Supply Chain Now Episode 485

“I think we have to have some grace for ourselves. You know, we need to look and go, hey, this is who we are and I’m going to leverage my strengths and where I don’t have strengths, I’m going to find good people around me from a life perspective.”

-Jason Perez, CEO YARDZ

 

In this episode of TECHquila Sunrise, Jason shares his most impactful moment. His struggle, discovery, acceptance and peace in moving on to his chose profession. We hear about Jason’s trek through YARDZ and so many takeaways for anyone’s work, founding or investment journey. Jason also tells us of his most hopeful wishes for those struggling in these trying times. It’s a great, uplifting experience from this mindful, giving and wise entrepreneur. Listen…and be Lifted UP!

Greg White (00:02):

This week on tequila, sunrise, you’re going to find out how an escape from tyranny and intentional upbringing, construction and conga gave one founder the will and the skill to succeed in supply chain tech against all odds who listen up. [inaudible] it’s time to wake up to tequila, sunrise, where without the aid of tequila, unfortunately, we open your eyes to how tech founders and venture investing ticks focused on supply chain tech every week at this unholy hour of the day. So if you want to know how tech startup growth and investment is done, join me every single week for another blinding tequila, sunrise, Greg white here from supply chain. Now always happy, never satisfied, willing to acknowledge reality, but refusing to be bound by it. My goal is to inform, enlighten and inspire you in your own supply chain tech journey, subscribe to tequila, sunrise on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, or anywhere else you get your podcasts. So you don’t miss a thing. All right, now let’s hear the rest of the story from Jason Perez, C E O of yards, his story of gratitude, attitude, intellect, and entrepreneurship. Listen up

Jason Perez (01:51):

Again. The big, the biggest impact that I’ve ever had was really the, the Marines, you know, and, and not being able to go. And, and, and to be honest with you, it was such a difficult realization, reality. I should say for me to deal with it took a long, long time. I think, you know, you can be wounded and still move forward. And I think I was heavily, heavily wounded for a very long time. And I kept on adapting. I kept on, I thought there was a way that I can still make that path happen in my life. So I went from all right, well, I’m not going to go Marines intelligence. I’ll just go to a Teligent agency. And then I go and I meet with these people. And I’m like, eh, I don’t know if I really like these people and what they’re telling me. And I don’t know if I want to get involved with this anymore. Right. And so you just get your whole life flipped upside down and you, yeah, it’s, it’s wounded, you know, you’re, you’re wounded. And how’d you,

Greg White (02:46):

Did you get past that? Because, I mean, I know it took, you said it took awhile, but I mean, did you just power through, or do you find that next thing? Did you give yourself

Jason Perez (02:56):

Kicking the ass or what I think of maturity is understanding the things that aren’t supposed to happen. And I think it wasn’t until I hit a point where I realized this just isn’t supposed to happen for me. I need to move in a different direction. And when I did that, when I finally said, Hey, I’m, I’m committed a hundred percent to construction. I was out of the whole, you know, when I made that decision and I moved and said, a hundred percent construction is going to be my life now, and I’m going to make the best of it that I can. And I’m gonna be the owner of this company one day, I’m going to within about a year and a half of working there, you know, I started getting stock options and equity stake in, in a big engineering firm. You know? And so what I realized is when I put my energy in directions that I want, then that positive energy will bring me out of that positive direction.

Jason Perez (03:53):

Those goals that continue to get met, right. Will allow me to feel productive. It’ll allow me to feel like I have purpose and all that said, that’s what a year of kind of praying and going, God, what do you know, what is going to happen in my life? Where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do? And I think, you know, I was the one not listening. I was the one gun, God, I want to go this direction. I want to go this direction. I want to go this direction and kind of like, Hey, you know what? Just be the best at whatever you do. Your job is not to be a Moraine or an entrepreneur or whatever label you want to put on your life. You know, your job is, is to be the best reflection of me possible. Like go out, love people, be good to them, do the right thing and everything else is going to follow.

Jason Perez (04:41):

So when you go to run the division at the engineering construction firm, be the best you can be. Talk to them in love, talk to them in grace, give them purpose and you will have purpose. You know, you just start to fulfill because you realize that you’re not an entrepreneur. You’re not a Marine. You’re not a dad. You’re not a husband for me. Like my goal is to be a loving human being. That’s, that’s my goal. And I can accomplish that no matter what I’m doing, if tomorrow YDS is gone, which obviously our investors wouldn’t like, and I don’t think that, yeah, I don’t think that’s happening, but you know, if, if for whatever reason, the whole world got flipped upside down, I can still be a loving human being. That’s what I can do. And I think, you know, my perspective on life just changed.

Greg White (05:32):

So that’s, you know, we talk a lot about the incoming generations, having a higher purpose. That is a great example of a higher purpose. It’s well beyond your job, it’s well, beyond your role in the workplace or even in the home, or even within your family, it is your role within the world. It is what you can be yourself without anyone else’s definition, without anyone else’s approval or disapproval or even acknowledgement, you can be that you can be that loving person, man. You are a philosopher dude.

Jason Perez (06:12):

That was, that was a fourth major for me, by the way, is that right? So I heard, wait, let’s, let’s go back there real quick.

Greg White (06:20):

Political science international,

Jason Perez (06:22):

Technically I guess it’s not, um, three majors is double major, triple emphasis. So I did got it. International economics. Got it. Developmental economics. And then international relations is under political science. So I had two minors, I guess, in economics and then one minor in political science. And then I got my bachelor’s of science in economics and political science.

