Ep 261: Learn How To Leverage Awards To Scale Your Business from Microsoft Partner of the Year Denis O’Shea

AJV (00:07):
Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode on the influential personal brand. This is AJ Vaden, one of your cohos here. And I’m so delighted to have our guest on the show today, Dennis, she Dennis happens to be a very close personal friend. And also I think one of the coolest entrepreneurs that I’ve ever met. I’ll give you just a little background about Dennis. That’s not super professional because I know Dennis so well. But here are some cool facts that I think any of you who are listening need to know as a reminder of why you need to stick around. So I’ll give you some of the professional accolades. That’s gonna give you some of the interesting facts on one of the most interesting humans in the world. I’m pretty sure, but Dennis is a multi seven figure entrepreneur.
AJV (00:59):
He originally started his business mobile tour in New Zealand. Over 15 years ago, he opened up his us operations here in Nashville, Tennessee, which is where we both get to call home almost five years ago. But I would say one of the coolest things about watching his business grow is the way that they have integrated different business models to fit what the market end was asking for. And cause of those really cool shifts over the last two years last year in 2021, Dennis and his company were actually named Microsoft partner of the year globally. And so a huge part of what we’re gonna talk about today is how to leverage awards and recognition such a, is that to help you grow your business because he’s done it and he’s fresh out of it only like two months out of doing really an amazing accomplishment.
AJV (01:52):
But there’s so many cool things that we’re gonna talk about with what they’re doing in their business and growing and scaling as an entrepreneur. But then also on the personal side Dennis is a fascinating human being. And I have been in the entrepreneur’s organization, EO with him for the last three years. And every single time I talk to him, I learned about a new near death experience. At least every single time. That’s like he has been like almost eaten by a bear. He goes, fly fishing all around the world. I think you’ve lived in like 15 different countries. You have just the most fascinating, I think, vigor for living and excitement and adventure. And I know that you bring that into your business. And so I would help further. I do welcome to the show.
DO (02:39):
Thank you a, I dunno how I’m ever gonna keep up with that. The reputation you have just put out in front of me, but thank you. I’m, I’m absolutely flattered and delighted to be on your show. And I’ve been inspired by you as you know, many of the things I’ve been doing in my business. Our ideas I’ve learned from you and through all the work we’ve done together at EO. So I’m immensely grateful to you for some of the inspirations you’ve given me and Rory as well and watching your journey and your great pivot. And honestly, you guys have inspired me.
AJV (03:10):
That’s so kind. Thank you. That’s so, so kind. Well, one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the show is because I think what doing in your particular field is quite extraordinary. And then also knowing that you, we moved here from another country, started this business, launched this seven figure business, one Microsoft partner of the year. And that all happened really rapidly. So one of the things that we like to start with for every single guest who’s on the show is give our all audience just a little bit of background on how you got to where you are.
DO (03:44):
Ooh, how far back do you want me to go? The second, I, I are a bit more recent than that.
AJV (03:49):
I would say like, like I would think you take, if you take the last 10 years and you go, man, this is where we were, and this is how I got to where I am. Like, what would you say are some of the things that you think budding business builders, entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs should know?
DO (04:06):
Let me go back a step further. If I may, I used to work for Nokia Nokia, the big cell phone company, and I could see an amazing thing happen where I could see technology getting ahead of people. So as a company, we were inventing this amazing technology that people were not using. Yeah. And one of my customers challenged me pretty hard. One time he said, why should I buy this next generation of technology from you when our customers are not using what we bought from you last year? And that was like a smack in the nose. And it, it really knocked me back and I lost the big sale. And it was one of those learning moments started really thinking about how do we get people to actually use the technology they’re buying. So I left NOIA and I found a mobile mentor to solve that one problem, which was how do we help someone like you make sense of their first smartphone?
DO (04:56):
How do we help you set it up, get email, working, get your calendars syncing, enable you to do web we’re and get your music on it, change all your numbers of the plus format. So you can do international enrolling all that. And we figured out how to do that for one person and make that one person super productive with their personal technology. And then we repeated that a million times for different people around the world, that one on one service for a million people. And so the problem, what we’re trying to address was how to do, we enable people to get more value from the tech they’re buying and how do we enable them to be more productive in business and be more efficient with their time fast forward many, many years later, if you think about a day in the life of a knowledge worker today, people are using laptops and tablets and smartphones.
DO (05:40):
Some of them are owned by their companies, some personal devices, they all need to have work applications. Everybody wants email everywhere all the time and they’re messaging applications like zoom and teams and all of that. So how do you make sense of all that and how do you secure all of that and how do you enable people to work in their home offices? Like you are right now on a consumer grade wifi connection. That’s probably being shared with the TikTok generation and the YouTube generation and the fortnight generation. How do we make sense of this? And in particular in industries that are supposed to be very secure, how, how do you balance this security paradigm with enabling people to be really productive and efficient with their time?
AJV (06:23):
Oh, this is so good. And I love that cuz any of you who listen to our podcasts or follow us at brand builders group, you know, were really big on making sure you know, what problem you solve and to hear you so succinctly say, it’s like, we want to know, like we wanted to make sure people were using the technology they had. How do I get the most value out of the technology I’ve already purchased? Would you say that’s still the problem you solve today or has it shifted?
