The Inventive Journey
What This Episode Talks About:
How To Manage Business & Self
"Really do the homework and hone in on your target market. Research, research, research. You have to be clear and spell out your value proposition."
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What Is 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
say really do the homework and hone in on your target market research research research you have to be clear you have to spell out your value proposition [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we've got another great uh guest on the podcast djerkboyd and uh dee drew uh grew up in a single uh single our mom home uh where's uh until his mom eventually got remarried um grew up playing uh high school sports and until the school schedule interfered with the the sports and decided to go the school route also got into music went off to college at florida state uh struggled with kind of figuring out what he wanted to do with his life had getting their good grades and did well enough was trying to figure out where what direction to take um and then went to work for i think arthur arthur anderson as a tech consultant for a while um also got a opportunity to work in paris for a bit of time and then decided to leave the corporate culture and or the corporate world and to go out on his own to take care of himself so became a tech consultant worked for uh for nike be his own business for a while work for some other lifestyle brands and then decided to get into uh 3d or creating a 3d shopping experience and providing a new way for people to go about doing their shopping so with that much is a uh an introduction welcome on the podcast dj thanks devin it's great thank you for having me absolutely so i just gave the quick 30-second condensed version of a much longer journey so why don't we go back in time a bit and tell us how your uh how your journey got started in doing high school sports sure so i was not the typical jock when i started high school i started out as i was a star running back in football one of the top sprinters on the track team but there was always something missing sports especially in the state of florida it's just different so early in my sophomore year i felt this tug kind of down in my core and the football program as it had as we have it set out to change who you were at least that's how i felt it wanted to increase your anger your aggression and just let me tell you i had enough anger integration for two or three players on that team having grown up in poverty and around rampant violence uh in the projects of birmingham as you mentioned my father left when i was two my biological father that is and i struggle with not feeling worthy and not fitting in my entire life so by the time i got to high school man i was angry i was sad i felt alone and thoughts of suicide were actually pretty rampant and very commonplace for me so the decision to leave sports um when the coach kind of made it clear he didn't want me to take these advanced classes the decision to leave sports was really easy so as you said i dove into music where i flourish as well this was expressive it allowed me to channel all of this internal raw emotion it was a godsend but again i still struggled so around the age of 30 i took that step back from my career as a consultant in the big five and i wanted to change my life so that's how i started the company had the simple ambition of wanting to see more of our country and that's when i landed that first gig at nike um and it was and i'll dive in just because he jumped over a good portion of the journey so we don't want to jump too far into the future so went to high school or did sports for a while and then uh decided hey schooling is more important than sports i'm going to focus on schooling i also got into music a bit and then he went out to i got a degree in florida state now what degree did you get in in college so in college i i this is a crazy journey so i started out as a wanted to go music performance and then i moved to music education i didn't make the performance major the first year in my second year they're like oh great you can you will probably can get you in and then i was like man if i don't make it as a performance major like i don't want to go be a band teacher there's nothing wrong with that but it wasn't for me so then i moved to computer science and started doing the programming and i was like this is great but all the science classes again it just it wasn't for me so i finally settled on management information systems which gave me all of the programming and then it gave me the business side of things too so that was fascinating for me um once i got into those major classes i basically was on cruise control it just clicked it was kind of natural and um had a great had a great four and a half years there i stayed an extra semester because i felt i could it was great i took two classes and then we won a national championship that year so it was it was really awesome i drove out of the city of tallahassee in a blaze of glory off to atlanta no it makes sense so now you go off in a blaze of a glory off to atlanta and i think you know as you're coming out of college you first started out working for arthur anderson is that right that's right so what did you do for them or kind of what was that initial job what were you what did you start out at sure so when i started out after anderson um we were i was brought into the advanced technology group so we were consultants um basically some of the younger consultants that had programming in their you know in their history this was in the late 90s early 2000s and you know if you go back in time the computer boom was huge so they were really looking for consultants that were basically technology forward consultants so we worked there i worked on digital marketplaces basically for the first two years so a lot of startups a lot of very well funded startups and so it was it was fascinating i loved the work it was a lot of custom work i got to start traveling this country and as you mentioned uh one of my first projects was actually in paris i was on that project for a year and a half basically going between atlanta and paris i spent you know i don't know how many trips i went back and forth and i got to spend about eight or nine weeks there in a single chunk and that was just it was phenomenal oh it sounds like it was definitely a a great experience or at least a fun one that you got to go and see a different part of the world and enjoy it as you're working to get out of or working near after school now as you're doing that um you know so it's if i remember going back on our conversation a bit is you know you also weren't fulfilled or didn't or wanted to go your own way or kind of what prompted you know going from working for arthur anderson working in paris to deciding to do your own thing or to make that leap kind of what was the genesis or the the motivation there again i wasn't really fulfilled and i again i still felt like i didn't