THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST

1589 – Custom Software and Platform Development Boosts Business Efficiency with EmergeLabs’ Brad Hunter

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Chief Executive Officer of EmergeLabs, Brad Hunter.

As software development continues to evolve, there is no doubt that AI is playing an increasingly important role. But what impact does it have on the industry? Brad Hunter, the President and Founder of EmergeLabs, shares his thoughts in a recent podcast episode.

According to Brad, AI can be a valuable tool in software development, especially for chat GPT, which can quickly solve problems. However, he notes that AI is not taking over the industry, as some may believe. While it can assist with coding, it cannot replace the need for human expertise and a holistic approach to software development.

Brad emphasizes the importance of taking a balanced approach to software development, combining technical skills with a broader understanding of business operations. This allows development teams to create a successful end product considering the client's entire business and long-term strategy.

In addition to his insights on AI, Brad also highlights the importance of communication when working with development teams. He suggests that communicating directly with the developers can help avoid misunderstandings and frustration. Over-communicating in the beginning stages of a project is also crucial to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

 

About Brad Hunter:

Brad is a skilled professional who solves complex problems through highly-customized software solutions. With expertise in wireless, agriculture, and healthcare industries, Brad's team assists clients in retaking control of their core businesses. They develop scalable software solutions tailored to specific requirements, ensuring user-friendliness and delivering a positive return on investment (ROI) within a few years.

Brad's notable projects include Carrier Insight, a solution designed for a 500-location wireless carrier. By leveraging automation, this software replaced an outdated and labour-intensive commission reconciliation process, resulting in over $3 million in annual savings and widespread adoption by 2,500 Verizon locations.

 

About EmergeLabs:

EmergeLabs is a client-centric software development company. Direct communication between clients and the entire team eliminates the communication breakdown often seen in conventional project management.

The firm boasts an experienced team skilled in developing SaaS platforms and custom solutions, employing a unique methodology prioritizing frequent interaction with clients to keep projects on track.

Quality assurance is integral to their service, with rigorous testing procedures guaranteeing a bug-free, secure, and user-friendly product. Their software solutions are scalable and future-proof, designed to adapt to evolving market trends and technological advancements, promoting cost-effectiveness.

EmergeLabs places significant importance on customer satisfaction, striving to exceed expectations and foster long-term partnerships. Their services extend beyond development to include comprehensive post-development support.

 

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out EmergeLabs website at

https://emergelabs.us/

Check out EmergeLabs on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/company/emerge-labs/

Check out Brad Hunter on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brad-hunter-b6346a5/

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Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Brad Hunter. Brad, you are the president and founder of Emerge Labs. You're found on the Web at Emerge Labs US. It's great to have you, Brad. Thanks for joining us. Yeah, thank you. Great to be here. And what does emerge labs. So we do custom software development and work in various industries focused on business efficiencies.

Speaker 1 (00:01:24) - So everything we do is we do web based platforms and just trying to find ways to help businesses make more money. Really save more money is really the goal of the whole thing. And so yeah, we've kind of done that in a lot of different ways. And any decent sized business, you know, if you're a 100 employees or more and you're not looking at that, there's just there's so many ways that it can easily help you save significant amounts of money. Yeah. So in this world, I think from my experience as a long time tech business owner, tech oriented business owner, I get hit up a lot in the emails, you know, from lot of, lot of, you know, overseas developers. Can you kind of give us a thumbnail sketch maybe for someone who hasn't hired a development team or, you know, a consultant like yours, what is this world like? How do we and how can we make better decisions when we're looking at hiring someone to help on kind of the development side of things? Yeah, for sure.

Speaker 1 (00:02:33) - And so I guess let me just start with how I got into this whole situation. At the time, I had a company that was more of a consulting based company. We were focused in wireless, and one of the items that we did was commission reconciliation, which is the idea if you take a bunch of files from the carrier, you take a bunch of files from your point of sale system and and, you know, kind of combed through all this data. It's very data intensive. And what we were doing was we had multiple people that were doing this work that we train how to do this work, which is a lot of work with Excel. And it got to a point we kept hiring more and more people to do this, and it just kind of dawned on me that like, Gosh, I don't know anything about software, but you know, we've got 20 people that spend all day, every day combing through these Excel spreadsheets, kind of doing the same thing. Like, isn't that what software should do? Right? And so I had no idea.

Speaker 1 (00:03:26) - And so started down that exact path of like, okay, well, how do I how do I figure this out? And, you know, so what I started with is the idea of, you know, of course everybody get on Google and start looking and just starting to have meetings and talking to different groups that you would find on the Internet and found a group on the Internet seemed great and lovely, you know, good price, all that type of stuff, right. Interviewed. And so in general, some basic things to know about the industry. You know, number one is it's something crazy. It's like 84% of the software that gets used in the world is developed outside of the US. So by far, I mean the vast majority of software is getting developed outside. And basically, you know, you have kind of a main architect here in the US that has an overseas team. And then in the overseas space you have different parts of the world that have different price points, you know, and it's not necessarily related to their skill level.

Speaker 1 (00:04:27) - It's related to the cost of living. Where they're at, you know, is what it comes down to. And, you know, to me, the biggest, the biggest thing you got to focus on understand is communication. There are talented developers all over the world. Yeah, but what ends up happening is you have to make sure that you're working with someone who you can communicate very well and very well directly with the developers. You know, where where things kind of go wrong is that idea of, you know, they have a project manager that you're talking to and engaging with and they seem great and they seem wonderful. And you don't even you don't even actually know who's doing the development work, right? You have this kind of front person, if you will, that's good at communicating. And so in the beginning, that seems lovely. But then as you get through the project and get down to the end, suddenly realize that, well, the developers didn't truly even understand what it is you were looking for, right? And then you get to that point and then there's this frustration of like, wait a minute, this is not this is not what we talked about.

Speaker 1 (00:05:30) - And then you kind of really start getting into the weeds and start communicating with the developers. And it turns out you can't even communicate with the developers. And then you're just stuck in this frustrating situation of like, you know, I can't communicate. And so to me, that's the biggest, biggest thing to look out for is communication, good communication with the actual people that are coding. And then the other biggest thing in that world is the idea of whoever code something that person needs to stay involved in your project. I know the best coder in the world can create a program. If they hand that program off to somebody else, that new person is going to tell you that it's terrible and it needs to be totally redone. So I'd say to me, those are the two, like real big, big things to keep an eye out for. Yeah. You know, Brad, one thing that I know, especially with my last company Savings Angel, we had to, you know, we built an entire platform from scratch.

Speaker 1 (00:06:31) - And, you know, the thing that I think was the most frustrating for me, you know, in our developers were overseas and you know, we had a great project manager, super friendly, but I can't tell you the number of times we ran into the situation where, you know, we explained the specs, we explained the requirements, you know, and we asked for feedback. We communicate back and forth and we're assured. Yes, yes, yes, we understand. Yep. That makes complete sense. We get the stuff back and it's not at all what we asked for. Yeah, I'm like, What? Like. And I get to listen. I don't know if it was just my developers, but I've, I've heard from other people who've had the same experience, um, you know, where, and maybe there might be some cultural things in there, you know, but, but generally that was such a frustrating thing, not so much about, you know, the like the wasted budget or it's the time, right? Because it's like we've got clients that are expecting this fix and this is the way that we need it and want it.

Speaker 1 (00:07:35) - And then they come back and I'm like, We are now having to, you know, And it's just it's unfortunate because now we have to go to all of our clients to say, sorry, it's going to be another 2 to 3 weeks. And when it feels like that could have been something easily avoidable. But I don't know, maybe I wasn't a great client. I don't know. Are you familiar with I think, you know, it's certainly can be the nature of the industry, if you will. Right. And so, you know, what we try to do in, you know, and over the years is really try to restructure things around the idea of what are the biggest pitfalls that people are concerned about. And so how do we operate a little differently? So one thing on that front that we focus on doing is really over communication in the beginning stages, where in in a lot of feedback really showing a lot of like, okay, here's what the user interface looks like. What do you think of this user interface? What do you think of this page? What do you think of this functionality so that you don't have that, you know, so that all there's a lot more touch points early on because traditionally, you know what happens A lot of times you kind of do the project overview and everything and like, okay, well we're going to go, you know, bury our heads down in the sand and code for three months, and then we'll come back to you with this great solution.

Speaker 1 (00:08:48) - And then yeah, and then, you know, you you're all excited and they come back, but then you're so far off track, you know? So we kind of tweaked the development process, a little bit of that idea of, you know, to avoid that, to avoid it, how do we just put more touch points along the way where the customer can really get a better feel and we're all on the same page because, I mean, that is that's just the nature of how it's done a lot. And there's there's a better way to kind of do that. I can imagine that, you know, all of the buzz and excitement over, you know, the possibilities with AI has got to be impacting your industry. Somewhat. Right. You know. Same thing. Like I'm the same I mean, I read stuff on Twitter all the time, like, oh, my gosh, you know that I'm reaching out to the development team. Oh, my gosh. You guys, I read this article.

Speaker 1 (00:09:42) - My gosh, we need to implement this. We need to implement that. Oh, my. It's going to be amazing. Yeah. And you know, it's funny, I listened to a podcast like last week that I felt like summed up I the best. You know, the guy just stated that, Listen, here's how you need to look at I look at I like you would look at an intern and I can replace an intern and I cannot replace a true position. You know, it's the idea that like, it can go out and kind of help, but it's not going to do. You know, you read things like, oh my gosh, AI is going to take over coding now. Like how it works for our team is the idea of, you know, they're going along, they're coding and they run into an issue. And traditionally, you know, they run into a problem they're not sure about traditionally how they need to get on the Internet, kind of do some research there.

Speaker 1 (00:10:27) - And, you know, it takes them a while to do this and that. Well, now they can just use ChatGPT, Right? And they can just they run into an issue. They can put it in there and then it can fire back something significantly quicker than if they're spending an hour doing research. Now, they can get that answer for that problem, you know, fairly instantly. So it is helping in that respect. But this concept that like is taking over a you know, we haven't found that to be true. And, you know, and I'm a big believer in really trying to stay on the cutting edge and do all of those things. But the reality so far hasn't quite. But it's it's helpful for sure. But it's not this, you know. Oh, yeah. Just jump on chat GPT type two commands and boom, you have software. Yeah. Brad, what is the process like? And I'm curious about how you do discovery and onboarding with the client, because I think that there's probably some lessons there.

Speaker 1 (00:11:25) - In my experience, if you know, kind of like listen to how you do it so that if someone has worked with a developer in the past or is contemplating hiring a developer and they're like, wait a minute. The way that they're doing doesn't sound at all like what Emerge Labs does. You know, it might be some red flags. Talk about it, because it sounds to me like you probably take discovery and onboarding. That's pretty important. Yeah. So I come at it, you know, I have an ops background and so I come at it from that perspective. And in fact, in all honesty, I'm not even to this day, not a huge technical person. Right? When we started this whole thing, you know, I told the guys from day one that, okay, this company is not going to succeed based on my amazing technology. You know, prowess is I understand things from a business perspective, and I'm going to trust that you guys manage the technical side of things, and that's how we're going to run this business.

