling, but you know that you create something that somebody enjoys, or it moves them, or it helps them or whatever. So, to me, entrepreneurs and people who create stuff, they all in the same bucket. You know, you may, it might be ones and zeros or it might be oil paint on a canvas, you're still creating something.

Garry Smith:  I agree 100% with what you're saying. That resonates with me because you know, like I'm the worst Pictionary player ever.

Heather Newman:  Pictionary?

Garry Smith:  Yeah. You ever play Pictionary?

Heather Newman:  Yes, yes.

Garry Smith:  If I had the draw to save my life, I'd just order my last meal immediately like, I wouldn't even bother.

Heather Newman:  Fair enough.

Garry Smith:  I'm creative, but like, you know, I can't draw. I'm the worst singer. I do sing of course, but I can't sing.

Heather Newman:  In the shower.

Garry Smith:  I sing in the shower; I sing all the time everywhere. Particularly if I've had a few glasses of wine, but I'm terrible at it. Like I can't paint, I can't draw. I'm an okay writer, but I'm very slow at it. Like, um, but I can create software, you know? And so that is a very, it's a creative outlet for me, for someone that has no creative skills elsewhere.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think we should end on that because that's super cool.

Garry Smith:  All right. Thank you.

Heather Newman:  You're welcome. Thank you for being on this show.

Garry Smith:  I hope it was interesting for your audience.

Heather Newman:  I'm sure. Yes, it's super interesting. Entrepreneurs are awesome. So, um, Garry, thank you.

Garry Smith:  You're welcome. Thank you.

Heather Newman:  Absolutely. Everyone. This has been another episode of the Mavens Do It Better podcast. You can find us on all the usual places on iTunes, on Spotify, on Stitcher, on our RSS feed, and the Mavens Do It Better website. And, uh, here's to another beautiful day on this big blue spinning sphere. Thanks.

 

Heather Newman

Heather Newman is an award-winning marketing maven, technology entrepreneur and an epic connector that brings many worlds together. She has extensive experience marketing products and services for Enterprise businesses, startups and emerging markets. Heather builds plans and processes that are nimble, human and different. She is an adept storyteller and is passionate about growth for both employees and the corporate bottom-line. Heather hails from the arts and the bulk of her career has been working with the largest technology companies in the world (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, NetApp, Hewlett Packard, and Dell). Her nineteen years of experience working at technology companies and building global high-tech marketing strategy has driven millions of dollars of revenue and multiple award-winning campaigns. She has led global marketing teams for many technology companies including AvePoint, IT Unity & KnowledgeLake. Heather was a part of the original Microsoft SharePoint Marketing team. During her tenure, she helped launch multiple versions of the product, build the SharePoint Partner Ecosystem and conceived of and produced the first three Microsoft SharePoint Conferences. Creative Maven has produced thousands of global marketing campaigns and events. Currently CM is focusing on go to market strategies for Microsoft and its partners as well as a new site sister site launching in 2015 called Marketingfixer.com. Heather also serves as Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Content Panda, an innovative technology startup looking to actively disrupt how content is delivered inside software.