fit this is a common theme from probably third or fourth grade or second grade and it continued into my adult life so i started out at author anderson while i had a great time getting to see the world i had never left the country so paris was a huge eye-opening experience i actually went to paris and went to lisbon and i was in amsterdam and i was in barcelona and got to see all of these different cultures and then i came home and i was like okay i'm still not happy moved to california did a soft you know a complete you know software engineering job for a year and a half decided southern california wasn't for me it's it's a different place out there moved back to atlanta spent some time at deloitte consulting moved on to do a procurement but again i just didn't feel like it was for me i didn't feel fulfilled the roles the promotions that i were offered nothing ever really mattered it just didn't speak to me um so that's when i eventually said okay i'm gonna take a step back maybe if i start my own company and really focus on me maybe i'll get to this point of feeling like hey i know what i really want to do and i know why i want to do it now you say okay and i think that makes sense i think there's a lot of you know entrepreneurs or people that go through that phase and hey the work is good and yeah you know enjoyable so to speak but on the other hand it's not fulfilling and you're saying do i really want to do this when i grow up or do i want to do this for the rest of my career type of thing and when you arrive at the answer that hey that's that answer is no i don't want to do it for the rest of career then you have to figure out what you want to do so now you're saying okay you know arthritis is a good opportunity but it's not for me and i want to do something else how did you kind of land on what you're going to do at that point or what how did you make that transition so this is an interesting story as well when when my time at anderson began to wind down this was the enron and i think it was world com fiasco that it ended up being so many of us began to to leave and go find other things to do some people stuck around but a a very good friend of mine um he he told me it's like dedrick you know why don't you start your own business you can go do independent consulting and you know you can pave your own way right instead of the the big the big guys making all this money off of you and paying you you know kind of peanuts go do your own thing and i was really really afraid of that i was like i don't know how to do this i don't know how i can barely do taxes um you know what about 401k and and he was just like oh you're just missing it so it it took me a good six seven years to finally say you know what how about i try to find work as that independent consultant um on my own and you know do the same thing i've always done with my clients because i actually enjoyed the client work the the big apparatus was the thing that really didn't didn't sit well with me um so that was the that was kind of the catalyst basically you know and i think that uh that certainly makes sense nice and okay here's the the catalyst here's you know what we're going to you know here's where i'm going to do i'm going to go try it i'll do independent consulting i'll do you know kind of uh take that route now as you're getting into it i think you got into working on you know some brands like nike and other lifestyle brands and starting there is that right that's right yeah so now as you're as you're doing that now how did so you're doing that and i guess one thing are you still doing the consulting or you put the full-time focus on what you're doing now with the um augmented reality virtual reality different shopping experience kind of how did how did you make that transition and kind of help us understand leaping to where you're at today kind of what's been that journey sure so when i first landed at nike it was it was just another retail brand to me i'd consulted at target mattel unilever all big companies prior so it really wasn't that big of a deal but the more i learned about nike and how it operated its philosophy the more that lifestyle and luxury industry spoke to me lifestyle brands have a way of elevating how people feel a pair of shoes handbag purse whatever they all give you they all have the ability to elevate the wearers and some people use these goods as you know a way to show off and broadcast but it wasn't about that it was about how you feel for me and when you feel good i think you're in alignment with who you are so in you know about a year into that gig i zeroed in on my passion and it was life-changing as i stated earlier i started with a struggle with depression and suicide but when i discovered that passion that led to my purpose my purpose and passion made it clear that i needed that help and again it was that passion was all about e-commerce people being able to buy what they want online and then elevate how they felt about themselves right make themselves feel good and so even you know as we fast forward to today when we're talking about immersive commerce and using 3d environments and ar and all of these advanced technologies it's the natural evolution of in my mind it's the natural evolution of going on to a 2d grid and you know clicking here and looking at a product and putting into your cart it's just a natural evolution of now doing that more in 3d and bringing those new technologies to the forefront oh definitely makes sense and sounds like an exciting area to be so now and i may have missed it you'll have to tell me so you know how did you i guess is this now been the full-time endeavor you decided hey i'm going to reinvent or you know reinvent and reinvigorate a lot of the shopping experience he's still doing lifestyle brand consulting for others or kind of is this a side hustle full-time gig two full-time gigs or how did that work out yeah it's again since we did e-commerce and we you know we've always been into e-commerce as far as my company goes that's just how it happened i didn't plan that this is just the next step it's still e-commerce um what we're interested in doing is bringing humanity back to e-commerce if you think about how you shop today when you go on amazon or if you go to columbia's site or nike site or anyone site really it's a single-player thing right shopping has always been you know a team sport right we go to the market together you go to the malls together i don't know you know i'm going to show my age here but when i was in high school we you know we would all go to the mall together and roam around and go to these stores and pick out paint jeans and shoes but you can't do that on the internet today you sit in your house in front of your computer on your phone by yourself it's tough to share that experience with anyone else so that's really you know that's really how i got here um and i would love to tell that story about watching my wife struggle um but yeah oh it sounds like it was a great journey and interesting always interesting