About the Episode :
Brian Sallee shares his amazing upbringing in Haiti and journey to becoming the successful entrepreneur he is today. Learn how he grew a company to be #4 on NASDAQ by building skills off of the lawn-mowing business and answering computer questions at a young age.
About the Guest :
Brian grew up in Haiti with no electricity, but fast forward 15 years later-ish, he went into serial entrepreneur / tech mode. Scaled a business from zero to #4 on NASDAQ, currently helps other entrepreneurs/leaders grow their businesses.
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If you’re an managed service provider an MSP, or you’re a general entrepreneur today you’re going to want to listen to this because you’re going to be inspired and you’re going to have action steps coming out of this episode today, which means you’re also going to want to take the action of sharing this with at least three people you know start to think about that because we don’t promote the show we don’t run ads, and we don’t take sponsors, the only way that we help more people, is with your help, and my guest today, ready for this? He grew up in Haiti, with no electricity, and 15 years later became a serial entrepreneur and scaled the business from nothing to number four on NASDAQ. That’s an incredible story that we’re going to dive into and we can do a bunch more but that’s all I think we need to start so welcome Brian say what’s up buddy.
Hey Rick Thanks for having me.
Man, I’m pumped. We’ve known each other for a little while because of the mastermind group that we’ve been a part of. And we’ve had some good conversations over the course of the last year or so, and soon we’re going to share that drink together that’s not water just to have a good time, but man I prior to this and of all of our conversations, dude. I did not know your backstory about growing up in Haiti, you know because we’ve always talked about how you had a manager who you want a managed service provider and MSP you had a cloud computing platform as well you sold those right and of course your success with NASDAQ but men, no electricity in Haiti, what’s that about?
Yeah, kind of crazy. I grew up in a third world country, in Haiti You know, my mom was there a total of 19 years. She was there, nine years doing medical medical work with kids. My dad, born and raised and lived there for eight years. So, essentially Confed grew up in Haiti.
Goodness, man. What was that like there I mean, because she was doing medical work right, you know, probably nonprofit or something like that’s typical for at least our race to be within Haiti, you know, cuz I was thinking it’s like, you definitely don’t look like you’re from Haiti, you know, let’s just be honest in the straight truth, you know, especially with your professional background and how well you carry yourself now it’s like you don’t look like you grew up in a hut with no electricity, but you did, that’s crazy dude. Yeah.
It is crazy you know it’s kind of funny how the mind works to me at least, if I only remember the good, not the bad, it’s a tough place to live, obviously, but you know I only have good memories of being a kid. I remember playing with my friends and my dad building me toys and I remember four wheeling and you know, on the weekends we take the four wheeler down to the coast and my parents could buy lobster for like pennies right. Lobster was so common there, you know, it was like, I don’t know, water here, right here, here, lobsters expensive down there, it’s not you know, so I remember the good things I remember from friends, family, you know, eating mangoes, all that stuff but it was a tough place to live and we want my dad built our first house, we actually lived in a mud hut for about six months and my parents had to put netting around my crib to keep the rats out at night, so they couldn’t even do the the netting, until we moved into our cement blackouts so it’s pretty crazy.
Wow that is man, and as I’m looking at you and as I’m hearing your story to, it makes a lot more sense now to me because knowing you for around a year or so, and understanding all the amazing things you’ve been able to accomplish, you know, but yet you’re so down to earth and grounded about it all too, so it’s a definitive compliment to you, and I appreciate your approach on everything.
Well thank you, I mean, to be honest it makes me weird. I guess we’re all weird at some level.
Normal scares me!
Exactly. I am weird but I turned that into being disruptive and a lot of the things that I do today with my own businesses and helping others is helping them disrupt and frankly part of it, of disruption is looking at things differently and I actually do think that being raised in Haiti, like I didn’t have the things around me that my current 30 year old friends had when they were zero to eight, I think, does actually give me a little bit of a lens to look at things differently and I think maybe I solve problems differently, I connect differently and so I just tried to harness that disruption for good. Hopefully, and trying to help people grow and scale their business.
