Joe Manuele CEO of NoFilter Not Talking About Sports

by Dave Michels

Another alumni returns to Talkingheadz, and he’s only added 4 jobs to his LinkedIn Profile between appearances. Joe is one of the kindest execs in UCaaS, and it’s always great to found out what excites him besides hockey. We cover a lot of things in this podcast and that’s because Joe has informed opinions on a lot of things in enterprise comms.

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Dave Michels 0:01
Go ahead Welcome to talk to us today Evan and I will be speaking with Joe man, you will have no filter. But Evan first boy, is it hot?

Evan Kirstel 0:21
I’m doing fine. I’m actually in the pool drinking a mojito. So that’s

Dave Michels 0:27
a mojito.

Evan Kirstel 0:29
That’s true. I haven’t delivered by DoorDash. But yes, I agree there is a tremendous heat wave underway globally, not only back wildfires in London who would have imagined that,

Dave Michels 0:42
yeah, we got wildfires in Europe in general, you know, the European wildfires, people are freaked out. But why wouldn’t you pick? Well, if I were in California and Colorado up and having wildfires for the past three or four years with these heat records? Why wouldn’t Europe have same thing?

Evan Kirstel 0:55
Well as giving the climate deniers as they’re called Food for Thought, or maybe heat for thought, but it’s a scary time, and something that you no doubt, learn firsthand. So stay safe, stay cool. Stay inside, get air conditioning, do they have air conditioning in Portugal? I’m not sure if that’s a thing.

Dave Michels 1:14
In some places, yes.

Evan Kirstel 1:18
But let’s get on with our guest. He’s also thought but in a different way. He’s a hot entrepreneur, that’s for sure.

god 1:23
Talking it’s a semi monthly podcast with interviews of the top movers and shakers and enterprise communications and collaboration. Your host are Dave Michaels and Evan Kirkstall, both of which offer extraordinary services including research, analysis and social media marketing. You can find them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or at talking That’s points with a Z and Devon That’s Kr s t e l.

Dave Michels 1:52
Today we have with us Joe manuelle. A another Talking Heads alumni returns to the podcast. What do you think of that?

Evan Kirstel 2:00
I think we’re getting desperate. I really think

Dave Michels 2:03
Barkskin lower? No, I would say that it’s actually Joe, how long has it been since you were on it? Do you remember when you were on? Was it two or three years ago?

Joe Manuele 2:12
Yeah, I think it was at least three years ago. I think I was at high five at the time. If I If my memory

Dave Michels 2:17
serves. Yikes, three years ago,

Joe Manuele 2:20
happy to be recycled. By the way. I appreciate you.

Dave Michels 2:24
That sounds so good job, because three years ago and four job titles ago. Well, we’ll get into that here in a second. So actually, let’s talk about your past. You are one of the most decorated, most experienced most diversified telecom execs in the industry. So you’ve worked at Cisco, ad Tran, a via Dimension Data, you left one of the biggest service integrators in the industry Dimension Data to be entrepreneurial CEO and high five. I want to hear about that one. And then you want to Dialpad so the first question is, which of these companies, not your current, which of these companies were your favorite? Oh, wow.

Joe Manuele 3:03
I mean, the Cisco years, were really special, right? Like, I I’m going to show my age now. I started at Cisco in 1995. I did about five years there. We were building the internet. So it was it was awesome. Like everyone. Yeah. It’s my fault. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like we were connecting people, businesses, basically, to their infrastructure. I still remember people were moving off of many computers like decks and asked for hundreds to distributed client server architectures way before cloud. But this was just exciting. Like, you can actually start connecting people to the internet, and people can start communicating in a brand new way. And literally everyone I remember my first day at Cisco, I got a list of 200 companies and say, Alright, here’s your account. Here’s your patch. I was I was a sales rep. Everyone I call I said, Hi, I’m John, I’m your sales rep from Cisco. And they’re like, Oh, we want to talk to you, you know, so we’d show up and listen to what they wanted to do you want to connect 30 offices? Yeah. Okay, cool, you will get CIT quote. And then two days later, the purchase orders came in, it was amazing. Like the amount of money you could make working at Cisco in the mid 90s. Was proportionally related to the amount of hours you’re willing to work and how many people you can see. So

Dave Michels 4:15
just for our younger audience members, that when you refer to people had decks, that you are referring to digital equipment, Corporation contractors, not Samsung decks, which is a feature of a Samsung phone. That’s true. I just want to clarify that.

Joe Manuele 4:29
Yeah. As 400 and all architecture, actually a really good mini computer from IBM as well. But yeah, it’s kind of funny because the world kind of went like full circle because now we’re going towards these Chromebooks lighter devices to centralize computing, which is really what the mainframe was, and instead of being connected with an IP address, we connect over the 30 to 70 protocol and we’re really showing my age no deaf.

