TTA01: Mike Mahony – Your Virtual CTO

TNR62-See Something, Say Something

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Episode 1: Mike Mahony

Mike Mahony is on the hot seat today. Mike has been working as a technology expert for more than 30 years and has held every position possible from programmer to Chief Technology Officer. He currently heads up The Web Scientists, a digital agency, and is the CEO of Your Virtual CTO. In 2006,, Mike built a new, innovative technology platform for the restaurant delivery industry – and GrubHub purchased his client for $85 million in large part to obtain that platform. Known to his clients as the most user-friendly technologist on the planet (thanks to his ability to translate technical issues into plain English), Mike is married and has 4 children.

Mike discusses why his company, Your Virtual CTO, is the only technology company that can increase both revenue and profit for every business it works with. He explains the proprietary nature of their services and why they get results. Mike tells you how he can solve any of the technical pains you are experiencing in your business and even suggests that getting involved early means you avoid those technical issues completely.

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Below is a link to an unedited transcript of this episode. We provide this as a convenience to our listeners, but we must warn you that this transcript was created automatically by While the transcription is nearly perfect, there will be some small errors that we did not correct.

Michael J. Mahony 0:01

Most companies today lack solid technology leadership. In this episode, you're going to find out why it's extremely important to have someone with technological skills at the helm.

Thank you for coming back and listening to the technology Alchemist. Our sponsor is your virtual CTO. Your virtual CTO is a technology services company specializing and increasing your revenue and profit. Through a close examination of your technology engine. Your virtual CTO offers exclusive coaching for business leaders. That is the only business coaching program that includes technology as part of the program. If you want to learn how you can make more money by tuning up your technology engine, you can learn more at get your virtual CTO calm. Now, normally, I'm the one During the interviewing, but today, the tables are turned. And I'm going to be interviewed by Ellen malko more. So thanks for being here. Ellen.

Ellen Melko-Moore 1:06

Thank you for having me, Mike.

Michael J. Mahony 1:08

So how are you today?

Ellen Melko-Moore 1:10

I am. Well, I'm excited. This is going to be fine. As you know, you know, I know I know all the secrets, you know, that y'all keep in how you guys? Amazing, amazing job. And when I met Mike it was he was the first person I ever met that really talked about technology, making people money, instead of costing people money. So anyway,

that's our focus, or Yeah, exactly focus.

So should I should I go ahead and tell tell the folks at home who you are

Michael J. Mahony 1:38

sure, why don't you go ahead and do that.

Ellen Melko-Moore 1:40

All right. Well, Mike, Michael Mahoney has been working as a technology expert. For more than 30 years, he's held every possible position from programmer to Chief Technology Officer. He currently heads up the web scientists, a digital agency, and he's the CEO of your virtual CTO in 2006. Mike built a new innovative technology platform for the restaurant delivery industry. And grubhub wound up purchasing his client for 85 million in a large part to obtain that platform that Mike created, known to his clients is the most user friendly technologist on the planet, thanks to his ability to translate technical issues into plain English. Mike is married and has four children. So welcome, Mike.

Michael J. Mahony 2:27

Thank you, Ellen.

Ellen Melko-Moore 2:29

Alright, so we're gonna just get right into it. Let's let's talk about what is it? What is a virtual CTO? What is your virtual CTO?

Michael J. Mahony 2:37

Well, we get asked that question a lot. And the first thing that people seem to never understand is that the term CTO What does that mean? And that's a chief technology officer. And the major difference that's the second question people ask is what's a seat Chief Technology Officer versus a Chief Information Officer. And the major difference is that a CTO presents disruption strategy for the technology while a CIO executes that strategy. So I created your virtual CTO as a CTO on demand service. So companies who don't necessarily have the funding for a full time CEO, CTO, which can be in the 200 to 300,000 a year salary range, they hire me. And it's kind of like the term fractional CTO is another one that gets thrown around. And so they hire me to take up a certain amount of time each month, and I plan their technology strategy for them. And the goal is to take their tech strategy and align it with their business plan. And that is one of the major flaws I see in companies that I join is they have a business plan and if they do have a technology strategic plan, the two don't match. They go in different directions. So my job is to just get that strategy going. Help them I attend meetings. I oversee their staff In some instances, I have a, I have a an offering that can get you as you know, little as you want and as much as you want. And we we take care of that for you on a monthly basis.

