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Automation Unplugged

Automation Unplugged is a Facebook Live show recorded weekly with our host Ron Callis, Owner and CEO of the digital marketing agency, One Firefly. In each Automation Unplugged episode, Ron speaks with leading industry personalities and technology professionals to discuss all things business development, technology trends, and more. These interviews are designed to help our clients and members of the custom integration industry keep up-to-date with the latest news as well as learn from experts in the field.

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Home Automation Podcast Episode #173: An Industry Q&A With Doug Greenwald

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Doug Greenwald, Founder & CEO of Projx360 and Creative Sound & Integration shares on developing and documenting business processes and what to expect from business software.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #173: An Industry Q&A With Doug Greenwald

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Doug Greenwald. Recorded live on Wednesday, June 9th, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Doug Greenwald

Based out of Scottsdale, AZ - and joining us with over 27 years of industry experience - Doug first established Creative Sound & Integration in 2001 to better serve his clients with best-in-class smart tech solutions for their homes.

While building his successful business, Doug often struggled with finding an effective project management software to meet his needs. Taking matters into his own hands, he created his own software platform, ProjX360, to solve common challenges, and has since expanded it to include a complete end-to-end SaaS management software solution.

Interview Recap

  • Doug's start in the CI industry in the early '90s
  • Scaling his integration company over the past 20 years
  • What to expect from business software
  • Developing and documenting business processes

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #172 A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Donnie Boutwell

 

Transcript


Ron:  Hello. Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged. Today, we are recording show 173. And it is Wednesday, June 9th. It's a little bit after 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time. We're here on our normal day and time, and I'm glad that you folks are joining me. Our guest today is an industry veteran. I've known him for many, many years. Many of you are going to know him, and you're going to know his companies. I'm bringing on Doug Greenwald. And Doug's been in the industry actually since the early '90s. He's played both sides of the business in that he's been on the integration side, and he's running a very well-known software company that provides project management software for our industry. Let's go ahead and bring in Doug and let's get him formally introduced. Doug, you disappeared there for a minute, but you came back.

Doug: My camera timed out. I don't know what happened.

Ron:  That was funny. You and I were just practicing before we went live. And I was like, this doesn't happen often, but now and then, technology doesn't behave. But you played it cool, and you click the link, and here you are. How are you, sir?

Doug: Good, how about yourself?

Ron:  You know, another day in paradise. I can't complain. I live by that motto. It's a state of mind.

Doug: I agree with you.

Ron:  Where are you coming to us from, Doug?

Doug: I'm coming from Arizona today. One of the homes that I live in Arizona, my other home I live in is Hawaii. I was talking to you the other day and I was in Hawaii.

Ron:  I'm just curious, how do you juggle when you spend time in Hawaii, and when do you spend time in Arizona?

Doug: It kind of varies. Depends on the business. With COVID, obviously, I couldn't get over to my Hawaii house very much because of the shutdown and everything, but normally it depends on my travel schedule. When trade shows are going on and everything, like they're going to start up again, I'm really excited about where we have our first one coming up in my stay on the mainland here in Arizona and work from here in the winters. Arizona's a little too cold for me. I know people laugh at that, but you shouldn't.

Ron:  Wait a second. How cold is Arizona? Are you in Scottsdale?

Doug: In the Phoenix area. But the valley gets cold, man. At night it'll get down into the 30s and maybe 40s.

Ron:  How many days?

Doug: Maybe like January, part of December. But the day and during the day, it might get up to 70.

Ron:  How many people are listening and groaning right now?

Doug: I get it all the time. But yeah, you become acclimated to where you live. And I became acclimated. Now I go to Hawaii because that's just 85 all year.

Ron:  That's true. We have Brandy. She just joined us, and she goes, "Las Vegas winters are cold too." Brandi, how cold does it get in winter in Las Vegas? I'm not sure I'm buying it. Brandi, you've got to tell me how cold it gets, but that's fine. Is it really 85 year-round in Hawaii?

