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Listen to Episode 105 with Joshua Peach & Ed Roshitsh

Joshua Peach does a mic takeover for the podcast, interviewing Dude Solutions CEO Ed Roshitsh about what it’s like being a CEO, why he moved his office and what keeps him up at night. 

Show Notes:

Show Script:

Brian  
Welcome to the Operate Intelligently Podcast, the podcast for all things operations.

Josh Peach  
Hello Be Au Sm listeners and Operate Intelligently listeners. This is a dual shared podcast by yours truly Joshua Peach, Founder of Be Au Sm and Corporate Evangelist for Dude Solutions. I'm excited I've got a guest here today that I've had before. I've actually had twice actually technically three times with the panel that you that you host so I've got the Dude Solutions CEO Ed Roshitsh with me today. We're going to dig in on a number of different things and this is going to be a take on the Dude Solutions' "Who Are You and What Do You Do? Ed actually started this a couple of years ago and it was intended for internal sharing of getting to know the team at Dude, and they give a little backdrop, a little backstory. I haven't shared it with be awesome listeners and Operate Intelligently. You've heard me talk a couple of times, but a little bit of history on Dude, Dude's 20 years young. I started here in 2004 as a door-to-door salesman, basically for a company that had less than 400 clients less than 10,000 unique logins. And we basically provided a work order system for facilities and with preventive maintenance. And today, you know, we have a company that has 3.5 million unique logins every day, 12,500 stamps, if you will, or logos stamped all over the all over the country and in some parts of the world. We we cover about 9 billion square feet in in management in that space through our software, and we're going to what was it, 50 million work orders?

Ed Roshitsh  
We process a work order about once every 1.4 seconds and if you do the math, it's about 50 million a year.

Josh Peach  
Yeah. So we've gone places we've become probably the player in most markets and facility management software. And going from that for going from a start up in a condo to 600 and 625 employees with the number of folks that we support has got to be just an amazing in stressful opportunity for you. So we're going to talk about that. So first, welcome at I appreciate you doing another podcast here with us. I appreciate it. So let's let's start. Who's Ed? 

Ed Roshitsh  
Depending on which personality that you get when you ask the question, you know, I wear a lot of hats. You know, been the CEO here at Dude for a couple of years, been in the software space now for 25-ish. Married, have a couple of fuzzy dogs, endurance athlete, author, voracious reader. I think that probably pretty much labels me.

Josh Peach  
How much of that was easy for you?

Ed Roshitsh  
You know, I think all of it has been hard in its own way. But, you know, I think it's sort of like lifting weights, you know, you lift a 10-lb. weight one day, you get good at that you get to 15 lbs., 20 lbs., and all of a sudden, you know, you're bench pressing cars or whatever. So, the struggle at the time is always hard, but then you look back and you say, you know, dude up, man.

Josh Peach  
Yeah. Well, the Dude up is right. And, you know, for me, when I asked that question is how much of it was easy to you? And it's not that I don't ever want to become a CEO for a company, but I was doing some brief looking and there are roughly 32.1 million businesses in the United States today. That's corporations, s-corps, partnership, and proprietorships, so that's a lot there. A lot of businesses that's a small, dry cleaner to you know SAS, IBM, Apple those big companies. Snd I was looking I was like well I wonder how many not teams are ending how many people actually play basketball there's 26 million soccer 24 million but 250 million worldwide but 24 million the knighted states baseball 15.64 million football, there's about 2.1 million that play in high school or college level. And then hockey in the United States is 562,000. So not just individual players, participants of professional sports that everybody says, I'd love to be a professional athlete someday, they actually have you have a better chance of being a professional athlete than a CEO in a large company or in some cases in any company that would be deserving of a CEO. But a little bit more digging, there's about less than 50 companies that have the size and the scale and everything that dude has. There's less than 50 in the United States that have a CEO. 

Ed Roshitsh  
I think that's right. There's a survey that Key Bank does on software companies, in particular, private software companies, and the total that they've identified, it's like 425. And The Dude is like, 14th on that list and size. Yeah. So it's a, it's a pretty sizable,

Josh Peach  
Yeah, I said 50, I meant 500. So 425. So you're, you're in a pool of less than 500 individuals that are running a ship of this size and magnitude in the United States. So you're in small company and your top-level company, breaking the top, top 1520. So I wanted to do this for a couple of reasons one, you did all these Dude, Who are you and what do you do? for a number of months, and they were really cool. And you were digging into people and understanding who they were as a person. The other thing is, this week you did something that I've never actually experienced a scene and I'm very fortunate to know a lot of CEOs. And I know a lot of them get in the trenches and dig and do these things. But you did something really kind of, in my opinion. Cool. Tell us a little bit about that. And why.

Ed Roshitsh  
Yeah, so you know, the first two years that I was CEO here, I'm coming up on my second year and about two weeks. I stayed in a it's not palatial or extravagant by any means just an office, like every other office here in the building, but up in a corner office on the fourth floor, is probably the right place for me to start. It was close to HR close to finance. It was the office of my predecessor and so just felt you know, a A good place to start. And then as, as the first year to would go, you know, I'd find myself sitting in the breezeway as we got these breezeways to connect sort of like when tower, the building the other tower, and I was enjoyed, you know, although I didn't get to do it as much as I liked. I was enjoyed doing that because I get to shake hands and people walk up and hey, I'm, you know, Jill from whatever department and, you know, good to meet you. And so I got the bright idea to move my office and to another floor of the building. And I did that on Monday and it's been crazy good. Yeah, it. I actually did something like this back to jobs ago. I was with sort of a startup, maybe a late stage startup, we had about 115-120 employees. We had this like one big massive floor and I was in an office and I felt really isolated and I was running the company basically as president in actually, one day, this effort, I'm putting my desk out in the middle of the floor, no walls. I'm going to be in the middle. And it wasn't because I was like trying to micromanage anything, but it was just like, you know, what I, you know, 100 and some folks, I need to be really aware of what's going on help here. You know, just get a vibe. And so as I was thinking about moving my office and to another floor, the genesis of that idea started, you know, back on that other job, and it's been great so far. I've met people that I hadn't met before. I've picked up, you know, five or six useful bits of information that I didn't know sitting up on the fourth floor that I've already started to exercise. Some help in some needed areas and I've taken a joke with whatever our director CJ that, you know, I've taken a year lease sat here on this floor and some other neighborhood and abilities and get me in about a year.

Josh Peach  
Yeah. That that was really something that I thought was really cool. But you said you touched on something that I wanted that I want to dig on is what you said, which is probably a lot of people's natural reaction, micromanage. always doing this to micromanage me. First of all, you're a CEO that has to report to a board that is responsible for 620-ish employees that are responsible for probably 2000 families to feed total, you know, support and everything else family members.

Ed Roshitsh  
It's either that or to be shut off like our owners. 87% I think is the number they gave me 87% of their investment fund is union pensions, teacher funds, college endowments, and so as a CEO working for an investment group like that, and all the constituents you mentioned, you know, to Dude Nation employees and families and partners. I feel a real, like, drive to make sure that we make money for those pension funds.