I dig that man, that’s a good approach. I share a similar story that we’ve never really talked about this soon actually here’s a story that I’ve never even said on air before on any of these episodes that I grew up very, poor not without electricity, you know, but the only thing my parents ever really thought over was money because things were always tight, my dad was an insurance salesman for life insurance. Term Life in the ghetto. I’m talking like he would literally go around and collect cash, you know, get held up at gunpoint at times for the cash that he carried and still only made somewhere between 35 and 40k a year that’s it and that’s all my family really lived on, you know, but yet, just like you. I remember all the good things, you know all the times that he came to every single one of my baseball games and I remember conversations around money and asking it’s like why don’t I get an allowance you know and my dad’s like, “Well, would you rather have an allowance or us to shoot for things that you really want to do and have that always be available to you?” Again, it’s a different perspective, right, which he had which he taught me was that disruption, and then I remember carrying that over into my freshman and sophomore year of high school in the cafeteria, because I did not want to. I did not want to have homemade lunches right. I always wanted to have a little something extra and everything but we were so poor that we couldn’t. So I got a job cleaning the trays, like I volunteered to get the jobs and the payment for that was actually you would literally work for one of the school lunches every single day. So then I would still bring in from home, the sandwich that I would make and eat that, but then I would sell the lunch tickets.
I mean just an entrepreneur that in that moment too I would sell the lunch ticket so I could go buy whatever I wanted. After that, you know, or I’d start to barter some things and I learned what kids wanted and what they didn’t want because then I could also throw in the deal and add a value stack for them. It’s like “Well I got some awesome chips today, what about that?” No one should analyze further. Yeah exactly, you know, but that was disruption, you know, it’s the same thing, you know, how do you change the scenario that you’re in and do it further away that’s a better man for anything you’re going after. Dude, I love you and you’re awesome.
Thanks for allowing me to share that story too. So, that must have been interesting, you remember the four wheeling, you remember all the good times with your friends, you know, when did you cut, you were there for eight years, when did you come back to the States or come to the States?
Yes, fast forward a couple years and when we left Haiti for similar nonprofit work, we ended up going over to Russia for four years. That’s the other reason why I think differently is, if it is warmer than 70 degrees, or say 60 degrees I think in Fahrenheit. But if it’s colder than 60 degrees I think in Celsius because in Haiti, it never got colder than 60 and in Russia, it never got warmer.
So we were in Russia for four years. I went to school at my grade level and, yeah, fast forward to your answer is, I came back when I was about 13-14 So the teenager, back to the US and has been mostly in the US since then.
Yeah, so most of your childhood then if I’m tracking the years right it was pretty much from like age one right? Cuz you weren’t born in Haiti, correct?
I was born in Haiti.
Haiti, yep born a little hospital in the Northwest Peninsula.
Wow, so you didn’t actually come into the United States interior about 13.
Well, so we traveled right so my parents were American still. So we travel back and forth and we’d be on a public jumper over to Miami, so we would fly back and forth as needed every couple years, but yeah, I was more literally born in a hospital in Haiti, zero.
Goodness. When you came to the States at 13 Man to be here full time really. What were your thoughts around the country compared to where you hit? That’s got to be almost like a shell shock.
It was a shell shock. Yeah, you know, in some other countries, you either go to the store and buy bread or not buy bread. And, you know, you come back to the US and it’s like you buy bread, it’s like, “Well, do you want whole wheat, do you want rye.? You want this look of a shelf, it’s just amazing, you know, it’s everything from store school, everything was totally, totally different. I remember my very very first time I came to the US to my memory was when I was three, I think.
I still remember that because I went through that when I was three year old. I remember being super impressed by the lines on the road and like asking my dad 1000 Questions like “What are these yellow lines for what are the white lines for?” because I had never seen a road before, like everything was dirt. Yeah, my parents are probably like, we need to stop with 1000 questions.
That’s good that shows your curiosity though to man, yeah, yeah. So when you were 13, and I mean how old you are now, I should ask that I try to do math.
Okay, no. So when it wasn’t long after that then it was probably in your early 20s or something like that when you actually really started in the business, right, like a young.
Yeah, I remember coming back actually right around 13, and I had piqued my interest in computers in Russia. And it was a family friend and it was somebody who was like this wizard on computers, and I was really just intrigued with it and I think my family had gotten something early, the COVID NT, Windows NT type thing. I just remember sitting there, I forget what city we were in Russia, maybe Moscow. I just had to figure out how code and computers came back to the US and I remember that AOL and CompuServe. We’re just hitting pipes with dial up modems and I remember sitting in my grandma’s house still trying to like understand like what the internet is and I don’t think a lot of people really knew at all what the internet was capable that point
No but at that point it was just frickin chat rooms and AOL Instant Messenger, right, that’s what they thought the internet was.
