Network With Everyone

Network With Everyone

Andy Chavez

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs

9/18/2020

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Network With Everyone

Network. Network as much as possible. Let's say you're a lawyer, let's say you're an electrician, let's say you're a medic, let's say your ANYTHING!

 It doesn't matter what you are. Or what profession you are in. Speak to viewpoints outside of your bubble and get a better understanding of what their pain points are.

 


The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

ai generated transcription

network network as much as possible network outside of your field let's say you're a lawyer right uh let's say you're hey i know you're a lawyer i'm speaking to your audience right let's say you're a lawyer let's say you're an electrician you say you're a a medic let's say you are anything it doesn't matter what you are right or what profession you're in right speak to viewpoints outside of your bubble right to get a better understanding of what their pain points are [Music] everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i am your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several businesses to seven and eight figure companies as well as founded miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today as always we have another great guest to come on and tell about their journey and it's andy or chavez is that right i was thinking chief is like the uh anyway fox news the the one guy that was out there so yeah got a big stuff but that's what i saw in my mind that didn't sound quite right but i couldn't think of the right way at the time so uh chavez andy chavez and he's gonna come on and tell us a little bit more he started a virtual reality staffing company that helps more with the therapy centers especially for autism and we'll dive into a little bit more about that and kind of it all really started for him um when he was uh in graduate school and he was doing a social impact order competing for it that they won and then many years later that is kind of the genesis of where he's at today and i'll let him tell a little bit more about his story and what happened in the meantime but welcome on to the podcast andy bevin thank you so much for having me um you know our first conversation was great and um you know i think he summarized my my my little journey very quickly and uh yeah no thanks for having me so awesome well thank you for coming on so i gave the very brief introduction of kind of what led you to where where you're at today but maybe if you can give us provide a little bit more detail kind of you know starting at you know maybe graduate school or wherever makes sense and then we can talk to and bring it up to the present maybe a little bit of the future yeah absolutely i'll kick off with uh stating that i if you would have asked me 10 years ago if i would have started my own startup um i would have said no like it was just it wasn't a thing of of you know it was it didn't interest me i didn't think it was the right way to go um but you know things kind of just change and i'm really curious to see where i'm gonna be in 10 years but uh but let's start off with where where i started off but i'm gonna jump and i know you barely just got started i've already so you do that so because i if you'd have asked me 10 years i don't know 10 years ago i'm trying to think how long i guess i would have been in jd mba school or law degree in mba but i probably would have said yeah i'd love to be in a startup or small business so what was it that you didn't think you you just always thought you'd work for somebody else or wanted to work for a business business or what made you think hey i probably don't ever see myself going that route so it's interesting i um i always thought i was going to have a business but not a start up i think there's a there's a distinction between the two uh and i think the probably the biggest distinction is scalability right like how does something scale and i think a startup scales right it scales and it hits uh uh you know pain points to the masses right so so and then a business is also can scale but a business might stay regional or business might stay local um you know and then even within those categories there's still a lot of differentiation between what a business is what a startup is but i think one thing can be said for all of them is that the mentality of an entrepreneur is very present from the person who sets up a hot dog stand in the corner to the person who thought about you know i'm gonna do ride sharing because that sounds great and then all of a sudden you know it becomes uber right so it's a same mentality um so what made my what changed my mind all right so uh about a little over 10 years ago i i traveled to san francisco to see some undergraduate schools um bay area and i saw boy this is really nice out here but i don't like it it's just uh i don't i don't like the you know i don't i don't like the general uh atmosphere i don't like i don't like any of this i can't see myself here um and i thought that's silicon valley like i'm not i'm not i'm not a tech bro not not to say that i'm a tech row now no um but i just couldn't see myself in this place then during graduate school we took an excursion out to silicon valley it was the first excursion that we did in our cohort to silicon valley and we visited google we visited facebook um we met with investors we went to anderson horowitz we went to uh bfj um and it was just it was just mind blowing right i remember sitting back on the school bus they were you know they had a big one on the nice buses heading back to our hotel looking out the window and thinking this is this is a pivotal moment in my time because i think what i've learned here during this trip has changed my mind that's not to say that i ever thought oh i'm going to be back here but i went back to gainesville florida because that's where i did my graduate school at the university of florida i thought all right well this is the opportunity that i can take today right now to change my life um in in such a way that you know it's not just thinking about you know how am i going to set up a business like a shop right or or um just to give you a little more clarity on my background i have i have an architecture degree i'm gonna set up an architecture no it becomes much more than that right um because the impact that you can make through a small company is not as large as you can make through a bigger company right so that's that's sort of the the mindset switch that i made during that time period um and i think in