Jeremy Jacobs Lays Out How Enlighten Grew Into The Biggest Player In Cannabis Digital Signage

May 18, 2022 by Dave Haynes

The cannabis retailing industry is interesting in a whole bunch of ways. It is a unique vertical market with an absolutely screaming need for digital signage and interactive technologies.

While longtime recreational users may know their stuff, as US states and Canadian provinces have legalized, there’s a whole bunch of new users coming in with needs that have more to do with sleep problems or arthritic joints. They walk into dispensaries and are confronted with products and options that are somewhat or entirely unfamiliar, so screens that promote and explain are very helpful and relevant.

The dispensary business is also interesting because the industry has its own overcrowded ecosystem of payments and management systems that need to somehow be tied together.

The largest player in cannabis digital signage is the Bowling Green, Kentucky firm Enlighten, which is in some 1,200 dispensaries in the United States,

I had a fun conversation with Enlighten founder Jeremy Jacobs, who found his way into digital signage when the clean energy business he was running went south in the late 2000s recession. He pivoted into screens in businesses, and menu displays for restaurants led to an opportunity to branch into cannabis retail. He’s a super-smart, interesting guy more signage people should know about.


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Jeremy, thank you for joining me. Can you give me the rundown on what your company does? 

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, absolutely, Dave. Enlighten is the only real omni-channel company within the cannabis vertical particularly, and by omni-channel, we affect the customer journey throughout that entire customer journey. We have a product real quickly called AdSuite that targets people in a digital environment, whether it be mobile, Roku or even desktop computers based upon audience segmentation data we have, to know those are known cannabis consumers. And then we have our SmartHub product, which is an in-store product which is why we’re here today, digital signage, kiosk related, and that product helps to upscale the customers that were brought in from the marketing from AdSuite.

And this could be on menu boards, this can be on information displays, this can be on tablets, any number of things, right?

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, so SmartHub is really unique. Even if you zoom out of the cannabis vertical and just look broadly at the digital signage industry, SmartHub is an extremely unique product that we created. It manages kiosks, it manages digital signage, all sorts of menus, feature boards, order queue systems, break room TVs, where the audience has shifted from a consumer to the actual employee. It uses extremely advanced logic and filtering with the point of sale data that it’s consuming to make these things and even has an e-commerce component to it.

So really the way to think about it is that SmartHub is an extremely robust merchandising platform that manages all of your consumer facing surfaces, whether that surface is a passive screen, an interactive screen, like a kiosk or even the webpage where someone would come to purchase and make an order on your website.

And the cannabis industry is its own unique ecosystem, right? There’s POS companies that only do cannabis business, and so on? 

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, I would say there’s no true word than cannabis is its own individual ecosystem. So as a veteran, not been in the industry quite as long as you but since 2008, I’ve seen a lot of things and cannabis extremely unique. So it does have all of its own tech stack companies for the most part. There are a few companies, Microsoft Dynamics makes a sort of a POS system that’s been modified for cannabis. But outside, I’ll see a Square every now and then, but for the most part 99.99% of all point of sales systems at a digital signage company would integrate with are extremely cannabis specific and they all compete for what is roughly 8,500 retail clients across just short of 40 states, and so to talk about the uniqueness, even in more depth, not only are the stacks different in cannabis than they would be outside of that, but all the individual laws and rules that apply very literally from state to state. So you even have state variances. 

Why would so many companies decide, “I want to be in a space that’s changing constantly and not all that big and in the grand scheme of what retail is”?

Jeremy Jacobs: That’s a great question. I think what your question was alluding to, there’s the TAM, the total addressable market. You look at restaurants and there’s literally hundreds of thousands of them, and I would argue there’s barely as many POS companies in restaurants as there is inside of cannabis. And I think it’s a couple of things. From an emotional standpoint, this is “the green rush” right? Any cannabis advocate that for the last hundred years that it’s been illegal has felt violated by the error, has seen social injustice from that. I believe there’s an emotional component why a lot of these companies are there, a lot of these leaders are there. Second, there’s a power vacuum that gets field when no one wants to go somewhere. So when you take a look at the cannabis industry, none of these major POS companies that we’re referring to, none of them had any interest at all whatsoever in getting involved in cannabis. So the result of that is someone has to, and then the third prong, I think of this little fork here is that there is a green rush. The Anheuser Bushes of the world are about to be made of cannabis. There’s very unique transactions, very unique audiences, and there’s a lot of money to be made there. There’s a lot of value and you can see companies that are in the space that make tech. 