Exactly. So that actually piqued my entrepreneurial interest and when I was a teenager I found out that I can make pretty good money mowing lawns, so probably like most of us I wouldn’t mow lawns and I made good money mowing lawns, but as soon as I found out I could answer computer questions, I started doing more of that. So I actually got an entrepreneur, you know, consulting, if you will because it was, “Hey, Brian we need help with our dial modem.” or “Brian, can you help with this.” and so I wouldn’t really call it a business, necessarily, because my parents had to drive me around, you know, both with the lawn mower and with computer repair. My technology interest was piqued right around the year 2000. I remember 2000 Remember the.com bust and I was in the midst of really hands on Windows NT 95 You know Das, you know, learning of code and batch files and oh my goodness you have so much fun with batch files, have you ever thought.
Oh my gosh I got lost in batch files dude for days, for sure man. It was more like around the, we’re gonna get really nerdy okay, because this was like in 1995 96 Something like that when MS DOS, because that’s really when Windows came about right but even before then. I even when Windows was around because Windows still existed in 9598 and Millennium error if it was that with Windows Millennium Windows ME THAT it wasn’t me. Yeah, it would have a bomb I think young yeah just a bit, but those you remember existed as a layer on top of MS DOS, they still required MS DOS to run so MS DOS was the operating system and then this was just a graphical interface that booted up after that. So I would spend days in batch files, you know, because, again, poor family growing up right and I would get second hand computers because I had a friend that existed is like a Big Brother-Big Sister kind of program thing with me, and that he’s the dude that helped me learn how to even build them from a hardware perspective. So then I’d get the new computer and I’d have fun with batch files to load things, I don’t know if this is too technical for where you are, you probably get this to where I would load things. So, make it faster to take it from regular conventional RAM that block of conventional RAM which was 640k and lower and move it into high memory, or that way you could free up because that was like the, it was almost like that that kind of Ram was like the, toolbox right and then conventional Ram was the desk that you were working on right then, which is where windows would live and all this other stuff. And, but that’s where I had the fun in batch files as I started like maneuvering stuff around before Windows would even start up and then also doing some fun things like menu programs and all this other stuff. But yeah, you could get lost in there for days, dude.
Exactly. Well, that’s the first company I did as I transitioned into web development, and when I was probably 1617 In high school, actually made a lot of money doing used car dealership websites running on Linux and doing some e commerce stuff, and that’s actually the first company I started and sold I sold it while I was still in high school, not for a big number, but I had literally dozens of web hosting clients that I had up and running, running on a Linux server in my dad’s home office in our basement we landed in North Carolina so I got my high school years in North Carolina and we have a static IP to the house and dual internet and I was doing my unlocator in my dad’s office and ended up selling that company when I went to college just because I couldn’t maintain it I wasn’t going to be there anymore, but that that kind of started my entrepreneurial, you know, effort around computers and MSP and fell in love with it and, you know, been doing someone love it ever since.
Yeah for sure man, when did you start your MSP in the traditional, you’re talking like IT services and support MSP right?
Yes, yes I sold the web company probably when I was roughly 17, don’t talk check me, it’s been a while but finishing up high school and I think I would MSP officially around junior, senior year, with two adults that were not in school and we did full service MSP, so we did hands on, we did device management, we dropped in to one, you know, computer, everything we did dentists, lawyers offices, you name it, nonprofit organizations, and that was kind of the first full MSP that I did, had a lot of fun with it.
I did phone systems. I found that I could run Linux and asterisk and drop them a T-one card on a one new chassis, put my own logo on it and throw it in a rack and basically have a full PBX system that you know would compete with Cisco or anybody else out there. So yeah, I did that. Probably the end of high school then transitioning into college.
That’s awesome, dude, and that young too. Where did you find the people you partnered up with because they were obviously much older than you?
Yeah just connections in North Carolina. Yeah, so just being connected in that area I was in a pretty small town down near Charlotte, and not that big of a world so if you needed help or connect with people. Ultimately, got some people together and said hey there’s a business opportunity tonight and, you know, turn it into a full MSP.