retrospect it's easy to explain it and i summarize it in like what two minutes but really that that journey took years so you make that journey or make that connection so don't remind me so you're an undergrad so did you once you graduated did you jump right into the business you're at now did you go and work for a big company a big tech company a big startup software where what path did that take yeah so i had my undergraduate degree in architecture and i thought man i want to be the best architect ever well i mean i graduated around a shortly after maybe a couple years after the big big recession of oe and things were just starting to pick up and um i didn't end up in architecture i ended up in marketing um back down in florida um i went to school undergrad school in new york and um i i ended up in marketing with a great group of people uh it was a lot of fun it was experiential marketing we did a lot of events a lot of branding it was it was great uh unfortunately that company i was working for closed uh at least the miami branch and then about a year after the the whole company closed there they had four offices new york portland la and miami um and you know it was just probably a matter of just them scaled they scaled too quickly um they didn't know how to maintain how to be sustainable um but the folks there that i've worked with um you know from the owners all the way down to the project managers or the project manager there um amazing people i worked with friends i still speak to them on a daily basis um so i ended up in marketing and when that company closed i said all right well this is my opportunity to go to grad school okay um this is another little fork in the road i said well i'm gonna go to grad school for architecture again i want to get my masters in architecture right um and i applied and i spoke to my advisor uh she was gonna take me under her wing i was gonna write you know do a study perhaps even uh follow up with a phd and it was it was orientation day at the university of florida august 2015. orientation day right we're all in a big auditorium they're telling us about studio of life and blah blah blah and i tell myself why am i doing this like why am i doing this right i just i just left a company that failed because back then i thought maybe you know they're not great at running a business why am i going to go back and i don't know chase ghost why don't i go back to school if i'm going to go back to school why not go back to school to reinforce my weaknesses i always thought i'm i'm really weak on the business side right so i hopped on my bicycle and i i went over to the school business and i said hey what's your course catalog right like i didn't even have like i didn't have a chance to like look online or research what's your course catalog what's your offering um and i found this really interesting um offering because it was too late for the gmat it's too late for the mba i i found this really interesting a masters of science and entrepreneurship and i thought well that sounds really interesting right um and i looked at the course catalog the offerings i thought let's do this right i spoke to the advisor and said all right well submit your gres uh this was about a week before school started submit your gres and you know we'll let you know uh we may have we may have one opening okay i submitted my gres i just went in an apartment uh you know painting the context the apartment was bare there's nothing there all sleeping on a on a on a on a inflatable mattress i'm thinking man if i don't if i don't want to do architecture and i don't get into business school what am i going to do i just rented this apartment i'm going to have to do something else and i submitted it my application and i got in and from that moment on i just took you know every time i walk into the school of business the warranty school of business i thought i'm in business school like i am taking classes with other mbas i'm taking classes with finance majors i am taking classes with all these really interesting very smart individuals i'm learning about accounting venture capital entrepreneurship finance uh the stock market and i thought boy if only i had this education also in architecture school right like that would have been awesome right i think a big missing component of just a lot of undergraduate programs uh and this is something that we we talked about a lot with my girlfriend and co-founder is um you know if if you just had took one business course in undergrad right whether you're doing uh i don't know archaeology or philosophy or whatever just to know how you can grab what you're learning the core material and turn it into something that can make you money right for yourself not so you can go work for someone else but for yourself right even like the basic economics of what have you you know insert insert anything there like that would be so valuable and i'm agreeing but i even think even if you do go work for a bigger company it's still very valuable in the sense that you know because no matter if it's a big company a startup a small business or anything in between all companies need to make money in order to be sustainable right and too often because i mean i would because i ended up getting four degrees and yet i didn't end up getting the mba so i did i have to do that i go through and take that test these words law degree but regardless i mean a lot of times you come out and when i came under under came out of undergraduate and i did electrical engineering in chinese it was um you know i know how to be an engineer but i have no idea how to run a business or i have no idea you know how a business makes it or you know and i you know i know it's a little bit but not you know very much as far as how business makes this money what is important to business how you manage a business how you bring in clients how you do marketing how you do sales and yet i think those things are universally beneficial across especially in startups and small businesses but even in large businesses you can make yourself much more valuable even to a large business of hey i can help out with sales or hey i can bring in new clients and hey you know when i look at when i graduated even from a law you know the law practice and i do that you know still till this day there was nothing in the whole practice of law that talked anything about how you run your own firm or how you do client generation or how you do taxes and how you do finances and how you manage books and yet that's as much as what you spend your time on in the law practice as helping people with law is all the other stuff and so i definitely think