Author Brad Weber To Launch New Book With Mission Matters

9 months ago
Author Brad Weber To Launch New Book With Mission Matters Image

In this discussion, CEO Brad Weber of InspiringApps joined Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Podcast to discuss his entrepreneurial journey, insights and reflections along the way, digitization, a new book with Mission Matters, and more.

You can watch the webinar replay or skim through the conversation explored below.

Looking at the Big Picture in App Development

With Brad’s years of business experience—starting his own company, InspiringApps, as a one-person show to working with enterprise brands—he shares advice on how to ensure best practices for a company trying to bring their innovative idea to fruition.

During the discussion, Brad shared his entrepreneurial journey and the lessons he has learned along the way. He talked about how he started his company and the challenges he faced while building and scaling it.

He also touched upon his new book to be released in collaboration with Mission Matters.

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Join us for our next live webinar for more InspiringApps insights. Sign up to attend our next webinar here.

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About Mission Matters: Mission Matters is a media platform dedicated to showcasing the stories of business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals. Primarily, they share stories through the Mission Matters Series of podcast shows, releasing new shows daily and distributing the content through their website and 30+ social media channels.

About Adam Torres: Adam Torres is the co-founder and podcast host at Mission Matters Media. He has interviewed over 5,000 thought leaders and industry experts across the globe, uncovering a wealth of knowledge. It can be hard for leaders to cut through the noise to get their message heard. So he created the Mission Matters Podcast Series to provide a stage for top professionals in their fields to get their message to the masses. 

About InspiringApps: App development that makes an impact. InspiringApps builds digital products that help companies impact their employees, customers, and communities. Yes, we build web, mobile, and custom apps, but what we offer is something above and beyond that. What we offer is inspiration. Our award-winning work has included 200+ apps since the dawn of the iPhone. Our core values: integrity, respect, commitment, inclusivity, and empathy. Our guarantee: finish line, every time, for every project. Get in touch at hello@InspiringApps.com.

About Brad Weber: Brad Weber has more than 25 years of software development experience. Brad received his MBA from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado and spent several years with Accenture before striking off on his own adventures, including the successful founding of four different technology companies. With a passion for software artisanship, Brad founded InspiringApps to build a team that could tackle larger app development challenges than he was able to handle on his own. His leadership creates an environment where the most innovative digital products continue to come to life.

Read the Transcript

Adam Torres

Alright, so today, I have Brad Weber on the line. He is an upcoming author in one of our Mission Matters books. I am proud to announce, and he is also president and CEO of InspiringApps. Brad, hey, just want to say, first off, welcome to the show. 

Brad Weber

Thanks. I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Adam Torres

All right, Brad. So we got a lot to cover today. We’ll be talking about, of course, InspiringApps. We’ll talk about how you got started and really your journey in business, and then we’ll touch on the book a bit. I just will keep it a little high level because, of course, for everybody listening. We will be bringing Brad on the show for a second part of this two-part interview series. And we’ll bring them out when the book is actually live as well. But we’ll start this episode the way that we start them all with our Mission Matters minute. So Brad, at Mission Matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts. That’s our mission. Brad, what mission matters to you?

Brad Weber

Our mission at InspiringApps is to help our clients overcome business challenges with custom web and mobile apps that we design and develop for them. And it’s a similar mission during my decade as an independent software developer, but as just one person. I was limited to helping mostly small to midsize companies, but in the 15 years since founding InspiringApps, I’ve grown a fabulous team of designers and developers who can tackle much larger challenges than I was able to handle on my own. Now we design and develop new web and mobile products for large enterprises. And our work impacts millions of users.

Adam Torres

It’s a great story and one that I’m happy to bring to my audience as well. And I guess just to kind of kick this off, let’s talk a little bit more about your background. So you mentioned this decade-long journey; what inspires you to get out there and to be an entrepreneur and start your own company?

Brad Weber

Well, it started before founding my own company as an independent developer. I worked at a big six, as we used to call it, a consulting firm back in the day, with 10s of 1000s of employees working on giant billing systems for telecommunications companies and things like that. I had what I think is an atypical experience there. In my three years, I never saw a project successfully completed. That’s a tough way for somebody like me to be. I wanted to develop and build things that people actually used. So I was working at the time to build my skills and my own network to start working with those smaller companies to be able to develop applications entirely on my own. Primarily desktop applications back in the day (this was almost 25 years ago now for that). And then, through many experiences on my own, I was getting the itch to grow a team and tackle bigger projects and be able to take on bigger things that I was able to do on my own. So about the eight-year mark, as an independent developer, I started planning for founding and growing InspiringApps. 