That’s cool. My, my year out of high school directly out of high school I partnered with one individual to and he was well older than me as well but again it was just local connections and we were installing cable modems at the time, because it was actually less expensive for the cable companies to outsource the in-home installation part than actually build up their own services division, which is what you know Comcast or Time Warner any of those have today they have that in House of course because of just giants now, but back before there was these huge, they’re really monopolies let’s just call it what it is right for the cable that exists right now it’s, if you’re in the Chicago area, many states it’s Comcast that’s the only option you have for cable, that’s it. It’s a frickin monopoly, but before that happened, it’s like, each individual town almost kind of, they had licensing rights and municipalities and they had their own cable providers so for these little regional cable providers who are doing high speed internet now I would install those, so I mean for an 18 year old, I would, you know, have my full time job loading up servers at the time for Merrill Lynch and doing YouTube’s branch rollout, that’s how I come, it was in the enterprise space, but then at night I would moonlight, installing cable modems in people’s homes for literally $100 a pop, you know, so I’d have five or six of these lined up because it would take me 15 minutes that’s it, and make an extra five to 600 bucks a night every single week for about three nights a week, it was it was fantastic.
That’s a no brainer and while you’re doing that from referrals.
Yeah, that’s all it was that you start to get in with the cable companies and they’re like well you guys know how to do it, did you have the availability to like yep we sure do, you know, because it was really only two of us that were in the company but same as you, you know, we formed the relationships with three local cable providers and then we would just go out and install them. Still at that point it was a newer technology, You know, even to where the cable modems were one way, I don’t know if you remember those but the kulaks was coming in for the download so you get the high speed but the outbound was a modem of a dial up modem connection, the upstream was a dial up modem connection inside, because it’s still the same today how you have download is asymmetric to upload, but with all the cable unless you’ve got Google Fiber or something like that that’s a different story.
Now, that must have been around the time transitioning out of T ones or was DSL still pretty prevalent then as well.
The DSL was just too slow at that time, you know, for those things because cable was the next best thing that was around and Road Runner was one of the companies that was around at that point too. And I remember that, but then these local cable companies who I formed the relationships with to be able to do this, but yeah T ones were on their way out pretty much at this point this was around 1998, 1999. So really right before the.com crash is when the high speed internet really started taking off and a lot of the communities across the US, but we got history, man, look at that we’ve cut our jobs in this industry.
Well, so this is my success, failure, success so the web company that sold the MSP ended up shutting down.
So I moved out of state for college and closed its doors, no revenue close to its stores. Yeah, we ended up having to shut it down. Basically, my partners that were trying to keep it going while I was out of state, couldn’t do it, though. Yeah, it just didn’t work out overall like it kind of needed to hold the whole team so I was, you know, I had to pick my priorities right I had to pick my party with with college I’m so glad I did that, and ended up just essentially closing it, not in terms of like bankrupting or dropping it but just instead of adding customers we just transition people away and say hey you know we were not able to come and do hands on Manage whatever.
So that ended up just kind of, you know, frittering away during college, although I did keep some great relationships with some of my clients, which helped me restart. About three years later, and I just went door knocking back to people that knew and liked me from before.
But yeah, that one just ended up getting shut down. Interesting that one shut down, but then another MSP view started after that three years later? Yes, so that’s okay I call it a company. My cloud company which is the longer version of the story is Riviera, yes it’s Riviera.
Awesome, cool. So what was the one that was like number four on NASDAQ?
Yeah, so if you want to dive, you want to dive into that?
Let’s dive into that because you started from scratch, this is what I’m picking up anyways right you started from scratch, really, with a couple of clients it’s something like my story rahmat because when I started my MSP, it was really just like two or three people that I had helped in a previous business that was like yeah we’ll go with you wherever you go, whatever you want to do, launching the MSP and not going public with it, you know, you start yours became a cloud company, of course, but that’s why I’m seeing the similarities here my man right, so, you know, how did it became a cloud company but you started there, what was that transition, you know, because if you started saying hey I’m gonna provide you IT support how did you become cloud and what type of cloud?
Sure. Well I started that review or after I graduated college I just went for global economics and business nothing technology. I’m still glad I did that because I feel like that gave me the foundation for running a business and so I graduated, went back to North Carolina, I was just, literally, networking, picking up the phone and one of the first clients I walked in on, they were still running my phone system, or never crashed one single time and they just got a round of capital, and basically hired me on the spot, but they had a couple of business centers and I still remember them saying hey, we want to hire you as our CIO, but we don’t really want you as an employee, can you do it as your own business and entrepreneur sure I’ll have my business figured out later.