Greg White (06:45):

Clearly you had a view of impacting the world.

Jason Perez (06:49):

Yeah. Two classes away from a, uh, third, third major. Not a, not an emphasis or minor philosophy. Believe it or not.

Greg White (06:58):

Yeah. Well, I mean, it is, it’s no wonder. You’re so thoughtful with those as, I mean, even economics is arguably a more artistic than scientific discipline.

Jason Perez (07:07):

That’s right. I can say that

Greg White (07:10):

Because I also minored in economics. So a lot of economics people get really insulted when you say that, but let’s shift forward two yards a little bit. So you got this great gig, this consulting company where you’re, you are literally saving lives and changing the world. What in the name of heaven came over you to get you to go from a high cash flow person to person type gig to technology. Yeah. Tell me now I say that tongue in cheek, right. But tell me what, where did you get the idea for YDS and what made you, what inspired you or compelled you to make the leap?

Jason Perez (07:49):

So we’ll start. I actually decided to soft exit or walk away from my consulting company because of the birth of my son, my second son. So my, even though I lived in Georgia, 95% of the contracts that we landed, um, even when we were traveling all over the world, they still stemmed from Southern California. So, you know, early stages, I was flying back and forth every other week to California. And then we started living there, you know, at a year stent at a time you

Greg White (08:20):

Went back and forth. Yeah, right?

Jason Perez (08:22):

Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then when my first son was born with, I think only two dogs at the time, not three, I can’t remember, but we were, we decided to get an RV and we’re like, well, I’m going to keep the family together. That’s my goal. Right. Family is, is really important to me. So we, we got an RV and we had traveled and lived in the RV for three months at a time in San Diego when my second son was coming, we’re like, well, this is going to work with two dogs, two kids. And, you know, et cetera, I assume, or something like that. It was a class, a, um, Tiffany, it was pretty good size, but yeah, yeah. Like a bus. So at that point it was, it was okay, this isn’t gonna work. So we got an apartment, my wife and I are originally from California.

Jason Perez (09:06):

Right. That’s where we met where we were high school sweethearts. So we got an apartment out there. And my, my second son was born there in San Diego. And within a couple months we just realized, again, you know why we love Georgia so much why we love the South, the support system that we have here, just how genuinely caring and sincere everybody sincere. Everybody was out here in Georgia. Uh, and, and I would qualify the South. So we just didn’t feel like that was where we wanted to be. You know, that’s where we, we moved away in the first place. So it was a really tough decision. I had, uh, multiple project managers on multiple projects going at the same time. And I knew that I had their families as well with me. And so we just had to make a decision at the end of the day.

Jason Perez (09:54):

I’ve always told my wife, they come before, uh, the company. And so that doesn’t mean that I spend the most time with them. It just means at the end of the day, when there’s a pivotal decision, I’m going to put them first. And so that’s what we did. We said, we’re moving back to Georgia. I sat down with my advisors. I don’t make decisions by myself, rarely, you know, I always surround myself with good counsel and I’d sat down with my advisor, said, this is what’s going on. And they’re like, look, if you go back and you plan on not coming back very often, then you got to do the right thing for your team because sooner or later, you know, you’re not going to grow. Um, you can try to do the same thing out there in Georgia, but it sounds like you’re kind of just over the whole consulting side in the first place.

Jason Perez (10:40):

And so, you know, I walked away not knowing what I was going to do, but what I knew is I wanted to see my family every single night. And so that’s what we did. We moved back to Georgia and I cut some really sweet deals for all my employees. They got massive boosts and salaries and, uh, they were already making big money before about 20 to 30% higher than anybody else in the industry. So when they got the second bump, they were really happy. Um, and I, and everybody ended up in a really good place. And so my neighbor comes over one day and, and he’s like, Hey, I got an idea. I said, all right, what’s your idea. Because, you know, everybody has an idea and usually they’re really, really good ideas. Um, but it takes someone to implement them. Right. So, um, he said, well, I want to start an independent rental brokerage. I said, okay, cool. Sounds cool. What are you going to do? I’m going to hire a bunch of people and they’re going to go out and they’re going to sell any rental company. It doesn’t matter. They’re just going to find equipment for people. I said, okay, well, how are you going to fund that? And it goes, well, I’m going to start by myself and I’m gonna do this. And we start walking through and I’m showing them all the cashflow issues and how, what it takes to scale. I just went from a people, uh,

Greg White (11:54):

You know,

Jason Perez (11:54):

So, so after that talk, it was him and his brother-in-law. I think they went back and they’re like, they either said Jason’s a jerk or Jason smart, but I’m pretty sure it was the first one. Jason.

Greg White (12:04):

Yeah. Yeah. It’s really smart. But you really can ask to my dreams.

Jason Perez (12:12):

So I tell them, you know, a couple of weeks later, I’m like, Hey, if you ever want to do tech around this, I think there’s, there’s some viability there, but I don’t know the market enough. So I spent about nine months sitting down with him, visiting different contractors, to making phone calls and doing true intensive customer discovery. And what I found very quickly, and this is important for the people that are listening. Like this is something I tell people over and over and over and over and over again. So please listen. When you’re looking at market timing and you’re going, I’m going to disrupt this market. It is ready. It is right. It’s not because people are talking about it. It’s just not, it’s not because you spoke to them and sold them on an idea because they will buy all day long ideas and never pull out their wallet.

