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Aug. 17, 2022

Paul Ruppert On Creating And Leveraging Market Disruptions For Your Business (#152)

Paul Ruppert On Creating And Leveraging Market Disruptions For Your Business (#152)
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“Persevere, because you'll get through it.” -Paul Ruppert

Paul Rupperthas been a senior corporate executive, entrepreneur, product visionary and strategist in the global mobile industry driving immediate results that make an enduring commercial impact. He is an executive leader who jumps organizations multiple steps ahead through his success in start-ups, consultancies, rapid-growth enterprises and Fortune 50 firms.

His accomplishments span the shop floor selling stereos in college to negotiating legislation on the floor of the US Senate; building out start-ups to $1 B valuations to being a board member of a global hair care company. He's been a driver in how we all use text messages—SMS—having developed two patents providing interoperability and building a business on the ground in 80 countries—including living in the US, France and China. He applies a business philosophy of bridge-building seeing relationships, combinatorial thinking and aligning companies to common visions and objectives. 

As a strategy consultant advising on acquisitions, strategic partnerships and sales growth his clients include Facebook, MasterCard, Western Union, Liveperson, as well investment firms such as HIG Capital, Warburg Pincus and Columbia Capital. Paul’s range of experience and non-linear career provides insights and deep appreciation for the unique context, customs and motivations with which different people, institutions, nations and industries operate.

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Paul R. Ruppert - Sales Strategy | Growth Consultant │ Advisor │ Solutions Design │ Strategic Partnerships - Global Point View Ltd | LinkedIn

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

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Enjoy the interview!


[00:00:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Deep Wealth podcast where you learn how to extract your business and personal Deep Wealth.

I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

When it comes to your business deep wealth, your exit or liquidity event is the most important financial decision of your life.

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time and your hard earned money wasted.

Of the quote unquote "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of the deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said "no" to a seven-figure offer. And "yes" to mastering the art and the science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said "yes" to a different buyer with a nine figure deal.

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing the skills that built your business are the same ones to sell it.

After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and the 9-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the best deal instead of any deal.

At the end of this episode, take a moment and hear from business owners like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

Paul Rupert has been a senior corporate executive, entrepreneur product visionary, and strategist in the global mobile industry driving immediate results that make an enduring commercial impact.

He's an executive leader who jumps organizations multiple steps ahead through his success in startups, consultancy, rapid growth enterprises, and Fortune 50 firms. Paul's accomplishments span the shop floor selling stereos in college to negotiating legislation on the floor of the US Senate, building out startups to $1 billion valuations to being a board member of a global hair company.

He's been a driver in how we all use text messages, SMS, having developed two patents, providing interoperability, and building a business on the ground in 80 countries, including living in the US, France, and China. Paul applies a business philosophy of bridge-building seeing relationships, combinatorial thinking, and aligning companies to common visions and objectives.

As a strategy consultant advising on acquisitions, strategic partnerships. And sales growth, his clients include Facebook, MasterCard, Western Union LivePerson, as well as investment firms, such as HIG Capital, Warburg Pincus, and Columbia Capital.

Paul's range of experience and nonlinear career provides insights and deep appreciation for the unique context, customs, and motivations with which different people, institutions, nations, and industries operate

Welcome to the Deep Wealth Sell My Business Podcast and as usual, I have a zinger of an episode lined up for you with our guest today.

You already heard a little bit of the formal introduction for our guests, but know that this guy is out there. He's working in over 80 countries. He's helping companies grow strategically and adding value and figuring out the really tough things from scaling startups to going to a billion-dollar valuation.

So if you have growth questions, if you have strategic kind of partnership or strategy to my business, or add value you've come to the right place, stop what you're doing. Enjoy the ride here. We'll have a lot of fun.

So Paul, welcome to The Deep Wealth Sell My Business Podcast. Always a pleasure to have you with us.

And you know, Paul, there's always a story behind the story. What's your story? What got you to where you are today?

[00:04:13] Paul Ruppert: Well, hello, Jeffery, and hello to all your audience. It's great to be here today and thank you very much for the invitation. My story, what got me here? Selling stereos, that may seem like an odd thing to say, but I put myself through my last two years of college selling stereos and it was a great exercise for a whole host of reasons.

It took me about three weeks to actually sell something. And I'm not talking about like cassette tapes. This is 20, 30 years ago, mind you, the reality was when I say selling something, it was talking about a system. So that was back in the day when you had receivers and turntables and tape deck players and speakers.

