Home Automation Podcast Episode #127: An Industry Q&A With Wim De Vos
In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Wim De Vos of Genesis Home Technology Architects, shares about changes throughout Europe that Wim, his business, and clients have experienced since April.
This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Wim De Vos. Recorded live on Wednesday, July 1st at 12:30 p.m. EST.
About Wim De Vos
We initially spoke with Wim on April 14th, 2020 and discussed the challenges his European-firm, Genesis, Home Technology Architects, and clients were experiencing due to the lockdowns.
We catch up with Wim 2.5 months later as the lockdowns have begun to lift throughout Europe. Wim shares a new perspective on his company approach and the state of the custom integration industry.
Genesis has been growing for over 10 years and offers design, training, and marketing solutions with its premium branded products to a select network of 300 certified installation partners in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
- Changes throughout Europe that Wim, his business, and clients have experienced since April
- Whether America’s political and economic climate will affect the European market
- Wim’s approach to digital transformation as his business re-opens and why he has decided to re-think his business as if it were a start-up
- Inspiring books Wim has been reading in light of COVID and the resurgence of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #126: A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Maryellen Oswald
Ron: Hello. Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged. Here to bring you show number 127. Today is Wednesday, July 1st. Yes, we are now officially in the first day of the second half of the year. Let's hope it gets a little better than the first half of the year. It's a little bit after 12:30. Facebook is actually acting a little weird. Bear with me here. There we go. It does look like we are live. I want to share with you folks actually some pretty cool a little marketing adventure that One Firefly is going to go down. You guys will be the first to know this because what I'm about to share with you actually just went live, I want to say in the last few hours. I'm actually going to share my screen. There we go. What you are seeing here is the CE Pro website. I'm used to big artwork on the front of the website. This is what I'm seeing when I go to the CE Pro website. I assume that's correct. But you see actually right here marketing horror stories. And so when Firefly is going to start running we're actually going to do it throughout the summer, a number of lessons that we want to try to help share and teach in terms of how you guys and gals can be protecting your businesses and your intellectual property. As it relates to the way that you interact and interface with marketing agencies such as One Firefly or whoever your local agency choice is and or even the folks that maybe are on your team managing your marketing. What we're gonna do is we're gonna get pretty detailed and we're gonna talk about it. This article is talking about Google Analytics and how to protect your login credentials and access to your website. We actually then are authoring dedicated pieces tied to this. If you click on learn more about Google Analytics you then can click over and it's going to drive you over to a little bit of a deeper dive on the One Firefly website.
Of course, as always, you can ask us. Again, we don't sell any Google Analytics services. Google Analytics is a free service from Google but we just want to teach you what it is, why it matters, and how you should be navigating that type of setup for your business. We're gonna go over a plethora of topics over this series. Again, this is Article 1. We're going to talk about Google Ads. We're going to talk about your website. We're gonna talk about the hosting of your website. We're gonna talk about the source files around your logos and around any artwork that you have someone create for you. We just want to teach you the right things to ask and to look for. Just as you folks are the specialist as it relates to custom integration. When I have my questions, I go to you and I go to my friends and I say help me with this or guide me in the right direction. We want to share with you best practices, things that we've learned along the way. That series just went live this morning, July 1st, on the CE Pro website. Definitely check that out. The deeper dive articles will be getting posted on our One Firefly blog as we go. There you have it. Got that information or news out of the way. If you could, drop into the comments and let me know where you're coming to us from, that's always fun. I'm going to go ahead and bring in our guest and this is a return guest. This is the one and only Wim De Vos, Chief Thunder Lizard at Genesis Home Technology from Spain, from Europe. How's it going Wim?
Wim: Very well thank you Ron. Congratulations with what I just saw. The peek preview on the marketing tools. I really like it, cool stuff.
Ron: Thank you. We run into so many scenarios of working with our customers and I mean there's just all these really sad stories. I'll pick on the topic at hand, Google Analytics. If you think about a website that has been up on the Internet for months or years and if they've had Google Analytics embedded in their website, they have a wonderful historical record of web traffic and types of web traffic and patterns that now if you were to inject a change into the machine they were to say launch an email marketing campaign or they were to SEO configure their website. If you have that historical record, you can see the before and the after. Now you can really analyze and make intelligent informed assumptions or decisions based on that data. Often marketing agencies choose to set up companies Google Analytics under their master account and if that company were to ever part ways with them, they don't relinquish that information and it's just sad. And I would call that not best practice. I would call that bad form. We want to help people make better decisions for themselves and their businesses. It's going to be exciting to get those articles out there.
