Jeremy Weisz 11:40
How did the start of MiliMatch occur? Now how did you meet Manu?
Eric Becker 11:44
Yeah, it’s interesting, I’m a serial entrepreneur, I was exiting my last company. And I was introduced to him by a mutual friend. And he started telling me about the technology. I was skeptical. And I said, this is witchcraft, this is just another artificial intelligence picking out words, or I’ve made the mistake of saying it’s just another personality test. And I quickly correct me, this has nothing to do with personality. It’s all about behavior. So he said, I’ll prove it to you. And he said, pick a sport, any sport that you think is easy that you don’t particularly care for? And I said, that’s easy curling. And he says, okay, let me give you a scenario. The position as a curling coach, so, okay, it says, it a pays million dollars a year. Okay, is that I’m just going to ask you two questions, and I just want you to take one, type out the answers. Okay, number one, what do you want to become a curling coach in number two would inspire you about the sport of curling. This is easy, so I just made up stuff. I’ve always loved corrosion. Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to be a curling coach. And so immediately ran up through the algorithm, and this is all done real-time. And he came back and he’s on a scale of 100. I scored a 38. Okay. And I said, how come, I said all the right things? And he said, he started telling me he goes, once the algorithm is measuring is your attitude aptitude in interest towards curling, specifically? And I said, no, it’s just a fluke. Okay, so we said, okay, fine. He goes, I’ll give you a couple of days. Answer the questions again. So I Googled everything. I didn’t realize that curling has rupees followers fan base, and the curling Hall of Fame and everything else. And I put down a mini novel of why I wanted to be a curling coach and what inspires me about curling, you ran it through the algorithm 24 said how did I do even worse, I said everything. He says it’s looking for patterns. Okay, you are trying to write what you think I want to hear and your patterns are all over the place. So once again, by trying to game it. It’s picking up on your attitude, aptitude and interest as represented by 24 behavioral attributes. Fine hey, what can we do with this? And what’s interesting, he says, I’ve been doing a lot of work and assisted living facilities, I’d like you to carry this through. And so we started out in-home care. And it was kind of personal to me, because I had a mother that was going through in-home care. And the frustration was is that we went through three agencies a caregivers, okay, until we’ve lucked out and found the right one. Well, that’s fine. Went ahead MiliMatch, I can match my mother’s needs with the qualities of the caregiver. And when I say the qualities of the caregiver, such things as social intelligence, and so forth and so on. And we found that effective, and I saw the merits of it. And I saw that this was finally an opportunity start a company to where I can help people in organizations help their individuals realize their potential by matching them to the right role, the right position on the right team.
Jeremy Weisz 16:06
You mentioned the homecare, I know that one of the type of companies you help was a large home addiction center, what did you do with them?
Eric Becker 16:15
That’s one of our first and largest clients. So they’re in multiple states, and they’re in home addiction recovery, it’s a 12-month program, we were approached by them. And so, we have this problem is that we understand that certain teams are very effective with certain patients, but we can’t put our finger on it. We can’t replicate it. Can you use MiliMatch technology to assemble the right teams? And then apply that with understanding what are the needs of that particular patient. So we did. So what they were looking for is predictable outcomes, or predictable success for that 12-month treatment. And understanding that patients predicated on age, male females, what they were addicted to. And also their behavior matches perfectly with a team. So we did team architecture, assembling various teams, and with their individual behaviors, making sure that that specific role is that they had the perfect match to that patient, to see a team of five people that are assigned to a patient. And from there, we started working with other corporations, what am I other clients is a large software development company in FinTech. And they’ve acquired several companies. And what we found a lot with our current clients in this economy is that they’re doing reductions in forces and downsizing. So this company was no different. They had to take and downsize. It was one particular division, a new executive officer, and they were looking to who do I keep? And then but more importantly, if I let this person go, what is it going to do to my team, from a productivity standpoint, if I choose right, things will be fine. If I choose wrong, it’ll have a cataclysmic effect. And then from measuring, all these individuals ranging from VPs, to directors and all that is that this person finally understood how to increase productivity by re-architecting the teams, and retention is one of those things. So when you cure, retention and productivity, it has other benefits, morale, company reputation, things of that nature.
Jeremy Weisz 19:21
Who an ideal profile, the company that should be using MiliMatch.
Eric Becker 19:29
A company that is right, that’s a very, very good question that I get asked, a company that’s not satisfied with where they are right now. The status quo they want to grow, a company that is focused on improving their culture, improving retention and improving productivity. A company that really says that they invest they own to stand their most important asset, and their costly asset are their people, and they want to invest in it.