Ellen Melko-Moore 4:12

What is that? And I know we're getting into the details about this later, but I just have to ask what is roughly the price commitment compared to having a full time CTF?

Michael J. Mahony 4:24

Well, the lowest package that I offer is $3,000 a month, and for $3,000 a month that will get you the ability to like copy me on emails, I will, I will generate a strategy for you from the very beginning that then I can help you execute. It doesn't involve any management of your team at that point. And then it can go up as high as $10,000 a month, but at $10,000 a month. I'm pretty much in the trenches managing your projects, your staff, your hardware decisions. etc. And if you happen to have like a technology director, I guide them towards, you know, why are we doing this? And how are we going to get it done.

Ellen Melko-Moore 5:09

So it's still even at the highest end, it's a considerable considerable savings over having your own full time. CTL. So that's probably one of the reasons people choose this. Right?

Michael J. Mahony 5:21

Yeah, it's roughly, depending on the size of the company and how experienced a person they're looking for. It's anywhere from 60% less to, to half of what the actual cost would be. I've seen anywhere from a high, you know, low end to like 150,000 a year, up to $300,000 a year depending on the size of the company, staffing size, that all that all factors into it.

Ellen Melko-Moore 5:50

Okay, so I mean, really, the focus then is to spend a bit less money to get more significant results because the advantage here is that then the time technology and the business plan are willing to work together, as opposed to kind of working in opposite ends. It sounds like what you're saying,

Michael J. Mahony 6:07

is that correct? Well, yes. And if at this point in my career if someone wanted to, like they were desperate to have me as a full time employee, at this point, it would probably cost them close to 300,000 a year. plus, plus, I would want stock options, I would want some skin in the game. Because if I'm going to give up what I'm doing, and setting my own schedule, and you know, working when I want to work, and I have to now move back into the corporate arena, I want some skin in the game. So it's dramatically cheaper to do it this way. And you're getting for the price. I remember I said it was like 150,000. For that you're going to get somebody who maybe is a new newly rose to the CTO position. You're going to get somebody here has 30 years experience and as you know, you mentioned in the intro, I've done every thing I've done every position. And so when it comes down to understanding, you know the business, I get that, when it comes down to understanding the each job that each person does in the technology department, I also understand that So it puts me in a unique position because I bring to you the business knowledge of having run a multi million dollar company. And at the same time, I've been in the trenches writing the code, releasing the code working on the hardware, so you get a much what's the word I'm trying, I'm much more experienced person for a lot less money.

Ellen Melko-Moore 7:38

So speaking of which, what what is it that you most enjoy, like today about working with technology? What's your favorite aspect of what of what you do today compared to perhaps what you did 10 years ago or five years ago?

Michael J. Mahony 7:51

Well, there's really three things that I really like. The first thing is having an impact on the direction of company goes with their technology. Rather than having, let's throw it at the wall and see what sticks approach. When I show the client look, we can follow this path, and it's going to lead you to places that you're going to want to go, they get very excited by that, because then the second thing that I get excited by is helping them not only increase their revenue, but increase their profit at the same time. So rather than just piling on all these automations that cost them money, but might make them extra revenue. You know, a lot of companies look at me, and when we're having the initial conversation, they say, well, that's great. You're gonna do this, and you're gonna do that for me, but it costs me money to do that, right, but I'm also increasing your profit margin. Because I'm going to streamline processes, I'm going to eliminate software that you don't need. I'm going to eliminate processes that you don't need and we're going to get it down to a fine tuned engine and then the the third thing is just looking back at successful projects, it just makes me really happy to be able to take an idea that a customer has, and turn it into something that they can use to benefit their business because one of my philosophies is helping other people. I am that person, you know, if, if I if I didn't even know you, but somehow we like, traversed the same Facebook group and you knew, and you knew that I was awake for some reason at three in the morning and your and your car was stuck somewhere. I'm the guy you could reach out to and I would actually go and get you and bring you back. Even if I didn't know you personally, despite despite pointing, being acquainted with you, I would help you out. I love helping my clients. I think there's, there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a happy client. I mean, I got an email the other day from one of my clients, we just show them a project that we're about 90% of the way done and His his words made me smile. He said it, the website looks beautiful. Keep up the good work. And it just makes you happy to hear that you're you're hitting the mark that people are expecting.

