Joseph Fung Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Joseph Fung
Joseph Fung is the CEO of Uvaro, a tech sales career accelerator, and of Kiite, a sales enablement platform purpose-built to provide sales teams with the information they need when they need it.
As he says “We started Uvaro because the old approach to tech hiring is broken.
The fastest-growing segment of our economy needs 250,000 new sales professionals. Our colleges and universities aren’t training them.
Worse yet, when tech companies want to hire diverse talent, established interview practices and company cultures put up barriers. Marginalized people who do accept job offers are often left to flounder by businesses that don’t have effective sales training programs.
At Uvaro, we’ve created a better way to grow careers.
How The Dots Joined Up For Joseph
Instead of preventing access to fulfilling work, we provide accessible training, on-demand support resources, and best-in-class tools that teach participants how to build on their successes. Uvaro is not just a lecture:
A graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Computer Engineering program, Joseph’s a repeat Founder & CEO, and with multiple successful exits, and speaks frequently on the topics of sales leadership, diversity, and corporate social responsibility.
He is an active early-stage investor who ensures that the majority of his investments are into women-led companies.
Joseph also sits on the boards of Communitech, the Golden Triangle Angel Network, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.
So was this idea born out of a personal frustration with the tech industry or a clever insight to what was happening elsewhere?
And and even better questions, why Uvaro?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Joseph Fung
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Joseph Fung such as:
Joseph shares how they picked the name of his business and why they want away from basic domain picking rules.
We discuss how feedback is a gift and the reasons why you should listen to everyone’s opinion no matter what they say, or who is saying it.
Why creating a job that you love is not always the case no matter how much you try. You have to accept that sometimes the love leaves you for awhile.
Joseph shares vocally the awe he feels every time that his students reveal to the world just how special his training centre is to them.
How To Connect With Joseph Fung
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Joseph Fung Interview
Live shouldn’t be hard live should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock and start getting the dream business and life you will of course, are dreaming God. Let’s join your host, David Ralph from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another jam packed episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [0:41]
Yes, hello there. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you so much for for travelling into the new year. Yeah, we’re now in 2021. Maybe 2020 was a bit rubbish for you. And maybe it’s still clinging around that rubbish nice. But hopefully we will move on to to new bright pastures new. Well, today’s guest is a delight because he’s already told me some funny things about his mother in law. I won’t share them and she’s not going to listen to this anyway. But we’ve got a connection in that regard. He is the CEO of a tech sales career accelerator and have quite a sales enablement platform platform purpose built to provide sales teams with the information they need when they need it. Now as he says we started the company because the old approach to hiring tech was broken. The fastest growing segment of our economy needs 250,000 new sales professionals, our colleges and universities aren’t training them. Worse yet, when tech companies want to hire diverse talent, established interview practices and company cultures put up barriers marginalise people who do accept job offers, often left to flounder by businesses that don’t have effective sales training problems, you see, so they created a better way to grow careers. Now, instead of preventing access to fulfilling work, they provide accessible training on demand support resources, and best in class tools that teach their students how to build on their successes. He’s an active early stage investor, who ensures that the majority of his investments are into women led companies and he’s on board. He’s busy. I don’t know how he’s made time to be on this podcast. So what’s this idea born out of a personal frustration with the tech industry, or just a clever insight to what was happening elsewhere? an even better question. Why is the company called vamo? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Joseph Fung.
Joseph Fung [2:37]
Good morning David good to good to have this conversation. I’m so pumped, this is gonna be fun
David Ralph [2:42]
is going to be good. Joseph, it’s going to be a delight. Because you are somebody that has seen a similar light to the restrictions that are placed on us over Christmas not being able to see family. It’s I think, I think we can share that on the podcast because I think most people, most people will be one side of a relationship where the others are going. No, we’ve got to see Auntie Mabel, this Christmas. And the other one’s thinking Actually, I’ve had enough of Auntie Mabel. It’s there’s there’s a problem there that doesn’t need to be solved. Is there?
Joseph Fung [3:13]
Not? Not really, I think we should take full advantage of the stay at home restrictions. And it’s been given time just with our immediate loved ones.
David Ralph [3:21]
Yeah, absolutely. Well, of course, this show is now in 2021. So it’s a kind of weird time zone that we’re in, where we’re recording, the more 2021 but it goes out after 2021. And so hopefully things are moving into a better world. Now Josie number one question your company. I love it, because it’s not only training people, but it’s allowing them to step into a career, which is a great platform, which we will come to why called Obama. Why is it called that?
Joseph Fung [3:49]
Well, the you of course, indicates the person who’s most important. The individual going through the career training is not about us. It’s not us farro. But the real the real gestation is actually the name of the company is named after Marcus Navarro, the most prolific Roman scholar and when we thought about changing lives and sharing knowledge, who to go to but one of the greatest academics of all time and and of course, most importantly, the domain name was available. So so that’s why we’ve got yuvaraj
David Ralph [4:18]
now is the interesting thing, because we teach people to create online businesses and one of the things we always sort of mentioned is try to find something that’s already got traffic looking for it. So you could have had sales training, career advice.com or something like that. What What made you do that? Is it not a killer anymore? Can people just choose anything? Could be go as stupid as choosing Join Up Dots as a name name.
