EP 01

An Intro to Make Others Successful

Welcome to Make Others Successful, a podcast about modernizing your workplace and breaking down technology barriers to improve communication, collaboration, and automate business process. We do all of this so you can get back to what your job really is, and move your business’ mission forward.

In this episode, we wanted to take some time to introduce ourselves to help you understand where we came from, where we're at now, and where we see ourselves in the future.

Please enjoy our conversation with Mike Bodell and Matt Dressel, founders of Bulb Digital.

Episode Links
Hosted By
Matt Dressel
Mike Bodell
Produced By
Mitch Herrema
Edited By
Mitch Herrema
Music By
Eric Veeneman


Mike - “The biggest reward we have felt or received in that 20-year time is the joy that we get from being able to help others, give them knowledge, and see those wheels turn and see it actually click.”

*Intro music*

Mitch– “Welcome to make others successful a podcast about modernizing your workplace and breaking down technology barriers to improve communication, collaboration, and automate business process. We do all of this so you can get back to what your job really is and move your businesses mission forward. I'm Mitch Herrema, we have a lot of great content lined up for you on the topic of modern workplace. We're going to hear a little bit about those topics in this episode, but before we dive into that, we wanted to share a little bit about who we are, introduce ourselves, and help you understand where we came from, what we are doing now, and what our plans are for the future. Please enjoy our conversation with Mike Bodell and Matt Dressel, founders of Bulb Digital.”

*Intro music ends*

Mike – “Hey Matt, how's it going today?”

Matt – “Hey Mike, it's we're doing pretty good. It's a little bit cold outside. I was a little shocked this morning at when I came outside.”

Mike – “Yeah, how does it feel to be doing a podcast episode this morning?”

Matt – “It's different, it's very, very different to be. We've done some videos you know, we've done some other content, but this is this is very different from what we've been doing in the past. So, excited to try it out and see how it works out.”

Mike – “Well cool, let's talk a little bit about kind of who we are and kind of introduce ourselves to the people out there who might be listening. You want to kind of give us a history lesson in Bulb Digital?”

Matt – “Yeah I can. I can do that a little bit. So, as you know we, we started out just the two of us about 6 years ago, just in a cubicle doing work primarily for one customer in particular and doing a lot of good work with them. Really kind of embedded in their team doing stuff. And now, six years later, we've got, you know, we've got our own office.We've got 12 people we’re doing a lot more work with a lot of different customers. So, a lot of things happened in those six years, and it's been a ride, you know.”

Mike – “And so tell me a little bit about how you think we've changed since we were two guys in a cubicle to kind of what, are we are doing today and the kind of the makeup of our team?”

Matt – “Yeah, so when we started out, we were doing a lot of custom development for customers and really, just the two of us doing things. And now it's really, you know, we're helping lead this team and we put together a lot of great technologists who have great understanding of both the technology, but then also understanding and a focus on understanding, what customers need and what they're trying to get out of that technology. So, we've changed quite a bit in both our size, but also in our focus, ‘cause we're not doing nearly as much custom development anymore.We're doing a lot more modern workplace, low code no code implementations, which as you know that's kind of where we we've had some quite a quite a bit of experience with that before we started Bulb Digital, but we've kind of gotten back to it in recent years.”

Mike – “So that's a good lead into kind of talk a little bit more about what we do as an organization, So, you, you brought up modern workplace and you know the use of no code, low code, and some of those types of tools, and more specifically what we're focused on now is helping businesses and workplaces transform using, you know, modern workplace tools and technology. Let's talk a little bit about kind of some of the areas that we focus, and the tools that we use. So, people can kind of understand you know what we work with?”

Matt – “Yeah, sure. So, for as you know, like I'm, I'm primarily in charge of communication collaboration here, at Bulb Digital. So, my focus is really around both, really internal communication within our organization. So, a lot of times people think of that primarily as an intranet. But also, in the collaboration space and some of the communication space applies to direct communication, direct collaboration with technologies like SharePoint, teams, and even, even like forms or other tools in the Microsoft stack and we’re really, you know, in that particular space we’re really about understanding how people communicate today and really providing recommendations and information about how to transform that into something that will be more effective for people. And again, our main focus as a business is, as you know, to kind of take away and improve how people work on a day-to-day basis. So, we're trying to save people minutes in their day. We're trying to reduce the number of redundant emails they're reviewing, or redundant tasks. That's really where a lot of our focus is as an organization, especially related to communication collaboration. Why don't you talk a little bit about what your area is Mike?”