And it was like selling cars because it was all about margin as well as volumes. And I was able to figure out it took me a little while. There was a lot of patience on my side, as well as my employers. But within about six months, I was the number two performing salesperson in the entire regional business and the regional business band, everything from St. Louis, Missouri, which is where I went to school down to Miami over to Houston. And we're about 25 different stores. That experience gave me skillsets that I was able to take well beyond just that experience base. And I've been able to utilize those same skillsets, not only in a commercial context but as I mentioned to you in our earlier conversation I've been characterized as being an ambidextrous executive.

I got my first job, right out of college working for a United States Senator. And those skills in terms of negotiations, as well as personal rapport with people being able to make that type of connection, understand not only the negotiating aspects but to what their needs are.

And then be able to close deals was the same type of skill set that I applied working for a United States Senator right out of college. And I spent a little over a decade in the political realm before I moved into the private sector, where once again, I was using those same skills in a different context, in a different arena, but still, that's the backstory.

[00:06:26] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow.

Who would've thought Paul, back in the day, you're starting to sell stereos? And I guess we're going to date ourselves a little bit here because I remember when you're talking about, these turntables systems, I think this was like all the rage and it was a big deal. We're not talking a few hundred dollars system back in the day.

This was big money back then.

[00:06:43] Paul Ruppert: Yeah, I was selling stuff that was Bose speakers were a thousand dollars at minimum and went up from there. And so we were selling systems as we call them everything from an intro system, which might be a thousand dollars. And I will date myself. This is in the let's call it the mid-eighties, which was a long time ago.

It's now almost 40 years ago. And I was always said 22 years old when I started doing this and it benefited me directly, but yes, this is the dynamics of how I was able to get commercial experience at a very young age and reap the benefit of the fact that believe it or not, I was offered a car because of the, you know if you remember Glengarry Glen Ross.

The great movie by Mamet on sales, real estate sales. But, you know, Alec Baldwin comes in his first prize is brand new Coupe Deville. I think it was a Cadillac Coupe DeVille second prize is a box of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired and I was one of those performers, top three, got a car.

And I was like, I don't want the car, put it into a cash outlay relative to me being able to apply to my tuition and the general manager who had hired me. He was like, Certainly not a question. We'll do that on your behalf. So it wasn't one-to-one but that's how I was able to finish my last two years at Washington University in St. Louis.

[00:08:03] Jeffrey Feldberg: Nicely done. Nice little touch there. And it really just shows you're thinking back then of where it's at and how it's really progressed to where you are today. So from selling stereos to political campaigns to you're now working with multi-billion dollar entities. Paul, why don't we start with this and offline, you had shared something really interesting, you know, Jeffrey, even though I'm working with some very large enterprises, when you take a step back, some of those best practices we can talk about because we'll have strategic value in application for really any business.

And why don't we start with that? Paul, when you're working with enterprises, regardless of the condition where they are, when you start with them, by the time you're finished with them and you extract what really made the difference. So in other words, the rocket fuel to their success of what you did, what would be anywhere from one to three best practices that probably should be done, but really isn't being done for most business.

[00:09:03] Paul Ruppert: Well, I would probably start off with the following. I'll redirect the question in the context of you can't really figure out where you want to go without having a sense of where you are and where you want to end up. So, you know, I use

 A rubric, a tool, which is let's start with the answer. And starting with the answer is what is your aspirational goal here?

And that can be applied to some vertical element of the business or some horizontal aspects of out of being able to integrate a business to be able to take it to the next level. So you have a sense of, this is where we want to be. So let's say small business or large business. You want to double your revenues in the next two years while you can do that one of two ways you can organically grow it, or you can inorganically acquire it. Now, if you're in a smaller company, then you start thinking, all right, this is where I want to be. So in both cases, the same approach is where are you now? So let's do a snapshot of where you are, make the assessment of what the gap is, and then be able to feel, figure out another meme from political campaigns that I learned, which was how much time money people, talent, will or technology. Can you throw at the problem? And if you don't have much time in a political context, let's say a campaign context. If you want to become a US Senator.

You may have about 270 days to be able to go off and do that unless you've really make a long-term plan. And there are people who do this for long-term planning over the course of years. If you do it over the course of years, you may not need a lot of money, but if you're trying to get right into the race and you've got about nine months to do it in, it's going to take money and talent.

So this is, these are the variables that you apply to that gap analysis so that you can get to that aspirational goal. And then looking back, one of the other aspects to all this is really about manifesting change because the reality is that we all tend to do the same thing regularly. We look for that consistency, which is why many human beings have problems within, with a situation where things have to change.

And so then it becomes a matter of not only the planning aspects of it in terms of the strategy piece, but then also what is the execution in how we're going to manifest this change along the way and all the different parts that you apply to it.

[00:11:33] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Paul was interesting there. And for our listeners, I really hope that you got this right from the start because it's really foundational what Paul was saying.

