Join us for a sit-down chat with Michael E. Bullock, CEO & Founder of NeoTreks, as we discuss everything from the all-new NeoTreks.com to the next big trends in enterprise technology solutions to his favorite mode of transportation. Hint: It’s not what you think!
How did you come up with the name NeoTreks?
When I decided to launch a new company, I desired a company name that was unique yet related to our business vision. Using a small whiteboard in my living room, I asked my family for ideas for a name. We wrote down many names, which my children found quite fun. We ended up with the name NeoTreks.
Though the company is now eight years old, and we have undergone some changes to our company focus, “NeoTreks” still conveys our mission of being a “New Path” for mobile enterprise solutions.
Our new website, launched in January 2019, was designed with this theme in mind.
Speaking of which, congrats on the NeoTreks rebrand! What was the deciding factor to re-focus the organization on professional services for mobile enterprise solutions?
Over the past several years, we’ve found our team excels at providing professional services to our clients. This wasn’t my goal when I launched the company in 2010. But, along the way, we had many clients approach us and ask for help with their product ideas. We put our internal plans to the side to focus on our new clients and their needs.
This has been a big success for our clients as well as for NeoTreks. We have a superb team of developers and project managers who love serving our clients.
In the NeoTreks origin story, there was a moment when you had to either let the idea of AccuTerra go or take the risk and figure it out on your own. Thinking back to that time, what gave you the faith to make the leap?
It was a very scary time for me. I have five children, with the oldest starting college at the time. My wife was serving as a director on our local school board (an unpaid position), so I was the only source of income for my family.
I kept thinking that you should start a business when you’re 28 years old, not 48 years old like I was in 2010 when founding NeoTreks. Yet, I knew that mobile technology was the future, and the timing was right.
A friend and entrepreneur told me to make the leap, saying “You just have to close your eyes and jump.” This is really true. Leaving the security of the corporate world, and hoping you succeed with your own vision, was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. And, with the exceptions of my family and faith, it is also the most gratifying thing in my life.
What’s your all-time favorite experience at NeoTreks?
It’s hard to point to just one because there have been many special experiences. For example, just last month we had a major deliverable for a client that was extremely important to their ability to conduct their multi-million-dollar business operations. Our team was working for months on this task and everyone was nervous when the time came to “flip the switch” to make this new database system go live.
Would their systems and sales staff still work in the field? Would there be unanticipated bugs with our team up all night fixing problems?
As it turned out, the switch-over was extremely smooth with no significant problems and our client’s operations continued unimpeded. This was such a relief for our client and for us. I was so proud of our team—their planning, skill and hard work on this huge milestone. This elevated my vision of what our team is capable of.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
I’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of great advice over the years. One piece of advice that comes to mind is: If you watch the pennies, the dollars take care of themselves.
As a self-funded company, I’ve tried to manage our company according to that important principle. We are very frugal, and we continually re-invest in our company and in our people. We always look for ways to save money for our clients because they’re entrusting their precious funds to our company in return for the services we perform. It’s important that we are worthy of that level of trust.
What’s your favorite stock right now and why?
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is a disruptor changing the automotive industry. Many people and institutions are betting against them, but they are building innovative cars that are clean and have amazing performance. I bought a Model 3 in September and it is the best car I have ever owned.
What are the next big trends you see in enterprise technology solutions that will advance NeoTreks’ clients’ profitability and productivity over the next 2-3 years?
We are seeing a strong trend in the need for customized enterprise solutions, of which mobile is a key component, that can provide clients with a significant advantage over the competition.
Our clients are investing in enterprise IP because this technology improves their profitability, provides differentiation and becomes an important asset for the company. Some clients plan to license their technology as a SaaS solution to other companies in non-competitive markets, providing another avenue for monetization.
When clients ask your opinion on offshore development, what’s your favorite advice?
Our clients love our development team—regardless of whether they’re located in our Colorado office or in our Frýdek office in the Czech Republic. The key is to have a seamless team, with superb technical and communication skills, who are supported by our project managers in our Colorado office. This provides our clients with the best of both worlds: an experienced management team here in Colorado that is leveraging our world-class team of software developers.
NeoTreks believes in giving back to charitable organization both locally and globally. Who are some of your favorite charities and why?
I have a soft spot in my heart for charities that help children here in the U.S. and in other countries. Children can’t choose their circumstances and are often neglected, mistreated or have medical problems. We want to do our part to give back and help where we can by supporting some amazing charities that do incredible work.
What’s next on your bucket list?
I plan to do more personal travel using my commercial pilot license. I started flying when I was 17 years old, but I stopped flying when my wife and I had our third child and I needed to focus on family and career. I’m now in a position to resume flying and enjoy the freedom of that method of transportation.
How has being a pilot helped you in your role as CEO of NeoTreks?
I learned an important lesson when I was getting my instrument rating (learning to fly solely by instruments when in cloud conditions). I learned that it’s okay if you are slightly off course—provided you are navigating to get back on the correct course. I’ve found this also applies to business: Where you are is less important compared to where you are going.