Mark Morgan, President of Intelisys, sits down with Dialpad’s Craig Walker, Founder and CEO, to discuss how Dialpad is helping partners conduct business in this remote environment.
Mark: Hello everyone, I’m Mark Morgan. And today in our Remote Workforce Spotlight I’ve got Craig Walker, Founder and CEO of Dialpad, with me. How are you today, Craig?
Craig: Hey, Mark. I’m doing great. My voice may not sound too great. I am feeling great.
Mark: That’s great to hear. So I’m going to jump right into a couple of questions. And one of the obvious questions is how has COVID and Go Remote–how do you see this changing the market and the opportunity for Dialpad?
Craig: Yeah. Well, I mean, one of the nice things is, when we left Google to start this company it was all about working from anywhere. It was not trying to be just a subscription version of an on-premise PBX. It was always built from mobile first, software first. And so this has been really kind of a trend that we thought was going to happen over the next… We started the company in 2011. We thought it would be a 20-year trend to get everything remote and work from anywhere. And now it’s been accelerated by 10 years. So more than anything, it’s made every CIO and every IT team realize we’ve got to run and have a digital transformation. They’ve got to be able to support their employees anywhere. And now that you don’t have an IT person over your shoulder helping you get set up and helping you troubleshoot things, it’s also got to be almost consumer grade when it comes to being able to figure things out and be able to take care of yourselves. Because every single home is now an additional office.
So, it’s really changed everything. Obviously we accelerated the adoption cycle by a ton. And we think we’re really well positioned for it because we were always built for that kind of future state of mind.
Mark: Yeah. I was thinking–prior to the call, we met each other, I think in, it was January/early February of 2017. And a good friend of mine and friend of yours, Dwight Foster, made the introduction. He brought me in. He said, “Hey, I’ve got these guys you got to meet.” And you know about us with ScanSource. We had this deep experience and background in collaboration with Polycom, Cisco, et cetera, and sold a lot of gear and served a lot of the AV integrator space in half. And I don’t know if you remember that, but I met you then. And the one thing that just really impressed me: I sat down with your team; they walked me through a demo of what you were, and I don’t know if that was early stage or not, but what you were building at that time was pretty cool just because of the… What I viewed at the time was a drag and drop capability with bringing people into conferencing.
So, how do you see your company? How have you changed since January 2017? One, platform specific; but two, how did what you were working on then prepare you for where we are today?
Craig: Yeah, so one of our foundations is this platform that we had perfected when we built the Google Voice product inside of Google. And it really is unique. It uses all of the modern built-in Google Cloud. And then off of that platform, we’re able to build any product we want.
So, we first started with UberConference and then we built Dialpad Talk, which is our UCaaS PBX replacement product. And then–so around 2017, we were in the process of launching our Contact Center product. So we were working on that. And then we acquired a real-time artificial intelligence company called Talk IQ. And that gave us the ability to convert calls into text in real time, and be able to do real-time coaching and sentiment analysis, and alerting to a supervisor for calls going wrong. And then you now have all of your calls across any of those products saved. So you can go back and mine that or find trends; or how many times a competitor’s being mentioned; how many times a refund’s being asked for. All the data that you would hope folks would be tracking, they no longer have to track. It now just lives in the data that you can go harvest it.
So more than anything, it’s kind of like that modern platform that allows you to do a lot more stuff on it than, say, something that was built before the cloud existed, which is a lot harder to add things to it.
Mark: With that said, are those your biggest differentiators? What do you think sets you apart from all the other guys?
Craig: Yeah, the biggest differentiators are, one, we’re just built in a more modern microservices way. And that’s just a fancy way of saying, this is how you would build a company if you started it in 2012, right? The technology is just so much more advanced. And unfortunately all of our competitors–you look at the magic quadrant–not a single one of those was built after the iPhone even existed, or built after the cloud even existed. And the world… It’s just a much different world once those two things happened.
So, we had the most modern platform inside of Google. We left, we did it again, made it even more modern. And that allows us to be able to have all three products with AI on top of all of them. Whereas you look at Ring and they’re still trying to like… They just launched their own meeting product and they’re still reselling someone else’s Contact Center product. Or you look at other ones where on the Contact Center side, all they do is Contact Center and they’re having a hard time trying to partner or integrate with any of the UCaaS guys. So it’s just kind of a technology limitation for our competitors. And it’s not because they’re not smart. It’s just because they were built in a time where that technology did not exist. So it’s just a more flexible software-based platform.