Doug: Pretty much. I live in Kona on the big islands. During the day, it'll be between 84 to 87. And then at night, it'll get down to like the high 60s, low 70s. So it's perfect, and that's why it's paradise. It's a perfect temperature all year, pretty much.

Ron:  I have Ted here. He's asking a question. I'm going to admit I have no idea what he's talking about. Ted says, "Isn't Arizona where haboobs happen?" What is Ted talking about?

Doug: Haboob is the big dust storm. We're actually entering our haboobs season, which is called monsoon season. Usually, we're guaranteed at least once a year. Actually, last year was the first time I've lived here for twenty-five years. And I think last year we didn't even get one. But usually, we get one big one. It's a big dust wall that comes in, and it's nasty. It really creates a mess, especially in your pool. I mean, it'll destroy your pool.

Ron:  Do people cover their pools when that happens?

Doug: Some people do not. Most people, no. That's what in-floor cleaning does, you know, all the dust down the drain.

Ron:  That's right. For those that are eager to hear Brandi's answer, Brandi tells us that in Vegas, it gets into the 40s and 50s. Oh, God forbid I'm here in Florida.

Doug: You can't talk. You live in Florida.

Ron:  But I'm from Virginia, and we had four real seasons there.

Doug: I grew up in Wisconsin, for all fairness, so I know what cold is.

Ron:  Alright. And you know why I landed in Florida?

Doug: To get away from the cold?

Ron:  I'm from Virginia, but they put me in Minneapolis early in my career with Lutron. I was there for three years, and I moved to Florida to thaw out. And I'm still working on thawing out. I'm trying to think, how many years is it later? Seventeen years later. And I'm still working on thawing out from my time in Minneapolis.

Doug: That's worse than Wisconsin. But up in that upper Midwest area, you get the cold. It's brutally cold. It's amazing if you've never felt like a thirty below wind chill is. It's shockingly cold. You don't want to feel it.

Ron:  You quickly learn, oh, this is what they mean when people go outside and freeze to death.

Doug: Well, and this is what I say to people like, well, how do you handle the 115? I'll take that any day over thirty below wind chills. I'll just jump in my pool.

Ron:  Yeah, exactly. Alright. For those that are listening, let's quickly define the two businesses. You're well known, Doug, in our industry for running. You're wearing a Projx360 shirt, so maybe we'll start there and then if you could also just quickly introduce your other business.

Doug: Sure. I am the founder of Projects 360, which we're an end-to-end SAS management solution for the industry designed specifically for this industry. We don't go after any other markets. My background comes from owning an integration company. I've been in the industry since like Ron said, since the early 90s, had my own integration company since 2001. So I've been doing that for 20 years and developed software to help manage and run the business.

Ron:  Got it. Projx360, are your customers primarily integrators, and are they in the United States, or do you have customers in other countries?

Doug: First part of the question, yes, they're pretty much all integrators of some sort, residential or commercial. The majority of our clients are in the US, but we have clients in Europe, Canada, Australia. So some other countries also.

Ron:  OK, and the integration business, what's the name of the integration business, and where does that business operate?

Doug: My integration company is Creative Sound and Integration, and it's in Scottsdale, Arizona, and we do really high-end residential. We do some commercial work, but mostly our focus is new construction, multimillion-dollar homes. Our average project is about $150,000 that we do.

Ron:  Got it. That business, Creative Sound and Integration that is a perennial CEPro top 100 business is correct?

Doug: It is, yeah. We're on the lower end of the one hundred. We're not the one, two, or three, but I mean, we're in the one hundred pretty much every year.

Ron:  That's like One Firefly. We're Inc5000 company. We're not saying what number. We are in the top five thousand. That's what's important here. You're running a CEPro 100 business. Now in that business, you have a business partner, and you have a GM. What's your day-to-day role in that business? And maybe we'll touch very lightly on this. How much are you day to day in the integration business versus the Projx360 business?