Speaker 1 (00:12:25) - And so I come at things from just a more holistic approach. A lot of the customers that we engage with to build software, I end up doing consulting, you know, because I've done some different things over the years, you know, taking companies from startups to several thousand employees. And so, you know, I just tend to look at it from a bigger picture of, you know, they come to me and like, okay, you know, we have this idea for the software to do this. Like, okay, cool. That sounds really good. Let's talk a little bit more about your whole business, though. You know what else is going on here? What what else can we be looking at besides this niche? I agree with what you're saying on this niche. I think this would be really helpful. But let's take a kind of a broader picture at your whole business. Let's talk a little bit more about more of a long term strategy. And I think that's kind of the probably the difference between the way that we approach it.

Speaker 1 (00:13:16) - Maybe in other developers do, at least my experience is that idea of. You know, you start with that initial kind of development piece in, and I feel like that part of it is people are getting, you know, what they would expect. And then but once you get that first kind of piece in, I think where clients really get blown away is when you continue to add functionality and where they really see the benefit to is, you know, I don't think most people understand the concept that once you've kind of built that foundation. That the functionality over time that you can add to that in the areas that that can really impact your business is can be really exponential and that's where people get super excited. You know, we build this first platform, this is cool. It's great. You know that a couple of months later it's like, could it could we do this? Could it help with that? And yeah, it would be super easy. We could add that I could we could add that within a couple of weeks we could have really, we could do.

Speaker 1 (00:14:17) - And it's, that's to me the part that gets most exciting is not just the niche, but like look at the whole business and especially the growth, you know, where you're at today, where you're going to be. And then looking at for more of that perspective, boy, that that is nice. You know, having someone with a, you know, kind of a business development or at least a mind or an empathy for that as opposed to, you know, kind of a Well, we did the you know, we did the job, boss, you know, So we're going to just do the you know, it's like a developer can come in with other ideas that are based on the overall goals. I don't you know, I don't pretend to have all of the ideas. And I'll tell you, you know, if I can find a developer who can engage with me and say, well, I don't know exactly what we want to do, but this is what we want to create and have them come back with other ideas that are going, Oh my gosh, that's like way better than what I thought of.

Speaker 1 (00:15:14) - You know? That's pretty valuable stuff. Yeah, yeah. It's, you know, from my perspective, sometimes it's comical as to yeah, certain things. You know, I can look at certain things, but no, no, that's very simple. You know, where a lot of times clients are like, Oh man, I don't know, we'd like this, but boy, that's, that seems like it's going to be super challenging and super costly, you know? So I do feel like that perspective of just understanding that backs having that balance, right, of really understanding business operations and then understanding, you know, the kind of the technical side of things and marrying those two together, I think really kind of makes a big difference in the end. Product. Yeah. Your website is Emerge Labs us. Brad When somebody goes there, what would you recommend that they do? Yeah I mean, you know General, you know, just kind of take a look around, see some of the projects that we've done and then really think one of the biggest things is just I love to connect for a 30 minute call.

Speaker 1 (00:16:15) - And, you know, let's kind of like my favorite part of this whole business is that even just getting to know different business people, right, even if we don't work together, it's fun just making those connections and talking to them and kind of seeing what makes sense. And if nothing else, I mean, I feel like I am able to at least offer some pretty decent advice. I mean, maybe it doesn't make sense to build software for you right now. Right? But at least kind of helping them get their head around thinking about things the way that that I'm able to think about things. That's one of the main things I try to do in talking to somebody. It's not selling software. It's just I want you to view your business like I view your business. I want you to kind of understand that from the perspective that I do. And then at some point down the road, you're probably going to come back, you know, and say, Hey, you know what? I've been thinking about what you said.

Speaker 1 (00:17:08) - We've been looking at it. And I think that, you know, it makes sense to talk some more. So awesome. Brad Hunter, again, president, founder of Emerge Labs. Again, the website Emerge Labs us. When you go to the website, there's a learn more button. There's certainly a get a quote. Now you can click on that and grab grab 15 30 minutes, have a conversation and see if a merge would be a great fit for you. Brad it's been great having you as a guest on the show. Thank you so much for joining us. Awesome. Thank you to Josh. Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up My Influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the thoughtful entrepreneur and Facebook.

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