Evan Kirstel 4:55
Well enough of these highlights what we really want to hear the low lights tell us that the word stuff experiences your career and you name names, name individual, be sure not just Just kidding. highs and lows,

Joe Manuele 5:07
you know. And then the cool thing about what I’m doing right now, and I created my own company, so I can piss anybody off, I really don’t care. So I know, I think the most unfortunate thing, I worked in Avaya for three years, and I took on the challenge of trying to build out their cloud strategy. So I had alliances, partnerships. And then I took the we haven’t managed services practice that we basically rebranded Avaya, private cloud services, which I think is still running. And we were extremely successful in moving people off of legacy platforms to private cloud, in a great partnership with VMware, where we were basically virtualized, the aura stack. And I really thought we had something I thought we were going to save the company if I were going to successfully transition from legacy to cloud first with private cloud than with hybrid. And unfortunately, the company chose to go through a restructuring phase and went through a whole bankruptcy thing, which was difficult. So knowing I had, I had spent three years there. I still remember pure Paula lard was my boss at the time. And we had a great quote, I sent a big email out to all my team, we didn’t go guys killed it, this is great. And he calls me into his office and he says, Hey, Joe, you can’t send out those emails. And I said, Well, why not? He says, Well, he said, this is like, you know, you’re in a hockey game, and you score four goals. But you lost six, five, you had a great game, but we still lost the game, because the company had a terrible quarter, right? And I was like, oh, man, that sucks. So that was unfortunate. The company wasn’t doing well. And there was was just too much debt on it. Right?

Dave Michels 6:42
That wasn’t too long before chapter 11. So you were you were on the eyelash? Really?

Joe Manuele 6:46
Yeah, I chose to leave, I knew that they are going down this path. And then I chose to just around that same time, I got a call from the mentioned data was a good partner of mine. And Adam Foster is still a good friend of mine was running the collaboration practice for dimensioned data globally. And he was moving on to a different role and asked if I’d be interested. And I thought, yeah, okay, it’s time for me to make a move here. And I got off the Titanic and paddle on my way to safety to a little South African Haven with engine data, which had been acquired by NTT. So that that was actually a great experience with a lot of different challenges as well. But yeah, I’ve I looked at people were great, the product was solid still installed, and a lot of very large accounts. But they dug themselves into this big hole with the debt. And then when they came out of receivership, I don’t think they made the changes they needed to to make that transition, they’re, they’re still selling a lot of the same products that we were selling pre chapter 11.

Dave Michels 7:40
Now, when we look at your profile here, clearly, you’re a Video Guide. Today, we’re gonna get to your current company, which is no filter. I haven’t even mentioned that yet. So we’ll get to filter here in a minute. But you’re clearly a video guide. Now with no filter and your previous high five. But I look over your credentials. If that network, you said you were just building the internet, you’ve got a lot of contact center, and you get a lot of video. What kind of guy are you? Are you a network guy, FCC guy or a video guy? What do you think?

Joe Manuele 8:06
I like to think of myself as a collaboration guy. And video is just one of the channels using a contact center term that’s becoming more and more ubiquitous. And it’s something that I personally believe in, which is why I went off to high five. And then after high five and selling the business, I just think we’re in early innings in how video gets embedded in the world of collaboration. And you’ll Eric at zoom definitely did his part in replacing the one 800 number with the Zoom call right in the way we meet. But I think the use of video is actually starting to explode in a couple of different use cases. The contact center world is interesting, because actually, we take a step back if you know I was talking about this to someone else earlier, the UCaaS stack we started off with UCaaS was basically IP telephony, where your di D moved from your phone, your plastic phone on your desk to an app on your desktop. And you people with short tail was probably one of the early developers of the technology. And then obviously RingCentral and eight by eight took it to the next level. And then you see the born in the cloud guys like Dialpad, but eventually that wasn’t enough you needed to add chat, and then zoom made video predominant. You need to have video conferencing now across your UC stacks. If you look at Microsoft, Google, let’s park Cisco a bit on the side for a while but Microsoft with teams, you know Google meats they all have video first applications. Dialpad RingCentral eight by eight you know if I bought Jitsi, which was one of the first web RTC companies out there was struggling to pay five RingCentral developed their own WebRTC stack DOP had bought high five to enhance their video so all the UCaaS vendors needed a strong video offer So the next evolution now is it seems everybody needs C casts. Right. That’s part of the stack, by the way I listened to your trends with with Xavius. I completely disagree with this on C casts, right, like, yeah, he his point was the people who collaborate like RingCentral collaborating with a large legacy contact center providers are doing better than the guys building their own stack I, I actually disagree with that. I think that where zoom and Dialpad are going where you have a single stack for all of your needs, your contact center will be embedded into your UCaaS stack over time, right. So this whole X cast whatever a by its calling it, that’s the right vision, whether they execute on that, I don’t know. But, but that I’m a big believer that the stack will be complete. And context seven will be rolled into this unified collaboration. So if you asked me, you know, having a strong contact center background, both led by dimension date, I ran the CX practice, I actually ran a big BPO business where we had like 9000 agents in Canada and South Africa. I really see the worlds coming together over time. And it’ll be interesting to see who wins that and I actually see a lot of consolidation in our marketplace get to happen. Absolutely.

Dave Michels 11:15
Before you ask your question, Joe, let me just suggest you keep your responses less than two hours. And then a little more conversational.

Joe Manuele 11:24
Ask me some more direct questions then. Okay.

Evan Kirstel 11:28
Sounds good. I was always curious how you went from Dimension Data, your giant provider to a startup CEO, and high five, what was that transition? Like?