Adam Torres

Wow. Yeah, it’s a great story. And I feel like, I mean, you have a unique vantage point because you’ve obviously been doing this for a long time, number one, but number two, in your entrepreneurial journey, really you saw it, I believe, where we’re now in like this renaissance. Where it’s just more feasible, it’s more obtainable for many people to do either freelance work to grow their own companies, especially just with the demand there is for whether it’s software or other services in that realm. What would you tell like that new group of, let’s just say, entrepreneurs or individuals that are maybe feeling a little bit of dissatisfaction and they want to go out there and start their own thing or their own projects, like what kind of things would you tell them obviously now having the benefit of hindsight and experience under your belt?

Brad Weber

It is a lot of work. We can start with that. It is risky in the beginning, for sure. And I know that some people take the approach of just leaping off the cliff and hoping they sprout wings before they hit the ground. For me, that was not a comfortable approach. It was definitely more tapered into that experience. So as I mentioned, I was working for a Big Six consulting company. I left when I thought I had enough business to get my development of Big Six consulting company. I left on my own when I didn’t have enough clients. So I took on another job. I worked there for a while again, tried to grow up my network, and left again. Found a second time that I still didn’t have quite enough, so I went back for one more job before ultimately I was able to leave and stay independently employed or working on my own business. And it’s been that way ever since. So, a little tough. Don’t get discouraged in the beginning if it’s not a blockbuster success right out of the gates but with some persistence and hard work, and a lot of patience was able to get to something that would sustain me and not a large team.

Adam Torres

If you could go back, is there anything that you would do differently?

Brad Weber

It’s a tricky question. There are tons of mistakes that I’ve made along the way. So it’d be nice to do with a little less pain. But at the same time, those lower important to get me to where I am today. So I think I have to answer no; I probably wouldn’t make changes because I’m worried that I wouldn’t end up in this seat talking to you.

Adam Torres

Well, I’ll tell you what, well I’ll pick on myself. There are a whole lot of things I would have done differently. I didn’t know that I was in the media business when I started, Brad, and you knew what business you were in.

Brad Weber

That’s true.

Adam Torres

All right. Well, let’s go further into InspiringApps and really where you’re at today. So now you’ve grown a team, and I know I caught this from the beginning, as you mentioned when you were talking about your mission. So you’re really working with multiple segments or niches and sizes of clients—however we want to word that. So you work with small businesses, you work with that middle level, and then you’re also working with enterprise. I feel like a lot of dev shops don’t really span that width of capability, whether it’s by choice or resources either way. Can you tell me a little bit more about making that decision to kind of go that route?

Brad Weber

Yeah, I wish I could say it was all under our control. But certainly, in the early days when we were smaller…It takes time. You’ve got to put the time in. You have to earn some of the clients that you have. And for us, our business was primarily smaller customers in the early days. And then you can watch if we’re going to go back through the history over 15 years. There’s definitely a progression where we were able to earn the trust of larger and larger customers to the point where eventually we’re working with Fortune 100 clients, which could not be expected out of the gate, as you know, a one, two, three-person company. It’s over the course of designing and developing hundreds of solutions for companies that really put us in that position.

Adam Torres

And in my mind, and correct me if I’m wrong in this, but it seems like all these different tranches of clients, whether it’s funded startups or small businesses or enterprises like they, all have their unique challenges. So as you started this interview, you said, you know, one of the things that working for the Big Six back then that maybe didn’t give you the most satisfaction, you never got to see your product actually out there and live and launched and making a difference in people’s lives. So let’s kind of niche these down a little bit because I know I feel they have different challenges to get into products to market. So maybe start with what it’s like to work with funded startups.

Brad Weber

Sure. So I think in this progression, as we talked about, these InspiringApps really has the pleasure of working side by side with the Davids and the Goliaths in these industries, and they are very different. So as you mentioned, with funded startups, part of the challenge is just getting the funding, so that often takes much longer and is a more difficult road than people anticipate. But once the funding is secured, when you are building a business around an app that we create, or maybe a suite of things for which the app is an important part, you are starting from scratch. It may sound obvious, but you have no customers have no revenue. 

Adam Torres

Yeah. 