If you look on the internet, Weed Maps is probably the largest one, listed on the NASDAQ billion plus dollar company, recently Dutchie has made some announcements for billion plus dollar companies as well. So fortunes are being made even though the total addressable market is small.

Yeah, I’ve always thought that the cannabis dispensary business was a particularly interesting one for digital signage, because unlike most retail where you walk into an apparel retailer, you know what you’re looking for, clothes, I need a shirt or whatever. It’s pretty obvious. 

But if I walk into a cannabis dispensary, I’m pretty much lost. I don’t know what I’m even looking at and all these different strains of flowers and buds and this and that. It is like Mars to me. But, and I suspect a lot of people walk in like that who maybe aren’t recreational users, but want it to help them sleep or calm them down or whatever purpose they have for it?

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, and so to drill into that observation you’ve made is really there’s two kinds of consumers that very quickly develop in cannabis. There’s the customer that you just described, which is a new customer, and there’s a lot of those, because again, cannabis was technically illegal for about a hundred years. And so there’s a huge amount of new customers that don’t know anything, and so there’s a massive educational vacuum there, and that’s actually, Enlighten really started as we recognize that, and so we created an in-store digital out of home, a television network that runs ads for brands and things of that nature, endemic or non-endemic. We’ve got clients like Door Dash or Vans shoes or FX networks and their cannabis shows, but the content that’s on that network is educationally driven specifically to satisfy that lack of education that you just talked about, and then on the other end of that spectrum, there are these clients that very much know what they want and precisely what they’re looking for and those particular clients aren’t looking for that same experience. They’re looking for, digital menus that can be sorted based upon terpenes are based upon cannabinoid profiles so the highest THC value, they’re looking for is express checkout kiosks, so they don’t have to have an interaction. 

So uniqueness of the cannabis dispensary from a digital signage perspective is you have to create digital environments that satisfy both of those polar opposites. 

I gather when you were talking about omni-channel that it’s really important or helpful to a company playing in this space to be able to serve multiple needs and to integrate with the other technologies that are part of the ecosystem. If you just did digital signage, it’s a walled garden thing where you’re going to get much better reception for many users, whereas you can provide multiple components, right?

Jeremy Jacobs: Oh, absolutely. I’ve been in a lot of industries. The restaurant space was the first one. I was really into digital signage. Sysco Foods started slinging my digital menus for me, and like things 2009 and their 30 different offices and so I got to see a lot of things there. But in the first week in cannabis, eight years ago, the word integrate came up like 40 different times within an hour, and so I’ve never seen an industry that’s so demanding of integrations. Like for example, you walk into a restaurant and any number of restaurants and you look over by the hostess stand and there’s the DoorDash tablet, and there’s a GrubHub tablet, and there’s a Postmates tablet and there’s all these tablets. And so the hostess is watching these orders come in and then they’re putting them in their POS system.

That would never fly in the cannabis industry, like it’s a demanded integration by these people, and so if you’re going to create an integration engine, you’re going to want to make it have more points of influence than just a TV menu, you’re going to need to provide that e-commerce plug and you’re going to need to provide those kiosks. You’re going to want to link up with their customer data for targeting those customers, on their mobile devices. You’re exactly right, if you’re going to be relevant in cannabis, your stack better be serious because they’re trying to reduce that vendor set to if they could just one, nobody does all of it, but they want to reduce that number to the smallest possible.

Is that in part, because it’s a younger buyer audience who understands technology more and didn’t grow up in kind of old style restaurants or whatever, where there were all these different systems? 

Jeremy Jacobs: Interesting thing you said there,t because it’s a younger buyer, so that was very true eight years ago. But at this point, that is not the truth at this juncture. So just a few years ago, I think it was two and a half years ago, the fastest growing segment of users shifted from 20 year olds to middle-aged mothers and it was the fastest growing audience, and then over the last few years, what has really been the fastest growing audience has actually been elderly people. It seems like they’re starting to come to grips with, “Hey, I have pains and aches and cannabis is actually the solution”, and so it’s a big growing segment. 

But I think the answer to the question that you did ask is why is there this desire for a consolidation of a tech stack more than anything. 

Yeah, I was thinking more of the operators that tend to be younger. Maybe that’s not the case? 

Jeremy Jacobs: Same thing at this point, it’s not the case now, it’s weird. So it was the case before, a hundred percent because who was willing to take that risk to get in the weed business, and so a hundred percent, but now I’m sitting in meetings with digital officers and marketing officers from Abercrombie and Apple, and they came from big organizations and so it’s a very changing landscape. 