Doug: The integration company, my business partner, Ed Murrow, does all the purchasing and some of the sales. We do have a salesperson. Also, I make some of the sales for clients that I've had for many years. When I say clients, builders, and stuff, just deal with me, I deal with them. Our GM, Steve Denny, runs the day-to-day operations and oversees all of the team and everything. I'm more the visionary and looking at where the company is going, developing the processes better to be more efficient, dealing with some of the struggles we all deal with in this industry because it is such a moving target. But then most of my time is spent with Projects 360 because it's the new baby or the new guys on the block when it comes to software. We've been around since 2016 in the industry, and we're growing. I make all the sales for that, do all the trade shows. So my time is a little more focused on the Projects 360 side.

Ron:  Got it. I've got a plethora of things I want to dive into on both sides of those businesses. But, before we get there, my audience and I always enjoy learning what brought you here. So, maybe what's your origin story in this industry, if you don't mind sharing?

Doug: Sure. No problem. I was into music when I was younger. I loved it and played in some bands when I was younger. I had a girlfriend in the early 90s that said, "I think you'd be good in sales, in audio-video." So I went and applied at one of the audio-video stores in Wisconsin. And needless to say, I got a job and ended up being one of the top sales guys, moved out to Arizona. I worked for another integration company, got more into the custom side of stuff. I started more of retail and two-channel back in the 90s. That's kind of what it all was about. And then it progressed into this whole automation thing. I met my business partner when I worked in Phoenix, and we decided to start our own company to do things a little differently.

Ron:  Is that business, where you guys were at, is that business still in business?

Doug: No, no. It was around for a long time in the Valley, but it's been gone for quite some time, so we kind of also had seen the writing on the wall on that and some things that weren't being done correctly, especially in the early days of custom. I mean, when, you know, the late 90s, early 2000s, when things were progressing and changing from the retail audio video to an integration company, so a lot of things were changing.

Ron:  What were some of those things that jumped out, and what was the name of that business?

Doug: Buzz Jensen's Sound Advice.

Ron:  Buzz Jenson's Sound Advice. What were some of those things that you and Ed observed were maybe not being done the best way?

Doug: It's really there was no process in place, for doing custom, for dealing with builders. His business was born as a retail store, and no knocking on that. There's a lot of guys that have done it. But I think he had a hard time adjusting and adjusting from retail to dealing with new construction and builders and stuff like that. He was going down more of the production road where Ed and I wanted to go down the more hire and custom road and deal with not so much volume, so not quantity, but the quality thing. Not saying that track is not quality, but its production. So you're doing volumes, you're doing numbers. It's a whole nother beast.

Ron:  The business Creative Sound and Integration. You and Ed started that. What was that, around 2000?

Doug: 2001.

Ron:  2001. What's the journey with that business been like?

Doug: Oh, it's been quite the journey. It started with just the couple of us. We did everything. I was out in the field pre-wiring, installing. Ed did all the Crestron programming, and I did all the lighting programming at the time for Vantage. We did it ourselves, started hiring employees as we could afford them, and then started scaling the business and got enough employees that we got out of the field. What I even kind of advise other companies and I talked to are starting, I'm fortunate enough to discuss this with projects and stuff. The sooner you can get yourself out of the installation side of it and into the business side of your company, the better off you're going to be to scale it.

We were fortunate that I was really focused on getting out of that as quickly as possible and getting more on that. So both of us are getting more on the business side of things. So as we grew, we just reinvested in the company instead of taking humongous salaries. At the time, we kept it pretty modest, and we put the money back into the business and hired people, and we were able to collaborate, create processes and scale it to what it is today.

Ron:  Got it. How and when did you decide to put a GM in place running the business or helping you and Ed run the business? Because I'm just thinking about your peers, folks that are listening and watching this, that's probably a curiosity they have. So please, Doug, tell me more. How did you put somebody in place to help you run the day-to-day?