Brad Weber

And those things are giant hurdles. To go from no users to try to build up something that’s formidable in the marketplace is hard. And getting to a point where you have enough users who can give you feedback and really drive your product development. I think that’s a primary challenge for the startups that we work with. You got to survive long enough to get to a point where they’ve got a healthy, vibrant community of customers. They’re giving them feedback, then telling them basically what they’re willing to pay for in the product that we’re working on.

Adam Torres

Are there any comments on the types of niches that you tend to work with or even like founders and just in general like in that because I know it’s a different personality type in terms of just the complexion of the business in general? Versus like enterprise where it’s really, you know, established, you know, maybe siloed, maybe not a lot of different types of enterprise-level businesses. But talk to me more about the management part of things.

Brad Weber

So, I think any business that’s going to develop around a product, whether that’s a digital product or physical product—I think the recommendations are similar, which is that it’s also challenging to go through that alone. So we do get people who come to us who are inspired individuals who want to change the world, and they have a product idea, but there’s so much that goes into making that successful. As I mentioned, you’re trying to build up your business and build up your customer base. So there’s a sales aspect to that. There’s certainly marketing knowledge that needs to be a part of that equation. So we find that the people in that category for us, these funded startups who are most successful, are the ones that have at least a small team around them that can distribute that work is really difficult to wear all the hats, and you get something like that off the ground.

Adam Torres

Oh my gosh, you’re taking me back to the early days of Mission Matters, Brad, when I’m doing the interviews, I was editing, I was doing the distribution, man, though, as I was pulling my hair out. My hat goes out to any founder out there or startup that has that mission or has that goal and wants to go at it and just has that tenacity to, you know, maybe fall on their face a couple of times and just keep on pushing and keep on moving because it’s not easy. It’s always easier from the outside looking in. Then actually, in my opinion, walking in those shoes, so my hat always goes off to them. But any kind of tips for those that are out there when it comes to getting a project from you know, from beginning to actually getting to that next level where they’re getting user feedback? What kind of tips from your vantage point, right?

Brad Weber

Well, I think reserving enough resources so that you can stay in for the long haul. You can run the marathon and not the sprint is important. So we work a lot with these startups to help them. You want to think big in terms of your business and your longer-term vision. You want to think small in terms of the first thing that you develop and try to release to the public. And so, some people will come in with a decent budget and a grand vision for what they want to do. But, you know, if you’ve got a quarter million dollars that you’re going to spend on your new product, you should not be spending a quarter million dollars on the app design and development. You should be spending maybe $100,000 on your app design and development and reserve 150 on marketing and promoting and building this community, building out your team, and some of the other services that are required to make your product to success. 

Adam Torres

Yeah, well said. I want to talk about the small business community a little bit here because I also know that’s a big part of what you do. And so we can be talking about, you know, businesses that have been, you know, multi-generational businesses. We can be talking about the digitization of coming online and kind of bringing your business into, you know, and into, let’s say, new capabilities of what’s available and what’s possible by digitizing the business. Talk a little bit more about just kind of the work you’re doing in that space. 

Brad Weber

Sure. So what we often see for this group of customers is that, as you said, they are a more of an established business. Now they have customers that have a budget; they’ve got a process; they’re growing, and they’ve got a decent-sized team. What they’re interested in for technology to help them is to gain efficiencies in their business. So with them, we’re doing things like providing tools for field data collection for their teams so that you know they’re getting the people who are making the decisions back at corporate headquarters have the latest information from the field. Whether that’s collected by humans on tablets, or if it’s sensors. There’s a whole variety of ways to do that. But we’re focusing in areas like that. So improving the organization through things like tools that help them with their leadership development, team collaboration, communication, things like that, so that the midsize customers tend to be a little more internally focused where they’re trying to work on systems and tools that will improve the operation of their business.

Adam Torres

What kind of challenges do you find that many small businesses have when it comes to coming online or that digitization process?

Brad Weber

Can you say more about that? 

Adam Torres

So what kind of challenges do you find that many small businesses have when it comes to coming online and that real digitization process to going through that hurdle to adopt 

Brad Weber

Like to adopt those tools internally, for instance? 

Adam Torres

Yes. 

Brad Weber

Yeah. And I think one of them is adoption. It’s important in small businesses; we talked about getting feedback from your customers. Customers are outside your organization, spending money or poorly on whatever it is that you’re providing to them for this middle group. As I said, oftentimes they’re focused inwardly. But it’s just as important to treat your internal users, the people on your teams within your company, as your customer as well and put the same level of effort into understanding them understanding their needs, gathering their feedback, listening to them iterating on the products and tools that you’re creating for them and making sure that you’re getting them the updates that they’re asking for. 

