Star Talks: Episode 15 with Justin Dooley: Star Talks is the podcast of small conversations that inspire you to do big things and in this episode Justin Dooley, the President and CFO at Chassi and Partner at Tarus Capital, shares how he began studying chemical engineering at the University of Illinois and how his interest in high-tech blossomed eventually leading to his contributions as one of the first Executives at Siebel Systems where he helped define and pioneer the CRM software category.
We talk about how following Oracle’s acquisition of Siebel Systems, Justin served as CEO for the National Institute of Transplantation where he’s helped take the organization to new heights. Justin also shares how we can fight the global pandemic with innovative solutions, such as the one’s Tarus Capital is funding like UV Angel who builds pathogen control technology systems, and with Chassi – a technology that helps companies gain unprecedented access to business process performance data so they can compete like Billion dollar companies do.
You can also listen to the episode with Justin here:
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Sam Smith (Episode Host): LinkedIn
Here's the episode transcript:
Justin, thank you so much for joining the show.
Happy to be here, Sam.
Awesome. Well I've done a fair about a research on your background and I know that you're well connected with with the team at chassis and we spoke to Andrew on the last episode there and what what an awesome person he is. And so he, you came highly recommended and I've done some research on your background and I'm really excited to, to have the audience hear your story. But let's start from the very beginning, Justin, tell us a little bit more about your backstory. Where are you from and what was it like growing up?
So I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a large Irish Catholic family. So there were five of us, but my parents consider themselves a failure because most of the other families around were like around 10 or so. So it was a it's a little different than it is today with that, but there was a big community and that, that was it was a great upbringing in the suburbs of, so I really enjoyed it there.
So did you play any sports as a kid or what were your, what were your interests when, when you were coming up? What were the things that you spent a lot of time doing?
Well, I was a, I was a lot smaller than the other kids when I was young. And so you know, of course I wanted to play football or basketball, but I ended up getting steered towards gymnastics because of that. And so I was able to do gymnastics growing up. And that then led me to went to the university of Illinois. They had recruited me. And the other, the other beauty of university of Illinois back then for people that are listening that are trying to put kids through colleges, the tuition was only 350 bucks a semester. So yeah, yeah, it was, it was actually affordable. And I got a $500 scholarship to go into chemically related fields. So I went into chemical engineering. Cause I looked at their, you know, the pay scales and they got paid a lot.
So I thought I'd do that, but I, I didn't understand at the time that if you're a division one athlete, you have to make a certain amount of progress every year towards your degree or you're not eligible. And chemical engineering was such a specialized field that I couldn't switch out of that. So I was, I was stuck making sure I got through not only organic chemistry but physical chemistry and all that and sure I could graduate. Which was probably a good thing. I learned a lot. It was good thing, but it was one of those unintended consequences from that. So I went to the university of Illinois though it was a great experience. And my brothers and sisters got to go there as well. So it was kind of an extension of the, the growing up from what we had done in the suburbs of Chicago. Go ahead. I'm sorry to cut you off there. Did you want to keep going? No, no, I'm good.
All right. So, so the university of Illinois and you study, studied chemical engineering. Was that your idea going into that? Did you discover that in college itself? And what were your plans for your future when you were in college?
Yeah, so that was pretty keen on getting a job coming out and having some money. Chemical engineering. The oil industry paid really well and I interviewed with them and then there was a huge crash and they rescinded all the offers. But I was fortunate, I got recruited by Proctor and gamble and I went into their, their manufacturing and worked in the green Bay plant, which in kind of a timely way, that's where they make a just a ton of their toilet paper and paper towels. And so I've thought many times over this covert period as to how they must be running 24, seven, three 65 there to get out as much as they they can. I worked in manufacturing that and I went from that and then also got a job at a us steel.
And enjoyed those, those experiences. But the thing that I notice was that around the time when things were happening technology wise, like think Netscape when they were kind of inventing the internet, I thought that was really cool. And the steel industry was declining at that time and wasn't that you know, it wasn't an expanding business. And so it's a lot more fun to work at expanding business. So I went to business school to get my MBA and use that as a lanch path to then get into high tech. Which was a fortunate decision cause you can see the divergence of the, the two industries over time.
Absolutely. So let's get into that. So your LinkedIn profile says that from 95 to 2003, so eight years, you were an executive at Siebel systems. I feel like there's more to the story here doing some research for, for those that don't know, can you tell us and our audience, you know, what Siebel systems is and can you tell us why? When I search for Siebel systems, I land on Oracle's website?
