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EPISODE #17 | November 1, 2022

From Transforming IBM Call Centers to Creating US Navy Digital Twins

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SiliconExpert Podcast Episode 17 with David Williams of Tower63 - Transcription

Host: Eric Singer

Producer/Director: George Karalias

[00:00:00] David: Actually it was my wife called in from Hawaii and she was getting helped and there was no issues. And she says, I just wanna tell you, my husband runs the call center , and I'm saying somebody's recording this call. ,

[00:00:19] Eric: Welcome to the Intelligent Engine, a podcast that lives in the heart of the electronics industry, brought to you by SiliconExpert, SiliconExpert, is all about data driven decisions With a human driven experience, we mitigate risk and manage compliance from design through sustainment.

[00:00:36] The knowledge, experience, and thought leadership of the team partners and those we interact with every day expose unique aspects of the electronics industry and the product life cycles that live within it. These are the stories that fuel the Intelligent Engine.

[00:00:53] Today's spotlight is on Tower 63, A consultancy focused on helping small to mid-sized companies grow internationally.

[00:01:01] Joining us today is David Williams. I met David earlier this year at World Trade Day, a fantastic event put on by the World Trade Center, Denver, and sponsored by Arrow Electronics. David's career has spanned continents, beginning with a role with IBM in Europe that ultimately brought him to the US to run a division of the company across subsequent executive roles with other organizations from large companies like Ricoh to Startups.

[00:01:29] One thing remained consistent. He found himself again and again faced with the challenge of modernizing those companies. Today he brings that expertise to bear working with smaller organizations to modernize their operations and branding, and particularly to expand their global reach. David, thanks so much for joining us.

[00:01:49] Nice to be here, Eric. So David, I wanna start, go way, way back. You graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Can you tell us what you studied there and what inspired you to pursue that field?

[00:02:03] David: It's been interesting story, like all my, uh, stories that I have to share with you, . So I was lucky enough to, uh, Go from high school directly into Computer programming job.

[00:02:13] And so with the Nestle Corporation back then in Ireland, and the person who inspired me to do that actually was an ex-Army veteran who had done computers for the US Army and he was their father of one of my best friends. And he had inspired this kind of holding about computer programming in me. I went there, joined Nestle and started programming and decided well, I also needed to get a degree as well in parallel.

[00:02:43] So while I like the idea of getting a job and getting paid for things ,

[00:02:48] Eric: what teenager doesn't love that?

[00:02:49] David: Yes, I wanna get a job and it's it. The other interesting thing about that whole situation, while I was following that man's advice, My mother had a very strong opinion that I should go work for a bank and I broke her heart by not doing that

[00:03:04] But anyway, I ended up in Trinity College. It's very famous college in Ireland and it was, if you ever go to Ireland, the book Cals is there. Yeah. And I studied a computer science and that kind of gave me the love for technology and computer. As well as doing my day job. It was something that I wouldn't recommend you that for everybody, and it's something that you probably want to do before you make any commitments to uh, other things like marriage such, but it was great experience.

[00:03:32] Eric: Yeah. So what did you start? Programming. What language were you working in back then when you were working with Nestle?

[00:03:39] David: The Nestle one wasn't too bad doing the computer science was a whole other situation. Yeah. But they, with Nestle, it was OPG two. Okay. Something that probably very few people remember these days.

[00:03:49] Some cobal. Yeah. From that. And then when I was doing my computer science work, I was working with Assembler. Okay. And Fortran. So these are languages that go back a fair bit and anybody who's ever done assembler really doesn't really wanna do it again. , you're zeroing out fields and moving information into fields.

[00:04:08] But it was a great education for me and a great level of knowledge and a kind of a foundation for a lot of future projects that I had to do and technologies I had to deal with. And during the time I was doing that degree, I joined IBM.

[00:04:22] Eric: Ah, wow. Okay. So you already. Before you'd even finish your degree, you started with IBM?

[00:04:27] Yeah. Wow. Okay. I love, this is like a classic story of starting at the bottom and working your way up to a pretty high up executive role, huh?