So I’ve done a couple businesses and I had a little bit more business knowledge and made a lot of mistakes and you know figured out what worked, what didn’t work and so within a couple of days or a week I don’t remember what it was, you know, came up with a new name when the LLC kind of stood up that that entity referred reviewer which became an MSP and they had offices in the Charlotte area,
they also were in Tampa, as well and so that MSP they needed everything they needed, you know, video conferencing, you know, point to Point MPLS, they needed, you know, dozens of computers so it just kind of launched full service like within two to three months of that company being set up, we were off to the races doing everything that MSPs, do you know, hands on tech support email. Hosted exchange all that, and to answer your question on the transition, it was about six months in that I got a phone call from somebody else that I knew that said hey, we have this, you know other client, and they are running 400 users of Microsoft Dynamics NAV serve if anybody’s familiar with the dynamic stack there’s like five different versions of dynamics, four of them are accounting products. One of them is CRM. So this is one of the accounting products, and they were in a, which I won’t name the data center, but they were in a data center somewhere in the US, that was not backing up their servers, not providing support and they literally were within 90 days of their contract being expired and it was kind of like that 911 Call of like Brian, can you please help us and I was very transparent. I told them Hey, I got this new business. I’ve got the time I’ve got the staff, but we don’t have a data center and my point of contact there was amazing for multiple reasons and end up being a bit of a mentor to me, but he’s like, get it done. The first quote that I gave him was like No, you’re wrong double it.
Okay, so double my growth.
I grabbed a rack in a server rack by the way, and Charlotte, and we set up an entire VMware data center, running on IBM blade center, you know storage. Storage Server, Windows we put Citrix and we did the whole thing up in 90 days, and moved 400 accounting users over on nav successfully up and running.
Then here is my. You know my interesting moment is when I did nothing, I went back to being what I was doing, which was I was traveling all over, fixing phone system stuff. Fast forward about two, three years, I had this amazing client that was sitting there paying me five figures a month, which was a cloud, by the way, even though the word cloud didn’t exist and I remember my dad taking me out to dinner, and we went to obtain Outback Steakhouse and he’s a brilliant man, not a businessman right he’s never done business. He’s an engineer, doctor. Brilliant guide but not a tech guy, necessarily, but he asked me, he’s like, you know Brian you’re struggling you’re struggling with cash flow you’re struggling with scaling you’re struggling with travel hiring people all this stuff. He’s like you doing this one client. If 400 users of NAB and they pay you every single month.
They don’t crash. Why don’t you go get more of them? It was kind of that aha moment of Oh dad, yep, you’re right, I should. I could literally go get like one more client, that would be a data center client, and it could replace 20 of these Mom and Pop dealers.
That was a turning point for me, his decision at that time to essentially drop everything else. Not overnight, of course, but we basically stopped marketing and selling everything else we do and we, you know, really the best in the world. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 carts, and literally it was almost like a mindset shift is looked around the world, and we, we found out that we were the biggest company in the world that we knew of, because nobody has in their accounting, like, NASDAQ companies, you are 20 or 30 years of accounting
You don’t have 400 right you had 400 Yes, so we have 400 And so we went out and bumped up our statuses and we ended in. Number The exact number of dollars in r&d money from Microsoft within. Yeah, look out, they cool things.
They were just testing Hyper V and we basically, you know started pivoting and it wasn’t that we dropped our other customers by any means, but they kind of faded away and we came up with a hosted data brand. We call it the HD, because we thought that was really cool. And about a year after that, Microsoft and Google started calling it cloud computing and I still remember thinking, it’s kind of a dumb name if you think about it like cloud like but, okay, if they’re gonna spend a billion dollars marketing, I’ll call it cloud and so we then pivoted, we didn’t pivot we just said we did cloud, even though we already did before we’d been doing it for years. But we really got into the multi tenant elastic scale scalable side of private cloud.
That’s incredible. You almost were kind of like the proving ground for Azure, from what it sounds like especially with the r&d money that you got from Microsoft. That’s incredible.
We, actually at one point we’re one of less than 10 MSPs in the world that had a private version of Azure slash Hyper V before Microsoft released it.