Josh Peach  
Yeah, so this is your play isn't like you're sitting in your desk like moving your fingers like this. Where Montgomery Burns, where's my money and who's getting it for Oh, there's no intention in that, you know, and one of the things that I find that interesting just personally from my experience with you, I've been very fortunate and I think it was I'll tell the story real quick, and you've heard it, you know, on October 31 of 2017. That was my last day I rushed from was Halloween. I rushed from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin to Chicago to catch a flight to take my son trick or treating. My fiance was in her third trimester pregnant, and I was taking myself off the road for the rest of the year, and we had a town hall on November 1 that morning, where I didn't think anything differently. The co-founder that we had I referred to as my best friend followed him and would stand in front of a train forum for at that time, 13 years. And he gets up and he says, we've got a new CEO coming on board, and his name is Ed, and you came up and you and you talk for a few minutes. And I remember sending him an email while you were speaking. And I said, Is this the guy, you know, is this the guy that you want that's going to do that's going to take us to the next level, because we have to grow right companies. When I had a water business, spring water delivery business, my dad and I used to talk all the time about it. And because we work together and you know, he used to always say we have to keep growing, we have to keep growing because if we don't, we'll die, you know. If you stay at that same level, as someone will eat you up or you will go out of business or eventually just through attrition or whatever, you're going to lose, you're going to lose business and you're going to die and so I did a lot of research I mean I was off the road I had time. I think I texted you that Saturday. I think the first was a Thursday and I texted you that Saturday from the fuller craft museum. sitting outside reading your book I downloaded it I couldn't wait for it to be delivered. So you get to know who it is. So you authored the book the solid handshake 13 principles that you lessons and learn stories that you've got about business integrity, just life integrity really. And I got to know you throughout the last two years, and you know going and getting some windshield time with traveling and getting some speaking engagements and I've watched you grow. It's kind of interesting to have someone say I've watched my CEO grow and be able to share it, but I watched you grow from talking about what we do to truly living and understanding and really emotionally tied your presentation next week's gonna be lights out like I was able to see it when you're doing a keynote next week. In Massachusetts for 150 facility directors, public schools and Massachusetts and the what you put in your PowerPoint, nevermind what you're going to say is passion you believe in what we do. Absolutely, and with massive conviction. And I think that's something that people should understand and think about. And also I challenge the listeners, if there's new listeners or if there's people out there that their knee jerk when you said you moved your office to the sales floor or to another section, if their knee jerk was always a micromanager or he's this to shift your thought process to think maybe a little bit differently, right? Yeah, maybe think does this guy have my best interests at mind? You know, you take you take the biggest bullet right? People don't realize that and businesses just because you're at the top doesn't mean you're at the top you it's it's kind of it's an inverted pyramid, you're a catch all, and then a report all and and it's in It's a tough job.

Ed Roshitsh  
In a lot of ways.

Josh Peach  
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I can't imagine what you have in the back hidden in the, in the vault, if you will, of things that you can't talk about or things that happen, or stresses that go on even making sure the lights go on in this beautiful building and, you know, up all the way up to the fourth floor. I tell me about. Let's let's shift gears, let's tell me about that. What what First of all, what got you to want to be in that position, you know, couldn't just be money. I mean, I'm sure that that's a good piece of a good piece to it. But you know what, what made Ed say I want to be CEO. And then what? What keeps you up at night?

Ed Roshitsh  
Yeah. The second question is probably easier. What keeps me up at night. On any given day, there's 15,722 things. You know, last night, I went to bed at 8:30 or so and woke up at 11:30 and for those of you who got email messages through till about three o'clock this morning, I was because I couldn't get to sleep, you know, thinking about, you know, certain business issues, challenges we have with the business, all of them sort of rooted in making sure we got the right people lined up against the right problems. You know, there's a difference between losing sleep over puzzles versus losing sleep, sleep over stress, like, even though, you know, I get insomnia. Sometimes it's more about because I can't shut my brain off of what are we going to do about this? What are you going to do about that? It's not stress, if that makes any sort of weird sense. It does. Yeah. The first question though, is what made me want to do this. A couple of thoughts on that. I think people every five years, go through a motivational source shift. So think about it when you're in high school, it's about a motivated to get to college or motivated, maybe not to college, but whatever. Get your career started, get out of college, say I gotta get my first adult job, that's a motivation and then it's about money and then maybe getting married or having a family and then by the time you get to, you know to be 45, you're probably back into how do I how do I harvest all the knowledge and experience I put into my career to make sure you know when to be so crass that think about money, but think about well, I gotta make sure I feather a nest for my 60 and beyond years. So my career arc has sort of followed that same sort of path and I always told myself, like, I'm not going to be one of those people that are like knifing people in the back to climb a career run to the next ladder step. If it happens for me, it'll happen for me and I've been so fortunate than lucky in a lot of ways to be at the right place at the right time at the right people with the right skill sets, you know, spent five years five times I should say with, you know, JMI equity companies. I went to another investment firm than this one. But people along the way have given me advanced responsibility. So I sort of ended up here. Yeah, I wasn't like I know I wrote down in a book or something: I will be a CEO by whatever age.

Josh Peach  
Yeah. What's that buzzing noise, the coffee machine?

Ed Roshitsh  
We opened up a dentistry next door.

Josh Peach  
Yeah, I was gonna say, for those of you that hear that the background is like a jackhammer. And we're actually in the conference room. Next to Ed's office. 