that if there was an adjustment in the in the judging education of almost any curriculum it's how you deal with that business aspect on a practical level and not just you know the higher level educational point of doing that so i'm in a complete agreement and you hit on a really great point um because it's also about let's say you learned that in school right there's that education component and then you insert yourself into a larger business you're just adding value to that business right and you're learning more you're learning i mean quite frankly you're kind of learning on someone else's dying sometimes right and that's great that's awesome so so yeah i mean i'm glad we're on the same page because i think i think um i i think uh you know undergrad is um it's up for some disruption i think okay so so now we take that we move it forward so you you you went through you switch adjusted where the direction you're going in graduate school you come out of there and what was next or how did you get into involved with what you're doing now we haven't even spoke we haven't even started with what i'm what i'm doing now um so in the middle of graduate degree um every year they held a big idea competition um this was something that was set up by an incredible professor his name is dr michael morris totally plugging him in here because he changed my life uh he teaches at duke now and uh he set up this um a big idea competition and uh you know as part of the curriculum i had to apply to the big idea competition right the big idea competition was a very traditional business plan competition we're talking about the 40-page business plan identifying your market you're doing a swot analysis uh having a waterfall project um roll out i mean the works the works i did this three times i did this three times in a variety of different fashions while i was in grad school um grad school only took me two years but like just because of the nature of what i was working with and the people i was working with we were able to do it multiple times so we applied um a couple of my my co-founder who is my girlfriend um and two other co-founders um we we met in in uh one of them i met them during one of our classes and we said hey you know let's let's apply it uh let's fly to the big idea competition together because we have the same uh wants and needs right we have the same uh goals in mind right uh using technology to increase the value of someone's life through um applied behavior analysis which is what we do and we thought all right well let's let's do it back then we were even called behavior me we were called highly tactful and uh and we decided let's let's let's write this idea this you know idea 40-page plan let's submit it honestly we didn't think much of it like i think back then we thought we were doing a lot but in retrospect i i'm not sure if we put 100 of our effort in it but regardless regardless we were chosen for the finalists but they did tell us hey come to the ceremony please let us know if you're coming to the ceremony they strongly nudged us to come say sermon i'm like all right well we'll go to the ceremony it's free dinner it's a gala you know there's music why not why not so we went and it was only my one co-founder and myself i'm like oh well we're here it's fun and then all of a sudden you know they're announcing the runner-ups and they said well now for the social impact award uh we want to recognize um uh highly tactful for their blah blah blah blah blah and we're like we look at each other we're like whoa what is this so we went up and we received our award and we received we also received a cash award which is amazing to us we were definitely not expecting any of that because if we were not going to be chosen off they were like oh well it's not worth it right um and we were chosen as the social impact award and that really sort of validated our initial efforts in what we were doing and you know those few few couple thousand dollars were able to you know give us one uh validation and two you know we set up a website we set up some emails um we were able to get free space free workspace at the university for this um so it was great it was just it was it was a form of validation that helped us continue moving forward and i feel like those those little forms come in waves throughout the journey and so i'm going to jump in and i by all means not hijacking your journey but it's interesting just because i did a very the parallels between both of our journeys is interesting so i one of the startups that i'm still in a different evolution involved with started from a business competition in graduate school as well so we were it was a multi-disciplinary one where you took like engine i think we had an engineer we had a designer we had a materials guy and then i was doing it more from the legal and patent perspective i i found actually about it through the mba school because i did my law degree my mba degree the same time but we did and we entered the first year and i think we took second we got a little bit of money we all just split it went our separate ways and then came back the next year and decided we'd get together and enter it again and um you know so and we again we entered it and that was the first year was with a gym bag that made it so it didn't stink which theoretically looked good but you know we decided it was more work and it was gonna be it wasn't as easy to take to a real product but the second one we came up with was uh this was back in the day before fitbit before i watch or anything else and it was for wearables to do hydration monitoring so i was into running in the time and without boring you the whole story side it'd be cool to know how to do uh hydration monitoring as as related to marathon running so we came up with that we got to the end again we took second which i was a little bit spiteful because the reason that the first team won is the one that won the last year and they took all their money that they got a lot bigger prize dumped it back in re-entered the exact same thing and just made iterations so i'm like well that kind of makes it hard for anybody that doesn't you know that's entering the first year but that you know by gripe aside built that into now what is a current iteration still going as a company that's now doing uh glucose monitoring for wearables and getting ready to launch the product at the end of the year so long iteration but it was just an interesting path that both of our journeys kind of started with uh in graduate school doing a competition so and that actually i was thinking about this uh actually yesterday because i was i was also on twitter