Jeremy Weisz 20:08
Is there a minimum size of staff that it makes sense for?
Eric Becker 20:13
I’ll tell you, from my experience is that companies that are maybe under 100 people is that the leadership field that they know their people, okay, so they don’t need objective measurement, but they do utilize MiliMatch from a recruiting standpoint, or maybe a promotion standpoint. Anything north of that, the larger it is, the more important it becomes to have those objective measurements and measure culture, and to put in various actions and interventions to improve that.
Jeremy Weisz 20:55
I’m wondering, I’m sure pricing varies, depending on how the company uses it. But it seems like since it’s a tool that most people have not used and not deployed, how did you decide and come up with pricing model?
Eric Becker 21:15
First of all, MiliMatch is not a you take it one time, and you’re done with it. Okay, like a personality test. And we know that was there very good. But this is not what we’re doing. We price it based on what the scope is. And initially, there’s one price to go and do a benchmark, we either do a division, we’ll do the divisions and so forth. And then from there, I told you behavior is dynamic. So what makes MiliMatch special is that we also conduct what we call rhythm assessments, okay, you have a benchmark. But then again, 90 days later, from that benchmark, you put in various interactions, either with third party or internally to improve things. We do a rhythm assessment, not the same five questions in a different format. But we measure whether that’s been effective or not progress, and we measure that from the individual level, as well as aggregating that up. So we measure that over the course of a year. So not only can we validate for the third party companies, helping them customize their approach, but also validating the effectiveness of that. But we can see improvement over time. We just dependent on the size and the scope, put it in a kind of an annual fee, or that we don’t have any. It’s not cots, commercial off the shelf. The technology is unique and special. And each one of our clients, we utilize it in so many ways. It’s like a hammer, you can crack walnuts method or you can build a house. Very effective, but can be used in different ways.
Jeremy Weisz 23:26
I’m curious, you have a really interesting background of starting companies also working at Microsoft for many years. And in other companies. I’m wondering, from your board, how did you assemble your board and some of the people on the board, as to advise and make sure everything was going in the right direction with the company.
Eric Becker 23:53
So, this is number six for me. So I can tell you, I’ve learned a lot from boards. In my early days, first company I started was in 1999. This is back after Microsoft and leaving Redmond. And before that it was Washington DC. I was in Washington, DC straight out of college. And I started with this little small consulting firm called the Advisory Board Company. And I was employee number 46. And we were in a townhouse on Capitol Hill. Well, the Advisory Board Company grew and grew and grew, what split into two divisions went public. And matter of fact, one of the people that I worked with who came to be the CEO is now the chief of staff or President Biden. So he came out of that institution. So getting back to the board is that I assembled people, and they’re not necessarily investors. And matter of fact, only one person on that board is an investor. Now shareable, I mean, an investor in the company, they’re all shareholders. But they each have unique skill sets, either in business development and finance, or, and strategic operations or technology. So I didn’t just ask people that weren’t known quantities, it was people that I was either introduced to where I’ve known in business for quite a while and ask them, there wasn’t one that said, great, I’ll be on the board. It was a wait-and-see, and a lot of discussions. And they’re very active and involved. And I told them, and said, please come on the board. And here’s what the company is about, you have to believe in the vision and the value of the company. And you have to be an active participant. Not only that, but I’m not looking for people that will just be yes, man to everything that comes to the board. I want you to take and I serve the board, and I serve the shareholders, and I want you to treat it as such. So they do hold me accountable. And they do. Sometimes they’re very frank, you said you were gonna do X and you didn’t do X?
Jeremy Weisz 25:40
What does an active participant look like? Someone’s thinking, I really need to start a board for my company, talked about some of the skill sets you looked at business development, finance. So I’m wondering what other skill sets but also, how do you organize that, as far as meetings, or how do you have them participant?
Eric Becker 26:40
Well, the first criteria to summarize what I was saying before, you want to assemble people that will challenge you, and hold you accountable. Okay, so how do you organize that? Number one, look at what the present needs are in the future needs are of the company as aligned with the vision. Second, is that I run and manage the company on OKRs. Okay, and understanding those things, and having those set in concrete, and everybody understands them and what those objectives are, in addition to the weekly measurements that go against that is half the battle there. I don’t have a board that we assemble once a quarter, and I provide them financials, and here’s my vision, and all the feel-good stuff. We meet, I speak with my board, individual board members, some of them once a week, some of them every other week. But I tell them the good, the bad, the ugly, and then we get into solution mode. So sometimes I have the right answers. Sometimes they have the answers for me, sometimes we don’t have the answer, but we will sit there and figure it out. So get people, if anybody was starting a company, get those individuals that are gonna challenge you and hold you accountable.
