BL: You live in San Francisco, and can work at any cool company. So, why Blue Jeans?
MR: So here’s the deal. The word disruption is often times too easily thrown around and can get a bit cliché. However, when I first started at Blue Jeans over three years ago, the technology was truly disruptive and we are still pushing the boundaries today. At that time, I was residing in Southern California where I was interested in exploring other startups where I could make an impact. After ample due diligence, I immediately traded in my board shorts for denim and moved back to Silicon Valley to be a part of Blue Jeans Network. I should mention here, we now have an awesome office in Orange County, and we’re hiring there too! I wish I had something of my own here to say, but Sheryl Sandberg said it best, “'If you're offered a seat on a rocketship, get on, don't ask what seat.” I saw the opportunity to join a company that was changing video collaboration and I wanted to take off with it. It was pretty simple. Here is a clip of that speech: https://youtu.be/2Db0_RafutM?rel=0
BL: How did you know it was right? How do you pick the right “rocketship?”
MR: Picking the right startup is about three things:
BL: Blue Jeans didn’t exist when you were in college. What did you want to do back then? Does it relate at all to what you do now?
MR: After Captaining and medaling in Slalom and Giant Slalom downhill skiing for a race team, I wanted to join the US Ski Team and be an Olympic racer. I did it for fun and I was good at it. It wasn’t only about competing, but also just being able to ski and learn from the best racers. Skiing turned into a hobby and selling turned into my profession and passion. At Blue Jeans, I get to work with and learn from the best of the best. I get to talk to companies like Dolby, Netflix, GitHub & Atlassian for example. I feel hugely accomplished knowing I helped change entire infrastructures and some of the ways people communicate with each other globally.
BL: What was your first big win at Blue Jeans? How did it feel?
MR: My first big win was with a famous local law firm. Wow. Crazy to think that far back. That’s when I first got that feeling like I was sitting at the table with the right people for all the right reasons. It was almost surgical how precise our value was outlined for their use cases. Questions were answered without much effort, trials were executed flawlessly and it was like the stars had aligned. I felt like Neo at the end of the Matrix dodging bullets and agents! I love this job because I get to talk with these companies who are thirsty for change and provide them with new ways of looking at communication. Throw the hardware out people. Communication is mobile. I love being able to provide a leading edge perspective.
BL: I think I saw you play a surfing video a couple months back at a team meeting, what was that all about?
MR: I try to keep the team motivated. One way is with videos. I studied literature in college and realized that sometimes quoting Eastern philosophers or dead military leaders doesn’t quite cut it. Because my team is spread out I have to find ways to share cool stuff with them, and be personal. During our team meetings I’ll use our HD video sharing over Blue Jeans and show them 1970’s interviews with Muhammad Ali, or Laird Hamilton surfing Teahupoo. I like to show them ways to overcome adversity, push boundaries, and disrupt their own processes.
BL: What would you say to someone that claims Blue Jeans can’t replace real face-to-face communication, ie: business travel.
MR: Well, I hate business travel. I love to travel for pleasure. Work travel is expensive, it takes forever to get somewhere, and it’s physically tiring. I’m all about efficiency. I can’t completely rule out travel and I’m not interested in completely replacing face to face meetings, but in many ways I want to provide an effective alternative so if we want to accomplish the same thing, or more, without having to take a bus, drive a car, or fly a plane, then let’s do it! Typically, a traditional hour-long meeting can take 30 minutes over video and all while eliminating the need to leave your home or office. I don’t even own a car anymore! Give me video!