Joseph Fung [4:48]
Oh, absolutely. For us, there is always that balance between how do we how do we capture a good organic search that’s already happening? And how do we carve out a name and identity That’ll be very memorable. And one of the things that’s really interesting is right now today, the volume of searches for people getting into tech still in the early stages. So the real opportunity for us isn’t the search traffic that’s happening right now. But the search traffic that’s happening next year, the year after and five years, and so making sure we had a memorable brand that would help us get interviewed on podcasts covered in other journals, things like that was tipped the scales in favour of choosing a name that was more symbolic than a name that was purely designed for the what we do, your point is absolutely correct. For us, when we ran the numbers, the results fell a little bit on the other side. So that’s where we went with you varro.
David Ralph [5:42]
Now is interesting, because if we go back to 2010, I basically was in the coming out of a corporate gig, deciding what to do. And I thought I’d be a student, and I studied all the core relationship, database management, procedural language in SQL, we have a company that basically would train you, and then get you a job at the end. And that was the idea of it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. But you had to go to a classroom, you had to commute, he was a student, and I hit just at the end of oil on 911, when the tech industry went from hiring to surviving basically, and things just died a death is this kind of concept that you’ve got, although people are looking for it? Is it something that is still as you say, in a fledgling state, or is it just I’m not looking in the right direction, because that’s 10 years since I did it. And it seems to be something that’s still not being fulfilled.
Joseph Fung [6:40]
So the interesting interesting thing about it is, there is a newer twist. So a lot of the the terms that are being used now are things like boot camp. And one of the core concepts for a lot of those businesses, including my own is that the students don’t pay tuition until they land a job at the end, there’s typically an option to pay up front, a lower total tuition. But the the idea of aligning your training with the outcomes of the student is so critical. And for us, over 90% of our students don’t pay a dime until they land a full time job at the end. So that’s, that’s really putting your money where your mouth is. And that’s a big shift in the training space. The second thing, and this is the part that candidly I find so flabbergasting. I don’t understand why this gap exists. Everyone says get into tech, you got to learn Oracle SQL technology, there’s learn to code movements, and I’m a coder by training. So I love that. But the reality is, if you wanted to optimise your job opportunities, and get into tech, you wouldn’t look at coding. I mean, most large tech companies spend what 15 16% of their expenses on engineering and development. But they spent 2530 more percent of their expenses on sales and marketing. There’s way more sales opportunities there. And, and selling tech is a difficult, difficult thing. So you know, if you’re looking at interesting labour markets, and where are their good opportunities, and where do you have more control of your future, I’d be playing into sales opportunities, not just the coding ones.
David Ralph [8:07]
Now, this is a sweeping stereotype. But it’s true in my regard anyway, you’re a little bit of a weird character, because not only are you a coding person, and you understand, understand the techie, you’re a communicator as well. And you can tell you’re a storyteller, which is so engaging on a podcast, most of the people that I’ve spoken to, or I’ve worked with who was coders were just kind of slumping, put their headphones on, sit behind their keyboard, eat their sandwich, not talk to anyone and then go off to, you know, home again. Are you a different beast? Or has it changed since the last time I was frequenting the world of coders?
Joseph Fung [8:47]
No, no, I’ll put a quite candidly, I’m a recovering engineer, I am a terrible, terrible developer, I should not be putting in production code. I’m, I’m very, very fortunate one of my co founders, one of my best friends, he was the best man at my wedding is an exceptional developer. And whereas I’ll be much more outgoing in the business out, out speaking to our students or audiences. Derek, one of my co founders, and good good longtime friend, helps make sure that the wheels stay on the bus and, and we’re developing exceptional solutions, and that we spend the time to really understand what our customers need. So I do think you need that balance that that introversion, the extraversion, the ability to tell the story, but also the ability to see to the details and make it a reality and I don’t have that I have to rely on my my colleagues to make sure that we do that properly.
David Ralph [9:45]
Because it’s interesting before we started recording, I was telling you that I’m working with a lady from your area, and we’re building what which will be a billion dollar company. I mentioned it on the show a lot. And it’s interesting, but when you come in as an Outside as I have, you can clearly see the issues but a business has, it’s just like obvious. But when you’re actually in it and you’re growing it more often than not, you can’t see the wood for the trees and you can’t see what needs to be done and you can’t see what needs to be behind. Now, in 2021, there’s a big focus on leaving things behind. Are you good at cleaning out the Deadwood? Are you still dragging around the starting gestation period of your business? and folders and files are half down and never going to be used again? Did you clean it all up each year?