And Paul, you politely said, hey, don't really ask me, you know, how to do this, how to do that. That's you're too far ahead. Jeffrey, you've got to take a step back. What's the exit? What's the game plan here? What's the ultimate goal? And you're right. As business owners, we often just lose sight of that. And I know in our 90 day Deep Wealth Experience, that's exactly what we'll do.

We'll talk about the exit after the exit. What do I do with the rest of your life after you sell your business? What does that look like? And some business owners come of that, Paul, and they're saying, you know what, Jeffrey, I don't think I'm ready. I thought about it. I don't think that's for me or others are coming out, hey let's yeah, it absolutely is me. Let's go forward and do that. So you've identified a strategic flaw in strategic thinking for a lot of business owners where they're not asking the question, what do I want, what does that look like? But let me ask you a foundational question then. So you've identified what you believe is

this is what I want, or this is the end goal or any game. How do we validate that's really the best thing for the business and the best outcome that we can achieve?

[00:12:46] Paul Ruppert: So how do we validate it internally from the decision maker, or let's say the founder perspective, or how do we validate it from the commercial perspective for the company?

[00:12:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Why don't we go where the rubber hits the road? And in this thought experiment, let's just take an assumption here that it's been the founder. And if there's a CEO and executive team, they've all sat down, they've huddled together and they've asked a question, okay, what is it that we really want?

[00:13:11] Paul Ruppert: The obvious thing is that you are looking both internally and externally for a factor analysis as to here's the assumption. And then validating that assumption, testing that assumption, whether it might be a trial if you were thinking about, we want to be able to develop this particular product or this particular service, I always go to, does it drive convenience from a consumer's perspective?

In my space, the telecommunication space, convenience is paramount. It's king. It's the emperor because we are always utilizing telecommunications capabilities in different ways for greater convenience to be able to communicate. So that's my, the lens that I have lived my career in the telecommunications, in the mobile operator space.

So in the same way, go and validate your assumption relative to market dynamics and data. You know, What are you feeding? What's his being fed back to you relative to this particular trial, this particular initiative. And in other cases, to tell you the truth, there are those individuals and companies that are willing to roll the dice.

Let's get this out of here. Let's get it done as fast as possible. It may only be 60 or 70% completed, but at that stage, they know that they can, this is a classic software solution approach, for example, that at 70% it's good enough. And then we'll build it out on the back end because we may be engaged in a sales cycle that allows us to have that six months to be able to sell into a mobile network operator that have very long sales cycles and be able to catch up with where we are today, to be able to get that competitive advantage against others in the marketplace, or even that we want to be able to be perceived as being the leader in the marketplace because we want to do this a lot of depending factors in it. But this is the kind of calculation that you undertake, whether let's validate it or let's go for it.

[00:15:05] Jeffrey Feldberg: So Paul let's run with that for a moment. And for our listeners, Paul's wheel hells. It's actually fascinating what Paul does and what he specializes in.

[00:15:14] Paul Ruppert: It's fascinating. Okay. I'm not so sure how fascinating.

[00:15:18] Jeffrey Feldberg: Hey, that's my story. I'm going to stick with it.

[00:15:20] Paul Ruppert: Okay.

[00:15:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's text messaging and communication, and the technologies that go behind that. And Paul, what's interesting about that is you have the technology on the one hand, but technology on his own is just technology on its own. You foster the ability to take that technology and then to have all kinds of strategic partnerships and you're linking together different companies and deals and all the amazing things that happen in between.

I'm simplifying. What's otherwise a very complex process. But when you look at what we've just spoken about and you apply that to what you're doing and what you've done, any examples that you can share of how that's made a difference for you in your thought process?

[00:16:01] Paul Ruppert: Sure. I had the opportunity to join a startup and that startup happened to be called at that time info match and the value proposition of info match, which was at that time 2001 is we had a technology solution that allowed text messaging as you've been describing, which originally was based on a radio format called GSM.

Which was a European-based standard stands for global system mobile and meanwhile and part of that native capability that innate capability of the phones and that radio format was this functionality of text messaging where 160 characters using bits and bytes could be communicated as like a very glimpsible.

Well, I always relate is a class note that when we were in middle school and elementary school, and maybe even older, you would pass class notes to each other on the back of a piece of paper and pass it two rows over and you'd little open it up. And there may very brief message in there. Same kind of context and impact of textbooks.

And in fact, at the early stages with text messaging, research was done, that showed that you're not really reading anything that short you're glimpsing it, your mind is able to glimpse it and then process it without having to read each word in the context. And there's also all kinds of other neuropsychology research that show that's how our brains work.

If we find something that's maybe absent, our brain will fill it in. It's fascinating aspect of what I do. But bottom line here was that we recognized that we could go as most startups do zero to one. And instead, we could go zero to a billion. Now, what does that entail? Well, First off, we were in a technology and a business that was global and we talk in my space of a thing called Metcalf's law.