That’s amazing. Well, that’s just incredible. I understand there’s a couple things that I’m picking out of course for the MSP crowd that’s listening, right, because there’s a lot of, there’s three things really one, the quote that you were talking about, right when you first landed that that whale client your first client that was paying you five figures a month for 400 accountants to move them over for dynamics, and he went to them and said here’s my quote, and the guy’s like double it, it’s awesome that you had him in your life at that point, because I see this across the board with managed service providers is not really understanding your own worth and undervaluing what you really should charge because there’s still people like for reach out right we’re premium right but really we’re premium because we’re more than everybody else.
I actually think that were quite valuable and very fair priced for what’s delivered, but I was the same way to man because that’s how I started out like block hours and I still see those who are, you know, maybe even 20 years to my senior now that have been in the industry twice as long as I have, that are still billing out at you know $65 An hour or $75 an hour, or they might have hit inflation three years ago now, whoo, they finally build three digits an hour, you know, and that’s still what they’re doing or they’re charging I see this too because, you know, in the managed services space from packaging and pricing, everything’s per device or per user really, you know, similar to cloud computing, and where ours is between, you know 200 to $450 a month per seat to provide all the cyber that we do, and all the managed services that we do the IT supports, there’s still those that I see their pricing listed on their website saying yeah it’s nine bucks a month per computer and you know like $29 a month for the server for us to manage you and I see that it’s like, well, here’s your struggle, you know that you’re undervaluing yourself but the second, the second thing I heard from you was this mindset shift man. and just to say, I mean it’s incredible.
I love and thank you for allowing me to not interrupt you in that because I get excited I was holding my tongue because I was so excited around the things you were saying, especially this, that and I went through this phase two to where it’s like you know why, why am I spending my time going after these small accounts that, you know, quite literally, it since I wanted to scale that there’s plenty of other one man shops out there that could take care of those and that’s cool. They just might not be my avatar, because of the skill set and the quality of service and the competencies that my myself and my team can bring to the table is more than what they would be able to pay for it to begin with, so it’s like a mismatch. Right and it’s okay it’s not saying it’s not in the derogatory mode where you’re saying, I’m gonna shun these smaller clients because I’m too good for them. No, that’s not at all it’s saying there’s a better fit for them, because I’m a better fit for somebody else. Right. It just happens to be somebody that pays more money. That’s a better fit for.
Well I love the way that you said that is about finding that avatar and the reality is that it’s okay to do different strategies right, you know, even so they listen. Nobody should do exactly what you’re doing now or exactly what I did, or whatever, the lesson that I learned is, pick what your avatar is right pick what you’re good at, you know, it doesn’t matter if they’re small, medium, large, isn’t, you know, businesses go bankrupt because of taking on too big of contracts sometimes right. But the lesson I like to share and remind myself of is just pick one thing, be proud of it, be good at it, clarify your message. You know double down on what that product or service offering is and the reality is if you do a good job of it, it’s profitable. You’ve got client retention and people, it’s so good that people are willing to stand in line and wait for it. Growth and scale becomes easy, and it can be cybersecurity, it could be phone systems like, I don’t care what it is. Just pick one, you know and be proud of it and be good at it, and you can scale and grow,
Amazing advice my man, I love that, though, how did NASDAQ come into play for you?
Sure. So just a series of events a week, we ended up scaling. So, that kind of turnaround was probably in year three, which was kind of tough. I basically was going through the 2008 recession, if you will.
It was a great time to grow wasn’t it?
It was stressful, not gonna lie.
Yeah, you picked up on my sarcasm. Thank you.
Yeah, exactly. There were times that I still remember my parents would come over and like look at what was in my fridge and then like, go buy me food and come and put it in my fridge, you know, but we made it and we doubled down so we ran about another five years roughly ended up with two data centers, we had a couple dozen employees and at that point we scaled to 10s of 1000s of users, and I had made the decision to really focus down in my team of course to by the way, but to focus on channel, we wanted a complete indirect model with the my with the dynamics world is very hands on intensive and you can’t just implement a enterprise resource planning system, you have to design it and all that stuff and we said you know what, that’s not right, we’re not going to do that we’re going to go indirectly through all the consultants that implement it, so we had a really nice indirect model. We have an office overseas in India for 10s of 1000s of users and we started getting approached from a couple of different people.
