Home Automation Podcast Episode #67: An Industry Q&A With Joseph Kolchinsky
Changing the Smart Home One Experience at a Time
This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Joseph Kolchinksy. Recorded live on Monday, March 11th, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. EST.
About Joseph Kolchinsky
Joseph holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He invested in and served on the board of Ihiji, a start-up focused on remote management of the smart-home which was acquired by Control4 in 2017.
Today, Joseph is the Founder/CEO of OneVision Resources and is focused on modernizing the smart-home service channel, transforming today’s professional smart-home installer into tomorrow’s Technology Manager for the connected family.
OneVision is focused on redefining the relationships integrators have with their clients, changing the smart home one experience at a time.
Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Joseph Kolchinsky
- The importance of an efficient service department and de escalation with a customer
- Trends of businesses streamlining and standardization within the industry
- Joseph’s recent involvement with Tech CEO Symposium events
- The value of an appropriately matched customer and integrator relationship
Ron: Hello everybody. Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged. We are here for episode or show number 67 if you are watching live. Thank you. If you are more than likely watching on replay or after the fact, I hope you are doing well. Thanks for checking us out. Whether you're watching or listening, I keep threatening that we'll be live on a podcast and a podcast format soon and that is eminent. There we go. We already had our first person saying hello, we had Kris coming to us from London. What's up Kris, thank you for watching. Sure. And by the way, Kris need to have you on the show, man. So ping me privately and we'll have you on the show and I've been meaning to reach out, so thanks for, thanks for doing that. What's been going on? First of all, today is an odd day for going live. Today is Monday, March 11th. It is also an odd time. It's two o'clock. And last week I was doing quite a bit of traveling and I was unable to come to you live on Wednesday. And so my guest today, Joey, he my schedule and his schedule look at that Joey for future CEDIA CEO. Look at that. That's funny. Ah, there you go Joey. I'll see what Joey has to say about that here in just a minute. And so anyways, I was out at the ProSource Summit going to talk about that. And then it was out in Tucker, Georgia at Sonen headquarters, this energy automation company. And and then I was down here in Fort Lauderdale at the IC Realtime headquarters meeting with them and then back in the office. So been doing a lot of traveling and but I'm happy to be in the office and without further ado, let me bring in the one and only Mr Joey.
Joseph: Hey Ron.
Ron: There he is. Joey, how are you?
Joseph: Great man. How are you?
Ron: I'm awesome. Having a good day today.
Joseph: I'm having a wonderful day. You bet. Working from home today. I've got my kids' drawings behind me. You know, it's a wonderful day when that happens.
Ron: Here's Kris, Kris is posting. He said, Ron, I thought you had a clone. You'd been in so many places. You know what? Tell me about it. But I only do that in spurts. Kris. Joey's actually the real travel and man Joey is all over the place all the time. I'm just, I'm all over the place. Some of the time. Joey is all over the place all the time. Yeah. We see each other quite a bit on the road. Yeah. I know. I just keep telling myself I don't travel much. It's all about a state of mind. Right?
Joseph: Right, yep.
Ron: All right Joey. So for those in our audience some of those watching and listening are, I don't know how this is possible, but there is a chance some of them don't know you and some of them may not know one vision, resources. So can you give a synopsis to the audience of who you are and tell them a little bit about your company?
Joseph: Sure. so really happy to be on the show with you. Thank you for bringing me on a second time. You know, I'm on a SNL kick lately and I love watching. Everybody's like this is my second time on SNL and they get to tell their whole story. So you know, I feel like we're at that place with your show, Ron, and it's it's a big deal, you know, to be on your show twice.
Ron: I appreciate it. I was going to say, I was going to tell the audience that you were previously on show number 35, so if people want to go ahead and check that out. Here we are on 67. So there's been 30 or so guests in between. Only a couple of guests have been on twice. And so you are in that rare club. But anyway, go ahead and I'm going to bug back out of here and tell the audience who you are.
