Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com, that’s cannainsider.com. Now, here’s your program. Today we’re gonna speak with Matt Cutone. He creates interactive displays and kiosks in cannabis retail environments. The three big things you’ll learn in this episode are one, there is a massive return on investment in creating engaging in-store kiosk. Two, kiosk and interactive displays don’t necessarily replace employees. And stick around for number three, where you’ll hear about the future of interactive kiosk and how it’s going to be creepy, but also awesome. Enjoy this episode and let me know if you like it on Twitter @cannainsider.
Making dispensary customers feel welcome and informed the moment they walk into a retail environment is vital. Here to tell us the best way to do that is Matt Cutone from Seed. Matt, welcome to CannaInsider.
Matt: Thank you very much, Matt. Great speaking with you.
Matthew: Yeah. Give us a sense of geography, where are you today?
Matt: So Seed today is in about eight states in the United States, both in emerging markets and some of the more mature markets, we’re in Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan soon to be, but the majority of the installation base today is in our backyard, which is Southern California, where we’re headquartered. And we’re just now starting to entertain and see some opportunities on an international level from some of the strategic partnerships that we’ve created. And so in time, the goal is to have Seed be providing cannabis education on a global footprint.
Matthew: Okay. And give people a little bit of an introduction, like what is Seed at a high level for people that haven’t heard of it?
Matt: Sure. So Seed is an in-store kiosk or tablet that primarily is providing cannabis education. The idea is that understandably, with cannabis going legal on a state-by-state basis that you’ve got thousands of new customers being introduced and thousands of new products being introduced, and there’s a lot of confusion there. And the goal and the real vision of Seed is to kind of close that gap, provide that education and help provide safe access and a safe consumption experience. Aside from providing education, we also have an interactive consultation. So through a series of questions, we walk an individual essentially down a path, and we present what would be the appropriate product in respect to their goals in consuming cannabis. So it integrates with the POS and inventory management systems and it walks them into that process of buying and so it helps to also facilitate the purchase. So aside from providing cannabis education, the next natural step is to give that individual the opportunity to make a purchase. So the kiosk is also a self-service ordering device within the store.
Matthew: Okay. Yeah, it seems like these interactive video displays or visual displays, not just in dispensaries, but you see them growing everywhere, and it seems like the experiences are just totally polarizing. Like, I feel like I have a great experience in general, or I get so frustrated, I wanna like rip the thing off the wall and rage monster it and, you know, smash it.
Matt: Yes, that’s a super common experience. And one of the analogies that we utilize as we evolve the product and we think about the consumer is we’re all familiar with, you know, the self-checkout at the grocery store. And personally, I’m a self-checkout person. I’ve traveled a learning curve on how to do that. It is not been a well designed, well laid out and it’s not an intuitive process by any means. But in creating, you know, our interactive platform, we’ve taken that into consideration. You know, you’re seeing a lot of installations of quick-serve restaurants, Taco Bell is on track to have 60,000 self-service order devices in their stores by year-end. So they definitely see this as the direction it’s going. But you’re exactly right. If you don’t take the time to create an intuitive interface that is just very simple and natural for someone to navigate, it is a fail.
Matthew: Yeah. Well, give us a little bit of a sense of your background and journey, and how you got into the cannabis space and how you started Seed.
Matt: Sure. So I’m also the president and CEO of another company called Horizon Display. And Horizon Display has been providing interactive and digital experiences for retail environments for 10 plus years. So if you’ve ever been inside of a Tesla store, and use any of their interactive, rich digital technology, that’s our technology. We helped accurate launch their NSX, which is their supercar, and created a car configurator that was 260 locations across the United States. And the real inspiration and the real kind of genesis behind Seed was working with a company by the name of Drybar, which is for folks like yourself and myself, maybe we wouldn’t be customers. They have innovated in the hair salon industry, oddly enough. They created what’s called the blowout. So a woman can go in and get a blowout, instead of a full wash and cut. It’s about half the time, it’s about half the money. And they’ve also created a really great experience and a great culture. They serve booze, and they play tunes, and they’ve got romantic comedies playing in there and etc.