Mike - “Sure so I focus in our business a lot on business apps in kind of what it takes for organizations to leverage software in their business to basically make things more efficient, more effective, and better ultimately for their employees and maybe even their customers. So, this when specifically we talk about the Microsoft stack we're talking about Microsoft 365 and so there are a lot of options there, and so we help our clients investigate ways to build software through no code and low code.So, it might be something in the Microsoft 365 stack like power automate or power apps, or even maybe even dynamics. But then we also help them evaluate and make decisions on whether or not something should be no code or low code versus custom app-app dev project. You know where maybe a C sharp and some sort of JavaScript front end and so that's kind of where I focus so you can think of things like automation and data integration in addition to you know, App Dev as kind of an area of focus for me, and really, it's as you said it's all about saving minutes, making businesses more effective so that people can focus on the mission of their business, right? Focus on their core mission-“

Matt – “Yeah.”

Mike – “-what they care about, right so? These things that we care about right ultimately translate to helping our customers do the things that they care about.”

Matt – “Yeah, something that's interesting that you said is that. Is really about you talked about a lot of the business apps things, but if there's actually like we were two heads of two different kinds of groups within the organization, or focuses in the organization, but really they have a lot of interplay, right? So, like an intranet that I might be helping someone to envision, and implement might include some business app components that are there. So, really like we have separated them out that way, but really a lot of our customers will engage us for both of these things.”

Mike – “Yeah, that's very true andI would point out that, you know, given the size of our teams, still relatively small, pretty much anyone on our team can be plugged into either kind of side or either focus. And be very effective in both areas.”

Matt – “Yeah, well wanna move on and talk about the why we're doing this? I mean, a lot of people might be wondering why two guys that kind of run up a software or a development company, or a technology company, are trying to do this.”

Mike – “Sure, yeah, so I guess the thing that I would start with would be to simply kind of talk about our history as problem solvers. Like that's, you know, the reason we chose Computer Science as our majors in college, and that's where we met by the way, is because we love solving problems, right? We love that critical thinking and actually seeing things come to life right when we write code. And so that's one of the big reasons that we're doing what we're doing and, you know we have been, I'll say blessed with the brains and the skill sets that we've been blessed with over the last 20 years. And-and we think it's the most effective and impactful use of our skills to be able to leverage them this way. And that's why we've been doing it for as long as we have. And that's why we continue to do it, and that's also one of the reasons I think, that we like the to encourage the team that we have, to kind of in that same pursuit, I would say.”

Matt – “It's-it's so one of the things that's interesting that you mentioned that you mentioned. You know that you and I have known each other for a very long time and-and you know with that we met in college. But I think it's interesting for people to understand a little bit about kind of where we came from, in how we got those skills right?So, you and I we started this thing six years ago together, but we've really been doing this kind of stuff for 20 years. Been doing it to kind of together for various companies, right? A lot of times for big consulting organizations, sometimes, for for you know, even Fortune 500 companies building stuff. And so that experience is really kind of what's driven that knowledge that we have, which is why we are kind of brought this team together and why we're doing some of those things so.”

Mike – “And that's, I’ll add to that by saying that that's one of the reasons that we're in the position that we're in today is because of that in that 20-year span of time. I think we'v recognized that the biggest reward that we have felt or received in that 20-year time is the joy that we get from being able to help others, give them knowledge, and see those wheels turn and see it actually click, see that light switch click on for them. And just there's actual joy in that right, knowing that you're impacting somebody for the good, making their life better, making their work life better. And we've had so much feedback just in our history and our personal interactions with others and those relationships that we've built throughout those years. And that's why we're focused the way that we're focused now, and that is on helping others be successful, right? Making other successful. Through those relationships and just through being able to share the knowledge and the skills that we have.”