Jason Perez (12:57):

When the product is there. When you start looking at market timing, the most important thing, at least for me, that I found was not that there was just pain there, but that people were solving the pain on their own. They might not have the perfect tool, but they were trying to solve the pain in their own way. They were spending their own time and energy to solve it. And so what we found was, and reflection just to, to make it easy for people to understand. We went in to offices and we saw whiteboards and we didn’t see a whiteboard with just equipment rent written on there. We saw whiteboards with different colored markers or markers based on who they rented with a blue marker for these guys at green market for those guys. And we’re like, look, they’re trying to organize the data already. And you look at the sticky notes are different colors, and then they have a wall and they move those based on when they’re supposed to be called off. Right. For equipment.

Greg White (13:47):

So tell, tell our listeners what called off means. Yeah.

Jason Perez (13:50):

So called off, when you rent a piece of equipment

Greg White (13:53):

And we’re talking heavy construction or mining or whatever equipment, right. We’re not talking about not talking about a pressure washer here. Right. Sometimes we’re talking about bulldozers and dump trucks and whatever else, right?

Jason Perez (14:06):

Yeah. 15,000 a month type rentals, right? Yeah. I mean, they’re expensive pieces of equipment. So when you rent a piece of equipment, they’re going to extend it out to your job. And then you’re going to say, Hey, I want to rent it for three weeks. And they’re like, cool, sounds good. And then when week three comes, you know what? They’re not going to do. They’re not going to come pick it up on week three. Right. They’re going to say, Hey, seems like you need it for longer. We’re going to, we’re going to be courteous and let you have it for longer. And look, that’s their job. Their job is to supply you with the best equipment possible because you need equipment. I think there’s some companies out there that are trying to reverse some of this perception of, of rental companies. And they are trying to build alerts and things like that in. So people know, but, but a call-off is when you get to third week calling your sales rep and saying, I needed off my project call,

Greg White (14:57):

You mean literally on a phone, you have to call someone on a telephone. Yeah, that’s right. Well, for our listeners, maybe we should explain what a telephone is. Does anybody use it? I mean, it’s, I mean, that, that gives you some idea of the archaic nature of the management of this aspect, of the industry, right. That’s right.

Jason Perez (15:19):

And you can also send an email. You, you are still a, the fax, believe it or not. I rented a piece of equipment about a year and a half ago. And when I went to pay for it, this is me. I went to pay for it. They said, well, you got to fill out our credit card authorization form. I said, perfect email to me. Well, we need to fax it to, you said, Oh, you can email me the form. Don’t you guys have an email version? They’re like, no. I said, okay. So I got a fax number online. Right? You get online and you do some Google searching or whatever. And I found a fax number. I can use the fax it, and it came to my email. And then I had to use that same faxing mechanism to fax it back to them.

Greg White (15:57):

Wow. Amazing.

Jason Perez (16:00):

And that’s, that’s where the industry essentially is at. So a call off is the last day of rental. Right. And we saw people struggling with figuring that out.

Greg White (16:09):

So I, I think that, I think your recognition is a deeper level than I have heard, described at least with any frequency maybe ever. And that is, it’s not enough that people say there’s a problem. It needs to be a significant enough problem that people have chosen to solve it on their own rather than to continue to endure it. That is such a great, that’s such a great perspective. I don’t think you can say that loudly enough. That is a really, really good perspective. Because as you said, everybody has an idea and everybody loves that idea until it’s time to write a check. That’s right. And the truth is when you’re searching for solutions, people don’t run towards ROI and you and I have had this discussion, right? I have this discussion frequently. It was a harsh, harsh awakening for me as a solution provider, people don’t run fast toward ROI. They run fast away from pain. That is probably the best enunciation of that concept that I’ve ever heard. That’s really good. That was a, that was a really mature awakening and probably driven a lot by your experiences of being a consultant.

Jason Perez (17:31):

Yeah. You talk about kind of life and how it’s come along. If I had planned my life, it looks so different, but it probably wouldn’t have come close to where I’m at today. You know? And I think, I think God’s plan of putting me in incrementally giving me these chunks that I could grow mature through. If I didn’t have a consulting company, undoubtedly, there’s no way I would have survived where I’m at today. And if I didn’t run the Southeast, I wouldn’t have had to read the P and L’s and balance sheets and gone through all the budgeting that I, that I did. Right. And every single kind of phase or season that I had in my life taught me so much. That brought me to this moment where I felt confident and comfortable enough to start a tech company, which I still with all, whatever knowledge and support I have could never fathom how difficult it was going to be.

Greg White (18:30):

But at least you internalized all of those experiences. I think that’s another good lesson for people to take away here is you might not like what you’re doing now. And it may not be what you want to do. Long-term but there is something you can learn from it and to consciously and intentionally internalize those learnings is so, so valuable.

Jason Perez (18:56):

You create purpose out of the things that you’ve experienced bad or good. Right, right. Purpose.

Greg White (19:04):

All right. So you, so you started, so you saw this problem, you saw that tech was potentially a solution. You immediately identified that they were trying to organize data. That was a pretty cool awakening. I’m sure. Where’d you go from there?

Jason Perez (19:19):

Yeah. So we, we did a ton of customer discovery and, um, and then we met up with, uh, we got involved with ATDC locally here. We actually met tour two of our advisors there, Shane Matthews and Mike, Sam Bush. And first time we sat down with Michael sang Bush, we said, here’s our MVP. Right. We’re ready. Look at all the customer discovery. And he looked and he’s like, well, you did your homework. And it looks like there is something there. Right. Um, and Shane Matthews really pick this apart as well. But then, but then

Greg White (19:49):

It brings a whole new level of understanding to market research. Doesn’t he? I mean, his requirements for market research are substantial to say the least.