Ellen Melko-Moore 10:14

So speaking of that, what do you what do you think your virtual CTO tends to do better than, than your competitors? Or what you know, the people other people might perceive as your competitors.

Michael J. Mahony 10:25

Well, you mentioned in the beginning, that my clients call me the most user friendly technologist and I've had that label for probably 20 years now. And the reason is, I would go into a discussion with a client and they're expecting a very technical person and like, I don't know if you've ever watched or any of you out there have ever watched the show, Silicon Valley, but it's a perfect example of what happens in the technology arena. You get people who are very adept at technology. But they know nothing about how to interact with human beings. They only know how to interact with machines. And so when they're asked to explain something, and you, they explain it, it's like, all these words come out and then the other person glosses over. And they have no idea what the heck was just said to them.

Ellen Melko-Moore 11:21

It's really a failure of communication. Right?

Michael J. Mahony 11:25

Right. And that's where that's what I do differently than my competitors is that I'm able to speak plain English, and I kind of translate in my head, I see something and I go, okay, they want to know what this is doing. Well, what they really want to know is what's the end result? I click this button and this happens. They don't want to know I click this button and then it does this and then it does this and then it does this. And then this happens. They don't care about that. So I cut through the Bs, and they love that. No, because they're they don't have A lot of time, that's why they're hiring you. So they don't want a 20 minute long explanation of what we did and why we did it.

Ellen Melko-Moore 12:07

I mean, we all have different neural pathways, we all have different bandwidth, and I think you're talking about is translating it so that those of us who do not have the same type of understanding can get the benefit to our bottom line the benefit to our business, rather than perhaps slowing ourselves down a little bit trying to understand the intricacies. So that leads to my next question, which is, the way you manage projects, you've said the way you manage projects for your clients is is fairly different than the way other technology experts tend to handle these things. Let's talk about that.

Michael J. Mahony 12:42

Well, to explain that I have to go back a step. And when, when my wife and I first went into business together, we founded a company called the web scientists which is now the holding company for all of our various lines of business and it starts it out as the technology arm of the business. But through some rebranding, we've changed all that up. And the reason it was named the way it was named is because, you know, most project managers will log the tasks, check the Gantt chart and make sure that you know, this is being done before that. And that's getting done before that they follow up with the team of developers and maybe hardware engineers that are building hardware, and they make sure those things are getting done. And that's pretty much it. What we do is more of a of a scientific approach where we do all of that. But then before anything ever gets handed off to the client is tested thoroughly. And by that I mean, every single link, if it's a website, every link is clicked at least one time. And that's if you make a change, you do it all over again and you click every single link, because I've learned over the years that if you write two or two lines of code You can introduce hundreds of bugs that you didn't expect. And there's nothing more embarrassing than giving a client something and having them find all of these bugs. Now they're gonna find one or two things here and there, and that's okay. We get a little too married to our approach. But ultimately, it's that scientific approach of test, retest, retest, retest, retest, take nothing for granted. Make no assumptions. That's one thing. I'm a person who, I don't assume things and it drives. It's why I have to work with the right people because it drives certain people crazy because I probe and I asked more and more and more questions, because I want to make sure that I'm not that I'm actually understanding what you're asking for and not just coming up to my own conclusion. And so you know, there's no, that's another thing. I mean, I just said there's nothing worse than handing it to a client having to find a bunch of bugs, but maybe a close second is giving something to the client and seeing the look on their face where they go. I don't know what this is. Why did you do this? You know, so, so it's It's very important to ask those questions. And so those are probably the two major ways I've managed projects differently than any of my competitors.

Ellen Melko-Moore 15:07

So speaking of the client saying, I don't know what this is and where we're going, let's talk about the technology accelerator roadmap. What, what is that? And why should we care? Those of us?