Yeah. So back in the early nineties there, there was an explosion of applications. And so think PeopleSoft and, and you know, Siebel systems was along with that. And SAP and all those were, were really gaining a lot of traction. And Tom Siebel had worked at Oracle and help them, you know, from the startup stage to about where they were in that in the early nineties, and was like their top salesperson to help build the company. And he left. And he felt that there was a real opportunity to automate kind of what happened in sales. And so this was before there was terms like CRM and other things like that. And so, and it was just about the time when laptops were first moving, you know, they used to be like, not laptops. It used to be like Lunchables.
I mean, there were be things and they were moving into when there was no such thing as a smartphone. But you know, there was a belief that, that you could do a fair amount with technology to help automate the whole sales process and Salesforce. And so we started out in what was considered Salesforce automation was the category. And over time as that, as that grew into you know, like customer service and everything else who evolved in and created the the name, customer relationship management or CRM that then later Benioff slyly used as his ticket ticker symbol is kind of a poke in the eye. This people system. But I joined Tom when, you know, it was just a, you know, a handful of people on bow Hannon road and, and, and trying sell that, that first initial sale.
And then I stayed there until we, we grew to about 7,000 people worldwide and had 183 offices and it was it was a big company. And after about eight years I had worked at large companies like us steel and Proctor and gamble and, and that, that wasn't as interesting to me. It's just so hard to move the dial. And I was exhausted too. And so it took some time off from that. And during that period is when Oracle was acquiring things. And what was happening strategically was during the, the nineties. And the, the boom of the internet, all of these applications came available. And when the.com bust came, it was all those stocks got a lot cheaper. And the guy, the analyst for Morgan Stanley that covered all those companies Chuck Phillips had gone to Larry and said, you know, well, now is the time to consolidate and there's going to be, there's only a couple of real consolidators Oracle's should be won. And Larry hired him and then they went around and they acquired everybody like PeopleSoft and Siebel systems. And so Oracle actually owns a, you know, everything associated with PeopleSoft and Siebel systems. So when you search from today, then it redirects to Oracle because that's who actually ended up bottom. Oracle bought Siebel in 2006 for about $6 billion back when that was real money. Nowadays, you know, 6 billion is like a normal language we familiar with that was considered a lot at the, at that time. So that's, that's a little bit of the story there,
I think that's pretty interesting. So you started your at Siebel systems, you were one of the first executives there. What were the, how were the adoption of a CRM like technology? I mean, this was revolutionary at the time. How was it being received and what were some of the challenges of, of getting people to buy and adopted and use the software?
It was, it was hard. So if you think about it, at that time, sales people were, were technophobes, they were not technophiles. And they also felt that if they put all their contacts and information into the system, then the company would have all their value and they'd just fire them and, and, and get somebody cheaper to replace them. So there was an inherent level of resistance from that standpoint. Tom, being a salesman by trade, understood that. And so, you know, we, we put a lot of time and effort into trying to help make sure that we got the adoption that we needed now. Now it was hard because you have this big enterprise that you, you know, that you had to roll out across a, you know, a huge company like a Cisco and getting everybody to adopt it and conform to that was you know, I would say in the initial stages of the company that a life or death struggle, I mean, it was kind of that hard and there was a point where you know, the, there's a, there's a couple of Harvard business school cases written on this that, you know, folks can look up or where they talk about how we fought through that.
And the real issue was, is that the you know, the, the CIO, you know, is leading the project said, Hey, look, you know, this is, this is not working. And if it, if it doesn't work, then we're out of here. And Tom kind of turned around and said, okay. And he got all the executives together and refocus the company on customer satisfaction. And every executive was gonna participate in that. Everybody in the company's compensation was going to be folk, you know, was going to want to be tied to that. And we all got assigned companies and we would have to, you know, make sure that those, those were successful. And so the, one of the things that the you know, we ended up doing was we would go and ride in the salesperson's car and watch how they were, were using the software.
So not what people told you they were doing, but what you could, you know, to look and see what, what they were actually doing. And, and that led to significant modifications. What had happened was the sales manager had get managers had gotten hold of the project and they built out and deploy the system in such a way that the sales managers would get all the information that our sales manager wanted. Well, if you're a sales guy, you don't necessarily care about that, you know, what you really care about is making quota. And so we kind of had them reconfigure the software. So it really enabled the sales person to do really well. And we thought that if we could get a couple of people to use our system and blow away their quotas, then that would change. That would be like a sea change.