DO (06:48):
It has shifted. Okay. For sure. It has shifted. And the problem today is more about helping organizations find the right balance between off security to not get hacked, not get ransom and then providing a great employee experience. So you’re not part of the great resignation. So you’re able to hire great people and attract great talent and retain them because you give them a great experience at work wherever they work. And that balance between not going too far with security, because if you go too far, people are just going to push back and resist your security measures and policies and work around you and, and still having a great experience for people. So getting that balance right, and doing that for highly regulated industries like healthcare, finance education government, that’s the problem we solve today.
AJV (07:39):
Oh, that’s so good. And especially, I feel like the, probably the pandemic and people working at home has only heightened this already present issue, but even more so it’s like how many people are doing all of their business on really unsecured network? I would say I probably am. I know that this is
DO (07:59):
Very few people.
AJV (08:00):
Yeah. So it’s, it’s interesting. So I’m curious I’ve two, you just like totally spurred two questions up that what’s not even on my radar for this conversation today, but I think they’re really important is one give people a high level. Like what does mobile mentor do? Like what do you actually do?
DO (08:19):
Sure. So we’re a service company, an it service company, but we’re super narrow and we’re super focused on helping people who work remotely. So companies who have remote workers, people who might be in their home or holiday home, or some days they might be in the office and they’re using a wide variety of devices, some of which are owned by the company. Some are personal. We help them solve that equation and make sure people can be productive and secure on all their devices. Mm. So the end result we try and get to is that our clients don’t get hacked. They don’t get ransom and their employees, hopefully don’t walk out the door in frustration because they, you know, frustrations around their technology.
AJV (08:59):
This is really relevant. Cause I feel like every single person who probably listens to this podcast works remotely at some point. And whether you own the company or you work for an organization, it’s like, we all work remote as like, like the majority of our audience are to be remote ish type of individuals who also have virtual employees or virtual staff members. And so the other question that populated in my mind now is splintering into like a hundred questions. This is gonna like turn into be like a mini consulting session for brand builders group gonna happen.
AJV (09:32):
But so here’s, so here’s two things that I have seen have in our client base, which is really interesting is over the last six months or so there has been an increase of these imposter accounts on social media, right? So their lookalike accounts and people are like my husband, Roy Baden, who’s my business partner. Someone has managed to create a lookalike account that looks just like hit and they have garnered more followers than he has on his actual account. So we’ve seen a lot of those things starting to happen. And then here recently we’ve had a series of, I’m gonna think at least two, but maybe three different clients that we work with. The brand builders group where people have hacked, their Instagram accounts have changed the password and now our manding ransom for them to give them back their password. And so you’re starting to see security breaches in new criminal creative ways. Right. And so I’m curious any thoughts on the way that security breaches are growing in the way that you know, cyber criminal activity is ranging for not even a business anymore, but like an individual who’s just like trying to like grow their personal brand and grow their influence online. They’re now getting their accounts hacked and ransoming to get under yeah. Sticking Instagram.
DO (10:53):
Yeah. You’re absolutely right. There’s been a 500% increase in cyber crime through the pandemic, which is really tragic, you know, tragic for the individuals who get hacked. And then when you look at which organizations are being hacked at schools, it’s hospitals, it’s governments who are government organizations are trying to help people get through the pandemic. It’s really, really tragic. And what, what we know now is that the primary way that people hack us is to our passwords. We know that, and as a society, we’re coming to grips with the fact that we need to get away from passwords. We just need to get away from them because passwords were actually a great invention back in 1961, you know, when somebody invented the combination of a username and a password to get, that was essentially the key Sierra Casa. It was a great invention in 61, but what became really clear in 2021 was passwords to the reason why we were getting hacked by schools, getting ransom, why government departments are getting compromised by healthcare organizations are having all the patient records leaked. So passwords are really a big problem, really, really big problem. And as a society, we need to get away from them and we need to go password less.
AJV (12:06):
How did, what, how does that even work?
DO (12:08):
So password less, you’re probably already doing it without realizing it. So got an you’ve got an iPhone, right?
AJV (12:14):
DO (12:15):
So you look at your iPhone as the camera and it scans your face. Yeah. Takes about 300,000 data points from your face and it recognizes you, ah, it’s H J and it unlocks the phone and allows you to access the operating system, iOS the apple system. And then you’ve got single sign on to some of the applications. So you’re automatically able to sign into your applications. So that’s biometrics. So it could be facial recognition could be, your thumbprint could be your voice in the future. It could be a retina scan. Now that’s a lot more secure than a pastor. That’s, you know, your dog’s name, plus some numbers and, and Ary characters. And you,
AJV (12:53):
That was my password.
DO (12:55):
I know because we’ve done the research and we know that about 15% of the population still use a variation of their pet’s name as their primary password,
AJV (13:05):
Or don’t do that.
DO (13:07):
Don’t do that. But it’s better than the 6% who use the word password.
AJV (13:12):
Oh my gosh. People
DO (13:13):
Not kidding, not kidding. And so passwords are a huge vulnerability, whether it’s for your Instagram account or your work accounts. And so our advice of all industry and all organizations is get on that journey to go password less. So you’re doing it with your iPhone. You can do it with your iPad. If you buy the right laptops, you can do it as well.