Jason Perez (20:02):

I agree. And I think, you know, we did customer discovery at the best level I could do. And then we did customer discovery to the best level that I can do based on Shane’s requirements. I won’t say the best level of same, because obviously he’s going to do a better than, than all of us. But I did to the best of my ability based on Shane’s requirements. So w we walked where like, we’re ready to build our MVP. We walk into Michael st. Louis’s office and man, what a blow out of that meeting. He pretty much told us in very kind words that first of all, it’s not an MVP. That’s just dumb that doesn’t look anything like an MVP. And, uh, and we’re like, no, this is what we have to build. And he was like, Nope, Nope, not even close. And so he ripped apart at MVP and it went from like a hundred and thousand dollars bill to a $10,000 build, which is great since I was self-funding and we built it.

Jason Perez (20:53):

And what we found out is if we would have built that initial MVP, Oh my gosh, what a waste of money that would have been. And instead we went, we built it, we test the market, we had kind of this Expedia model initially. And what we found was, Hey, the market’s not really ready to take that leap. You looked at all the pain, you saw how they were solving it. And then you ignored one of the most key behavioral elements of construction, which is I’ve got relationships. And so we started looking and going, okay, how can we do it?

Greg White (21:26):

They were not ready to shed their travel agents yet. Effectively is what you discovered. I mean, that’s essentially what Expedia did. Was it replaced travel agents and the market was not ready to get rid of their travel agents.

Jason Perez (21:41):

They, they were not, we looked, we looked and we said, okay, we thought that we can do this big supply chain jump right. And skip steps. But you, you can’t, you got to understand, again, that behavior psychology. And so we looked and we said, okay, how do we match their current supply chain with tech, right? How do you match their behavior? And so we built a product that they could customize and decide who they were going to go to specifically down to their sales rep. And we created a efficiency communication tool to facilitate the transaction. And so we made it easy for them to one go out to the three people that they normally go out to. And instead of picking up the phone and making three phone calls, getting voicemails, whatever it is, we cut that time down to about 15 seconds. Some people would send out emails, but then the emails come in at different times. And how do you group them together and compare the notes and et cetera. So what we did was we made a quote board, right? It looks just like their email, but it comes in and guess what? It’s all of them come in at one place. They don’t have to search through a bunch of stuff. One quote has all three responses. And so we started to really get matched with the tools that they use day to day.

Greg White (22:56):

That’s a great description of MVP is essentially automating what arguably was a sub optimal process, which must have pained. You slightly being a consultant by trade.

Jason Perez (23:07):

Right. But,

Greg White (23:09):

But you got them to the next level of maturity. And clearly if you came in with $120,000 worth of development on it, what you called an MVP, you had a vision to the future of what this thing could be. Would you say that’s a fair get yeah.

Jason Perez (23:27):

Yes, yes, yes. A hundred percent, but it doesn’t matter what I want. It doesn’t matter what vision you know, is, is to come. You know, it’s kinda like, I, I, I really enjoyed the Zombieland movies. I don’t know if Greg, if you’ve watched it,

Greg White (23:41):

I feel like I’ve wasted part of my life, not watching those tried only, you know, only in kind of catching them already started, but I feel like I ought to go back and watch those.

Jason Perez (23:54):

They’re they’re, they’re funny, you know, it’s kinda like the dumb and Denver type idea. You either like it and get it, or you, you don’t and you don’t. Right. So

Greg White (24:04):

Harrolson right. And I can’t remember who else I I’m really bad with. I know I get, I really get into movies to the extent that I don’t remember who the actors are. Yeah.

Jason Perez (24:16):

But, but I can tell you, it’s funny because on the second, when they came out to this last year, um, there’s in there and they’re talking and I’m like, I’ve got a great idea for the future. What if you get on your phone and you push a button and it’s like, when you’ve been drinking so much, you can’t even drive and you don’t even know what’s going on, but you could push a button and a stranger will grab, you, put them in their car and they’re going to drive you home. Right. And, and the people look at them like you’re an idiot that would net who would get in somebody’s car when they’re drunk, that they don’t know the people and all this stuff. Right. And if you would have described Uber, if you were to describe that 20 years ago, like this is going to happen and it’s going to be massive. The ride share like market is going to be huge. It would go, there’s no way, man. There’s just not possible. Not possible. Taxis are licensed and they got backgrounds. Like, there’s no way that it’ll ever happen, but here we are. Right. And so it’s kind of same idea. I looked and I looked at the vision. I thought I’m just going to skip and make it happen now. But, but that’s, that’s not the way the market works.

Greg White (25:27):

Right. He’s the market into that. Yeah. That’s true. Yeah.

Jason Perez (25:30):

So, so that’s, you know, that’s what we did with great, you know, advisers like you, that that looked and said, yeah, we all see it. We all see where it’s going to go, but here’s where you need to be. And I think each one pushes the tolerance of that. So we can get there a little bit quicker, but, you know, there’s, there’s timing and tell the behavioral side changes until they become very used to it becoming computers instead of phones, you know, there’s going to be a lot of, a lot of work that has to come first. And, uh, and the great thing is we’ll willing to put the work in. We’re willing to be that bridge. And I think, you know, one thing we’ve learned in construction is, and people say this all the time. As you talk to them, they’ll tell you, once I make this decision, this is a longterm decision. You know, companies buy accounting programs and they use them for decades, project management programs that Gates, right. Asset management programs, decades, you know, all the way down, get, apply chain programs,

Greg White (26:41):

Decades, decades, it’s

Jason Perez (26:44):

Decades, you know, it’s decades. Yeah. So you gotta, you gotta get in there with something that makes sense for them to start to eat. You get them in your restaurant and guess what? They’re not going to get out of their seat. You know, you just spoonfeed them. They’re never full because you know what the entree should look like. But at the same time, you know, they’re still hungry. They’re sitting at your table. And so you spoonfeed them and they’re like, well, I can’t get up because I’m going to get hungry. If I leave, if I leave this tech, I’m going to be starved. Right. Because now I know what it is to tastes good food.