Joseph: Yeah. So my name's Joey Kolczynski. I'm the founder and CEO of OneVision Resources. I'm a service professional by by experience by training, went to school in economics and finance. And started doing tech support for for high net worth families here in the Boston area many, many years ago. Really started out not as an integrator, started actually as a service provider on the IT support side of things, ripping CDs to MP3s and fixing computers and iPhones and things like that. But back then realized that the pain of having to be available all the time for clients via email and phone was not sustainable. It was back in 2008 and started experimenting with recurring revenue. So my first service agreement went out in 2008. And I never stopped from then on forward. And along the way it built up an integration firm. And in 2015, I shut the integration firm down. And the reason why was because the service side of the business was way more successful than anything else. So I had developed about a hundred thousand dollars a month in recurring revenue coming from 40 families. And so on average, each family was paying $2,500. Our minimum was $1,000. We had some families paying as much as $10,000. And the idea was that we were their technology manager. We were their single point of contact for everything tech related whether it was their iPhones, their email, their calendar, their contacts, their computers or music or video, their photos. Notice that's all the personal tech side of things. And then the other side of things, their home, their audio, their video, their security, their cameras, their networks, their controls, their lighting shades, heating and air conditioning, thermostats, et cetera, et cetera. You know, we would manage that as well. And as an example, if a client shattered an iPhone, I'd have a new one in their hands within two hours fully loaded with all of their data. So we optimize for speed and quality, did not optimize for price and found ourselves in the very niche market of clientele that were willing to pay for it. What that taught us was that, you know, eventually there probably would be a lot. There would be an entire industry of people managing technology in the homes. And I endeavored to help that industry. Or I'd say I endeavored to build on the foundation that this industry already had to then go and create our next generation of technology managers in the future. And so that's what I started to do. In 2016 I started to join up other integration firms, become their director of service and support, help design and implement a more modern and operationalized service department within their organization. Brought a lot of the same process and structure to their service department that these integrators already had to the project side of their business. Handled a lot of their service marketing, a lot of their service process, implemented the ticketing systems, train their sales teams on how to sell what we call tech support memberships. And of course last but not least, also help them with their two one support. So we would do there 24/7 remote support operation as well. And all with the goal in mind of getting 100% of their clients to pay a monthly fee for ongoing support and premium services and three years later it's working. We have what we have 60, I don't know if Ron can put up that that sheet that we have OneVision by the numbers, but we've got 60 something partners across the country now. We've processed over a million dollars in annual recurring revenue for our partners. That's a lot of money getting deposited back into their accounts every month. We handle about 10,000 emails and phone calls every month for tech support, median response time of nine minutes. And I'd say have successfully proven out that when pitched appropriately and when structured appropriately, your clients, integrators clients, are willing to pay a monthly fee for ongoing service and support. And I gotta tell you it's an incredibly awesome thing given that we've been watching this industry sorta try to figure this out for the last decade. So very exciting.
Ron: Yeah, that's is a beautiful new piece of literature too, isn't it? I don't believe I had seen this cut sheet before. You had just sent this to me just a little bit ago.
Joseph: We designed this actually for the ProSource summit. So we, Ron, you and I both just came back from the ProSource Summit last week, which was awesome. And ProSource has making a massive push for managed services and encouraging their entire dealer base to get better actually both on the managed services side of things and on the marketing side of things. So we both happen to be, you know, right in their cross-hairs for sort of targeted efforts by their group. And you know, we put this together for one of their presentations.
Ron: And what is deescalate, 96% deescalation rate. Like what does that mean for those out there that may not be running service departments or they may not be currently thinking about their after sale or after installation service in this way. Can you explain to some of the lexicon, like what's what, what is exactly what are these things mean?
Joseph: Yeah. So the escalation rate most people when they think about doing tech support, they wonder, well, how many problems do you solve? And we don't think about how many problems you solve at all or we solve. So to bring this back a bit, we join up with an integrator and we become partners with them. So together our operation and the integrators operation joined forces to create an amazing service department for the client. And we operate in unison together. We operate out of the same ticketing system. We operate with the same policies and processes and expectations. So when the client calls or emails in, they're going through the service department and we're the first stop on that service department. And so we'll pick up the phone and we'll say Acme Integration, Joey speaking and use the integrators name and engage with the client. We have all the client's information sitting in front of us. Cause again, we're sharing the same systems with the partner, with the integrator. And our focus on basic support is actually not to solve the problem. Our focus is to respond quickly, understand the problem document all the issues, set options, provide options and set expectations. So give the client the options to get the support they want. Are you looking for remote support now or are you looking for someone to call you back next week? Are you looking for a same day appointment today because this is urgent? Or are you looking for something scheduled out next week when we have availability, right? So give the client the options to choose the support experience that they're looking for and then go in and start providing the support that they're looking for. So if they're looking for remote support in the moment. Awesome. Cool. Let's go down that path. And a great example of deescalation, actually here, let's walk through the two examples we use. Often when a client calls in, and Ron, you can be the integrator for a second. If I'm a client calling in, Hey my Apple TV is not working, what do you do?