In fact, the company we ended up selling to, which is public, of course is Trowbridge, one of the, one of the best in the nation from a Microsoft Dynamics consulting, implementation, they were very well respected accounting CRM had some really cool things and I think they actually came to three times the first two times we said we’re not really interested in, and selling is really fun.
I kind of saw the writing on the wall and I don’t mean to say this, like, I knew the future. That’s not what I mean. But I noticed that more public and private clouds were growing, and I saw this trend towards the public cloud, and I thought maybe the private cloud of Creston, and I saw Azure on Amazon. All these public clouds in certain things were becoming a race to the bottom, and, you know, storage, going from $10 a gig to $1 to one penny, and we reinvented a little bit and we found our stride and we were profitable and making money but I kind of was concerned, I think the third time they came around, they were very well respected company great team, great leadership organization, great culture fit, and they didn’t really have hardly any channel program to speak of and they wanted ours was kind of a net net so I ended up exiting to try bridge and stayed on with them for two years, mostly in acquisition mode, which got, you know, we had a couple 100 customers that all had to get migrated and a lot of TLC and a lot of fun being on that journey and then just from happenstance, we sold that company. That company was acquired by HP enterprises and computer science Corporation merged in around March of whatever year that was and they turned around and bought Trowbridge almost. Almost immediately I think it was one of the first acquisitions. So when I left I technically left DFC which was an unknown brand, but they were instantly numbering 4000 employees. I think their overall cloud unit was, you know, 1000s of employees there. So it wasn’t because of me, I was like, not the CEO of dx.
But being on a journey was really cool because I went through those two acquisitions. You’re from entrepreneur mode, got to work in a much larger organization and a much larger organization found out also that’s not me. That’s not what I’m good at, you know I am not a publicly traded employee guy like that. Obviously there’s a lot of people that are.
I’m that weird disruptive entrepreneur, you know. So that was my overall overall journey.
Yeah. A lot of people have told me the same thing. It’s like I don’t think you’re gonna be the, the public CEO type I’m like well I’m disruptive and it’s like the sneaky thing right I’m using the public vehicle in order to disrupt an industry.
You have a position you’re good at. That’s why you are successful.
Thank you my friend, thank you for Your story’s incredible story. It is just amazing to take that journey through it man and I’m inspired just by listening to it. What are you doing now, for everyone that’s listening because as of right now, you’ve been through these whole things you’ve had an amazing exit, where do you go from there after having an exit like that?
I’m having a lot of fun. Honestly, I spend about half my time starting and growing a business. So I’ve got my hands in a variety of different brands I’ve even invested in or started, and then about half my time helping other technology companies grow and scale. I find I really enjoy movies, a bit of a passion project, but I like helping other tech companies who predominantly don’t have a marketing department so I’m doing a lot of marketing, figure out how to disrupt clarify their message, work with their leadership team to get what they need, quite frankly, it might be capital might be a board, whatever it is, and then grow in scale and I’ve got some just amazing clients, you know, doing augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, I mean just the coolest stuff that I get to help them build their businesses.
So that’s kind of how I split my time and so I’ve got my own projects and then I really enjoy helping others build their businesses too.
That’s really cool. The transition because I’m in the mode right now, you know, it really, I had to go through some mindset shift for this too, you know, because it’s like the public companies like is this something that I need to do but then it came down to like no I’m just going to do this because I can. And because you get to the point to where you have like you, you’ve had this success, and then after that it’s like you’ve put in the work now, now you get to dabble in only the things that you feel like doing and have fun with those two and help other people in the process.
Right. It’s a lot of fun. Yeah, the best of entrepreneurship
Right on brother, right on. Brian, I appreciate you, your website is modernscale.co right?
It is so that’s my platform and kind of my giveback platform. I’m still building it out but it’s essentially a resource library that I hang my hat on, providing resources for entrepreneurs who are looking to clarify their message. So that’s my platform. We have a variety of things on there that hopefully are a help to people.
That’s awesome and Instagram is an executive coach. That’s a kick-ass handle.
I don’t know how I got lucky on that one.
Yeah, we’re gonna go man. But dude, thank you for being on this has been an incredible conversation and just following your journey. Dude, I appreciate knowing you. I’m glad you’re in my life. Thanks.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you, Rick, it’s been awesome. Can’t wait for that drink.
Yeah. Right on.