And then so we focused on that and then once people started to see that they could actually use this tool and this technology to do better at work and for salespeople to make more money, then the adoption just started to roll from that. But I would say before we were able to do that, it was, you know, it was kind of a life and death thing. And then once we got the adoption from that and learned how to do that, then that was what we use to kind of roll out from there. And then we went on and were able to scale the company enormously. I think we're still the E and Y, you know, fastest growing company ever. And so we, you know, we went from zero to 8 million to 40 million to a hundred, 20 million to 400 million to 700 million. And then and we had gone public through that that transition there. And so that getting that proof was really everything that made it work. And once we had that, that that then helped the adoption. But it was, it was tough deploying, you know, those, the, those on premise packages was, was a real struggle. You needed to be determined and good to make sure that that happened.
Hmm. So did I catch, did you the Siebel systems coin, the acronym CRM or the technology? CRM, customer relationship management.
Yeah, so we, it used, it was SFA and that was Salesforce automation. And as we, and that was, you know, the initial stages and then there was a couple of companies that were doing customer service, like call centers and you needed those to join together. And then, so when we acquired Scopus and others, we needed to describe that category a little bit better. And there was a bunch of different versions and kind of fought through it. We ended up with customer relationship management. Well I ended up being the thing and we actually were going, went online with we own the domain sales.com and we're moving along on that. And then there was a concern. We had some internet people on our, on our board, like Charles Schwab and Eric Schmidt. And we were moving in that direction, but the concern was that we were going to cannibalize our own on premise software business, which was huge and hugely available valuable.
So we ended up shutting that down and a couple of our guys went over to Mark Benioff Salesforce at that time, including the head of global sales, ended up on the board over there. And then that helped really fuel what was going on over at Salesforce with that. It was a little bit of an interesting backstory at night. They took that, that acronym the CRM and then use that as their ticker cause it wasn't taken. So you know, they all, Oh, and and in that world, all those guys are competitive. So Benioff came from Oracle, just like Tom and stuff. With Larry. So there was, there's all that, that history and that back and forth there as well.
Wow. That's really interesting. Really interesting. So let's, let's pivot a little bit to sort of a different part of, of what you've been working on, of course, the last decade. So you're the CEO of the national Institute of transplantation for over 15 years, and now you're the chairman of the board. Can you tell us about your work?
Yeah. So after I left Siebel systems, you know, my wife and I wanted to give back and we'd, we'd been really fortunate and you know, I intended to go back into high tech, but I was going to do something for for a while. And she had donated a kidney to her sister when we were dating years before. And so we knew those people. And so we ran a little fundraiser and we were fortunate enough to know some people with money. And when you raise money for a charity and you do well, they put you on the board. And then I went to the first board meeting and it was the Institute was run by medical doctors. And there was few other board members who were businessman and they kind of came to me and said, Hey, look, you know, there's, there's something important here.
But it's not being administered well and we think maybe you can step in. And I thought, wow, and I just came from, you know, this big, you know, 7,000 person organization, there's only a hundred people here. You know, how hard could it be? I'll take 18 months and then go back to that at night, get there. And of course, it's the, it was more complex than I had assumed. But it was meaningful work and I was able to bring a perspective and bring some skills to it that really made a difference and change things. So I, you know, it was about every two or three years we were, we would go through a new cycle of, we can really level up if we do this. And so I kept doing that. And for you know, and then about two or three years ago we were looking, we looked to make the transition on that.
And that's part of me transitioning to the chairman of the board and bringing in a new executive director. And I was also at that time looking to make some other changes and went back into doing some more work with high tech. I'm still there. We still meet every week. And the interesting thing about organ transplantation as it isn't so much, you know, the, the actual physical, you know, moving the organ and all that you know, some people derisively referred to that as the plumbing. The hard stuff is the immunology. And there's, there's the immunology and then there's the, the communicable diseases. And so you have to, you have to match both those and getting you know, a donor that is either clean, which is kinda never the case, but getting somebody who has the diseases they've been exposed to and so therefore the viruses that might come along with part of the Oregon and putting them into some other somebody else's body and trying to make sure that they already have an immunology to that is, is a big part of, you know, what we do there and the research that we do there, which kind of ties into the world today with COBIT and everything else going on.
Wow. It's quite the change of pace from, with like fast paced disrupting, you know, the world with CRM technology to really kind of you know, taking your skillsets at a high level and bringing them to this organization. What's the national Institute of transportation on now? What are they working on now?
So the transplantation is LA, you know, it's, it's fallen off a cliff across the country. And so the problems that were, you know, a lot of the research we do is longterm and we continue to do that. But a lot of the focus right now of the, the research advisory board is, is what can we do from our of expertise in the you know the, with our viral epidemiologist as well as the immunologists. You know, what kind of research can we do to help make sure we can create a safer environment for people to do transplantation. And then people can feel comfortable doing that. Cause there's kind of two pieces. One is can you do it and do it safely? And the other is, are people going to perceive it as such? You know, because if they don't buy into that though, you know, they're not going to opt into it.
You gotta be comfortable with that. So you kinda got both when the actual technology war as well as the perception. We're with that. And then, so that's, that's the heart of our focus at the, at the moment. And it's, it's a challenging time and, and it's partially complicated by the fact that all the hospitals that we work with are incredibly challenged right now. You know, they're, they have all kinds of constraints on what they can do and their financial constraints are enormous at the moment because their, their business fell off a cliff, you know, they couldn't do anything, any of the elective surgeries are gone and they're working hard to ramp that back up and do it in a way where it is safe. So that, that's some of the challenges on that.
Yeah. You've, you've got a very interesting I guess perspective and an insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting you know, sort of a segment of the medical community and with transplants. So, you know, let's touch on that a little bit more. You know, as we're going through this pandemic you know, what have you been thinking about as you've watched all of this unravel and unfold?
Well. So one thing that I think, you know, so I'm going to talk about some positive stuff cause I think people have had enough negative news for a bit. So on the side over the last few years, I've been involved in investing in, in various things with the tourist Capitol and that, and one of the companies that, that we've invested in and help with is a UVA angel. And so the, the issue here is that within hospitals, and so this is [inaudible] hospital acquired infections, you know, ha kill about a hundred thousand to 200,000 people a year. And so if you look at the total deaths from Covid-19 compared to that, you can see that that's a huge problem. You know, it's a tragedy and it's incredibly expensive, but we do know that UV light, you know, can kill these little microbes.
And so there have been technologies out there and this is a good example of, it isn't just the technology, it's kind of how you apply it that makes it work. Is it there? You know, there's robots you can buy that go into an operating room and they'll fry out every Mo microbe in the, in the, in the place. But then when let the people back in, like within 20 minutes, they're starting to spread the microbes around again. And so that wasn't an effective or a complete solution. And so if you look at it from the standpoint of how does this stuff actually move around and you focus on the high touch points where one person is going to touch something like a keyboard and then somebody else touches the keyboard as well, that's how then that becomes a hub of spreading that stuff and say, okay, if we can focus on that you know, can we really cut off the growth of this stuff?
And so it's like a little bit of the equivalent of social distancing if you pull those apart so it can't spread. And if you, if you get UV light to hit all the keyboards, the touch pads, any mice or anything like that, that people you know, are gonna use, then you can really curtail that. And we've been able to show that with clinical studies. And so UVA angel makes some cool technology that basically hovers over those spaces and it can tell when somebody comes along and waits for their hands to move away. So it doesn't fry the hands, but then it'll fry, you know, that, that touch pad and eliminate any, any germs that are on that. And then the other thing that they, they do is they also have an air cleaner where you're taking in air in one side of the room and then you run it through the UV light again and kill anything that is airborne and you put the clean air back in.
So you kind of have a complete system to keep the room safe so you, you're can really curtail the, the hospital acquired infections. And so we were working on that when the coven thing came along. And so obviously that, that, you know, kind of supercharges everybody's interested in that. And so there's both applying that to hospitals where you would expect to see that. But also you know, they're thinking about large franchises. So, so say you're, you know, you know, pick any coffee shop that you like, that's a national one is like when they open up, how are they going to get people to come back in? How are you going to get people to feel safe there and stay there? You know? And so, you know, I mean, core to a place like Starbucks is that not only do people come in, but they stay and they're comfortable there and then they always go there.