But at the end of the day, I think that some of them are young, so yes, to your answer, very good observation. Second is the ones that aren’t young are professionals, and they’re used to dealing with that. But thirdly, I think for both of them, the demand of tech stack is necessary because the regulations and the data that they have to send back to the state agencies and authorities and all of those sorts of things and the compliance they have to undergo is worse than any other industry ever. Like they’re under so much scrutiny and you could lose your license at the drop of a hat, and so they want less to deal with so they can focus more on staying in business. 

Does that touch on your platform and what you do? Do you have to have a Nevada version of it and a Colorado version and I forget where else it’s legal, California, obviously. But do you have to pass them out state by state or is it pretty uniform?

Jeremy Jacobs: Great question. So the technology itself is the same across all the states. AdSuite is AdSuite and SmartHub is SmartHub, but there are definitely nuances. So let me give you a couple of interesting examples in the state of Pennsylvania, you’re not allowed to put anything up on a screen from a digital signage perspective, unless absolutely it has been medically proven. And so it needs to come from a doctor or some position, a medical authority, and in Alaska, for example, they don’t believe anything has ever been proven by a doctor or medical authority and so you can’t put anything up that even closely resembles a recommendation. So there’s two polar opposites. So from a content perspective, I gotta watch those things.

From an advertising perspective. Some states, even though it’s cannabis, won’t let you show pictures of weed in the advertisements. Go figure that out. How do you advertise weed without showing weed? You can’t show people consuming the product in a lot of states with advertisements. So there’s another nuance, and then a third nuance is like in Pennsylvania, what I’m able to put on a digital menu is very specific and I cannot put any imagery into one thing, and I have to, I’m required to put certain testing results, similar to the way in the restaurant industry. Now everybody went digital whenever they were required to put the calorie count for these items, and that’s when you saw this massive uprising in digital cause they got to replace all this stuff anyway, might as well go to the screen, and in Pennsylvania, I got to put things like that, testing results. 

What’s the content that seems to be required across all the different dispensaries, kind of the money messages that need to be there, and the operators want to have up there?

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, so from a TV menu perspective. We’ll start with our that’s the most largely adopted digital signage product ever and so the TV menu, what’s necessary is the name of the products, the type of the product, the weight of the product, the price, the product, but really importantly, people want to know about cannabinoid profiles, is this high or low in THC? The psychoactive ingredient that gives you the feeling of a high, is it higher, lower in CBD, which is the non-psychoactive ingredient that really focuses a lot on pain, arthritis and inflammation and things of that nature, muscle pain. So consumers sort of demand that, operators want to provide that.

And from an educational perspective, if you’re talking about a different digital signage product and just more like digital signage, we’re producing educational videos, the demand really is around education of what are these different terpenes, what are these different cannabinoids, these little things inside of the cannabis that creates different effect for each strain, like this one makes me sleepy, this one makes me energetic, this one’s great for back pain, and so that’s the demand from a regulatory standpoint of pretty much the only uniform thing that I can’t really do is show anything that’s cartoonish that might want to lure children into the store. 

There was a big problem with packaging for edibles for a while there, right?

Jeremy Jacobs: It was, they’ve got sour patch kids on the box, and the first versions of edibles were very kid friendly because they took kids candies and made them, and now that’s pretty much been regulated out. So the same thing, that same sort of concern with the packaging that you pointed out with edibles is also a concern in digital signage and even digital advertising. So if I’m targeting a mobile phone, even though I’m targeting a known cannabis consumer, just stay away from anything that might be alluring to children.

So if I’m a customer of Enlighten, is it a SaaS platform that I am using?. 

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, so the two products are different. The SmartHub is the in-store signage, kiosk, kind of technology that manages all of that and talks to your POS system. That is definitely a SaaS product. As far as pricing models, there’s been a lot of those in digital signage, our kiosk system is one price for your entire store and use as many as you want. Our signage model is the same as anyone else’s, per node. SaaS model on our AdSuite product, though that is a SaaS product, if you will, it’s a piece of software that gains you access to those audiences on our DOH network and in stores, as well as, digital Roku devices, mobile devices, desktop computers but that’s driven just like any other digital advertising model would be external on a cost per impression basis.

What’s the footprint for your company at this point?