AJV (13:33):
Yeah. They have the new, your pass on, like, I got a new MacBook last year. There you go. And it’s like, yeah, but then, so, but then still on all these other programs, I still have to log in and use a password
DO (13:45):
You do for the ones that don’t have single sign on, but the ones that are single sign on you’re signed in automatically when you’re on the device and you’re recognized as a J B. And so that’s the key is biometrics to get to the device and then signal sign on to get into all the apps you use right now. But then you need to have two factor, two factor authentication. So you get the code. So now you put all that together. You can effectively get down to one or two passwords, which are strong passwords. And so it could be IM a J and I live in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It could be a sentence, right. And only, you know that, and it’s very hard for anyone to hack that. And that becomes the, your effectively, your master password, but you hardly ever need to use it. Like I haven’t typed the password for about a year because my laptop scans my face and I signed into my applications and my phone goes Bing. And I type in the code and I don’t type passwords. And so if we can get schools and hospitals and individuals and government organizations to go there, then it makes the bad actors, it makes their job so much more difficult to ransom our accounts and ransom our businesses.
AJV (14:54):
Oh, geez. So I have a lot of action items to do because it’s, I literally, like I use one pass, right. To like, keep all like, that
DO (15:02):
Is great.
AJV (15:03):
So I, but it’s, but I literally it’s like I was looking at it the other day and I log on cuz you know, it does like the facial scan to log into that. And I have like 150 different accounts with passwords and it’s like every single one of them is like some variation of something. And it’s, I can’t remember any of ’em. So I’m constantly like changing ’em cause I can’t, I get locked out all the time, but this whole concept of having one way to log in and having a super secure, initial way with the two factor authentication, it’s like, I don’t know how I’ve missed this. Like how did I miss this?
DO (15:38):
Well, I would say you didn’t and you are already ahead of the majority of people if you’re using a password tweet. So the research we’ve done tells us that and you won’t believe this 31% of people right there work passwords in a personal, a journal. And 24% of people write their work passwords on a notes file on their personal phone. So you can see the problem. This creates for highly regulated organizations like hospitals, where you’ve got your work. No,
AJV (16:09):
We’re getting our identity stolen all the time.
DO (16:12):
No wonder. And only, only about 30% of people actually use a password management tool like you’re doing, oh, only about 30% of the population. So, you know, my guidance is always go password less. That’s a better future for all of us. But if you can’t quite get there or you think it’s gonna take you one or two years for God sake, get a password management tool. Okay. And do like you’re the, you’ve done one really strong password and inside the vault, then you have all your other passwords.
AJV (16:41):
Yeah. That’s
DO (16:42):
So you don’t have to remember them.
AJV (16:44):
So it’s interesting cuz you’re, you’re bringing up some data points. And I just happened to know that you recently conducted a international research study around security and quite honestly how unsecure we are as a, as a population. And so I’m so fascinated as one, I wanna know two things about this research study because now you have all of this fascinating original data around cybersecurity and what’s working and what not. And what, how is this different and different generat, which I think is just fascinating. I’m a total data nerd, as you know. But I, I wanna know two things for this audience. One, why did you go the research route? Right? Cause it’s not cheap and it’s not quick. So why did you go that route? And then two, what are some of the most interesting findings that you guys uncovered?
DO (17:34):
Great question. The reason we did it is we wanted to define our space. So you think back, you probably use a vacuum cleaner in your home and it’s probably not called Hoover, but you probably refer to the action of vacuum cleaning as hoovering, right? Hoover owned the category. My wife still talks about Hoover in the house. It’s not a Hoover, it’s a dent or something else, but, but Hoover owns the category. What we are looking to do is we want to own our category and we’ve called our category. The endpoint ecosystem endpoint is just a technical word for devices, laptops, desktops, tablet, smartphones, and the endpoint ecosystem. As we see it is the devices you use and all the software on them and your login experience. And then the supporting processes. When you’re setting up a new device or you need new software, you want to install something or get an update, all that mess.
DO (18:24):
We call that the endpoint ecosystem. And that’s where all the pain happens for employees and companies. And that’s where the insecurities happen. But when it all works well, you have a fantastic experience. Your employees can be secure and productive and happy. And so we wanted to really understand what’s going on in that space and that endpoint ecosystem. How do we get some original data? How do we provide some for leadership and how do we inform and educate our industries around what’s happening in that endpoint ecosystem? Because cybersecurity is too big. It’s too broad and everyone’s jaded with that subject. So we wanted to go really narrow and say, what’s actually happening in the home office of AJ and all the other people like you that are in their home office with a bunch of personal devices on a, on a consumer grade wifi connection. What’s going on? How are you working? What’s it like how many passwords are you typing every day? Who’s helping you? How long did it take you to set up your last device? Who do you call for help? How long do you wait to get a meaningful response? So we wanted to drill into all of that and find out what an earth is going on and all those remote offices where people are now working.
