1592 – How the Distributive Enterprise Changed with Big Leaf Networks’ Greg Davis

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Chief Executive & Board Member of BigLeaf Networks, Greg Davis.


Today's businesses rely heavily on cloud-based applications for their daily operations. From call centres to healthcare facilities, there is a growing need for a consistent and reliable internet connection that can support these mission-critical applications. Greg talked about the importance of maintaining a reliable internet connection and its impact on the customer experience.

Davis emphasized that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud-based technologies, making it more critical for businesses to prioritize the customer experience. 

With the rise of remote work and online shopping, companies must ensure that their Internet connection is fast and reliable to meet consumer demands. A slow or unreliable Internet connection can lead to frustrated customers and lost business.

Big Leaf Networks offers a solution for businesses that need a consistent and reliable Internet connection. Their perfectly elastic product can benefit any business that relies on the Internet for mission-critical operations. Even single-site locations can benefit from their product, making it appealing to the mass market.


About Greg Davis: 

Greg is a seasoned executive with 25 years of successful business growth experience. His leadership expertise lies in strategic revitalization, which optimizes companies' value. Davis has a notable reputation for enhancing profitability, minimizing capital requirements, and bolstering revenue growth.  

His seasoned acumen in business scaling has led to significant enterprise value enhancement, demonstrating his competency and commitment to fostering organizational development and progress.


About BigLeaf Networks: 

Bigleaf Networks, founded in 2012 in Portland, Oregon, specializes in Internet connectivity solutions. Its unique network optimization technology simplifies the internet usage experience for IT professionals and organizations, assuring optimal productivity.

By dynamically adjusting traffic based on real-time conditions, Bigleaf preserves application performance and compensates for potential outages. The system integrates smoothly with existing firewalls, ISPs, and applications, provides immediate benefits post-installation and operates autonomously. Backed by investors, Bigleaf extends its services throughout North America and Europe.


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Josh (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 com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, it's Greg Davis. Greg, you are the CEO of Big Leaf Networks. You found on the Web at Big Leaf. Net, Greg, thank you so much for joining us.

Greg (00:01:09) - Thanks, Josh. I'm excited to be here. Really appreciate it. And thanks for having me. Congratulations on the success of the podcast.

Greg (00:01:15) - I've been a steady listener for the last week or so. It's great content, so again, happy to be here.

Josh (00:01:21) - I appreciate that very kind of you to say. All right, explain big Leaf. And again, if you could pretend that you're talking with, you know, maybe a group of middle schoolers, I think might be helpful just so folks understand exactly where big Leaf fits in and who you typically work with. Yes.

Greg (00:01:40) - Your thing. And I would have it. I would have it no other way. So Big Leaf serves the distributed enterprise. And so if you think about professional services, you're, you know, your your doctor, veterinary medicine, the gym, the dry cleaner. It's, you know, think of kind of where you order food. And so we live in this the sort of the tail end of the B to B to C part part part of the economy. The if you think about how you interact with that group, how you interact, how you order food, that has changed dramatically over the last four years.

Greg (00:02:14) - So you have from a B2C perspective, from a business to consumer perspective, if you think about the way that we order food, the way that we schedule, you know, when we want to get our haircut, for instance, the way that we schedule medical appointments, dropping off our our, our dog at the clinic, that kind of thing, that those consumer applications we've been investing in consumer applications pretty heavy. My last four years were specifically in that segment, and the adoption in particular accelerated by the pandemic has been awesome. So the way that we interact with that distributed endpoint and picking up groceries, that's changed dramatically. What's also changed, which is a function of the pandemic and the workforce and a lot of things is the way that think of it as a franchise. A lot of these tend to be franchised businesses, you know how they're run and how they're operated. You know, what used to be sort of half digital and half analog has now become a paperwork, if you will, has now become almost all digital.

Greg (00:03:05) - So we schedule digitally, we order digitally as it relates to how we work with our suppliers and vendors. When you're doing reporting from a corporate perspective, you know, all of that has changed and it's all cloud based, which is super, super cool because it provides mid-market companies and franchisees and franchise owners with access to the economies that you can only that you can really only find in the cloud. And so what blocks access is, it's too risky. I can't run all of my business applications and be completely dependent on what amounts to a public utility in a strip center, or they just don't move and they don't and they don't have the you know, they don't have the option to take advantage of kind of some of the new marketing, third party marketing, DoorDash and those kind of things. So they either suffer through the issue or they don't have access to cloud applications. And so what Bigleaf does is it provides a very simple solution that it provides a common experience over a large, wide area network.

Greg (00:04:07) - So if you think of Hungry Howie's Pizza, based in Detroit, which is where you're from, they have 550 locations, you know, and all of those franchisees, you know, run, you know, hunger. Rush in a lot of cases are there is a cloud POS, but they also have online ordering and all of those, you know, all those types of things. So when there's a challenge, if you will, with an app, Dan McKay is looking across 500, 550 different ISPs to kind of figure out what the problem might be, but the big leaf overlays that. So your network has a common look and feel, which makes it a lot easier to manage. More importantly, it provides a common experience. So we have peering relationships that allow your applications to work better. So think Amazon applications applicant you know, connectivities to McKesson cloud apps those kinds of things that allow that allow our customers to have a better load balanced cleaner experience when they're accessing applications. We also do prioritization. So within within a doctor's office, for instance.