Jeremy Weisz 27:22
What skill sets are you looking for? You mentioned business development, finance, what were the other ones that you wanted to make sure that your board members had?
Eric Becker 28:58
When I say finance, finance from the standpoint of financial strategy, okay, we’re a SaaS company. There’s a lot of strategy involved in that. And every entrepreneur, anybody that says that this is the last company in its company for life. I don’t believe them. I always say, when I start a company, I don’t know whether it’s going to be a two-year company or five year or 10 year, the shareholders decide that. So financial strategy, okay, and looking at return for your shareholders. They didn’t invest because they like you. They invest. Number one, they share the vision number two, they’re expecting a return on their investment. So financial strategy is number one. Number two is operational. And some of this comes from previous companies, but people that are knowledgeable in technology using technology to get speed and lift on your company, and using technology as opposed to putting what I like to call butts and seats, the soul problems, and all that with an eye towards excellent customer service, and quality of your own product there. There’s all kinds of communication tools and so forth. And also when it comes to development, agile development, and so forth. The other one is from a business development standpoint. You notice I didn’t say sales, and I say business development, you can’t be everything to everybody. And you asked me before, who does it fit into? Well, I can give you a general idea who it fits into. But I can also give you a long list of who doesn’t fit into the set. So how do you position that? And how do you be the very best in a particular market. And understanding what that market is. And it’s usually not where you can make the fastest in the greatest amount of revenues. I build companies from the standpoint is that I always have a product roadmap is the vision. It’s not just my vision is combination of the people inside as well as the outside, and if I’m successful, and just like I have with my other companies, I only get through 25% of that roadmap and that vision. But it has a long pathway to it.
Jeremy Weisz 32:03
I’m curious, Eric, with your company, I see so many different use cases. You mentioned from hiring, from culture to downsizing, which hits a lot of different parts of the market and companies. And you mentioned the FinTech company, and you mentioned the home addiction centers. Where do you see the biggest growth opportunity for MiliMatch
Eric Becker 32:36
Corporations, and whether it’s manufacturing, software development and software services, that’s evidence, their education, MiliMatch systems, we did a project in Kenya, with an educational organization there that would take high school students and put them through a two-year program, and in media, okay. And we use MiliMatch, not to decide who comes into the program and not but to take and there were six-degree programs but to take and match them to that program, whether they knew they had the abilities or not, so that they could succeed. And then from there, MiliMatch was used to match them to organizations for apprenticeships and internships. Now another very interesting one that’s in development right now, a partnership is and virtual reality, educational experiences. Right now, using MiliMatch’s technology, to not only customize the courses, and the curriculum, but to also measure the individual student and how they’re accelerating or not accelerating to in specific programs and courses. That’s one of the most fascinating areas right there. And I’m really intrigued with it, because people accelerate at different levels. In school, but we’re all taught, here’s the curriculum for the sixth grade, finish all that you’ll get from seventh grade. But if you have a propensity towards science, why can’t you accelerate to others? So we can use MiliMatch to understand, like I said, the attitude aptitude and interest of an individual work relative to something. Charter schools, home schools Any type of school?
Jeremy Weisz 35:04
It’d be interesting, people apply to Harvard, and they run MiliMatch the people that apply.
Eric Becker 35:11
Yes. I’ve had people approach us on all kinds of things. I can’t be everything to everybody. But there’s certain areas that are not high on the list that the technology. I’ve had people have approached me and wanting to use it as a black box to measure things hearing out people, like a witch hunt within an organization, which I want to. Another one is I get a lot of calls from people that are developing dating sites. Can you use this technology? A lot of company, what do you tell them? How do you want to use it? You know? Not from the standpoint that I’m gonna say, yeah, great. We’re on board. And all that I stick to what MiliMatch’s mission is. And that’s improving people’s lives, to have them to develop to their highest potential by being in the right positions in teams and so forth.
Jeremy Weisz 36:27
It’s probably hard to stay disciplined. You get all these inquiries. And there’s a lot of interesting use cases that other people see. How do you stay disciplined in well, that’s not really, let’s go that route, or not go that route.