AJV (19:37):
Yeah. I think this is really important if you guys didn’t pick this up, but what Dennis is saying is that they really wanted to create this original data to own their space, right? It’s like, you know, it’s like play, plant that stake in the ground and go like, this is a space that we’re gonna own. And we wanna be the thought leaders in this space. We wanna be the ones telling you what’s happening, not reporting what other people are saying. And it’s like for any of us, whatever your space is, whatever your industry is, whatever your expertise or your niche is only one of two things are happening. You’re telling people what happening or you’re telling them what other people say is happening. So if you really wanna own that space and you wanna be the thought leader and you wanna be the expert, then you’ve gotta have real data and research as a way to do that.
AJV (20:23):
So you can own that space and come with a original research of going well, this is what our studies show. And I think that’s a really big trend. That’s on the rise and you know we have so many different friends who really hang their hat on this, including us, like as, you know, look, we’re huge believers in research, but I think one of the best things that I heard in 2021 is that original data is the new competitive advantage. Like that is the new competitive advantage. And so, okay. So tell us as the thought leader in this space with all this new data, what are some of the most fascinating things that you guys discovered that you were not expecting?
DO (21:09):
We didn’t expect shadow it to be as big a problem as it is and shadow. It means people taking it into their own hands out of sheer frustration with their company’s it. And so what we found is that people are using their personal, their personal devices way that companies didn’t know, they’re blurring the lines, they’re using personal devices for work and they’re using work devices for personal use. Wow. And then you won’t believe this 46% of people allow their family members to play with their work device. So these blurred lines are crazy. And then we, about half of the population in regulated industries, they find their security policies to be so restrictive that they’re working around them. And about 45% of the people have found ways to work around their security policies. So this is really indicating a failure on the part of it to provide the tools that truly empower people. People are not empowered. So they’re finding ways to work around there, the tools given to them. And then almost half of people told us they actually prefer to work with Gmail and Dropbox. Now you think about this is healthcare and education, and these people are dealing with patient records. Yeah. And,
DO (22:30):
And government organizations are dealing with citizen records and financial organizations are dealing with accounting records and, and client details. And they’ve admitted they’re working around their own security policies. So we were quite shocked at the enormity of this, this trend that shadow it as we call it using personal devices and unsanctioned unapproved cloud apps and cloud services. So that, that was huge. The other big thing that we kind of expected was gen Z. Now they’re a fascinating bunch. They’re a really fascinating bunch. And if you think about it this way, gen Z joined the workforce during the pandemic they’re in their early. Yeah. And many of them joined and had to work remotely over the last couple of years. They never knew an office based work culture. Like we all knew what it was like to go to work and meet your colleagues in the office and go for lunch and the coffee breaks and all of that gen Z don’t, they were onboarded remotely and my any cases fascinating.
DO (23:37):
And they bring their own attitudes. So they are leaning a lot more towards shadow it and bring your own device. And some of these trends than older people who actually do have some semblance of conformity to what it leadership would want them to do. But gen Z comes along and goes, oh no, no, no, no. This is how we do it. And so as we come out of the pandemic and gen Z starts to float back to the office and the next generation of gen Z joins summertime, when everybody graduates, the workforce is quickly gonna get flooded by gen Z and they’re gonna bring their attitudes and their behaviors. And the big challenge for employers is how do we deal with this? Cause no leadership team and no, it leaders can change gen Z, right? Yeah. You can’t change their attitudes and behaviors. But what we found through the data is that we can learn from them.
DO (24:32):
We can learn a huge amount and we’re gonna repeat our study every year for five years. So that we build, you know, as you said, thought leadership, truly understanding the trends, the mega trends that are happening in this space, how people work, work remotely in their home office and work and all that. And we’re really gonna follow gen Z, cuz we think gen Z is the predictor of the future. The more we understand gen Z’s perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, the better we can predict what the world will look like in the workplace will look like five years from now. Cuz they’ll get promoted. They and bigger jobs they’ll eventually be in charged. Their attitudes will prevail. Ooh, their behaviors will prevail. So if you’re an it leader watching gen Z be very, very scared, be very afraid because there’s a tsunami of them coming and they bring a totally different mindset.
AJV (25:24):
Yeah. So, and I think that even is interesting because I would say that it’s even more, I’m gonna use the word interesting about terrifying for like small business owners. Like I would say like myself at grain builders group where we are intentionally building this virtual workforce and don’t have a ton of like it infrastructure in place and kind of of this like yeah, bring your own technology. That’s what we do here. We’ll even pay you to bring your own technology because it’s easier and we know that you’re gonna use yours anyway. So what would you say to the hypothetical employer like that? Who’s like, I’d actually rather just pay you to bring your own technology because I don’t think that you would use ours anyway. It’s like you’re gonna use what you’re used to and what you’re comfortable with. And so I I’m so curious because I think it’s fascinating. And I do think where goes gen Z goes the trend, right? That’s with any like emerging workforce. And it’s specifically in this predominantly, still even today virtual environment where people really don’t wanna go back to the office full time and companies aren’t making you come back full time. Like how do all of those shifts specifically with small businesses, hypothetically speaking, what would you say to those people of here’s what you need to do? So you don’t get yourself or your customers in trouble.
DO (26:54):
I would say there’s a couple of things. And the way I think about it is people process technology like any, any major change. I think list thing to gen Z and involving them is going to be super important. So gen Z just sees the word differently. They, they are hyper aware to anything to do with privacy. The personal privacy is their castle. They don’t give a rats about corporate security. And we know that from the data. Yeah. It’s like four to one. When we say to them, what’s more important to you, personal privacy or security for your company, they all go personal privacy and to help about company security. It’s unbelievable. And other generations have a bit of that going on, but gen Z is so extreme in their bias. It it’s unbelievable. So what companies need to do is that actually bring them into the tent and get them to help figure out how do we craft our policies?
DO (27:50):
How do we do our messaging? How do we say to people? We, we absolutely want to protect your privacy and the privacy of all our employees and the privacy of our customers and protect everyone’s data. So we’re taking the following initiatives. That’s the first involving them listening to them. And then when you’re selecting products and tools that you want to use or applications you want to use, we think it makes a ton of sense to involve the remote workers in that decision making process, not trying to do with the people who work in the, in the office, right? But the remote workers, cuz they would be the most critical and they will do the, the most thorough testing effectively. So that’s the first thing involving remote workers involving gen Z, cuz they were pressure tests, the future paradigm the best. And then secondly, when you are thinking about how you secure this hypothetical small business, that’s encouraging, bring your own device.
DO (28:45):
It’s all about picking applications that have some embedded security, like some of the Microsoft 365, the office 365 applications have some security controls you can turn on or turn off depending on okay, what you want to do. And then when it comes to devices, you really need to set some minimum specifications. Okay. You know, for example saying, if you’re bringing a, we expect you to be on at least the second, most recent version of Macs or if it’s a windows device you gotta be on again, might be the second, most recent. So making sure people are updating their devices, updating their software and applications that will give you some, some control and so will reduce your risk profile. Okay. And then, and then go on the journey to get rid of passwords. Yeah.
AJV (29:32):
DO (29:32):
At least minimize your
AJV (29:33):
Passwords. That’s huge. And it’s like, I’m literally going to, after this call be like, it is now mandated at brain builders group, you must have some sort of biometric screen in and at the very least you have to start using like a one pass or something. Yeah. that those are, those are like very tangible takeaways that no matter
DO (29:53):
What, they’re very, and they’re very affordable aging. Yeah. So like a pastor manager too will cost a few dollars per person per month. But if it saves you Bitcoin and a ransom, it’s a no-brainer
AJV (30:04):
Seriously. And I like this is only gonna be getting more intense. And so we better figure this out. Now
DO (30:11):
We have to figure it out because you know, they are literally coming after us. And if you work in education, for example, this is a great example. There’s a spreadsheet floating around right now showing the money that the federal government is pumping into the schools. And it’s updated every few months with the, the latest round of funding that’s coming out. So if that’s available to us in the public domain, it’s available to the hackers, that’s right. They won’t follow the money. So they could look at any local school and figure out how many millions of dollars are being injected and what dates is the money arrive. And so therefore they’ll set their ransom at the level of what they know the school can afford to pay
AJV (30:49):
It’s. And I think, say, say if it’s like, I would liken that to like in the world of social media, which is, you know, we talk a lot about is the more followers you, a mass, the higher a target you are for someone to hack in, change your password and then request a ransom for you to have your own account. Back to me, it comes back to this like whole concept of first party data. Right? You gotta own your data. You gotta have a CRM. The days of every single person having a CRM are coming and they’re coming quickly. And this just kind of like counteracts with that in terms of like there’s all these things on the horizon and what are you gonna do right now to be prepared before it happens to you? And it’s like, go passwordless at least have some sort of app storage management.
AJV (31:36):
And to me it’s like own your data. Like don’t, don’t think that your followers online are going to be what build your business as like that’s your email list. So do you have your own data, like, or do you have your own contact management system? Those are all security measurements. So such a fascinating conversation. I could literally geek out on this kind of stuff all day. But in the, in this, in the event up, we even have all day we have just a little bit more time. I also wanna talk about, and I mentioned this in your introduc that you and your company, mobile mentor recently won Microsoft partner of the year. So one, congratulations.
DO (32:13):
Thank you.
AJV (32:14):
Accomplishment globally. Like you guys won and I know the power of leveraging huge global awards like that. And so I’m curious for everyone who is listening to this, like one, how do you even go about doing something like that? And then two, why did you do it? And three, how do you think it’s gonna help you?
DO (32:37):
Ooh. So the first question was how was the first, was that the first, how
AJV (32:41):
Do you do something like that? Like, I mean, there’s so many different types of accolades and recognition and awards locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally. It’s like, how do you even prepare to go about trying to win something like that?
DO (32:57):
We started the preparation about a year before the set admission. So we were very, we were very intentional about this.
AJV (33:03):
This was not an accident. OK. This
DO (33:06):
Was not an accident and you won’t believe this, but we didn’t expect to win it. Last year, we thought last year was gonna be our practice run. And we thought we would learn a lot from the sub submission process. We thought we might become one of the finalists, but our plan, our goal was to win it in 2022, not 2021. Now we worked so hard on the application and we did such a good job in finding a great customer story, which was based here in Nashville, a live hospice, how we helped them save many lives through COVID using some Microsoft technology. And we told their story with a very emotional video and a really powerful story. And Microsoft just loved it. They loved the, the human interest side of it, not the technology application, but, but more how it was used to save lives through COVID and we won the award.