Doug: Well, so we were fortunate enough. You know, Steve has been with us since 2005. He started as an installer, not saying that every installer out there will make a great GM someday. But Steve really understood the business really had a passion for it. He worked his self up into the company. He and I, on a personal level, became pretty much best friends outside of business. His wife and my wife are close friends. So that trust factor was really there to do that. And it's been probably about six, seven years now that he's really worked his way into that role. We still all collaborate. Don't get me wrong, but Steve has the power to make big decisions, when to terminate people, on the hiring process, all that kind of stuff that we trust his opinion on.

Ron:  Got it. To bring us to the present for Creative Sound and Integration. How was 2020, and how is 2021 looking?

Doug: Thank God. Knock on wood. I mean, last year, surprisingly, we doubled our business and Creative Sound. We had one of the best years ever. Construction in Arizona did not stop whatsoever. It didn't miss a beat. Even though we had that shutdown. We didn't have a shutdown. We never closed or anything like that. So thank God, we did really well. And this year, we're even ahead of that. We're up right now, this year from last year at this time, about forty-seven percent. So it's been good, and I hope it continues. But we're in a hot market now. Construction is really booming. After COVID, I think many people personally and business-wise learned you could do a lot at home, and entertainment at home is far more valuable because we were always the add-on.

When people were designing their new homes, if budgets had to be cut, who's the first industry? It's always us. You know, we're one of the first ones to get cut. Where now, I think people are thinking twice about it. They want nicer audio throughout the house and everything and video. Home theaters are kind of coming back a little bit. I think that's really had a big impact positively on our industry.

Ron:  I'm going to pull on a thread or two there, and I'm going to say from a marketing perspective, and those listening, they've probably heard me say some version of this before. Before COVID, we didn't see the concept of the home office being requested by our integrators on their websites and their brochures and their social media filter emails. Now we see that we've seen that work. It's the way in. Do you see that and what other trends have really occurred because of the last 18 months?

Doug: Well, I think what we're seeing, we don't do many home office stuff per se. There's a huge network, and that's always been a core piece of any of our projects we've done. But I think what you see from the commercial side, and I can speak as myself, so my software company was always remote before COVID. And just because we have developer employees all over the country working for us, because we can be, we don't need we don't have people coming in. But with my integration company, we're right now in the middle of actually downsizing our office space because after the pandemic, during the pandemic, I let my office team rotate and work part-time from home, which is a benefit. People really like that. The technology's here. I think what COVID taught us is that it is really easy and, in many ways, more efficient to work from home. And it's a great benefit to offer your team. It helps reduce your overhead as a business owner. I'm fortunate enough that I'm opening up a show area for clients, more and less office space because I'm maintaining that I didn't see a reduction in productivity. If anything, I saw an increase in it. And I think it's a great benefit to offer your team.

"I think COVID has changed society and the work-life situation."

Ron:  As an integrator, you are maybe one of the first I've heard talk about this, the idea that you've flexed your time with your staff or changed some paradigms in terms of allowing people not to have to be in the office physically. Can you expand on what type of roles in your company is allowed to do that? Or is it for everyone's allowed to do that? Because I think it's certainly a hot topic right now. I think COVID has changed society and the work-life situation.

Doug: For sure, how we're doing it in my company is my office staff kind of splits the time. Some will be in a set of two days, the other set in another two days, and then Fridays rotate on that. My project manager can work remotely. My GM works remotely a couple of days, not every day, but a couple of days as they can when they're not out on sites. Obviously, the installers and stuff they're out in the field doing their jobs. I have my Warehouse Manager in the office every day because somebody has to be there to run the warehouse and everything like that.

Ron:  Got it now. That makes sense. Now your Projx360 business has actually been virtual. You had mentioned you had gone virtual with your staff before COVID. Can you help us understand how you made that decision?

Doug: I had that office space in the beginning. But then, as we started taking off and brought on some developers in other states, my onboarding director, Ryan, who does all the onboarding, lives in Idaho. He doesn't even live in Arizona. They want to limit my team and my resources just to what's available in Arizona. As we did all that, it wasn't really fair to the team in Arizona that I have to have to keep coming into the office. Like I mentioned, it's not like we have clients that come to an office or anything like that. It wasn't really necessary for us to have an office. When my lease came up, I'm like, I'm not going to renew this. I'm going to see myself $4,000 a month, and we're going to go remote and did that about a year before COVID.