Ron: And I'm the homeowner?
Joseph: Yeah, you're the integrator. You're the integrator I'm and saying, Hey Ron.
Ron: I'm imagining on occasion I'm going to have to roll a van to the project in order to, or maybe I'm going to have them unplug it and plug it back in.
Joseph: There you go, yeah, totally right.
Ron: I can do that. Like I'm not a very good integrator, so I'm like a terrible person to ask to do. My wife is my tech support. Okay.
Joseph: Awesome. So I mean, they're calling her, I'm calling you, you know that.
Ron: So I know, you know, there are these things though called lockboxes, right? You're familiar with that?
Joseph: So yeah, as an integrator you would remotely reboot and that's about 20% of the issues we deal with, right? 20% of issues require reboot to get resolved. Okay. But let's say it's a little bit more complicated. I'll play the integrator for a second. Client calls in and says, Hey, nothing is working. And this is when you realize, all right, you really need somebody with technical skills to be able to answer this question or answer this phone call. Right? What does nothing mean? And so you start to ask the client questions, you're like, okay, well what are you trying to do? And the client says, well, I'm using my remote, I'm trying to turn on the TV and I can hear the sound. I hear the news channel coming through. I just can't see anything on the screen. And that's when you start going down, you know, the, the path of sort of troubleshooting and options, right? You're saying, okay, well have you tried switching sources and let's say, yeah, we switched to Apple TV and same problem, right? We can hear the clicks on the Apple TV. We can't see the video. All right, switch back to Comcast. When you say you can't see video, what does that mean?
Ron: So your team is the one guiding Mrs. Smith through this line of troubleshooting?
Joseph: That's right.
Ron: As opposed to this being the integrators themselves or their staff handling this.
Joseph: We haven't even gotten to deescalation yet. Right. But we're asking, do you see HDMI1 on the screen and client says, Oh, I don't, I don't see anything. The screens totally black. And, and that's when you say, okay.
Ron: Kris by the way is asking, do you only do this in the US?
Joseph: No, we actually do this in Canada as well and we don't yet have a UK partner.
Ron: So Kris, we could be the first man. We could make it happen.
Ron: Call Joey and then Kris also, and I know you want to finish that stream of thoughts and don't lose it.
Joseph: Yeah, I'm not going to lose that.
Ron: Kris has been a very busy bee here posting with questions and so I just want to throw them up there. Cause I really appreciate it when my viewers participate and take their questions or comments. So all of you out there, you got to compete with Kris. Kris is busy type your questions or comments. So Kris is saying, who's the typical OneVision client, ultra high end integrators? So maybe that's a can you answer that one? Joey, is there a spectrum of type of integrator that you end up working with?
Joseph: Totally. So the typical partner probably has more than five employees, can have as many as 75 employees. We have integrators. We have partners who have anywhere from 5 to 75 employees. They do anywhere from $5,000 jobs up to million dollar jobs that are based in the middle of the country. They're based in the, you know, wealthy population centers like LA and New York. And we will work to customize the platform to their needs based on their companies environment and their client demographic.
Ron: Then Kris asked one other question, can OneVision log in remotely to the client's home?
Joseph: Yeah. So we use the systems you use to remotely connect as an integrator. So we'll connect to oversee. We'll connect to IEG to Domos, to backpack, whatever it might be.
Ron: All right, so back to deescalation. You were giving a long explanation.
Joseph: No, I have everything about me is always going to be long. They'll be way too well. So you're a good host to all of your all of your listeners to, to sidetrack for a second. Anyhow. So to wrap it all up, right, so a client you know, the, the TV's totally black and this is when you say, okay, cool, it's probably either got a control issue or the power is out. So you walk the client through pushing the button on the back of the TV and they go and do that and the TV turns on and the client thinks you're a magician and they're super thankful and now they can get back to watching TV for the rest of the night. And if you're really good, you're quick to slow them down and say, wait a second. You know, just saying no. Like you're going to be able to use your remote to turn the sound off, but you're going to have to go and push that button on the back of the TV to turn the TV off. And then later next week we'll come out to actually fix the issue, whatever it might be. And that entire process. That's what basic support would be doing, right? That is the essence of deescalation. You've got the client back to doing what they want it to do while temporarily addressing whatever possible technical issues you could to let them get to that place. So basic support's job is not to solve the problem. Basic support's job is to get the client to a better place, deescalate the situation and set up advanced support to then go and solve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. So now when we hand that ticket off to advanced support, advanced support being the integrator, the integrator now has all the details. They know exactly what the issue was, they know all the steps that were taken to go and attempt to deescalate it, the know the client's state of mind and now they're able to go and do a great job.