Greg (00:05:07) - So we do a lot in dermatology. So you're a dermatology image down in the valley in Texas being supported by doctors that are in Houston, that the prioritization of that traffic over other activity that might be going on at that distributed endpoint, the ability to say, hey, this is more important than that, super important. And then really the biggest part of our value proposition that seems to resonate with customers, you know, is the ability to maintain state in a failure situation. So our customers tend to, you know, if you're going to rely on the Internet for business applications, you tend to have two circuits. You need those circuits to be able to to be able to work together. So it's a it's a great product for a franchisee model. It deploys in about 15 minutes. Yeah, It's it's relatively inexpensive and it allows businesses to the confidence to do business over over the Internet and you know. When you can take control over a public utility, that that that just gives you a you know, that gives you a lot of advantages.

Greg (00:06:05) - And so we've done that in big leagues. Been at it since 2015. It's a it's a super cool company full of great people.

Josh (00:06:12) - So and again, just to make sure I understand this, so is this is a solution for, let's say, you know, you know, we've got brick and mortar business and our connectivity, if we lose connectivity, we can't process business at all. Is that more of a point of sale location or are you thinking more of, you know, you know, a Web based application order taking, that sort of thing?

Greg (00:06:36) - So all all of the above. If you think of contact center. So the the primary applications, it's easy to talk about because people can relate to it. But the primary applications that drive the need for our product or connect connections to a customer service experience. So think of it as a call center. You know, anything that has mission critical business application. So, you know, again, you're at a remote health care facility doing imaging work.

Greg (00:07:04) - You know that traffic is super, super important. But those applications, you know, the applications vary. It's not it's easy to think about placing an order for food. It's a little more complicated to think about how the the support and services that you get in a professional scenario, in a professional services scenario. But it's all but it's all the same thing. It's cloud applications. Yeah. Being accessed over the Internet. And the big change has been, you know, the uplift on the consumer side.

Josh (00:07:29) - Yeah. So when we think about where typical, let's think about like a point of sale, like we're dealing with, you know, business and they've got multiple locations. One of those locations or it might be multiple, right? You know, if it's an outage where the outages or disruptions typically occur, you know, when we're thinking about kind of that kind of end user in-person experience. Well, so.

Greg (00:07:56) - So, you know, outages are sort of the big dramatic event.

Greg (00:07:59) - The more prevalent thing is performance degradation.

Josh (00:08:02) - Oh, okay.

Greg (00:08:03) - So when I say, you know, the people buy on fear, if you will, you know, this is we're going to be able to maintain your state if you have a if you have a backbone failure, if the networks down the last mile gets cut, that's kind of rare. I mean, you know, that doesn't happen nearly as protection if it does. But the main thing it's and you think about it in the world that we live in, you know, with remote work and that kind of thing, it's the quality of the experience. And, you know, you mentioned POS. That entire industry is a battle over experience. If you think of DoorDash and you think of, you know, Olo and all the competitive nature there, it's really who has the best platform that can create the best experience. And that is almost I mean, a lot of that's about the user interface and the way that it works. But assuming that everybody's putting their best foot forward, their it's about performance and the ability of the application to perform.

Greg (00:08:51) - So if you are an application owner trying to get that application to market, the last thing that you want is to have problems around the connectivity piece. And again, so Big Leap is a very, you know, it's an I think I call it an elegant, very simple solution, but it has a big bang and it does a lot of good. It creates a lot of opportunities for the endpoint and it creates a great customer experience for the consumer population.

Josh (00:09:15) - There absolutely have been very notable and publicized, you know, degradations of access for end level customers. Certainly outages can be not just damaging for lost sales during that span when there's that, you know, quality of service issue, But then there's reputational damage and shareholders that are questioning the their readiness for that next fundraise. Like are you sure you guys have your stuff together? You you keep having issues with quality here on being able to deliver it.

Josh (00:09:55) - I mean these are these are really valuable, you know, roads that need to stay flowing.

Greg (00:10:03) - Oh. Think about. Think of the process of selling. Selling franchises. The things that people get tripped up on tend to be outside of franchise fees and royalties tend to be, you know, marketing and the performance of the things that they're that they're required to use as part of the as part of the agreement. The last thing that anyone would want to have from a from a reputation perspective is are issues associated with connectivity. It's just not reasonable. And so, you know, and Big Leaf solves that problem again. It makes it very easy for folks to have that kind of confidence to say, you know what, I can, I'm going all in. I'm going to outsource my contact center. You know, everything's I'm going to move all in on digital. I'm going to get an LTE circuit or some type of wireless to to put some suspenders on on on the solution.