Joe Manuele 11:40
Yeah, so we were Cisco’s largest reseller, I think Dimension Data, we sold three and a half billion dollars a year of Cisco equipment every year. And so we’re 7% Actually, the directors Fun fact, the directors Dimension Data, we’re not allowed to sell or trade Cisco stock because we were 7% of the revenue. So we can tell what kind of quarter they were going to do because of the global nature of our business. So we started seeing our WebEx numbers getting killed. And I still remember meeting with Roland, who’s now CEO at five, nine and saying, Hey, these guys are crushing us. We need to do something. And it was like, Can we bundle Twilio? With WebEx or something right, just to get around the whole thing, because that was the number one reason people were moving to zoom. And Cisco just was doing too well with it. They didn’t want to disrupt it. So we looked at what was out there. And I met with Zoom to see if there was a partnership to be had. It was to directly confrontational to Cisco. And we found this little company called high five. And we ended up NTT ventures, we that was one of the first investments that we made at the time, ended up leading an investment round and I joined the board of high five, and I was on it for about a year and a half. So

Dave Michels 12:53
representing it as a as a Dimension Data representative

Joe Manuele 12:57
as a NTT ventures representative. Okay, yeah. And then, you know, just being part of the board, great board. By the way, Andreessen Horowitz was an investor general catalyst, lightspeed. And the joke is they convinced me to go from running a multibillion dollar business with 9000 employees to run a little startup with 90 employees. And I was also traveling a lot. And at the time, you have a family. My girl is 12 years old now. But at the time, she was eight, nine years old, I was literally on a plane 75% of the time. So it was a personal choice. But I knew the company really, really well, having written the check, or the last round, and being on their board, and I just really believed in what they were building.

Dave Michels 13:39
It’s surprising how far South Africa is. You don’t think things are that far. But like, I remember when I went there, I think they changed planes in Frankfurt, and I realized I’m halfway or something like that. That’s really

Joe Manuele 13:50
Yeah, I mean, from San Francisco. It’s two red eyes. It’s an 11 hour flight to London, or Frankfurt, and then another 11 hours to Cape Town or Joburg? Yeah, there’s no easy way to get there. I would leave Friday night for a Monday morning meeting, which happened once a quarter. Right. So yeah, fabulous country, by the way.

Dave Michels 14:09
So you put in some of these marquee brands and our industry. You’ve been at a startup. And you also sold your startup, you sold high five to Dialpad, you know, we don’t get a lot of visibility into the sales process. Is that fun? Hard? I mean, what’s your take on that? And now that it’s all behind you?

Joe Manuele 14:27
Yeah, I mean, I still can’t tell you. There’s a lot of gory details. I can’t really share unfortunately, because of NDAs. But I’ll tell you that in the two years and I sold high five, two years to the day after I took it over. During that two year period, we had four offers three others had fallen apart for various reasons. And they’re all players that you know, one very large carrier that ended up buying another video conferencing company so let you figure out who that is. But for various reasons the deals fell apart. The reason the high five Ideal worked with Dialpad was culture. That was a great cultural fit. The High Five Guys were both founders, Shawn and Jeremy Shazza. And Jeremy Roy, were both former Googlers, they actually had started their business at Google. And then dial pad, Craig Walker and his team were from Google as well. And there was just a great cultural fit. And that’s really what made the deal possible. At the end of the day, companies buy other companies for their people for their talent and their technology, but mostly for their people. So there was a fabulous cultural fit. And we did the entire process was all done over video was right in the middle of COVID. And we had one meeting where Craig Walker and his executive team all came out to halfmoon Bay. And we sat outside the Ritz overlooking the 18th hole and you know, had a drink and basically toasted the deal. But everything else prior to that was done over videoconferencing over

Evan Kirstel 15:56
your LinkedIn bio says you live in halfmoon Bay. So did you buy the Ritz in the end? Or?

Joe Manuele 16:03
No, no, I could barely afford to get a drink at the Ritz actually.

Evan Kirstel 16:08
Okay, but you do live in half?

Joe Manuele 16:09
I do. I’m actually a three minute walk from the Ritz in this nice little housing community. And I learned

Evan Kirstel 16:15
affordable housing near the rich. I mean, that’s really important.

Joe Manuele 16:19
Yeah. There’s this great little mobile community, you know, I can just put my trailer house on a hitch and move out a state if I have

Evan Kirstel 16:28
to. And so in retrospect, I mean, how was the high five deal? From your perspective? Did you even a quarters at the altar, as it were? Or are you happy on the timing?

Joe Manuele 16:40
Yeah, look, we were both fortunate and unfortunate. At the same time, like high fives main business was to enable as many conference rooms as possible with video and where they even developed their own camera, right, that was plug and play. And the WebRTC stack that ran on AWS was probably ahead of its time. But we were really focusing on enabling rooms. So COVID hits, our traffic tripled overnight, like literally 300% increase in traffic. Unfortunately, nobody was working at home, and all of our pricing was based on if you buy one room, everyone in your company can use the product. So all of a sudden, we get this 300% boost in traffic, but revenue is basically flat. And then we had a number of smaller retailers that were affected, and we were having collection issues. So it was a confluence of good luck and bad luck that occurred at the same time. But ultimately, given the circumstances we found a good home for the tech. And a big part of what was high five is now Dialpad meats and the team, both men and women, I should say were able to integrate within the dialpad culture. I don’t want say seamlessly because nothing is seamless. But it went as well as we could expect. And ultimately the question you should ask, you should ask Craig Walker. I’m sure Craig’s been on this. I hope he’s been a guest of your estate. But And haven’t

Dave Michels 18:03
you? You should ask Craig that we’ve had. We’ve had dark.