Ron: So if you're out there listening and you want to know how to go find out more about OneVision, no, this is not the end of the interview. I just sometimes I forget to do this. I'm doing this now cause I just remembered it. So their website is onevisionresources.com. If you're watching, then you see this handy little scroller flashing across the screen. So definitely take a look at that guys. And then Kris threw up a question mark. Ron, what is your hourly rate? Kris, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. That's the simple rule. Just kidding, kind of, let me figure out how do I hide that comment? There we go. All right, so Joey, I wanna jump into, I've got a bunch of things I want to ask you that have kind of that I would be fun to cover since the last time I had you on the show. One is you, you did, you and I did just come out of the ProSource summit. We were there in Nashville. Here. I'll throw a picture up on the screen so everyone can see. There it is. Look at that. We actually have party, our man, the one and only Bobby Dodge out of the Northeast. He's a ProSource district manager and a good supporter of both of our companies. And there he is. So what, let me see if I can figure this out. There we go. So what, where do you stand with ProSource? Cause I've been observing, I think it's over the last one year or maybe more than that, that pro source has really been behind integrators becoming better business people and they've really chosen this category of after sales service. And they partner with you guys. They also partner with Parasol and they have really been big advocates from what I've witnessed. And so is that the case? What is the nature of that relationship and maybe how was the event for you? Yeah, so the event was great. And you know, it was awesome actually sharing a booth. We didn't actually share a booth, Ron. We actually had booths next to each other.
Ron: We unofficially shared a booth.
Joseph: We unofficially shared cause we took the barrier down down between our booths. And you know, so it was a wonderful event. Awesome. Always great getting out into the into the industry and being able to get face to face with a lot of potential partners. You know, ProSource is a unique buying group in that they are really making a big focus and push on managed services. And I think, you know, they are seeing the writing on the wall and they're recognizing the transformation in this industry that has happened to so many others that, you know, the hardware margins are coming down. Sales, you know, the average revenue per sale is coming down. Efficiency is going to be king in terms of being able to sustainably operate an integration firm in the future. And the value, the longterm value between the integrator and the homeowner is really centering on the relationship and the professional services provided by the integrator. And the issue is that most integrators are not situated or not structured in such a way that allows them to sustainably and scalably nevermind profitably deliver a high quality service operation. Recently I've been on a kick to ask integrators, define great service to me, right? And the definitions are are all over map of what great service is and the question is, okay, how do you make sure that your company can deliver it on a consistent basis without you having to pick up the phone all the time? Like how do you quantify that definition, right? So much so that you can consistently do it every single time and no longer be man dependent on anybody. Because you know, we've done that with products, right? Define a great control environment and some integrators are going to say, Oh well I installed Crestron remote, Oh I installed Control4 remote or Savant or whatever it is. Cool, pick your poison there, right? But ask them to define great service and it becomes incredibly difficult for any integrator to actually define, nevermind consistently execute on what they consider to be high quality support.
Ron: So I'm going to play devil's advocate. And so I know that there are integrators, and I can only say it from my own personal experience in all the various services we've offered over the years, they'll look at you and they're running successful businesses, they're making money, they're growing. They are putting the money into their bank account that they feel that they're due. Why should they, why now, from your perspective, why now should they change or look at evolving their service department? Like, so what if they've existed for so long without this evolved service department, right? Some of them, a select group run, profitable, scalable service departments. I think we both would agree. There's no skepticism that's a very small minority of our industry. Many do not. And so why should they evolve and how do you handle that skeptic that looks at you and what you're espousing as the right way? Like how do you engage that person and I'm curious.
Joseph: Yeah. So let's go back 15 or 20 years. Do you remember one of the first electric cars or hybrids that came out on the market? Which, which one was it?
Joseph: Pruis, that's right. And shortly after, there was like a Chevy bolt and a couple of others. Right.
Ron: By the way, the first electric car came out in like 1915.
Joseph: Fair, fair.
Ron: Before Ford squashed him with his gasoline engine car. That's another story.
Joseph: That's right. That's another story. So 15 or 20 years ago when the modern electric or electric hybrid came out, right, it was the Prius. And if any of us had to place a bet on who or which company was going to be the, you know eminent provider of, or seller of electric cars, what are the brands you would have thrown out there? What would you have bet on?
Ron: Say that last part again.
Joseph: If you had to bet on which brands were going be the preeminent providers of electric cars later in the, you know, 15 or 20 years later today, who would you bet on?
Ron: You would have said Toyota or you would have said Honda or GM. You would have said one of the big brands.
Joseph: There you go, any of the top three. Right? And yet it's Elon Musk and Tesla that came around and out innovated them. Right. And sells a fraction of the cars that they sell yet as, as big as any of those companies. They're worth $50 billion now. Right? And what happened, I mean the electric car companies, they are the electric companies, the regular car companies that exist at Ford, Toyota, GM, Chrysler, et cetera. They had the factory lines. They had the brand reputation, they had the skills, they had the knowledge, they had the technology. Right? Yet they sat on their laurels and didn't innovate. Right? They didn't see what was happening in front of them in terms of the demand for another type of car whether it came from government or the environment or consumers or economics or whatever it was. And Tesla came in and, you know and won that market effectively. And I think now represents a threat, a longterm threat to many of these companies. And in fact, in the same timeframe that Tesla took off, I think, what is it? Was it GM and Chrysler that filed for bankruptcy? I might be getting one of those brands wrong, but two of the major car companies filed for bankruptcy. So point being, that we as an industry are perfectly situated, perfectly situated to be the technology manager of tomorrow. There's no doubt. I don't think anybody thinks these days that homeowners will also be looking for a technology manager if not today, shortly in the future. Right? All businesses have really complicated technology stacks and they have IT shops, they have it, either it outsourced it providers or they have it departments. Homeowners now also have very complex technology stacks within their home, whether it's complicated advanced racks in the basement or it's just a whole bunch of off the shelf technology. And they too are going to be looking for a professional service to manage this on an ongoing basis. So who's going to do it? Somebody completely random who just builds up a whole new reputation instead of skills and tools and vehicles and knowledge and they're going to come in and start providing the service or maybe the companies that already have the reputation, already have the brand, already know the builders and architects, the companies that already have wealthy people coming into their environments, coming into their companies in spending a discretionary income to get more technology with clients that already are willing to pay a premium for better service and support. Right? We have all these things. It's just we don't have a sustainable scalable service operation in place. So if we recognize the opportunity and recognize the foundation we've already built and simply tweak a few ways in which we operate, we can go and capitalize on a massive opportunity that's in front of us. If we don't, someone else is going to come in and likely eat our lunch about it. Great example, Best Buy, Best Buy. It was just that story in CE Pro, right? That's right. And they announced that they sold a million tech support memberships in the last 10 months. 1 million tech support memberships at $17 a pop. Now that's not terribly, you know, it's not a high amount. I also wouldn't necessarily vouch for the quality of that support, but I walked into Best Buy and I let them sell me on a tech support membership. Man, do these people have confidence in what they're selling? And yet we work with integrators every day who struggle with the idea of trying to sell support, support to them is something that you give away for free in order to go get the next job. That worked 15 years ago when you could sell Ronco TVs for 15 grand and get 50 point margin on that. Right? But that doesn't work today. So it's really interesting to see how the dynamic is shifting. And and that whole Best Buy article is a whole nother.
Ron: I was trying to find it quick, splash it up on the screen, but I'm digging. I know it was just on CE Pro just recently, but I don't see it on the top of there nlow. There is a question that popped in. We have Allison, she's got a question for you, Joey. She says being new to the industry. So Allison is new to the industry. She said, one of the first things I've learned is that it can be quite hard for integrators to be adequately staffed. What do you do if your partners don't have a sufficient number of technicians? Do you assist with hiring from that standpoint?
Joseph: Yeah, so we generally work with integrators who already have enough of a team and I would say enough as a basic qualifier being about five people. And the reason being is that part of the memberships that get sold to your clients are a promise for same day or next day onsite support. And in order to be able to do that, you generally need to have enough of a team to staff up to accommodate that. Now, with that said, we're deescalating 96% of the issues. So, you know, there are very few instances when you would need to address a client's issue with urgency like that. But nonetheless, you have to be able to be available. So we have integrators who have fewer than five people. It's a rare circumstance. If you do need help with hiring and recruiting, it's not something we do officially yet. But we certainly provide job descriptions and we help navigate that problem. One of the first things that we do with our partners is we build an org chart of the organization. We learn like who is wearing which hats within their company. And then we place ourselves within that org chart and then we help play that game of chess over the next few years of working with you to figure out, okay, who is better positioned to be in this role or this role or that role? And if that means helping you, you know, hire somebody to fill a role, we do that as well.