Greg White (27:17):

Now you are the status quo in effect that they fear leaving. That’s exactly. So, so what do you think makes this such an impactful problem? What is it just the sheer dollars? I mean, we are talking about 15, $20,000 a month rentals. What do you think made this such an impactful problem that even with all of the industrial psychology and whatnot that you’ve applied and your clear understanding of the problem and the level or maturity of solution, that, that the market was ready for? What made this a problem that was worthy of a solution like this,

Jason Perez (27:59):

Man? That’s such a good question. Like, people usually don’t stop me too much, Greg, but what, what made it, um, you know, construction? I think there’s a couple of components of it. One construction’s been good to my family, you know, and I think I don’t ignore those things anymore. For me, when I looked at construction, I was willing to listen a little bit more intently because I’m listening to the guys that are the same as my dad or my brother or me, and I’m dealing with them on a daily basis. And the industry is growing exponentially. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s crazy how much, when you look at when a small company gets in and they start growing and they’re renting 10 pieces of equipment. And then all of a sudden they’re renting a hundred pieces of equipment. It’s pretty disruptive in the amount of waste and inefficiency that come off of that are difficult to handle.

Jason Perez (28:54):

You know, the growth when you look and you go well, but the construction industry as a whole, or the rental industry as a whole, but what you don’t see is after 2008, construction slowed down tremendously. And then all of a sudden you hit a growth spurt. And the pain that is, that is experienced by these contractors is different than a slow growth that they can react to. Now, the growth is so large in the last three to four years that the pain has never been so great. So they’re feeling pain at a height. They’re also experiencing technology at a whole new level that they never experienced before. I mean, people back to the Uber’s back to the Amazons, they’re starting to become more technology accepting within their personal lives. So at a professional level, it makes it easier. And I think there’s a convergence of extreme pain, no one innovating in this space, really, at least not at a behavioral level.

Jason Perez (29:56):

And then, you know, technology really being accepted within people’s personal lives and a little bit, you know, I’m not going to say a change of the guard because if you look the average age of construction workers, really, it’s kind of just grown. So it went from like the, think the late twenties, 29 to 30, and now it’s like 41 or something. So, you know, the average age is, is kind of grown. You would think that there’d be a new turn of youth coming into that, that industry, but it hasn’t, you know, one of our first customers was 65 years old or 66 years old about to retire. And he’s like, Hey, can I use tech every single day of my life? You know, why wouldn’t I use it to get my job done easier? And he brought so many great ideas to our product because he had been doing this for 35, 40 years, you know, running equipment for that long renting equipment for that long. So, you know, I think people just in general are ready to adopt tech to make their lives easier. They get it, they understand it.

Greg White (30:55):

I think that the recognition that people are using it on a day-to-day basis, that’s, that’s really important. I think the other recognition that you have acknowledged there is that we are on the precipice of the greatest generational transfer of knowledge in the history of the planet. The largest generation in the history of the planet is aging out of the workforce, 10,000 a day. That’s right. The baby boomers. And they have largely kept their knowledge in their head because those were the systems of the day. It’s in a notebook somewhere it’s in their head. Or, you know, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard, I just know it, right. And we need to capture that. And we need to systematize that because the incoming generations and rightfully so they want technology to do for them, what technology can do for them. I think your recognition there is spot on and it’s really valuable for what you’re doing. And I know that you have a really strong relationship with Brasfield and Gorrie. So tell me what is with them and other development and construction companies. What makes this problem so compelling and why are they demanding a solution like this? Because Brasfield and Gorrie, they are essentially commanding their contractors and subcontractors to utilize something like this. Or it’s many things like many technologies, right? Yeah. Why that is,

Jason Perez (32:21):

There’s two fold on it. One, again, it comes back to the pain and it comes back to the inefficiency. And the other is, I think collaboration is starting to become far more important within, within the industry. We’re using zoom right now. And you know, all of a sudden that became popular because of what everybody’s going through in the pandemic right now. But the reality is those two things are really the indicators. So Brasfield and Gorrie, you know, $4 billion, a year general contractor, they do a little bit of construction. I think they do more construction in Southeast than anybody else when they saw the yard’s product. It wasn’t because we pitched it to them. Actually. I mean, this is how great, how innovative and forward thinking and the way that their company works. And you know, other companies that might be listening to this right now take a play out of the breastfeeding Gorey book right now, as I go through the story, you know, they, they had a customer art plumbing.

Jason Perez (33:14):

It’s a hundred year old plumbing contractor here in Atlanta, a company full of integrity and, and genuinely just good people. So they signed up two yards and about, I think it was the third day they invited their suppliers on well, Brasfield and Gorrie owns equipment rental, part of their company. Right? And so a pretty sizable one. And so they added Candice Lehman on there. She was their regional manager or regional sales rep for Brasfield and Gorrie. And when she saw the product, she said, wait a second, what, what is this? She called her customer to say, can you give me a demo? The customer gave her a demo of the product and she immediately got it and said, Oh my gosh, all these spreadsheets that we’re dealing to try to attract equipment, all the things we’re doing for our customers, all the things we’re going to try, we’re trying to track for a subcontractors.