Joe Manuele 18:07
Yeah, absolutely. Great, guys. Ultimately, Craig is happy with it. And he still talks to me. So that’s always a good

Dave Michels 18:13
sign. I don’t think he talks to you very much. Because one of your titles after you, obviously you and I five team wanted to help out. And then one of your titles after you’ve been there was advisor to the CEO, which lasted at least three months. And so but I felt like I liked that title. I’m gonna put that I give Craig advisor. I’m gonna I’m gonna put that on my on my LinkedIn profile to advisor. Yeah. So I’ll

Joe Manuele 18:36
tell you what happened there. I mean, when you sell a business, and you’re the CEO, you expect to stay around about three months. Right? And that was the deal. And I’ll make sure I’ll you know, I’ll tell you where everything is. Right. And if you have any questions, I’ll be around and, and you slowly go off into the sunset and you until you do your next gig. But then Craig asked me, Hey, Joe, I was looking at your LinkedIn profile, your contact center guy, and we should do some contact center stuff.

Dave Michels 19:00
collaborations. I don’t know what Craig was thinking. But yes,

Joe Manuele 19:03
absolutely. So I he convinced me to stick around for a while. And I stayed basically 14 months in total, where I helped him build the contact center strategy, I led a contact center tiger team forum, we made two acquisitions and signed one strategic relationship we actually did quite a bit in that in that one year timeframe. And yeah, I promised that I’d stick around to help them with that transition. And it turned out to be mutually fun. Like I think we both enjoyed it. So I feel like I made a contribution to their contact center stack to great acquisitions, you know, Venky from koupit really, really well. We bought care knowledge where which was a great RPA technology, and they’ve integrated really well into the organization again, great cultural fits, and you’re really seeing Dialpad augment their UCaaS stack with their AI engine with a really really impressive C casts offering. I think from a tech perspective, they are ahead of the game as far as a complete collapse. abrasion Stackhouse?

Dave Michels 20:01
Well, clearly, during that 14 months, you were also secretly working on another project. Now we’ll get to what you’re up to today with no filter, is that just a way of explaining your turrets are

Joe Manuele 20:16
now? Well, it’s one way to look at it. It wasn’t secret, Craig knew that I had an idea to start a new business. So he fully supported it. It wasn’t competitive to what we were doing at the time, the idea of no filter, I have a very good friend of mine, who’s a neighbor, Eric burns, former major league baseball player, who at the time was a broadcaster with MLB Network. And we were at his house having a barbecue drinking tequila. And we were talking about the future of broadcasting and how he had done a Facebook Live Stream and how he had more people that were watching his Facebook Live Stream than his show on TV and MLB Network. So we came up with this idea of saying, hey, like, I think we could probably build something where we can create an alternate broadcast using the internet using WebRTC. And the idea was, anyone can watch any sport that they want to. But if you don’t like the person who’s broadcasting that event, you can go on to no filter and find someone who’s basically providing that alternate broadcast. And you may have seen the Manning cast with ESPN, right? So it’s that idea, but anybody could become a broadcaster. So we kicked off the idea, Dolby had moved their video stack that we were using at high five to the cloud, and they had a new offering called Dolby IO, we were actually one of the first customers, and then the name, no filter has a couple of different connotations. But if you remember, in high five, we had these shirts that we had made for Enterprise Connect days and, and one of them said hashtag, no filter, and I had that shirt on. And we were thinking of names, and maybe we have too many tequilas. And Eric says hey, why don’t we just call it no filter?

Evan Kirstel 21:55
I was watching Mark Cuban talked about his background as an entrepreneur. And he founded All right, back then. It became Yahoo at some point. So is that the direction no filters taking is the sort of better We’re, we’re How does it make we’re doing on the internet better?

Joe Manuele 22:16
So I don’t know if it’s making what we’re doing on the internet better or not? Because now you get into this whole Twitter phenomenon where I gotta control all these people to come onto my platform. And how much do we police what they say versus

Dave Michels 22:28
you know, this is a little bit of Elon, that’s all I think if he like came on

Joe Manuele 22:31
he makeups. But that’s a different story. That’s what I kept telling Eric, I said, we should call Elon and tell him he could buy us for 42 billion less than what he’s paying for Twitter. But the idea evidence is more along the lines of like we’re doing this podcast, and we could see each other but the output of the podcast is an audio file that gets edited, and gets published days later, or weeks later with depending on how you do it. Right. We have a lot of folks on nofilter, who come on, and they live stream the creation of their podcast, hence the terminal filter. It’s not edited, right? It should be called no edit, as opposed to no filter, but you get a raw feeling of what it’s like. That’s the first thing. The other thing is we have the ability to make it interactive. So we had Will Clark who’s jerseys being retired. He’s one of our ambassadors does a show with Eric every Tuesdays or Wednesdays, depending on when the games are