and and so i'm originally from miami and you know someone asked hey is miami is it a good tech hub i'm thinking it has potential right and i think this applies to so many different areas it has potential but i think i think the institutions whether they be public or private have to set up these competitions have to set up these uh mediums right whether they be competitions or what have you um to inspire students and inspire folks right to think creatively to set up some sort of company because even if they don't win right it's still a really good practice to do right it's still a really good um experience to have right and you know i think that has to happen more right and it has to come i don't know from who i is it universities is a private institution i i'm not sure but i think in order to foster that that that entrepreneurial mindset it has to be that that entity that allows for that to happen right i think that's why there's a lot of folks that do like hackathons right um it's it's a it's a quick two-day turnaround with a lot of technical folks sitting around trying to solve a problem that's really cool right that's really awesome right because ideas come from that right and there are multiple stories i you know one just came to mind there are multiple stories that happen like that have turned into businesses right so so it comes through a confluence of minds or it comes because it comes because it or rather it's generated because of you know you're trying to solve a pain point right so all right so now we've got off on a whole bunch of fun and exciting rabbit holes so as we kind of start to get to the end the podcast i want to get so let's jump to where you're at your business at today so you you did the graduate school got the social impact decided hey we're going to make this you know take the money or use the resources that were provided to us and make it into a real business and so that is bringing it forward to today that's where you're doing today with the augmented reality and virtual reality and i always i know there's a difference um with the aba in the in the therapy centers and doing staffing solutions so maybe talk just a little bit just you know how you how you created that and how that's gone and how that how you built that yeah absolutely so where we're at currently um we are um partnering or partners with a company called easter seals uh specifically their uh southern california branch and uh eastern is a nationwide not-for-profit and what we're doing is that we're helping them hire better candidates that's really what it boils down to right and how do we do that we do that through a mixture of both vr and actually ar but i'll actually introduce another very confusing acronym there's vr there's ar let's call it mixed reality or mr right um why do i say that i think that's a sort of that's been bored because of you know this whole virus pandemic thing that has just occurred in that um you know there has to be multiple ways of deploying our technology so essentially what we're doing for companies like easter seals is that we're allowing them to gauge a potential employee's understanding of the situation that they're getting themselves into in providing therapy right so the biggest problem in the industry that we're in right now is that there's a 50 turnover year-over-year of employees that's completely unsustainable in any business that's completely unsustainable right 50 is insane right and now if i'm spending anywhere between three and five thousand dollars to hire one employee i'm talking about recruitment interviewing hiring training background checks and then that employee's gonna leave six seven eight months later that's not good that's not good at all right so what if at the very beginning right when they first come into the interview after we passed the niceties you know hi how are you your resume looks great well how about i give you this vr headset and i'm going to test you and what you're going to see in that simulation is a child who is going to want to play with you right but then all of a sudden they're going to have a behavioral episode and they're going to kick and they're going to scream and they're going in the air and your job is to stay cool calm and collected figure out what the problem is and how to fix it right so what we're testing for there is a multiplicity of things creativity how creative can you get to help a child right like if i give you a pen can you pretend that this pen is a spaceship right can you play like that right because if you can't then maybe you're not good with children right um do you have a solid understanding of the environment that's happening around it maybe maybe it's not that the child's hungry maybe is that the child you know doesn't want to see the sun right right can you manipulate that environment right um can you interact with that child's parent so we also have other avatars that come in and ask you questions right like how is my son how's my daughter doing right can you respond to that so we're testing for technical skills and we're testing for soft skills right all of this before we even tell that person yes you're hired no you're not we're passing on you right so we have a better understanding of who we want now will that reduce the pool of pop possible candidates probably but the quality of the candidate will increase and ultimately if the quality of the candidate increases the quality of care increases the length of care right the length of time that that person is paired with that child to provide therapy increases so you know that child doesn't jump from therapists to therapies because therapists aren't leaving right because they're quitting because they can't do it right that's detrimental to a child that's detrimental to the parents to their siblings to their grandparents and it has a crazy network effect right um so it really it really it really does have when you talk about social impact right if you can impact one person's life right that is a social impact right we can impact a network effect well i like you know what i like a lot of things i think is interesting is you know because i think that taking whether it's ar you know and for people augmented reality virtual reality what you call mixed reality which i may argue that that's what augmented reality is this is the sense that's kind of what it already is but we'll take that but you know it's been an industry that typically has gone into the gaming industry which i think it's maybe at some point it'll catch on but it's certainly struggled and they've done it multiple attempts and it still hasn't caught on and yet so i think that it's a