Ed Roshitsh  
On the third floor. Yeah. Which is sort of weird. 

Josh Peach  
Yeah, kinda interesting that this is the space that you got picked for, for you would give you the noisy jackhammer area. It's interesting you say five years, I took five years to graduate high school most people do and four. So I would like to say that most people, if that's the case, didn't take their full five years to figure out what they want to do in that in that direction.

Ed Roshitsh  
It took me 11 to graduate college. 

Josh Peach  
Yeah, I'm still working on it. I'm trying to figure out an honorary degree. I think that's at some point, but you know, something interesting so I got here this morning, early, and I took your parking spot. I think I told you a little bit about I took your parking spot because you

Ed Roshitsh  
I don't have a marked parking spot.

Josh Peach  
But yeah, no, it's just but it said spot. I mean, you the first year, the first one here, every, every time that I come to the office, you're you're either here already or you're here within a matter of minutes. And if you didn't have an incident spilling your coffee this morning, I think you would have beat me. But I talked to some young folks yesterday about understanding you know, what your what your realistic expectations and the realistic expectation is for you. To be able to be the leader of the ship, you can't come in at 7:59, 8 o'clock and leave it at 4:45 to miss the Regency Parkway traffic. I mean, you're, you're grinding. And you're here. I mean, you're, you're visible, you're here, you're in meetings, you're emailing. You're doing all this stuff. And so, you know, how do you I guess one of the things is, you know, working eight to five, Monday through Friday, sales is a little bit different, most of your reroll eight to five Monday to Friday. It's expectation that your performance, that's game time and get it but there's a lot of stuff that people should in all at all aspects of life and sales. Definitely because we're on the sales floor. Everyone should be building themselves professionally investing in themselves. Absolutely. What are some Ed's things that you've invested yourself? What are some programs, what are some books, what are some podcasts? Like what would you if if someone was coming into the workforce with because it doesn't matter what you know, I think I think the investment In the buckets of ideas, whether it's professional development, personal whatever, what are some, some Ed's best experiences and suggestions?

Ed Roshitsh  
Well, you know, it's so funny. I think you and I maybe can remember five months or so ago we were just talking about old school you know, you pop the Brian Tracy sales cassette in your cassette deck in your car. Maybe you had a video or something like that to watch but, you know, content is so available, so free, so prolific, so many channels that you can access it. And it's painless. You know, you could be listening to a podcast or a book on tape. The audio piece of a TED talk on the comfort of your cars or driving in or while you're running or, you know, playing instead of watching the news in the morning. You can be playing in the background I listen to at least 10 to 15 hours of podcasts a week. Now I might plan depending on who's speaking at one and a half time, so I can shorten a little bit. I read voraciously. One, it's entertaining to me, but it's sort of like downloading new software into your cranium. You know? What you were, you were here this morning, I copied a couple pages of a book to give to one of the guys because he and I had a chat yesterday, it reminded me of this book, chapter and like, I probably read a goal every year of 50 books. I'm probably right on pace for that this year, and you really try to do that. I watch YouTube videos or watch TED Talks. I also learn from people who I work with, you know, some of the people all the people in tech probably know more about their jobs and know more about their disciplines and I will as CEO which is another misnomer people think I know everything I better not know more about developing code that our engineers because that would equate we would be in a bad spot marketing SEO you sir. So professionals I'm always learning from folks that I work with. So I think you know, from talking to new folks like you know, you say a lot hundred 68 hours a week or you know, like to say 1440 minutes a day, man carve out carve out an hour or every day to learn something, that's the only way you get out there. The other thing I'd say is just get out there and experience it. You know, I think, especially in sales, there's call reticence Samantha. I'd rather do something that feels good, like look up names and actually dial names and, you know, in sales, you gotta get your nose bashed in 50 times and then that 51st time you hit the ball straight and long, you're like, Okay, that's cool.