[00:04:36] David: Yeah. The funny thing was that the Nestle company had a very early online order entry system where they would key in orders on a mini computer. Very unusual for the day.

[00:04:45] Most online systems were either banking or airline reservation systems. Nestle had a problem with speed of order entry. And so we had to deploy a new computer and reprogram that computer to do these order entry and enter the orders. And I spend a period of time in IBM doing that, evolving into that new technology, ah, doing the programming.

[00:05:10] So they had a chance to see me work real time,

[00:05:14] Eric: and they got to sample the goods.

[00:05:16] David: became a little bit. Door opener for me.

[00:05:19] Eric: Okay, That makes a lot of sense. I'd love to talk a little bit more about your experience with IBM. I know one of the major undertakings that you did with them was transforming their call centers from these individual sites to to more interconnected sites and.

[00:05:42] Obviously IBM, a global behemoth, their customers and partners are all over the world. That had to be an immense challenge. Can you talk a little bit more about the call center consolidation project?

[00:05:54] David: Absolutely. The call centers. In the eighties, nineties, IBM was evolving into. Dealing with call centers. It wasn't, If you think back to the companies that were used to dealing at telecoms companies, people like American Express who were taking calls because they were dealing with consumers.

[00:06:11] IBM got brought into the consumer market by PCs and the evolution of a number of other areas like software. So it was new to leveraging that technology. So one of the locations for the call centers was their PC business based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. And we were dealing with a couple of things that I would look at.

[00:06:31] One was, first of all, we were transition employees from contract to full time, nine by five to 24 by seven because people wanted. Get the computers fixed or,

[00:06:41] Eric: and so that's really, that's like a pivotable moment for IBM to go from the huge business sort of enterprise kind of things to actually dealing with individual consumers. Right.

[00:06:50] David: It was huge. And also even if you also the individual within the business, because they. Be in the stage where you, these techy programming people types that would call up now, they were dealing with an individual within the business who had an issue. So we, we had that transition of the employees on top of that.

[00:07:06] We also were learning that the call centers are, don't have people sitting around in cubicles and picking up the phone. That you have to have a process about how you handle the calls, like a triage process to make sure it goes to the right place.

[00:07:18] Eric: And I'm just imagining the volume of the call centers in those days before there was an online support.

[00:07:24] All of the support requests are coming through that channel, right. Eric?

[00:07:27] David: You're a hundred percent right. And it was like a manufacturing process. You have to know what time the calls will come in during the course of the day. Oh, right. So what calls will you get at nine o'clock? What calls will you get at 10?

[00:07:39] And then it will vary by product. So if you've got a consumer product, if you've got a server, if you've got a laptop. And so we used to have to plan the schedules for the employees for, to meet those calls. So that was a whole issue with the making sure we could communicate to the employees and also making sure that we had the processes and the databases in place to take the calls, answer the issues.

[00:08:03] And during that time, we also learned that we needed to connect these call centers because one call center could go down. How could a call center go down? We had hurricane Fran come thru in the mid nineties, thru Raleigh, and so it knocked down trees, power lines. Wow. Yeah, obviously you have backup for that.

[00:08:24] And so we started looking how to distribute calls worldwide, so. We had standard training for the people, standard processes, standard p axs, and then we started saying, Okay, let's move some calls to Canada. So that was the first step. And so we started doing that transition that gave us backup so that the night Fran hit, we closed down the Raleigh Center and we used the Canadian Center.

[00:08:49] For those calls, but then we set up the first call center in Ireland, which would take calls from the US to Ireland using again, the same processes, the same databases, the same way of. Uh, handling calls and that allowed us to move calls around. So we were had a situation where 50% of the calls were either going into Canada, Ireland, or Scotland.

[00:09:13] So you could be all the way in Hawaii and have a problem on your laptop and call into the. Call center in the US and get rooted to Ireland maybe in their middle of their night. And in fact, I did that on one occasion.

[00:09:28] You, you were personally working in the call center? No, actually it was

[00:09:31] my wife called in from Hawaii and says, By the way, my, And she was getting helped and there was no issues.

[00:09:39] And she says, I just wanna tell you, my husband runs the call center , and I'm saying somebody's recording this call, ,

[00:09:48] it will be monitored for

[00:09:49] quality assurance. So in the process we were, as I say, we had 50% of the calls being distributed, uh, distributed to these other three call centers, and we did the same in the rest of the world.

[00:09:59] If I touch on it, we actually, at one stage, we were moving the call center out of Japan and we were looking for a location. And so here's a question for. Where is the highest speaking Japanese population outside of Japan? Art used to be in the nineties. Oh,

[00:10:18] Eric: wow. Okay. I'm guessing it's not an obvious answer.

[00:10:22] I'm guessing it's not in Asia. Nope.

[00:10:24] David: Let me help you because it surprised us at the time as well. Yeah. It was in Brazil. Ah. Now, unfortunately at the time in the nineties, the infrastructure to move calls across Latin America wasn't that as good as it is today. Right. So we unfortunately didn't move it to Brazil, but we did end up moving the call center into Brisbane, Australian.

[00:10:44] So we found the technology and digital transformation and common processes and common training allowed us to. Mix and match where we place calls, workloads, and schedules. It was an intricate process, but it worked very successfully for us. Yeah,

[00:11:02] Eric: that's, It just sounds like an absolutely monumental undertaking and I think about that time.

[00:11:09] In IBM, like transforming one of the biggest companies on earth, really a, a pretty fundamental transformation going, going to a, a consumer product. Let's talk a little more about, about how you were involved with transforming IBM's PC business.

[00:11:26] David: That role in running the call center was a very enjoyable and tremendous a positive feedback because you're going out talking to.

[00:11:33] So the next one was a bit more intellectually more challenging. Yeah. , which was at the CIO of the PC business and being the executive handling transformation, and IBM in the nineties was a different company. It was going through a lot of transformation with a lot of different divisions in 93, 94, and nearly went Bankrupt. It mounted the significant losses and the PC business one year had a billion dollar loss. Wow. So we were looking at how we could do different things differently. One of the issues was go to market. So the big competitor back then was Dell. They were selling on the web. We were very partner driven and both channels have their plus or minus.

[00:12:12] We were trying to change how we could sell our products and how we could integrate the web. And back then when people took web orders, by the way, not Dell, but a lot of other companies, they, you'd key in the order and the order would print out on a printer at the location, and. Then somebody would go and take that order and enter it into the fulfillment system.

[00:12:35] So it, it was early days of the web for, certainly for a lot of companies and it was for IBM. So we had to find a way of not shipping 20,000 computers to a partner who would then put a package them or sell them on, cuz it could be a distributor we'd be selling to and they would sell it onto a partner.

[00:12:56] We had to see how we could sell on the. One product, you, How would you use the web to upsell? So how would you ask the consumer questions? Like, how much memory, how much disc do you want? Um, do you want it shipped overnight? Do you want it shipped over three days? Do you want service on it? And all these things had extra profit to them.

[00:13:19] Mm. So they were things that we wanted to sell them. We wanted to be able to upsell the consumer or the business. It could be small, medium, large customer to that product. But then we had to take that order once we had process it on the web, drop it into a fulfillment system, drop it into a manufacturing system, and ship the product out.

[00:13:41] Eric: God, it's staggering to me to imagine the difference in how much work was required to go from just, okay, fill up a shipping container with all the computers we can and send them to a retailer to. Selling individual compu. I mean, that's a different business fundamentally.

[00:14:01] David: You're absolutely right. We, it was, uh, so it wasn't just driven by my role as IT or the executive responsible for transformation.

[00:14:10] It was all the individual departments within the PC business that had to do their role and change their process. Instead of saying, Okay, I'm gonna take this frame, put this card in. It has this processor. Oh, I need to make a decision for this one product. Oh, they ordered extra memory. They ordered an extra communication card.

[00:14:32] How do I package that all and then make sure it gets out reliably and

[00:14:36] Eric: And turn a profit on it on it?

[00:14:38] David: That was a big transformation for us because we had to reduce our cost of go to market or cost of manufacturing and fulfillment, everything to be competitive because when IBM it entered the PC business. It was a different model than everything else it had been into.

