I’m a relationship-first kind of person, and I believe a strong relationship that is built on trust will last a lifetime.
Michael Koch, an originating pioneer of the Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and SaaS industries, is the Founder and Chairman of Koch Global Ventures and the Chief Executive Officer of HubKonnect. Michael’s expertise lies in developing new ventures and high-performance tech platforms that are able to grow rapidly, effectively, and globally.
Previously, Michael Koch served as Founder & CEO of 4 Privately held technology companies that he built and sold over the course of over a decade. During this time, he built and implemented an industry-leading global delivery model and scaled a development center to over 400 resources for the second largest advertising network in the world. Michael Koch’s teams delivered across 267 Offices in 79 Countries worldwide. Most recently in 2016 building a leading Enterprise Platform for over 20,000 locations for a global leader in the QSR space.
Where did the idea for HubKonnect come from?
My previous tech company built an enterprise platform for the largest QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) with over 20,000 Franchise Locations. During this process, I learned so much about the entire Franchise Industry. Most importantly, I learned about the owner operations within individual franchise locations and their Local marketing needs. I worked very closely with the Head of Local Store Marketing for this QSR Giant (She is now my Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer for HubKonnect). I know we have built something that will increase sales and community engagement for ANY franchise by helping them understand their local markets and community.
I have always been on the forefront of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Algorithms, and Cognitive Computing. With HubKonnect, we wanted to merge Franchise Local Store Marketing with Continuous Learning to create a platform that leverages leading AI Tech to create a marketing “brain” for each location. This brain will give specific marketing tactics based on both structured and unstructured data to create a trading area analysis and recommend local marketing actions in both digital and traditional tactics.
What is so revolutionary and exciting about HubKonnect is our Local marketing AI brain, Kirby, who keeps on getting smarter each day. Kirby has the ability to constantly acquire more data that can be seamlessly integrated into client POS. This data will show campaign success and continue to evolve recommendations based on REAL data and results WITHOUT the need of repeatedly reprogramming a system. In the future, our technology will continue to evolve to handle a number of franchise’s needs beyond Local Marketing, such as staffing and servicing equipment, all using our Artificial Intelligence.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I always have been an early riser. I want to outwork my industry and be up before any other CEO daily. I Drink 2 cups of coffee upon waking up at 4:59am. Why 4:59 am? I always want to beat my competition if they are getting up at 5 am. I reflect on the day ahead of me over those cups of coffee, and then I head to the gym for a workout. These workouts consist of weights and Muay Thai Training 6 mornings a week. I typically try to find a top sports performance institute to work out, depending on what city I am in. As a CEO, I want to outperform my peers mentally and physically.
From there I go to the HubKonnect office and begin my day with conference calls, video calls, and product demos with top executives in the franchise space. I typically am on the phone or meetings back to back covering multiple Global TimeZones from Europe to North America to APAC. I don’t eat a long lunch, and I will typically have a few snacks in between calls to keep a high level of energy throughout the day. I will work late at the office depending when my last call will be based on TimeZones. I don’t do Business dinners or drinks and think they are a complete waste of time. I believe GREAT work and products build relationships. Not drinks and golf. I want a business relationship to evolve on success, not hobnobbing. When I finally arrive home, I take some time to recap. I keep a whiteboard at home for any ideas that would come to me while I recap my day. My mind is constantly turning and coming up with new ideas or thinking how to grow our platform to provide even greater value to our clients. I love what I do because I have a passion to help franchisees, who are entrepreneurs in their own right, succeed. That is a typical day in my life, and I can’t wait for what tomorrow brings.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a very visual person, and somewhat of a whiteboard ninja. I take my ideas and draw them out to think through the processes and impact of each idea. I always say, “there is no problem I can’t solve with 2 quiet hours and a whiteboard.” People will look at my whiteboard and will have no idea what it is, but for some reason, it works for me. It helps me get my thoughts completely aligned, and it brings ideas to life that will help clients or improve HubKonnect.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I don’t consider it a trend, as I believe Artificial Intelligence is the new Electricity. AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning are the Future and transforming our world. Some may confuse the three and think they are the same, but they are quite different. AI is the ability to imitate human behavior like Alexa from Amazon. Machine Learning takes large sets of data, analyzes it, and learns from it. We are able to recognize patterns and learn without programming. Deep Learning, a subset of machine learning, feeds Big Data into Neural Networks that then learn characteristics. Technologies like Facial Recognition and the Google Alpha Go project use deep learning. We are making amazing advancements at HubKonnext with Machine Learning and Neural Networks, and we are making these advancements faster than many of the Silicon Valley Titans. Stay tuned as AI will be as common as electricity and power all business.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I truly believe my early morning habits help me set a tempo for each day where I won’t be outworked.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to To NOT listen to my older self. He is going to tell you patience, but that easy for him to say because he has had success. Be young, be driven, be tenacious, and work till you drop, every day. Patience is an older man’s bad advice cause it’s easy to be a Monday Morning Quarterback and see now what might have been if you waited, but jump….be bold, be you, tomorrow is never given. Keep Kicking down doors and kicking ass every day.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Artificial Intelligence is not going to replace our workforce, and instead, it will enhance it. It is our duty to incorporate AI into the workforce and coach current workers to use this great technology to improve their jobs in every industry.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Hire and surround yourself with amazingly talented people. Not the nicest, not the best pedigree – Hire the most talented and loyal! We as entrepreneurs are not as good as we think. We can’t do everything. I need a strong team around me to support my strengths and pick up the slack for my weaknesses. Above all else, surround yourself with people you trust.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Treat the people you surround yourself with respect. The business world is constantly changing and evolving, and you never truly know what twists and turns will get thrown your way. If you surround yourself with good people, and you treat those people with respect, you are working to eliminate turnover at a high rate, which is one of the biggest issues facing almost every entrepreneur. I’m a relationship-first kind of person, and I believe a strong relationship that is built on trust will last a lifetime.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Introducing new technology before the world is ready for it. Being early in the tech world can have the same effect as being wrong or being too late. You need to introduce the technology when the world is ready for it, or it will not be accepted. I overcame this by refocusing my efforts and not always wanting to be the first to market at any cost.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think there is going to be a big convergence with Business and Health. I think that my next business will be building a Performance Institute for Global CEO’s for health, diet, and fitness.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It was a Bar Tab where I sat and Drank with a Group of WWII Vet and we just talked about the Greatest Generation. What heroes they were and what impact to the US and the world. We wouldn’t have the same lives we have today without them.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use Skype on a daily basis. It’s such a versatile tool that allows me to connect with anyone instantly without the hassle of making international calls. The chat feature also allows me to get quick updates that don’t necessarily warrant a phone call.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Bible, but not for religious reasons. It is a book that gives a tremendous historical perspective on mankind and why things are happening in the world today. From war to social implications, it’s a great foundational piece of knowledge.
What is your favorite quote?
“The Speed of the Leader, Determines the Rate of the Pack.”
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.