Matt – “Yeah, so you mentioned the joy of seeing people be successful and seeing the value of what we're doing. I have, you know, in our 20 years I've seen quite a few times where you get very frustrated when someone just is asking you to go do this thing ,like whatever it is, and you have no idea what the outcome is or whether it's going to provide any, do anything for them, right? It's very frustrating to both of us, and quite frankly to the team that we built, when someone just asked me to do this and doesn't want to talk at all in any way, about you know what the meaning of that is.”

Mike – “Yeah and you're referring to the scenario where somebody thinks they understand what they want and they define a requirement or a feature and they just want to toss it over the fence and actually have it come back the way they think it should be. And that's one of the things that like because of the, I guess breadth, and the amount of years of experience that we've had. Our tendency is to ask why, right? All the time and really understand what's going on because we want the best outcome.Ultimately for that person or that customer, and so you know, that's part of that why, right? And that's when people engage with us, that's what they get. We're not that team that's just going to accept whatever requirements were thrown over the fence. We're going to question it, and we're going to make sure that what we're doing is effective in the best solution, right? That we can provide.”

Matt – “Yeah.”

Mike – “So let's talk a little bit about like kind of why the podcast. So, one of the things we've recognized is like while our team has grown, right, there are still only a certain number of hours in the day, and the team size is what it is, and so our ability to reach people in impact them and make them successful is somewhat limited. And so, I think one of the reasons that we're doing this podcast and one of the reasons that we're doing a lot of the videos that we do is so that we can have a longer reach, right, to reach more people through a digital mechanism and hopefully help them in various ways.”

Matt – “Yeah, for sure, the other thing I would say is that, it's been a really interesting thing over the last year, probably year and a half. We've gone from doing some blog posts, and if you look at our first ones that were very culture based, about our organization to doing more, ya know, focus more on, you know, the services that we deliver to, you know, now we're doing YouTube videos and blog posts. And we're doing some presentations and like we're getting more engaged in that stuff, and it's been an interesting thing because it's given us a lot of time to think, think about things you know, we would deliver that same kind of content, maybe when we're in a meeting with the customer talking about strategy with the customer, but it's hard in that format to really talk about it outside of these specific scenarios with the customer. These other avenues, we've kind of opened up, including the podcast is really been great for us to think about things in a little bit more abstract or separated scenario, right? Like we're thinking you're going to be talking about things in the podcast. We might use an example to talk about it, but, we’re really going to be talking about things that we've learned and the experience we have in broad strokes, right? Not about, you know, a customer has this particular thing going on in their intranet, or on in their communication, or on in their business app, and we're really going to be trying to help apply that. And as you said, like that is, a lot of the value we provide, and we're going to try to use this as a way to broaden that audience and who's going to see that.”

Mike – “So I just actually just popped into my head, another thing about the kind of the reach that we have through this medium. And you know, over our twenty-year careers, we spent a lot of time traveling to customer sites, right?”

Matt – “Oh yeah.”

Mike – “And spent, you know, time all over the world, frankly. Doing things with the customers and in you know, most recently as we look at the feedback that we receive on our blog post or on our YouTube videos, and we are kind of paying attention to who's asking us questions and where they're located, like we've had contact from all over the world. And we're not traveling anymore, right? And so, it's actually a very interesting thing to see how we can actually impact. People all over the world on a much more cost effective in a much more cost-effective way, right?”

Matt – “Yeah, well, also while I think both of us enjoy traveling, it can be stressful, especially if you're traveling to a customer’s location to do something or to present something, you know. This is a much more relaxed way for us to do that same kind of work. And which, if we travel, it'll be for personal purposes, not for, only for business.”

Mike – “Sure, so just one other thing I wanted to add for those of you who didn't know, Matt here has actually read the internet at least two and a half times. That's the highest number I've been able to get him to admit to so two and a half times- “

Matt – “That’s ridiculous.”

Mike – “all the way through. I think it's actually probably a little bit more, but I'm-I'm making that statement simply to say that Matt is kind of our-our spirit animal when it comes to. If you have a question or want to know how something works, some how he has it in his brain and so he's truly a wealth of knowledge and a blessing to our organization.”

Matt – “That's ridiculous is all I have to say about that. That's not true at all, but I definitely enjoy-“

Mike – “The spirit animal part?”

Matt – “No I enjoy learning stuff that's all, right. I enjoy understanding what it is and so I have a tendency togo figure it out if I don't know it.”