Wim: Good, cool. I think our industry can use that. Certainly now in the digital transformation that is upon us.
Ron: It's an assumption, the internet's not going away.
Ron: Not anytime soon hopefully.
Wim: No not anytime soon.
Ron: Wim, you were just on the show on April 14th. You were my guest on show 110. And right there in the heat of the outbreak of COVID, I was doing two to three shows a week and I was really trying to present a number of perspectives from around the world as to what's going on and how businesses are handling this environment. And I want to know at this point, we're seventy-five days later, how are you doing? Remind our audience where you're coming to us from and where your customers are. I would love to hear an update. How are things going?
Wim: For us, COVID-19 really started as a business as people to live with this on the 14th of March. Exactly one month before we spoke. That was the day we went in lockdown in Spain, Italy, and a few days later France and Portugal followed. South of Europe I think after China was the first part of the world that was really hit hard. Some of you may have seen the images of people lying on the floor in hospitals, simply not enough beds. People dying alone because nobody was allowed to go and see them. From the 14th of March, it went to 14th of April, one month. It was really tough because we went from bad to worse. It also meant that the way lockdown was applied here, is we were not allowed to leave our homes. I've been in my own house without being able to leave for any reason except go to buy groceries.
Ron: You're legally not allowed to leave the house?
Wim: Police in the streets. If you were driving in a car with the second person in the car they would stop you and find you send you back. You have to prove that you were going to the pharmacy or to buy groceries either on your way there or on the way back with a ticket with groceries in the back. Yeah, I've been 60 days with my wife at home and that's it. That also means, of course, all companies completely stopped. Certainly in our business, I sell products to installers. If installers cannot go anywhere, they don't need product to install. My business actually dropped from where it was to 10 percent and that lasted for about three months. That's been going on for 90 days more or less. Where are we now? We are now in three to four weeks because you get used to this very quickly. As things get better, you get used to this very quickly. It seems like it's already two months but it's only three weeks. We were allowed to go out, our installers are installing, people go out. There are still very many restrictions, so bars and restaurants many are closed still. Hotels, 10 to 20 percent of hotels are open, all the rest is closed. Some sectors are still very heavily hit. The tourist season starts this week. Of course South of Europe.
Ron: Will there be a tourist season?
Wim: Yes. But what the countries are trying to do is to keep it as local as possible. They're inviting people to stay local still enjoy themselves. And if possible go on holiday but not go and fly to the other side of the world everywhere. It will be a big hit for the economy.
Ron: I think Europe isn't even allowing Americans in now right? Are we officially banned or blocked?
Wim: Yes. Banned and blocked and not allowed. It's waves in the end. Also, Europeans are still not allowed to just travel to the US. We kind of forget that but that was done for all the right reasons. I think if you're trying to contain something like this, movements and viral infection is an issue then you need to make sure people don't move too much.
Ron: It's not politics, it's math and science.
Wim: That's it. That's where we are. For us as a business, a few things I think we did well and a few things, we did OK but I was totally wrong. What we did well was I think crisis management and move to work in this new way remotely and digitally.
Ron: Telling your customer base.
Wim: Communicating a lot, trying to be the stable factor not the panicking, try to be there for our customers. What I got totally wrong and I'm happy I was wrong. I was very worried about the ability to survive this crisis for my customers. They're small businesses like myself but most of them even smaller than I am. And I thought 90 days without an income and so on. But none of our customers fell over. 300 and none of them fell over and we've been talking to them at least once or twice a week to each of our customers. And on top of it, they're all very positive and they were already positive while we were not really able to do business again. The sentiment in the market or our industry is very positive and the resilience is huge. I think that's very promising for what's ahead of us. Honestly, I said, in the beginning, I think we're going to have one third that is going to thrive like crazy. One third that's kind of gonna suffer but come through. And one third that's gonna fall over. That's what I thought and I was totally wrong. It's 100 percent that is coming through this. There is a shuffle going on but that's in all industries of people who are transforming their business and will come out of this much better and other people who will stagnate. And by definition be bypassed by others. But there's no drama, there are no bankruptcies. That's obviously also good for us as a company.
