Pierce Aerospace: Becoming a key player in drone technology and regulation

Pierce Aerospace: Becoming a key player in drone technology and regulation

Drone technology is rapidly advancing in the ways in which it is used. In my conversation with Aaron Pierce, from Pierce Aerospace, he shares how he got started with drone technology, and the pivots Pirce Aerospace has had from its start as a digital logbook, to now developing remote ID for drones. With their technology, drones over half of a pound can be remotely identified, as is required by the FAA, making it as easy as possible for users to be compliant. 

Pierce Aerospace is currently made up of a team of 5 employees and a crew of 10 contractors, and within the next 2 years, Aaron expects that to grow. He also shares his expectations of where the industry will go over the next 2 years, as well as possible regulations that will be put in place as drone usage continues to expand. 

Topics in this episode

  • How competition is different within this industry

  • The value of protecting data, as opposed to selling it

  • Thinking of their product as a utility, and how that affects market strategy

  • The process of getting feedback from a defense customer

  • What bootstrapping allows you to do 

  • The use of drone technology for first responders, outside the US

  • Book recommendation: Slicing Pie, by Mike Moyer https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615700624/

DeliverEnd: Making deliveries safer for marketplace buyers and sellers

DeliverEnd: Making deliveries safer for marketplace buyers and sellers

DeliverEnd makes marketplace platforms, like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, a lot safer and more convenient for the buyer and seller. In my conversation with Nick Turner, the Founder and CEO, he shares the personal experience a close friend had that motivated him to make these exchanges safer. DeliverEnd works to replace the in-person meet-up that usually takes place between a buyer and seller, and instead the transaction takes place with a live video chat, and the use of drivers to deliver the product. 

Content warning: this episode contains descriptions of events around violence, traumatic experiences, and death, which some readers may find triggering. 

Topics in this episode

  • Using gig economy to contract the work 

  • 3 levels of verification

  • Launch of the app

  • Launch strategies in new markets

  • Looking toward partnerships with large entities in the market

  • Applications for the app and other kinds of deliveries, outside of marketplace platforms

  • Why DeliverEnd is starting in the marketplace, as opposed to going with a B2B strategy that could possibly be more profitable

RICS Software Inc: Overcoming obvious challenges and looking ahead to the future

RICS Software Inc: Overcoming obvious challenges and looking ahead to the future

RICS Software Inc. was originally founded in 1982 in Iowa in order to help with inventory management, and now includes software solutions for retailers and brands. In my conversation with CEO, Jason Becker, he details the transformation RICS software took from its original development, through new ownership and management, to its current status. 

“I very much took an inward look at the business and it took me a while to get my feet under me to understand those dynamics. When I say a while, I mean 12-18 months. When I landed, we didn’t make any immediate knee-jerk changes. I studied the business and studied the market to try to really understand it at a level that would enable us and our management team to make the next decisions count in a big way.

— Jason Becker

Jason shares the status of RICS when he joined the company in 2007; a team was built to innovate the product, the product was in place, and the subscription model was starting to take hold, however, the company was not profitable. Over a period of 12-18 months, he spent a lot of time and investment in determining the role of the product, the market, and how to ensure that any changes made, were done efficiently and with great impact. He details current status, and what’s to come for RICS. 

Topics in this episode

  • The most important things they do for their clients

  • Thinking about market/product fit, as opposed to product/market fit

  • How software like RICS is bought and sold in the market

  • The specific marketing difficulties for their product 

  • “Niching down” and delivering value to that category 

  • The future of networking connectivity they can provide for their clients 

  • Why looking at their competitors is not a beneficial strategy 

  • Some of the lessons he has learned through the course of being the CEO at RICS

Better: Going beyond pretty things to deliver a better customer experience

Better: Going beyond pretty things to deliver a better customer experience

Better works with teams to design better customer experiences. Founder Vincent Hunt shares how his 23 years in the industry set him up with the knowledge and skills he needed to then go on to help other companies. Vincent illustrates the three main avenues through which they help their partners: to help empower teams to make better design decisions as it pertains to the customer experience, strengthen the partnerships between them and their partners, and to delight customers.

And at its core, Better serves to help its partners go beyond pretty things, to go above what the public sees, and to determine what kind of design is really going on within the culture and organization, in order to keep organizations from breaking their promises to their partners.

Topics in this episode

  • Differences between US and international companies in regards to customer experiences

  • Defining customer experience, and what falls within that category

  • Conversations with a client in the early stages to understand their current status

  • The importance of examining internal processes as a starting point

  • Customer experience ecosystem

  • Possibility thinking versus competition thinking

  • How to make more informed design decisions 

Smart Scale Consulting: Helping You Find What Makes Your Company Different, and Selling That to Buyers

Smart Scale Consulting: Helping You Find What Makes Your Company Different, and Selling That to Buyers

In this episode, I talk with Jeanette Renshaw of Smart Scale Consulting. This firm specializes in working with early-stage, pre-series E, companies that are aware they could use sales help, and they want to make sure they know how to translate their funding appropriately. Jeanette works with each company in a unique way that is structured to fit the company and meet them where they are in the process. 

“The more you can enable people to self-buy, self-teach, self-learn, self-use, the easier it is for them to buy, the less time they have to give, and the more likely they are to try and adopt your product. And you can even create what they’re looking for in the market because they might not have tried any of them. So while they’re waiting for demos from other companies, they’re clicking around in your stuff.

— Jeanette Renshaw

I am excited to have Jeanette as a guest and talk with her about how she approaches the competition for the companies she works with. We have a detailed conversation about the process of figuring out where a company is, and how to identify and use their competitive advantages, and she uses Startup Competitors as an example of how to go through that process. 

Topics in this episode

  • Different categories of differentiation from competitors

  • Why some differentiators need to be fixed

  • Approaching the marketplace a company fits within

  • Why did you get into this?

  • Describing your company in one sentence

  • Various personas buying the same offering

  • The relative importance of pricing and pricing model 

  • Pricing is not rigid, but also should not be ever-changing