The Wireless Way, with Chris Whitaker

The Evolution of Wireless and Leadership with John Horovitz | The Wireless Way

June 25, 2024 Chris Whitaker Season 5 Episode 88
The Evolution of Wireless and Leadership with John Horovitz | The Wireless Way
The Wireless Way, with Chris Whitaker
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The Wireless Way, with Chris Whitaker
The Evolution of Wireless and Leadership with John Horovitz | The Wireless Way
Jun 25, 2024 Season 5 Episode 88
Chris Whitaker

In this insightful episode of The Wireless Way, host Chris Whitaker welcomes John Horovitz, a veteran sales executive and leader in the mobile industry. John shares his extensive experience, from his early days at AT&T Wireless and Nextel Communications, to his career in MVNO consulting. The conversation explores how John rose through the ranks, driven by pivotal life moments and a resilient spirit. They delve deep into the trends shaping the wireless industry, the proliferation of MVNOs, and the future of 5G and IOT. John also shares practical leadership advice and reflects on his journey of continuous reinvention. Whether you're a tech consultant or a curious listener, this episode offers valuable lessons in career growth and industry insights.

 

00:00 Introduction and Guest Welcome

00:13 John Horowitz's Professional Background

03:23 John's Early Career and Personal Anecdotes

10:03 Transition to the Wireless Industry

13:31 Leadership Philosophy and Management Style

16:22 Current Trends in the Wireless Industry

28:22 Navigating the MVNO Business

29:07 Success Rates and Market Strategies

30:18 The Evolution of Prepaid Phones

31:43 Career Pivots and Podcasting

33:31 Overcoming Career Challenges

36:07 Building a Consulting Business

40:43 The Future of MVNO and IOT

45:12 Reflections on Experience and Ageism

52:04 Final Thoughts and Takeaways

More from Jon- https://theboonofwireless.com/
More about Jon- https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonhorovitz/

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

In this insightful episode of The Wireless Way, host Chris Whitaker welcomes John Horovitz, a veteran sales executive and leader in the mobile industry. John shares his extensive experience, from his early days at AT&T Wireless and Nextel Communications, to his career in MVNO consulting. The conversation explores how John rose through the ranks, driven by pivotal life moments and a resilient spirit. They delve deep into the trends shaping the wireless industry, the proliferation of MVNOs, and the future of 5G and IOT. John also shares practical leadership advice and reflects on his journey of continuous reinvention. Whether you're a tech consultant or a curious listener, this episode offers valuable lessons in career growth and industry insights.

 

00:00 Introduction and Guest Welcome

00:13 John Horowitz's Professional Background

03:23 John's Early Career and Personal Anecdotes

10:03 Transition to the Wireless Industry

13:31 Leadership Philosophy and Management Style

16:22 Current Trends in the Wireless Industry

28:22 Navigating the MVNO Business

29:07 Success Rates and Market Strategies

30:18 The Evolution of Prepaid Phones

31:43 Career Pivots and Podcasting

33:31 Overcoming Career Challenges

36:07 Building a Consulting Business

40:43 The Future of MVNO and IOT

45:12 Reflections on Experience and Ageism

52:04 Final Thoughts and Takeaways

More from Jon- https://theboonofwireless.com/
More about Jon- https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonhorovitz/

Support the Show.

Chris:

Hey, welcome to another episode of the wireless way. I'm your host, Chris Whitaker. And as always. I am grateful that you're here and you're listening, and I'm equally grateful for John Horowitz to join us as our guest today. And before we get to John a little bit about him, of course, you want to know who is John as a seasoned sales executive and leader in the mobile industry. Hence why he's on the wireless way. He's known for his expertise in building and team building, revenue growth, and contract negotiations with a background, including roles, AT& T wireless and Nextel communications. And if you don't know who Nextel communications is, and you need to listen to this, you need some history, right? Cause that, that goes back. Notable achievements include growing Nextel's consumer base in New York from 200, 000 to over 900, 000 subscribers. And generating nearly 1 billion in revenue with a B. As director of prepaid sales for Boost Mobile, he expanded sales and branded retail locations for Sprint. His work spans telecom with clients such as Deloitte, Univision, and AT& T. Of course, he holds a BA from the College of William and Mary, and has even authored a book. So we can call him author as well. He founded Atrium. Unlimited consulting in 2006 and assist companies looking to join the MVNO or mobile virtual network operator space. Something that I'm always interested in. So we're hoping we jump into that just a little. I'm sure we will. So John works with all three major U. S. cellular providers, their aggregators and all support functions and has helped launch numerous MVNOs. And in 2022, John was named the United States ambassador. To MVNO nation. Got to hear more about that, I hope. And based in the United Kingdom, and who services hundreds of MVNOs in Europe, Asia, and Africa, John launched the very popular podcast, The Boon of Wireless in February of 2024. I'm going to ask him about that as well. John, did I get it right? Is that who you are?

Jon:

Yeah, Chris, it's good to see you. Thank you for having me on. I, yeah, I guess that's who I am. There's a lot more beneath the surface there that I think will probably. Get into on the journey to where we are today. And yeah, the billion dollars in revenue in Nextel, that was in the early 2000s. So that's when a billion dollars was still a billion dollars. Yeah. That meant something. I'm a little uncomfortable just so you know, one, this shirt, I think is blind in your audience, but two, I'm normally the one asking the question. So you've put me in a very uncomfortable position here, but I'm going to try to power through it. John, you're welcome. That's what for new, it's good to be uncomfortable. Sometimes I get out of our comfort zone. I think the shirt looks amazing. I wouldn't wear that shirt. I feel underdressed. I got a very boring shirt on. So if you're listening to the audio version, you want to go check out the YouTube channel version. So you can see, I see John and myself and we can have a vote who has the coolest shirt, which I think you're going to win. I think it looks great on you. My wife bought me this shirt for Barcelona Mobile World Congress, where I fit in here in Northern New Jersey. I'm not sure. But we'll roll with it. We'll see what happens. That's John. Now I'm going to be John the shirt Horovitz, but let's go ahead. I'm going to have to get me a shirt like that. So you tip the hands a little bit. That's your professional bio. That's what people know about you that see you speak or run into you in business or work with your firm. But I'm always interested in how you got here. What's the backstory? What were you doing before all of this? Tell us a little bit more. Gosh, I got to go way back. I think my backstory is a couple of things. One, I've always been in the right place at the right time. More importantly, took advantage of the opportunity and I can give you some background on a couple instances there and a little bit of luck. Some incidents happen that put you in a situation that you either Take advantage of it, or you remain in your comfort level, comfort zone, and you work for a company for 35 years and get a gold watch and pat on the back, thank you very much. So there were some instances in my life that shaped that, and even though it's going back to when I was 17 years old. I was playing for my high school football team. And yes, we did have face masks back then. Okay. So it wasn't that far. Wearing just a padded helmet. Yeah. Yeah. Anyways, I missed my entire junior year of football. And I was mononucleosis. I played for a powerhouse football team. The team that nobody wanted to play. Records back from the late 70s. Still stand from our team, our offense and defense, not to get too granular, but the three years I was there, we were 31, one in one Pennsylvania state champs, which of Pennsylvania football is huge my senior year. But I missed my entire junior year, like seven games. And as a senior, I found myself on the second team playing the defensive end. Lo and behold, the gentlemen who I'm thankful for every day playing defensive tackle, Brooke is armed. And they moved me from defensive end to starting defensive tackle, and I was 185 pounds going up against linemen that were 250, 260, but using my smarts and my quickness, I was in the backfield all game. And long story short, I earned a full football scholarship to William Mary, which was Division 1 at that time. Now, wasn't the greatest player down there, if any of my friends know that. From college that I'm still very close with see this. They'll go. Yeah, he was there for they'll remind you. Yeah, they'll remind me. They weren't exactly all American, but yeah, I didn't hurt the team by being on the field and I had my moments of greatness and it did well started every game. My senior year. That was the being. In the right place at the right time. And that was a little bit of luck. I felt bad for the guy that broke his arm. My, my high school friends say, have you sent him a check this month for, because without that, who knows where I would have gone and getting the William and Mary was a very difficult school and actually I had a podcast that I did this week and the gentleman I was interviewing was, he's a regulatory attorney, said he went to Georgetown law. Which was very hard to get into. And he said, was William and Mary hard to get into? I said, not only was it hard to get into, it was hard to get out of. It was a tough school, but top notch education, football, lifelong friends, and that I think set me on a trajectory of being successful. And so that was one of the ones where. There was an opportunity. They said, John, we want to move you to defensive tackle. And I said, I'm 40 pounds, 50 pounds lighter than these offensive linemen. They said, don't worry about it. You're going to do fine. And I did. So yeah, that's the backstory on what set me on a path. Cause I wasn't really sure if I was going to, I didn't think I was going to play football at all after high school and ended up having a good career. Not, we had people on our team that year that, Ended up going to the NFL for eight, 10 years. And who knows where I would have gone? Community college, big university in Pennsylvania. Who knows what did you study there? What was your major? Oh, let's see. One of my major, I have a business. I have a bachelor's of business administration in management marketing, and I actually minored in philosophy. So sometimes I look out the window and go, why is this happening? But so that was majorly and also majored in fraternity, which was also a good way to round out your social life back then. But so yeah, so that was the being in the right place combined with a little bit of luck. And there were other times in my career. Leaving William Mary, I was very lucky to get a job with one of the most sought after companies, Procter Gamble, who for that D. C., Maryland, Virginia region, recruited exclusively at our college. And I actually missed the interviews when they were on campus. And I went through a recruiter after graduation and they sent me down to talk to them. They said, where were you? How come we didn't see you? I said, but they hired me. And I was living in Charlottesville, Virginia at UVA. Only two hours from William and Mary. So I was able to keep the connections, meet new people. But I left there after a couple of years and went to Polaroid. If you remember the old Polaroid. So I was there for six years and they moved me to New York. And wow, that was a big change. And living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Just enjoying life, nice and quiet, and all of a sudden, I'm in the Big Apple. And the unfortunate thing there that turned out well I had just met the woman I had married, that I eventually married. And two months after we started dating, I got transferred to New York. She was in D. C. But you know what? It worked out. We saw each other on the weekends. We were engaged nine months later, married nine months later. And my wife Jean and I raised two beautiful daughters up here in northern New Jersey. The end. But at the end of the day, it was like, okay, who are we going to promote? Are we going to promote John, who's single and rents a house? Are we going to promote this guy who's married with three kids and has a mortgage? John, you're going to New York. And it was the plum job in, in the company, the New York office. And we did very well. Got another promotion after that. But yeah, after that I got a, Opportunity to join Sony Corporation of America, which was the pinnacle, now the pinnacle of consumer electronics. And after about six months of figuring out what I was doing, it was very easy. Just move an inventory around. I had three accounts, two of them now are out of business. I had Sears, Montgomery Ward in Chicago, and I was there every other week and the target was just starting in Minneapolis. So it was three really good accounts that I grew from like Sears and Wards, we're each doing about 10 million. In revenue with us and each ended up at a hundred million when I departed. And the next moment in my life of seeing an opportunity and taking advantage of it was we flew to O'Hare, me and a couple of guys in our phone business, the regular desk phones and portable phones. And we get into the cab to go down to downtown Chicago from O'Hare and they opened up their briefcases and they pull out this thing and they start talking on it. And I said, what is that? They said, this is the future. This is a cell phone. I said, how does this thing work? What does it do? Lo and behold, three weeks later, I got a call from a recruiter asking me if I would consider a director's role at the Metro one in New York, which was the non wireline startup, about 200 people in the company competing against what was then Bell Atlantic and New York telephone, which became Verizon. And I took the job and that was 33 years ago. That I've been in the wireless business. And again, opportunity knocked my, my, my neighbors. My parents says you can't leave Sony. This is Sony. How are we going to get free TVs? If you leave now, what were you doing? It's national sales, national account, sales manager, growing a business with everything we had camcorders, televisions, walk ins, the whole gamut, big rack system, stereos, where their speakers were like your end tables, if you remember those, yeah. And it was a great job, a lot of prestige, a lot of travel. It was fun, but it was boring. Just move an inventory around the, trying to meet all the needs. But. Like again my friends and parents said, you can't leave Sony. It's this is it. This is Sony. You're going to be there for the next year. You're going to be running that place soon. I said, I don't think so. And I took a chance and I've been in the wireless business now for 33 years. And it's been a great ride for me. I've met the most wonderful people. I've been mentored by some great people in the industry. And now I'm to the point where I don't want to say I'm the old wise sage, because obviously there's people out there that are smarter than me. But I think the journey that I took from February of 1991 to today, working for, As you said, that Metro one went through three or four different name changes ended up being AT& T. Then we all went to Nextel, which was probably, except for what I'm doing now, probably the greatest experience, seven years of my life, professional life was working for Nextel, the camaraderie, the risk taking, learned a lot on how to manage, not only manage and lead, I should not use the word manage because anybody can manage, lead teams, be their advocate, manage up. I always said that people. When I interviewed them and when I interviewed for top positions that anybody could manage a team to a number, if your quote is a hundred and you have five guys, you don't give them each 20, you give them each 25. Cause someone's going to fail. Someone's going to exceed, but yeah. And you just manage them to the number. Anybody can do that. You threat them. You put them on a performance thing. I'm so far removed from that now, but to actually lead people to lead by example, use the knowledge that you've gained when you were in their role. Cool. They used to say in the old days, and I'm going to really date myself now, they'll never be successful because they never carried the bag. Remember that one? You had to carry the sales bag to know how to lead people that are carrying the sales bag. They don't, because when you're out there and it's, you're in Southeast United States, I'm up here in North Jersey, but when it's 102 degrees in the car and you're sliding across the seat trying to get to your next call, people don't see that. People don't see that you're out there by yourself, making your calls on stores or clients, whatever you're doing. So it was very good being their advocate, as I said, in managing upwards, tell me what are the top three things that you need to be successful in your job? And they would throw everything that sticks and we need more time off. We need better benefits. What do you need on a daily basis? And I would go up and manage upstairs and say, this is what I need and give them some wins. And let them know that, look, if you need something, you come to me. And one of the things that I did, and I still do when I meet a new group or work with a new group, But started when I started managing teams was sit everybody down in a room Introduce myself because normally when you join a new team, nobody knew you new company Nobody knew you and I would say there's two rules and we're gonna live by two rules So we're gonna die by two rules number one when we leave this room today. We're all Going to be singing off the same sheet of music. Okay. What does that mean? We're going to agree what our objectives are, what our goals are, what our KPIs, whatever you want to call them, and that's what we're going to work towards. Now, this is a democracy. We're going to discuss and agree on What we're going to be singing off of and how we're going to do it. I, the final say, that's why they hired me to make decisions, but we're going to be in agreement when we walk out of here, that this is the path that we're all going through number two. And more importantly is no surprises. You're all smart people as you wouldn't be here. Sometimes you think if something goes wrong, you can fix it. I don't want to get a call. Because I have in the past for my superiors saying what is going on here with no idea what was going on whether it was a Credit that was issued that was over somebody's limit or whether it was a an account that decided to move away from us and go To somebody else. So I said there's the second rule is no surprises I don't want to find out from someone above me what's going on in my organization You come to me. It's right can't fix this You call me, all right? I'm not Winston Wolfe from Was it Wolf of Wall Street? No, Pulp Fiction. I'm not Winston Wolfe from Pulp Fiction. It fixes everything, all right? Oh, the cleaner, yeah. Yes, I'll be there in 45 minutes and 12 minutes later he pulls up. Great movie for you younger folks out there, Pulp Fiction. Take the problem and I will work with the right people to get it fixed. Want to nip it in the bud before it gets too big before the CFO was calling saying, did you guys actually do this? And me having no knowledge of it. So those are the two rules we're all going in the same direction on what we as a team have agreed upon and let's work together to mitigate any small issues, which will most likely. Turned into a big issue. And that's the way I've tried to manage my entire career. And now that I have my own consulting company and the people that, that I have that assist me and clients that I talked to, I said, look, let's agree. Let's agree on the scope of work. And what it's going to cost, what the timeframe is, what do we have to do to readjust or pivot if we get to a decision tree and it's not something we thought about? Let's all agree on this up front. So there are part two. No surprise. And it's working. And it's working. Yeah. Speaking of working, 33 years in the business. Really, when I first thought of having you on, what I was really interested in is the trends that you're seeing in wireless. Thinking back to, it wasn't that long ago in organizations, the only people that got a cell phone was the VPs, the executives. Now everyone in the organization has in fact, it's not only used for phoning anymore. It's used to actually do their job sometimes. So what are you seeing just to pivot a little bit? And by the way, thank you for sharing all that. Cause I, you nailed it, man. Leadership, you have to set the course. You have to make sure about where the true North is, but I want to pivot a little bit just into the trends you're seeing and knowing that a lot of the audience are our technical advisors or consultants. Why should they pay attention and what's going on in the mobility industry? Where's the opportunity? There's more cell phones, mobile devices in use right now in America than there are men, women, and child second lines, business lines, wherever you want to call it. And the phone has really become a commodity. Yeah. The only people that had phones back in the, Late eighties, early nineties were doctors, lawyers. They were installed, hard installed into your car. You couldn't take them with you when you get out. And then the bag phone came, which people were walking around with the knapsack with a phone coming out of it. And then the, whether it was the Motorola razor or something else that came out, it just opened it up. And now the industry is thriving. We have gone from four nationwide carriers to three. That's Verizon, T Mobile, and AT& T. DISH Network is still threatening to build a nationwide network. I hope they do. It'll be good for competition. This other thing that has exploded in the wireless industry is the area that I specialize in, and that's the mobile virtual network operators, as you said in the beginning, MVNOs. It's becoming very, still expensive, still a commitment, but it's becoming more easy, more able for the guy that does not know a whole lot about wireless, but has the ability, sales and marketing, and has a differentiator. That's going to make him different to get into the MVNO business there. Again, there is a still a financial commitment. You have to have a lot of pieces of the puzzle to put together nine or 10 at last count that are going to be managed by an MVNE, an enabler, mobile virtual network enabler, but you're seeing an explosion right now of. Of new entrants to the markets. So you've got your traditional people that have been around consumer cellular has been around. They were at 4 million subscribers were bought for, I think, 1. 2 billion or something like that. Just this week, the FCC agreed to allow T Mobile to purchase one of their aggregators. And that's just what it sounds like. They aggregate smaller MVNOs and then shoot them up to T Mobile. One of their aggregators is along with two very successful brands, Ultra Mobile and Mint Mobile. And again, people know of Mint Mobile because of the fantastic job that Ryan Reynolds did promoting them. And so you're seeing one of the dynamics is that the carriers, the big three carriers, are buying the MVNOs. Along with Mint being purchased by T Mobile, you had Verizon purchasing TrackPhone, 20 million customers, which made them overnight the largest prepaid carrier in the country. A few years ago, you had the Metro, PCS was absorbed by T Mobile, now it's Metro by And now, of course, two years ago, as part of the T Mobile sprint merger slash acquisition. They were forced to spin off boost mobile, who I spent some time with and they're now owned by dish network. So you're seeing the landscape change. You're seeing people saying this is not good for competition. You're seeing others saying it is good for competition, but the wireless business continues to grow. But every one of those new customers that they'd all just reported last month in April, the first quarter. Earnings and they all had positive net ads. That's how many people, you end with after the quarter for your listeners Versus the previous quarter. They all had positive numbers and big cable charter communications with its spectrum brand and Xfinity which is part of comcast and the newest one cox cable. They've all offered now mobile along with their broadband and their home phone and internet, all that good stuff. They're putting on massive numbers. All of those numbers came from somebody else. Okay. So when you go back to the word I used before, a differentiator, a new MVNO is starting up, I know personally of about 10 that are coming on board in the next I'd say three months. And I'm working with a couple of those to get them launched by end of Q3. I always ask. When someone says, we want to get into the MV& O business. And I said, what is your differentiator? Why am I going to join Whit, Whitaker Wireless? There you go. Why am I going to join you and leave Verizon or ultra or consumer or AT& T? What's the value proposition to me? What's the, what's your differentiator? A lot of them don't know what they want to do. And the ones that do know, usually say we want to be the lowest price. and provide the best customer service possible. And I wish him best of luck and say, can an MVNO be less cost in the carrier themselves? The whole reason that there are MVNOs is because they don't have the infrastructure costs. They're not putting towers up at a million a crack or whatever they are, all these towers and facilities based operations. Yeah. So traditionally the MVNOs are cheaper than their Host network, whether it's again, one of the big three and, but there is some limitations on what they can offer and you can't use their name. If I'm a T Mobile and I can't put on my website, we're on the T Mobile network, powered by T Mobile. You can show their maps and everybody knows that magenta is T Mobile, red is AT& T and blue is Verizon. There's two, Mixed up. Yeah. The other way. Yeah. Yeah. And you can really tell by the maps and the coverage and their taglines. You can use their tagline. I think that T Mobile says we're the largest and fastest 5G network and what you miss out on without being direct with the carrier as an MVNO is one is domestic roaming. They all claim they cover 89, 99 percent of the population, but not to pick on Wyoming or Montana, but if you're from New York or LA or Atlanta, and you want to go fly fishing in Montana, if you are direct with one of the carriers, you'll roam onto another carrier's network and it'll be seamless. As an MVNO customer, that's limited. Some offer it, most don't. You won't have, you will not have service because they, it's just too difficult for them to, Manage that because remember the MVNO is going to get billed by the carrier for everything that their end user does. So they just want to mitigate a little bit of risk there. But that's one of the challenges. It used to be that. They didn't get the iconic handsets at the same time as the carrier did. And I think when the iPhone 15 came out, maybe there was a week delay or two week delay in letting the MVNOs have that phone as well. Obviously the big carriers did a lot of advertising and they wanted to have kind of a jumpstart, but it used to be, they wouldn't get that phone until the next generation came out. So the gap is closed really. The roaming and some of the the international long distance is always a risk, but it's getting much, much closer between the two. Do you feel like, are the carriers, they like having MVNOs? They're okay with that, you think? Yeah. Is it easy to become one or is it hard to become an MVNO? Yeah, they do like it because it's another sales channel. And again, the MVNOs were started originally to get into the nooks and crannies and a lot of the ethnic markets that the carriers are in. Couldn't get into you've got some closed Ethnic groups out there that only want to deal with their own there, right? I don't want to say they're mistrusting of anybody that is not part of their community But when you get into some of these ethnic enclaves in the major cities, they want to deal with their own Which is fine. So you would hire someone and make them an MV& O that could get that done for you because you weren't going to get it done. There was no way if you went in there and tried to speak their language, they would, no thanks. And that's why there's different rules. For example, in New York City, in the five boroughs, there's a lot of places that are closed on Saturday because of the religious Sabbath. And the carriers, the wholesale groups that manage the MV& Os said, no, you need to be open on Saturday. And they said, no. They said we'll hire somebody that's not part of that and have no because if my store is open my community will shun me So no and the carriers Still are insisting that not the carriers some of the MVNOs are insisting that those stores be open seven days a week. And it's just, you're not going to change 3, 000, 5, 000 years worth of religious beliefs to satisfy. But so is that your main work today really is consulting and helping folks, helping businesses that are in the wireless space that want to become an MVNO. Is there an easy answer to what, is there like three things you got to have, but even get their attention? Are there MVNOs that work with all three? Are there MVNOs that just go with one? All the above. Yeah. Yeah. I do have some clients. Our company has some clients that have people that have great products or great services, and they hire us to introduce them to the 150 or 170 MVNOs that are here in the U. S. right now. Again, the top 15 do 90 percent of the business, but there are services that are coming out that would create additional revenue streams for these MVNOs and the carriers as well. But, the questions really are Two questions that we ask right off the bat. What is your differentiator? What you talked about, what is your distribution model? How are you okay? You've got a great differentiator and I could give you some examples, but how are you going to, how are you going to go to market? Are you going to have brick and mortar? Are you going to be a hundred percent digital? Are you going to, is your differentiator part of dealing with an association with 15 million members and they're going to call it, say, Whitaker mobile or Whitaker wireless and Whitaker has like a triple A or. One of the big insurance companies, 15 million members, and we're going to market directly to that. And I always joke, are you going to take out a banner behind an airplane and fly it around the beach in the summer with an 800 number on it? How are you going to go to market? Cause that's another expense people don't think about. Yeah. Yeah. That's the main part of the business is people that don't know wireless. I'm working with a client right now. They have a great differentiator. They haven't launched it. So I'm really can't talk about it. They have a differentiator. That's going to blow you away. They knew nothing about wireless. They're, they have their niche of what they do and they're happy. And they said, wait a minute, why don't we turn this into a revenue stream? I what is this MVNO thing? So they said, how do I start an MVNO in the Google search and guess whose name comes up first? They called me. Yeah. Here we are. And they called me and we did all the things we interviewed each other. And I said, this is the scope of work. I said, we need this. Okay, fine. And we agreed on it and we signed an agreement and we're very down the path. Now. far down the path, working with all the third party people. Like I will probably get upset somebody with this comment, but I tell these MVNO prospects, you do not want to be in the handset business. Leave that to people that if you don't know wireless, why would you fill up your warehouse with an iPhone or a Samsung or a Motorola that's going to be replaced in six months? You don't know how to, how. To manage the transition from model a to model B. There are people that do this. There are a couple of companies out there. We're on your website where you hit purchase a phone. It goes to this organization. They do it for thousands and thousands of customers. Every month and they ship the phone, they finance the phone, they match the SIM card to the phone. I said, you do not want to be in that business. Handset. And they agree. Cause I said, when they change out the models, you're going to have a couple of thousand useless things in your warehouse that you paid this for, and now you've got to sell it for that. And it's stay out of that business. You've got accessories, you've got customer service, you've got what the international long distance provider. So there's a lot of pieces to the puzzle. Then you have to find what's called an enabler. The MVN E. To tie it all together and make sure it all talks. And that's the hard part. That's really the, once you start doing your integrations and implementations, that's the really tough part. So you need people that know how this stuff works, like our company does and other companies do, or you need to have someone on your staff that's got telecom experience. A lot of these MVNOs that come to us have no wireless experience at all. And we, as I said, many times we turned down. More people than we take on one from a timing. Do you ever track the success rate? Like I add to ten and people come into you how many I'm actually make it and become profitable I would say we don't track how many people come to us. I would say how many people we engage with yes You know the Two I'm working with right now are getting ready to launch in the next 60 to 90 days. We know from talking to the underlying carrier that they will be successful. When I put this group in front of one of the three major carriers last August, they were blown away. They're like, wow, because they're not looking for me to use. They don't want somebody who's going to compete on price because think about it. We, when you look at some of the SIM card, only people that are out there like simple, mobile mint and old trolleys, other people, it's a really a risk to the bottom who can be the cheapest. And that's not a long term strategy. And so you look for people that aren't going to be 15 a month if you buy three months in advance. And you know what? It worked for me. It was a great concept. They don't want another me too. They want somebody that's going to bring something different to the market, something exciting to the market. And yeah, so I think out of the people that we've brought it's a very high success rate. No one's gone out of business, knock wood, but the business has changed as well. And that's a very large. Business, the MVNO used to be the burner phones. If you see in the mob movies or the cartel movies, they call me on the burner and it used to be for what was called the unbankable people prepaid. Now is mainstream when you've got brick and mortar stores like boost and the Metro by T Mobile, and I'm sure I'm missing the other people, but it's now a legitimate business. It's not, you don't have to feel bad that you have a prepaid phone as the line between the carriers and the MVNOs. Has blurred and got very close to each other. So has the line between postpaid customers, which is what Wall Street loves in our industry and prepaid customers is also that line is very blurred. I have a prepaid phone plan with one of the precarious right now. I pay it in advance, right? Just a prepaid. Now the differences there are if you. Don't pay your bill prepaid if you don't re up after 30 days, and that's why you try to get the credit card to hit it Automatically your service is turned off and you're done. And yeah, you have time to pay the bill and continue on Carrier you keep going and they keep the meter running And then they done you a few times and then they send collections after you, but you'd never lost the service. So yeah, that's the difference. But again, more and more people are going to the prepaid model because it's easier for them. Yeah. Interesting. Now that's again, you're right. I think everybody's got their swim lanes in the telecom channel. I'm a, I've been a specialist for mobility and IOT and wireless in general. My first half of my career was all cable and fiber. So I pivoted about seven years ago, went from terrestrial landline to all things wireless. And it's been a blast. I, again, that's why I love hearing stories by people that pivot changes their direction. Either your benefit of being in the right place at the right time, or sometimes the wrong thing may happen, but it opens the door for something else. Speaking of something else, again, I thought we could keep going on that, but maybe in another episode, we can, we mentioned in your bio, you had your own podcast and as you said, or you're used to being the host, two questions on that. Tell me about the title, the Boon of Wireless and what was the inspiration for it? The Boon, a Boon was something that happens that's good. And the example I used in my first two podcasts was if they put. free parking at the mall, it'll be a boon to the retailers, right? If we put it in a high screen train like the rest of the world has between San Francisco and LA, it'd be a boon to the economy. So that's. One of the places where the boon came from, the second place it came from I'm going to keep your listeners and my listeners and viewers guessing. It means something also very personal to me, which a lot of people in one part of my life know, and most people, if not all in my business life don't know. So that's all we're going to say about. We're going to keep it a secret, but I'm sure that someone will see this and go, Oh, I don't work for the national inquirer, but give me 20, 000 and I'll tell you what the boon means. And when that happens, I'll do it. So anyway, you talk about pivoting and all had very career highs, everybody. And there's also been some terrible lows when you do get let go and they say it's because of a consolidation or I survived. I didn't survive actually, I was part of three merger slash acquisitions. The first coming when Sprint bought Nextel back in 2005. And that was, I'm sorry. That was, yeah, when Sprint bought Nextel. The first one was actually, it was when AT& T bought McCall Cellular slash Cellular One. That was again, was Metro One, Cellular One, McCall and AT& T. We all went to Nextel after that from the CEO down and just had the blast. Like I said earlier, for seven years, the greatest. Role of my life, except for this one now. And so I didn't survive that first one with AT& T didn't survive the next one, which was a good thing because it was a different sprint back then that it was before they became the uncarrier and next style was risk taking and being out there and just swaths buckling. If there's no other word, it was a great time to be at Nextel. And later on, I went to work for boost. And we went from 16 regions to eight regions and I didn't make the cut and it hurt because I was doing very well in relationship to the other 15 people there in the organization. There were 16 of us at the director level. And yeah, that hurt. And I realized at that time that people didn't want a guy, a 60 year old guy in their office. All right. They say what you want about ageism. I've interviewed for very senior level positions, and I was told by the recruiter that they didn't feel you had the right skillset. Basically the job description was my resume. So what else could it be? But you swallow, but. It's a humbling experience, but you can't sit back and lay on the couch all day and feel sorry for yourself, because you still have a family and bills to pay and everything else. Part of the pivoting or slash reinventing myself, it was a tough period. Interviewing for a job, but still trying to make ends meet. And this was not that long ago. It was before COVID, not that far before COVID. And I had to do things to pay the bills. So while I was interviewing and looking for a job, I was also, Tending bar, I drove Uber, which if you've never been an Uber driver, do it for a couple months. It's a blast. All right. I do. I've had some of the best conversations with my Uber drivers. Yeah. You meet some great people and everyone's got a great story. Knuckleheads to get the car. I didn't work at night cause I didn't want people throwing up in the back of the car or anything like that. But I come on. All right. You have to do what you got to do. And it's a, it was a humbling experience. And at that point I said, okay, looking at the life expectancy now in our country, which one of my guests was talking about ageism and age tech. I'm sorry. We're living now. The average life in the U S now is 85. I said, I got 25 years to go here or 30 years to go here. Whatever it is. I better get off my butt and do something. No one's going to be handing me a check. And so I joined, this is one of the best things I ever did. I joined an advisory group, but it was about 10. Small business owners along with a facilitator and we helped each other with issues and problems and they said, John, you're Mr. Wireless, right? I said, yeah, they call me Mr. Wireless. Do you have a website? I said, no. I said, all right, we have to help you build a website, which I did. Do you write? No. You got to start writing. I found a guy and I read an article every two weeks for BestMVNO digital periodical, and that really got my name out there. And then I was actually watching the Kelsey Brothers podcast last fall and saw how much fun they were having. And I don't know if you or any of your listeners have seen my podcast. I try to keep it light. I get some nice guests on, really good guests. And, but we keep it light. Do we do ask the tough questions? Uncover a lot of stuff. I haven't made anybody cry yet on, on the podcast But wait, that's, is that a challenge? It's way down the list. It's way down the, but yeah, so I started doing the podcast, the first one launched the mid-February, and I believe we have, I dunno, I read we have 7, 750 subscribers already. I had that after or five weeks and that's opened up. A lot more opportunities. Again, the phone has been ringing more. The analytics are on below off the charts. Like I posted to my LinkedIn groups. I belong like everybody at the five or six different LinkedIn groups in the wireless. I had 2, 100 impressions last week on the podcast that I posted. So that's getting my quote unquote brand out there. And yeah, we get a lot of phone calls. And once we. weed out the ones that don't have an idea or don't know. I was talking to some folks the other day and I always say, how did you find me? And they said, Oh, we saw your website. We Googled how to start an MVNO. Once you weed them out and start getting serious with people that have the things that we talked about earlier, the differentiator, the distribution, the magic sauce, you can't take them all on. It's too much sometimes without hiring eight to 10 more people, but we're in the position now where we can, we'll listen to everybody. And our rule is the first phone calls free, but everybody treats us like a non for profit organization. They just call back. They want more information. They go, okay. Listen, I've given you, it's like the electrician that was in my house today and he walked in and I said, these lights don't work and he pushed the GFI switch on and gave me a bill for 110 and I said, 110 to push a button and he goes, no 110 for the last 40 years of being an electrician. So I knew what to do when I got here. And that's how we look at it. Look, everybody in the organization and the 1099s that we use for special things, they have experience. They know what to do. They know what questions to ask. They know how to identify the problem and to resolve the problem. So yeah that's where it lays. And as you asked earlier about the, Oh, I love doing it. I love doing the podcast because it only feeds my, as my wife and children were saying, my already huge ego. What was the line. Someone says there's a very fine line between confidence and arrogance. And John, sometimes you cross it. I said, yeah, you have to be, if people are going to be spending the kind of money they are on consultants. And again, we don't charge the kind of rates that, Deloitte and Bain and all these people do. Actually, I have consulted to them where they get a big project and wireless and they don't know anything about it. They find me through some of the consulting groups I'm in and I get paid dollars an hour and they're probably getting paid 3000 an hour. And someone's doing their work. So it's good. It's it pays for a dinner, but the business going back to COVID really just exploded. All the carriers. We recorded at the time record number of new subscriptions and it was all because mom and dad and the kids now we're all working from home and you needed hotspots. You needed better connectivity because your wifi was supporting a couple, one or two people. Now there was three, four or five people doing schoolwork and homework. And I was working with a guy selling hotspots. hotspots in one month during COVID. And that kind of gave me the platform, the To keep growing. But the business, the MVNO business will specialize is it's right now. It's a 13 and a half billion dollar business. And it's grown at a compound annual growth rate of about the 4. 3%. That 13. 7 billion is going to be by the year 2030, which is believe it or not, five, five and a half years away. It's going to be about a 30 billion business. The MVNO business, it just keeps on growing and growing. And I believe as do many others that the next differentiator or the next, what's the next Big thing, the next big thing, it's going to be the celebrity and influencer marketing for wireless. Yeah, we're seeing it, right? Was it right? And I know of five A list celebrities. I'm not involved with any of them. Five A list celebrities that will be launching brands that either has their name in it or will be promoted by them. And yeah, it's a very interesting market. And again, All of those customers are coming from somewhere else, right? It's not, yeah, there are 10, 12, 14 year olds getting their first phone. Okay. But that's not fueling this growth. When charter puts on in the first quarter of this year, 660, 000 numbers, T Mobile put on, I don't know, 600 and more than that. I think so. And even the ones that were struggling, like Verizon turned it around, they're showing positive. Now, because they've had to do some reengineering of how they approach the market. So the business is strong. And then when we finally get to real IOT internet of things, it's just going to explode exponentially where you've got machine to machine. Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up. I'm glad you brought that up. You said something about 15 minutes ago that was like bouncing around in my head and you gave me a great segue to that. Do you know a guy named Kevin Ashter? Kevin Ashter. He was he's, I believe I got that it was Kevin Ashton, an Englishman from Procter and Gamble. And he is credited with the term IOT. So it's a great little history story. When you said Procter was like, Oh, I wonder if, I figured the odds of Kevin Ashton was slim to none. Cause it was like 1999. Yeah, he was, he tells a story that he was in charge of logistics and distribution. For Procter Gamble in the UK, and he was trying to convince the C level that they needed to put asset trackers in the supply chain and he, and of course the C level, they know business, they didn't necessarily know technology and of course it was called machine to machine back then and he said, I just put my PowerPoint, his name on my PowerPoint presentation, I didn't know what to call it, so I just, I knew they knew what the internet was, I just put on of things. He goes, I should have called it four things. Cause I've been more grammatically correct. There's internet for things, but anyway, just an interesting little side history note Kevin Ashton, look it up known as the father of IOT. Now that he wished he would have when they introduced the barcodes. On consumer products, everything from soap to licorice, everything. And the companies that we called on back at the time that we're in our national accounts group, wards, Montgomery wards, Sears, circuit city, silo, all the ones that, all of them are not here anymore, but they had entire departments called vendor compliance, which means me as the Sony that was supplying them, we had to be in compliance with all the barcodes and this and all of that. And they fined us. They would deduct from the invoices if they felt we violated. It became a profit center for them. And many fights and flights to Chicago with the CFO to say, Guys, we just shipped you 8, 000 televisions. You can't not pay for them. But you guys weren't compliant. In the vendor compliance, it was a disaster, but anyway, but you know what? Now you go to the supermarket, so I guess it worked. We're just trying to get the kinks out of it. But yeah, we've covered a lot of Phil and it's a time. I feel like I'm trying to land the plane here a little bit. And I, again, with 33 years of knowledge and experience and all the pivoting you've had to do, And, I know we just scratched the surface in the show notes. I'll have your website link and people can learn more about what you do and your show, of course, definitely please check out the show, but is there anything we didn't hit on any last words you want to touch on as we wrap up? The workplace has changed a lot. Since I entered it back in the very, very late seventies, graduated from college, got my first job. And it wasn't that long ago where we were a suit and tie jacket and tie to work every day, remote learning working didn't exist. And you've seen the work, the workplace. The younger generations that feel that they're more productive at home balancing the home life thing. I've been very fortunate to work for some very big companies that work for some brilliant people. And I would not have this position today where I was able to start my own consulting company and serve some very big clients and have the relationships that I have with the carriers and the aggregators and The other spokes of the wheel to make an MVNO work had I not put in the work and the time over 30 years. And I think that's what I would leave people with is that it's there for you if you're willing to make the commitment and go the extra mile. Yay! You put in the time. You put in the time. Both of my daughters have very good careers with name brand, household name companies right now. And I said, what are you doing this weekend? Oh, I got Saturday. I'll be working. I got four or five hours of work to catch up. I go, there you go. There you go. And my other daughter said to me once, and they both live here in the New York, New Jersey area. We're talking about the podcast and they were watching it. Actually, I came home, I think for Thanksgiving or Christmas. No, it was after that we launched in February. And there I said, just do me a favor, watch this, just see what your father does now for a living. It's not like I'm wearing my Nextel shirt and going to Hawaii on president's clubs and all the dealers kowtow to me because I was the guy that The marketing budgets and all that kind of stuff. I don't think, I don't think anybody ever kowtowed, right? And they watched the first podcast and they were like, wow. Dad, what I said, that's what I do. That's what I do. And my wife and I were having the conversation of the day out. She loves being around people. And I said, you know what? I'm to the point now where I get more done on a zoom call. And yeah, you got to go out there. You got to jump on a plane and press the flesh and do the old fashioned thing, wear out a couple of pairs of shoes, but it's so much easier to do business now with this technology that we have, and it's going to get even hopefully. simpler to do. But my oldest daughter said, Dad, you built this thing out of nothing. Atrium