Evan Kirstel 23:26
very cool. David, I was trying to filter by

Joe Manuele 23:30
I have a couple Yeah, you know what, I’ll just send your addresses, I’ve got about 50 of them with me. So I’ll get you guys a wild card. But we’ll does a show with Eric. And then the audience members. Most of them are Bay Area either as a giant sense, have the ability to knock and come into the stream. And they’re talking to their heroes. So think of it as a live version of cameo or you’re not getting a recording, you get to connect with your stars. And that’s one of the things that’s a little bit different. But ultimately, I think where we’re going with this is we built this really cool streaming engine that keeps everything as web RTC, both a synchronous and asynchronous experience, we can go back and forth between those two. And it opens up the possibilities to lots of use cases. So everything from using our platform to broadcast little Johnny’s you 12 Little League baseball game, to Mary’s gym meat that you can film using off your iPhone, we have an app, our app was finally approved by Apple so so there’s all kinds of interesting use cases that are popping up. And we’re always surprised by the hosts and the people that come in and what they want to talk about. And it’s it started off with a sports leaning. We had some people get on and try to talk politics. We don’t like that too, too much. I think with sports, we can disagree and then we could still like each other. I think politics is so divisive right now. But in general, it’s a great way for people to create their live podcast in a way that’s interactive and interactive. That is so people can actually join in and be a part of the podcast, which is kind of cool, right? So imagine we were doing this live on no filter with the 1000s of fans, you guys have, you could bring people in and then they can ask us questions.

Evan Kirstel 25:12
Dave always needs a filter. So I really don’t think that it’s appropriate.

Dave Michels 25:18
But Evans done this with me, Evans, a TV studio in his pocket, you know, reminds me that was a Back to the Future when Doc Brown realizes that the video camera what it does, and says, No wonder your president is an actor, referring to radium. But we already have this stuff, right? We haven’t already broadcasting to all his followers, he’s, he’s had me on as a guest. He’s had people that aren’t as interesting as me on his guests. He started doing this. So what is the magic of no filter? Help us understand the difference here?

Joe Manuele 25:46
Well, in sports that the biggest thing is when you stream out on let’s say, YouTube, right, and I know you did a show with this, that was on YouTube. If you were to broadcast live on YouTube, I use the word live very loosely, be a lot longer, you convert your signal to RTMP. And there’s about a 32nd delay, right. So if I’m calling a baseball game, and you watch your favorite player hit a home run, and I react to it, then 30 seconds later, it just doesn’t work, right. So so we solve for the latency by keeping everything with WebRTC, we can have up to 50,000 people watching the stream with sub second latency. So that’s the magic, right, the core IP that we own, and everything runs on GCP, we think we could scale it to 500,000 people. The next part is the ability to create an event and monetize an event. So you can make an event and make it free. You can charge for the event or you could sell a membership to the content that you produce. And we manage all that with our stripe integration. And we take a very small percentage. So we do everything that Patreon does, basically. But we allow you to create your event and manage your subscription and your fan base on nofilter as well,

Dave Michels 26:56
then you should be on nofilter Yeah, we

Joe Manuele 26:58
should definitely had a show and you’ve been on actually Dave, you’ve been a guest on my tech talk podcast. Well, I’d love to have you on Evan. That’d be great. That’d be awesome. No, that’s

Dave Michels 27:07
the image of us no filter, he should be using it. Oh, yeah, he

Joe Manuele 27:10
should, that would be even better. Sure. I know a guy that I can hook you up.

Evan Kirstel 27:14
Right. Let’s do it. Yeah. And then, you know,

Joe Manuele 27:17
the funny thing happened on our journey to building a b2c app, being a b2b person, as you mentioned, Dave was going through and reminding your audience how old I am. We’ve solved for some problems that are applicable in b2b as well. So if you need to do a meeting with over 300 people on Zoom, or on any WebRTC platform, you have to convert to HLS. And the audience members are strictly asynchronous, they’re just watching, they can’t interact, they can’t become part of the audience. So any business that has more than 300 employees that wants to do an all hands call, a lot of them use YouTube, I have a couple of investors that actually work at Google who tell me that with their departments, they basically, you know, they just watch our YouTube recording when their leaders want to talk to everyone, we can now do, we just launched nofilter,, our b2b platform where you can create a large scale meeting, basically, in the same amount of time, it takes you to create a zoom call, and without any manual intervention, so we’re going after the on 24 hours of the world.

Evan Kirstel 28:20
So you’re gonna have a great, expensive, hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

Joe Manuele 28:26
So nofilter stream is free for up to 1000 people so people can come up and sign up for free. And then the rates we have subscriptions available depending on the company size, we have a couple of very large enterprise customers who were testing it throughout the beta program who love it. And we’re really, really excited about that. Ironically, that may end up being the core business. But funny thing happens when you build b2c features. They are often almost always relevant in the b2b world as well. And so

Evan Kirstel 28:53
where are you hosted? are, you know, Amazon, were elsewhere and Nike was the brain behind the the operation Who’s the tech geek here.