Greg (00:10:56) - And I'm going to put big leaf in front of it and let it rip. And that really is our business. So when we're dealing with franchisors, you know, certainly they're interested in our ability to create an experience for their consumers and all the table stakes items that you would expect. But they're trying to sell franchises. And so. Right. They need to know. And those franchises and they need access, they need visibility. So these above store applications that allow the franchise owners to have optics and to what's going on from an operational perspective in the field that's super, super important to them. And then the ability for their technology to help them, to help them grow their business and sell their franchise, that's beneficial. So think of marketing, you know, the ability to leverage third party marketing. All of that stuff is done on the Internet. It's and all of it accesses at some point in time the endpoint location and so making certain that we've done everything we can to ensure the quality of that without having to use the private circuit I think is just good hygiene and the franchise or community clearly agrees.

Greg (00:12:07) - Yeah.

Josh (00:12:08) - And so obviously we've been talking about, you know, multiple location, brands, businesses, who else should be reaching out to Bigleaf and having a conversation, you know, particularly thinking about particular industries or stages or sizes of companies or just, you know, typical, I don't know, just high higher risk where this is pretty mission critical stuff. It's kind of a almost a no brainer that they'd better have some investments in in redundancies. And you know, again, configurations are going to provide availability when they need it all the time.

Greg (00:12:46) - So we you know, we think about it from if it's mission critical even single site locations, you know, have the need for for for our for our products. When I think about what market are we not present in at the level that I think that we could and should be. It's really you know, when we think about the unified communication providers, I can't imagine whether that's Verizon or, you know, at the highest level or companies like, you know, broad voice, which are RingCentral, that those type of businesses would ever deploy their product behind literally what amounts to commodity based public utility, you know, strip center Internet.

Greg (00:13:30) - That just doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. And so, you know, we're beginning to engage a little closer with those type of providers because they have an uphill battle as well. You know, the performance is important to we're starting to look, you and I are on a video call that the performance of this is super, super important. The same thing holds true with teams and all the other collaboration applications. So it's I don't you know, I say this product Bigleaf is really is perfectly elastic. I can't think of anyone who's doing anything important on the Internet that wouldn't require, you know, a tighter peering, better performance, the ability to fail over and then traffic prioritization. I mean, you could take it all the way to the house. You know, I work as the CEO of big from my home in Houston, Texas, that, you know, I'm connected. You know, I'm connected over an Xfinity broadband connection. That connection, it sometimes is the lifeblood of this business.

Greg (00:14:34) - And that's a lot of responsibility in a, you know, on Queensbury Lane and Houston, Texas. And so not the thought of not having something that takes that circuit and allows me to have Indian control just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So, you know, here's another one you think of. There's a lot of people like me running businesses from their home and they're doing it with performance problems. That's that's that won't work in the long run. And so I think you will see, you know, we're not a consumer company, but I think you. You will see people adopt, you know, the low end of our product to solve problems in their in their home in particular when when, when it's a lot easier to buy a backup wireless circuit. Yeah. You can integrate those two together so that you could failover between your wireline circuit and your wireless circuit, which will be. But but we're getting closer.

Josh (00:15:21) - Yeah. And that was my question. You know, for someone who's a really, really early stage or, you know, again, just their operations are, you know, not as demanding.

Josh (00:15:31) - Right? So I'm curious where that flaw begins. You know, when they start, they start to they ought to start at least having a conversation to consider whether or not they're ready for something that big leaf can provide. Yeah, I think.

Greg (00:15:46) - You know, so this is an easy to buy product. Josh So this is we this so think of that we sell to the low bandwidth cloud first distributed community. Yeah. The best example of that is the consumer market. You and I, we have cell phones, we consume cloud applications and you know, we're as distributed as it gets. One step up from that is big leaps market. But so the appeal is mass. There is no site with dual Internet connections that doesn't have the use for for for our product. Now, they might be more sophisticated in that they need the type of a security element or something that's that that is over and above. You know what what big leaf provides. For instance, we have competitors that are a lot more sophisticated around sassy solutions and zero trust.

Greg (00:16:40) - And some of those things, we work with those providers in some cases. And in some cases, you know, they're we're displaced because the use case is just above our head, so to speak, and we're perfectly fine living in that world. We don't have intentions to to to go all in in areas that that that we're not in currently. You know, we want to be able to enhance and came out of the security space I know it well and I take it very serious but we want to be able to accommodate the security needs of what people already have. We're not again, we're pure. This is an Internet optimization product.

Josh (00:17:16) - Yeah. Again, the website, big leaf dot net. Greg, when somebody goes there and they're like, Yeah, I probably should have a conversation with someone, Is there or is there someplace that they can maybe do a little bit more research? And what are those next steps from here?

Greg (00:17:33) - Yeah. So go to big leaf com. The your, the resource section has a library.

Greg (00:17:39) - There's a lot of cool videos use cases. You can learn more about the product for those people with with with franchises that they're trying to sell. It's probably a great place to start if you're interested in talking to us and engage in and understand more about what we do. There's a tab for a request for a demo, or you can always reach out to me directly. G. Davis at Beliefnet and you can find me on LinkedIn as well.

Josh (00:18:01) - Yeah, Awesome. All right. Greg Davis, again, CEO of Big Leaf, found on the Web at you mentioned big leaf com or big Leaf net is the website I've been looking at. Greg Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us.

Greg (00:18:12) - Josh was great meeting you. Take care, man.

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