Jeremy Jacobs: So we’ve reached a really interesting crossroads, very few companies in cannabis have ever got over that thousand mark. Right now, I would estimate we’re in probably roughly 1200 dispensaries, somewhere thereabouts and then have several hundred other clients that are brands and so forth so our footprint reaches to about 1500 or so clients, big number and a TAM of 8,500, if you look at it that way. 

And this is an industry that like more and more states seem to be coming on stream, or at least there’s a push to bring them on stream. So it’s not like it’s a finite market right now?

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah. So that’s part of the growth. When we’re assessing growth, there’s a couple ways to look at it. One is how we can get more money out of the existing customers and that’s to offer premium versions of our products, additional services that might be out there that we could focus on. But also there’s just the overall growth of the entire market itself, and there’s a couple of phases of that. The first phase is for the state to go medical. So now, they can be a client of ours. But typically, we find the greatest traction in the states once they go recreational because what happens is their revenue growth is astronomical. 

People don’t appear to want to go to get a medical license nearly as easily as just walking in a dispensary. So whenever they go recreational, they buy a lot of other products from us and really focus on that retail environment and creating a magical experience for those recreational customers. So really there’s two phases, medical, and then recreational. But right now you’re looking at cannabis in almost 40 states at a medical level roughly 10 or so at a recreational level. I’m averaging there, the number changes. I haven’t kept track of it in a minute, but to give you an idea of growth, there’s about 10-12 to go to medical and then there’s the vast majority or 80 plus percent that are not yet recreational. So a lot of growth in them. 

Are you up in Canada as well? 

Jeremy Jacobs: We are. So it’s a lot of challenges working inside cannabis, anybody’s ever nailed internationally. You have to have your own bank accounts, your incorporations, your teams up there. It’s hard to import hardware products, and as a company, we do also provide the hardware. So that has its own challenges, but we do operate in Canada. We’ve got some systems in Puerto Rico, which is a US territory.  Jamaica, we send some things too. We have some plans we’re brewing up. Spain has a pretty good sized cannabis market and so we’re looking internationally there because the challenge is the same. People don’t understand cannabis, they need education. That’s the same worldwide. It’s been illegal globally, for a hundred years. 

How did you get into it? You mentioned that your first foray into digital signage was restaurants for Sysco, how did you end up in this? 

Jeremy Jacobs: So in 2008, I started a company called IconicTV, and it’s had many offshoots with verticals. I’ve been one of those guys when I see a vertical, I’d make a very precise product. We helped build a C-store DOH network called C-store TV. We had a school product called, school menu guru. We had a lobby product called lobby Fox, it does visitor management and so one of those products we noticed early on was digital TV menus, and so in 2009, I formed a deal with Sysco foods and they have 30 offices across the country that would distribute my digital signage, digital TV menu products to their restaurant tours. And so I hired these vice presidents in each of those areas to partner with those offices as Sysco calls an opco, and so Sysco would have reps and my reps would go do ride alongs, and so they would ride along with these representatives and go in and meet these restaurant tours at work and stuff. One of them, the guy in Denver, Colorado, Ted Tilton’s name? So Ted called me one day and this is right before cannabis goes legal in Colorado, which was the first state to legalize recreational cannabis, Washington and Colorado voted on it basically at the same time. But Colorado was the first actually who implemented, and he calls me, he says, Hey man, I got this idea and I said, what is it? He goes, these TV menus we’re selling through Sysco. I said, yeah, he goes, what do you think about making some for marijuana? I said, what are you talking about? And he says I’ve got these buddies opening this dispensary called DANK, and it’ll be the closest dispensary to Denver International airport and I got this feeling as soon as weed was legal in Colorado, a lot of people are going to be coming into DIA and this place is going to be really busy since it’s the closest one, and he says, and I was like, what would be the difference? And he said, essentially we put up marijuana buds instead of chicken sandwiches. And I said, I’m in.

I’ve been a big advocate of cannabis for a long time. At one point, I was even the executive director of Kentucky NORMAL, the division of the national organization for marijuana legalization. It’s the Kentucky chapter. I’ve been a big advocate of it. I’ve been a self prescribed patient for many years. It was an interesting opportunity to take a couple of things I was very passionate about both cannabis and digital signage and went to do some real work on two things I care about. So we dove in. 

Has the profile of the operator changed? 

I remember talking to another person who’s involved in this space and actually being out in Denver and he was saying that there’s two types of operators. There’s a business people who see this as a growth opportunity, and they’ve already had some experience in retail or in investing or whatever, and then there’s growers and growers who are turning into retailers and he said the challenge with the growers as they’re growers, they’re not business people and they don’t really understand retail, and I’m curious if in the early days you saw a lot of them stories of dispensaries that would start up and then drop off because they didn’t really know what they were doing? 