Ron: Is it too early for that? Is it too early to know? Or were you thinking or predicting that you'd see businesses fall over this early?
Wim: Yes, I thought they would fall over only because of cash flow. It was the only reason because the fundamental of our business and certainly ours, we serve installers who work to build luxury houses. In this crisis, the rich get richer. In 2008, the rich got kind of a surprise because they weren't part of the plan of the crisis. They kind of lost money which affected our industry. In this crisis, the rich got richer. Look at the stock market. Look at most of the big companies became bigger. And I think that's what's reflected in what's going to happen for our industry. Our installers are gonna have more work to do and certainly more expensive stuff and bigger systems to install in these premium homes. I only thought cash flow was going to be the issue and they managed that well.
Ron: Your base is almost. I may be incorrect. Are they all residential focused or are they split residential and commercial?
Wim: All residential. The only one the only ones who suffered are the ones who had the commercial part in their business. But that's very few in my case. But that's a massacre.
Ron: I was gonna ask what are you seeing or hearing in that regard?
Wim: I know two sectors fairly well. One is the rental and staging and live sounds. Everything to do with events and concerts. That business is dead because the rental companies are falling over and the ones who need something people either products that they buy for 5 percent out of bankruptcy. So and then you have the commercial install, offices and hospitality, that's gone. The big deals I've heard about is like companies are reducing 50 to 60 percent of their home in this space. That's the first thing they're going to do before even investing in that office space. If they were housing a thousand people, they say we only need space for three hundred. Before investing in that space, let's first get rid of 60 percent of our real estate. Again there, that business is gone I think for two to three years.
Ron: I know you're a student of American history. You love watching or studying or following what's going on in America and I only know that because you've shared that with me. I'm not advising that that's a good way to spend your time but it's something that you do. Right now in terms of just separate from our industry that we serve, COVID is reaching all-time highs in terms of daily counts of people that are being infected and potentially that's going to translate to hospitals being overrun. I don't know that that's occurred yet but it's forecasted that that might happen and there's just a very interesting or strange economy as you mentioned. The US stock market is at an all-time high. It's the strangest thing.
Wim: Or not.
Ron: Or not, right? Is it all the Fed money printing and that money has to go somewhere for yield or is it something else at play? But it's odd. I guess the question is, is where America is at politically or economically. How if at all is that affecting you in Europe? What are you seeing or hearing or feeling? Other than that the Americans are now not allowed to travel to Europe?
Wim: That question has so many possible answers. Of course, this is like everything else is very much my personal opinion. If I start in our industry, I think and maybe there are things to be found in American society overall what's going on. I think upstream. I just said I think the installers are pretty OK and they're very OK. They're going to come through it. My customers are fine. Then when I look upstream and I look at my suppliers of which many are American firms. I think there was a tendency to deny the situation for quite a while whereas it should have been an opportunity to learn and prepare the same way honestly as Germany and other countries did. They saw it was first in China then it was in south of Europe. You have time. I think that time also on the business side was maybe lost in the U.S. What happened is that typical American economical phenomenon, that when it goes well it's like champagne all over and golden taps and doorknobs. And when it goes bad it goes through the floor and then suddenly the axe comes out. People get fired in one day 25 percent of your workforce out of the day. Whatever it's as if nuclear missiles are coming at your country and suddenly it needs to be all the way the other side. I could see an overreaction. It's strange to say that now but an overreaction in how the situation was approached. First, there was denial and then I think an overreaction and I have the impression and as you say students of the US and society and the economical and political system because I'm very much interested. I think the US is a great country and has been for a long time and it's interesting to see how the US deals with this because it will be different than the way Europe deals with this. And I can see this overreaction with everything that happens afterward with the racial tensions and problems coming up. And then on top of it an election which is going to be a bit of a different election I think than a couple of other elections you've seen in your country for many reasons. I think that's all coming together. What we see in Europe is kind of we're looking at it more like a movie then as something that really will affect us because we have apparently another timeline. We went through a big part of it already which was the terrible scenes of many people dying in hospital beds, just not having enough hospital beds. The economy completely shutting down. We went through it and we were kind of looking forward now. What do we do now? In a positive way and we look at the US as the worst is still to come. And honestly, it's a bit of a shit storm right now. And I said it to a couple of people already. Not publicly but here you go. It might be in my opinion that COVID-19 is not the worst thing that happened to the US in 2020 but that COVID-19 was a catalyst for other problems that were already lingering for a longer time. When I say we Europeans, of course that's not realistic. I mean I don't speak for all Europeans but the people I talk to, we look at it like yeah we don't feel really that effected of what's going on. Seems like an election year wrapped in fundamental issues of inequality. Let me make it broader than just race.
Ron: Financial inequality racial inequality, education.
Wim: Education, everything. I think the US has never been more self-centered in the last hundred years. Honestly we have to go back a long time before borders were shut in this way and thinking the US is the center of the universe in its public discourse. I'm not saying all Americans think like that but the public discourse and I think COVID-19 on top of it is like kerosene. That's my view. And I look at it with interest in a serious way because I think it could be a catalyst, it could be painful. Could be difficult. That's been in a nutshell how I look at it. I think it's chapter two or three of a whole book. What we're saying.
Ron: I agree. I remind my team that this is a marathon not a race, not a sprint. And we're going to use a baseball analogy, we're only in the first few innings versus we're not in the ninth inning yet. Just steady as she goes.
Wim: And that puzzles me, it truly puzzles me. I have no explanation because typically nations countries groups of people who combine so many ambition grit history already having learned a lot gone through a lot in their history. Typically you deal with big challenges in a different way be it the World War, be it the, I dunno famine. And it's very strange to see a great country being so divided and so puzzled and so with the lack of a plan.
Ron: I think there is a plan. I just don't know that we're in on the plan and at the end of the day there is a strategy there to break people up and divide them. For those that are trying to achieve certain outcomes and this is not conspiracy theories or whatnot. I'm just saying that is division is a strategy. And for those that want to pull those strings and are looking at a certain game to play they might be achieving exactly what they want. I think it's hard when you're a cog in that machine and with so many stresses on you personally and professionally to know the adage of you're in the forest but you don't see the forest for the trees. And I suspect there's some of that going on. There are big macroeconomic fundamental challenges to the way systems work globally that are being looked at and analyzed and challenged. And I think people in power generally fight to stay in power. They generally do not wander. Whether that's people with means want to fight to keep those means or people that have political power want to fight to keep that political power. You ever notice that a politician who's out stumping says all the right things and they say all of these things they're going to change and then they go into the machine and they become one of them? And then rarely are they ever. I won't say never but rarely are they ever able to accomplish the things that they promised. And it's usually not their fault, it's the machine. There are fundamental challenges.
"You can only be divided if you accept you will be divided."
Wim: But we are the machine. It's a shared responsibility in my opinion. We are all part of the problem and the solution because for me it's my personal view. It's too simple to blame a small group of people who happen to be politicians or whatever. We can all do a lot ourselves. And that's your point. You can only be divided if you accept you will be divided. If you refuse to be divided you'll only get stronger as people try to divide. But of course, it's hard because it means you have to accept more difference. Listen more. Be wrong more than to be right. But then you're unbreakable as a group or a collective. That's not purely an American or a US problem. But I do think we are all students now of this American situation and we all everywhere have to learn from this. What we should do may be different or what we would do in that situation when it will present itself.
Ron: I think we all need a lot more listening and a lot more challenging our own beliefs and patterns and practices. And I think if we did that, we'd all be better for it as a global society.
"Rethinking means accepting to be wrong."
Wim: I think we have to really rethink a whole number of things. With rethink , I don't mean convince the other of my ideas. Introspection, as a company also, as an individual, as a business person, as a son or a brother but also as a company. We have to fundamentally first rethink before we restart. Rethinking means accepting to be wrong. And like you say listen to other people and really listen. They may have a point. This means I may have been doing the wrong thing for 10 years and I don't see that happening right now at your end. And again I'm generalizing, there are people doing this. But, that's my opinion why this is accelerating this snowball. I think this can only be solved if we stop and rethink a number of things fundamentally and I'm trying to do that on my micro-level for our own company. Our business is back and instead of going back to running, I 'm pulling the brakes. I'm saying now that business is back. Now we have to rethink because now there's potential movement. And now we have to think if we want to do it the same way or we may have been doing it wrong. Even if we were growing, we have to really rethink. That's how I look at the situation that you're in as a nation or a society. In the end, you guys always come through.
Ron: I'm confident. I am optimistic of the American people and the DNA that is America. I'm confident we'll figure it out and we'll be better and stronger for it.
