Operational Excellence — Getting stuff done (execution) is difficult. Becoming excellent at getting things done requires a system. It does not simply boil down to three rules or principles. It is a methodology that facilitates the attainment and sustainment of excellence, from setting an Intention, to defining it as a measurable objective, to planning, to implementation, including the cadence of reviews and iterations. It is a recipe, not a set of tips.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewingDoron Kempel.
Doron Kempel is Chairman and CEO at Bond. Prior to founding Bond in 2017, Kempel was Founder, Chairman and CEO of SimpliVity Corporation, which pioneered hyper-converged IT infrastructure, a novel cloud architecture that radically simplified IT infrastructure, acquired by HPE. Previously, he was co-founder, Chairman and CEO at Diligent Technologies, which was acquired by IBM. Prior to founding Diligent, he was VP & GM at EMC Corporation (now part of Dell/EMC). He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, as well as Law and Philosophy degrees from Tel- Aviv University. Additionally, he served 13 years in the Israeli Defense Forces rising to deputy commander of the IDF’s elite commando unit.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Doron! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Pursuing an entrepreneurial business path seemed a good match with my main criteria upon completion of 13 years of military service. I sought a direction that will balance high energy and impact with independence. Politics, military, academia or law did not seem a match. So I moved to the US, studied business, established skills in the corporate world, and then started to pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
I founded the current company, Bond, following the acquisition of the prior company that I led. After that acquisition, I started searching for the next idea. I was trying to identify a problem that needed solving and on the other hand was feasible to solve (technologically, operationally, economically, etc.). You identify ideas and evaluate them against sets of worthiness and feasibility criteria. The evaluation of the ideas against criteria requires some research, analysis and testing. Technically, I had a few ideas that came up over the course of the past few years, and which I kept in a folder named Next. Importantly, it was clear to me that none of the original ideas will “survive” the analysis against the criteria. However, based on my experience my approach and hypothesis is that through the dialectical elimination of ideas relative to the criteria, new ideas are “born”. That was the process. I assumed it would take about a year to identify, analyze and reach ample confidence in order to pursue such an idea. That’s how long it took last time around. This time, to my surprise, it took only 3 months. The problem I stumbled into was very clear, rooted in human nature, and one that we learned “to live with” — but also one that I believed people would appreciate a solution for.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The most interesting stories of my business career are actually the stories of the entrepreneurs and leaders whom I was fortunate to interact with and learn from. Interestingly and comically, all but one had a business attitude/approach that very much contrasted to mine and thus created humorous dynamics. The exception is my San Francisco-based mentor Sidney, who is empathetic, relentless, patient, extremely cunning, and a master at managing his own ego. After business school theories, Sidney was a pleasure to spend time with, simulating negotiations and situations. He was also the one who helped me distill the fact that what I want is to pursue an entrepreneurial horizon.
Can you tell us about the technological breakthrough that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
We spent the past 3.5 years developing a platform that combines cutting edge technologies with human empathy and judgement. It is a platform that delivers personal security and peace-of-mind on a very large scale, but also in a personalized manner while preserving privacy.
We live in a very safe country and era and there are many we should thank for that. Anyone anywhere can dial 911 and get the help of first responders — assuming the situation is an emergency. But what if the situation is not initially an emergency? We and people we love routinely find ourselves in situations that are uncomfortable, perhaps even scary or risky — but that are not initially a 911 emergency. There is no programmatic solution for those situations. For example: walking alone at night or in a parking garage; or situations where we encounter strangers with no one around — as do real-estate agents, passengers of ride sharing vehicles, or the drivers; delivery people and recipients of deliveries. And lastly, when our children are not under our immediate supervision, we hope that someone trustworthy and competent would be available to them, should we not be available.
Bond’s mission is to enhance personal security and peace-of-mind in such situations, and our versatile platform offers a rich spectrum of services that enhance the security and ease the concerns of our members. The platform anchors on 24/7 Bond Personal Security Agents, who are in Bond Command Centers, and available within seconds via the Bond app — on video, audio or chat. They have the technologies that we developed and that allow them to offer personalized, effective on demand “attention”, guidance and assistance to our members.