Josh Peach  
So read, podcasts, get out there. I think that's a balance, which is, which is a great way to put it. You've done a lot here that has impacted not just the business that we do, not just the sales that we make, not just the the lights that go off and on. But I mean, you've looked at everything all the way down to working with the office manager to management team to remove all the styrofoam and plastic cups and provide insulated aluminum, you know, water bottles and coffee cups to reduce the impact on the environment of the 250,000 cups that we went through. And you you've done that you work with a team for that research to see how many cups that we buy that went in the landfill. Is there a way for us to prevent it at a pretty exorbitant initial cost. I mean, it's going to save you money over time. But that wasn't the reason why we did it. You've done countless things like that. It circles back to what you said, I don't want to be if I'm, if I'm smarter than our developers, or if I'm smarter than any single department bars, we're screwed. I am the CEO, but I'm not the smartest guy in the room all the time, which is a huge misconception. Yeah. Talk to me a little bit about trust. Because that's I mean, you had to put trust in Dana or whoever, Lynn and or Pam or whoever was that was that that came to you with that research. I mean, something as simple as that you had to put trust in, they did their homework, they did their work, the information that they shared with you is accurate, right? And you'll stand in front of whoever you need to, to share that story. Because that's really what you're, I don't say you're a storyteller, but you're your share of all of the stories collectively of this entire company. Yeah. How important is trust?

Ed Roshitsh  
Oh, it's, it's the core bedrock and we've actually invested a lot of money at the leadership level and you know, obviously it will cascade down as we as we get good at it, but just investing in training around trust. I'm going to hit that in a second. I'm a collector and prioritize or have good ideas. I very few times have I been the one to say, that's what we should do. More often than not, I'll be in a meeting, or a Dude, or a client or someone will say, Man, it'd be great if we could dot, dot, dot, you know, we'll debate talk about it. And in the end, it's like, holy smokes, that is a great idea. We should probably do that in how does it sort of stack up in the priority? The trust element is so critical. business life It's hard enough. Data flying at decisions you have to make variables you can't control. But when you introduce the element of dishonesty or motivational lapses, like I'm going to do this for selfish reasons or whatever reasons. That's when stuff falls apart. If one person violates that trust barrier, what I've noticed through my years of being around people and leading is, hey, when somebody breaks the seal, everybody arms up. And then that's when you start getting all sorts of politics and people polishing reports and not reporting bad information. And that's when companies I think, start to fail. And if you can create an environment of trust and trustful debate, healthy conflict is our coach but likes to tell us you can solve a lot of problems. You know, I don't want to be that leader where people are afraid to come up and say, Dude, this went sideways on us for fear of getting their head bit off. Now, there are times where I might be like, crap, I can't believe that, you know, just a human reaction. But I never want people to be afraid of me making it personal. You know, you know, Josh, I can't believe you did that you knucklehead or, or, you know, don't come to me with this bad information. Because that that violates trust this direction. I often say to people, if you try to blow in past me and BS me, it gives me the right to not trust you therefore they're forward. Same thing if I blow in by you intentionally or try to do that, and I do something just dishonest. You have the right to dis distrust anything I do from that point out in a CEO. People can't trust you. You're screwed.

Josh Peach  
Yeah, but you from day one have had this, you know, if you want to tell me something, it's a vault. I don't know what I don't know. And I'll do what I can. But if you're just going to me as a soundboard for advice, or if you want my opinion, I give it give it to you. And you and I, again, we've had a couple of occasions where we're off site, go into a speaking engagement or something. And we got deep into talk about things. And I felt very much comfortable saying, Hey, this is what I think here's, here's, here's where my challenge with what's going on is, and I don't know that it means anything. But this is how I feel. This is emotionally how I feel not I don't expect you to do something. And you put thought into it and you said, Hey, don't worry about it. It's it's with me, it stays here. But I totally understand where you're coming from. And I believe that and I think that that's something that is fairly unique. Sadly, it's fairly unique to have that trust. You've put that the people are the most important piece to the business where most people would look at us as a tech business that sell software. And you know, we've got all this stuff. You've always put people first. And I think that's important. When in your life did you did you have that? Did you have an aha moment? Did you know about it? Like, did you were you born said, people are our greatest asset and that's what we need to do. Did you have anything that happened in your life? That's like.

