Miami Tech Update: Ryan White from Werdamouth @werdamouth1

Interview with Ryan White from Werdamouth, the easiest way to refer or request business referrals.

Episode Transcription

Miami Tech Update welcome to another show where we talk about or interview people about what’s happening actually although I never started sorry about that tech update where we interview entrepreneurs of Miami where Miami is booming in tech what’s happening and our guest today is Ryan white he’s from Warner mouth where it’s the easiest way to refer or request business referrals Ryan welcome to the Miami tech update Thank You Santiago it’s a pleasure and an opportunity to be speaking with you today I appreciate you taking me for this calls I would love to you know more information yes so I met Ryan at a networking meeting called refresh Miami I think was last year and obviously when go networking meetings you start to exchange business cards and you know there’s some people that don’t have a that had business card sometimes they exchanged their phone numbers or they just say hey you know text me whatever and Ryan has found a easier way I’m business cards I don’t think it’s obsolete but anyways Ryan tell us a little bit about word of mouth and why is it so vital okay great thank you yes and I love the way you phrase that wise warned about dying all right it is exactly yeah we all know the benefit of worried about them worried about is about spreading opportunities and getting advice from trusted friends on businesses and services so that’s actually the objective or company so the business card aspect is just one of the ways in which we exchange information between contacts so we wanted to make that process a lot simpler and but the real purpose of word about is the referrals we wanted to create a way for it to make it easier for businesses and customers to make and request referrals so the business card spectres provided through the app to make it easier for you to see not only what your contacts do but an easy way for you to access their information request referrals and for information to other people seeking their services so the big idea is to create a service and make it easy for people to network and exchange the roles now to tell us your your aha moment when did you you know decide to to create this app okay great and it’s actually a great story because I mean is it’s funny actually I mean but I think I think the founders of Instagram saying that I don’t you find your big idea it seemed like every idea that you previously had in some way connects to this so and I have several stories about how I did across this idea but I mean I think that the most evident one was was that for 10 years I was in the insurance industry where I was working as an account executive for caldera analytics where we did data and consulting for insurance companies so after leaving the company and I was networking and a lot of providing consulting services but I mean the challenge was there for a lot of the people who referred me they thought that I sold insurance which wasn’t the case right and so the after that the main aha moment was one of my friends was actually a connector he realized which the challenge I was having so okay let me update your information in my contacts so instead of this putting account executive or consulting for insurance purposes we’re going to change this up differently we’re going to put the industry that you’re in you’re going to do the services that you provide and the people that you provide those services to and I was like okay and that’s a very efficient way of doing it and and I think that was the honorable ended well because I was like okay what if everyone classified their information that way well it would make it a lot easier to know what the people in your contacts do it makes it a lot easier for you to refer them and it make it a lot easier for the requests for us regarding their industry so that’s actually where the idea started and it developed from there yeah and then something that I mean obviously that I go to a business means a lot I’m a business card fan I mean obviously people there’s you know 20 year olds that don’t do that anymore they’ll just say just yeah here’s my phone number or just text me now do you see this app geared more to younger people like what what feedback have you got in have you getting some respect from like older crowds like me like what have you seen so far well it’s both I mean it’s actually been great the response that I’ve got because I mean what I actually like about this project is that it appeals to all types right so for example we actually gathered elements of different social networks so in the case of older people I mean we were awesome Millennials and the up and up to baby boomers that we still exchange business cards a lot of people use LinkedIn I mean I don’t actually know as well where a lot of people exchange Willington information we also found that a lot of people in substitute of um business cards and LinkedIn are also using Instagram and that’s actually one of the most popular for Millennials down to Generation Z with their exchanges Instagram information so the challenges of course is that Instagram is not designed for business but that’s what a lot of people use because that’s where they advertise their services that’s where they connect with people and you know the benefit of having followers so what we’re actually doing we don’t expect that we’re going to replace business cards but we wanted to provide an alternative that is digital that is more efficient than LinkedIn more designed for business than Instagram and actually increased awareness of the people networking to have a way to have the information of their contacts readily available have a clear entity as what they do and how they add value to their network so I think a lot of people resonate with resonate with that and like okay great now I can know the people in my contacts who does this they’re in and I saw them and where they’re located so it makes it a lot easier so I mean I I didn’t work a lot of it we’ve met a lot at several events I have currently over 500 business cards Santiago in my in my in my backpack right now and so for those business cards I think it’s great but I’ll probably never have time to enter all that information and even when I do they’re all you know sorted according to different titles and industries so it’s not really organized so I think that what word-of-mouth does that wasn’t previously available is provide an organized way of managing your contacts see what they do exchanging information on on one press yeah you know it’s interesting you say but Instagram because before Instagram it was Twitter and then use like oh yeah about that me that became pop of it and of course LinkedIn we’ve been talking about this off the air about like these past couple of years like what trends have you seen you know I’m have been used but have not worked we talked about the QR codes and we’re now seeing that little chip that you they use like the NFC tell me a little bit about what you’ve seen this past couple years that yeah okay great so I mean I think I think the most and and and normally they give only their age by telling me but normally when I talk to people who were compared with previous digital format they’ll talk about bump right I don’t know if you remember bump bump was one of the first but didn’t last it was but I mean yeah well I mean there were several challenges associated company first of all it was enabled so the phone had to have to you had to have the skills or later due to the transfer the information and I seem so and you understand that technology is all about making the process easier so while bump was probably more efficient because you were contact you were transferring contacts to read it wasn’t easier than exchanging a business card only some people weren’t able to do it and in many cases people were a technology they were in technology savvy and they probably would have challenges okay you know what it’s just a lot easier for me to give you my business card we don’t have to go through this awkward process and it won’t break the flow of the conversation so I think that’s one of the issues why bump wasn’t as successful and I think I find that is actually the issue that is transferred for a lot of the other technological processes of transferring information because I mean if you look at what is currently available so the next step is the bump was actually QR codes and QR codes are pretty popular in Japan and other countries where it’s all about technology and it’s all about having the the most updated with your transferring information available but I mean QR codes haven’t caught on in America Western world as well and I mean for many reasons that one of which is that I mean and if he tends to be a sorry QR codes tends to be a little bit challenging because you have to access the camera you have to scan so as we’ve seen I mean snapchat was actually one of the first to to really publicize the QR code feature but what they actually found is that people were using user names and the same for Instagram I mean Instagram started off with user names they literally QR codes available also trainers popular way of adding yeah also Twitter and LinkedIn I mean they all have they all have QR codes but I mean if you add is adding someone on LinkedIn right now so most people that I found and this magnitude of course for LinkedIn it’s definitely a lot more certified names or contacts than it is by QR codes and definite agreement I’ve had QR codes and enabled on my Instagram put it up and whatever option names I have not been as well I have not been a QR code no one’s asked me to show my cute coat so exactly exactly I mean it just hasn’t caught on in the US and it’s not that it’s not that easy way it’s just that they have various reasons why it hasn’t caught in America maybe it’s cultural maybe it’s because it seems geeky or maybe it’s just too difficult but and I’ve seen challenges with it as well because I mean I’ve seen many cases where I’ve actually tried to use QR codes for LinkedIn and it doesn’t scan the camera is not picking it up and it and it actually changes the face of the conversation so what we want is a way for people to connect seamlessly that doesn’t take away from the network so we don’t want the networking to be about the way that you’re exchanging information we just want a way to connect no I’m so that’s one of it also besides the QR code I’ve seen this lately and then we spoke about this of course we’ve talked a lot and put this interesting subject the whole NFC thing obviously I thought it was pretty like cool but then you were telling me this is before oh yeah NFC is the texture so maybe you might already know what NFC means but it’s near field communication so NFC is a great way of transmitting information as well but I mean what I have found I mean with other technology other other technologies that have tried to incorporate FC is it results in a lot of the similar issues that Bluetooth has so NFC I think one of the first cases of NFC card becoming available was around 2012 where one company was like okay we’re going to create a card that is NFC so the idea is we’ll just have one card don’t have to print 500 cards but anyone who has an NFC phone