DO (33:55):
So we were just, we were so delighted, but it caught us a little bit by surprise because we, we just weren’t the expecting it. So we had to do a big scramble to figure out, oh my God, what do we do now? What’s the next step? And how do we leverage this? And how do we take advantage of it? And my wife reminded, and she said, this will be old news before you blink. So we knew we’re gonna have to move super fast. And so we sat down with our board and had a, had couple of big sessions on this figure out, how do we leverage this? This may be a one and a lifetime opportunity for our business and our company. And we decided to invest like crazy and try and double the business in one year. So it’s taken us 17 years to get to where we are now.
DO (34:38):
And we thought let’s go for broke. Let’s try and double this company in, in one year. And so we’ve just been pouring resources in hiring like crazy building marketing content. We’ve done this research study. We’ve just got a whole bunch of work happening, hiring people all across the country from Seattle to south Florida. It’s just been amazing watching the growth of the company. And, and I was hoping, you know, that this would help us win some new clients. And I was hoping it might really lift our credibility inside Microsoft and help us attract some, some good new people. And all of those three things have been exceeded beyond my expectations. So it’s amazing. Microsoft have seven, I think, 7 million partners or something like that around. So how do you stand out when you’re a small company from Zealand, how do you get their attention? How do you get Microsoft to walk you into some of their biggest healthcare education government clients or winning partner of the year helps enormously? It really does. And
AJV (35:40):
I wanna pause for a second. There are 7 million Microsoft partners and you guys want something
DO (35:46):
Like that, something like that. Now there are different categories of the awards as well. So we won in our space in this endpoint ecosystem space. So we won our categor. There are other categories
AJV (35:58):
But still like, it’s
DO (36:00):
Amazing. Yeah. It’s incredible. It’s difficult. Yeah. But one of the, one of the wonderfully energizing benefits of this has been the ability to attract great talent. Ah, it’s a battle out there trying to get talent. It’s a real battle. Everyone’s struggling to get good engineers and good architects. And we found the last year because we won the award because top talent see us as a market leader. Now they want to come and work for us. We didn’t expect the effect or the impact to be as, as, as, as positive as it has been. So I’m truly energized by the all the great people we’ve got coming in. We had three yesterday in one today. So four new people this week, these are all high level, really, really good people who choose to work here when they had many, many other offers.
AJV (36:47):
I think that is such a important reminder for every single person who is listening to this. I don’t care if you are aspiring to do your own business or build your in one day or you’re already at the top. And it’s like, if you can that leverage something that other people hold is credible. It does three really important things like to Dennis just mentioned one. It helps you stand out. It helps you just get a foot ahead of the rest of the crowd and the foot race. Right. I think that’s really important. And I love hear you say, it’s like, we know that in a, you know, somewhat commoditized market. It’s like, how do we stand out? Right. We gotta do something. That’s going to put attention on us. Yeah. The second thing is that when you do that, not only do you get more customers, more recognition, more credibility, but it’s a talent acquisition tool.
AJV (37:38):
Yeah. And I’ve never heard you talk about that. A, of going well, of course it is the more trustworthy you are, the more credible you are. The more prevalent you are, the more people also want to be a part of that. So that is so amazing. And so I’m, I’m curious too. It’s like you won it last year. So how like to what Lisa, your wife said, thanks for, you know, giving us one minute celebration. So how do you plan to extend this out? So do you think that you will continue to apply for this year after year and or how does, like, how do you wanna, how do you plan to continue this vantage point?
DO (38:17):
We have a plan to win it again this year, and I’m not kidding. I believe if we have a winning strategy again this year, and it’s because we’ve done the original research, we have unique insights. We have unique data in, in a way that nobody else has. And we’re sharing that with the industry. You know, anyone can go to, to the new website, endpoint ecosystem.com, download the reports, the research data, all of that. So we’re making this bigger than us. So that’s a really, really big deal. Cuz Microsoft really likes to see partners, sharing, learning, and sharing. It’s a big deal in their ecosystem. And then we’re producing so much thought leadership content around how organizations can stay secure, be safe, empower people to work remotely. We believe that’s, that’s really strong. And then we’ve just done so much work in the last year, helping big healthcare clients become more secure schools, universities, government departments. We think the combination of the research, the thought leadership content and executing at scale and doing really good, solid work. We’re genuinely hoping we can win that award again.
AJV (39:24):
DO (39:24):
Have no doubt that will extend.
AJV (39:27):
I have no doubt. Honestly. I think one of the best things that any single person has going for them is their own belief to, they can do it. And it’s like, if you don’t believe it, why would anyone else believe it? But I think this is so cool. It’s so fascinating. And you guys are doing some really amazing things in your industry and your space. I mean, and then, so I just, again, one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is just that great reminder to all of us. It’s like, we all have opportunities to create a vantage point. It’s just, do we believe in ourselves enough to go after them? And do we have the patience to do it? And I think that’s something I wrote down as you were talking, it’s like, you guys prepared for this a year in advance. Yep. Like let that sink in to whomever is listening. Yeah. A year in advance, a year of prep, a year of planning a year of execution. And they’re like, and we still were considering it a practice round. I think we live in this world of instant gratification. And if we don’t have a million followers, a million dollars sell a thousand courses overnight, somehow we’re not successful. And it’s like, you guys were preparing and planning for an entire year as a practice.