They’re at about 125 million in revenue and about 125 locations. And they’ve become quite high profile in recent years. And they brought us a business problem, which is a big part of what our passion is, is using digital and interactive to solve business problems. And their business problem was that they had a very linear business model. You know, they could open up a salon with X number of square feet, X number of stylists, and it was a very much a one-for-one return. And then their goal is to get to a billion in revenue and they weren’t gonna do it with a business model like that. And so they came up with a hair care product line. The average cost of goods was $2, the average sale price is about $28. And what we created for them was an interactive consultation that through a series of seven questions, essentially prescribed the appropriate hair care product for a woman.
In early 2017, we did a 10-store pilot that went so successfully, that I knew we could repurpose that architecture and that methodology for other retail environments. So we looked at craft brewers, we looked at the winery industry, and we looked at cannabis. And within about 30 days of market research, we realized there was a real problem in the cannabis industry, and that’s a lack of education. So we built that proof of concept, we brought it to the marijuana business conference in Las Vegas in November of 2017. Just to see if our hypothesis was even somewhat accurate, and fortunately, walked out of that show realizing there was a problem that we could help solve through digital and that is, again, you know, helping to create confident and comfortable consumers in the world of cannabis. And so we’ve got years and years and years of experience of putting interactive and digital into the retail environments. And we’re introducing that to the cannabis industry with Seed Technology.
Matthew: Okay. So we can give listeners a sense visually what your displays look like. Can you give an example of an existing dispensary where your displays are working now and what that experience is like for a customer walking in the door?
Matt: Absolutely. So, one of our I guess if you wanted to say maybe more of our flagship installations, a lot of the installations and deployment we’ve seen has been in Southern California. For obvious reasons, we’re here, this is the largest cannabis market in the world. So one of the more successful larger and busier dispensaries in Southern California and Orange County is called People’s OC. Some people may be aware of it. It’s a very large building. It’s got two stories, there is kind of a process that you go through even just to go into the byproduct and part of the process is as, you know, check in and you wait for your opportunity to speak to a budtender, is that you’re introduced to our platform. It’s a kiosk, it’s a countertop kiosk, and it gives an individual an opportunity to be productive while they wait. As you may be aware, you know, the amount of time customers are waiting, whether that be in a waiting room or actually inside the dispensary is quite significant in certain environments.
And one of the goals that we look to accomplish is giving people the opportunity to be productive while they’re standing around. So our kiosks are specifically located within that queue so that people can interact with the platform, get some education, gain an understanding. But even more specifically, for me, BB or more and avid user who may be education is not as critical for, they can immediately begin to interact with the menu, you know, integrating with the POS and inventory management system allows us to provide an interactive menu. They can begin the shopping process right there. So that’s in Southern California. And then there’s another installation that’s happening in Massachusetts soon to be open. I’m very excited about the emerging markets. There’s a lot of great things happening east of the Mississippi, a dispensary by the name of Happy Valley. And they really embrace technology. So we’re exploring some very exciting things with them and think they’ll be opening next month.
Matthew: Great. And how do you initially orient dispensary owners on why they need the displays at all? What’s that conversation like?
Matt: So it’s been interesting because they think that most of the dispensaries understand that to some degree they need certainly technology, right? And a lot of dispensaries have adopted digital menus and are communicating product availability via the digital menus. And what we would consider that to be as a very one way, correspondence for them. You know, all of our technology is interactive, there are touch screens, there’s asking you questions, they’re walking you down a path, we really want it to be a journey. We consider that to be much more conversational. So the dispensary owners that have already kind of embraced displays, we really try to create some quick comparisons on the benefits of what interactivity provides, and the ability for people to discuss and share what it is that their goals are in using cannabis.
So it really, it’s a little bit shorter of a learning curve for the dispensary owners who have already seen the benefit in technology, in displays, and have embraced that. Those folks usually have seen that this is working successfully in traditional retail environments and this is something they’re trying to introduce. You know, today’s consumer walks into most stores quite informed, you know, between the homework that they’re gonna do at home, on their laptop, their tablet, on their phone, and as they walk in, they also expect a similar experience. And that’s one of the things that we try to make them really understand is that, you know, the consumer today is more educated than ever. And cannabis is, you know, an area where there’s a lot of room for improvement as it comes to education. And so we show them, you know, the importance of that. Fortunately, most dispensaries understand that how critical education is. Without successful education, we don’t get successful adoption. And without successful adoption, we’re not gonna see these kinds of numbers that are being communicated. You know, I think the latest number I saw was like 65 billion, you know, by 2021, or something along those lines, and that does not happen without successful adoption and displays interactivity, technology really does help provide that education that is gonna be critical for that adoption.