Metcalf's law is that with each additional node added to a network, there is an exponential value increase of that network. It's not arithmetic, it is exponential because that one node has connections to all the other nodes in a network, as opposed to it being linear. And so when we were looking at this solution, and this is one of the things that I was able to bring to the table because of my past experience, working in a mobile network operator, which is now known as AT&T, we were able to transform our strategy to, instead of just focusing, let's say on North America, we saw that we could be engaging and expanding our capabilities on a global basis. And then it became a question, how do we manage that? How do we process that? How do we plan that? Because at the time there were about 1100 mobile network operators all around the world and we had a solution that we wanted to be able to connect all of them.

To us and to our customers as we were developing those customer base. And so we then undertook another factor analysis as how do we segment these. What are the segmentation factors that we want to apply to this? We narrowed it down to 25 and there were two of us who then went off to execute on those 25.

And I used to call it parallel priorities because we're just two guys. That's still a lot. And so the plan was where we got traction in one, we would shift from away from another. So by the time that we were actually getting these international contracts. We were focusing only on about five between the two of us.

So that's how the approach is processed and driven, applied as well as a real-world experience in terms of that kind of dynamic and how we were able to outmaneuver strategically, and then outmaneuver on a tactical basis executing that plan against our competitors, which was exactly the case because our competitors were just nationally focused, North America, Europe, France, Germany, Spain, et cetera.

And we were the only one that was like, no, we're going to do this on a global basis. We got bigger, faster, higher valuation, higher liquidity event than anybody else did.

[00:20:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. There is Paul, there is so much to just unpack there in terms of what you've done, but let's take that. Now use that as a foundation, because you mentioned AT&T and unless you're crawling under from a rock right now and you don't know who AT&T is.

But you're not alone with them. I mean, whether it's been Facebook or MasterCard or Western Union, you're just working with some of the goliaths that are out there and what I'm curious about, and I want to go back to where we started. We're going to go back to your origin story for just a moment and then get your take on how it all comes together from politics to being on the shop floor, selling the stereo systems to strategy. How do you meld those two in your thinking? Now, as we sit here today when a company does bring you in. And so you're asking the question, okay, what's the end game here? What do you want to do? What happens from there? So to get us from A to Z once you've answered the questions and you've gone through that process. What's the differentiator in there that makes your approach and your thinking so much better and different than what a company would otherwise do on its own?

[00:21:26] Paul Ruppert: You know, there's a great book called Range that's written by an author named David Epstein, I believe.

And the premise of the book is that we, as a culture society, educational systems have gotten to be a reflection of niche expert theorism I believe is the terminology he uses. And what we really need at this stage are people that have a wide range of expertise and a wide range of experience.

Maybe it's because of how I look at the world. The basis of my experience, even as a child, we were talking about the international piece. I was a genetically predisposed to do that because I happen to be half French. I was going to France when I was six years old and then had that whole arc of development.

I was able to look at problems a little differently, or even look at my environment in the United States, in suburban Cleveland, Ohio a little bit differently because I was spending a week in Paris with my mother and then five weeks in Larashell, France with my grandparents and had a completely different outlook.

So my point here is much as Epstein talks about the capabilities of these wide range of skillset. We're also facing problems that require a wide range of capabilities and a wide range of problem-solving skills, where these things are essentially interconnected and they can be interconnected, either vertically you know, cause we're talking about silos and the type of work that I do, whether large companies or small companies, and I don't do just exclusively large companies, I've been involved in startups. I've also been in call involved in companies that do five to $20 million in revenues. We look at how do we break the silos down.

So we have a much more integrated effort and then that's the vertical aspects of it. And then the other elements of the strategic assessment, if you will, or the strategic approach to all this is, how do we also look this on a vertical level? So we're breaking down, not only the echelons that go up and down but also the walls that separate us left and right.

And that's something that is a different approach than just being a quote sales guy or a just marketing guy or business development guy. And that niche expertise prism, you can fall into that trap. Thankfully. I haven't fallen into that trap for me. That's just how my brain works. I'm always looking for new opportunities and even, relative to some of the things that I've been involved in relative to innovation, I happened to be a co-author of two patents.

That allows the technical elements of text messaging to occur, but I'm not a technologist. That shouldn't be on my resume. I've got an undergraduate degree in political science and a graduate degree in public administration. So two patents shouldn't be on my resume but it is, and it is because it's probing questions, not critical questions, but how do we do this?

Could we apply this theory to that? And having the right technical capabilities, the right technologist, at my elbow, shoulder to shoulder with me. And I was like, yeah, that approach could be applied by if we do this format, this standard, this capability we could link them through.