Mike – “Hey that's a good thing. I can't fault you for that, and I certainly have benefited over the years from, from your vast wealth of knowledge.”

Matt – “OK, let's get back to the topic at hand. Why? Why make others successful? Why? Why is that the topic for this podcast Mike?”

Mike – “Well, I think that's the thing that we've grown passionate about and, you know, as we've grown the business that we have, it's not only about helping our clients by making them successful in building those relationships, and imparting that knowledge, and helping them improve their work life or their daily life for that matter. But we want the same thing for the people on our team. And you know, I think in our careers we've had a number of good managers who had our success at the center of their concern, and I think that's we like that, and we want to see that for our team members as well. So, it's that thing is that make others successful theme is just pervasive through everything that we do both internally and as well when we're dealing with clients. And now in this new digital knowledge sharing world that we're in through podcasts and YouTube channels, you know, that's-that's what it's all about. It's trying to just generally lift and improve at all levels.”

Matt – “Yeah, for sure. Like I, that is a really great, great way to put it. You know, as some may know, the make others successful is one of our company values it’s one of the things that we try to do across the board and we think it really speaks to probably the core piece of what we try, we want people to be doing every day. Whether or not that be an interaction with the customer or whether or not that be an interaction with someone else on our team or someone, anyone, anyone who even isn’t our customer, is we want to be interacting in a way that is helping other people be successful, even if that means not working with us, right? You know, if we get on a call with someone and have a conversation it’s pretty obvious, for whatever reason that we're not the right fit, we want to not waste people’s time. We want to get them to the right spot, and that's really, you know, it can go across a lot of different areas of life and business, but it is one of the things that is really important to us, and we hope that every episode that we do of the podcast will have some feature that imparts that, like that helps people understand that, that's-that's what we're about that we're trying to help you guys be successful. Anybody who's listening out there, be successful, and, obviously if you have any suggestions for doing that better, we're open to that. Let us know.”

Mike – “Absolutely. Yeah, we find that when we make others successful, it just makes us successful, right?”

Matt – “Yeah.”

Mike – “And that's how we've – “

Matt – “It's really the only way to be really successful right, because if you're not making other people successful and you're just making yourself successful. People won't continue to use you and see you as a resource, right?”

Mike – “Yep, yep, yeah, in a lot of ways it's about selflessness, right?”

Matt – “Yeah.”

Mike – “That's good thought. So, before we sign off Matt, let's talk about a little bit about some of the topics we might be discussing in upcoming podcast.”

Matt – “Sure, so we’ve thrown out a lot of different ideas. I don't know which ones will make it, which ones, or what order, but there are things like you know. Should you be hiring in house to build out Office 365 solutions or should you be hiring somebody external, right?From a company like ours or someone else, right? Or things strategy discussions about intranets, or app development? You know, should you be doing low code solutions versus custom app development? What's the benefit of one over the other? So, I think there will be a lot of different topics that kind of range the spectrum, but those are a couple examples.”

Mike – “So the things to kind of help people make decisions about, you know how they can better leverage theMicrosoft 365 –“

Matt – “Yeah.”

Mike – “environment and platform, or for that matter some other technology.”

Matt – “Or inform them about maybe a new technology that's coming out. I know that you know we've talked aboutViva quite a bit. That's coming out for Microsoft and what the impact that might be.”

Mike – “Sure.”

Matt - “So yeah, a lot of those things.”

Mike – “Sounds good. Well, I look forward to having those- “

Matt – “The next time. Yeah.”

Mike – “In the future.”

Mitch – “Thanks for joining us today. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app so you'll always be up to date on the most recent episodes. This podcast is hosted by Mike Bodell and Matt Dressel, and will also include other team members from Bulb Digital. Each episode is produced by me, Mitch Herrema. Special thanks to Eric Veeneman for our music tracks. If you have any questions for us, head to makeotherssuccessful.com and you could get in touch with us there. You'll also find a lot of insightful blogs and videos to help you modernize your workplace. Thanks again, for listening. We’ll see you next time.”

+ Expand Transcript

Related Episodes

EP 21

Improve the Way Your Organization Communicates

EP 26

Meet the Bulb Gals (and Modernize Your Workplace)