Matthew: And for the dispensary owner that already knows like, “Hey, this sounds like a great idea. I wanna get Seed displays in my retail environment.” How do you get them started putting something that will be useful for the customers out of the gate without taking them down a path that just takes too long where they kind of fatigue out?
Matt: That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked that. You know, one of the benefits that we have, and this is something that we have been able to present to the cannabis industry is, you know, the dispensary owners have a tremendously unique challenge. And that is the fact that this is not legal on a federal level. So all of the things that they need to monitor and put their time and attention to, that the traditional retailer would not, really creates a lot of problems and a lot of challenges. We have taken the time to engineer the Seed platform to really take ownership of what we call the last mile. We’ve recently had a dispensary owner, one of our new clients call us up after they had purchased the Seed kiosk. And they called up and said, “Hey, I have to ask you a question. Was it a strategic initiative of yours to make this truly plug and play?” And I said it was. We take the time to actually reach out to the dispensary client prior to the kiosks shipping out to them. We get the name their Wi-Fi, we get the password of their Wi-Fi, we can figure that appropriately.
So literally when you plug the kiosk in, it turns on, and it’s up and running, and it’s ready to go. So, to answer your question, the onboard process is literally nothing. We’ve taken all of those things into consideration as we’ve designed and engineered the solution. We vetted various hardware solutions and the enabling hardware that is required for this platform to work successfully. And we’ve taken a lot of time and spend a lot of money to make sure that as far as configuration and turning it on, making it successful for the dispensary owner is with literally within a matter of minutes. So that’s something that we really are proud of. And fortunately, the feedback from the market is that it’s working successfully. These dispensaries have a lot on their plate. And the more that I can do to, you know, make this a successful integration, the better off we all are.
Matthew: Yeah, compliance is a big one of those things they have in a play.
Matt: Big time.
Matthew: So how much customization is required. Do you have some like out-of-the-box templates that you say, “Hey, let’s start here for we’re not sure what to do.” And then how do you marry that up to what inventories actually in stock? Is that connected to like the POS system? Or how does that work?
Matt: Absolutely. So minimal amount of customization, again, something that we’ve really made sure that we’ve engineered into the solution in the platform upstream. And so there’s kind of two areas of customization that the dispensary client is looking for. One is branding. So often, you know, this is working with a multi-state operators that have, you know, large and robust marketing departments and branding is very critical and important to them. So we work with the marketing department, our designers work with them to make sure that our platform mimics and looks exactly as their website may or their mobile app or this congruency across all their digital platforms. And so it’s very, very simple. We load up their logo, we load in all of their pantones and the various colors. We also load in some of the messaging that’s important to them. And we’ve built the platform to make that a very simple and easy process. It’s literally just doing some quick updates.
And then from an integration standpoint, more from a technology perspective, we now integrate with nine various POS systems, we also integrate with three of the primary loyalty communication platforms. So the idea is that by the time that this product shows up at the dispensary as our platform Seed shows up, it’s fully integrated, it’s ready to go. We’ve done all of that testing, we’ve kind of, if you will, operate it in the various sandboxes, to make sure that we’re getting the appropriate data. We have the right visual assets, every bit of that is done. And we’ve really built the platform architect of the platform so that’s a simple, super simple process.
Matthew: So everybody has a short attention span these days. How do you design the interactions, so they’re stimulating still simple educational, have a low drop off and then get to a purchase point or place where A, the customer’s comfortable and then they’re comfortable purchasing or making that commitment right on the display?
Matt: That’s a great question. And that’s something that…that’s probably one of the most challenging parts of creating an in-store interactive experience, you have a limited amount of time. So consuming information with inside the store is very different than if you were to consume information at our home on a mobile device, on a tablet. You know, you can kind of like curl up on the couch, you know, as if you were reading a book and as we say, drink from a fire hose. That’s not the case inside the store. Fortunately, we spend years really studying the science and psychology of the buying process and how to do that successfully inside the store. So we’ve had to curate the education, curate the content, and deliver it in a way that is very bite-size, very digestible and almost to a degree predictable. And if you can do that successfully, one, you can create this foundation of education in a way that people find to be of value. And they can, it’s almost like, what we tell our dispensary clients is that we want somebody to be at the kiosk, and you almost wanna watch them observe them and they’re nodding their head. Like, “Oh, okay, now I understand. Okay, I’ve heard of what indica is, now I understand what indica is. I’ve heard of a cannabinoid, now I really understand what that is.”
So we’ve really had to design the entire platform in a way that is super intuitive and it walks you down a path, it’s more of a journey than if we’re just a click on various pop-ups or various pages. And we fed that information to those individuals again in a very digestible, bite-sized kind of way. If done successfully, we find that it’s around 9 to 11 minutes and an individual will interact with our kiosk, including a purchase, and then the way we have designed it very naturally walks you into that purchase process. From going through the consultation, being presented with the appropriate products, you can throw that into a shopping cart. You can’t transact at our device, but it does prompt to the POS system and it would be fulfilled as if it were a traditional online order.
Matthew: Okay. So I’m sure there’s a spectrum of like super successful installations that, you know, exact fit out of the gate. And the ones that are not done the optimal way, maybe because the retail owner has some resistance about something and they’re not listening to suggestions, or there’s some other problem. Can you just kind of mention one or two of the biggest things so listeners can sidestep this?
Matt: Yeah, 100%, and you bring up a good point. I mean, what’s very interesting about the cannabis market, in general, is that, you know, as we look at the market, we’ve kind of, you know, split it in half and that’s the emerging markets versus the mature markets. Mature markets are certainly west of the Mississippi, Colorado, upper Northwest, parts of California and etc. So there’s already some, I guess, behavior and attitude within those markets that can create some challenges. A lot of the dispensary owners, a lot of the dispensary staff feel as though their customers are already well educated and that they don’t need these kinds of tools. And so they don’t embrace it in the way that we would hope. Sometimes it’s something very simple as just placement, where the kiosk is located prompting people to use it. And that is something that our customer success team has to work very, very closely with. In the emerging markets, one of the benefits is to be quite honest, is that they’re mostly medicinal markets, medical markets, and they have a waiting room. And so, you know, being in a waiting room, we’re all familiar with it, whether it’s going to the doctor or the dentist, or whatever it is, and traditionally is very unproductive time.
We’re trying to create a platform that allows that to be very productive. So the kiosk often is located in the waiting room. And we position that in a way that allows individuals, sometimes we have some clients that have several kiosks in the waiting room, because they do have people waiting for an extended period of time and it gives, you know, various people the opportunity to make that time productive, to begin that shopping process before they even step inside the dispensary. So some of the challenges are, you know, placement of the kiosk, getting the staff to really prompt people to use the kiosk and kind of getting them on board. The customer success team that we have here has been working closely with them. And also, just other kind of unique challenges.
Eastern Mississippi, most of the dispensaries are building out new facilities, renovating facilities starting from scratch. That’s a great opportunity for us to literally get the blueprints, look at the store footprint, look at how the customer flow’s going to be and how do we introduce this technology successfully? You know, west of the Mississippi, they have a building, they’ve had a building, they had a waiting room, they’re tearing down the wall of the waiting room, etc. So it’s a little bit more convoluted, but we’ve really had to work closely with those folks to make sure that they can overcome those challenges and is a successful installation for them.
Matthew: So when I put on my business owner hat or my investor hat, I’m thinking, “Okay, this sounds great. It’s probably gonna drive sales to some degree. But is there a way I can measure ROI? Or is there a benchmark on return on investment that could be helpful in thinking about here?”
Matt: Absolutely. That’s a great question as well. And so, and even to give you some background on how we’ve had to evolve the product, the platform in itself, is that we were very, very focused on education early, introducing this to the market. And we realized that we needed to be a bit more sensitive to the dispensary owner and their bottom line and the overall profitability of that business. And we’ve evolved to now really helping to take education in translating that into the profitability of the business. So for starters, self-service devices do create operational efficiencies in the store. You’re not gonna eliminate staff and you really shouldn’t purchase the Seed platform to look to eliminate staff, but can you free your staff up to be working on higher value initiatives or higher value responsibilities 100%.
So aside from driving some level of operational efficiencies, we have seen that it improves transactional velocity. We’ve also seen that it has increased the ticket size. And so those are areas of where we measure because we grab all this data, all the interactivity creates some phenomenal data. There’s a dashboard that the dispensary owner can review and gain some customer insights and etc. So we grab all that information, we feed that to them on a regular basis, and show them how embracing this platform is creating sales. If we have a retail client of ours today, that has several dispensaries where they’ve introduced our technology, they are seeing a sales lift of 54%. I just got that statistic last week from a CFO that works there. And so obviously with that kind of data, it’s proving and it’s proving out to really provide return on investment. And now we’re looking at how to package that up and share that with the rest of the marketplace. And make them understand from a business perspective, how would they can really feel comfortable about making this kind of an investment.
Matthew: I’m glad you mentioned that you don’t necessarily want to lose headcount. That’s not it. You know, most people say that’s immediately, that’s what they guess but it’s really about getting that customer journey of the customer the attention, connection, commitment, where that’s how they make the purchase, is what you want to get them to commitment as fast as possible. And to do that, you need their attention, whether that’s display or, you know, one of the sales people or the dispensary owner or, you know, a budtender. And then the connection is where you feel like, “Hey, you know, this kiosk is making me feel like it understands where my mind is at, like the questions I have, or the budtender does, and then we can go to commitment together and so it’s accelerating that process. And then depending on your age, some people see a person when they walk in the store and go, “Oh, I just wanna deal with this huge app. I mean, this kiosk.” Right?
Matt: Yes, exactly.
Matthew: First, it’s too much hassle.
Matt: Yeah, yeah, no, 100%. And that’s the thing because you’re not gonna eliminate the staff and I don’t ever think that should be the goal. But I do believe that you’re gonna always have your high touch customers and you wanna be able to properly service them, and what you’re talking about there, Matt, is really the customer experience and how to utilize technology, embrace technology, to enhance the customer experience, address the needs of the various customers, and really, that drives brand loyalty. You know, that’s how you get people to come back to your store on a consistent basis. That’s how they’ll share with their friends and family that this dispensary has really helped me feel comfortable in providing me with great products and they have technology, but they also have the people and the staff there to make this a positive experience.
Matthew: So what are some of the challenges for you personally running this business? You know, as the business owner, you’re dealing with a physical product and a service and the expectations of customers. I mean, what’s it like?
Matt: You know, so, this is the third business that I’ve been partnered and the second I’ve found, and this is by far the hardest business I’ve ever built. I mean, all the, you know, I don’t need to get into all the facts as it relates to it not being legal on a federal level, I think most people understand how that creates its own unique challenges. For us, you know, as you go to market, right, every single state is different. And so we’ve had to really look at every single state, understand the compliance for every single state, make sure that our product fits appropriately. We’ve actually had to turn off states as we would say, Louisiana, Connecticut, Minnesota, those are states that the compliance in those states are so challenging that introducing our kind of a platform would be so difficult that it would probably not make sense, but having to really look at every single state as a different market and address that market differently and create different messaging and approach it, has been a big problem. You know, that’s something that definitely gets in the way of being able to scale, to move fast and certainly been a big challenge.
You know, the other part is getting some of the more mature markets that have already have infrastructure in place to understand the importance of technology and how that can benefit them. And in really getting them to listen and learn, and that’s been a bit of a challenge. But I would definitely say, you know, having to treat every single state as if it were its own individualized market is a huge challenge.
Matthew: You know, when I think about the business here, and specifically I think about the movie, Steven Spielberg movie “Minority Report,” and how Tom Cruise switches eyeballs with another guy and then he walks around a mall and the mall thinks he’s the other guy because it’s scanning his retina and giving him customized ads as he walks around the mall. Do you remember that?
Matt: Totally. It’s always been the go-to, for instance, I’ve been in digital for probably 12 years now interactivity, and everybody goes back to that “Minority Report.” So, I know exactly what you mean.
Matthew: And so, you know, I used to think, well, you know, you don’t wanna give your retinal scan for anything because then that digital signature is in a database somewhere can get hacked. But now I think these cameras probably can scan your retina remotely. I mean, it’s creepy in a big way. But that in some ways, it’s like, man, the ability to dial in information about you as you’re approaching, you know, about your age with people that kind of looked like you in the past liked and so it gets much closer to getting an optimal display experience. I guess, I mean, you can’t get one without the other. You can’t get the creepiness without like the wow.
