Software and marketing pro Mike Neilson is now an electrical hardware entrepreneur
If you’ve ever doubted yourself at work, be sure to listen to this week’s show. Mike Neilson’s fields of expertise before setting out on his own were business software and marketing. Two years ago, he launched a product called Switcheroo (switcheroo.com), and it required very different expertise - electrical engineering, intellectual property, industrial design, manufacturing, distribution and retailing.
Mike’s story is a great one, perfect for The Pitchwerks Podcast. It’s about making a plan and sticking to it - adapting when necessary - until all the tasks on the list have been checked off, and you’re finally satisfied.
Mike Stafiej tells us the plain truth about his strategy - including his mistakes.
Mike Stafiej, the president of PICLIF(.com), knows that a lot of disruptive young B2B companies start off with the assumption that they will continually need to check in on their clients over a period of time - a model where a lot of “account managers”, “customer success” people, and “client satisfaction” staff need to be hired.
Mike set PICLIF up to be different. Together with his trusted advisors, Mike built PICLIF to grow quickly. The company uses a B2B technology sales model to sell to funeral homes, but rather than pinning their hopes of success onto a large scale field team’s ability to upsell and after-sell, they are working a high-speed market penetration strategy instead.
The young president didn't grow up in the business. He candidly admits that he's "still learning" about PICLIF's market, clients, and ultimate end users - and that in the past, he had confused the clients with the ultimate end users. Mike's open nature and humility are helping PICLIF as it quietly grows into a disruptive force in an overlooked industry.
How do policies get set? Through meetings and research.
GIS Associates is a government-relations firm, and vice president Peter Madaus has been there for 18 years. If you don’t know what that means, or what he does, you’re not alone. Apparently a lot of people have this problem, so it’s good we’re doing a show about it.
Like a lot of lobbyists and government consultants, Peter doesn’t enjoy prospecting and selling. He’s totally comfortable working with representatives and senators, but when it comes to approaching prospects and seeking out new work, he’s just like the rest of us. Peter and Scot talk about using a “referral first” strategy for initial conversations, and also spend time discussing how entrepreneurs might use government relations services.
Years of civic tech work are paying off - Resistbot has found a huge audience.
This week, Scot goes to San Francisco to chat with his old friend Jason Putorti, a well-known and respected interface designer & civic technology innovator. Several of his past projects have been aimed at solving issues in civic engagement, but his latest one is creating a nationwide buzz.
Created in collaboration with Eric Ries and a large and cast of volunteers, Resistbot (text RESIST to 50409) connects users to elected officials whenever the mood strikes. It’s different from Jason’s past civic tech projects, in that there’s no website, mobile app, or specialized interface - Resistbot is a chatbot that works over whatever SMS chat app you already have on your phone. For bonus points, it works on Facebook Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices too.