[00:14:54] Eric: Yeah.

[00:14:55] Those upsell opportunities aren't, That's a mandatory, at that point, you've gotta be able to generate that extra profit when you're putting in so much more work and you've obviously gotta streamline the ordering and fulfillment processes.

[00:15:07] Yeah.

[00:15:08] David: Yeah. And when we compare that now when we see Amazon selling goods or Apple selling on the online, it all seems very matter of fact these days.

[00:15:17] Eric: Sure.

[00:15:17] Now you can somehow turn a profit selling a 50 cent item, one at a time,

[00:15:22] it's

[00:15:22] David: right. But back then it was tough. And then eventually IBM did exit the PC business because it. Business model built on high end service software and services. And so it was a, it was a very interesting time though.

[00:15:39] Eric: So I know among the various roles that you filled with IBM was the brand manager role.

[00:15:44] Talk to us a little bit more about that.

[00:15:46] David: When I was the brand manager for PCs in Paris, we were looking about how we would handle server sales from that point of view. And one of the things we learned. The European market was different than the US market, so the US was all about high end servers, and most of, even for the branch offices, either wouldn't have servers in the location or they'd still want a larger server at that location.

[00:16:12] But that wasn't true about Europe. So we had looked at Europe, and Europe wanted more customization of the servers, so software preloaded so that they could just much easier to install.

[00:16:21] Eric: Okay. And out of the box solution is what they were after? Yes.

[00:16:24] David: And the second thing was they didn't need, uh, these very large, high end servers.

[00:16:30] The branch offices for the banks, which was a big component of our marketplace, were smaller. Okay. So what we did was we took a high end desktop. Just turned it on its side. , put a different bezel on the front of it. Throw it in a rack. Okay. , throw it in a rack. As said, this is a high end server for the, this is a server for the European market.

[00:16:53] And we became extremely successful selling servers in Europe because we realized that the market segment was a little bit different and it didn't need some of the higher capacity products the US did. Right. And so it's kind of part of the reason I ended up over in the US because we were the biggest, we had the biggest market share in servers.

[00:17:16] But if you like in the, in the US, it would've been designated as a desktop.

[00:17:20] Eric: I'd love to talk about some of your experiences in the aviation sector. Another completely transformational time that that you were involved in was going from paper manuals to digital, and I think all listeners of this program know how Incredibly highly regulated the aviation industry is, and how difficult it can be to enact any sort of change or evolve, move forward within that sector because of all the regulation around it. Talk to us a little bit about, about moving from, from paper to digital.

[00:18:02] David: Well, it's, it was interesting. I had just finished a role as. COO of a, an IBM Rico spinoff called Info Print. And I was looking around for the next thing I want to do and I met up with these pilots and the some angel investors here in Boulder who were back in the middle ages relative to paper documentation and how we do it. And JetBlue had led the way, and one of the pi, a couple of the pilots were from there in doing the first digital certification with the FAA, where they gave them a disc with their document to the FAA with a documentation on it.

[00:18:39] And this was completely new. And obviously as we know, they got certified and they just bought Frontier. But what surprised me was I'd traveled extensively and I'd seen many businesses that had digitized documentation, but the airlines were using manuals. And a lot of your listeners will probably remember following pilots on the airplanes.

[00:19:02] Big leather bags. Yes. Especially built for their Right. That's what was in there. Yes. All you kidding? That's what they had was there wasn't their change of clothes or their toothbrush for the, that night that was they 20

[00:19:19] Eric: pounds of paper. paper,

[00:19:21] David: and they would have to. And the reason was so important is the FAA uses the documentation, as you just mentioned this.

[00:19:29] We started off the conversation to ensure that the airline is safe and is compliant with the older regulations. And so they will send, regularly send, depending on the size of the airline audit teams in to. audit that documentation and audit how that's handled. Mm-hmm. . And if the pilot, or let's say the flight attendant didn't have their pages up to date and the documentation Correct.

[00:19:53] Then they would fail the audit.

[00:19:55] Eric: Wow. So this is like a surprise onsite audit. Somebody shows up, let's see your manuals.