little bit of a a cool technology looking for a real world application and i even work with the you know on the patent side um i work with another company that does it similarly within the auto or within the um worker labor type thing so if you're an auto mechanic or you're even a doctor or different things in the go soon training and also helps you to see things and manipulate them and everything else so not what you guys are doing but i think that that's where it really is going and it has the most impact and usefulness and then i think it's even cooler that you guys are doing it in an application that really allows you to test much better how you do the you know a person that you're trying to hire how they will react into and it's not going to be perfect or one for one but it gives you a much better insight so i think that's really awesome and cool what you guys are doing so well i think there's about 20 more rabbit holes that we can go down that we never have we don't have time for and the only only people who find it interesting are us but so maybe as we kind of start to move towards wrapping up i always ask two questions at the end of the podcast so we'll kind of jump over to those now so the first question i always ask is what was the worst business decision you ever made not acting upon the market quick enough right um we spent a lot of money chasing our darlings and not listening to what our customers are saying believing that we were trying to solve the biggest pain point when truly sometimes it isn't even what the market or your customer's saying is what they're not telling you right you have to read that too right so i'll give you a quick example you know we we started off with another offering in virtual reality um and you know we would set up these bi-weekly meetings with customers and you know a month two months to be going great and then all of a sudden they drop off i'm like hey hey tim why you know you want to reschedule and then tell oh you know we're having problems at the office um you know i'm sorry we have to reschedule okay all right well okay what's well eventually i had to ask him well what's happening well okay well my therapist just quit you know now i have to hire not only that therapist but five more because you know my demand is increasing okay so we heard that multiple times but we still didn't act upon it right we still didn't act upon it right so and that happened with multiple customers too right and we thought oh well that's well i guess they're not going to use their product okay well all right but if we would have acted upon that pain point right that true pain point of that that that company then we may be in a better place i don't know right because it's all it's all speculated right we may have been in a big place we may have spent money on on solving that pain point instead of trying to chase our darlings right so that's one that's that's probably my worst our worst business decision as a company all right okay now and i think that's very insightful so thank you so now as i jump to the second question i always ask is so talking to somebody that's just getting into startups just getting into small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them i'm i'm actually going to switch this one right because i had a pre almost like a pre sort of uh answer for this network network as much as possible network outside of your field let's say you're a lawyer right let's say you're hey right let's say you're a lawyer let's say you're an electrician you say you're a a medic let's say you are anything it doesn't matter what you are right or what profession you're in right speak to viewpoints outside of your bubble right to get a better understanding of what their pain points are what their point of views are right really just go out and network and i know it's probably gonna be a little more difficult nowadays in in this you know virus era i have no clue where we're going with this but just go out there feel uncomfortable right be being uncomfortable by being uncomfortable means that you are in a situation that's new to you and you're learning right um if i had been comfortable i probably would have continued in architecture school if i was up if i was comfortable i probably would have continued my my merry way in in marketing if i was comfortable i probably i don't know right but i've purposely made myself uncomfortable right put myself in situations where i don't fully understand to in order to learn right and i think that's that's a very very valuable thing to have as an entrepreneur starting up no i i'm in complete and total agreement so awesome well i appreciate you coming on if we had more time we would jump into a whole bunch more rabbit holes but maybe for we'll save that for another day absolutely but people want to reach out they want to use your product they want to be a customer they want to get in gut ball they want to engage they want to talk with you any of the above or invest in you or whatnot what's the best way to connect up with you and reach out to you absolutely that's andy at behavior me dot co andy at behavior me dot co perfect all right and then they could also go to your i believe your website is just behavior me dot co right yeah that would you want to check out so we literally cannot afford the m [Music] hey i i more than understand sometimes this is the perfect url and it's like twenty thousand dollars or they don't wanna be like okay i don't need that i could do something similar but we'll do something different so perfect well i appreciate you coming on i invite everybody especially those that are in uh that are needing uh they're working with autism or otherwise in therapy centers to check you out get to or know more about you and to use your service um for those of you that are have your own journey to tell we would love to have you come on the podcast and tell it if you want to come on just go to inventivejourneyguest.com and apply to be on the podcast and for those of you that are listeners make sure to click subscribe so that you can get notified of this and all the new new episodes as they come out and certainly if you need any help with pens and trademarks feel free to reach out to us at millerip law andy it was a pleasure to have you on it was fun to hear your journey and wish you the best best next leg of your journey as things continue on for you thank you so much for reaching out thank you so much for this opportunity um it's amazing and um likewise on your endeavors and we'll connect again all right sounds great English (auto-generated) All Sales Recently 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