Eric Becker 36:44
It’s an exercise I’ve gone through with my board. It’s an exercise empowers us. And it’s exercise I go through with my team. And that is, think of three circles. It’s called the hedgehog concept. But what can we be the best at what can we be not good, but be the very best at? That’s number one. And this is individually and collectively? Number two is what are we passionate about? What am I passionate about? What do I get excited about every day? And what is it that drives me to work 16 18 hour days, six days a week? And the last one is, what’s the economic engine to it? Can you make money on it? Can you grow revenues. Remember, at the end of the day, I work for shareholders, and I work for a board, those are my bosses. So that’s what keeps us focused and centered on this. Look, I have a soon to be 18 year old daughter, that understands what her dad does in the technology. So one of the things we can take, and that’s part of the basis of the technology, it’s what we call the red blue line, that I can take any text and I do it for fun all the time with politicians. And you take the text and you run it through the algorithm there. And you can see from there, where they’re being honest, I’m just gonna kind of, simplify this, where they’re being honest, where they’re being dishonest, and where they’re being conflicted. Okay, all from written text. And you can tell specifically, from the very words and all that, oh, my daughter found out about this. And she said, can I have the program? So I can run all my friends texts through that?
Jeremy Weisz 37:56
I’m thinking another use case, which is like you could tell us the dads all across America, of someone who wants to date their daughter. And run that through it. Right?
Eric Becker 39:01
Yeah. Well, the other thing is, is that, take all these dating sites and so forth. When they’re communicating, you can run it through that and you can tell whether the other person who’s being genuine or dishonest or deceptive.
Jeremy Weisz 39:18
When she wanted to run her friends through it, what did you tell her?
Eric Becker 39:21
No. If I do it for you, your mom’s going to do it to me. And that’s a marriage-limiting move.
Jeremy Weisz 39:33
I love it. So Eric, I have one last question. First of all, thanks for walking me through this and sharing everything. But I think there’s a great use case for dads who I have two daughters so I definitely want to run future. They’re not old enough to date. But eventually I want that to run anything through someone who’s communicating with them, what’s the date them, but I’m…
Eric Becker 39:58
I’m holding that in my back pocket.
Jeremy Weisz 40:00
Okay, good. Last question, I want to point people to MiliMatch, they can check it out, milimatch.com to learn more and check out what they’re doing there. My last question is just mentors. It’s really, I love your mentality and philosophy around, especially, you’re really experienced, you have lots of companies, but you want to surround yourself with just great people. And you’re modest enough, like, I don’t know everything, and I need advisors, for many reasons. So I love to hear some of your mentors throughout the years, and maybe some of the best advice they’ve given you.
Eric Becker 40:46
I have a lot of mentors, and they are people that that have had the most impact on me. And I’ll name a couple of them. One of them, dear friend of mind. And matter of fact, he was the one that brought me on to one of the companies that we started and his name is Ken Blum. And Ken has found a senior executive with some of the most prestigious medical universities in the country, the most humble man, but taught me quite a bit. And what I meant from that is, he is an expert in communication, communicating the most complex things into down to layman’s terms to where anybody can understand that. But he was also, I don’t speak up in the past tense he stuff. But he’s also great at being a leader. And he taught me the difference between being a leader and being a manager, two different, entirely different things. Another gentleman, Jean Thomas, who’s a longtime friend of mine, and was the CEO of my first company that I started, just personally, taught me about perseverance. And we were set with so many obstacles. But he taught me that these are obstacles, they’re meant to get around, you just have to think through them. So if there was anything that he taught me is to expect the unexpected, and have a plan for that. There have been numerous other people, but those are the two that stand out the most to me. I would say that everybody on my board is a mentor to me. They really, really are. My colleagues, I am surrounded by very, very talented people. And why they put up with me, I don’t know, because they’re a heck of a lot smarter than I am. But we work well together because we respect each other. And that was another thing also that I was taught by mentors. You don’t have to be the most popular, you’ll have to make decisions that cut against the grain. And that’s not going to please everybody. But you gained people’s respect by making the hard decisions. In addition to always being fair and honest. That’s it. That’s what I learn at Microsoft. Okay, it was a back in 95. It was cutthroat.
Jeremy Weisz 44:09
I love it. Eric, I want to be the first one to thank you. Everyone check out milimatch.com Learn more and more episodes of Inspired Insider. And Thanks, Eric. Thanks, everyone.
Eric Becker 44:19
Thank you so much. Have a good day.