[00:20:01] David: They did the surprise and they also booked audit. So they would have, Okay, we're coming in, we're gonna audit everything. Wow. Or we're going. They could come by surprise and just decide to audit the emergency exit row procedure.

[00:20:15] And it was all paper documentation, all loose leaf, so people would have to, at night, at home, update their documentation Wow. To the latest level. So our approach was, there must be a better way. You want to be compliant and there were new regulations coming out about different procedures that you had to be compliant, not just to the ones the FAA had to start up your airline, but new safety procedures they wanted to handle.

[00:20:44] And so we looked at how best to do that. And we started off with looking at xml, which is a, a way to structure content. It's very manipulative as you can manipulate it and put it into different layouts. And one of the things that's important for the airline industry is, Even though you think you fly on the same aircraft, every aircraft for its type, let's say a 7 67 or a triple seven, Yeah.

[00:21:12] They all have variations. Some will have a galley that's different, right? Some will have, can last longer in the air because they have more fuel capacity, and so the airline has to be able to. Pull up a tail number and have the content for that tail number available to the pilot. So we don't want to be flipping over and, Okay.

[00:21:31] So you could be a

[00:21:32] Eric: flight attendant flying on a certain model of Airbus in the morning, a different model, Airbus, even if it's a both a 320 or whatever, That would actually require different documentation.

[00:21:43] David: It would re, You would all have it in the same book. So that's why the books were so thick. Okay.

[00:21:47] But you'd have to leaf to Wow. The section that related to it might be in the same chapter, but it would be a different section for that version of the Triple seven, right? That version of the A three 20. So we started to put that content into store, the content, allow them to have a workflow around it so they could get it.

[00:22:07] Approved by the different specialists and then publish it both as a hard copy if they wanted it, but also as an electronic viewer on an iPhone or an iPad. Mm-hmm. . And we started off on, we segmented the market. So we went after the low cost carriers, first of all. So we said low cost carrier that had more than 40.

[00:22:27] Was it a potential customer of ours? And so we went after that and by the end we had seven of the top 10 North American airlines. But it was important to segment the market. First of all, we then end up with legacy carriers. We end up with a black ops carrier that only had three aircraft and but segmenting the market to decide where we wanted to go to bring this new technology.

[00:22:50] And what evolved that market big time to the structure was the iPad and the iPhone, because all of a sudden the justification wasn't, Oh, I have to buy the pilot a $3,000 laptop, or the flight attendant, Oh, we're talking about a six, $700, or thousand dollars probably now. Uh, iPad or iPhone.

[00:23:10] Eric: I think about the, the logistical hassle.

[00:23:14] And the possibility for errors when looking at the old system and how much more, not only convenient, but safer, it must be to move now to an electronic, especially when talking about a dynamic platform like XML, where content can be so easily updated and it's such a lightweight back end. It's amazing to me that it took that long for that transformation to.

[00:23:40] David: I think it's just the nature of the airlines. They were much more interested in the technology of the aircraft. I was doing an ebook over the last, the last couple of weeks, and I came back to how did I approach the airline business and the segmentation I doing, and the ebook is really about somebody who wants to come into the US market and how different.

[00:23:57] The US market is then maybe supplying a European country. It's so big. You have to take a targeted approach, and there are other things that you have to consider when you come with the us. We, if we choose the uk, we might have a common language, but a very different culture.

[00:24:14] Eric: No question about it. Um, staying aviation adjacent.

[00:24:20] You worked on a really interesting project with the US Navy, the digital twin.

[00:24:28] David: Back in 2017. Two destroyers had collisions in. The Pacific Ocean, one into a tanker and one into a freighter. So USS McCain and the USS Fitzgerald, and unfortunately there was a loss of life of 17 sailors between the two incidents, as you can imagine.

[00:24:45] I think when that news story came out in 2007, we're all a little bit shocked and I'm saying, Hold on. How can a destroyer collide with a tanker or with a freighter? There might be seeing these missiles coming at them from over the horizon.

[00:24:59] Eric: How do you miss something the size of a city block?