Joseph Fung [10:37]
It’s so funny, as you started that question, I was thinking No, no, David, I’m really good at this. And then as you wrapped up the question, and you spoke about the folders and the files, I realised, as we were doing our winter cleaning, and cleaning out our storage unit, I was quite literally shredding files from two businesses ago, that had been sitting in my storage for a decade and realising you know, maybe maybe I’m not quite as good at letting go as I thought. But to that, I think I’m very fortunate in that we do have an exceptional board. You’re right, when you’re in the in the weeds of it, you can’t see the forest for the trees, and you need to rely on your advisors, your network, your mentors, to help you shine a really clear mirror on yourself. And I’m very fortunate that I have a great board who helps play that foil for me. So the challenge is to push forward and I’m not a sentimentalist. And if we we see there’s a clear, superior direction to go. And we’ll chase that with all the energy we have. But sometimes you do need that outside perspective to help you spot the direction because you’re just in the thick of it.
David Ralph [11:34]
Yeah, because I’m not sentimental. I literally would be quite happy just to have the clothes on my back. I think that everything new is better than what’s actually I’ve got. Except for family, I have to say that in case they listen to this podcast. Now with yourself when somebody is so focused on growing a business and from startup all the way through like you have, and then the board starts to grow. Are you good to separate yourself from maybe the insecurities that we all have when it’s our baby? And it’s something that we’ve taken? And it’s a leading question, I used to work in a company where the guy who started it wouldn’t take any advice from anyone because he started it. And I used to think the fact that you’ve hired these people is perfect reason to actually listen to what they say because it’s new eyes and new blood and new perspective. What about yourself?
Joseph Fung [12:34]
Oh, absolutely. I mean, one of my earliest mentors, I think put it right in some feedback I’ve I’ve taken to heart ever since is that feedback is a gift, whether that’s coming from an employee, a board member, an outsider, getting that information, lets you act make better decisions. And if you’re bringing employees into your company, you’re bringing new board members on to your company, you’re bringing investors on sure as heck but to make sure that they’re people who are more intelligent, more competent, wiser than yourself. And I think we would be foolish to not take their advice or or listen to them. So absolutely, definitely not defensive. I think my job when I get a real delight from is building a company that helps people do exceptional work really realise their potential, and I can’t do that alone. So I do need to lean on others, but then be that also means I’m not, I’m not married to the specific structures or, or kind of specific attributes of the business, we absolutely need to and must adapt. And I think if we we hold on to the past or the founding too long, you you lose the bigger pattern, and then you miss the opportunity to build a billion dollar company. And that’s why we’re here. So yeah, definitely not not lingering and focusing on those historical pieces.
David Ralph [13:44]
Let’s hear from the wise lady who is Oprah Winfrey. And we’ll be back with Josie.
Oprah Winfrey [13:49]
The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. But what is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment. You know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [14:21]
Now, I’ll be honest, Josie, I paid back because I thought it was a good soundbite and I’ve become really obsessed or advanced or listened to it. Not even on the show. I just keep on playing it. Because I can see that so many people will accept that as advice, but they will still go. I don’t know the next right thing. I don’t know. How do I get the answers to that? What is your perspective on that when you it’s true? You got to sit there you got to be quiet. You’ve got to sort of let things apart you. But how do you come up with the next right thing in your business?
Joseph Fung [14:56]
Oh, that is such a great soundbite and it’s such a great question. It’s so funny because it it, it really brings to mind the difference between my wife and I, I’m very much driven on focusing on the immediate next step, how do I make sure my immediate next step is the next right thing and not get too worried about the distraction of the end game, she’s quite the opposite. She’s always thought about, Hey, I’m gonna study this programme, we’re gonna get this degree down, we get this job to help me get you know this life. And it’s always been about the end goal. And that makes it challenging sometimes, and it’s hard to know is this step going to take me in that right direction. If I want to tell my boss to piss off and quit, the company is not actually going to help me get to the end goal. And I know she struggled a little bit with that. And, and I’ve definitely felt a lot more free, focusing on the immediate except make sure it’s the right thing. For us, as a founding team, for me as an entrepreneur, I think one of the things that’s been so helpful is we always document our company values right at the beginning, it’s a real touchstone not not just a platitude that’s sitting on the wall, but something that we try to live and breathe. And, you know, what do we try to realise, and whenever we feel uncertain about the overall strategy, or about the direction, it’s a lot easier to, to look at the options in front of you and to say, you know, which of these helps me live these values best. And I’ve found unequivocally in those moments of doubt at reaching back to those core values, being the company, being the entrepreneur, being the person that I want to be, makes it so much easier to move forward with conviction. And the reality is people that people are inspired and motivated by by that type of conviction and that type of dedication, and it makes it easier for your customers, your employees, your team to walk alongside you and help you accomplish that. So yeah, it makes the decision easier. But then you also get a much better support network, and your odds of success are way better.