And then that allows us to enable the business couldn't commercial approach. That's the approach that I take that my thought process is.

[00:24:51] Jeffrey Feldberg: Interesting. And Paul, I want to throw something out there because sometimes conventional wisdom is not so wise. So you referenced the book called Range by David Epstein and in the book, the thesis of the book is that being a generalist is going to become more successful than a specialist.

And so I'm wondering. Is that your viewpoint that we've become too specialized in business today and we're just too siloed? You hear the old saying jack of all trades master of none.

[00:25:21] Paul Ruppert: I think there's a third part of that, that I can't remember off the top of the head, but it essentially negates the idea that a master of all trades or a somebody who's got a wide range of skills is not a master of all trades.

That's just not the case, but yeah. To your question, I can give you a scenario not to speak poorly of CFOs. Okay. And I was in a company that the CFO came in, good guy had the right ideas, but he didn't understand the formation of the messaging business and the messaging business.

You know, how messages are sent and delivered all around the world. There's an interconnection of networks. And oftentimes you have. Competitors adversaries, who you have to ally with and cooperate with to be able to get a message from A to B. So let's say from Vodafone to Verizon that might be two different providers of this messaging, interoperability as it's called in the business.

And that could be a company in the UK, let's call it company A, and then to be able to deliver it into Verizon that's company B in the US that manages all of Verizon's messaging. Guess what? Both of those are competing for the same business. So they might be competing in other parts of the world against each other hammer and thong, but to enable Vodafone to get that message to Verizon company A has got to cooperate with company B.

Because of the structure and the nature of the business. If we were all niche experts in this case, the CFO, his perspective was we can just unplug them. I'm like we can't unplug them because if we unplug them, then the entire system collapses and that's not the approach, and the whole issue here was like, I think they owed us like $900,000, this particular in mobile network operator that was based in Africa, and I'm like, no, I'm going to give them more time. We'll negotiate something out while they also $900,000. I'm like I'm going to negotiate something. It may be 750, but it's better than us unplugging because some of our mobile network operators, our clients like Verizon, which was a client of ours are going to call us up and go what happened with all the traffic into, Burkina Faso? Where did that go? Our CFO decided that we needed to unplug it because they owed us, $900,000 and we couldn't negotiate anything. It was either that or continue you know, meanwhile, the mobile network operator, a client was like, what are you crazy?

I'm still needing to get that traffic. Aren't you making money from me for you delivering into Burkina Faso on my behalf? Well, Yes we are. Well, Why are you thinking that way? That's just not thinking strategically. And eventually, the CFO came around to yeah. Oh, okay. I get this now. But that kind of dynamic, he was a niche expert.

He was not a broader expert. And eventually, he understood the dynamics of the messaging business and how it is so interconnected.

[00:28:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: And from that interconnectedness. And I just love that example there really your big picture thinking, okay, what's the end goal that we have, and then you applied it to that.

You know, correct me if I'm off base with this. But when I was preparing for this, I believe that at one point you had quoted a Navy seal saying again, the Navy seals that they have, it's one of my favorite sayings. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. And so yes, you were saying that. Tell us about that, of why that's meaningful for you when it does come to business and to sales and strategic thinking.

[00:28:50] Paul Ruppert: Well, Here again, I have to rely on the wisdom of the seals, the way of the seals, as you, what you could put it. The notion there is that too often, we try to do things too fast and we fail. And by doing things smoothly, meaning by doing things slowly, you do them repeatedly. And that repeated action allows you to master that action and make it smooth.

And the smoothness is essentially the effectiveness of its execution. So you're not, you can do things swiftly, but you're not being hurried to do it because you've done it so many times before, whether it's, taking aim with a trigger or just the movements of how they operate and how they approach. You know their missions. So that's where that came up in my readings, in my discovery.

[00:29:46] Jeffrey Feldberg: And, you know, it's just amazing how type A personalities as we are. And most business owners are in our rush to get things done. We're just all over the place and we're not taking the time believing we don't have the time, but when we're rushing everything around us becomes a catastrophe.

Yeah. And I'll quote another book for you. I got that from a former Navy seal commander of seal team six, which is based on the east coast in Virginia. Blanking on his name, but I've got it behind me. And it's literally a book called the way of the seal and the guy who wrote it is really sharp and obviously a super athlete.

But he talks about that. And even in the context, he also talks about meditation and he developed a curriculum or, a physical approach that he called combat yoga. So the whole notion, you think of when they talk about military activity, you're talking about kinetic activity, meaning shooting, and all the chaos that surrounds you in those contexts. And who's involved in that, they're dead center, Navy seals, special forces officers, and the green Berets, you recon Marine officers, et cetera, and enlisted. They have to be able to stay steady, stay smooth, even under the onslaught of chaos and that kinetic energy that's surrounding them.