Adam Torres

So I know that going through that process of and I know, you know, broadly speaking, there’s a lot of different applications and ways that people may use, you know, this a new app or something whether it’s like you said collecting data from the field or just depends on the type of business right? But the main thing that I’ve seen is that it’s not going to be easy, like I’ve been in offices where, you know, especially just the digitization process in general, where all of a sudden you have all these files and you know, years and years, maybe decades of files that need to be brought online so that people can actually access the information. So there are a lot of hurdles in different types of businesses of tomorrow. But I guess from your vantage point, what are some of those possible light at the end of the road or pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the benefits of going through sometimes what can be a tedious process—because there’s usually some gold at the end of that, right?

Brad Weber

Yeah, and it has to be a win for the people who are using the tools as well as the people who are analyzing the data that we’re collecting, for instance. 

Adam Torres

Yeah.

Brad Weber

And for the data collection that you’re talking about. We’re often no longer really digitizing somebody. We’re not taking so many people from a paper process to a digital solution for the first time. There is a light bulb goes off when people realize that they don’t have to use shared spreadsheets and other kind of cumbersome processes in getting the data from the point of collection to the point of reporting. So what we bring to the table that is kind of a breath of fresh air for their teams is something that’s entirely tailored for their process. So there’s no extra stuff that they don’t need. And there’s all this stuff that they do need, just to focus on their particular job or their particular task that you’re trying to accomplish. So an example of that was a clothing retailer that we worked with, who wanted to have more insight into their presence on the detail floors, retailers around the country, and so a tailored tablet solution for their team to be able to check boxes-enter freeform text responses and take pictures of displays. And have that automatically uploaded to the server for analysis and review by their marketing team and their corporate headquarters was far easier than the process they that they came to us with, which was very much spreadsheet based. Upload your spreadsheet to a server, keep the photos, email those to a different address, you know, then somebody has to take the attachments and make sense of those. So the fact that that solution is really tailored for their needs is what I think all of the users within the organization really appreciate.

Adam Torres

Yeah, it just the way I see it, is that just those efficiencies, those add to the profitability, like over time, some for them immediately, but you know, labor cost efficiencies, tracking the data, all of that, I mean that those are all big wins.

Brad Weber

Exactly. 

Adam Torres

Let’s spend some time on the enterprise side of things and really what you’re doing there, so what does it look like to work with these large enterprise clients? 

Brad Weber

So this has become really a majority of our business now. And it’s really fun to work with the enterprise clients, as I mentioned, spanning the David’s and Goliath’s lives; these are the Goliaths. And the thing that’s unique about them is that, on one hand, they can be a little slower to move and be able to operate. They have legacy systems that they’re dealing with that a startup who’s starting from scratch does not have to carry with them. They have an IT team that usually has a pretty big backlog of work that they need to do for the organization, and they may lack experience with the latest technology. The organization itself wants to stay relevant and want to fight off these newcomers. We’re trying to break into the space. But the advantage they have—the tremendous advantage, I think—is that they have those customers, you know in some cases 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s, millions of customers. They have a budget, and they have patience. All of those things work in their favor at that end of the scale, to be able to bring something to market where they’ve taken into account feedback from those customers, and they have the patience and the budget to be able to iterate on solutions that we create. So what I mean by that is we’re going to produce something as a first version of their product, and customers are going to react. Hopefully mostly positive, but they’ll have constructive criticism as well. And it’s important to have the time and the budget to be able to refine the product and address those concerns that people are raising. So that at some point, you’ve now given them exactly what they need in the market or what they’re asking for. So it’s a different kind of fun at that end of the scale.

Adam Torres

Yeah, I can see that, so versus the funded startup where they’re, you know, just starting to get that client base or maybe the small business that has a different kind of objective overall, possibly. And then, the enterprise level, they have the data, they have the clients, and they have the customers in quantity, and now to me it like it sounds to me like you have the opportunity to maybe move the needle a little bit more because there’s more there to work with as well. 

Brad Weber

That’s right. 

Adam Torres

Yeah, it’s awesome. So I want to, we’re not going to spend too much time on the book today, but we do need to touch on it for a second or two. Because as I mentioned before, we’ll be bringing you back on the show when we have the book out and live, but high level. I know we’re still in editing and not holding you to this, but what are the things that you plan to propose in the upcoming book launch?