David Ralph [16:50]
And are your values driven by your body’s compass. This is something that interests me more and more, when you do see these values put up on the wall. And when you go in there, and you deal with the people and you think they don’t, they’re not even looking at these, and founders aren’t living this as well. But when you meet somebody, and you can see that they can feel what’s wrong, they can feel it’s in their stomach, and it’s like, what is compass showing them the way? So when you’re questioning your decisions, or you’re questioning the focus, or the positioning of the business going forward? Is it the gap? Is that where people are missing a trick, but they’re looking at profit and loss? They’re looking at branding, they’re looking at all the things that we think make a business? But actually, more often than not, we know the answers, because it’s kind of it was right or it doesn’t.
Joseph Fung [17:41]
I think it’s it’s it’s actually not not either of those Exactly. For for us, at least for what I would advocate. You’re right. A lot of companies, it’s just a poster on the wall. And you ask any any team member, hey, what are your company values and and they stammer and they say something about customers and integrity and and then they they laugh and say it’s about profit and putting money in a shareholders pockets. That’s true, that is really true. But I want to push back on that idea that gut because one of the things that I struggle with is I see so many entrepreneurs, who scale a company grow a company, and one day find themselves in the position of saying, hey, a culture has emerged. And now I need to really document and and codify that culture and they’ve lost control of what they’re trying to build. I push back and challenge and say, it values, your company’s values shouldn’t necessarily be just what’s in your gut. But they should be what you aspire to be. They
David Ralph [18:37]
do the same thing. Joseph, is that not the same thing?
Joseph Fung [18:40]
No, it’s a little different. Let me give you one example. In my first company, one of the first values that we wrote down was more fun equals more good. And one of the reasons why we wrote that down as one of our values and even right now with you varro. One of our values is play and responsibility, the balance between those two. And one of the reasons we put it down as I’m shit at having fun job, I love working and I love putting a tonne of effort into it. And I know that brings me value. But I don’t want to build a workplace where everyone is just putting in huge work days, feeling very productive and accomplished but not taking time to, to enjoy the delights of life. And I think it’s important that we think about what we want to build not just who we are in the moment, because we’re living, breathing, people will evolve will move and if we take control over that instead of just letting it happen to us. And the enjoy the end game way better.
David Ralph [19:36]
Now I agree with it’s totally but I think you and me you’ve got Canadian voice. I’ve got a UK boys but we’re basically the same person. Because my thumb is the creative. My fun is actually working on something. I find it very difficult to switch off, which is why I made a conscious decision not to have any sort of mobile devices. So I come to my office. I asked about Got a garden, as it says, and I turn off my desktop. And that’s it. Because I know I would be on the go all the time thinking, I just do that. And I just do this. And I just do that. Now, certainly on that side of the fence that is classed as ambition that’s classed as drive. But sometimes it lacks focus when you are you know, you’re on the go all the time. Is it the perfect ingredient rain for somebody to sign on at nine o’clock leave at five o’clock and not do anything until they come back again? Or is it sort of a happy balance? What What do you think? What would be the ideal employee in your view?
Joseph Fung [20:37]
I think it’s a it’s going to be different for each individual. And I think one of the, the real joys of running a business is you get to bring in a huge variety of individuals. So I mentioned one of my co founders, Derek, he does a much better job of separating his work time from his personal time. And he he tends to sign on a little bit earlier, he starts his days earlier than than I can. I’m not a morning person. But he typically checks out a little bit earlier too. And that’s good, because that gives the right kind of balance. Where’s for me, I’ve got two young children, or they’re five and nine. And one of the things that I try to express is that I love my work, you know, I don’t work because it’s just a job. I’m not saying oh, I have to go to work, I want to make sure that I’m expressing enthusiasm, they see me doing something that I love. And to me that helps express a really good balance because I want them to feel fulfilled in their work, too. And I think every individual, whether it’s a single parent, a single individual family, they’re going to have a slightly different balance. If I need to answer that question, what makes the ideal employee the perfect employee, the things I’d point to would be things like predictability. So if you could be consistent in the way you communicate to your team about your your sense of balance and how you apply energy, and they can work around your schedule, you can work around, there’s way better, and empathy, the reality that every employee comes with a different perspective. Yeah, you might have a team where it’s a fun, full of, you know, recent grads, they’re not yet married, they don’t yet have kids, they want to stay up late night working and drinking. And that’s, that’s great. That’s the right balance for them. But you’ll have others who have different palates. And I think that variety is a great spice of life.