[00:31:09] Paul Ruppert: So it's not always what it appears to be. And in fact, it goes back to, again, that smoothness, that steadiness that capability.

[00:31:19] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific book, by the way, for all the listeners, we will put this in the show notes and Paul I believe you're talking about The Way of the Seal by Mark divine.

[00:31:27] Paul Ruppert: That's it, Mark Divine. Yes. Thank you.

[00:31:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: Full disclosure, why you're sharing that with the audience had a chance to look that up for the benefit of everyone.

I'm wondering because you gave an example earlier when we first began and you're talking about text messaging, which I remember when that first came on the scene.

So now I'm going to date myself and text messaging was new and a little bit awkward at first. And if you remember it, wasn't on these smartphones, you had the old cell phones and, to type a letter.

[00:31:51] Paul Ruppert: Feature phones in the business. But yeah, you're spot on.

[00:31:54] Jeffrey Feldberg: These feature phones. And if you want to spell the word the you're pressing 8 and T is the first letter on 8 and then you'd go to the number four, but you have to press four two times because it's got the G and the H. But that revolutionized how things are done now. And today texts and the multimedia that now elbows along with texts has just been a game changer.

I'm wondering from where you sit today. And you have I would suspect a little bit of a pipeline vision into where it's going, anything that you can share with us of what we can expect for the next, 5 10 years?

[00:32:27] Paul Ruppert: Sure. What we're going through right now is back to the question of innovation and people think about innovation as being evolutionary or revolutionary, and the emergence of text messaging was revolutionary.

To your point, to give you a measure. The first text message was sent in 1991, 31 years ago. The average American sensor receives over 42 messages per day. That is not the highest in the world. The highest in the world is a little over 80 per day and that's in the Philippines, a whole host of reasons why that goes on.

I've spent a lot of time in the Philippines chasing messaging solutions today. Ask yourself how many businesses can you stop. And then wonder are measured in the production of tens of trillions of economic units per year. That's you know, maybe oil, not on revenues best just like trillions of barrels of oil.

I don't think that's the case. But last year the estimate was that about 14 trillion text messages were exchanged sent up into the ether. Read, received etcetera and so that's the revolutionary aspect back to the convenience factor and how, and back to even the context of there are roughly 7.5 billion people in the world, but there are 15.9 billion active mobile subscriptions.

[00:33:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Crazy when you think about that.

[00:33:59] Paul Ruppert: That's right. That's practically two accounts for every human being that's living from nine seconds to 90 plus years old. So that's the impact. That was the revolutionary elements of this cultural-historical communications phenomenon.

 Today, we're now 31 years later. And the dynamics of text messaging are quickly changing and it's becoming an aspect of multiple communications platforms. You and I are on a zoom call. These zoom calls were capable literally 20 years ago, but they didn't become democratized as they have until we had COVID.

So now communications platform companies like the companies that I've been involved in messaging companies, as well as mobile network operators recognize that consumers their tastes have changed. Not only do they want voice someone's voice, but some don't. So if you talk to millennials and gen Zs, all the research shows that they kind of avoid telephone calls. I'm a trailing boomer. I have no qualms about making a telephone call and I get pissed off if I can't make a telephone call, because, for me, that's immediate, I'm going for this synchronous, the immediate solution, but others are like I can get to that later. I can have an asynchronous engagement.

Let's say with a customer care rep. So, What I've just done is show you that different cohorts, different people, different regions of the world utilize text message differently. And now we're talking about voice, we're talking about video. There's also this type of messaging called over the top, which is reflected by WhatsApp, Viber Line, Cacao, We Chat. These are all the various providers across the world that have different focus in terms of their population base in their customer base. And then even incorporating old-style email. So that's where we are right now. It's called communications platforms as a service. So it's like these six different elements that are all lashed together and enterprises and communications companies are enabling this to happen.

Because customers, consumers back to convenience, want to be able to engage a message. And that could be a video message. That could be a text message. That could be a voice message that could even be an email. As I mentioned, a message. Any time, any platform. Those are the platforms that I've just talked about.

So that's where we're going to be moving forward towards, and then there's different types of evolutionary changes in text messaging called rich communication services or rich business messaging. So think about hot links. That you click on relative to the text message. And all of a sudden you have a carousel, you have different images on your smartphone, like Tinder, which you are sliding across and making decisions as to what restaurant you want to go to, what your calendar is going to be, setting it up for.

And even being able to send a text message to your friend and colleague that you're having or having a date with, to be able to accomplish that is now the market and it's starting to get traction. We'll see how it works out. It's been in the market for a few years, but that's where we're heading.