How do you get people comfortable with staying there in the future and saying, okay, well if you can apply technologies like that and you can have, you know, the, the air cleaned like that. And if you could have all the touch, spacious, clean like that and then let people know that, then they can, then they can get comfortable with that. And so that's a little bit of a like, here's, here's how we want to apply technology to help with this solution on the, on the pandemic. And so that's, that's from the UV side. And then from the, you know, the, the larger societal thing. And saying, okay, how do, how do we manage this and is it, you know, there's elements of this that are, that are similar to other diseases we've had in the past, and some of it is unique and you got to like, look at what's worked in the past and how can we deal with that and, and move on.
But as you know, it was one of my, one of the viral epidemiologists at the Institute, you know, pointed out is like, Hey, you know, life is life goes on. And they might have to modify your behavior some, but it's, it's gonna, it's gonna move forward. So you gotta, you gotta think about how you want to approach that going forward. You know, with the use of some of these technologies in this techniques and we're just going to have to modify our behavior and then minimize this. We're never going to get rid of this particular virus. They don't, you know, that that's, it's endemic in the world and it's going to be around. But how do we manage it in such a way that it doesn't impact us significantly? That's really the issue.
So I'd like to touch on that. You, the angel sounds like a really fascinating company and really excited places.
Yeah, you're part of a specialty. Now you can check out their website, you know, UVA angel and I'm not selling anything cause they're all sold out, but you can go and see what they have. But one of the, one of the core products is, you know, for your cell phone where you can clean and charge, you just place it on this pad. It charges your phone while it Fry's any of the little microbes and you know, and then you pick it up later and it's clean and you can look at the phone the whole time you're doing that. And so that's a neat little consumer friendly side of that technology that's available. And, and you know, like I said, you can order it but you aren't going to get it delivered. Cause there there's the land with business obviously. So but that's that, you know, when you have stuff like that, then within the society, you know, if you think of immunity as part of people's immune system within a society things like that help develop societal immunity in the sense of, you know, if people keep their phones clean, you know, then then they can men, then they minimize how much they in fact spread it elsewhere too.
And so those are all kind of some of the techniques we're going to have to develop as a society and, and we'll be back. It's just, it's just, you gotta fight your way through all that.
Sure. so I'd like to talk to you a little bit more about your work with Tarus capital. You're a partner there. I'd like to know a little bit more about the types of companies that you invest in, but you know, I know that this has been a huge source of debate. What do you think reopening the economy looks like? Or what should it look like?
Well, you know, I mean the, the beauty of the United States is, you know, you have, you have these 50 little laboratories, you know, in the sense of each state and, you know, approach things different. And so it's like, you know, it's, it's, it's a grand form of AB testing in a way, right? Like what works and what doesn't as opposed to just assuming there's one solution for everything and then trying that and then finding out it fails. You only get one shot at that. And, and in the United States we get, you know, sometimes the process is a little ugly and contentious, but it is part of the beauty of our system that we get to try things differently elsewhere. And, and I think we're starting to see how that can work. You know, I live in Arizona right now and we never really went into a hard lockdown, you know, like some places like California.
And you know, you look at how they're managing things and learning to deal with things. And it is, it's a little bit like, you know, when we first had, you know, if you go back to, you know, nine 11 and then we had to develop, you know, security and how we're going to deal with stuff. And then, you know, the evolution of that and the, all the, all the techniques that you have to develop. And part of it is, you know, what what are the regulatory people do? What, what what you know, kind of the, the police and, and those folks do. And then what are the individual people that participate in the process? Do? And you have to develop all that. So like, you know, today, you know, if I, if I go out and say I'm more going to go take my family to the restaurant, you know, I now know a lot of the things that I can do, you know, and like as you walk up to the door, there's a little hand sanitizer, you can put that on that, on your hands, you know, and then it's just easier to open the door and some of those have the door either propped open or it's automatic, so you don't even have to touch those.
And you know, everything from, you know, where you're going to sit and how you do that. Those are all things that just minimize the transition. And I think as, as people learn to do that and companies and organizations learn to do that, I think we're going to see the, you know, the economy reopened substantially, might be slower than everybody would like, but I think it's going to gain a lot of traction. And I'm also fairly hopeful and obviously I believe in UV rays, killing microbes that, you know, as we move into the summer months. And that's why the, you know, the flu has a hard time spreading in the summer and is because, you know, it gets exposed to a lot of UV rays. I think we're going to see that a lot in the summer and hopefully that, that helps eradicate a lot of that and make it a lot more less prevalent.