Jason Perez (34:10):

This just solved all of it and automated exactly what we do day to day. And the reason we got there again is because of all the customers before they gave us all the feedback to tell them, tell us how they do business. Now we’ve developed a product that, like you said, old-timers, they know how they do it. Like you’re a willing to sit down and listen to them, take exactly what they do and build tech around it. You can solve a lot of problems just because they’re not doing it with tech today. It doesn’t mean that that brain, isn’t a mine of gold, mine of knowledge, that you can take extract and create all that technical diamonds, if you will. Oh yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s amazing. So, so they saw, and they said, man, we’re wasting a ton of time. We’re trying to attract rates.

Jason Perez (35:02):

We’re trying to track. Who’s renting what we want to get more of our equipment onto the project. There’s no visibility between the field and our office and the rental companies, all this stuff. Can you build something? We love what you’re doing, but can you build something that’s a little bit more collaborative and transparent from a project standpoint, challenge us. We did some custom dev for the, for them delivered about a week early, which gained a lot of confidence. And next thing you know, we’re building this completely collaborative, shared project view for them. And now they’re mandating, Hey, on our $1 billion hospital job, you know, we want people, we want contractors to be on yard so that we can collaborate. We can come together. We can understand what’s going on in the project. And guess what? It’s not any extra work for you guys. I mean, that was the first question I would say.

Jason Perez (35:50):

They said, well, gosh, we’re going to have to learn a new system. No, you don’t need to learn a new system. Okay. Well, it’s going to be a lot of time and effort. Am I going to have to hire somebody now? You don’t got to do that. We met exactly how you do business. It’s going to be very simple. It’s all going to come into the system. You’re going to see it in one place, all the suppliers you’re gonna see all your rates. You’re gonna see what’s owned. What’s rented, what’s leased everything in one place to make it a lot easy. Just think about your whiteboard and it living in a computer because that’s what it’s doing. And they’re like, okay, well, this sounds great. And you know, we have customers like Ronnie D Jones, the first two weeks that he used the product because of the visibility, because we automate alerts to them because we automate summaries to their teams. He wrote me an email. I said, I saved $20,000 in the first two weeks of getting on the product. Wow. And when you hear that and you go, we’re doing something right here.

Greg White (36:44):

Yeah. Brasfield and Gorrie must have multiple opportunities like that with all of the projects they’ve got going on. And as you said, as the pace of the industry quickens the exposure of those kinds of costs and inefficiencies, they just multiply exponentially as well. Right. Instead of one $15,000 piece of equipment sitting there for an extra three weeks. So you pay another 15 grand, you got it on 10 or 15 or 20 sites that adds up really, really quick. So I get why they’re so into this.

Jason Perez (37:17):

Well, and they’re doing it for the customers. They’re doing it for the customers because you know, a lot of their projects they’re, they’re negotiated in. So it’s not like they’re out there putting a hard price to it and trying to increase the profits. They’re trying to reduce the cost for their customers. And, and again, they’re incurring a cost to themselves so that they can be better for their customers. And I look, and I go, gosh, that’s exactly who we are. We will incur costs ourselves so that our customers have a better experience. And, and I think that just trickles down through all the different cultures of, of who we want to be, who our customers are, you know, and, and it’s just where the industry needs to go. Right? The industry needs to go, right? It’s not about what’s in it for me. Cause if that’s the only way we’re talking, the only way we’re looking, you know, and I feel like a lot of conversations I have with different entrepreneurs and partners and things like that, you start talking to them then, well, what do I get? But I think that’s the wrong question. Usually my first thing is, Hey, what can I do for you? Tell me what I can do for you.

Greg White (38:18):

So, all right. So let’s, let’s shift gears a little bit, cause I think I’d like to consolidate some of your insights so that we can share, share them with our community. So you’ve shared so much, and I think we can use refer people to a lot of that that will help them as they are either developing solutions for their own selecting a solution provider or, or even hoping to build and grow a solution company of their own. So let me ask you this. What do you wish you had known earlier in life, either earlier in startup life or earlier in your life in general? And what do you think that might have changed

Jason Perez (38:59):

Earlier in life? I think something you said, which is just, just be you, um, you asked shortcomings that, you know, might work out for, for me being me. Um, I think we, we have to have some grace for ourselves. You know, we need to look and go, Hey, this is who we are and I’m going to leverage my strengths and where I don’t have strengths. I’m going to find good people around me from a life perspective. I wish I would have done that a lot earlier. I wish I would have had grace for myself a lot earlier from a founder perspective, man. Um, I wish I would have had a tech founder a lot, a lot earlier to start a tech company without a tech founder, the toughest thing I could’ve ever, ever, ever done. You need both. You need the business guy, you need the, you know, the guy that thinks strategically and sales and really looks at the behavior and, and understands product. But if you don’t have somebody building out that tech that has a passion to create that vision, it is just so hard.