Ed Roshitsh  
You know, so I think it's been an evolution process. If you would have met me and and people that know me from this period of time, say 2000 say 2007. I'm not sure. you'd be so kind. With that statement around people being the asset. I've made a lot of mistakes on people. How I've conducted myself as a leader treated people. And every every lesson is taught me to up my game and instead expectations The other thing is going to be a little bit weird, at least for me. You know, I'm 55, seems like as I get older, you know, get a recognition that it's, you know, life is more about people. But I will say for the software space and the big aha moment is when you think about software, and I've said this in the building and maybe on another podcast or two, but when you think about software, it is the most people intrinsic business on the face of the planet. And I'll debate this with anybody who wants to get into it. But think about software ideas are created by people, outcome eyes to keyboards by people, marketed, sold, implemented, supported invoiced Anything that you can think of all by people in if, you know sure technologies come and go and architecture platforms come and go and in, you know, CPUs come and go, but at the core element, if you got good people, they just adapt and move on and evolve. If you don't get the people thing, right, doesn't matter what kind of technology you have in the background, it's just going to flop so I've really learned that people is the are the essential assets to a software space. 

Josh Peach  
But you mentioned something that's that's kind of big on professional development. Just about every book that you've suggested to me, you know, Principles, Ego is the Enemy. Marcus Aurelius you know, these different books that I that you've suggested that I've read or listened to just about all you read them multiple times? Yes, and sometimes multiple times in a year like why?

Ed Roshitsh  
I can't remember the famous person who said it's better to read one book 50 times than 50 individual books and I read that quote maybe two years ago and in it just hit and so now and I'm into reading books like I've read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 12 times, maybe Ego is the Enemy probably six times. I back to back read Stillness is the Key twice in two weeks. And the reason I do that is repetition I catch things that I maybe I got squirrel Attention Deficit you know squirrel when I was reading the book and didn't you know didn't finish a paragraph fully or maybe a point has made differently and what I've found over the last two years is a more able to implement An idea that I might have read seven times versus: Oh, that's an interesting idea. Move on to the next page. Mm hmm.

Josh Peach  
So let's let's wrap it up any final words from anything that how can people get ahold of you? You do have a great LinkedIn presence. I mean, you've got you've got some incredible content on Twitter, Linkedin for those that aren't.

Ed Roshitsh  
I spend most of my time on my external we're on social networking is almost 100% LinkedIn. It's Ed Roshitsh on LinkedIn. Thank you for that. You know, email address is ed.roshitsh@dudesolutions.com. final words I'm just very thankful and grateful for Dude Nation, the employees here. The 3.5 million people that log in trusting The Dude. Thankful for our investors. You know, not a day goes by that I'm sincerely grateful for all the people that are threaded through this whole thing.

Josh Peach  
Yeah. And we're hiring,

Ed Roshitsh  
And we're hiring.

Josh Peach  
I think that's one thing that we've consistently been doing. As we've always we've been hiring. So definitely if you're looking for an opportunity, and we have offices now, yeah, we've made some acquisitions. So we're in we're in Toronto, we've got an office in Colorado, we've got an office in Poulsbo. 

Ed Roshitsh  
Yeah, it's a long suburb of Seattle, but we also have a very open work from anywhere policy. If you're a rock star and can work remote, and it's a type of work that can be done remotely. If you're in Fargo, North Dakota, hallelujah, we can hire if you're awesome.

Josh Peach  
Yeah, does it so hopefully, the listeners for Operate Intelligently get something out of this was great to be a part of that podcast here today and for the be awesome listeners. You know where to find me. It's a beausm.com, email Josh@beausm.com. Listen to the podcast, give a rating and review. I'll give you something. I got a cup of coffee mugs left I've got some t-shirts and if you want to do something really cool, this five days left for the Natalia strong t-shirts I'm doing 100% of 100 t-shirts. That's 100% of the sale every penny of every sale for 100 shirts. We're going to give to the third annual Natalia strong night for SMA which is spinal muscular atrophy that was podcast 34. So hoping to raise some great money for in the name of a phenomenal little two and a half year old that is stronger than than most than just touched my heart when I got to meet her. So in the meantime, if you want to be awesome, you gotta do awesome. Have a great day.

Brian  
Thank you for listening to the Operate Intelligently Podcast produced by Dude Solutions. You can reach us by emailing dspodcast@dudesolutions.com or check us out on the web at dudesolutions.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai
 

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