Ron:  Got it. That makes sense now. I'm going to make a giant leap here, and I think I hear groans from everyone as I say that. And that is that maybe your integration business probably fully runs on Projx360? Is that the case? And how long has that been the case? Was it running on what is now 360 even before it was a product?

Doug: It is running fully on 360. How projects all became about. I had, like I mentioned, the integration company since 2021. We were a big D-Tools user for 15 years. We used it for the proposal side and everything like that, but I was in the same boat as many guys. I looked for a good project management platform, and I looked at some off-the-shelf and others. But they weren't really geared towards the industry. And I was fortunate enough. I started the software company in 2010, but we were just developing web development and software development for other businesses. It was its own entity, but everything was done in-house. We didn't farm things out overseas. The developers actually worked for me.

When I was looking for that in 2013 by a senior developer, goes, well, why don't we just build something for you? And I'm like, alright. We took our scope of work for just the project management side of everything and spent 2013 building that because the software just wanted to share with everybody takes a long time to build. We used it, rolled it out to my team in 2014. We used it. They liked it. In 2015, I decided to bring it to CEDIA to see if there would be any interest. And there was, and we rolled it out to the public in February of '16 and have been expanding it ever since because, at that time, I was in this project management. But now we're a full end-to-end solution, and we use it, software. The reason I developed it, we had the processes there. But what software is there for is to help you manage and run your processes. We designed it for and utilized it for us to help businesses run their maintain their processes.

Ron:  Walk us through that. For those that are watching the video feed, they're going to see on the screen that I'm on your website now, and I'm going to click around. But if you could just at a high level, maybe just talk about the integrator that may be running iPoint or D-Tools or Simply Reliable or any other good software out there. What is it that Projx360 is doing? Is it module-based? Give me more help me understand what this is.

Doug: We're fully cloud-based, which means you can access it on any device anywhere. We're not desktop software because desktop software is phasing out. It's old technology. But we can do everything from managing your sales process to generate your proposal to all your project management time tracking, scheduling, work orders into service. We have a full inventory management system to track your inventory, and again, the inventory systems design because we don't stock a lot of products in our industry. It's ordered by product, and that's exactly how the software is designed for that. It is an end-to-end solution. We try to keep the UI user-friendly. We truly listen to our existing customers and try to do the enhancements. We're always working on the platform. I have four full-time developers that are constantly working on it. We're adding enhancements, enhancing existing sections of it. We want our end goal to be the main software for this industry, the go-to, to handle and help other integrators run their companies.

Ron:  How do you determine what enhancements get done and in what order? Because I'm imagining you have hundreds of customers operating the software, and I'm sure there are certainly more vocal customers than others in terms of what they want you to do next. How do you determine that? How do you think it's really a product dev question?

Doug: No, great question. We do have a feature request inside the software for our existing customers, and that does come into our database, doesn't mean that enhancement is going to happen right then and there. We put it in our database. When we either enhance an existing section of the software or look at what we should add new to the platform, it is based on how many people are requesting something. That's the first thing we go to. We really do look at it. We really go through it, and then we have it all categorized by the different sections of the software. We also categorize it by what's low-hanging fruit. Is this something we can quickly that is not going to take a ton of development time?

Or is this a bigger piece that it has to kind of wait till we go and really over and overhaul that section of the software and then add it then? Because when you're building a big platform like this, everything talks to each other. Everything intertwines, and it makes it a lot more complex. A lot of things sometimes the end-users don't realize looks really simple. So we'll just add this year. But in the back end, it's touching so many different things that it's not just a simple, quick enhancement or fix or change or anything like that. But we listen to all that. We go through it as a team. When we're going to do a new section or an existing section, we go through that list. We call it the wish list, the dream list for everybody, us, our customers, anybody. And then the nice thing about having the development in-house is my Senior Developer can tell me, "Well, we can't quite do it this way, but maybe we can do this and achieve the same outcome or a similar outcome to that." So that's really how it's done.