Ron: Got it. Great. Great question Alison. And then our man, Kris has another comment. He says, new entrants will disrupt the legacy providers. So Kris, I think you're, I'm interviewing one of those disruptors.
Joseph: I think you're one of them, Kris. That's right.
Ron: That is right. And then Kris also made the comment, he said, you change or you die. It's like Kris is, so this is not his first rodeo. Okay. Joey high level. We've, by the way, we've already been talking for about 35 minutes. Can you believe that? Blink and time flies. What does this statement mean to you? What is the future of this industry or the evolution of this industry look like?
"More and more of these companies are becoming standardized. And that's what I think the future of this industry is."
Joseph: Yeah, I mean for me it's the transition from being hardware resellers to being professional service providers. And it's likely to manifest itself in in a few different ways. But what you'll see is you'll start to see integrators who focus on standardizing that process. You'll start to see most likely integrators who focus there. And we're not talking about the top, you know, 50 integrators who focus on extreme custom you know, or the integrators who are focused more on the retail market. We're talking about the middle, you know, 90% of the integration market. You're probably gonna see them focus more on standardizing everything they do as a business so that they can simply focus on engaging with the client. You know, companies like Control4 and Snap AV that standardize the product set and standardize the implementation companies like Portal that standardize the buying process and the proposal generating process. Companies like your company Ron, right, that that standardizes the front end marketing of, of integrators, right? Still allows it to be custom and personalized to each integrator. But ultimately, you know, you take all the hard work out of it and make it as simple as it can possibly be. Companies like ours that standardize the service process and what's left is a local brand presence by a professional that gets to know the client's one-on-one. And you now enable that integrator to just go and focus on finding more high net worth families, engaging with them, building a relationship, selling them and handling the complex things they need to do in the field, but then moving onto the next client. They don't have to think about marketing, they don't have to think about proposals. They don't have to think about product sets. They don't have to think about service. Right? More and more of these companies are becoming standardized. And that's what I think the future of this industry is. And just the way you look at electricians and plumbers and other service providers in the home, you know, they're very standardized operations that I have a feeling we're going to be emulating soon.
Ron: Yeah. I agree with you that markets this market and markets are our prime for disruption. I think where, you know, I think it's fun to sit back and watch exactly where will that disruption happen and to what scale and how do you make sure you're on the positive side of that and not, you know, caught behind the scenes. I always hear the example of, you know, if you were making buggy whips right before Ford announced, what was it, the model T? You know, horse and buggies were still a thing. They were actually like a thousand car manufacturers. There were many, many car manufacturers and, but yet the buggy horse and buggy were still a thing. And they were, you know, you'd go to the store and figure out which horsewhip or buggy whip or whatever you call it, you name your chotsky for that. And there were vast industries around just supporting that industry. And then one day overnight they were made non-relevant.
Joseph: And I'm pretty sure that when, I'm pretty sure when, when Henry Ford came out with a car, there were still naysayers saying things like, and I haven't read the books on it, but I'm sure there were people saying, Oh my God, you could die on these things and it's going to blow up under you and et cetera, et cetera. Right. And trying to continue to bestow the value, the virtue of, of a horse and buggy and why you should still own one of those.
Ron: Yeah. No, there's no doubt it'd be fun even to go back and look at the history or the marketing around that, all the competitors and what they were saying about Ford and his model T before and then after.
"My point is creating a standard service set that you can lead with and say, look, this is how we handle service and support and this is what the cost of it is. And use that to filter out the 5% of clients you know you don't want to engage with who probably drag you down a majority of the time."
