Don’t take yourself too seriously. We are all on this journey together. You will fail, but the sun will come up. You will succeed and that same sun still comes up. The key is to enjoy the journey and set your goals so high they fire you up to achieve them.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rex Kurzius.
Rex is an entrepreneur whose vision has resulted in tremendous growth and recognition for his companies. Rex currently serves as Founder and President of Asset Panda, a highly configurable asset tracking and management platform that is SaaS-based with mobile apps.
Since his founding of the company in 2012, Asset Panda has experienced three-year revenue growth of over 3,500 percent. Inc. Magazine also ranked Asset Panda as the fourth fastest-growing company in Texas and the 104th fastest-growing company in America. Most recently, Rex was named 2018
Entrepreneur of the Year by the Frisco (TX) Chamber of Commerce for his efforts to support young entrepreneurs. His service to the community and his innovative contributions have helped lead to the rapid growth of Asset Panda.
Rex also serves on the board and is an investor in several other companies. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and donates a significant amount of time to mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. He is a sought-after speaker and the former President of the Dallas Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization and former Chairman of the North Texas Young Presidents Organization.
A graduate of SMU, Rex is an Eagle Scout and lives with his wife and three children in the DFW area.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Iwas always drawn to the idea of starting a technology company, but I didn’t know what exactly it would be. I wanted to really solve the problem. As I was researching and going about everyday life in business, asset tracking jumped out at me.
In my business experience we were always working off spreadsheets and it was common for us to not be able to get updated information unless we called the accountant. This really slowed us down and I thought there has to be a better way.
So, I created Asset Panda. We offer asset management through a mobile app. And through this we’re able to help people in a very wide variety of industries track their assets in an easy-to-use app. We partner with large companies like Yeti and Dave & Busters along with schools, small businesses and lawn care companies. We even help farmers track their chickens. Basically, if you have assets of any kind, we’re here to help you.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
A great lesson I’ve learned is that some of the greatest ideas and innovations come from people that have insight because of their lack of experience in an area. They don’t know any better so they follow their intuition and apply common sense. I’ve learned that the “experts” tend to be pushed into a highly structured thinking process that squeezes out creativity in favor of conformity.
Can you tell us about the “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
We are re-thinking the way the world thinks about managing the things they own.
The second most important asset companies have behind their people are the tools people use to do their jobs. Giving our clients the ability to map their workflows to the platform allows them to work in a familiar method that is congruent with their mission and process. As the clients use the system over time they have the ability to build additional workflows solving a variety of business issues akin to MindCraft for business.
How do you think this might change the world?
Like so many amazing entrepreneurs have done before me, we’re taking a real problem people are facing and utilizing our tech background to solve it. And we’re solving it in a simple way for consumers. People are on their smartphones for hours each day, so we’ve created an app for them to manage assets on a device they’re already on.
We’re also customizing the back end to match our customers workflows. We don’t expect you to implement Asset Panda and have your team re-work their processes. We take the time to learn the processes and workflows of your business and we’re custom building our solution to help you.
A significant amount of money and time is wasted in traditional asset tracking methods. We think the cost savings companies achieve will allow them to reinvest in the things that matter to them like their mission, people and communities they serve.
I have a quote from Steve Jobs printed in the Asset Panda office that reads, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” People can call me crazy, but I’m on a mission to change the world through Asset Panda. And I’m not slowing down until it’s achieved.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
I don’t see any drawbacks from using this technology.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
In my own working experience I saw the need for an easier to use system that would allow access for everyone in an organization to see assets and their status.
Then a friend of mine lost his home in a fire. When he was working with his insurance company to get back what was lost, they needed a list of what was in their home. Unfortunately, they didn’t have an inclusive list of all their assets and it was a difficult process to recover what was lost.
Then while I was traveling in India I saw a young man delivering propane tanks on a bicycle of sorts with a thousand dollar smart phone in his hands. At that point it all clicked for me. There’s a wide variety of assets that businesses have and it’s important to allow everyone to track where and what those assets are with the phones they’re already using.
People need (and want) the ability to track things and have direct access to that information without having to work through an accountant. So, I created the answer with Asset Panda.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
We need to allow our clients to do self-guided implementation and suggest innovative ways to solve more business problems through workflow configuration. Also, we need to be accessible in more languages than English.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
We focus the bulk of our activities around a comprehensive content strategy. We work hard to produce white papers, case studies, testimonials and blogs. The information we provide allows our clients to see how people with similar problems solve them with Asset Panda.
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 about that?
I am very grateful for my wife. I believe that success in life is closely related to the relationship you have with your spouse, and my wife is very supportive. It’s not easy to be married to an entrepreneur, and I’m very aware of that. She was there supporting me through the struggles of the early years. We talk about the business a lot and I appreciate her perspective. We are a team.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have used my success to serve as an example to aspiring entrepreneurs. My thought is if I can help someone build a business it has a multiplier effect on their employees and communities. My line of thinking follows this old saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
We work with a variety of non-profits helping them deliver services in a much more cost-effective way, giving them the opportunity to reinvest in their missions. It feels great to know that our platform is helping people all over the world.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Being a CEO is isolating. When it is up to you to make the final decision there is no one else to blame or lean on. Both success and failure are on you.
- The people you are most generous with are often your biggest critics. I felt time and time again when I was generous the returned attitude was not what I expected. As a CEO, the entitlement attitude is tough to deal with.
- The key to being a successful CEO are the three C’s. The first is clarity — for yourself, the company and your people on what the mission is and what their part is in accomplishing it. The second is communicating your vision and measuring how everyone is doing. You can also achieve this by reporting on a daily/monthly basis culminating each quarter with a State of The Company Address that keeps everyone on the same page. The third is backing it all up with an empowering culture that values individuality, stresses the importance of failure in the journey to success and celebrates achievements as individuals, teams and company.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. We are all on this journey together. You will fail, but the sun will come up. You will succeed and that same sun still comes up. The key is to enjoy the journey and set your goals so high they fire you up to achieve them.
- Surround yourself with a team that is better than you in every way. The key to success is having an empowered team that understands the vision and can execute it.
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 believe that the greatest problems our world faces will be solved by entrepreneurs, not the governments. I want to influence and encourage people to take a chance on themselves, and at the same time make the world a better place. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in this world,” and I believe in his philosophy.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.”
- Steve Jobs
This resonates with me as I have decided to create my own life and live it on my terms. It was the only way I could see to dramatically improve my life and that of my family.
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 🙂
I am not looking for a VC investment.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.