that how you arrive at where you're at today so now as you kind of look out into a bit into the future the next six to 12 months and kind of where you guys are at and where you're headed kind of what is that next six to 12 months like foot look like for you is it hey we're going to go and line a whole bunch of big accounts we're going to start our own thing we're going to put out the product we're going to ramp up the business or kind of what is that that future look like for you guys sure so so over the next six to 12 months we will be absolutely ramping up the business we uh we have three different product offering we have one that's really focused on clienteling so it's that one-to-one shopping experience or you know kind of an elevated experience and this is really speaks to those luxury brands where they want they have an a deep relationship with a particular customer get them into this 3d environment show them the different looks on an avatar that looks like the customer let the customer walk around and control his avatar swap out the different looks you know different shirt you know pants all that good stuff and so that that's kind of the first offering then we have a private shopping offering where a brand can invite say maybe their top 20 clients and you can show them through this environment walk them through this environment show them various products let people ask questions they can click and buy add to their cart all from this environment that they can control um and then the last is that full you know wide open it's kind of wild wild west here but the wide open virtual experience so either virtual pop-up or a short or store that is you know thematic right it's a theme for this particular brand or it's just on brand but kind of scale down their product offering and just let anybody in up to 200 people let them hop in and walk around and click and and also partner up with their friends and each one of these options people can people can invite their friends and they can hear each other and see each other and talk to each other just like you can on video games today you know the gaming industry's been doing this for 20 20 plus years so it's ludicrous to me that we can't do this and we haven't done this in other realms no i definitely think that makes sense i think there's a lot of opportunity i think that you know is finding that right adoption that right use making it a good experience and and making it something they want to do and then there's all the opportunity to uh definitely make it uh something interesting and worthwhile for people to pursue so it sounds like it'll be a fun uh or an ongoing journey for you guys well as we uh start to to wrap up the podcast i always ask two questions at the end of each journey um and so we'll jump to those now so the first question i was asked uh is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it the worst business decision that i ever made i think that is not understanding and not creating a strong brand image out of the gate early on i didn't understand that that i was the brand um and even once i began to understand that i was really reluctant to get out out there in front of everyone i'm a bit introverted by nature but as an entrepreneur you are the brand especially the first five years maybe 10 years it really is about you the market wants to understand you they have to connect to you to your story so you're out in front and you have to learn you have to spend that time learning how to tell the unique story that is you so what i learned from that is hey man you got to tuck your you know tuck your inhibitions over here in the pocket somewhere and um and just get out there and be you and and then when you need to take that time to recharge and reset then step away and do that um don't shy away from it no i think that that's a great and i think that you know it's oftentimes hard because people don't necessarily want to be the face of the brand of the business in the sense that they want to focus on building it or the product or being the guy in the background and yet to your point there's a lot of you're the one that came up to it you're the one that's uh you know the founder the people the one the one that people want to talk with and uh be able to get the experience from and so you are going to be that a lot of times that that based on brand of the business for for quite a while to get things up and going and so it's the one where as you understand it it definitely make there makes a big impact second question i always ask is along or if you're talking to someone that's just getting into their own uh journey or getting there starting a startup or small business would be the one piece of advice you give them um i would say really do the homework and hone in on your target market research research research you have to be clear you have to spell out your value proposition while you're doing that you have to then figure out how to differentiate your company from the rest of the market be contrarian you know everyone will say do these five things if you know that it's actually steps one through three and then four is totally different bring that to the forefront right and different differentiate yourself from the rest and then lastly i think it's really business is really about relationship it's not business to consumer it's not business to business in my mind and why we have such a high repeat customer rate is because it's relationship to relationship that that's what's really important when you're talking about starting a business work on the relationships really understand your customers and i'm not saying that to be oh understand your customer it really is important to to have they're people just like you are so it's important to work with them understand who they are um and actually foster the relationship oh i think that that is uh definitely a great uh takeaway and a great piece of advice well as we uh wrap up the podcast if people want to reach out to they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more uh the fastest way to find me is on instagram it's at real dedric boyd so r-e-a-l-d-e-d-r-i-c-k-b-o-i-d or you can find me on linkedin at just you know in and then dedrick boyd all right well i definitely encourage people to to reach out connect and uh find out more and uh support a great opportunity and a great great cause and i think uh we'll have a lot of possibilities in the future so awesome well with that thank you again dedrick for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so just go to inventiveguest.com apply to me on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because we want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with your uh patents your trademarks or anything else with your business just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with this chat we're always here to help thank you again dedrick and wish the next league of your journey even better than the last thank you so much steven
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