enabled would be able to bring their device within contact of the NFC card and they would be able to transfer the information and I mean it’s a pretty nifty procedure I mean it’s it’s really cool it’s a conversation piece but I think one of the challenges why it wasn’t successful in the past and the challenge is right not be successful outside of people who are really into that stuff for now is the same challenge I mean most people do not know what it is they don’t know if their phone has NFC enabled it’s also a feature that you have to turn on so even in the case of Miami I have pretty tech headphones that have NFC communication and most of the time I actually use the Bluetooth because I don’t know how to access a great the NFC some of the times and I don’t like leave that turned on because I mean with NFC it’s just like bluetooth is what you leave it turned on anything that is on that frequency can pick up with it so I think in terms of the idea it’s really cool but I really don’t see becoming a standard way of transformation that’s going to replace that there’s no scar yeah which along the lines of that it’s Apple pay which is pretty much the same technology and it’s seen not many people use it I mean I’ve talked to like store clerks and some cashiers and they say like I gotta tell ya before people use it maybe even less oh yeah I mean and well I actually use Apple pay and I mean so I think that’s one of the things that technology does work well which is payment but as you said again it’s really gonna be the people who are the most technically oriented that are going to be using those services and it also involves incorporating a lot of other safety features which might create issues in other way of exchanging information so for example for Apple pay I use it at the supermarket a lot and it requires not only do I hold the device close to the LSU heater but I mean for security purposes it also requires face recognition so if you don’t have a phone that has those capabilities readily available that’s already a challenge and you know people have you know issues regarding privacy so I’m going to use that as a way of transferring information at work in advance then you’re gonna find that like cool tools it’s going to become a conversation in itself rather than a way of exchanging information so it’s really cool if you’re at a tech conference and you want to talk about the way that you exchange information but for most people we just want to exchange information yeah exactly and that’s something that I kind of kind of think about and like you know back to bump it’s kind of similar to NFC I think bump it back in the day you were yeah you’re you were only allowed to deal with Apple users I don’t think you didn’t whether with the Android so it wasn’t cause platform either oh yeah I mean we don’t want to I mean for Marta Mouse we don’t want to take the the catch for the service or the benefit of service about the way that listings so I mean for example we’re using user name that we’re using email address and telephone numbers and our discovery option but I mean it’s what we met objective is to get people to transfer information digitally so whatever is easy and seamless process for you to do that that’s what we’re gonna integrate so I mean NFC the future we could add we could add to our codes as well but we just didn’t think that those were the most likely options and that’s not it’s not the way that we saw people exchanging information at networking event so we wanted to create almost people using names LinkedIn and email addresses or or user names and we’re like okay those are the options that we’re going to rule out on and if we have requests for others integration options that will do that but I mean as I said it’s really not just about the exchanging of the business card information it’s for the purpose so we’re making it easy to exchange information to have your contacts so it’s easy and it’s efficient and it’s streamlined that you’re more likely to do it and then if there’s a purpose to do it as well he’s like okay why are we in information and it’s for the purpose of knowing what to do in the case that I refer a request for referral as you know we were talking about before you know there is some other competitors not too many as far as we can tell there has been some response from Silicon Valley investors and also Silicon Valley you know what you know from your and what you know is there a high interest from investors or from Silicon Valley from your end oh well I mean I’m on both sides so I think the funny thing about it is that actually so when you say interest from Silicon Valley that’s led to this question does that mean when I first had the idea which was in 2018 I wanted a validation right so I went out to check crunch and I’ve been with investors and with other people in industry and they all love the idea but of course the issue is that I’m not the first to try to do this so while they’re only interested in like yeah because if you really look at it Yelp was actually the idea Orange idea for Yelp was for people to provide a service where they would be able to request and make referrals and they realized that a lot of people would use more than that and just list is the same idea as well so I mean it’s all about the execution right so they’re like ok yeah we love the idea we think it works we think it’s needed but we want to see how you can execute whether you can make it successful so I actually had a conversation with a venture capitalist who was so interested I mean he saw the t-shirt he saw the baby like a word of mouth I like that what’s that about and so we talked about it like yeah I mean I really love it but you’re gonna have to get people to download your app yes so so I mean that’s the biggest issue I mean it’s like great as a lot of them investors and people in the last you do think it’s a great idea they just want to see how we execute and how people use it yeah which a lot of managers oh I want to see something going on already like they want to see your user base do you have a hundred thousand users before I talk to you exactly exactly exactly so I mean it’s not one of those services that will get investment just on the idea alone and you really have to execute it really have to show where you’re providing users that are engaged and getting value now of course your app launched in March of this year obviously been a couple months have you tweaked it since then like what changes have you made or exactly so I mean so the the March launch was a soft launch and there was no big hoorah around it that we posted the launch on Instagram to her followers on Facebook and of course I was at a lot of things working events so based on that I mean it’s been awkward about no advertising so we probably grew to about 2,000 users but the most important part about that was actually getting feedback so I mean I got a lot of feedback from people at networking events I got first-hand basis I mean for example with relatively fresh on how use it how you log in what the process is like or you could see the benefit the areas that you weren’t getting the benefit so I mean I think the feedback from the from the launch was actually the most valuable part of the procedure so right now we’re gearing up for our next update which would be version 1.5 and I think I’ve really invested in this update because I mean I think this is where we’re going to bring the most significant features that are going to provide value to people so first of all at the digital business card well we’re actually hoping to make a lot of traction in terms of this little business card because I think that it’s actually going to be the the easiest way and I’m saying this you get way available digitally right now to send your information because I mean one of the challenges that people do have with the digital business card transactions even with the t’car I mean NFC is a little bit different because that uses VSS but for all the other networks in digital business cards one of the key requirements of using their services what’s the other person needed to have the app right or they need to go to a website so I spoke up for developers of like okay can we bypass that process can we just have them send the business card as a text or MMS message is what yes you can do that like okay that’s what we want to do like yeah but you want people to download the app but no I want sports transferring information digitally and any way we can do that that’s what we want to do so when being transferred information and when I send you a text and you have a full business card or information there and then there’s only in to say okay how did you do that like word of mouth right yeah so so so that that’s what a key aspect some of the the latest update is that you’re going to be able to send your business cards straight to a telephone number so they don’t have to download the app they’re gonna have your information right there and it is okay Santiago Lian she’s into web development he’s into podcasting using to startups and they’ll have your contact information with no requirement to download with the app or go to a website and well like when was I out they’d be released so right now I’m pushing my developers so we’re on the last brand so it should be three weeks completion then about a week of development test development and testing so we’re hoping to have it the update in the app store by the first week of December so and and that’s just one of the many features that we’re adding so the digital business guide is there we’re also adding a group event a group feature and this was actually on a response of networking and meeting with a lot of people and networking groups because I mean I I know you you might be a part of various entrepreneurial groups as well where you all network you’re sharing contacts you’re referring to other right but you don’t have a process so we’re like okay what if we had a process within worried about that makes it a lot easier for people to do that so say for example you’re a member of a magnate or Miami networking or a Broward startup and you have a group of 200 even a thousand people that you network with you all intrapreneurs or provide services okay what if you had an easy way to see what everyone in the age of that in the next update so you’re going to be able to create a group of whoever people you do business with or you network with and I’ll be able to see you each other in the group does and the key components of your skills and industry and it makes it a lot easier for you to request and make rules what did you learn during this whole process that you did not know when you first started Oh everything I mean it’s really hard to say what I mean there’s so many things but I mean III think that the key part is about understanding a problem because I think one of the things that I’ve discovered that really makes a lot of companies that provide value to people successful is that they’re really you know set out to resolve an issue so I mean for me I didn’t originally intend to resolve the issue of referrals but I mean in attempting to understand that process and see the problems that were people having I learned so much so III got a better understanding of how people Network a better understanding of where people see value and a