[00:25:01] David: So, Navy had a, an investigation and part of it was they looked at a number of different things and, and in fact, there is a review of this just published at this August by the, I think the defense news, talking and interviewing some of the sailors and that were involved in the investigation and so, The part of it was the ongoing deployment.

[00:25:26] There's about 300 ships in the US Navy, give or take, and it varies blending on ship building plans of which a hundred are at sea on average, on, on service. But given our commitments worldwide and the number ships and sailors we had, we were stretching that I believe as the, the Navy would say both from a point of view of.

[00:25:48] Not having, always having the right number of sailors on the ships because we were keeping these ships deployed and that they were being deployed, but were they ready to be deployed? Second of all, did we have the right training in place for the sailors? And from the point of view, became a big part of it.

[00:26:03] And third was the maintenance of um, The, the ship itself. Yeah. And so they found when some of these incidents happens that the radar in the command and control center or the CIC on the ship, which is the room that where all, uh, they track all the ships around them, they track any potential treads was different than the one in the, on the bridge of the ship.

[00:26:26] And, and then they were, had different levels of software. So there was a, there was a lot of work to be done. Cross navy in different areas. Mm-hmm. , So the digital twin, or MBPS, which I'm talking about is just one area where they looked, their software was older. It wasn't, the data wasn't getting transferred everywhere, so they kicked off a project called MBPS.

[00:26:50] That's multi based product support, basically is the digital twin. So the digital twin is not unique to the US Navy. It's a concept that's going across a lot of manufacturing areas now, particularly with the evolution of AI and AR. But it's saying, this ship, this car. Defense system, we're gonna create it and put it on a computer digitally.

[00:27:14] And in fact, ideally it's created that way from the very beginning. So you don't really wanna go back and do it, you really want to do it going forward.

[00:27:22] Eric: So essentially a, an emulation of the real world,

[00:27:25] David: right? But what you do with the digital twin is you put it through all the same experiences that the ship or the defense system or the Humvee goes through.

[00:27:34] So you are actually taking the information either manually or directly through AI and that's evolving. I don't want to give you this concept that we're all there yet, , but you're putting it through those experiences and what you're looking for is, okay, what parts have to be replaced when, and therefore you've simulated the failure of the parts you now looking at when the ship has been at sea for a period of time, and so. Because in the, When you're doing something which is a defense organization situation, you are going to be carrying a certain level of spare parts or a US Navy one on the ship, a certain level of parts at a depot. So you may be pulling into Guam or something like that, and you know that you have parts stored there.

[00:28:21] And then, A certain level of parts is when the ship goes all the way back to the shipyard to get a big retrofitting. Exactly. Or an extension of life. And then you go in and do that. And so the US Navy wanted to create these digital twins to a, incorporate the information from the very beginning, from the vendors.

[00:28:38] And that's an ongoing process they're going through at the moment. At it's, By the way, you can Google a list. No big secrets about that was a big initiative, and they stepped out of their normal procurement process to do this. So they set this up as a kind of a really aggressive initiative. So, Gather the information initially.

[00:28:57] Make sure that you're able to tell and pass that information on to other vendors, to people who want to do the analysis, and ideally to the sailors as well. So if you capture all that information correctly in the content, a bit like that discussion we were having about the pilots, you can create the education up.

[00:29:16] Because you can tag the content that the original designer believes is important for their fire control person on the ship that's gonna launch that missile, and you can create that into a technical manual. So in creating this digital twin, it's dealing primarily with logistics. In how it, the US Navy supports the fleet out there real time, but also providing 'em with the capability to automate their education and the training as well.

[00:29:45] Uh, and they took on this technology quest, which says, You know what? We are going to upgrade these systems and we're not gonna wait for. 10 years to go through the procurement process. We're gonna do it and do it fast to see the US government move and be reactive to something because we tend to be always, ah, they'll buy the older version of the iPhone because the procurement process will take that long.

[00:30:08] Eric: Sure.

[00:30:09] You know, you've. Worked with so many massive behemoths. I think about IBM as a ship trying to change course or the bureaucracy You're dealing with the FAA, transforming the airlines and then. Of course dealing with the Department of Defense and the incredible number of parties and stakeholders involved in something like the digital twin program with the Navy.