Joe Manuele 29:04
So that video on the audio, we use Dolby IO, which we think offers a fabulous solution for what we do. They’ll be IO is hosted on AWS. I don’t know if you remember Fiona Lodge, but Fiona work for me at Dimension Data, and then NTT. She’s our new Chief Product Officer, and she’s the one who basically led the initiative to create the b2b platform. She’s in Europe and all of our team is in Serbia. Right now. We have a bunch of really, really, really smart web RTC engineers who built this streaming engine that is all hosted on Google Cloud Platform on GCP. And we have the ability to put up to 2500 people per Google workload, that’s the most expensive highest CPU memory workload we can get. We don’t need GPUs right now. But we can put 2500 people per workload and we can cascade so we’ve done 20 right now or we could do 50,000 The theoretical limit as we can get up To 1000 connections with Dolby, so we should go 1000 times we could theoretically get to two and a half million people with sub second latency. Obviously, we haven’t had an audience big enough to try that

Dave Michels 30:11
new live to get back into politics.

Joe Manuele 30:14
Yeah, I’ll get the Trump DeSantis to date on nofilter.

Dave Michels 30:18
World commentary on the January 6. So let’s go back to high five mode and general video conferencing in the industry. What do you think of the current video industry? Are we done? Is it mature? Is there a lot more work to do there? What do you what are your thoughts? Yeah,

Joe Manuele 30:33
I mean, I think there’s a couple of things. I mean, if you talk about video conferencing, off a desktop, or even a mobile device, zoom, did a great job. Zoom became a verb right during the pandemic. The irony is that WebRTC has basically overtaken the industry, everyone, but zoom uses WebRTC. Now, the Microsoft stack is really, really good. The Google stack, obviously, is great, Google meats keeps getting better and better. I remember being impressed with that. So it’s become a commodity now, right? Like, if you have a Gmail account, you get Google meats for free. While the quality has gone really, really up the commoditization of it makes it difficult to make money. If you’re going to be in the VC world. it’s table stakes. Now, if you’re in the UCaaS stack, I really think that you’re seeing some really interesting applications that haven’t come to fruition yet. Video when a contact center, for example, when you’re calling united the imagine the ability to speak and see an agent’s right to get that level of high touch. Now, they may not want to do that for everyone. But if you’re a global services customer, and Evan and Dave, I know you both fly a lot. Look, if you’re a platinum member, whatever the status is, are with Marriott, that’s the kind of white glove support that hasn’t been enabled in the contact center, I really see that as being an an opportunity for people to start thinking about it, in some cases, make video and application. Other things that we’re starting to see a little bit of is asynchronous video. So instead of people sending you an email with a bunch of texts, you know, I send you an email with a little personalized video message of what I’m selling and when I’m pitching. And so there’s a lot of interesting startups that are focusing on that. And again, they’re only interesting because the video piece gets incorporated with the marketing campaigns that are associated with it. Because again, anybody can record a video themselves on a phone. But we’re starting to see some really cool applications in the asynchronous video. And then finally, the events platform. And that’s what really nofilter stream is about. Some companies have events, platform, Zoom has won. Most of them don’t, I actually think that every UCaaS provider will need to have events as part of their stack. So Cisco bought sociaux. There’s a Microsoft solution. That’s not great. But they’re Google has nothing at all. He doesn’t have anything RingCentral invested in an events platform and little company in India, I think you’re going to see a lot more people basically disrupt the arm 20 floors, and hop in is probably the one startup unicorn that everyone looks up to. I personally think there’s a lot of improvement that needs to be had. And every one of the large UCaaS providers will have to have an advanced platform as part of the UCaaS stack. I think it’s going to become table stakes.

Evan Kirstel 33:09
So give us your perspective on Su and enterprise comm today who’s up and coming by the whole who to sell. What’s your perspective on the space and change a lot to the pandemic? Oh,

Joe Manuele 33:25
yeah, that’s a great question. So I’m bullish on Dialpad selfishly, so I think that they’ve got a great stack, great management team. If the market recovers, and they haven’t ability to go public. There’ll be a

Dave Michels 33:39
management team at Dialpad. Are you serious? Absolutely. That those suckers to buy a video staff when they already had one?

Joe Manuele 33:47
Well, they all came after the acquisition. So no, I’m a big believer of Craig Walker and his management style. And he’s brought in some great people like a new head of sales from five nines. Like they’re focusing on the contact center space. They made some great Aqua hires that they’re incorporating into their stack. Vincent HopCat, great CPO, really, really smart guy

Dave Michels 34:10
just got married.

Joe Manuele 34:10
He just got married it I didn’t know that. Jesus seems to be the thing, right? You start at a trend. And the guys I’m less bullish on honestly is I just I can’t believe how much debt Avaya has accumulated post restructuring. Like it’s a via gotta go chapter 11 twice, like it can even do that. They’re in trouble. They haven’t innovated. They haven’t acquired the management team. They’ve lost some good people that made big contributions.

Dave Michels 34:36
I think it’s getting to be embarrassing for technical staff that are still at Avaya. So why haven’t you left?