better understanding of creating a product that would provide value to people so I think that that’s what I learned that I wasn’t impacting inform cool when I started yeah and you know keep in mind audience that you know Ryan is not a tech guy he was he was in like the insurance industry so I mean getting into this world is quite different isn’t it oh yeah definitely and I mean it’s interesting actually and I think that’s one of the things where my perspective has changed because I mean it was funny actually I mean when I thought about it it was like okay the technology startup right so you know one of the issues you come across when you’re working with Silicon Valley investors and encounters like okay are you a tank founder but like no I’m not a tech founder but I mean in some aspects I don’t see myself as a technology father have this very low tech so I mean the purpose of technology right is really to provide value and solutions that make life easier for people so I mean while we’re doing that at the most sophisticated level which is programming and development working at a low tech level which is just providing a standard process that makes it easier for people to connect yeah and you know trying to solve a problem it’s funny not remembering I remember Miami to Miami Refresh Miami there was an event that was probably eight nine years ago and there was you know a group of guys from Gainesville they were they were trying to the same thing but just for conferences I don’t know what happened yet but it’s something that it’s a problem that I think that people are trying to figure out I think the whole business card maybe go have their problem solved um if if there’s probably a couple people out there listening to this and they want to start a start-up and they’re you know Mary has done or maybe they’re eager what would you tell okay you know I think the best way to do it is actually do it because I mean from my experiences I just walking back as I go through I’m a social ta person I do so I find that social media has actually been a diary for me of some sorts over the years and but I was afraid I mean I I had a good job and I kept open up they keep giving me more money they keep getting promoted right so I’m like okay I mean as much as I like the idea of being an entrepreneur it’s very hard to walk away from this good salary so that’s the challenge but I mean when I look back at some of the ideas that I had in the past and I talked about on social media I’ve seen companies that’s been developed based on that or like okay you know what Ryan and all this times we’re talking about it but you weren’t doing it but now you’re actually doing it right so that’s my opinion I mean I think that there is no more exhilarating experience and actually working on an idea that you want to work on yeah and that’s a execution if you have to yeah and it’s funny how Gary Vee says you know I mean I’ll tell you all my stuff because I know 98% of you won’t execute on it you know they won’t start it so you’re definitely one of the spawn percentage of people that are executing an idea and of course it takes time you know you have this idea 2018 look where yet right now you’re working on 1.5 and you’re only getting started and then you’re talking to investors already you know so that’s something that is a step where I’ve heard people talking to investors it’s hard to get money it’s very challenging but if you get things going rolling slowly but surely things will happen who is your favorite entrepreneur oh my favorite entrepreneur that’s a great question I think I have to I mean I think I mean this is probably a cliche answer but I probably would have to give it to Steve Jobs I mean I’m really amazed I mean I just read his story again recently and I look at you know his journey through Apple and Pixar and where he cell and take back and you know really went through that process I was like okay people like that you have to admire who build great companies provide great products that change the lives of people and that’s what I want to do as well if you do revisits book what is your favorite business market my favorite business blog okay that’s so I don’t do business blogs so I was every I am not a specific blog so I read a lot of stuff on medium so you know you know with me now if you go to medium the app yeah my helpful under main founders yes yes oh yeah so they provide articles for all types of blogs I have my favorite podcasts as well so I’d be of course I’m going to add your your subscription to buy a favorite contact me a podcast I do a lot I like success this is how we built how I don’t this NPR radio a lot of that stuff and I think significantly yeah the pitch for the minute yeah I do a lot of the blogs lean startup lots of lean lean startup podcast as well so I do a lot more podcast yeah which is interesting you say that because you know like Gary Vee says adios I prefer listening to podcast and the books I mean I read books don’t get me wrong but podcasts or audio feels like there’s more there’s just more flavor to it yeah which we spoke about TechCrunch Franklin is actually a great new site to talk about you know like to see startups or what’s been invested you know it’s probably the like the best one for TechCrunch yeah so 11 I do follow TechCrunch and I do follow their blogs with little beads and there’s stuff on Twitter so I do follow that and it gives you an idea of what’s popular and what string yeah I also try to stay focused because I mean a lot of the strategies and opportunities that working Silicon Valley don’t necessarily work here so but it’s great I mean seeing all these new startups coming out and getting