Joseph: You know, one of the interesting things though is I've seen this playing out with integrators especially recently is, you know, for me, I take it for granted almost how much comfortable I got selling service first and foremost. When I sold service back when I was a service provider and an integrator, I would engage with clients and I would say you know, look, this is the service that we provide. You know, great learning about you. Here's a little bit about us, by the way, the minimum monthly fee we have is X dollars per month, right? And then we price it based on the services that you need. And it would vet out 80% of the clients that weren't a good fit for us, but it allowed us to build exactly the type of client that was a good fit. Now I'm not advocating that integrators should all go out and create price points so high that they filter out all these clients for us. That's what was appropriate for most integrators though. My point is creating a standard service set that you can lead with and say, look, this is how we handle service and support and this is what the cost of it is. And use that to filter out the 5% of clients you know you don't want to engage with who probably drag you down a majority of the time, right? And instead filter in or allow through the 90, 95% of clients that you really do care about and are willing pay whatever the amount of money is or whatever your support program is, and they're willing to pay for it. And you now know that's going to be a good relationship to many integrators I see are still too concerned with leading with service or they're scared about talking about it, right? And, and scared about applying inappropriate dollar value to it. Right. and just interesting how that continues to get to get companies we see into hot water a little bit
Ron: Now. I was gonna give an analogy or a comparison right now. One Firefly. We build websites and we host those websites and we do maintenance on those websites. And we just upgraded our servers. We just went from a standalone servers to a mirrored server master slave so that we could improve uptime of client websites. And in order to make this move and to migrate everything, the investment was very significant. It was several tens of thousands of dollars on our part to make that move. And but when you amortize that across all of our customers, it's like $15 more a month. But yet we significantly in all of these ways improved the hardware. And the reality is we messaged that out to our customer base. We've done that over the last several weeks. And can you guess how many people came back and complained and said that was unacceptable? Two. And we, if they want to move their website to another hosting provider, we will help them. Anything they need, we'll help.
Joseph: Unacceptable being the extra $15 a month?
"If our company investing many hours trying to improve their online performance, if that is not worth it to them, I'm not judging them. It just means it's okay. Maybe they're better being served by someone else because our clients demand the best."
Ron: Yeah, it was not acceptable. And so if that, if our company investing many, many hours trying to improve their online performance, if that is not worth it to them, I'm not judging them. It just means it's okay. Maybe they're better being served by someone else because our clients demand the best. They want the best, they demand the best. We deliver the best and the best costs.
Joseph: That's right.
"Sometimes it's okay if customers leave, you don't want them to leave, but at the end of the day, you want everyone to be paired up appropriately so that you're best for each other."
Ron: And that's okay. So I'd say it's similar perhaps to what you're saying. Sometimes it's okay if customers leave, you don't want them to leave, but at the end of the day, you want everyone to be paired up appropriately so that you're best for each other.
Ron: That is interesting. All right, so let me see here. Mr Kris gamble. Amazing advice. I think he's talking about you. I don't know. Not, not my riffing on web hosting, but your advice. Thank you Kris. Like that. Oh, and by the way, gang, I was scrambling to find that CE Pro story. By the way, CE Pro, if you're listening, your website search really stinks. So the ability to go to CE Pro and conduct a search is almost like jumping into no man's land. Not common things.
Joseph: If that same person's listening to comment thing could also..
Ron: Same person's listening, the commenting engine stinks as well. But Hey, we love you.
Joseph: We love Jason, we love Julia, we love everybody there is great.
Ron: Yeah. Hey, amen to that. All right, let's see here. Joey, you are next. You're actually coming down here to South Florida. So what, I'm going to splash on the screen and then you can sit down a little bit about your presence. OneVision's presence at the upcoming tech summits, the first of which I think is tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale. Yeah, well forget about my presence. Let's just talk about the tech summits in general. I mean, Ron, you've been at these things and our friend Mark runs these. And recently CEDIA made the awesome investment to acquire these summits. So the Florida one I think is just their first one of the season. They do them in Florida. So cow, Michigan, Toronto, Texas, and a few other places. And these are basically mini CEDIAs. And there's you know, ballroom set up with, you know, maybe 30 or 40 booths. You know, there you go. You have examples of a bunch of the quote unquote booths or tables I should say. They have listening rooms or demo rooms for the projectors. Basically the reps all get together in any given region and drive the traffic to these locations for the manufacturers to all come together and present updates. And you know, this is, if you have not made it out to CEDIA then this, you absolutely should be attending one of these. There are also four or five classes that happen. There's a keynote presentation in the morning. There's at least four structured workshops that happen. And then a lunchtime presentation, which that's what I'm doing this year. On the transformation of the industry through the lens of service. So I'm heading down to Fort Lauderdale tonight to speak at the event tomorrow. Always love attending these, you know, you never get closer to the heart of this industry than through frankly a tech summit. You know, the CEDIA event is, is almost always, there's almost always so much noise about the updates that are happening in the industry, but at these tech summits, you know, the noise goes away and you're just right there, you know with the day to day integrators who drive this industry forward. So I always say appreciate attending and there are the other locations right there.