Wim: Yeah I think so.
Ron: It can be challenging and stressful and scary as you're in the middle of that sort of change that sort of turmoil. You have a philosophy, Wim, around business moving forward. I'm very happy to hear your three hundred customers are doing well but you have an opinion that it's still not business as usual, that there's a restart. There's a startup phase that these businesses need to be approaching. The landscape in front of them because everything is different. Will there be movie theaters? I'm just giving a random example. Will there be movie theaters? When will it be appropriate to shake someone's hand? When will it be appropriate to gather in small spaces without a mask? Just life and business are different. How are you approaching that and or advising or coaching your customer base?
Wim: I think this whole talk about the new normal, that was the easy part because we know things are not gonna be the way they were before COVID. But we didn't know how they would be different. What I'm seeing now is that there are books and speeches written about that. After 30 to 60 days of doing something new it becomes a habit. And of course in day 10, you don't know what your new habits will be in six months because you're in the middle. But what I'm seeing now is that there are already new habits and those are what I would call the first order habits. In Spain people wear a mask wherever they go. You do not enter a shop without a mask. So after 60 days, you're used to wearing a mask, washing your hands and having alcohol to disinfect on your own. That's the first order new normal. That's the easy one. My question is what is the second-order new normal? How are those first-order new normals going to affect all the rest the way we live? And I think we are going to write that ourselves. Are there gonna be movie theaters or not? Well , I don't know because I think we first have to get through the first order new normal which is go with the mask, sit at a distance. I don't know how to deal with it. Am I going to buy that popcorn that somebody gives to me or not? All first-order changes and that will affect my second order behavior like will I go to the movie theater on Friday. Well, honestly it was such a hassle the last time we did it let's stop and not recreate that habit. Maybe I'm gonna go outdoor eating on the beach instead. And I think it's also up to us to be inventive, to create those new habits because the fundamental habits stay the same. We are social animals. We like to connect with the people that are dear to us. We like to have a good time. We like to laugh. We like to discover new things which is either travel or discover new things. Kids are the same. There are a lot of fundamental needs and now it's going to be a search for what I would call second order. And that's what I mean with the rethink. We have to go back to the basics and then rethink if that's what I want. With my parents, I have breakfast with my parents now every week. My parents live 2,500 kilometers away from me. But we decided to have a Zoom breakfast once a week.
Ron: That's cool.
Wim: My need was to see my parents every month. I take a plane, I travel to another country. We spent three days together. I come back. That need remains. The second-order change is I cannot take a plane first. Order changed. Second-order changes, what do I do with this? And I think there are so many things that are going to happen but it's up to us as a species, we're pretty creative. And anybody who tells me how we are going to do all of this 12 months from now, I listen to them and it's interesting. But there are so many people and ideas and new factors interconnecting, that it's very complex. It's like being in the Matrix. There's a lot of stuff going on. But I think it's about fulfilling our needs and desires in a new way and a new type of environment. And that's gonna be fun. Like it was before but probably it's going to be in a different way.
Ron: What is a book you're reading now or you've read in the last couple of months that you that has made an impact on you?
Wim: An impact? Eight weeks ago or when was it?
Ron: We last talked about 10 weeks ago.
Wim: Yeah. When the states entered what I call post COVID which is the racial disturbance and problems that surfaced. I talked to someone that also cares about this and immediately sent me the book by Trevor Noah, Born A Crime. I think it's stunning. Everybody should read this because it's funny, it's a real story. It confronts all of us with bias.
Ron: Trevor Noah, he's South African.
Wim: He's South African and he moved to the US. Yes. And he's mixed as they call us in South Africa. His dad was white and his mom was black. He fell between all the cracks already in South Africa. That was fantastic. I really enjoyed that. And then on a business book, I'm reading Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank. It was actually the book that led to the lean startup movement because I'm convinced that I have to think again as a startup. Don't need all the how to grow your business type of stuff right now. I need to push myself to rethink as if I were a startup, maybe a special startup. I have customers, I have a team, I have a company, I have a vision. But I'm gonna spend the next three to four months or our whole company acting and thinking as a startup. Customer discovery, customer development, going back to what we do as an organization. That's what really drives me right now because it will lead to digital transformation and company transformation for us. But I need to take steps back, think like a startup and we're a 15-year-old company. That doesn't come naturally, thinking like a startup right now.