funded and taking off so I mean it really really gives you an idea before below um one more thing before we head out obviously can explain obviously you go to a lot of networking means in Miami especially technology have you seen yeah what have you seen so far with Miami tech oh no I have really excited about what’s happened because I mean one of the things that a lot of people have talked about is that Miami there is I mean we definitely know there’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of wealth here but uh it was in mostly real estate entertainment food and hospitality not so much in tech right so I mean going around to these networking events one of the best parts of the experience is um you know meeting with other founders or working on their is trying to develop great companies and and and find the resolve a problem that you know provide solutions for a lot of people and I’m really excited about that so I mean I really don’t have a previous idea of what the tech life was before the past four years when I started working on this but from what I’ve heard from a lot of people who are in the industrial than industries a lot of times they’re very excited about the growth they’re excited about the things that people are working on and we do think there’s a lot of opportunity and some some of the other founders have been as well for a possible next unicorn to come out of here within the next two years yeah definitely the Miami tech scene has grown for the past well 10 years well I mean when I first started afresh Miami was the only tech meeting in town and there was about 50 people a lot now yes a lot now there’s a lot of like refresh Miami clones I call it you know there’s a lot of great a lot of great networking events out there right now what am I having so refresh is one of the one of the my favorite definitely I’m also I got tech Beach I don’t know if you’ve been to any of their events right now yeah it’s run out of Miami Beach is normally very well organized great content so and there’s a lot of good a lot of great events that are happening right now so I mean even right now in my networks can schedule I normally do two to three events a week when possible there’s also 1 million cups which just started a year ago I think they had a session this morning where they have two startups twice they’re two startups present at idea Center twice a month so I thought that could be a great resource as well ready for some random questions sure what is your favorite Starbucks drink I like the matcha latte with no milk when’s a good time actually woken up yeah looking the most good yeah I forgot about that one in green when is a good time to put up your Christmas tree I would say after Thanksgiving I agree I think the Friday after and what is the worst pet to have worst pet I think it was the worst probably a donkey that’s a good one wow that came out of left field I didn’t see that happen yeah Ryan what is the best way to reach you and to find out more about word of mouth okay great so I mean you can follow us on Instagram a word about that’s how I get in touch with you Santa yeah also I mean I manage the account myself that’s a great way to reach contact but the ideal best way to have all my information is actually to connect with me on word amount because then not only would I be able to refer you to other people who might be interested in the services that you provide or requesting services I provide but you also have all my contact information all my social media handles and direct access so I mean that’s the best but I mean other than unworried about the best way is Instagram Instagram and the handle is what word of mouth that’s it wear them out wvr da mo wear them out there you have it to find out about more about word of mouth you go to the Instagram or go to word of mouth comm you found out about this whole business exchange I think it’s very important because I think I’ve been seeing less people carrying business cards or they forgot but I think Ryan microcode on this one because it’s just you know I’m still business card guy I go to spend 5 10 bucks I can afford it oh yeah I know most people can but I mean do you really walk around at business cards and are people in a keep your business card so I didn’t want to look like my best book that I’ve been putting at networking event is you’re walking around it’s like always at the end of the conversation there’s always at least two or three people I don’t know if you’ve heard this before we say oh I just went out of business cards I don’t have it with me and I’ll just tell them I’m like Ryan was like worried about have business cards you can send by text so it’s in our next update so download word about right now yeah yeah then yeah there’s no there’s no excuse I think I think we’re about there’s something going there for sure go mouths calm from our information or Instagram calm for us that’s word of mouth Ryan any closing words and I just want to thank you so much for this opportunity sent yeah and I look forward to meeting in exactly and you could you know if you go to any money me take meeting or club Ryan most likely we’ll be there there’s 80% chance he’ll be there yes and in the word about sure yes yes he always wears it he wears it when he goes to bed Ryan I have several yeah I know yeah I mean you’re like work Zuckerberg that well Steve Jobs weren’t like the same thing every day so and and also uh Mark Zuckerberg but he did it because he wanted less problems they wanted a safe occasion it’s one less decision I’m always in style anyways Ryan I appreciate you coming on to the Miami tech update okay thank you I appreciate it have a great day