Matt: I agree. You know, working with the various dispensary owners and being a little bit concerned about people’s privacy and where do you wanna be careful about not crossing that line, oddly enough, most dispensary owners, their feedback has been that you’ve given up your right to privacy the second you step into the dispensary. There’s cameras everywhere. So let’s start with that. If you’re in a medical market, there’s an intake process by where they clearly know who you are, that you’re there, how often you’ll be, you know, you’re going to that dispensary, exactly what you’re buying, and etc. So I think most folks need to probably, you know, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, get comfortable with the fact that they are kind of to a degree giving up their right of privacy. But at the same time, I think there is a benefit to it, right? And so really getting an understanding of who these customers are, what’s important to them, our platform, you know, specifically, you can begin the engagement and interactive process in two various ways.
So as we do integrate with the loyalty communication platforms, the Spring Biggs of the world or the Baker’s of the world, you can immediately log into the platform. And so just with putting in your phone number, it may welcome you back. And it already knows who you are, so it knows you’re there, it knows that you’re back and knows what you purchased last time. But if you haven’t signed up for one of the loyalty platforms, we do ask some quick frontside demographics. And that starts to make us, help us understand a little bit more about who you are, what bucket, if you will, you might fall into. And that becomes very important for the dispensary to understand who’s coming into their store, what are the things that they’re looking for, what’s important to them from an educational standpoint, what products are they reviewing and etc. So yeah, it’s a creepiness thing, I totally agree with you. Personally, where I’m at as an individual is that I’m pretty certain that everything and every move I’m making is being watched, you know, a digital platform, a digital footprint is being made with my every move. I’ve just come to embrace it. So it’s unique.
Matthew: What other choice do you have? Right, I’ve come to agree with you.
Matt: Yeah, exactly it.
Matthew: So is there an opportunity here for Seed customers to then, you know, get kind of anonymized data on what’s working for your other Seed customers so they can kind of share information, and, you know, adopt best practices from other dispensaries or you to kind of act as the curator there and just kind of tell them like, “We’ve seen this work. We’ve seen this work,” or what happens?
Matt: Absolutely. Well, yes. You know, part of our vision and strategically our goals are, is the data play as they say? And yes, we’re capturing, we’re harvesting a tremendous amount of great data. We have kind of put that, I would say, on the back burner. The only reason I say I put on the back burner is because we need to be so laser-focused on solving for the operator, the dispensary owner and solving for the customer that the data piece to a degree has been a little bit secondary. But yes, on the product roadmap. Well, for starters, the dispensaries, they receive a dashboard, right? So they do get analytics and insights. Down the roadways, we’d actually like to help summarize the actual analysis around that and create summaries for them and give them insights as we see from the activity that’s happening within their source. But yes, if you’re a, say, you know, you’re a California entity and you’re looking to get into the Ohio market, you could, you know, aside from some of the other various data platforms, you could come to us and say, “Hey, can you give me some insights? So what’s going on in the Ohio market, we’re looking to make some investments there.” So 100%, you know, the data that’s there will be leveraged appropriately for our clients.
Matthew: Man, I’d like to ask a few personal development questions to help listeners get a better sense of who you are.
Matthew: Is there a book that’s had a big impact on your life or your way of thinking that you’d like to share?
Matt: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, a lot of people, most of the companies that I’ve been involved in and owned have been technology companies, everybody said, “You must be a tech guy.” And I’m like, “I’m really not a tech guy. I’m actually very deficient when it comes to technology. I’m a business nerd.” And there is a book that’s called “Big Bang Disruption.” And it really talks about how businesses can evolve, grow in the age of innovation and how businesses can look very, very different. I mean, we’re seeing this on the forefront now in a way that we’ve never have before. And, you know, whether or not I’m a fan of it is a different conversation. But, you know, just these influencers, that all they have is a phone, and the opportunity to be able to take the pictures of themselves at various restaurants or hotels or destinations. And utilize that and monetize that in a way, it’s very interesting comparatively how you used to build businesses back in the day and “Big Bang Disruption” really gets into how businesses can operate differently. And that’s something that I look to, for example, Seed is a SaaS solution. And so, there’s a reoccurring revenue model there. We build around an annualized basis.