Ron: Yeah. I agree. And for those listening, we'll drop those two book recommendations down into the show notes. I think Stephanie's going to be watching so maybe she'll go to Amazon and grab them and drop them into the comments and we'll put them on the show notes on our web page.
Wim: And what did you read the last couple of weeks?
Ron: I'm almost done with it but Simon Sinek's new book, The Infinite Game. I've really valued consuming that and I'm behind his belief system that business is an infinite game. And yet many of us practice it as a finite game with immediate sales targets or profitability goals within this month or within this quarter or within the year. Whereas at the end of the day, his point is there was really a see change in business around the world. But he talks primarily about North American observations and that these days of companies lasting more than 20 years, you just see less companies and he makes references to the US Stock Exchange and the stock market and how long companies used to last. Their average existence now is 17 years. When they're born to when they're gone and he makes references to that's a lot of the dynamics around the purpose of business has changed. And the idea is that businesses should have a purpose. He calls it a just cause. And if you lead through your just cause, that's something your team can get behind, that's something your customers can get behind. It's something that a marketplace can get behind. It's hard and it really felt close to me, close to home, because we've been on a nice growth trend and so I've found myself in a pattern of talking about let's hit that goal. It's not very motivating if the team behind you just sees that. Oh great. I'm going to have more work. That's not very inspiring. And yet if you can instill a purpose and back that purpose. That's the reason your business exists, to help others and success in growth equates to being able to help more people. That's inspiring, it is what inspires me. And so Ithat book really hit close to home and it's immediately affecting change within our company and we're instituting changes throughout the company in how we present our goals, our targets, our purpose, why we exist. There's a lot of soul searching and really redesign of our business that's happening right now from that good book.
Wim: Good, cool.
Ron: I have a random question for you out of the blue. I have a personal hobby which is I like to study cryptocurrency And I'm curious are you a student of Bitcoin theory, all the cryptocurrencies. I know this could be a rabbit hole, meaning my audience may or may not even know much about this subject. I don't want to make any assumptions. Just keeping it very high level. Do you know what that is?
Wim: Yes. I don't pretend to be an expert but I try to follow conversations on the topic which can get fairly heated.
Ron: Do you personally investor put any of your discretionary income in any of those things?
Wim: No. I do invest but I do not invest in currencies overall. So I don't invest in the U.S. dollar. I don't invest in the Euro I don't invest in Bitcoin nor a theorem or anything else because I think that's a lottery ticket. And you have the ones with more volatility like currently crypto and then you have a bit less volatility and then you bet on an election in the US or an election in Europe or whatever and you take the yen or the dollar. I don't do that. I invest companies that I think I know a little bit about and that I think can or baskets or shares or economies and so on. No, I don't put my money in it because I don't think that's the way I want to invest my money. But I do read about it and I try to be up to date because there's a lot of things crypto, in my opinion, is at the crossroads of many many different things. I'm not a big fan of the banking conglomerates and that's a huge understatement. The way I just put that, so in that light, I welcome crypto because it will change things fundamentally. And it's interesting how some of the big banks now adopt that then there's crypto linked to the moguls in Silicon Valley who are seeing that in my opinion as yet another way to solidify this the status quo. Facebook and Amazon are both working on one. That's, I don't think to better the world that they're doing that. And then there's economical possibilities of a friend of mine who works on national crypto in Brazil because he is trying to take microfinance systems to crypto to basically keep them out of the controlled economy to let people transact. Because how do you sell four chairs versus a quarter of a cow in microfinance? That's difficult you always need real money. But if you could also take real money out of that equation and do that through a cryptocurrency. I don't pretend to know a lot. You tell me, what should I put my money in?
Ron: No. Well OK. Bitcoin. But, beyond that it's I don't want to say controversial but it's a hobby. I'm not smart enough to fully understand it and understand how it will play out. I don't pretend to be. Sometimes I play one on TV as if I know. But I do enjoy studying. It has been very interesting to be a student of economics or macroeconomics and different theories of economic principles and practices and then to see the world going through what it's going through and to juxtapose those two topics. It's been interesting and I like to learn about things that I don't understand or fully understand. And so I'd put this into that basket for me. I try to listen enough to where I pick up patterns and I understand who the thought leaders are in different departments and I'll check their Twitter feeds on occasion and see what they're saying about certain things. And it's interesting.