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, and I’ll take that example. Your friend gave you a pretty good insight there, but to expand on that, I don’t even think it’s just growers though. It’s I think just very weed passionate people, like they’re very passionate about it. Whether it’s consuming it or making concentrates or growing it or whatever. So I would just call them plant passionate people versus business people, and it very much exists, and it doesn’t today to the degree that it used to. In the beginning, someone that’s a senior executive vice president of Abercrombie is not going to go start a dispensary, like during the first couple of years, we were all wondering if everybody opened these things, were all gonna go to jail. I’m sure everybody in America is going everybody in Denver is going to do it, just wait, and if all my friends at open dispensaries were sitting around, I would have conversations with the night and they’re like, I’m just wondering if tonight, the DEA raids my house, and so nobody wanted to be under that scrutiny except plant passionate people.

But as time got on and the federal government sorta started to take a position, even if the position was, “we don’t have a position”, that’s still a position, and so they’re not taking an aggressive stance on it then you began to see real business people start to come into the environment and at this point, you have organizations like Cresco who just bought Columbia Care, and these operators have over a hundred stores and they’re doing hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in retail cannabis sales. These are not the type of marijuana dispensary that I think most people have in their mind. These people have entire floors of IT teams. They have entire floors and marketing teams. They do in-depth customer insight studies, and that influences every tiny nuance of their packaging and their store layouts. These are real operations, but I can still take you to Oregon right now and  walk into the shop or Nancy and Megan who are best friends and they have tie-died things up on the wall and they’re very whimsical people that are just very passionate and who also have a successful sotry. Now they’re not going to sell hundreds of millions of dollars to cannabis, but they’re also successfully operating. 

Think of it like liquor, for example, Liquor Barn exists and that’s a big corporation. But, in the town I live in, everybody wants to go to Chuck’s Liquors when Chuck was alive, because Chuck was just the coolest guy ever. So you went to Chuck, so they both have a place. 

Yeah, I’ve certainly seen the same thing. I remember being an Amsterdam for ISE and, you’d stick your head into one of these coffee shops, and it was just a hole in the wall and weird but out by the hotel where I was staying, there was a dispensary that looked like an Apple store, like it was very slick. 

Jeremy Jacobs: Interesting you say that. So there’s this place called Euflora and Jamie Perino was one of the owners at the time and it’s at the 16th street walking district in downtown Denver. This is the big street with the old piano outside and everybody wandering around a very touristy area and so we did the first project for them that I remember getting a call from them and they’re like, “Hey, we open in 11 days and we’ve got this crazy idea where there’ll be a touchscreen kiosk and it’s sitting next to a jar of marijuana, and this kiosk has all this interactive stuff on it with everything about that strain of marijuana. We needed in our stores in 11 days. Can you guys do it?” And they said, oh yeah, and our budget is X, and I just laughed, and I said X is missing a couple of zeros, especially for 11 days, what are you talking about? And they’re like, can you do it or not? And I said I can, but I shouldn’t but I’m going to, and so we did, because we wanted to be part of the exposing of this whole thing.

And so we took it on, and so when you would first walk on your floor, you can dig up some old video files from the news channels from eight years ago, it very much looked like an Apple store cause we had Apple iPads on every table next to a jar of marijuana and you can scroll up and down and see what the euphoric effects would be and does it make you sleepy, happy, hungry, horny, what’s it going to do? And, in what genetics, where did it come from? And just all this interesting stuff, and people would come into that store fascinated, and so it was very Apple-esque. 

How did you end up in digital signage? Cause I was looking at your bio and you’ve got patents in Magneto, hydrodynamics for energy exploration, drilling and everything. How did you get here? 

Jeremy Jacobs: What the hell happened? Early in life I realized I didn’t really like formal education. So I think I’m like nine hours from a college degree, but I dropped out and became entrepreneurial. So I became an investment broker and I worked on several different fundraising deals, most of them were driven around biodiesel. That was very active at the time when I dropped out of college, nearly two thousand, biodiesel was a thing, a lot of different technologies. And very quickly I got interested in alternative energy technologies and energy efficiency technologies, and just anything that was energy related, and technology related, and so I had an operation with about 20,000 acres of natural gas wells in Eastern Kentucky that were clean natural gas wells using advanced technologies like hydraulic fracturing.