Ron:  What is the impact? I've heard you say that you're the only fully cloud-based solution for intelligence work from end to end. What does that mean?

Doug: To basically take your project from the sales process all the way through to completion and tracking your inventory and everything in one platform that's fully cloud-based that you can access anywhere on any device. Don't get me wrong, D-Tools has their cloud version, and they're rolling out more and more pieces of it. They don't have an inventory piece yet, though, at this time. But, they and iPoint really are big biggest competitors on that when it comes to that. But iPoint isn't cloud-based. They are more of a hybrid desktop platform.

Ron:  What have you most excited about Projx360? What's coming up in the next 12 to 24? I'm giving you a big window here. Hopefully, highly attainable goals here. What have you pumped?

Doug: There are a bunch of things. What we're rolling into right now, we just released phase one of our CRM enhancement, which was more structural, wasn't a lot of feature-rich things. That's coming later on. We just released our Project Health Report, where you can run a report of a status financially and health-wise where that project is. But what we're going to be rolling into now is a full back-end kind of rewrite. We're built in a lamp platform, which means Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. They have a bunch of new versions and everything.

We want to stay in the latest version and increase the software's performance, which these new versions actually do. We're going to spend the next, probably the rest of this year, rewriting that whole back end to speed up performance. And there's going to be some features there. But then the big one is we will roll into our overall proposal enhancement where we're going to. That's a huge list. I met with a team of probably 10 of our integrators who used our platform and got their feedback. We got a really long list of handsomeness that we want to do and features that we want to add. We're going to rewrite that. We're going to redo our scheduling to add a Gantt chart and all that good stuff to our scheduling to make it a little more streamlined. We are going to add a client portal so clients can request service events and stuff like that. We have a lot of really exciting things on the horizon. But I always want to stress mostly. My Senior Developer, Jason, wants me to stress this all takes time. There's a lot to it, and it doesn't get done fast enough for me even. I'm like, "When's that coming out ?" I get excited, just like our clients do. Well, I'm going to take some time.

"You don't want to over-promise and under-deliver."

Ron:  You wanted to offer it yesterday, but, you know, it's going to take some time to get there. You don't want to over-promise and under-deliver.

Doug: Oh, for sure. Especially once you get into some. Yeah. It never fails. You think you're on track for a certain time, and then you release that date, and all of a sudden, we just hit an obstacle. You've got to be kidding me.

Ron:  Doug, what's an example? You may be similar to me. You're on the front end of your business in many ways, working with integrators day to day, talking to them about their business, how your software could potentially help them, whether your software is the answer or not. What are some of the common areas of operations? Or you pick another category, if it's appropriate, of an integrator, that if they did it better, their life would be better.

Doug: The big thing, I think, is having processes in place. Even though I'm talking to a new integrator, I can't stress enough, starting because I love sharing. I made tons of mistakes starting my company, and I still make mistakes. Collaborating with other people really helps. And it always comes back to process and setting up processes and sticking to those processes and making it and then part of your team and your company's environment. That's where the software comes into play. I don't care what software it is, mine or anybody. No software is going to create the processes for you. That is something you, as the integrator and as the business owner, have to do that and then find the right platform to help you manage your processes and run your organization and get complete buy-in.

You have got to have buy-in on that. And I can't stress enough that you definitely want to take the feedback from your technicians. But keep in mind, they also don't understand the whole big picture that you might have on the business side. So it's that balancing act of the feedback and keeping in taking that valuable information from the team in the field and keeping in mind your vision to run your company and what you need to do to take your company to that next level. Because, again, the biggest obstacle we see in the software side, and I don't care what software or platform it is, technicians, you know, no one likes change, and sometimes that's the biggest pushback you're going to get because we're in the tech industry, but not everybody is always that comfortable. The tech software and stuff like that or wants to document everything.