Michael J. Mahony 15:19

Yeah, that's a that's a proprietary system that I came up with years ago. And I've used it many, many times to increase the profit at any company. I actually guarantee it's an eight week program in which it's, it starts out with an audit, and then it come then we come up with a plan to accomplish the increase in revenue and profit. And then we start executing that it I work with the client to teach them how to do the process. And then I offer to train their staff. If they don't have staff, I actually have people that I can provide to them to maintain this going into the For a very inexpensive price, actually less than the cost of one of their employees. But what happens in the end is they are guaranteed a 10% minimum increase in their profit. And if they don't get that 10% minimum increase after doing the things I've asked them to do, then I refund their money. They don't pay a penny. And so that's why you should care because, you know, I, I've used to be in the involved with a lot of fitness professionals, and one of the things they talk about there is the scale isn't what's important. It's your body composition. That's important. What's the same thing with a business, if I'm making $100,000 a month, but I'm only making, you know, 5000 a month in profit. I could still make $100,000 a month but if I make 10,000 a month in profit, I've just doubled how much money I have to play with. And I didn't increase my revenue, even a penny. And so that's why I focused mostly on the profit. A generation. And what I've found happens and it's why I can continually say, I will increase your profit and your revenue is that I've noticed that by focusing on the vital things that they need to focus on, they somehow managed to drive more revenue as well. That makes perfect sense. I mean, when something right when it's focused and it's functioning the right way, as human beings, we just we respond to that. I think things just become more profitable when people are focused in the same direction. I mean, I agree, a lot of it is when, when people are focused in different places or the business has focused in the wrong places. That's where a lot of a lot of the revenue gets drained away, maybe? Well, it's like the whole argument about about weight loss, you know, to go back to that kind of thing. People say, Oh, I use a keto diet. I use paleo. I go low carb, I do Atkins, and everybody swears that they all work and guess what they do, but there's a reason why they work. Because anytime you focus on your diet, you're going To do better, and when you do better, you lose weight. Now, granted, you're going to hit a plateau. And it's the same thing with business. You've when you focus on the right things, you're going to see your profit increase. And if your revenue or maybe your revenue increases at a slower pace, it'll eventually plateau. But that's okay. Because then all you do is you run the business back through the roadmap process, at its new level, and you find new things that you can change to push it to the next level and the next level. And it's, it's one of those things that it's like wash, rinse, repeat, you just keep doing it over and over again. And it becomes a discipline. And once you have that discipline, you're going to see your numbers increase. There was a saying, once you know, you can't, you can't manage what you don't measure. And it's and it's true. I think what happens is by going through the roadmap process, the client is now focused on the key elements in their business. And it's shocking to them, they might find out that their marketing messages bad. And they find that out through going through a technology process. That's why I say our coaching program is something that is unique because it takes the roadmap and it adds on a, like, Okay, I'm going to teach you how to run your business, but I'm not going to do the typical. You need to do this and you need to do that kind of detail. I'm going to get you focused on how you can use your technology to make your day easier for you. So you work, you work smarter, not harder.

Ellen Melko-Moore 19:39

Yeah. I mean, it's kind of makes me think of something that I'm sure frustrates all ambitious people, you know, the 8020 rule that we tend to, you know, we tend to get 80% of our profits and our good things from about 20% of our labor. And as you know, Mike, we work with people I work with people on LinkedIn and that's An argument we hear all the time is, well, I can't do this or that thing, because I'm already doing these ad other things, and just saying, Well, perhaps what like, what are the actual results? You're doing those things? Because somebody told you, this is what you have to do. But what are the actual results you're seeing from that effort? And I'm assuming it's the same thing here. Right? I mean, there's no sure if you can actually change. I mean, would you say that would you say this starts to change the 8020 rule for entrepreneurs who are focusing in this way for business leaders focusing this way?

Michael J. Mahony 20:33

Definitely. Because, I mean, one of the things that I teach them through the process is this isn't something you personally have to handle. If you had zero let's say, you're a single entrepreneur working by yourself, and your business is growing. And you've gotten to the point where you know, you need to like, look through your technology engine and I talked about the technology engine a lot because these days there is no such thing as a business that doesn't use any tech I mean, I mean, if you have a meeting with people today, you use some sort of meeting software via zoom, goto meeting. That's technology. And what you find amazingly, is that entrepreneurs are really good at trying out new things. But they're really bad at canceling the things they no longer use. So So what they find out is, Hey, I might not be able to stay on top of this stuff. But if I hire a virtual assistant, who's been trained on what to look at, they can help me maintain the success that I'm having. And it frees them up to do the things like LinkedIn outreach, that that you know, you teach people, and it frees them up to do that, because they no longer have to worry about their engine. It's just working. And that's how it should be. It's an engine. It's, it's, it's no different than any other machine that you would have. You know, you when you get in your car, you turn the key you don't think about all the things that make the car start, you just, you just pray that the car starts If it starts, you're like, Okay, we could I now know how to get where I want to go. And it's the same thing when you come in in the morning, and all systems are working. You just know you don't have to worry about that today, you just go ahead and manage your business and let your let your trained staff help with that. I think that's the key is learning that you don't have to do it yourself. And I'm not like, I'm a big fan of automating a lot of things. But there are things that require human interaction. And you need to make sure that those get human interaction. Like I would never recommend somebody let a bot loose on their Instagram to engage with people because bots can't engage with people. All bots can do a spit out what you tell them to spit out. And that is not a kind of automation I would support but like people who use like an old fashioned process of collecting emails into a spreadsheet. I don't understand why they do that. Because then when they want to unsubscribe, they have to go deal with that. Whereas, you know, I could have hundred thousand people on my mailing list and maybe I send out a controversial message and 10,000 people unsubscribe, I might not even know that people unsubscribe, you might not. And that's because it's automated, I don't take care of it. So that's a huge, I mean, that's why why people should care about these processes, because it's going to make you more money. And ultimately, like, let's say as a, let's say, as an entrepreneur, you told yourself, I'm gonna pay myself 50% of whatever I profit for the year and the other 50% is going back in the business. Well, that example of 100,000 in revenue and you're only making $5,000 per month profit, you're only getting paid 20 $500 a month. But if you can double that to 10,000. Now you doubled your pay to $5,000 a month and it keeps growing and so The bottom line, which is what profit is, right? It's the bottom line number that goes in your into your pocket or it gets reinvested in your business. It's the look of shock on people's face, when you show them. Look, here's where you were when we started. And here's where you are now look out cheap, your expenses have come down. It's crazy. And honestly, in this time that we're in right now with the corona virus and all that those clients are the ones that when I check in on them, they're just cruising, they have no problems. They're not worried. It's the ones who haven't done what they were taught, that are stressing.

Ellen Melko-Moore 24:37

Yeah, now I can get that and you know, speaking of which, for those who have not yet had the blessing of this type of help, what is what could you What's one tip, you can offer entrepreneurs who want to use technology or use technology differently, to improve our business and granted we are better off putting this In the hands someone else, you know, Mike, we always say you're going to pay one way or another,

Michael J. Mahony 25:05

your money, or you're going to pay with your time, energy and attention to try to learn something that you may or may not be suited to do. Mike or I are old friends. So he knows my brain does not work particularly well in certain organized fashions. So, so again, what but what can we do? What can we take from this, that starts to get us in the right direction, so maybe we can start to see a benefit. You know, even just from making a small step ourselves, I think the like you like to call it the shiny object syndrome, and I just kind of cut it right down to the word focus. I think if people would stay focused on what their mission and their vision is, the rest should just sort of follow. Like I mentioned, you know, if you have a business plan, and then you have a technology strategy built and date don't correspond perfectly with one another. Then you have then you Have a problem. It'd be like, you know, I love to use the weight loss analogy because it's something everybody understands, be like if you said, I'm going to lose 50 pounds, and now I'm but by losing 50 pounds, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to Taco Bell every day, and I'm going to eat 10 of their crunchy tacos, three meals a day, you're not going to lose weight, you're going to gain weight. And it's because you lost your focus. And if you keep if you maintain your focus, the things you need to do become obvious and logical, rather than like constantly searching. Because, you know, you do this thing now because I did doubt I need the support systems in place. And so what your, your technology budget sort of suggests itself from your business strategy. So I think that's the biggest tip is just make sure that you're focused and that you're doing the things you need to do and not think just things that you want to do.

Ellen Melko-Moore 26:56

Right now, can you? Can you tell us a story or give us new Example, perhaps from one of your clients, perhaps from your background, whatever that, you know, just short and sweet that kind of helps us see when we talk about focus with technology. Um, can you think of an example that would kind of illustrate that for people?

Michael J. Mahony 27:17

Sure. I'm the Los Angeles Superior Court, gosh, maybe six years ago, came up with the idea, as did many courts at the time of allowing electronic court filings. And it's it's a great idea because one of the biggest costs for an attorney is to pay somebody to go to court and file documents for them. And if they can do it over the internet, like everybody else does things. Why not? So the court decided to do that. But where they lost focus was who's going to print that out? Like, how is the judge going to read the document that came over in electronic format, there was no way they just like printed it themselves. So now what they do did an attorney sending 100 page motion on paper that they would just hole punch, put it in a folder, give it to the judge now comes in electronically, and they have to print it, which means they're using their printer, their ink their paper, and then give it to the judge in the same file. So, what I was tasked to do was create a paperless system for the judges. And initially, the paperless system was just supposed to enable them to read the documents. But as we talked through, we actually created a whole docketing system. So judge comes in in the morning, his entire calendar is right there on the computer, then he can view all the documents that are attached to that case, he Previous to that day could have gone in and added notes to the documents from his own research. So that that way, so then that way when he gets in there and he's sitting in front of the courtroom, he has a document and his notes on the screen he can make his ruling Anyone questions him? He can say no, no, no, that case says this. It doesn't say that. Here's my research, etc. So where they lost focus was just not thinking about Well, hey, it's great that we get it electronically, but how do we read it? And we fixed and we fixed that by creating a paperless system. It's called judicial bench view, and they use it to this day.

Ellen Melko-Moore 29:20

That's awesome. Okay, that's a really good example. Mike. I love that story. I knew a little bit of that from you before, but I didn't know that. Well, that's pretty cool. Well now, so last couple of things. Are there any other issues as far as all this that you would suggest a business leader really needs to master? Whether they're entrepreneurial or a professional in a larger organization? What do you think a business leader really has to master?

Michael J. Mahony 29:46

I think it's something I've been focused on a lot lately. I think that planning on a regular basis is something that they need to do because that goes back to maintaining your focus. If you if you sit down and you write out your plan for the week, yeah, things are gonna come up and you're gonna get thrown curveballs. But you don't stress about it as much, because you can see places where you could fit. Well, this task isn't going to get done today, but I have time on Thursday afternoon. So let me just shift that guy over there. You, you're living your business life intentionally by doing that, because you've planned Monday I'm doing this Tuesday I'm doing this. I'm even trying to work on getting it to the point where, because I'm responsible for multiple businesses. I'm trying to get it to the point where you know, one day is content creation day. Another day might be client meetings, another day might be personal development. And I know some people like to spread that stuff out over the week, but I'm finding that it becomes the thing you shove to the side, when nothing out once the other things get in the way. But if Wednesday is your personal development day, and you don't take meetings on that day, and you just block your calendar That can't happen. And that's, you know, content creation. You know, everybody wants to be great at that these days, the only way to do it is to batch create your content. And you can't do that if you don't block off a lot of times, I think, I think it's just managing your time better. And planning better is what every, you know, any business executive entrepreneur, everybody needs to do. It'll make your life a lot easier.

Ellen Melko-Moore 31:28

You know, it reminds me I was talking about this with one of our other clients, the thing we see again and again, with small businesses, you know, where there's two or three or four people running things and then they've got bigger clients, right, you know, there are consultancy. There's a bigger client. So often people make the mistake of not taking charge of how things should be done, and then deferring to their clients, thoughts, concerns, wishes, how was it done before and then everything starts to go downhill because of that. Fortunately, the reason we the client need help is because we don't actually understand how that works. And that's why we're paying for it. But I think I think when we run these smaller businesses that don't have this, you know, giant organization behind it, we start to get too deferential to other people, because then they're, you know, it's kind of like, Oh, you don't take meetings on Wednesdays? Well, but everyone else takes meetings on Wednesdays. And like, I'm not saying you, but I think we are here you. We feel that responsibility like Oh, I should be I should be open to this because that's what the client wants. But But what I learned, like you, I've been in this game for almost 30 years, and what I learned more and more each year is that the client and that includes me when I'm the client, we have no idea what's good for us, for the most part, very little. If we're if we're paying for outside help. There's things that that we didn't quite get, and it didn't matter how much we studied. It maybe just wasn't our gift. So I think a lot of what you're talking about is just acting with intention and making things just easier to find. Because there is a plan that a person planned who knew what was going on?

Michael J. Mahony 33:04

Well, right. And that's, that's the key is, you know, I've had, I've done interviews where I'm trying to hire somebody, and they'll send like, say, you're trying to hire a copywriter, and they'll send you their copyright examples. And it's Jen, nine out of 10 times, it's blog posts, and the blog posts have somebody else's name on them. How do I know you wrote that blog post, like, I'm gonna have to give you some sort of a brief test now. I've been on the other side of that. I've had people give me full on five hour projects that they want me to do for an interview, and not pay me for not gonna happen, you know, just not gonna do that. So what I do, so what I do is I respect their time and I give them maybe like a 15 minute task that here write me three paragraphs about dog dog breath spray, you know, fresh breath spray for dogs. Write me three paragraphs about that, because I want to see what they can do but I also don't want to infringe upon them. Time Well, I've had people push back and say, Not unless you pay me. Well, I don't do that. So the next one is well, okay, then I guess you're not the right person for to work with me because

Ellen Melko-Moore 34:09

those magic words don't match. They don't know much trouble. Yeah, yeah. That's

when people say, when I've turned something into someone, and they come back with, you know, 90 times more questions, that's the first thing I say is I don't I don't think we're against.

Michael J. Mahony 34:25

Well, or when

Ellen Melko-Moore 34:26

you go to understand about this,

Michael J. Mahony 34:28

or when people want to pay you, you know, you offer them three installments, and they want to pay you in nine installments. Well, you know, I don't, I'm not going to bend on that, not because they don't trust you. But because, you know, that's just yet another thing I have to change in my process. And we talked a little while ago about how you come in and like I used the example of the mailing list because it's an obvious one, I could have 100,000 people on a mailing list and lose 10,000 I might not know for a few days, because this software takes care of it. Well, the same thing with with payments, I have my payment system set up a certain way for each product. And if you're going to try to get me to change it, now you want nine months, this guy wants 12 months, this one wants two months. No, we're gonna stick to the three the three payments, and you're welcome to pay it in one payment, but this is how it works. And I think that's the key is, you know, trusting that your process is your process. It works for you. Just because other people yeah, there's people out there that give you 12 months to pay off something great that works for them. Nothing wrong with that, but my way is this way. And I think that's it gets respect from people when you put your foot down and kind of say Nope, this is how it works. And and it's okay if they go if that customer goes away, they weren't your customer.

Ellen Melko-Moore 35:50

If you really want to blow people's mind, you know have a powerful or wealthy person offer you work. Take a look at that. work, come back and say here, I don't think I'm the right person for that. And here's why I would be looking for this or that and a few opportunities. I've had to do that. I mean, people are just done, but they don't forget you. Because they remember you. Well, you weren't, you weren't trying to be everything to everybody. And I think a lot of the reason people get into business, especially business for themselves entrepreneurs, they want freedom. You know, people don't get into this because they necessarily want security, or because they I mean, that can come. But as you and I both know, one out of five is about what's going to make it so people come in for freedom, but there is no freedom without structure. There is no freedom without efficiency. Those things are what give that to you. So again, you are either going to waste time trying to figure this out yourself. You're going to pay one way or another