Greg White (40:06):

It’s impossible. I would argue. It’s impossible. Jason, in fact, just a couple of weeks ago, I did because we’ve started doing these interviews with founders and this whole series tequila, sunrise started with explaining to people what startup life was like, what investment life was like, what an a round mint or a seed round mint, things like that, right? I’ve gotten so much feedback to say, Hey, wow, this has been really helpful for me. I think I’d really like to found a startup. So I felt compelled leveraging my disfunction. I felt compelled at that point, your order to share that’s right. To share with people, okay. You think you want to start up? This is what it really means to have a startup. And that is one of the must haves. You must have a two headed dragon, right? You must have a sales, visionary subject matter expert, whatever you want to call it.

Greg White (41:04):

And you must have a tech founder. You literally cannot go anywhere near where you need to go as a, as a company without that. And you’ve experienced that. I mean that, I think that hindered you somewhat early on, but now you’ve got that. I know you can see the acceleration that it’s given you. Right. But yeah, it is an absolute must. That is an absolute must. If there’s anything I want anyone to take away, it’s that find yourself a geek, right? If you’re not one, find yourself one. And if you are find yourself a huckster, a visionary huckster salesperson, and learn to tolerate and exist with one another because you need

Jason Perez (41:43):

That’s right. That’s perfectly said

Greg White (41:45):

Anything else there has to be. I mean, I don’t want you to go through the whole list. I think we’d all, we’d all die of old age. Right? Anything else that comes immediately to mind that you think is a critical insight for founding and growing a company that could have,

Jason Perez (42:01):

Then the number one thing, number one thing, period, hands down. I cannot emphasize this enough. And you know, this is Greg advisors, advisors, advisors, get people around you that have done it before and get a wide array of people. People good at sales people good at tech people, good at startup people. Good at accounting. It doesn’t matter. Like you got to build that C-suite team for you because none of us, I don’t care how smart you are. None of us are smart enough to forecast all the different things you’re going to go through. And in some cases, Greg, you’re really good at this. And some cases, you just need somebody to tell you, Hey, I believe in you, right? Like you’ve said, Hey, everything is going to be okay. You’re going to get you to the side of this. I know this, this situation sucks, but wait a month and it’ll change.

Jason Perez (43:00):

So I think you got to have good people around you that are true advisors that can hold you accountable and be there for you and, and take those those three months, sprints, you know, have real objectives and shoot for them because you need wins. You need to be able to look at those three months and go look at all. I accomplished and feel good about that because the end goal, the vision, it could be 10 years down the line. So if you’re not celebrating three months increments and holding yourself accountable, then you’re never going to know,

Greg White (43:32):

Uh, that’s a real, that’s a really good heads up. You are as smart as you are. You’re not smart enough to do this on your own. And at the very least, you might be smart enough to do it on your own, but why continue to stick your foot in the mud when somebody can say don’t step there.

Jason Perez (43:50):

That’s right, right. A hundred percent. Yeah.

Greg White (43:52):

That, that to me was so valuable. And frankly, I learned it the hard way, which is why I bet, as you know, I am so adamant about that is don’t try to go it alone, right? Yeah. Yeah. That’s and that, that is, that’s really powerful. And I, I appreciate you sharing that and I’m glad that, that you take that away and I’m actually, I’m really encouraged by the number of successful entrepreneurs who really feel that way. Yeah. And if they don’t feel that way at first, they feel that way eventually. All right. So let’s go a little bit broader here. I want us, as we kind of start to wind down here, I want to, uh, world is a different place than when you and I first started working together, which was about a year and a half ago. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe more than that. Now I, I can’t even remember. Tell me about some things that you, you are completely at peace about or that you are curious or concerned about right now. And I mean, world work.

Jason Perez (44:56):

Yeah. Well, I’m really at peace of where I’m at with, with my family. You know, I really am that even some of the nights that I might spend a little bit late at the office. I know that I’m still going home every night to them. And I, and I I’m just so encouraged every time that I get home and I’d go, man, I’m here and not on a plane or in a hotel somewhere. I’ve been blessed to be able to make that decision. Boy, I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about things that, that are kind of disruptive. I mean, I look, I come from a Cuban family, so it’s been kind of a little bit of a turmoil situation here for the last eight months. Just looking at a country that’s that was so hopeful and provided such a great place for all my Cuban family that didn’t speak the language to be able to come over here and create the life that they did.

Jason Perez (45:47):

And I think, you know, Greg, I sit on a board for this refugee nonprofit. And when we look at every type of religious background, every type of race, every type of ethnicity there that we serve, but the amount of success they have because of the hope that they see, right. When they come to the us, they’re just like my grandparents. They’re so excited to be here they go. This is the greatest country on earth. We’re going to take on the world and you know, what they do, they take on the world, you know, but it’s because like me, I grew up and I saw my parents. I said, they did it. I can do it. This is most fertile ground to grow anything you want. And I believe that, and the refugees we work with believe that, and they’re highly successful. And I think one of the most concerning things right now for me is that people, a lot of people stop believing that we’re still having success for the ones that do.

Jason Perez (46:45):

It’s not that that people can’t be successful. They just believe they can’t be successful anymore. And that’s sad because the ones that believe it, make it happen. And it really comes down to that people, you know, I think there’s this movement of mindfulness and all this type of stuff, but really all that means is do you believe in where you can go or not? And you’ve got, as you know, I always forget who it said, I’m sure you know, who said it, but you know, you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. And I, I see a lot of people not taking it then complaining that they haven’t made the shot, you know,

Greg White (47:21):

Great one Gretzky. Okay.

Jason Perez (47:24):

So for me, I’m so saddened because we have so many bright children out there that really just, just need to hear it. Doesn’t matter where you’re sitting today. There’s a Ben Carson, that’s, you know, in a single parent home that becomes a pediatric neurosurgeon, right? You can, you can do it just believe in yourself. You can do it. You know, these things can happen. You can go from zero to an entrepreneur, just believe that you can do it.