And then by the time we get into the fall, hopefully we've developed a lot more both herd immunity and societal immunity and our behaviors in what we do. And I think people will be, you know, off to the racism on, on business. You know, I think some businesses are more impacted than others. I, I feel for people that work in restaurant related jobs, but at the end of the day, I think people are going to go back to restaurants, you know, other jobs like, you know, working in a high tech company. Like where I work now at Jesse, we kinda never stopped working. I missed everybody getting together, but that didn't slow us down. And we're able to do that and I think we'll, we'll see that continued on full. Do you think that will ever shake hands again, Justin? Yes.
Okay. Thank goodness for that. Not, not as a, what's the word? Promiscuously as we used to, I think in, in the American psyche and the human psyche, people will be more cautious about you know, all those things. But you know, for, for those of us, you know, for a lot of people that were alive, remember, you know, princess Diana when she would actually touch people that were, you know, AIDS victims. That was a big deal for a Royal to do that and step out and, and, and, you know, part of it was saying that it was okay, but, you know, it was also at that time, we understood much better how that actually spread and how it worked. And so she wasn't really endangered by doing that. But it was very brave of her to do it at the time.
And it sent a signal around the world as well. That was important. And I think we'll, we'll have a similar things here with, with, as we understand much better, you know, as time goes on how the virus has actually spread. We won't be paranoid about everything. And you know, I think it's unlikely that the, the, the core transmission mechanism was handshakes. And so I think we'll, we'll get back to that as well as people. I think forever just like, you know, today if you want to go, if you want to fly, there's a level of security that we have, you know, at the airports that is never going away. And you know, I think people are gonna develop a level of cleanliness, you know, hygiene with their hands and other things that is never going to go away. But I think people will shake hands just like people went back to flying after nine 11.
You know, sometimes it's hard to remember like there was after nine 11 people would say things like, nobody's ever going to fly against. The airlines are never going to come back. You know, that turned out to not be true. They, you know, they went this last 20 years with some of the greatest expansions in air travel ever. And at the time when people forget quotes like this is like, there were people that literally said this and believed that it was like the end of comedy after nine 11, there wasn't going to be any comedy going forward. It was like, well, that's just not true. That's just not how human nature and obviously comedy came back and, and you know, comes back in spades. I think we'll, there'll be slight adjustments, but I do think, well, we'll shake hands in the in the future and just like in the past, so it, handshakes evolved from your just checking to make sure the other guy didn't have a weapon in his hand, you know, so you're developing a level of trust. And, and that's where that came from. And I think we'll still want that ceremonial touch. I think we'll just be better prepared to do it without transmitting disease.
Yeah. Well, I can I can surely appreciate, yeah. Well reasoned and positive perspective there. So Tarus capital, you're a partner, what types of companies do you invest in and how did you get involved with Chassi? What's what's exciting you about Chassi?
Yeah, so Tarus capital, the criteria for our investments are so there's me and another partner and it's, and we just invest our own money. And he was one of the guys who was when I took Siebel systems public, he was an investment banker there. And so I knew a man who was also a classmate with me at Stanford and then he ran his own hedge fund, which I invested in. And then, you know, I don't know if you know much about hedge funds, but sometimes they really were on your, you know, it's a 24, seven job and I'm sure it really wore on assault. So he retired from that a few years ago, but it was investing in the side and we had done a couple of businesses together and we decided we'd formalize that and create Tarus capital.
And our criteria is really stuff we get. Like, I understand what's going on here and stuff we can help with. Like if it's my network of people is ideally suited to what they're trying to do or technology wise, I understand what they're doing and I, and I can help them. You know, and so if, if a company just needs capital, then you can get capital a lot of places, it needs to be something where we're going to be value added in one way or another. And so those are the, those are the two criteria. And for me, you know, the involvement in chassis came about was when I moved to Arizona. I had a couple of companies here that, that a couple of software companies that I had invested in and talk to their, their CEOs and they said, Oh, you gotta meet you gotta meet Brad Jenga.
You know, so he's he's, he makes a lot of stuff happen. So I went to meet with him and Andrew Zwerner, who you've met in has been on the podcast. And I was impressed with both of them as people. Which is important, but I inherently understood what they were trying to do with the, with the software and the technology. And I bought into that having suffered those frustrations of software being such a black box, you know, like at Siebel systems and getting the adoption from people. And we knew they had to ride around in cars to like figure out what was going on with their technology to be able to understand here's what's going on inside the system, you know, is so valuable. I was like, Oh, this is a, this is a no brainer. So I, so I invested and then I was spending a fair amount of time there and then made me an advisor and then there was a lot happening.