AJV (40:38):
Yeah. I think that’s a really good lesson for all of us.
DO (40:42):
And we see this as a long, a long journey, like building a partnership with Microsoft, the biggest it company in the world that doesn’t happen quickly. We’ve been on this journey for five years and we had a really simple strategy. I called it one plus one, which is we would meet one person, impressed that person and get introduction to one other. And that’s how we built our network inside Microsoft. And we’ve now got 833 people in our CRM system, you know, context inside Microsoft, but it’s one plus one, one person at a time build the credibility in the trust, get the next connection. And then the same with clients. They walk us into our client organization. We do it stunning job for that client. So they got your guys are great. I’m going to introduce you to the next school or the next hospital or the next, you know, government department. It’s that one plus one strategy and takes time. Right. It really takes time for that to build. And some people will be too impatient to wait that out, but I’m patient. And I know that all those one plus ones add up becomes a big number over time.
AJV (41:43):
I mean, that is an entire business strategy, right there. Y’all if you are not taking notes and paying attention to this shame on you, it’s like just even that whole concept, like that’s like an entire, your business strategy. It’s like impress one person and get that person to introduce you to one new person repeat right. And press one person. Get that person to introduce you to a new person that is brilliant. Let’s the whole conversation has been so insightful. I literally have like a half a page of notes. I’m not either in your industry, I’m not in your space. I’m like, here’s so much to do actions. Here’s all my takeaway. This was brilliant. This was fantastic. And I want to leave with two things before I do my very last thing. I wanna remind everyone of where to go to learn more about this awesome study that they just released about the endpoint ecosystem. But how to make sure that you are not vulnerable to all those cyber criminals doesn’t matter what level business, personal brand solopreneur nine figure business, this pertains to you. And you can just go to mobile, M O B I L E mentor.com. That will also be in the show notes. If you wanna connect with Dennis personally, Dennis, where should they go?
DO (42:52):
Linkedin easies, if I may LinkedIn and it’s Dennis with one in
AJV (42:56):
One in, and I’ll put off list in the, at the show notes, it’s Dennis Oche on LinkedIn or go to mobile mentor.com. Get that study, check out what they’re doing. They’re doing revolutionary stuff. It’s so cool to watch this firsthand, such a ed, such a gift. Okay. So before you go, I mentioned this, like you are truly one of the most interesting humans in the world, so I want you to share just what do you think is the most interesting adventure that you’ve ever been on?
DO (43:28):
Oh, it’s gotta be my crazy Alaska trip where I took 15 weeks off work and I went to Alaska and just a immersed myself in the wilderness and the outdoor life. And I was camping in beer country for 13 of the 15 weeks. I spent a week on a kayak following whales around glacier bay. I saw a lot of Alaska. I was victory there for three months. And so three seasons because it was like the end of spring, somewhere in the big getting a fall. And it was the most incredible immersion in wildlife, which I love and, and the outdoors. So that for me was a trip of a lifetime.
AJV (44:04):
So 15 weeks 13 of which you were camping in bear country. Yeah. And then you canoe watching the whales,
DO (44:13):
Kayak. Yeah. Fall of the whales. Yeah.
AJV (44:15):
Yeah. But then this is also where you almost got eaten by a bear
DO (44:20):
AJV (44:21):
DO (44:22):
Yeah. Survive two bear attacks.
AJV (44:24):
I mean, y’all,
DO (44:25):
I tell the story,
AJV (44:27):
One of the things that I love about you so much, and one of my personal goals for this year is to have more fun. But I think this is also, I know Dennis has a hundred stories like this, and I think one of the things that we forget to do in business in life is have fun. And Dennis is I think you’re such a, an example, but also such an inspiration to me and my family, a of how do we create awesome memories? And we don’t live to work, but we work to live. And I think that there’s this concept of hustle culture out there where it’s like, if you’re not working 80 hours a week and working to your eyes bleed, then you’re not, you’re not successful and you’re going, no, it’s like you work to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
AJV (45:10):
And it’s like of adventures, make memories, do unique things. And I tell you what you are definitely the person that everyone wants to talk to at the party, because you got stories for days. Which to me, it’s like this one plus one works, not just because of what you’re doing, but because of who you are. And I think that’s a good reminder for everyone. It’s like, how do you incorporate a little bit more fun and enjoy all the fruits of your labor, Dennis, thank you so much for being on the show today. Such a privilege to have you on
DO (45:41):
AJ. Thank you for all the inspiration you’ve given me because I wouldn’t have done that research study if I hadn’t been for you and what I’ve learned from you. So thank you and thanks to you and Rory for all, all the, all the guidance and inspiration I’ve been able to take from you guys and learn from you.
AJV (45:55):
Thank you, such a pleasure. I love having you on to everyone else stays tuned for the recap episode and we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.
Speaker 3 (46:06):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/podcall brand builders, group.com/podcall. We hope to talk to you soon.