[00:37:17] Jeffrey Feldberg: Unbelievable. And if you think about how text messaging, that changed, at least I'll speak for the English language. That changed the English language in terms of words and pronunciations and spellings. And it's just so pervasive anywhere. And just some of the sayings. That have slipped into our daily conversation.

So I can just imagine based on what you're saying with the Z pass and all these platforms coming together and where that's going.

[00:37:42] Paul Ruppert: Yeah. Back to the cultural phenomenon of how communications has been altered from just the basic 160 characters. And, just to make sure that your audience has a, let's say a financial impact the estimates are that this is about a $200 billion business.

By the time you incorporate the enterprise related messaging, as well as the person-to-person messaging, that's part of the mobile network operators on a global basis there too. What does that equate with? It's bigger than the beauty business.

[00:38:13] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely. I mean, just so large and so impactful of just what's going to be coming down the road. And speaking of impactful for our listeners, here's a question for you. And we haven't talked directly with Paul about this, but it's just oozing out in spades for me as we're going through this. I mean, As business owners, we're always looking at how do I get the edge. How do I create that market disruption?

And oftentimes we'll look within, okay well, you know what, I'm going to start this initiative. I'm going to put Sally, Joe, and Larry on this and we'll get out there and get that going. And we spend time. We spend effort. We spend money. Paul, you've now changed how I look at things because I'm looking at that rubric that you gave with the five or six different things that are there as well.

[00:38:53] Paul Ruppert: Oh yeah. The six, time, money, people, talent, will, and technology.

[00:38:57] Jeffrey Feldberg: Exactly. So we're really applying that internally, but Paul what's coming through in spades for me in our conversation as a business owner now I'm going to call this an X-Factor, which is step two of our 9-step roadmap.

You know, an X factor for a leadership team is to recognize hey, we don't have all the answers, but someone like Paul does, why don't we bring Paul in and have them help us? And, Paul has worked with startups. You've worked with large enterprises, everything else in between, but that collaboration and with your experience, Paul, from different industries and best practices, you can meld that and bold that, and put that very specifically into a company's business and into their industry.

To me, that's where the magic happens. That's where we can accelerate market disruptions and growth and all the wonderful things that we want to accomplish. I would just love your thoughts on that.

[00:39:47] Paul Ruppert: Well, you know, if you talk to venture capitalists and even private equity guys, there are times where the terminology founder factor emerges and founder factors is really a pejorative.

And I've literally been in a company where the three founders were taken out and the rest of the company was then populated with more senior, more experienced executives in the space. And five years later, we sold it for half a billion dollars. So that is just a factor such that it is that, you know, you've got to have whoever that founder is or whoever that visionary is.

They've got to have an understanding of self-awareness that they may not be able to identify what their needs are. And that's why they need a different perspective. And that's what people like me with that broader capability, I'm not saying it's the best, but I try to balance both the theoretical the planning aspects with the execution side, I came into being a consultant primarily through luck. Okay. I had already worked with the likes of McKinsey and Accenture inside these large companies that I was involved in. And then as a result of exit that half-a-billion-dollar exit, I happen to be on a panel one day.

And the other guy in the panel was from a startup in Palo Alto. And we were in a violent agreement debate, yes, we have to do this. Why can't we do this? No, I think we need to do this. And afterward, he approached me and he's like, I don't know if you've heard of us, we're a startup, we're emerging out of the primordial ooze.

I remember he was talking about that. We've got great venture capital support. I was like yeah, having to live, lived in San Francisco for four years. I see where you guys are going. I know a cell has already funded you guys. So yes, I know who Facebook is and we then had the follow-up and he was like, we could really benefit from your perspective because our vision is X.

But I'm not sure we can get to X because we don't have anybody who has your experience. Could you come help us? I was you know, and again, this was 2008. Okay. This is not what we think of Facebook today. And I was like, sure. At that stage, I was like, sure, I can probably be a consultant.

And then I went to others that I know to help me guide me along. And I fell into that opportunity. So back to the question of, if you are that CEO, you've got to have that broader vision. And oftentimes, executives in large companies are really good at being able to sense of where they are relative to the company that their in.

But smaller companies don't always have that vision, that perspective, because they're so busy on the performance engine, if you will, of trying to get from zero to one or one to a billion, if you will. And so they may not have that broader perspective, but then there are other guys like me, who've been in that crucible and being forged and having to understand that we are going through another shedding of a skin and we're getting bigger as a result. Like dragons is a great euphemism relative to dragons, get bigger and bigger because they shed a skin, and all of a sudden they get three times bigger.