David Ralph [22:15]
Now you say that you love your job, which is great, okay, but there’s no getting away with it. I love my job. But there’s times that I’ve been bothered, bothered to do another podcast episode or whatever. But I still have to do it. And because it’s a public performance, I have to kind of kickstart myself into being the persona that people expect, even though I just don’t feel like it. When you have those moments that you don’t love your job, do you start questioning it? Or do you just accept that it’s a season you’re going through? Oh, my
Joseph Fung [22:51]
goodness. Yeah. I think as a as an entrepreneur, as a founder, you never stop questioning it. Even at the best of times, there’s stresses lingering around and you carry the weight of customers and employees all the time. So absolutely. There’s moments where you’re questioning ask, Hey, can I really turn it on? Again, for you know, an employee all hands and investor pitch a board meeting? Absolutely. Those are there when you just feel like the job is crap. And don’t know if you keep it going. I don’t have a perfect, perfect solution other than copious copious amounts of coffee, I suppose. I think the thing that helps helps me the most is my my co founders. Now we’re, we’re very thoughtful about where each other’s mental state is emotional state always checking in. And I’m very lucky in that I genuinely believe in I know that my co founders aren’t just in this because, you know, we really like the business. We like the company, we do it because we love and we trust each other. And that’s helpful because then you know, you’re never in it just alone. You can call somebody up, even if it’s just to vent to get another perspective, or to take some stuff off your plate so you can get through it. So I’m, I feel very, very blessed having the co founders to do,
David Ralph [24:11]
because I really try hard to sort of balance this show with. Yes, it’s brilliant. It’s brilliant. owning your own business. It’s brilliant, because you’re driving something forward. It’s brilliant. You ain’t got a box. It’s brilliant that you can watch a movie on Netflix on Monday morning, if you want to do it because it’s raining and you can’t be bothered. It’s brilliant, brilliant. But equally, it’s all for as well. And it’s all for in the uncertainty. It’s awful in the bootstrapping period when you’re trying to get it going, but you don’t really want to sacrifice what you’ve already got and do you throw everything in. And that awfulness doesn’t really change in my view, it just means that you move forward with more experience and so your awfulness is further away when the people are starting. So you can help them along the line, but you’re still in that I don’t really know what to do at this point, because I’ve never done it. And as your business and your success grows, you’re constantly moving into that territory of what the hell do we do here,
Joseph Fung [25:13]
you’re always in the unknown, you’re always playing with your edges. And, and that’s fun. But it means you always have that anxiety. And you spoke about, you know, maybe kicking off watch some Netflix on Monday morning. It’s great. And I love that, that freedom, and everyone loves that freedom of the work. But it comes with the, the stresses of the responsibility and the consequences. And early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I remember taking a cash advance on my credit card to make sure that we had payroll. And I mean, you look at that you’re taking money out of the bank machine that you know, is, is charging you a user is raiding, I gotta make sure you do it or at a co founder, one year couldn’t put his his son into hockey, because we didn’t take home enough money that year for him to pay for his kids sports. And you carry those, you know, it’s not just about being a breadwinner for your family, you, you have to feel like the breadwinner for all of your employees, families. And, yeah, so you get get all the highs, but you get all the lows. And if you’re the type of personality that’s really comfortable with that, and is able to figure out the techniques to manage that it can be the most rewarding career. Because one
David Ralph [26:21]
of the things I did the last day is podcast that just went out is something that I was talking about that people have to understand their profit. And last, and in my view, they have to understand the 20% growth. And what I mean by that is, I see so many people go right, this business is costing me this much this business is earning me this much The difference is what I can spend. And I keep saying to people, no, you’ve got to add another 20% on fat you can’t spend so that you can invest in the business to grow and hire staff or whatever. It’s not just as simple as what comes in and what goes out leaves what I’ve got. Now, when you’re dealing with employees and shifting salaries and market trends and all the kind of things because you’re you’re sort of online and offline at the time. How do you sort of balance that? How do you balance that constant growth, that will make things easier for you? And now actually, we’ve just got to stay where we are for a bit and ride this wave? Because we really haven’t got enough to keep going for the next three months?
Joseph Fung [27:29]
It’s It’s such a great question. It’s big, big difference between a bootstrap company and a venture funded company. When you’re when you’re bootstrapped. On the one hand, you get to keep all the equity all the upside, but then you need to make that call yourself. You need to make that judgement call, you have to have that discipline that’s, that is brutally tough. And it’s such a hard thing. One of the nice things about bringing in investors is that they help provide, you know that perspective and that view and that, you know, knowing Hey, is this is this the right time to put more money into the company? Is the company performing in a way that I want to put more money in? Having outside investors gives you that constant pulse check in are we investing enough? Should we invest more? Have we gone past the point of no return? And it’s tough because every time you have that conversation, you’re saying, Hey, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s all the effort, the blood, sweat and tears we’re putting in what do you think? And maybe they say, hey, they like it, give me a thumbs up I’ve had in the back and maybe, you know, they’re telling you what your baby’s ugly. I don’t want to put any more money in. It’s a brutally honest conversation. But it helps you stay so disciplined on on that kind of investment in growth perspective, because it’s so hard to do it alone. It candidly I don’t, I don’t think I have the full discipline to do it fully on my own. And that’s why I do like working with investors because it’s a good counterbalance to my strengths and weaknesses.