AJV (46:53):
All right. Y well welcome to the recap episode of my conversation, what the one and only Dennis Oche, who is the founder and CEO of mobile mentor who my Southern accent calls it mobile he’s. So kindly correct me off time. Mobile mentor, AJ, not mobile. You read that. But that’s okay. I, I love my heritage and I don’t mind it whatsoever. Y’all here are three huge things that I learned from this episode that I was really not expecting. I thought we were gonna talk about how to leverage rewards and become more well known and so much more wisdom came from this call than I had planned and plotted for. And I’m so grateful for that. Here’s the first thing is a super, super tactical takeaway is the concept of going passwordless, which he talks about often to me and our personal friendship and had never Dawn on me today.
AJV (47:51):
What that really was so shame on me for not asking more questions, but this is a big deal right now. And specifically for you, if you have a personal brand, there is a, an increase in cybersecurity with different social media accounts and people are being targeted and people are breaking in there are hacking your passwords, logging into your account, changing your password, and then asking for a ransom to give it back to you. This is bizarre. Like if criminals will just channel that creativity and just sort of send you something productive, imagine what we could be doing here. But I think this was fascinating. It’s make sure that you have biome logins on your phone and on your computer, and then you have single sign on with all of your different applications that you’re using. So that you’re not using an actual password that like that Dennis mentioned in the interview, that’s a combination of your pets name and some numbers fascinating.
AJV (48:47):
It’s like, duh, like those things sound simple until someone breaks it down and go, and here’s why, right. Someone cannot take, you know, 3,600 points on your facial screen and duplicate that, but run a few algorithms. They could probably figure out that, you know, it’s Dotty 1, 2, 3, 19 40, right? It’s like, like just some of that is common sense that it’s not. So I think that was really important. And if you’re not gonna go to the biometric route and if you’re not gonna do single sign on all the things at least take that first step and use an application like one pass, right? One password where it stores all of your passwords in a secure location where it is using facial screening or your fingerprint in order to do those things. And so I think that hacking cyber hacking, personal brand individual information that’s on the rise.
AJV (49:40):
It’s already been on the rise and it’s only growing, right? This is, this is the era of that. And so we’ve gotta take proactive steps to become more secure in our personal space, as well as in our business. So, so many awesome takeaways from that and good reminders and aha moments from the research study. But those were like very tactical. It’s like, yes, single sign on, get my facial screen fingerprints set up for all the things double down on my one pass and get myself secured Pronto ASAP. So my to-do item set. Second thing is Dennis’s company, mobile mentor recently won Microsoft partner of the year, woot so exciting for them, but I loved what he said. He said we did not win because of all of our technology successes and accolades. We won because we told a human story of people saving lives by using our services.
AJV (50:36):
It is a testimonial, right? It is a story. People remember stories, emotions matter. It’s like, and it’s, I love what he said. He goes, you have to make it bigger than you. It cannot be about all the successes that you did and all these things you’ve accomplished. It’s like, what are you doing to make your business bigger than you? How are you making, how are you making it about them? How are you making it about your customer and their wins and their successes? And then how are you making it about the people around you and the lives being and touched, you know, two and three people removed from you. But I love that he goes, and we didn’t, we did not win because of what we do. We won because we showcase the people that we serve. I loved that telling a story.
AJV (51:21):
We know that, but are we doing that? And then simple, just like, make it bigger than you. So what are you doing to make it bigger than you in your business, with your products, with your services, with your marketing, how are you making bit bigger than you? Then my third takeaway was prepare to win. And this goes back to how they won the award. And I love this. He said we were preparing and planning one year in advance of our application for Microsoft partner of the year. And we knew it was gonna take a year of plotting planning, preparing, and we did not expect to win. We totally went into this as a practice round and they still started planning a year in advance. Now they won probably because they did it a year in advance. But how many of us have this feeling of if like it’s not working in three months or six months?
AJV (52:11):
Well, it’s just not gonna work. Y’all, that’s not how business works. That’s not how building a brand works. That’s not how building a reputation works. You can’t meet someone one time and expect them to expect them to trust you. There has to be exchange, right? There has to be repetition. There does have to be time involved and that requires patience. And that’s not something a lot of people have today, but you have to have patience, right? It’s so important, such a great business and just life reminder of you have to prepare to win. And if, and if you don’t consider it a practice, but don’t give up, right. There’s a difference between quitting and failing. I say as quickly, and as often as you can, but don’t quit. Don’t give up, just fail more so you can get better and keep learning but prepare to win, love that.
AJV (52:59):
And then last but not least, this is a bonus takeaway. His he said this at the end of like, we just have a really simple model. Like, no, this is an entire business plan is one plus one, right? In order to scale, a very successful business, all you have to do is focus on impressing one person and then get that one person to introduce you to one more person and press that person and get them to introduce you to one more person, repeat over and over and over. And after a little while that one plus one plus one, plus one becomes many, many, many, right. But focus on doing a good job for the one and get that one person to introduce you to that next, love it so much brilliant. So many insights. Not just because he’s a personal Brent generally he’s one of the smartest people I know. He is so fascinating. So if you haven’t gone back, go back, listen to this episode. But then also go download this study. You can visit mobile mentor.com and get a free download of this new endpoint ecosystem study. How do you secure your company and your personal brand until next time? We’ll see you later at the influential personal brand.