That’s number one. Number two, we’re former consumer products folks. Google Voice was a consumer product. So we build everything to be really easy to use, and delightful, and beautiful. And don’t let that simplicity belie the underlying power of the platform; but it’s just a simple, easy-use product. It’s easy to deploy and more solid to larger enterprises. The ability for them to deploy around the country, around the world really, really easily is a huge advantage. And when we look at some of our competitors, they’re trying to charge them pro services of half a million dollars because their stuff is so complex. I think our biggest pro service contract or our top tier is, I don’t know, like maybe $75,000 and that’s for a large implementation with many geographies. So it’s just more consumer friendly, designed for an end user and designed for an admin who can have now just a great interface to manage the entire world. And so, like Uber’s a customer with offices worldwide, Motorola’s a customer with offices worldwide, Syngenta is a customer with offices worldwide.
And we just won Twitter. So, we’re seeing a lot of people resonate to that. And then the last thing is just one, you have all the products. So they’re all on the same code base, same client, same everything. And then secondly, is that vision toward getting artificial intelligence in there and really being able to understand the conversations.
Mark: That’s interesting because back in ’17, when I was in your office in San Francisco, I can remember one of your team members saying, “Hey, we’ve designed this to where all you need is a laptop and one of these, or one of these and an admin can deploy a midsize or even an enterprise-level solution. So, let me ask you one more question around moving into COVID. The environment that we’re in today and that moment in time where everybody went remote. And I said this on pretty much every one of these calls that I have with people like you, is ScanSource has nearly 3,000 people. We went remote in two days and we pulled it off almost flawlessly. Can you give us an example of how your technology was very rapidly deployed? You don’t have to give me any customer names, but can you give me an example of a solution where you wowed an IT guy that thought it wouldn’t happen so quickly?
Craig: Yeah, I can even give you a name too. So we had won, we won the Twitter contract in Q4 last year and then started to deploy Q1 of this year. And then as COVID happened and people started getting sent home, they rapidly expanded their deployment and then it was thrilling.
Because then probably about a month after that Jack Dorsey, the CEO, came out and said, “Hey, from this point forward, every Twitter employee will have the option to work from home for the rest of their lives. This is the new normal, if you want it to be.” And I don’t think that would have happened if you didn’t have this type of Dialpad technology to allow them to be as productive from anywhere. So that was, that’s a really good one. Another one interesting story was like you, there was a big company in San Francisco, I won’t name them. And they called us and the CEO said, “No one can go to work. Everyone has to work from home.” And they called us. We had given them a demo in the past. Wanted to know if they could turn on 4,500 seats, without any contract, just like, “Hey, we want to go with it.”
They had said “no” to the original deal because they wanted to let their on-premise PBX contract expire. They called me and said, “Can we get 4,500 seats turned up in the next 48 hours?” And we were able to do that for them. So that was the most dramatic overnight thing that I saw. But yeah, you just see every single deal now that is just a big part of it–how do you handle all these things remotely? And again, it’s not just a US thing. This happened all around the globe at exactly the same time, almost. So the size of the opportunity is ridiculously good.
Mark: I think that’s fantastic. And as I look at the numbers and I look at what we’re doing with you guys and what our partner community is doing, you’ve impressed a lot of people. So I see a bright future for Dialpad, for Intelisys, and most importantly for the channel partner community. So it’s really exciting. I’m going to close out with one question around what’s one of the funnier things that you’ve seen during all of these back to back to back video calls? What’s one of the funniest things you’ve seen happen during a group video call?
Craig: I’d say it’s–my head of HR has a super precocious two-year-old who legitimately destroys every single meeting and is in there and just causing havoc. And so there’s nothing specific other than just consistent disruption from this one kid. But the most interesting thing of everything is everyone just rolls with it. A year ago, that would have been a mortifying embarrassing event. Now it’s just like everyone was like life goes on, everyone’s just got to deal with it.
And it’s made everyone so much more understanding of other people’s plight. My youngest kid’s 17. So if I even run into him in the house, I feel lucky. Whereas I feel terrible for someone who’s got a two-year-old and is trying to get a bunch of serious work done. So, I think it’s just been really cool to see how legitimately everyone just kind of rolls like that. That kind of like, “Hey, look, we’re all in this together. No one can leave the house.” I still gotta work, I still gotta be a parent and I really appreciate how everyone else has been really cool about that too.
Mark: Yeah. Same here. Well, listen, your voice, you sound wonderful. You made it.
Craig: Awesome. All right. This is the last conversation I’ll have today then.
Mark: Well, hey, well, thank you so much for your time. And we appreciate the partnership that we have, and we look forward to doing everything we can to continue to put some momentum behind this growth. So thank you so much. Have a great day.
Craig: I love it. Yeah. We really love partnering with you guys. So thanks again.
Mark: Thank you.