Bond already has assisted in over 40,000 cases, has more than 150,000 members nationally, and its caseload is rising in these unsettling times. The latest of our services is Bodyguard on Demand, which makes ordering a bodyguard as affordable and easy as ordering dinner online — costing 30 dollars for the first 30 minutes. Think of it as an “uberization” of the bodyguard services.
How do you think this might help change the world?
Without getting into unsettling statistics about crime and insecurity of people, there is what we call a Personal Security Gap. I refer to all situations whereby people need assistance but that do not initially warrant a 911 emergency call. Violent crime is on the rise across the US and many parts of the world, and more people are becoming concerned about their personal security and the safety of their loved ones especially during the COVID pandemic and rising economic uncertainty, along with cuts in police budgets. Bond is filling that gap and helping people around the world feel secure about the safety of their family and themselves, no matter where they are or what they may encounter. We live up to our mission of personal security for all.
Secondly, and appropriately for readers of Thrive, I believe that true mindfulness cannot be obtained without physical security. For example, yoga, meditation, and nutrition are all key. But true peace of mind requires that our physical safety be assured and that’s a point that’s often forgotten.
Can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
Any technology can be misused. The Bond platform does not possess any negative side effects. It is not a weapon. We maintain strict privacy of our users. We ease the load off of the 911 centers that are succumbing to over 240 million calls per year, and that are mostly non emergency calls that need to be dismissed on that basis. In the specific context of the bodyguards, we vet our users to make sure they are the right fit for our service and can benefit from it rather than abuse it.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
The first is the realization — through analysis of numerous cases where people were hurt — that there is a Personal Security Gap, and it is due to the fact that the 911 services are reactive. Yet, what is required additionally is a preventative service — just like preventative medicine and wearing a seat belt — the key is to take preemptive steps that will lower the risk and increase the likelihood of timely detection and positive outcomes.
The second is understanding and addressing the complexity and multiplicity of the problem and therefore — of the solution. This led us to recruit a diverse set of world class advisors who help define, design and critique the services and overall platform. We assembled a diverse and world-class team of advisors from virtually every relevant walk of life i.e. security, military, law enforcement and public service worlds, data security and privacy, and more. Our advisors include Former Director of US Secret Service, Mark Sullivan, Alejandra Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA; Ed Davis, former Boston police commissioner; former US Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez; former NYPD commissioner, Ray Kelly; Jerod Mayo, Inside Linebackers Coach of the New England Patriots, and others.
There are too many advisory boards that are in name only, instead this is one that is passionate and actively involved in our business.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
We are already seeing the Bond platform gaining traction every day. More members are signing up to use Bond’s services across the US, we are hiring more Security Agents and are looking to establish more Command Centers. While we’re focused on the US, we’ll be making inroads internationally. We are investing in advertising and other marketing, but the best source of new subscribers are friends telling friends.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
In one word: awareness.
The need exists: people are concerned for their own safety and that of loved ones. This is a fundamental human need. Now, we need to effectively express the unique value of Bond, clarifying that this is not a trivial “panic button app”, but a versatile platform that anchors on Personal Security Agents.
We have received recognition in both local and national media that appeal to a wide cross section, from Inside Edition to the Daily Mail, and have also implemented a number of other marketing strategies. Most recently, we created a 28-minute infomercial that explains the unique preventative nature of the Bond services, and their impact in various situations. The infomercial not only highlights our services, but also interviews members and shows three real situations where members have called a Bond Security Agent to assist them in different scenarios, including a domestic violence situation. It also included notable advisors of ours including the former commissioners of the New York City and Boston Police Departments. We received great feedback on the infomercial and saw an increase in signups because of the impact it had. Right now, we’re kicking off a gift program for the holidays. What better gift, than a heightened sense of security during troubled times?
Lastly and importantly, the Bond service is also offered to Institutions — corporations, universities and communities — and thereby to their employees, students and members. This is a normal extension of their Duty Of Care. Uniquely, Bond allows them, to protect each of the individuals when on the go, outside of the institutional facilities/buildings.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person or persons — who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have had the good fortune of meeting and gaining the support of many people. All of them took interest and went beyond the norm to guide, mentor and support me. The most interesting stories are their stories, they include colorful characters, men and women, coaches, teachers, prime ministers, heads of military, business leaders, professors.