Michael J. Mahony 36:53

and what do you really do? Yeah, and even even down to the coaching like you know When someone's looking for a business coach, finding the right person is only half the battle. The other half of the battle is making sure you can work with that right person, just because they know their stuff. And they worked well with, you know, Joe over there doesn't mean they're going to work well with you. And you, and you have to be willing to understand that. And, you know, no hard feelings, we're moving, we're moving into a different direction. I, I always say get a customer keep a customer. But it means even more in the last year where we're being picky about who our customer is. So now it's like, well, now I get a customer. They're the right customer. I want to keep that customer and I want to make them happy. And I mean, sometimes it comes down to I've had people when they're after the initial eight weeks is over of the technology accelerator roadmap, one of the V A's will take over, and I'll have them contact me like a month later and I'll and I'll say, oh, let me look at your what you've been doing VA and they'll show me and I'll say oh, you keep skipping that. One weekly step. Oh, yeah, they don't need that. No, they need it. It's part of the process. Don't leave things out, remain focused on, you know, it's almost like having a checklist and you just have to check every box every week. And if you do that, you'll build this momentum that does crazy things.

Ellen Melko-Moore 38:18

Well, you know, the reason I think people should get in touch with you both for their technology and their strategic planning, business planning with technology is, you know, you yourself have have multiplied your own income and you've multiplied income as well as revenue for some of your other customers, including that platform that you built that grub hub Well, yeah, mine's for 85 million. So I think it just makes sense for people to get in touch with you, and talk about what that might look like for them. So in order to do that, how should they find you? Where are you active on social media? How do you how do you prefer to be followed and or connected or Found,

Michael J. Mahony 39:00

well, people can do a couple things they could go to my website at get your virtual CTO calm and go to the contact page and fill that out and send an information. Or they can send an email to Hello at get your virtual CTO calm. And we'll get back to you that might not always be me on the first reply. But if I'm the person you need to talk to, you will get to me. As far as social media, we're, we're on Twitter and Instagram as your VC to we're on Facebook under the web scientists. And then we're on LinkedIn under my name. I have a business page, but I'm still trying to figure out why. I have a business page but we both

Ellen Melko-Moore 39:48

have it because we need that logo to appear on the side of our

Michael J. Mahony 39:51

house. Kind of what I think too, but it

Ellen Melko-Moore 39:54

is what it is. Here it is

Michael J. Mahony 39:56

yes. And that's what you do like you work with that all day. Long and I'm kind of happy to hear you say, you don't know what it's for either because I keep scratching my head like, why do I have this? I hope

Ellen Melko-Moore 40:06

I find out because as you know, I'm allegedly a LinkedIn expert. If you want to use that stuff, you need your personal profile. And that's what works there.

Michael J. Mahony 40:14

There's so many things I don't know either about technology that I've been doing this for 30 years. But the thing is, I also think that when you've done something for a long time, like you and I have you, you're not afraid to admit that I don't know how to do that. I don't know what that's for. It's

Ellen Melko-Moore 40:30

now now really, because you know, when it becomes important, we'll find out or we'll send you the person to find out, manage to have been in business for a long time, you just, you don't worry about that stuff so much. Because you know, there are certain stuff that really does count. And that is what we focused on. So Mike, thank you so much for hanging out with me today. And sharing your virtual CTO. And is there anything else you want to say to kids at home or shall we say goodbye?

Michael J. Mahony 40:56

Well, thanks for thanks for talking to me. I appreciate the questions. Yeah. Some good questions. I hope everybody continues to come back and listen to the technology alchemy show. It's a weekly show, and you're going to learn a lot about technology. And you're going to learn a lot about how to run your business with a focus on technology. So, again, weekly, we're everywhere. We're on YouTube, so find us.

Ellen Melko-Moore 41:19

Excellent. Thanks a lot, Mike.

Michael J. Mahony 41:21

All right. Thanks.

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About The Technology Alchemist

The Technology Alchemist is your source for technology advice, strategic technology planning, technology coaching, time-saving advice, and a pragmatic look at increasing revenue and profit through your technology engine. Sponsored by Your Virtual CTO, this show is the only one of its kind that blends business coaching and technology advice. The show is hosted by Mike Mahony, the world\'s most user-friendly technologist.

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