Joe Manuele 34:41
Yeah. And with all due respect, there’s still some great people there. You know, I have a lot of respect for folks that Karen Hardy, I guess got recently promoted but I’m just looking at like, just from a pure financial perspective, the amount of debt that they’ve accumulated after restructuring. It’s mind boggling to me and this was a profitable business. The whole idea of restructuring out of your debt is to clean the balance sheet and start over, but they accumulated more debt. So now with you know, they were unlucky in the sense that the bond market went up, but they’re gonna have to figure that out. Cisco is an interesting one to me. I figured Cisco’s got to do something, they’ve resisted being in the IP telephony regulated carrier business. But you can’t be a UCaaS provider unless you provide the IDs. And so I don’t know where that’s going to end up. I have a lot of respect again, for the folks there for Josh Ed, who’s was a former WebEx guy that’s right in the whole business. I liked the move they did on the meetings platform side. But WebEx is a little bit long in the tooth, right? And it’s time to refresh like 20 year software companies don’t do well, in general, right. So and then the other guy is eight by eight RingCentral. I can see consolidation happening there, right, where some of these players become part of a bigger one. You we saw Vonage be a part of Ericsson. Yep, that deal was finally approved by the regulators. I think we’re gonna see a lot more moves like that. And so you know, eight by eight and RingCentral. The ring is much bigger, but I think they’re larger. But I wouldn’t be surprised if like a parent and a ring get together, right? And then five nines. I mean, what happens to Roland after the Zoom deal fell apart, does a five, nine and up with one of these UCaaS providers maybe like within a band, I don’t know, I’m not sure where else they have to go. But I still think that if you’re thinking of playing the market, I think they’re all good buys, if you think that they’re going to consolidate with the exception of Avaya. And if you have the ability to participate, you can buy some stock and Dialpad through some private equity placements, like equities. And that wouldn’t be a bad play. I’m really, really bullish on them.

Evan Kirstel 36:38
I’m talking about no filters, the filters are gone. I’m not sure if they were coffee filters or cigarette filters. But whatever filters you had were really taken off.

Joe Manuele 36:47
Yeah, I hope that doesn’t like hurt my chances in the future. Remember that David Evans podcast you did show that you’re really pissed us off?

Evan Kirstel 36:57
Yeah, it was no filter. Well, let’s talk about startups, though. I mean, you found that a startup in a press communications? What’s your take on the board and the pandemic areas are startups? And is it just about getting acquired now? Or do some of these folks have? Opportunity?

Joe Manuele 37:17
Yeah, that’s a great question to have. And like, like, nevermind pandemic thing, the pandemic actually makes life easier, because the cost, you don’t need offices, everything’s in the cloud, I don’t have to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure. We can hire contractors, for projects for development, like it’s much easier to build something from an idea. The challenge actually is the state of the market like VCs, the valuations have come down back to Earth, quite frankly. And so there’s still hundreds of billions of dollars of venture money out there. But on the positive side, for us, this whole crypto bandwagon kind of fell apart, like people were raised, like, a lot of VCs were like, what’s your crypto angle? It’s like, well, I don’t have a crypto angle. I’m just trying to connect a bunch of people on WebRTC. Right. And so a lot of VCs won’t even talk to me because there was no crypto angle or Bitcoin angle. So the markets adjusting a little bit. And is there an opportunity, I’ll tell you the biggest difference, say now versus three years ago, three years ago, four years ago, it was all about growth, growth at all costs. Now, businesses want you to be profitable. And so with a small team, building a couple of good products, we can get to profitability much quicker. I’m talking within two years, instead of you know, 10 years, and getting profitable opens up options, both on the private equity side, longer term growth. And then the IPO market is still once the market gets a little bit more normalized and near we’ve seen, I think things will normalize because there’s just too much money on the sidelines, the ICO market,

Dave Michels 38:49
other than profit, what else can we expect from nofilter in the next few years,

Joe Manuele 38:53
I think the biggest thing for us is the ability to white label our product. So we’ve designed it to to actually lead this initiative where we can white label an event platform. So imagine without, you know, on a made by it, because I’m not working with a buy. But we could be eight by eight events powered by nofilter stream, where we can build a front end for them. And they can basically add that into their stack. And we can just make it through anybody else or think of a large carrier. I mentioned when I’m out working with so Bell Canada wants to candidate events, we can build a front end for them very easily, and they use our engine, and then they can monetize the way they want to monetize. So it’s very easy for us to white label the offering. And that’s going to be a big part of our go to market strategies is the partnership.

Evan Kirstel 39:40
Awesome. So as you may have heard from prior podcasts and tweets, collecting fanatic data Dave, although I really think he goes to cheap on the Timex who’s the everyday man’s watches, but what about do you understand your watch connoisseur?

Joe Manuele 39:59
I have Italian heritage, and I’m a big fan of panorama watches.

Evan Kirstel 40:04
Okay, that’s a little a little bit outside our price range. Not necessarily,

Joe Manuele 40:08
I don’t know, Canada was a company that was making submarine equipments during World War One or something that was our heritage. And then they were commissioned by the Italian navy to make a watch. And they’re actually they use Swiss technology, but they built the frame. And then they became famous for just the clasp around the Panama watch, which makes them very unique.

Evan Kirstel 40:34
I actually am a fan of another Italian watchmaker called ubo. Nice, which is also made, I think they’re made in Northern Italy somewhere. And they have really interesting designs, including one of their watch. The movement is embedded in oil, so you can kind of see bubbles floating around in the watch. It’s they’re very cool. Yes, I agree on the Italian design.

Joe Manuele 40:58
I have to check that on him and for sure. But honestly, what I wear day to day is my Apple Watch, right? And it keeps me honest, make sure I get my steps in and reminds me when I got to stand up and when I gotta go to bed and when I got to eat and all that good stuff. So

Dave Michels 41:12
I like those penrite watches too, but they are definitely out of my league. You’re also as I recall, Tesla junkie. That changed.

Joe Manuele 41:20
Now I’m on my fourth Tesla. I’m a big fan, as you know,

Dave Michels 41:23
certainly don’t last. What’s that? They don’t? It’s a shame.

Joe Manuele 41:28
Yeah, exactly. Now, the funny thing is the very first Tesla I had is owned by a buddy of mine that I golf with. And he’s thinking of upgrading, and he can’t get much for it. And so I said I might buy it back. So I might go, you know, bring back the original Tesla. He’s having issues with it because the windows can’t don’t open and there’s a few minor things and I think I could fix but the car itself is quite nice.

Dave Michels 41:50
I just put down a deposit on that Fisker ocean.

Joe Manuele 41:53
Yeah, very nice. Yeah, the problem that a lot of the new there’s something like the rivian is really nice. So there’s a ravine in my neighborhood now, which is a really cool truck if you’re into like SUVs and all that. But with gas in California, hitting seven, eight bucks a gallon. It’s great just to have an electric car and I just drive by these gas stations and you just laugh at the F 150s. And people cursing at their $200 gas bills. Right?

Dave Michels 42:17
So you mentioned you love to get Elon on your nofilter overthrow obvious reasons. But to Tesla fans still love Elon or is or is that worn off?

Joe Manuele 42:26
I have a tremendous amount of respect for his scientific brilliance, right? Like his vision to make electric cars like every major car manufacturer now has a line of EVs like you and I actually he’s got a great lineup. The Ford Mustang is great, right? So he’s created this industry. I respect that he’s building rockets that land in the middle of the ocean, right? on barges like that. That’s impressive. But as an entrepreneur, as someone who’s been bought and bought companies, the way he’s handled this whole Twitter thing is embarrassing. It’s it’s horrendous. I mean, like, this whole company and all of their employees are basically being held ransom by the whims of a very eccentric multimillionaire and so I don’t know what his motivations are. The guy offers to buy, the company disparages, clearly disparages the company on its own platform, and then get sued for wants to walk away. But he’s went after he signed a definitive agreement to buy the company at a set price. Right. So it’s gonna be an interesting case. I’ve lost some respect for him on that whole Twitter thing for sure. But other than that, I still think he’s the the Michelangelo of our times, I think he’s quite brilliant. And I respect him for that.

Evan Kirstel 43:38
All right. Well, it’s been fantastic. Catching up. Great to see or new venture can’t wait to try it in one of my campaigns or activations. And where will we see you next? Are you taking it a little easier this summer? Are you on the road again? Are you going to wait till the fall event season to kind of get out there?

Joe Manuele 43:57
Yeah, you know, it’s funny, I made it out to one event to Infocomm. And I ended up getting COVID to cancel my trip and come over like, don’t do that. Yeah, yeah, you’re definitely going to see us are probably going to be attending the Google Cloud events in October. Definitely going to make Enterprise Connect this year. I couldn’t make it I had a conflict to share, unfortunately. And who knows, no big travel on the business side this summer, but lay low here and grinding it out and no filter and trying to get this thing to cashflow positive and take it to the next level.

Evan Kirstel 44:30
So awesome. Well, To infinity and beyond is like your says Congratulations and good luck.

Joe Manuele 44:36
Well, thank you very much, Ivan. I really appreciate the time and we’ll definitely get you on the platform. Thanks, Joe. All right. Thank you, Dave.

Dave Michels 44:43
That was a really interesting conversation. It’s great to have Joe on the podcast.

Evan Kirstel 44:47
Joe was great. But I want to double back on this idea. You bought a car and a car, the Fisker?

Dave Michels 44:54
I bought the Fisker OSHA one, which is the only one you can buy right now. And I’ve had no idea when it’s gonna come out. Every time first time I bought a car sight unseen.

Evan Kirstel 45:05
Wow. Do you do that on the internet already? Is there like a showroom? Or how does that even work?

Dave Michels 45:10
Well, that was just it was a little bit of switching bait, right? Because you put down a refundable deposit. And I did that a year ago as well, why not? It’s like 250 bucks. And then the year goes by and then they’re getting ready to launch these limited edition cars. And they say, okay, because of your waiting list spot you get to you get to accept this offer. And this is non refundable. So they kind of did what way I mean, I still haven’t seen this car, but my logic just like what you just said, is I’m never gonna see this car. It’s never gonna be in a showroom, at least not for two or three years. So it’s like Alright, how often you get to buy one of the first runs of a brand new car company. And I don’t know about you but Fisker, this guy, he doesn’t design cars. Every one of his cars that he’s built has just been phenomenal in my opinion, even the the one that went out of business a few years ago, but but perspectives

Evan Kirstel 45:59
Amazon lost billions investing and fitzer and now you’re gonna lose 1000s So congratulations.

Dave Michels 46:04
Yeah, well that’s Fisker said admittedly that he was too early on the EVS it was pretty Tesla. So what are under the bridge? But it’s not too early now. There’s a lot of interest and now is that more experienced, but anyway,

Evan Kirstel 46:18
we’ll talk about in 2029 when

god 46:22
it’s on this episode. You may get a conversation man you gotta get out of the phone. Don’t don’t read your phone. No man knows me.

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