I started inventing Magneto hydrodynamic technologies that’s used by Chevron and Exxon and people that. It goes down in oil wells. It’s used to eliminate paraffin and that technology has now been adopted by the DoD to make airlines, to make fighter jets fly farther because the fluid systems flow better and a lot of different things, and then 2008 came, so I own a quarry, that’s mine and silica for Silicon to make marker processors, and I got a bunch of natural gas, wells and magnetic technologies, and 2008 comes, 2007 comes, the housing crisis collapses, everything and natural gas went from about $14 in MCF, which was a vast majority of the revenue that we were driving to like a dollar and a half in MCF, which is the unit that you produce and sell for, it stands for thousand cubic feet, and I needed $3 to make that make sense, right? And now it’s at a dollar and a half. So I went from really cash flow positive to a hundred percent cash flow negative and just a matter of months.

And on top of that, when you own a bunch of quarries, nobody’s buying any materials, and so I look up and literally everything I’m involved in just all of a sudden is collapsing and I don’t have the payroll to make payroll for this massive bunch of employees. We had several offices in different parts across the country. And surely it was excruciatingly painful fast. Everything had to close, and so here’s, here’s the reality. I’m at home depressed out of my mind. I’ve just had to lay everyone off. I’ve had to shut in all these gas wells. I’ve had to lock the gates on all these quarries and nobody wants to talk about anything, everybody’s going broke and my wife comes to me and she says, you’ve got to do something. We have kids we have to feed, we have bills we have to pay. You cannot sit here and be depressed, and I had seen somewhere I think it was in a mall. A friend of mine had built a TV screen, turned sideways, and it had Adobe Flash player on it, and it was playing some animated motion graphics that he controlled on a desktop PC inside this big kiosk and I thought I could do something similar to that, and so I literally grabbed a 32 inch Vizio TV out of my living room. My wife goes, where are you going with my TV? I said, I’ll bring it back to you. I’ll see you in a week, and she goes, you are leaving with the TV for a week? I said, yeah, and you’ll get a bigger one, I promise, and I grabbed the Toshiba laptop that my field hands that would go around, they had to log what parts they use and how long they were on job sites and stuff, and I grabbed one of these old stinky laptops that smells like crude oil and hung it in a friend of mine’s restaurant in Clarkson, Kentucky. It was called K’s cafe and it was political season, and so I’m going to tell a story about myself here, Dave, and so I go around and build these very animated PowerPoints and I’m changing the files out via LogMeIn at the time. I didn’t even have any software, digital signage software. I didn’t even know about the digital signage thing.

And so I’m like, I gotta sell ads on this thing, so I go to this guy that’s running for sheriff, and I told a little white lie. I was like, Hey man, the other guy that’s running for sheriff, he’s buying in on my screens. It’s in the most high traffic restaurant, and apparently legally, I’ve got to offer you the same opportunity at the same price. He goes, why what’s he paying? And I told him, he goes, I’ll take it, and so then I went to the guy that I just told a white lie and said, this other guy is buying. It was, which was actually true the second time. That’s how I got started, I had to feed my kids. I had a 32-inch Vizio TV and a busted up laptop and I sold some people aspiring to be politicians, some ads and some real estate agents, and it just grew from there. I look up and I’m in hundreds of restaurants and fitness centers with the DOH network and six months later, a friend of mine says, Hey, can you use one of those silly ad TVs and make a menu on it because the price of salmon keeps fluctuating so much. I got to put these mailbox letters, and so we made, which was one of the early digital menus. I think we’d both agree, 2009-2009 was not the dawning moment of digital menus. It wasn’t the precipice of it. That was very early.

And so we started using those and saw opportunities to replace those little black felt directories with the letters you run out of the M, and so you flip the W upside down, it’s all bow legged looking, on the little felt boards. We started making digital directories integrated with Google sheets, so you could change it easily and the rest was history, man. I dove in and needless to say, the kids are fed now. The wife is happy. She got a bigger TV. I think it’s 70 inch now. So everyone’s cool. 

That’s a hell of a pivot. 

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, buddy. Necessity is the mother of invention. 

All right. This was terrific. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Jeremy Jacobs: Yeah, man. I was going to start off this morning saying longtime listener, first time caller. I’ve been watching your website, your blog, your podcast for as long as I can remember. So it’s been an honor to finally get to be a part of it, and I really appreciate it. 

Thank you for taking the time with me.

Jeremy Jacobs: I thank you, Dave.

  1. David Drain says:

    Very interesting and entertaining!

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