David Ralph [28:52]
That is the thing, isn’t it? Because I’ve realised over the last two years, but one of my super talents which I never realised was and it kind of plays into the name Join Up Dots. This is almost like, doo doo doo doo doo. Do you think the universe knows something, but I didn’t. And I’ve always use Join Up Dots based on the Steve Jobs speech of 2005. When he says you can only wait here it later, but you can only see how you got somewhere by looking backwards and connecting the dots. But I also now see it as a metaphor of big picture views, where if you go to say, A Portrait Gallery, and you go really up close or a TV set, or you can see as tiny little dots and you can’t see anything at all, but then when you pan out, you go Ah, yes, I can see that. And over the last two years, we’ve worked with multiple companies around the world, I’d realised that one of my talents is seeing the big picture, but then zoning in on the dots and knowing what needs to be done to make those dots operate to get that big picture. And there’s so many companies that have almost got all the pieces in the wrong order. And I look at it and I think If this was an engine, this wouldn’t work. I’m not actually sure how well you’re operating here. So where’s this? Oh? Well, we haven’t quite done that. Okay, who’s managing at all? We haven’t quite done that. And it just seems like nobody knows anything. Nobody has zoned in on either the big picture, or the tiny dots, does that have any relevance to you and how you’ve grown your business?
Joseph Fung [30:25]
Oh, absolutely. And when you’re growing a business at a breakneck pace, we’ve seen almost a 10 x increase in our lead volume over the last 12 months, when you’re when you’re growing at that pace. That problem, he jumps into relief so much. And, and I mean, you’ve heard me say before, but I’ll say it again, I’m very fortunate for the co founders that I’ve got one of my co founders, our COO, she’s actually my sister, she worked with me for our previous company, and we brought her on as we founded this company. And she is very much that that detail oriented systems thinker, how do we make sure it’s easy to scale our business, collect money, you know, ensure success for our customers. And so we’re really good balanced, much like how Derek is on the product side, not so to a certain extent, the CO founding team together, make make a whole human being. I think that ability to watch out for each other has helped us do that. Because otherwise, you’re right, as an as a founding team, it’s so easy to get stuck in the weeds that you don’t see how to make the whole system more efficient and effective. A lot of people are sitting on businesses that have more potential than they realise.
David Ralph [31:33]
Yeah, that is gold mines. You know, this lady that I’m working with, and she listened to the show, because she listened to every show. And apparently, she’s been listening for six years before she connected with me. But she is sitting on a billion dollar company, it’s it’s unbelievable that she couldn’t see the potential that she had, it just seemed obvious to me from the start. And so many companies get to a certain point of growth. And they’re almost, I tell you what it is, they get it working to a certain point, and then they’re frightened to start breaking it to see if I can improve upon it. It’s almost like no, this is how it operates. And that’s a big failing as well, isn’t it that inability to actually say, this is part of the growth. You know, as humans, we break our bones and we grow our bones and we our hair drops out and we grow new hair. But with a business, it’s almost like no, it is as it is, and it has to stay in the sequence that we first constructed it.
Joseph Fung [32:35]
It absolutely is just that fear of fear of loss. I mean, there’s all those fantastic studies, and people are more, more fearful of losing $100 then winning, you know, the excitement about winning $100 and it’s the same thing, you know, when you’ve got that business and it’s working, there’s that, you know, that fear that terror of losing it, especially cuz you worked so hard to make it happen. I think there’s there’s something liberating and realising the business you’re running right now has to change. It’s ephemeral, by definition, because the market will change your customers will change. So you have to be a different business to just stick with it. So yeah, it’s, I don’t have a perfect solution on how to help entrepreneurs let go and be willing to break things and be willing to lose it. But you’re absolutely right. getting stuck with that that unwillingness to let go can be such a limiter.
David Ralph [33:24]
There is a couple of brilliant books that I’ve referenced. One is called essentialism. And it’s a kind of personalised thing where you decide what you most want in your life, and get rid of everything that keeps you away from that thing. And so one of the things that I realised I wasn’t good at giving myself the freedom of operating. And so although I will say I love the fact that I can do this, I can do that I wasn’t because I couldn’t, because my, my business was restricting me. So I used it as a guide to what I actually want in life. And I think most people would be able to do that as a given if they were given the right tools at the beginning. But this is what takes me to your business, and why I loved it and wanted to have you on the show. You’re actually giving people the right tools before they need it, which is a totally different thing. Most people kind of wander along trying to do what they can and then get to a point and think I need help. But you’re giving help beforehand. That is quite radical, isn’t it?
Joseph Fung [34:25]
It is it’s especially from the perspective of the tech companies who are hiring our grads. It’s a huge shift. What happens in the space, what happens in the industry and I say this with all the love in my heart as a tech entrepreneur. A lot of tech entrepreneurs have their heads up their butts, in that they go to the same tired models for how they’re going to hire sales talent, say, nobody, nobody knows how to sell tech. So we’re going to try and hire people that we know are successful. Maybe they just come out of college, they they’re competitive people so they played competitive sports, and they’re very outgoing. So gonna have to Talk to people. And it Sure, sure you might have reps that have worked well with that. But that doesn’t mean that people from a different background or a different skill set can’t work this system and sell effectively as well. And so, our programme, we take the approach of giving people the tools and language, the techniques necessary to walk to look to act like a tech sales professional, so that they can land those opportunities. And success has been remarkable. We’re seeing grads, double their income land, new careers, a couple of weeks after graduating, we have students who tell us things like, I’ve never felt more human, and you’ve saved my life. And that’s as an entrepreneur having customers, you say that kind of thing to you is amazing.