[00:30:36] But now you work mostly with small and mid-sized businesses. On the surface it seems, oh, that must be easier because you're not dealing with huge regulatory bodies or long standing corporate culture, but working. Smaller businesses as I think we, we all know, has its own set of challenges. What's, what's, what are the, the parallels that you can draw between working with these, these incredibly large projects and working with, as you do now in, in many cases, startups or smaller organizations that are probably more nimble?

[00:31:15] That, Let's say it's a European company who's looking to come here to the us what are the kinds of challenges that you see with those size of organizations?

[00:31:25] David: It's interesting. It, it's a different level, like coming into the US market, which we talked about. Is it a cultural difference? We're a unique culture.

[00:31:34] And I'll do this analogy that, uh, somebody recently was talking to me about at a, at one of the, an organization that we're both part of on the wtc. They were saying like coming into the US at market, we're a bit like a peach. We look soft on the side, but really to sell something, you have to get true to the pip where when you go to other cultures outside, you often get more of the coconut.

[00:31:57] It's hard to get through that culture, but once you get past the coconut and into the inside, it's a different kind of situation. That's one big thing I take about it is understanding culturally how you're going to do things. Especially if you're talking about domestic versus international. The other part is when I went to my first startup, we went from a situation where quarterly results as a public company are really important and are significant.

[00:32:24] Whereas a startup cash flow is much more important. Yeah. So how do you do that? I think also you get to a stage as a a small, medium business, and this is where kind of my corporate days helped me. You need to start establishing processes. So you've been that nimble organization and you still want to be nimble because you're not a hundred billion dollars yet.

[00:32:46] But now I need to, What are the processes that I wanna put in place to sell my product? So CRMs a pretty standard now, but how do you use one? Is it, Was it, and are you doing. Metrics based? Or is it just, oh, that's that person's opinion. So how do you assess an opportunity for a sale from the point of view?

[00:33:04] If it's a, if you go to the product side, where's your development organized? Are they, how do they approach delivering the project? What's the quality of it? Like when I was in the airlines space here, we were with Southwest Airlines as a customer, and they had at the time, six, 700 aircraft. I forget. So when we had to deliver a product, it had to be a quality oriented product.

[00:33:23] So you can't just go out there and say, Oh, we're nice and nimble and releases every week or two. You have to be show what is your QA process and what kind of equipment is the software compatible upon? And so it's. It's putting those process in place to get the next level. Not putting IBM level processes in place.

[00:33:42] IBM's a great company, but it's a public company and from the point of view, but helping people set standards to look at the market realistically, to take data to make their decisions rather than opinions about, Oh, I'm gonna make that sale next. I'm gonna tell you that customer's gonna sign, I promise you, next month.

[00:34:01] So I spent time with customers that have reached that level where they'd hit a plateau. They want to get to the next level, but they need some help in segmenting the market. Like I said, when I've just written that e-book, how do I put metrics in place that drives my sales, but also drives my marketing, drives my development?

[00:34:20] And have I put some of those things in place in the right locations because, Things are always changing. Uh, my reaction has been in life is that if you're not changing, then you're standing still. And if you're standing still, you get pass by that competition.

[00:34:35] Eric: David, I want to thank you so much for being here with us today.

[00:34:38] Your stories continue to entertain and educate me and I look forward to having you on the show again sometime. Really appreciate you being.

[00:34:48] David: Eric, it was a pleasure. Enjoy the location, enjoy the people, and hopefully it was some experiences that people will enjoy listening to.

[00:34:55] Eric: Indeed. Thanks again, David, and a special thanks to you, our audience for tuning into this episode.

[00:35:01] Be sure to tune back in for new episodes that will delve into more of the electronics industry. Also be sure to follow us on our social media channels and share our podcast with your colleagues and friends. You can also sign up to be on our email list. To receive updates and the opportunity to provide your ideas for future topics, go to SiliconExpert.com/podcast to sign up.

[00:35:25] Until next time, keep the data flowing.

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