Ron: Well, I am going to go out there tomorrow morning Joey, so I will see you at the Fort Lauderdale event and a that is bound to be a good time. Well Joey, it is awesome and a pleasure to have you on Automation Unplugged. It's you and I have gotten really gotten to know each other over the years. And actually I was about to sign off. And then I know there's one more thing that I wanted to talk about and I know that you wanted to talk about it and so we'll do it here. We'll take a couple of minutes. And I want to say just because I've had such fun at these things let me try to figure out how to get this up here. Bear with me. And so for those of you that may not know this, this is not a very well known event. And Joey will tell you the why, but I know that I've been to the last three now and they're rather spectacular. So Joey, you've been holding these tech CEO symposiums. You can short it, you call it the symposium. Now, what is this thing and why should those listening or watching know about this event?
Joseph: Yeah, so my wife and I both cofounded this event maybe about three years ago, we're going to be hosting our seventh one. And we did it. And you know, I really, Jen, my wife makes it you know, beautiful and entertaining and amazing. From the creative side of things. And you know, I focus on, on making sure that we have the right people that are having the right kinds of conversations. And the reason why we put it together was because it was clear that at least three years ago, a lot of people in this industry were talking about a lot of the same different kinds of things, but we were all evolving our thought at a very slow pace. There weren't enough opportunities within the industry for us to engage in productive intellectual discussions around what in the world is happening, right. Is service important? Is service non-important? What's happening to the hardware side of things? Is Crestron really out of the industry of the, in the industry is the high end really where we're going or is Best Buy, you know, retail oriented where we're going. What is the IOT Silicon Valley side of things doing to this industry? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What's the future of buying groups and other industry organizations? So we started inviting 15 to 20 executives at a time to come in and, and gather at a different city around the country and bring their spouses with them and and have everybody stay in a great bed and breakfast for an entire weekend from Thursday to Sunday. One of those days we would reserve for a symposium discussion with the executives. And Ron's got a sample list of the discussion topics up there. And the rest of the time was meant to simply facilitate ongoing sidebar conversations and networking and relationship building. We ended up having about 15 vendor executives there and usually around three or four integrator owners, their integrators, CEOs and it's an incredibly intimate event and a lot of lessons learned, a lot of evolution of thought. And I think a lot of progress made. So, you know, Jen and I are always personally very excited about hosting these, made a lot of great friendships, and learned quite a bit.
Ron: Joey, if either vendors or integrators are listening and interested in learning more about this event and how to potentially participate, what, what would you want them to do?
Joseph: Yeah I mean, look me up on LinkedIn or my emails at the bottom of that website. You can send me a note. If you think that you, you would be a great fit for the organization or for the, I'm sorry, for the for the discussion, then reach out and let's start a conversation. That's really all it takes in all it's about, we're looking for creative, forward thinking, people who you know are willing to challenge the status quo and, and not afraid to share new ideas.
Ron: Awesome. And I as a person that's attended three of these events now, there's nothing like it I've ever observed in the industry in my 20 years. And I find them incredibly valuable as does my spouse, Danielli she loves going to the event and hanging out with the spouses from the other business owners and operators. It's a lot of fun. Good job. Joey to you and Jennifer for making that event happen. It's really all Jen. I just tried to get the people that he is rather spectacular. I agree. Let's give her 99% of the credit. She's pretty amazing, right? Joey, thank you for being my guest on show 67.
Joseph: Cool. Thank you Ron. Appreciate it. Take care.
Ron: Awesome. All right, gang. There you have it. Let me give you some quick heads up here. Let me show you what is coming. So here I've got our lineup for the balance of this month. You can see who we have there. We have Michael Buckner from Audio Intersection. Who do we have? We have Marc from Mero Concepts and we have Eric Thies from DSI and actually Eric is with someone else, but the print is too small. I can't read his name, but it's gonna be somebody up spectacular that Eric wanted to bring on for a tandem interview and discussion. And on that note, everyone, I want you to have a great rest of your week. Again, this is Monday, so hopefully you're going to, you're getting your week started strong and you're going to have just a productive and effective week. So be well, thank you for your time. And I will see you guys soon.
Joseph Kolchinsky is the founder/CEO of OneVision Resources and places emphasis on transforming today’s professional smart-home installer into tomorrow’s Technology Manager for the connected family. He sold his first service contract for managing the smart home in 2008 and after nearly a decade of providing services to clients directly he focused his efforts on building a platform for integrators. Joseph served on the board of Ihiji, a start-up focused on remote management of the smart-home which was acquired by Control4 in 2017.
Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly became the leading marketing firm specializing in the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.