David Ralph [35:43]
Did you know what I love about that? Joseph is the wonder in your voice is like you’ve seen the sunset for the first time, or you’ve seen a baby giggle for the first time that there’s true wonder you’re not jaded by what you’re creating at all, you
Joseph Fung [35:59]
know? No, it’s been, it’s been an eye opening experience. I said this earlier, when we, I’ve always loved the idea of building a company that helps people do their best work. And so for me, my team, my employees, that’s always been the real, you know, the real core mission. Because I think I’ve always been building and selling business software. And that’s great. Making HR processes, making marketing processes better is, is a good thing. But it’s not as inspirational as the work we’re doing now seeing the transformation in people’s lives, because of the the way we run our business is. It’s amazing. I’ve never felt more fulfilled running a business.
David Ralph [36:35]
So is this legacy work? Or is this a stepping stone to something else do you think?
Joseph Fung [36:40]
I think there’s a little bit of both, I think we’re having a huge lasting impact in our grads in our students lives. And we love having them back in we we just had a student come back in to join one of our classes yesterday, we had an all hands on off site, I say off site, instead of using zoom, we used another streaming platform to shake things up. We had a group of students come in. And that’s amazing, you get this real legacy feeling every time you have that kind of conversation. But this is just a stepping stone. In the introduction, you carved it out, right? tech companies need a quarter million more sales professionals. And that’s just sales, there are so many careers, so many roles that have this same talent gap. And even if we only focused on the quarter million in sales, you know, we can’t do that all in a year or two. So this is the first step to something dramatically larger. But I do see this as a long term endeavour for me and for our team.
David Ralph [37:35]
Now with the business, how do people connect with you? Is it purely online? Do you have classrooms that people could go to once this or pandemic and all these situations as passed?
Joseph Fung [37:47]
We do meet ups in a number of cities, but the classes are entirely online. So everybody who’s in class might be working with someone in in Ireland in California, we’ve had folks in South Korea, and people all across primarily North America, but all across the world.
David Ralph [38:07]
So but for the listener out there who whose ears have pricked up, but you could basically come to you, they could get on your course not pay anything. But if I get a job at the end, you get commission, and that’s how you make your money.
Joseph Fung [38:19]
That’s right, that’s exactly we do 10% of a salary for the 24 months, there’s an option to pay up front of if they prefer to a slightly lower fee if they choose that option. But we have programmes starting every single month. So on our website, there’s a big Apply Now button, you can speak to one of our admissions officers and get started as as early as a few weeks after you apply.
David Ralph [38:39]
Now 10 percents not a lot, but based on the fact that this is a starting point to acquire a good salary.
Joseph Fung [38:46]
No, it’s been an amazing difference. The reality is a programme like this is not a a couple $100 programme, there is a big investment that we’re making in in the employees and the students. But the reality is when you look at the idea of a doubling your income or more, that 10% is a small a small piece and you know, we only focus on the base. So commission variable bonuses equity, you know, we’re not asking for any of that. That’s all your success, you know, we’re just providing a bit of information tools, introductions, the growth that people have in their careers is is really up to their hard work.
David Ralph [39:20]
Now, being devil’s advocate, I always think of an angle around things. So imagine I went through the course. And then at the end, I got a job myself, but I didn’t tell you about it. Um, how would that plan out?
Joseph Fung [39:36]
There’s always there’s always potential wrinkles and our documentation or contracts do address some of those scenarios. So you do have an obligation to let us know, the part that we found and this is the part that no one really understands until they get into the mix is because of the relationship we’ve built with all of these students. The time we’re spending and helping him in a transition, it’s quite the opposite. We actually have more students paying us than are obligated because of their contracts. We have gratitude, technically don’t owe us money because the roles that they found or the circumstances and then they don’t feel comfortable with that because of the impact that we’ve had. And so that’s been interesting. I look at our, our course report reviews, and we have over over 70, individual ratings. And all of them are five stars, and the testimonials we get back are amazing. candidly, if I had to wear the hat of an outside observer, looking at the effusively exuberance of the vivaro students, I wouldn’t believe it. And, and that’s what helps us realise we’re doing something really magical here. Because it is it’s been quite quite the ride.
David Ralph [40:52]
Let’s listen to Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [40:54]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [41:29]
I always ask the same question more or less? Does it make all the difference?
Joseph Fung [41:33]
Oh, my goodness. Absolutely. I mean, seeing having that trust and then seeing the the journey that you’ve been on and reflecting on it does, it absolutely does make all the difference.