And so I ended up there five days a week and then the lawyer said, you can't, it's illegal for you to work for free, so you have to do some of those. Okay. So then they made me president and CFO which I was happy with in the sense of there's a lot going on. I think it's a, it's a very interesting, and I think it's a huge opportunity. And so I'm not spending as much time at terrorist capital, but that's okay. We, we invested a chunk of money and Jesse, and we really like what they're doing there.
What about it do you really like, I mean, what, where, where's the potential that you see and why is it that you're so passionate about what they're doing?
So, you know, both from the standpoint of when it was at Siebel systems and then when it was working in manufacturing you know, the, the ability to be able to see what, and understand, you know, what's going on is, is so valuable as a, as a, you know, if you're a business owner, as a manager, you know, or even somebody that's, that's, that's, you know, just, just a frontline worker. And, and it's, it's, it's opaque, you know, to everybody. And so you have these big ERP systems that have so much potential, but it's, it's so hard to work with the big complex thing that you don't know what is going on and they, that you can only, you know, kind of scrape the surface on the value you get out of it. But once you can kind of dig in and say, okay, this is how the order flow works, or this is how, you know, people are actually using the system and you know, to be able to tell like, Hey, you know, if you compare these 15 people, these three people, you can really move orders through quickly and you can see what they're doing and saying, Hey, everybody ought to do it like that.
It would move so much quicker, you know, and make life so much easier. And so you can see kind of the tangible difference. And when you're able to monitor something like that and see improvement, it's just like anybody, whether you're, you know, on a Peloton bike or you're, you're a runner and you've got a, you know, a Garmin or a Fitbit now and you can kind of track how well you're doing. It's, you know, I would never go back to running. Like, if I don't have my watch, it's like I can't run, I'd rather run without my shoes than without the watch, you know, to, cause I need to understand, you know, here's where my heart rate is. Here's how well doing, you know, this is what I've done in the last week. This is how the training's going. And it'd be able to track that as is, you know, incredibly important in the sense of both, you know, the feedback that you get, you know, as the person doing the work. But also like when you combine all that and say, you know, here's how we can do this as a business and to make a tangible difference in how people run their business and in their, their work life. I mean that's, you know, that that makes a big difference. And I'm proud to be a part of that and I find it exciting.
Yeah. I'm grateful that you, you saw, you know, the potential and and met Andrew and and funded this company because there's a lot to be excited about there and the, the way that it will enable and empower small and mid market businesses to, to do things that they're not able to do today. And, and leverage these technologies that they're investing so much in, in spending so much time in every day to really, you know, drive peak performance optimization. So yeah, I, I love it. Anybody listening to this checkout Chassi there's just so many cool things that they're doing and it's really gonna open up a what I'm, you know, I've been talking to Eric phrasing it as the next frontier in business management technology, so I, it's awesome. And so the, what Chassi is doing does it play a role in helping businesses, you know, build up a resiliency against something like a pandemic happening where you know, where you've got some major things being shut down or you know, you've got this increased demand and need for working remotely and leveraging technology to kind of push the economy forward instead of, you know, being somewhere in person, you know, I guess does Chassi, do you see Chassi playing a role there?
Number one and number two, you know, what do you think a business a manufacturer, a distribution company and omni-channel eCommerce company, how can they build resiliency against something like this happening?am: (43:24)
Yeah. So I'll kind of take those in reverse order. And so, so like if you have a business and you want to help build resiliency and you know, we're gonna, you know, you're going to ask and say, okay, what does that mean from the resiliency standpoint? It's like, how do you respond to change? And the, the best way to be able to do that is to have quality information. And so you can look at it as to like, you know, how the country is dealing with the covert virus. And everybody talks about testing. What they're really talking about is information, you know, like, do we understand what's happening with the virus when they talk about how much testing we're doing. And so it's the same thing with, with a business and saying, you know, if you're going to be resilient, part of that is, is it's a little bit like, you know, jujitsu or boxing.
You know, if you see the punch coming, you can react to it. You have into that. And with jujitsu when they come at you, how do you take their force and roll it away? But if he blind, you know, they can just, you know, hit you and knock you over and you won't be able to get back up. And so having that visibility is, is key and getting quality information. And then that translates into, you know, where chassis can help in the sense of you can understand what's actually happening in your business. You can see, you know, what the order flow looks like. You know, and you can see, you know, the, whether it's the bottlenecks in the system or the absence of activity. And so how helpful would it be when this pandemic first started for a business to be able to see like, okay, I can see how much less, you know, we are having come through our system at these specific points and, or for these specific products and say, okay, we need to change, you know, make some changes to accommodate that and, and be able to run your business in a way that makes sense in this new environment.