Ron:  If an integration business adopts better processes and utilizes a piece of software potentially to help them play those processes step by step. What's the benefit to the business? What's the why? I'm going to follow Simon. Why should they care?

"Employees want structure and a process."

Doug: There's a bunch of solutions that. You're going to keep a better team of employees. Employees want structure and a process. This is like kids, and they want that structure and the foundation of everything. B, it's going to streamline everything. It will reduce the big thing this industry is notorious for all the B backs and not have all the product ready for the job. Now you have to make another trip, or you have to expedite it, and now you're paying expedited shipping on something. It's this all those little inefficiencies. And in all honesty, the technicians get frustrated with that, too, and not only just the business owners. By having processes in place and laying them out, and having them there for people to follow, everybody knows who's responsible for what and knows their role. Make sure you have job descriptions and know who is responsible for this section of it. The huge improvement is in your bottom line because your jobs are to come in more on budget. They're going to be streamlined. You're not going to spend all this extra money on expediting equipment.

Ron:  If you were to grade our industry and the thousands of integrators and their attention to process, how would you grade them? There's no right answer that you're going to get tomatoes thrown at you no matter what.

Doug: Let's say you really put me on the spot. It depends on the company. Overall, I would say we're probably about a high C, maybe a C plus. I think there's a ton of room for improvement for all of us. There really is a ton of room in the room for improvement for all of this, for everyone. And it's learning. We do have our industry's tough. I'll be honest with you. My Senior Developer comes to the trade shows and everything with us. He's learned a lot about this industry since he's been working with me. He even says, "Sometimes you guys just really overthink things and make things a little more complicated than they have to be."

And I tend to agree with him on some of that stuff, where I think sometimes we're making a bigger deal out of making a mountain out of a molehill, you know? OK, yeah, that could use improvement, but what will we really gain from that? Look at that fine line of too many steps versus having that sweet spot where you just got the right process in place to get it streamlined and not overthink things.

Ron:  Where do you and your company Projx360 sit in terms of whether you're delivering the Projx360 process, and this is what they should follow or whether they have a process and can accommodate or modify the software, the tool to work within their process. I imagine there are two opposing forces here.

"We get some people that just want every little thing to match their process. Well, at that point, you need custom software, and then it's costly. So I can tell you that right now, it's a team thing. It's a marriage where it's a give and takes."

Doug: For sure. Yes, for sure. There's that and part of our onboarding process. And Ryan, my Onboarding Director, is awesome. It is coming to that. It's a give-take. We both have got to compromise with each other. We get some people that just want every little thing to match their process. Well, at that point, you need custom software, and then it's extremely expensive. I can tell you that right now, it's a team thing. It's a marriage where it's a give or takes. They're going to have to modify some of the processes they might be used to right now to work with the system. But again, that's where we listen to the feedback to try. And again, it's based on the majority. It's not just one company. It's based on the majority of asking for this because I can't do something special for each company. No software company can. I mean, it's impossible because then no matter what our famous line in everything, we're going to piss somebody off. It's inevitable. We try not to, but we're going to. But it's a marriage.

Ron:  Talk to me about events. We've all been locked down from events for a long time now, too long. People are starting to get vaccinated. What's the event season look like for Projx360? Maybe both sides, your integration business. What shows are you guys going to go to this year, if any? The Projx360 as a vendor. Where are you guys going to go? You've brought up my favorite subject. I'm so ready to get back on the road, and I'm so sick of being cooped up like everybody else. For Projx360, our trade shows starting next month. We're doing ISE in Vegas first. Then we got an event for Pro Source in August in San Antonio, then obviously in September in Indianapolis. October is Infocom in Orlando, and then the Total Tech Summit in Orlando again in November. So that's what our season is going to be like for Projects 360 for shows. For my own integration company, we sent our team to CEDIA. I've been part of CEDIA since the nineties.

We also send a team to Infocom because we do a ton of commercials, but we do some, and we do some upper-end boardrooms and Infocom for all those who have never gone. I highly recommend going. It's a really cool show because it's CEDIA on steroids. There's a lot of things that we may not do, but it's really cool to see if you really like the technology and the whole reason we all got into this business. It's a really fun show to go to and see all the cool stuff. And then we also send the team to the Tech Summit, a couple of guys to the Tech Summit.

Ron:  Any prediction whether the shows are going to be mask on or mask off?

Doug: I don't know for sure. I can say from the people I've talked to because obviously, being a vendor, we get to talk to the people putting on the shows. So it really seems like attendance is going to be good. I think many people are just like what I said, just ready to get back out there. Everybody is sick of the virtual trade shows, and everything is just ready to I mean, that's where we all get to meet and collaborate and share ideas and do all that fun stuff. And I think everybody's just ready for now.

Doug: Amen, I completely agree. I look forward to getting back out there and seeing our industry friends and our customers. It can't happen soon enough with you. Doug, for those who want to get in touch with you directly or learn about your businesses, what are all communication channels? How can they reach you? You can email me. The best email probably would be This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also email me at my integration company, which is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and emails are always the best way to communicate. And then, if we want to jump on a call or discuss anything, I'm always open to that, especially business. I love this industry. I have a big passion for this industry, and I think we can all learn from each other.

Ron:  Amen, I completely agree. Doug, it's been a pleasure having you on show 173 of Automation Unplugged, sir.

Doug: Well, thank you so much for having me. I really, truly appreciate it. And it was a blast.

Ron:  Folks, there you have it, the one and only Doug Greenwald, Doug and I were actually at an event a few years ago with Joey over at One Vision, and Joey had rented a boat, and we were out on a boat, and we were eating good food and wine. Doug and I had a chance to catch up and for me to learn about both of his businesses. I had been meaning, and he had meant to come here on the show and let me interview him. I'm glad that we made our schedules work and got that done. Doug, again, thank you for coming to the show. And a quick message, just high-level summer is here, folks. For example, my son today was his last day of school. I'm just going to tell you a little scheduling change that I made personally. And if this means something to you, then cool. If not, don't worry.

My son is 12, and he's entering the seventh grade, and he's on summer vacation. I'm here in my home office, and I'm always working, working, working. I've decided to make a little bit of a schedule change. And I'm blocking out some of my mid-day, five days a week, so that I can make sure I have lunch with my son and my wife and with me. I normally was not doing that during the school year. We only have so many years with our kids at home or with our loved ones. It is summer. And remember what it was to be a kid and have that summer vacation and all that freedom and how excited you were. I've made a little bit of a minor lifestyle change so that I can see more of him and my wife in the middle of the day. Maybe there's something you can do. Just be mindful.

We're all so busy being busy. It's important to poke our heads up and look around, and remember those around us that we care about. If that means something for you, maybe make a to-do changing something in your scheduling so that you can see those around you that you know and love, and it might be a good change of pace. On that note, I appreciate your joining me, and I will see you next week for another show. We have a stacked couple of months of guests. It's going to be all sorts of fun content. I will see you on the flip side. I will put up our website and phone number if you do want to reach out to anyone here at One Firefly. And I guess I'll give one extra plug. We are doing some hiring here at One Firefly. Definitely check out the careers page at onefirefly.com. We have various account management positions, we have sales positions, and maybe there are a few more posted. We're continuing to grow and scale, and we're looking for rock stars to join our team. Definitely be sure to check us out. And I will see you all next week. I'm signing off. Thanks, everyone.

SHOW NOTES:

Doug first established Creative Sound & Integration in 2001 to better serve his clients with best-in-class smart tech solutions for their homes. After struggling to find an effective project management software to fit his needs, Doug created Projx360. It has since expanded to include a complete end-to-end SaaS management software solution.

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 become the leading marketing firm specializing in integrated technology and security. The One Firefly team works 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:

To keep up with Doug, visit the ProjX360 website at projx360 or the Creative Sound and Integration website at creativesound. In addition, you can reach Doug directly by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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