Brad Weber

Well, as we talked about, I’ve had a great business education and two business degrees. At heart, I’m a developer, a software developer, but that formal business education has been really helpful for me. But no matter how much classroom education we get, I think you can probably back me up on this, Adam, that we can count on learning a lot more lessons when we try to put that learning into practice in our own business. So I plan to share my lessons. Some of them are entertaining, and some of them are painful so that readers can learn from my mistakes. 

Adam Torres

Yeah, and I love that you’re willing to do that because then it won’t be just me picking on myself about my mistakes. Like most of this show in our books are about, at least for what I write in them, is really, the hope is that we get we can share, you know, genuine stories and let people know what it’s really like that obviously we want to inspire others to maybe pursue their own dreams, but also to educate them on maybe some of the bumps along the way so that if you’re either going through them, hey, you’re not alone, and if you’ve been through them, you can relate.

Brad Weber

For sure. They’re going to happen, but I guess the tale to tell is that you will get through them, and they do make for entertaining stories on the other side. 

Adam Torres

Wonderful. Well, Brad, it has been great having you on the show today and getting to know more about InspiringApps, of course, and about your journey along the way. If somebody’s watching this or listening to this, and they want to follow up and inquire about InspiringApps or to connect with your content—I mean, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Brad Weber

Our website is probably the number one source, so you can find us at InspiringApps.com. And you can find us as InspiringApps on LinkedIn and other social platforms as well. 

Adam Torres

Fantastic, and we’ll put all of that, those links, and things like that in the show notes so that our audience can just click on the links and head right on over. And speaking of the audience, if this is your first time with Mission Matters or connecting with an episode, we’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives and having them share their mission. The reason behind their mission is really what gets them motivated and fired up out there to go into the marketplace and make a difference. If that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, we encourage you to hit that subscribe button because we have many more mission-based individuals coming up on the line, and we don’t want you to miss a thing. And Brad, until the next time. It’s been awesome having you on the show. Thanks again for coming on. 

Brad Weber

Thank you so much.

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Business & Strategy

Engineering Success: Leading Digital Solutions Through Culture

Boulder, CO—A well-executed digital strategy can set industry leaders apart, and culture is the backbone of that. Take it from us at InspiringApps. Beyond the standard “move fast and break things” mantra, we prioritize a finish line, every time guarantee, combined with an ethos of curiosity, which we believe are key to an adaptive and winning digital portfolio. Brad Weber, Founder and CEO at InspiringApps, shares his insights into our culture of leading digital solutions.   Embracing a Shared Vision for the Future InspiringApps aspires to create an inclusive, inventive, and future-proof culture. Every team member knows the value of finishing projects and taking them across the finish line. To foster this culture, we encourage our team members to speak up and be comfortable asking “why” while critically examining requirements. This mindset helps us seek the best user experience and guarantees the highest quality of development. A standout facet of our culture is our commitment to valuing each team member’s unique skills and experiences. This, coupled with the collective intelligence we’ve garnered from building numerous web and mobile apps, forms a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Diversity of knowledge enables us to anticipate and navigate tech challenges holistically, ensuring that our digital solutions are second to none. Curiosity Is Your Business’s Best Ally At InspiringApps, we are ardent believers in pushing boundaries and championing curiosity. We know that asking, “Why?” can often differentiate a satisfactory solution from an exceptional one. This deep dive into understanding opens avenues for transformative solutions that suit your business’s needs. One of our long-term clients, Scott, poignantly noted that we don’t just fulfill requests; we dissect them, aiming to understand context and purpose. Embracing this ethos, our team endeavors to redefine the standards of digital solution development, ensuring our clients receive best-in-class products. Building the Digital Future Together We envision fostering an environment that’s inventive, inclusive, and on the cutting edge of technology. We are proud to create a culture where team members feel encouraged to share and lean into their unique insights. We value diversity of thought and action. We believe these differences bring us closer to curating the best user experience. There’s a shared satisfaction in ushering a project from ideation to completion as we craft solutions that drive business growth. A key part of this process is nurturing the confidence to question, investigate, and redefine in our teams. Because, at heart, we’re in the business of solving problems. Embracing Digital Evolution: The InspiringApps Way At InspiringApps, we believe in keeping curiosity and innovation at the center stage while continuously tailoring our diverse collective experience to exceed client expectations. Our signature approach imbues every project with these values. As we strategize for the future, we remain committed to our mission to provide our clients with exceptional, cutting-edge digital solutions. We are eager to contribute to your journey to excellence in the ever-evolving world of technology. Get the insights you need straight from thought leaders at InspiringApps and beyond. Read the full article on Built In. 

3 months ago

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