One of the things we eliminate when we do that is receivables, accounts receivables. That’s something that all my prior businesses had, it was something that we had to put stuff on it, we had to have insurance around it, we had to have, you know, something we needed to focus on. And in the age of innovation as you evolve and introduce new businesses, you can eliminate some of the traditional components of a normal business, and that’s a book that I’ve now read several times, I go back to and it inspires me as we architect this organization, as we build this business, I told my engineering team, “I do not wanna have to add a tech support person for every 25 customers. To me, that’s an engineering failure. How do we architect it with really thinking through that we don’t need to add tech support people for every 25 customers? Let’s design it in a way that’s intuitive. Let’s design it in a way that it works and tech support is not needed.” And the “Big Bang Disruption” really kind of gets into that. How can your business look and smell different than traditional businesses, the ’70s, the ’80s, and even the ’90s?
Matthew: That’s great. I haven’t heard of that book. I’ll check that out.
Matt: Yeah, definitely.
Matthew: Is there a tool that you and your team use and consider valuable to your productivity that you’d like to share?
Matt: So there is a very unique tool that we do utilize, and I had the fortune of being a part of a personal and professional development group called 10X CEO for about four or five years. It’s really about accelerating development, accelerated effectiveness on a quarterly basis, I got together with a coach, an executive coach, as well as three to four peers. And there was a tool that came out of that process called an X-ray. And it does exactly that. It’s a document that you utilize to X-ray your business, it forces you to really break down all functional areas of the business and measure your key initiatives. Where are you at? You know, you rate them using colors? And are they, you know, in a good spot? Are they in a bad spot? It forces you to measure all of your processes. It forces you to measure your team and grade your team on a quarterly basis. And then really identify what are the things that are creating challenges? What are the obstacles that you’re facing? And so aside from just having to, from a department heads perspective, or a functional area head perspective, sitting down and really writing those things down and having that provide some honest feedback for yourself, then you share it with the peers, and each of us share it on a quarterly basis with the various functional areas of the business and those department heads.
And you have to have thick skin, you have to show up with thick skin, you need to be prepared to, you know, I don’t want to say defend, but discuss where you’re at, where things are at, where things are going and that’s been a phenomenal tool for us that’s been very unique. And I’ve seen it to really have some great effect on the business.
Matthew: What’s one thought you have that most people would disagree with you on? This is a Peter Thiel question.
Matt: I would say that people used to disagree with me on this for several years and it’s not so much the case and if it’s okay, I’ll share it, expose a little bit more about the personal side of myself, but I am born and raised in Boston. I am a huge sports fan. And for years I was, you know, the constant debate on whether or not, you know, the Patriots are the greatest team of all time, not just the, you know, not just in football. I’m talking about every single sport that’s out there. So, you know, for years people used to disagree and argue with me and, you know, would be this team, that team and etc. But in the last couple years, that arguments have been subsided because they just continue to succeed. And so it’s not something that somebody…it’s more so people like to just disagree with me for the sake of disagreeing with me because everybody’s sick of the Patriots and their success.
Matthew: Yeah, I think it would be a good idea if you just like went to like Bryant Park or something in New York City, just sat down on a chair and put up a sign that said, “The Patriots are the best football team ever, disagree with me?”
Matt: Yeah, you gotta change my mind, right?
Matthew: Yeah, change my mind.
Matthew: Good, good. Well, man, as we close, how can listeners find out more about Seed and connect with you?
Matt: Sure. For starters, our website is, you know, www.getseed.io. And I love connecting with people. That’s a very important part of being active in this industry, I’m very serious about creating a network. So, anybody who wanted to email me directly and ask me questions, if I could be helpful, it’s [email protected] I’m, of course, on LinkedIn, so just search me up and connect and anything I can do to help with anybody. This is an industry that I find to be very, very unique and very refreshing in a lot of ways. And I’ve had a lot of people helping me over these last couple of years. So if I can help out anybody else, whether that learning more about our product, or just in general about, you know, technology in the cannabis space, I’m happy to do so.
Matthew: Well, thanks for that, Matt, that’s very generous. And good luck to you in the rest of 2019. This is a really interesting business model, and I’m curious to see how it evolves.
Matt: Hey, thanks so much, Matt. I appreciate your time today and thanks for inviting me on.
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