Wim: I'm with Mark Cuban on crypto. I think it's the future but there's too many big barriers and questions still. It's in its infancy. It's gonna happen for sure but I don't think it's clear yet and I'm not saying I'm with Mark Cuban because I pretend to know as much as he knows. I'm just saying that is the position I agree with.
Ron: You and I agree he should run for President of the US.
Wim: Or Vice. They should figure it out. I'll send them an email.
Ron: Who's your ticket? Who should be running the US?
Wim: My ticket, at this point? They should, this Saturday, announce Mark Cuban and Oprah Winfrey because I believe they can cater to a very broad audience in the US. I think they both have a two toes in three toes in, this whole presidential thing in the past so they can't come turn around and say they haven't thought about it. They're independent financially and more importantly, they're independent press wise. They could go on CBS, FOX, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix whatever without being owned by those media which are currently very polarized. And they could just keep saying what they think they have to be saying to try and bring that great nation together. That would be my ticket.
Ron: I like your ticket. All right. I'm going to close the show it's something again I haven't done before. What question do you have for me?
Wim: What question do you do I have for you? Will you come over to ISE February 2021 in Barcelona?
Ron: If they have ISC. If the event happens, I'll come.
Wim: Then you will be my guest because we will be opening our brand new showroom in the center of Barcelona. Really smack in the center on top of a luxury watch shop 250 square meters with a fantastic home theater control system luxury living room and everything. And you'll be my guest of honor. We'll do a Facebook Live from there.
Ron: I love it. I'm honored with the ask. I'd be pleased to come over. I last attended ISE in Amsterdam. I actually brought my wife Danielle over. We attended a few maybe in 2011 maybe '11 and '12 and I remember we had such a wonderful time. I loved being there. I was going over there for the wrong reasons I was over there to try to solicit business. And I realized I had no need to go to Europe to solicit. Not that I would turn down business from anyone anywhere in the world. But historically there's been enough customers needing assistance right here in my backyard that I'm very blessed. I haven't needed to go to another country to get new customers or new business but I would absolutely go over there just to see all the new tech, see you, see the people.
Wim: Just come over to have a good time. Yeah. Bring your wife.
Ron: Absolutely. All right. You got a deal. Virtual high five handshake. There you go. There you go. Wim, as always sir it's been a pleasure to have you on again. We'll close, how do you want people to get in touch with you if anyone wants to follow up with you post-show?
Wim: Our website, Genesis/Tech.eu, my contact details are there. Either LinkedIn my name or Facebook. I picked up some friends the last time we talked. Sven Neer set up his own business in the meantime. Fantastic job. Some other people got in touch with me so it's fairly easy to find me. Always welcome to learn and listen to what's going on.
Ron: Awesome. All right thank you , buddy. We'll have to do this again soon. Check-in with you a little bit further down the road.
Wim: OK do that.
Ron: Alrighty folks. There you have it. Episode number 127 with the one and only Wim De Vos. He's always full of ideas and opinions and he's really out there to serve his customers and serve this industry to help push us all forward. I think he's very inspiring. Just saw a comment here from Mario. What's up Mario. He says inspiring as always stay safe. Thank you for watching and listening. Mario , I hope you and your family are well and I am going to sign off and remind you folks. These interviews are on your favorite podcast platforms if that's Spotify or Apple podcasts or whatever your choice is. Don't forget to go in there. Go to the search, search for the words "Automation Unplugged" and you can find the show and you can subscribe. Would love for you to do that and I will see you next week here in the US. We have a big weekend. We have the July 4th weekend. One Firefly will actually be closed this Friday, at least for our USA based staff. We're gonna be trying to relax. I'm here in Florida. We won't be heading to the beach because they've closed all the beaches because of COVID. But we'll do a little bit of barbecuing in the backyard and having a good old time. I will see you next week post-July 4th weekend and again thanks everyone thanks for listening and watching. Be well.
Wim is currently over his European firm, Genesis Home Technology. His self proclaimed title is "Thunder Lizard." Genesis has been growing for over 10 years and offers design, training, and marketing solutions with its premium branded products to a select network of 300 certified installation partners in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
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 within 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.
Resources and links from the interview:
More Automation Unplugged:
Want to stay up to date with the latest Automation Unplugged interviews? Head over to the One Firefly Facebook page and subscribe to receive a notification whenever Ron is live!