David Ralph [41:45]
It’s funny because I I’ve had situations over the last 1015 years, where some people might call it law of attraction, right? We won’t go there. But I can see why they say it. But I’ve had times when I think to myself, I just don’t know what I’m gonna do. Now I’ve really come to a sticky point, what what’s going to be there. And then something just comes out of the woodwork. But of course it hasn’t come out of woodwork. It’s all the things that I’ve done. But I didn’t think had any connection to it, that has made a difference. And that’s what Steve’s basically saying, isn’t he saying, you know, if you sit on your backside, and just what net watch Netflix all the time, it’s unlikely that anything amazing is going to happen to you. But if you get error and you make connections, and you try your hardest and you self develop yourself, and you look up yourself physically and mentally, and you just trust that things are gonna happen, even though you don’t know how the story is gonna finish, the end of the story is going to be better than anything you could have imagined.
Joseph Fung [42:44]
A key key element of it is is how you choose to use that time. You’re right, just sitting sitting on the couch and eating bonbons isn’t, isn’t going to do it. But if you’re out there, giving value helping helping a colleague helping a friend, volunteering, putting in a good word smiling at the person who’s served your coffee, putting that value out there comes back to you in such surprising and unexpected ways. And yes, you can only see that, that thread that connects those events afterwards, when you’re looking in the rearview mirror.
David Ralph [43:16]
What’s your biggest thoughts? This is a question I genuinely always asked when you look back over everything that’s got you to this point now. There’s normally a moment II think, yeah, that was bad. That was bad. But without that, without that I wouldn’t be here now.
Joseph Fung [43:32]
It’s so funny, because I look back at it. And in the moment, it was such a small thing. I went to a university that has a unique programme. It’s called a cooperative education programme. And students who study engineering, they’re alternate between work and study four months of school performance at work. And I didn’t get the job I wanted. That happens people apply to jobs, so don’t get them all the time. But I didn’t get the job I wanted and I got very offended. And I determined that the school had pissed me off, they’d wronged me, and I decided that I know, you know as as 20 year olds are likely to do I took great umbrage to the fact I did not get the job that I wanted. And so I took off, I went to I said I was gonna leave the country. So I went to China and I taught English and, and I did a number of things that terrified me at the time, I thought run the risk of ruining the future I had planned out. But every single one of those helped contribute to my opportunities, my character, my worldview, and I would do each and every one again. And that’s that’s actually what I would point to applying to a job while I was at university and not getting it and blaming the school for it. So it’s funny how those dots work out,
David Ralph [44:51]
as they always work out and as they say the issues that you’re dealing with today are giving you the strength and the knowledge tomorrow and I think you can’t say anything better than I can. Yeah. All right. Well, this is the part of the show that we’ve been leading up to. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic. When we’re going to send Josie back in time to have a chat with he’s one to one he’s younger self. And if he could get back into a room and speak to his younger version, what advice would he like to give him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music. And when it fades, it’s fair time to talk. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [45:37]
of the show.
Joseph Fung [45:52]
Joseph, I know that you’re worried about the next steps, but I’ve got some advice for you. Be brave. It’s worth it. I know you’re worried about can you run a business while you’re still in school, you’re worried about leaving to another country. But those chances, those dots are going to work out. So take that chance, take that risk. Don’t spend as much time worrying. Be brave,
Unknown Speaker [46:17]
take a leap. It’s worth it.
David Ralph [46:21]
Right advice. So Joseph, all the people listening to the show or who are interested in jumping on and taking your it calls, what’s the number one best way that they can connect with you?
Joseph Fung [46:33]
The easiest way is to hit up our website uvaro.com yuvaraj.com. Or if you have any questions, I’m always open to chatting about them. You can find me on all the socials LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook at Joseph Fung by just setting us up online because always happy to talk about changing and accelerating careers because that’s what we do.
David Ralph [46:53]
And just to clarify, although you’re a Canadian based company, it is worldwide somebody in the UK or Scotland or wherever could contact you.
Joseph Fung [47:02]
Absolutely. The majority of our students are in the US and Canada, but we do have students all around the world.
David Ralph [47:07]
Great stuff. Josie, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts is the best way to build our futures. Joseph, thank you so much.
Unknown Speaker [47:24]
Thanks so much, David.
David Ralph [47:28]
Mr. Joseph found bomb Movado, yes. So if you want an AI t qualification, you sign up, they teach you they help you get a job and then take 10% you know, it’s like a student loan really seems perfect. And it’s not just perfect. For the listeners point of view. It’s also perfect because it feels a double pain point. People need careers. And also people need those people to be in careers, the businesses. And when you can find a pain point and you can solve it in multiple ways. You really can get exponential growth as long as your marketing is good and your branding and your your pitching. But you really is about finding a pain point that people want and the bigger the pain point, the more value for you. Until next time, my friends, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for so many people that are dropping us a line and connecting with us really like those and respond to those as quickly as possible. We’re going to be doing some new online courses coming soon teaching you as well to build your own online business so that you can sit in your underpants and watch films on Monday morning while everybody else is at work. But until then, you Look after yourselves and I will see you again. Cheers. See ya. Bye bye.
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