And you understand the environment so much better because you can see what is actually happening and say, all right, now I know what to do with that. And then continually monitor that as the situation changes and involves, you know, so in a way it's almost like, you know, you would have liked to known and if you were at a retailer and you're selling, say what, you know, it's toilet paper, you know, you start to see that go, you know, before it's almost on the news and start to play place the orders you don't want. If you've got that all the way back through the warehouse all the way to the manufacturer, you know, and they say, okay, you know, we're going to be running down double shifts on the Sharman line, you know, tonight cause we've got a lot more orders. That would be really helpful because then that whole supply chain is much more resilient because it has visibility and that's, that's part of what Chassi provides for people. And so I think that that can help, you know, whether it's, you know, somebody right now, cause we're gonna there's going to be waves, you know, of what goes on with the covert and there's going to be changes. But whatever the next thing is, and there's always the new thing, right? I mean, you go back, we talked a little bit about nine 11, then you have the financial crisis and then you have the pandemic who saw any of those comments
And we'll have one 10 years from now again. And whenever that happens, you know, if you're prepared to see, okay, this is what's happening in my business, you're much more likely to be resilient and survive and, and hopefully, you know, exploit the situation to your advantage.
Absolutely. Yeah. Using data not just to, you know, Dodge the punch, but to Mount an offensive and and be proactive. Yeah, no, that's great. So I do ask a question to every podcast guest, but before I do you know, if any of our listeners, our subscribers want to connect with you, get involved with anything that you're doing, what's the best way for them to do that, Justin?
Yeah, if it's, you know, firstname.lastname@example.org is the easiest thing to remember and just send it there. I, I'm obviously on that email all the time. So that's the best way and the simplest way.
Alright. Justin@chassi.com. If you're wondering, chassi. Justin, what is the most rewarding thing about what you do today?
So I think for me it's, you know, when you, when you really make a difference in people's lives and so when I was at Siebel systems, I remember we had to expand it internationally and we opened up a an office in Ireland and hired people that had these great, brilliant people. You know, everybody there speaks like four languages and so he could service all these countries throughout Europe. And you know, the, the, the quality of the people in the work ethic was great.
And so we went from like four to 200 people within just a year or so. But the, you know, and the, and the success of that was all good and great and everything. But I got a call one night from a guy and, and you know, and he just wanted to express how much, you know, we had changed people's lives there and it was, you know, you told me the story about, you know, his father was basically a coal miner and you know, ended up without a job and headed to change things and everything. And, and you know, there, there was a lot of hopes per se, and then he, you know, was fortunate to go to school and gets a job at Siebel, does well at Siebel. We gave options to everybody. So he benefited from that as well. And then the whole town ended up with you know, more jobs and it really changed everybody's lives, not only in the sense of, yeah, they had more money, but the outlook was different.
And then, so for him and his wife, you know, they believed their kids viewed the world differently. And, and it opened up the whole world for them. And for me, that was, that was pretty meaningful. And then, so you translate that into other things. And you know, when I'm working in the transplant Institute, being able to kind of help bend the curve just a little bit. So more lives are saved, you know, that that's, you know, that's impactful. And it's meaningful. But the problem with that is like, I see it on a graph and I'm happy with it, but it's not as visceral. Visceral is when you talk to somebody whose life actually has been changed. And one of the things that I, that I like about the opportunity with chassis is like, you know, for, for the person that's doing, you know, order entry, I mean, some of that stuff is, is not really enjoyable work, but what we do at Chassi is provide insights as to how you can tweak and change that to make it easier to make it better and get more productive. And then, and then that helps their lives in a little way and then, and then you feel like you've made a difference. And for me, you know, that's what it's all about. And I enjoy doing that and seeing that and, and, and getting that, that kind of visceral reaction of, Hey, this is better than it was. And you know, if I'm able
To do that, then I'm happy. Justin, thank you so much for joining the show. It's really been great having you here and just really appreciate you sharing your perspectives with us.
Thanks Sam. I'm a big fan of stellar one and you guys and what you're doing there. So happy to be here.
All right, thanks a lot.
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