Greg White (47:58):

People do need to have a bit of an awakening that it doesn’t matter who the government is or what the government gives you or what the government does. You can succeed. There were successful families in Cuba, right? And there will always be those people that you’ve described who are exceptional, who are exceptionally hopeful or exceptionally ambitious or whatever you want to call it, exceptionally lucky, whatever it is, who will not be bounded by the tenets politics, the dogma, the verbiage of a government or of a bureaucracy. And they will instead choose to live their lives. I mean, I, my family comes from one of the worst governments on the planet. Argentina is literally the only country in the world who has reached for first world status and then receded back to emerging nation status, the only country in the entire world ever, ever. And, and there, there are people who are plenty successful in one of the worst economies on the planet. Yeah. I feel like people need that encouragement. They need to hear what you’ve said. They don’t need to necessarily change. They just need to recognize, and they need to reach the level of comfort and hope that you have and that your family has, that has allowed you to hit or find or seek the American dream.

Jason Perez (49:17):

Well, you know what I love about what you said, Greg, ignore the politics. Like when my, my parents, grandparents came over, I don’t even know who is in office. I don’t think it really matters who was in office. They were just grinding every day and they go, look, if you have a good product and, and you know, classic form, my, my, my grandfather started a landscaping business. Right. Cause that’s easy to start. Um, the one thing he taught me was look, I started a landscaping business and it took the same amount of time to ask my neighbor if he wanted me to limo his lawn as me to be in Beverly Hills and knock door to door and ask, right. So I knocked doors in Beverly Hills. That’s where I’m not. And so he did, he did really well. He went to where the money was at, right?

Greg White (49:59):

W why did Al Capone Rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.

Jason Perez (50:05):

So, so, you know, but my point to this though, is I’ve never looked and said, who’s in office because that’s going to determine whether or not I’m successful. I just have it, does it affect other things? Of course, from a political standpoint and government socioeconomic, all these other things, taxes, whatever it might be, you can look and go, I’m going to be affected one way or the other. But whether Jason Perez is going to wake up and make YD successful, I don’t care. Who’s in office. It doesn’t matter to me because I’m looking and going. I’m going to put every effort I can to make this happen. And Lord willing, I get blessed and all my work pays off. You know, if you can grab some people from the inner city and bring them out to listen to a couple of refugee stories that came from Africa within the last couple years, started their own business. Not knowing the language are Muslim, you know, et cetera, et cetera. And you go well on paper, this guy shouldn’t succeed wildly successful. You go, what’s wrong here. Well, part of it’s because they help each other. They love each other, you know?

Greg White (51:13):

And, um, and you don’t want to fall into believing the hype that you are helpless or you are hopeless. I do believe that regardless of the system, you can be successful. I told my daughters ages ago, your success is not dependent on the government. It is not dependent on what the government gives you. It is dependent on your initiative and on your desire to be exceptional. Great.

Jason Perez (51:39):

I agree. And, and I hope I hope I can translate the same to my kids, man.

Greg White (51:46):

So, all right. So let me ask you one final question and that is, is there anything you’d like to share with our audience that we have not talked about? Tidbit of wisdom, philosophy, thought anything I’ve missed, or you just feel compelled?

Jason Perez (52:02):

The only thing I’d say is I haven’t thanked Brian Macaluso, who’s on our advisory board. I mean, that’s important. I can’t leave him out. Or Rick Hernandez that came in early and, and contributed so much, you know, um, Shay Evan or Perry. McWatters, there’s just so many people to be grateful for. Gratitude’s the attitude, you know, if you live your life that way, you’re not going to regret it. There’s a couple of things. You’ll never regret spending too much time with your kids and being too thankful.

Greg White (52:30):

That’s very good. Very good. Thank you for sharing that. I really do appreciate it. People are going to be asking something more like, why did Jason spend two and a half hours? No, I don’t even know how long we’ve been doing this, but it’s been great. And I really enjoy talking with you. Of course, always. And I really admire what you’re doing, not only with yards as a professional and as a founder, but also how you’re balancing that with your family life and work life and you know, all the best to you and your family and particularly your father. And just thanks big. Thanks for being here with us. Jason Perez, CEO and founder of yards. Great. Having you with us so much to take away here. I’m not even sure how to, how to compile all this, how to, how to break it down. There’s just a lot here and I really appreciate you sharing it with us. And I know that our community’s really going to love it. So thank you again. Well, I’m honored to be on. I really am. Thank you, Greg.

Greg White (53:38):

Right? That is all you need to know about supply chain tech for this week. Don’t forget to get to supply chain now.com for more supply chain now, series interviews and events. And now we have two live streams per week. The most popular live show in supply chain. Supply chain buzz is every single Monday at noon Eastern time with Scott Luton and me, or maybe even somebody else. Plus our Thursday live stream to be named later where we will bring you whatever the hell we want. Hey, thanks for spending your valuable time with me and remember acknowledge reality, but never be bound by it.

Jason Perez, entrepreneur, advisor, and Cofounder of YARDZ, comes from a pedigree of construction and entrepreneurship. YARDZ is third company after 2 other successful ventures.  He has sat on several boards and has been a trusted advisor for a widespread of companies. As CEO of YARDZ, he brings a high business aptitude mixed with a passion driven culture. Learn more about YARDZ here: https://yardz.com/

 

Greg White serves as Principal & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com

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