They shed a skin, they get five times bigger. They're always getting bigger as a result are shedding their skin. And that's really if you've got somebody who's been in that environment before. That's a better guide whether it's a Shaman in the old movies from the west, there was always happened to be a French guy, like a French trader who became a guide through American Indian native territory for the Calvary, if you will to be able to get from here to there, or was able to bring them together so that they could work together for common purpose. So that's kind of like what I do and how I look at the type of tasks that I undertake.

[00:43:34] Jeffrey Feldberg: And you know what, it's actually a beautiful segue. As we begin to wrap up this episode into really what's my favorite question, because it really gets to Paul, the essence of you and how you look at things today, with all the experience that you have? Let's do another thought experiment.

We've done a few of them on this episode.

[00:43:50] Paul Ruppert: It's a tough interview, Jeffrey.

[00:43:55] Jeffrey Feldberg: Here's this one. I think you're going to like this one. This is a fun one. So I want you to think about the movie Back to the Future. And Paul, maybe you would have gone back in the day and not asked to be a consultant for and asked to be an owner in Facebook.

But anyways, in this thought experiment, you know, that in Back to the Future, you have that magical DeLorean car, and that DeLorean car, it can take you to any point in time. Paul, imagine now it's tomorrow morning you look outside the window, and not only is a DeLorean car there, but the door is open waiting for you to hop on in.

And you can go to any point in your life, Paul, as a young child or a teenager, whatever point in time it would be. Paul, what are you telling your younger self in terms of life, wisdom or lessons learned or, hey, Paul, don't do this. I want you to do that. What would that sound like?

[00:44:44] Paul Ruppert: Wow. I never really thought about it that way, but here's my approach.

Persevere, because you'll get through it. I happen to have a, I don't know if you've probably don't see this, but this is unbreakable I got this by completing a Spartan race. So I don't know if you're familiar with Spartan races.

[00:45:03] Jeffrey Feldberg: Congratulations.

[00:45:04] Paul Ruppert: I love those things.

[00:45:06] Jeffrey Feldberg: I put that right up there with your half-billion-dollar exit, that's amazing. Just getting through that Spartan race.

[00:45:12] Paul Ruppert: Well, Okay, thanks for that. I've done probably about six of them, but I don't think I've ever done the longest, which is like 12 plus miles. But my point here is that perseverance and resoluteness is a critical element of success. And even in the context of you always think that things are worse than they are because you know, you are internalizing the challenges. And so what I would probably go back to that same individual and I wouldn't be trying to change him because your life is your life. I've had a very rich, very privileged opportunity to see so much of the world for a whole host of reasons to be around.

I've met five US presidents because it wasn't all at the same time when they were president mind you, but I saw them during the course of their careers at different stages, very early on in my career. Point being is that would be the lesson that I would be imparting to my younger self is don't give up be unbreakable and persevere.

And the last piece is since we're talking about these special forces guys once upon a time I met a British Army Officer who gave me a challenge coin. And this challenge coin is for the special air squadrons and their motto is who dares wins.

[00:46:33] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. You have to love that who dares wins and not giving up and perseverance. I think Paul wonderful takeaways for us.

[00:46:41] Paul Ruppert: Yeah. Especially for an audience that is filled probably with small business owners and entrepreneurs, start-up friends if you will, that's part of the mantra. That's part of the approach. That's part of the founder mentality. So sometimes if founder mentality is good and you have and great opportunities and sometimes that's bad and that's when the money guys are like, okay, we've got a founder factor issue here.

[00:47:03] Jeffrey Feldberg: The F-word double left founder factor. You got to love that. Paul, as we start to wrap this up and I'm gonna put everything in the show notes, so there'll be a simple point and click for our listeners. If someone would like to reach you online, Paul, what would be the best place?

[00:47:17] Paul Ruppert: Best ways, best places just to contact me via LinkedIn so I'm listed as Paul R. Ruppert. My last name is spelled R U P P E R T. And I am always open to having conversations with anybody who would like to have 'em kick around some ideas as to how we might be able to work together. Some insights in terms of some challenges and problems that they might be facing. If I can provide some guidance, I'm not a transactionalist, I'm here to help. And if something can come up with that favorably one way or the other, that's why I do, what I do.

[00:47:49] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, Paul, thank you so much. And for listeners out there, you just heard it from a very worldly, experienced, smart, and successful business owner and strategic thinker.

And I would definitely be taking Paul up on that very generous offer. Paul, we are officially wrapping up this episode of heartfelt thank you for spending part of your day with us here on the Deep Wealth, Sell My Business Podcast and as always, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:48:13] Paul Ruppert: Same to you, Jeffrey. I'm sincerely saying that, thanks very much for the opportunity to have the conversation. I really enjoyed it. I hope your listeners did too as well.

[00:48:21] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

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[00:50:50] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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