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“Really listen to your employees” With Chris Boudreau and Roger Ralston

Really listen to your employees and see what they want to do in your company. Sometimes they present things you wouldn’t have thought of. Sometimes, they can be of more value in another role that makes them happier. People will always thrive and do best when in a role they really enjoy.



Really listen to your employees and see what they want to do in your company. Sometimes they present things you wouldn’t have thought of. Sometimes, they can be of more value in another role that makes them happier. People will always thrive and do best when in a role they really enjoy.


As part of my series on “5 Things You Need To Know In Order To Run a Successful  Company” I had the pleasure to interview Chris Boudreau. Chris entered the corporate world at 18 working at a stock brokerage firm, and was a senior executive for a bank by 34 as the #2 in lending. Chris has a Bachelors Degree in Finance and a Masters Degree in Accounting. After watching a few years of the politics softening around marijuana, he decided to leave banking during the 2008 financial crisis, recognizing the oncoming emerging market opportunity in the cannabis industry. Since entering the cannabis space, Chris has successfully developed several cannabis businesses. Most notably, he has a licensed store, developed one of the largest retail delivery companies in cannabis, and built the first state wide wholesale distribution team in California. Chris sits on the Board of the California Cannabis Delivery Alliance, serves as Chair of the Distribution Committee for California Cannabis Industry Association, is Chair of the Board for the San Diego and Orange County Cannabis Industry Alliance, is on the Policy Committee for the California Distribution Association, is active in the California Growers Association, and is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the story of what first introduced you into this business or helped you get interested in the business?

Sure- It was the softening politics, and the potential of an exciting, sexy, developing industry that was creating fantastic emerging market opportunities. You can look at the success and wealth that was created by the development of the tech industry in the 1990’s and 2000’s and get really excited about the potential in cannabis.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? 

I would say the most interesting thing to me has been the range of people and sophistication levels you see in leading companies in this industry. It’s a great thing really, because it shows the potential for everyone, and demonstrates what can be accomplished with hard work. It tells the story of cannabis being an exciting opportunity right now.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? 

Hmm, that one is a little tougher. Looking back, I think the funniest mistake I made was in thinking I could build this on my own. Now I better understand the complexity, and know I would have never made it without a strong partner, and without others on our team who bring fantastic talent. Thinking that I could develop a good logistics company in cannabis without a strong team or capital is really a joke.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

 Yes, we have a very exciting new model we are developing. It’s a secret that is in the launch stage, so I have to keep quiet on this point, but with the amount of excitement we are already getting about it, it’s going to be a disruptor.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? 

Yes, I have a couple guys in particular. One is named Jack Schwebel, and the other is named Barrett Ehrlich. Both are fantastic people who gave us a lot of key and valued insight and guidance about an essential and challenging component of developing a solid company- Fundraising. I am very appreciative of them both, and feel fortunate to have had their time and the kindness they showed us to help us get started.

This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

 I think we do more social and online marketing than most, but that is nothing too surprising. I think we will see a quickly opening marketing marketplace over the next 18+/- months, and I think people should be on their toes and ready to react quickly to these upcoming changes.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

The 3 things that excite me about the industry:

  1. The growth potential
  2. The open field
  3. The true medical value and health benefits the industry is offering society

The 3 things that concern me most:

  1. The likely upcoming compression in flower prices, which will affect the prices of all other products, and margins, and company valuations for the entire industry.
  2. The growing field of competitors.
  3. The upcoming flood of capital that will bring much bigger and stronger competitors.

Can you share your top “5 Things You Need To Know In Order To Run a Successful  Company”? Please share a story or example for each.

1.) You need to understand the industry and marketplace: I’ve seen a lot of groups come into cannabis with an arrogant approach and think they will take over, only to get humbled in the process;

2.) You need to understand the consumer: Many groups get into this without really understanding the consumer. How do you build a product to sell, without understanding the buyer (especially if you’re selling a service)?

3.) You need to understand the regulations: This one always baffles me. I talk with so many people who only have a light understanding of the laws and regulations. It’s like going to work and not knowing the company rules. If you don’t know the regs, you are completely unprepared.

4.) You need to know how to prepare and stick with a budget: This one is self-explanatory, but we see people burning more cash than they can really afford to burn.

5.) You need to understand the markets need for your product (or understand that there isn’t a need for your product or service): You need to know how and why the market needs what you’re selling so you can understand how to present it to the marketplace and demonstrate their need to create demand. But, sometimes you don’t have the right product or service, and you need to recognize it. Surprisingly, this is ok. The strong companies have good leaders who realize its not right, and they pivot and find something to offer that is a needed product or service.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

 Really listen to your employees and see what they want to do in your company. Sometimes they present things you wouldn’t have thought of. Sometimes, they can be of more value in another role that makes them happier. People will always thrive and do best when in a role they really enjoy.

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? 

Doing more to help underprivileged children who come from low income families, broken homes, or no healthy family environment (or no family).

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Instagram & Twitter: SubtleBoudreau; Facebook: Chris A Boudreau


Roger Ralston is the CEO of DirectView Holdings (DIRV), a publicly traded company that specializes in providing security surveillance equipment to law enforcement, public facilities, schools, and cannabis dispensaries.

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