Unlimited Consulting didn't exist until you started it. I said, Yeah, and it wasn't always easy. You had a days you didn't get paid weeks. You didn't get paid. As you said, you use those 33 years of knowledge to sell yourself and sell your company's abilities to a client that says, yeah, we're going to take a chance on you. I signed one guy after one meeting. He goes, how much do you need to make a month? And I said, let me say no, that's good. You're the guy, John. What do you need a month? And I threw a number at him. He goes, okay. I said, damn, I should have gone higher. But yeah, it's working out well. I think it's, I think people need to have a door slammed in their face when they're young. When trying to make a sales call at a supermarket when they don't want to see you. I think you've got a face rejection. And get stronger, but more importantly, this is basic stuff. Learn from your experiences. One of the things that we did at Nextel, which was probably the greatest work culture I've ever seen. Our rules were very simple. You hire good people and get out of their way, let them do their job. And if they fail, If they'd make a mistake or they come to, Oh, I'm so sorry. That's great. You dust them off, you put them back on the horse and you send them back out there. Now, if that happens continually, you have a different conversation, but most people learn from their mistakes. Okay. What did I do wrong that costs me part of the business? I'm not going to do it again, but you have to experience that. You have to be downsized. You have to face adversity. You have to realize that not everything is going to go your way. I made a terrific pitch last month to a prospective client and they decided to go in a different direction. Okay. That's okay. You're not going to get, yeah, you're not going to get everyone as good as you think you are. There's always somebody better. And yeah, that's how I look at it. And luckily I'm in an industry. We all are, but that is not slowing down by any means. Yes, it's becoming a younger man's game. I think when you say that I've been doing this for 30 plus years, that gets people attention. And yeah. Back to your original point. No one's going to hire a consultant with three years experience, right? You've done your time. You paid your dues. You've seen it done this, that way and the other, and there's value in that. So back to your point on ageism, I've had friends too. Yeah. I'm in that over 50 club and people call me, they get laid off. I'm like, Chris, what am I going to do? I'm done. There's no one going to hire me. I'm like, Hey, don't undervalue your experience. Yeah. There's a lot of young folks coming into the business, which is great. We need new people in technology. And CompTIA did a study a few years ago saying there wasn't a, there was a concern, it wasn't enough young people coming into technology, which is scary. Cause as an industry, especially US industry, we need that. We need to keep the change under the guard, but there's value in having experience, there's value in having the gray hair, we've made it our fair share of mistakes and that's right. Yeah, you look great. Yeah, I love your approach. The biggest thing I learned from that advisory group that I mentioned earlier was how do you price your services? Now. I could not have been a consultant 10 years ago because I didn't have the breadth of contacts that I do now at all levels of the carriers and the aggregators and the other providers. I was struggling with how to price a job. Do I price it so high that they say no thank you or so low? Okay. It's going to be 300 an hour and their budget was 600 and they go, sure, let's go. And then you got my facilitator of the group gave me great advice, which I would give to anybody that's going to be in the consulting or as our good friend, Bob LaFawn, mutual friend of ours from Capital Growth Partners said, we're not a consultancy group. We're an advisory group. And I had them on my podcast last month and I said, Oh, so how much are you going to charge me to change my name to Atrium Advisory. And then we had a good laugh, but the advice I got was, don't lower your price ever lower the amount of services you provide. All right, because you'll lower your price and they're still going to want what you originally told them you're going to do for it. And you can't afford to do that. So that's right. Say, okay, you, I was going to charge you X amount a month, but they can only afford, 2, 000 less than that. Fine. I'm not going to be able to handle this part that's in the scope of work. Let's just take that out. And more times than normal they go, all right you can do all that for the higher number. I said, yeah, we can do that. We have the team to, yeah, now they see the value. Now they see the value. And they lose respect for you if you keep dropping your price. Yeah. That's right. So anyway, that's the John Horvitz story. I hope there's a lot more years to it. I take a lot of ribbing from a couple of my clients and also my a lot of people that I know in the business. Like, how long are you going to do this? I said, very simple to quote a good friend of mine who still delivering babies at 74, 73 years old, he goes, I have no retirement skills. This is what I do. And you got to love what you do. And I love it. I was on a seven o'clock call today because the other people were in Europe. And it's Friday afternoon and they don't want to be there. They want to get out of town and yeah, you gotta, yeah, this is what I do. I love it. And hopefully I've been able to build something that is going to matter to people. Oh, yeah. Now I would say that it has. And again, you're pouring back into our society through your papers, your website, and you're in your podcast. And now your advisory again, you're sharing what, so a lot of people here, if you're listening, and you've been doing this for decades, plus you have a lot of skills. That the world needs to know about. So yeah, you should make yourself available and give back. And I think the universe does, we'll give back to you as well. I've really enjoyed our conversation. I look forward to getting this, getting it out and getting it out to the world. But thank you for your time. I just hope that your listeners found some value in this. I don't think that I'm the most exciting guy to interview, but we'll see how it goes. Okay. All right. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for that. And, as we wrap up here, the takeaways we've all, I don't know if you've heard the cliche is testing. Why did this happen to me? Why this happened for me? A lot of things happened to you throughout your life that turned out to be a good stoic philosophy. Another big fan of Ryan Holiday and the stoics, but how can you take your circumstances and find that path out of it? Don't stay there, but don't be indecisive. Sometimes you just got to move forward and you got to do things you may not feel comfortable doing, but you got, when in doubt, do you do something? You're doing nothing. It's just not a good strategy. There's many people like Michael Jordan. You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take. You're not going to make every one. You're not going to win every game, but you know what? You go out there, you give it an honest day's work. And at the end of the day, if you're not tired, you didn't work hard enough. That's how I look at it. No, there you go, folks, man. I appreciate you guys checking out this episode of the wireless way. And as always, if you like what you heard something hit that you thought a friend might, a colleague might need to hear, please share. And subscribe and comment and all that, the algorithms love that. And that's, that helps more people here, believe it or not. So thank you for that. Thank you for listening. We'll see you next time on the wireless way.