However, I believe that it all starts with my parents and the encouraging, unconditionally supportive, loving and nurturing environment whereby failures never threaten love; yet standards and expectations are sufficiently motivating.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Bond’s mission is to help people in daily life, enhancing peace-of-mind, personal security, and thereby also mindfulness. As Bond’s reach and success increases, we hope to positively influence more people.
While still a young company, we have taken some steps to help beyond our direct mission:
A subset of the services is offered for free. Bond also donated its full set of services to all healthcare professionals and their families, free of charge, through 2020. Bond donated all proceeds from March 2020 to August 2020 to First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Bond also donated to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
In general, it would have been precious to have internalized earlier in life some of the lessons and insights that arise at (often) great cost during the journey. These are the lessons or insights that help (me) make better decisions (what to do) and then help implement them more effectively (how to do)”
The lessons fall into two main categories: understanding/awareness and implementation/execution.
Understanding how our mind works, so I can better understand myself, and thereby exercise better “management” of myself: what is the right path for me; and how to accomplish it. Self-awareness and self-management are at the basis of everything. This then leads to better understanding others whom I interact with, which then leads to being more empathetic, sympathetic and more effective interacting with them. As leaders we should also be able to motivate them and influence them towards unified action.
2. Operational Excellence
Getting stuff done (execution) is difficult. Becoming excellent at getting things done requires a system. It does not simply boil down to three rules or principles. It is a methodology that facilitates the attainment and sustainment of excellence, from setting an Intention, to defining it as a measurable objective, to planning, to implementation, including the cadence of reviews and iterations. It is a recipe, not a set of tips.
The above two categories (of Understanding/Awareness and of Implementation/Operation) illuminate the 5 lessons. In general:
1. We are not as rational as we think: understand and internalize the main psychological and logical fallacies and biases.
2. The same is (perhaps more) true about the people around us.
3. Empathize: Understand where each is “coming from”
4. There is much more noise than there is signal. A guidebook to detecting (and then filtering) BS is vital.
5. Self-discipline is pivotal in order to manage our (irrational) selves towards satisfaction/accomplishment and happiness. It can be developed, but must be maintained. Special missions require a heightened level of discipline that involves self-suggestion (self-hypnosis). Some of it is required in order to filter “noise” and distractions, and in order to follow your own path.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am afraid that — as a society, and perhaps as a species — we are on a slippery slope whereby truth and facts are consistently compromised. The ratio of noise/spin to signal/facts is increasing in favor of noise. It is becoming gradually impossible to hear the truth rather than the pitch or spin. Everyone is constantly “selling” something (be it herself or himself, or some product or some candidate). The truth is no longer “good enough”. Everything needs to be polished and or hyperbolized. There are a few institutional culprits that generate and amplify the noise. We need to find a way to balance/align our reality and the portrayal of the reality. Our politicians, the corporations (and their marketing/spin campaigns), the media and social media are all culpable. To a degree, we all participate in this dynamic.
So, if I were to start a movement it would be about empathy and solidarity without compromising the truth. Let’s make the truth “cool” again.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Well, it would be that “life lessons are (for me) a system and cannot be distilled to a single quote.” It is a system of recipes regarding how to handle oneself and situations. This has been relevant in my life in the sense that my life — from this perspective — has been a quest of learning and developing this system, alongside continuous, disciplined implementation of such systems.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Personal security and peace of mind are basic human needs and rights. We live in a relatively safe society and era. However, there is a Personal Security Gap that the authorities are not tasked or equipped to address — all situations of fear and discomfort, that are not initially at the level of a 911 emergency. Solving the Personal Security Gap is worthy. For the first time, thanks to technological advancements, it is now also feasible, and can be delivered in an affordable, scalable, personalized manner, while ensuring privacy. Imagine a global company that helps billions of people be and feel safer. Now, imagine that company is named Bond.
How can our readers follow you or your company on social media?
Bond’s social media accounts: