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100: The Team Behind Constant Variables

Published January 4, 2022
Run time: 00:47:45
Listen to this episode with one of these apps:

Meet the people and business behind Constant Variables as the mic gets flipped on show host, Tim Bornholdt.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How each episode of Constant Variables comes together
  • The story of The Jed Mahonis Group and where its name originated
  • What Tim does (and doesn’t) like about being an entrepreneur
  • Whether or not a blooper reel exists

This episode is brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group, where we make sense of mobile app development with our non-technical approach to building custom mobile software solutions. Learn more at https://jmg.mn.

Recorded December 16, 2021 | Edited by Jordan Daoust | Produced by Jenny Karkowski

Show Links

JMG Pricing Page | https://jmg.mn/pricing

Connect with Tim Bornholdt on LinkedIn | https://www.linkedin.com/in/timbornholdt/

Connect with Jenny Karkowski on LinkedIn | https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennykark/

Connect with Jordan Daoust on LinkedIn | https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordan-daoust-b55a53b5/

Send a guest recommendation for Constant Variables | hello@constantvariables.co

Chat with The Jed Mahonis Group about your app | https://jmg.mn

Rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts | https://constantvariables.co/review

Episode Transcript:

Tim Bornholdt 0:01
Before we get into this week's episode, shout out to Andrew from Alula, the complete solution for smart security hardware and software. Andrew left us a five star review on Apple podcasts, which helps us reach a larger audience. So thank you, Andrew. If you want a mention at the top of one of our shows just like this, you know what to do. And if you don't, cause probably you don't, here are the details. Leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts, and if you include your name or company name in the review, we will give you a shout out on a future episode as a thank you. Visit constantvariables.co/review and we will take you right there.

This episode is brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group. We build best in class iOS, Android, and web apps. We do this by integrating with teams that lack mobile expertise and work together to deliver creative mobile solutions that solve actual business problems. To learn more about us and to see our pricing, something we're very transparent about, visit jmg.mn.

Welcome to Constant Variables, a podcast where we take a non technical look at building and growing digital products. I'm Tim Bornholdt. Let's get nerdy.

This right here is a very special episode of Constant Variables. It is our 100th episode. And it's also our first episode of the new year. So after doing 100 episodes, I thought it would be super cool to introduce you guys to the people and the business behind the show. So let's start with the people. We have Jordan Daoust and Jenny Karkowski.

Jordan and Jenny, welcome to the show.

Jordan Daoust 1:55
Hey, thanks, Tim.

Jenny Karkowski 1:57
Fun to be here on this side of it.

Tim Bornholdt 2:00
I was gonna say you've been all, both of you have been part of this virtually since day one. And it's very exciting to have you on this side of the microphone and to get the mic flipped on me. But before we jump in and do that, I wanted to give both of you a chance to introduce yourselves, talk about your day jobs and how you fit into the show. So Jordan, why don't we start with you. Tell us about yourself and how you got roped into helping us out with this?

Jordan Daoust 2:25
Well, yeah, thanks, Tim. My name is Jordan Daoust. I currently work for a local live AV production company as the Director of Operations called Apex. And I've been there for about nine years now, before that I was a sound designer and live sound engineer for live theater. And as far as how I got roped into this, I believe Tim, you went to high school with my lovely wife, Megan, and saw that I was maybe doing sound somewhere and reached out and asked if I was interested. And turns out I was. And this was a few years ago now. And you know, we did one. We tried it out. And now we're 100 episodes later.

Tim Bornholdt 3:15
It's worked out pretty well, I'd say. I mean, I think I remember having to cut at least maybe like the first episode or two. And I thought this isn't gonna work out like to host and edit. And I thought yeah, like, why don't we bring in somebody that can actually edit and make me sound really good. So I'm really glad that you answered the call. Now that you've been doing this for a while, I'm sure you have this down to a science. Does it usually, like how long does it usually take you to get an episode edited, and maybe walk through what editing actually entails for you here?

Jordan Daoust 3:48
Yeah, so I basically plan for about twice the time of the actual podcast itself. So if it's an hour long podcast, it's probably gonna take me two hours. There's always, you know, strange circumstances if you know someone has a dog barking in the background, which I don't know, you may hear from my side sometimes. But you know, anything like that. Sometimes that takes a little bit more time, you know, room noise, wind fan, anything like that. Those can kind of elongate the process. Sometimes if it's just a super smooth interview, it can take me, you know, just a little over the time of the actual interview.

And as far as my whole editing process and all of that, I use Logic Pro X. I've been using that for a super long time. I mean, at this point, now I'm going on, you know, 10 years of using Logic and every single episode that comes in when I upload it, all comes in with the same settings that we've sort of, over time, kind of come up with that work. And I drop all the files in. Everyone starts clean, if you will. And then I go ahead and do some equalization, you know, maybe someone, again, there's noise in the background, you know, whatever it may be. So each episode ends up being different. But they all start with the same level of processing, and all of the outward processing, the like, bounce to disk, all of that, those are all the same. So I try to keep it as as concise as possible with this is how the podcast sounds. But as you know, we all know at this point, we're in the world of COVID. And everything is remote. So you know, laptop microphone, someone's home microphone, you know, all of that can kind of change everything. Yeah, definitely.

Jenny Karkowski 6:05
I'm always amazed at what you're able to edit out, because I listen to the raw side of every episode. So before Jordan has edited it, I listened to it to put together the show notes and the description of the episode. And so I hear, you know, all the dogs barking, or the kids interrupting or the, you know, the cell phone going off in the background. But then when the live episode comes out, there's hardly any of that to where it's, you know, you don't even notice it if there is.

Jordan Daoust 6:34
Yeah, it can be, it can be a real trip sometimes. You know, and not to get too personal, but you know, people have mouth noises and burps and hiccups and all that stuff, where it's when I'm listening along on headphones very carefully, it gets interesting.

Tim Bornholdt 6:54
Not me, though, right? It's always the guests.

Jordan Daoust 6:56
Oh, Tim, you are just, you're perfection.

Tim Bornholdt 6:59
The consummate professional.

Jordan Daoust 7:02
Never, never anything that I wouldn't want to hear.

Jenny Karkowski 7:05
That was my next question was that I've heard that there's a rumor that you've made a blooper reel of Tim and I was wondering if you had anything good.

Jordan Daoust 7:13
You know, especially on the early days, when it was Tim and Rob just kind of talking, there's a lot of stuff that might not be shareable publicly. But, you know, honestly, my favorite part is before and a little bit after each of the episodes, especially beforehand, when Tim is talking to whoever it is that he's interviewing. And, you know, they're just, they're just talking. It's just, they're just regular people. And it's not an interview. And, and I mean, there's a lot of gold in there. And there's some goofy stuff, you know, here and there. But, you know, all in all, it's, it certainly has been a pleasure. And there's a lot of stuff that the audience doesn't hear that is really nice.

Tim Bornholdt 8:08
I was gonna say, I probably can't now let you go. Because if I do, you've got enough blackmail on me to, you know, just really take us down. So I have to keep you happy.

Jordan Daoust 8:19
Oh, I mean, at this point, it's, you're stuck with me.

Tim Bornholdt 8:24
I think that's just fine. One last question for you, Jordan. Like, I know, starting out this podcast, I don't think you had like a super deep background in mobile app development, and all the stuff that goes into building custom software. But now that you've listened to, you know, pretty much every single episode, I'd say, what have you taken away from the show? Do you actually enjoy it? Or is it something where your just like, Eh, It's a job? I get paid, whatever.

Jordan Daoust 8:54
Well, you know, in the before time, for me, I actually did work for The Nerdery. I was at The Nerdery for a little over a year as an AV, and kind of, like catering type person where I worked on a lot of their parties, and I did help set up a podcast that they were recording and working on their Nerdatorium, you know, which was live events and streaming. So I was, I had learned some stuff about the software development world beforehand, and then having this pop up on my radar really kind of piqued my interest and I was like, Well, hey, let's give this a shot. There are some podcasts that I think boy, this is way over my head. You know, I mean, the, you know, anything involving social justice and equality those interviews to me are incredible. You know, I have gone back and relistened to after I have edited some. And I have recommended some to other people. You know, there's been a couple guests that talk about management style. And I actually I think I heard about Trello through here. You know, so I have taken, I think, a significant amount from editing these podcasts because I am, you know, it's my job to listen to them. But I take so much from them. And so many of the guests are just incredible people that makes it really interesting and fun for me to edit it because I'm really just listening to great podcast.

Tim Bornholdt 10:47
It's good because I, when I go back and listen to episodes too, I'll go back, you know, episodes from six months ago, or something where they were released six months ago and recorded, you know, seven or eight months ago, and I don't remember anything about it. But going back and listening to it, I even am like, Oh my god, I can't believe that actually, I re-learned something that I had forgotten. So I'm glad that this has been a good experience for you from that side. And also just from, you know, from a professional side, we really wouldn't be able to do this without you. You are phenomenal at what you do. And I try to make sure I shout your praises from the mountaintops where I can because you are really good at your craft. So we're very, very fortunate to have you aboard. And here's to another 100 working with you here.

Jordan Daoust 11:36
Well, absolutely. And I wanted to you know, kind of ask you, you know, at the end of every episode, you have some sort of word that you describe me as. Where does that come from? Is that you coming up with that? Is that Jenny? Who's coming up with that?

Jenny Karkowski 11:54
Tim had the original idea, correct?

Tim Bornholdt 11:57
Yes, yeah. So I came up with the idea, because I thought you deserved some sort of adjective before everything. And I was like I gotta think of different adjectives. So I thought of like the first 10 or so. I kind of came up with them off the top of my head. And then I started to challenge myself and I got like, a Google sheet with each letter of the alphabet, and I tried to find a good adjective for each one. Eventually it got to the point where Jenny started writing all of the show notes and doing all of that stuff. So I told her, she needed to pick it up. So I'd say for the last, I don't know, 20 or 30 episodes, it's been Jenny's adjectives, and I've laughed every time. So it's those things that make me laugh, at least I hope they make you laugh too

Jenny Karkowski 12:41
So, Jordan, I have a whole spreadsheet of positive adjectives about you if you ever need them, in alphabetical order.

Jordan Daoust 12:48
It's always, it's always funny. And it's always a fun thing for me to, you know, tell my wife after I'm done editing, like, so here's what Tim said about me this week. And it is very flattering, and I very much appreciate it.

Tim Bornholdt 13:01
Absolutely. And that's what this is about. It's a show of learning. And I love to, there's words too where I'm like, I didn't know that was a word. So I'm just gonna throw it in there. And we'll all learn together. I just hope that in context, it's positive, because there's some times I find words where I'm like, I don't know if that's, if that's a good thing or not, honestly, but we'll give it a shot. Yeah, that's definitely one of my favorite parts of the show is coming up with those words. I'm glad Jenny has it now because she does a good job with it, too. And you know, Jenny, now that we're on the topic of you, let's roll right into you. So tell us how you got roped into this crazy podcast?

Jenny Karkowski 13:42
Well, I work with you at JMG. I've been doing the marketing for the past two and a half years now. And I'd say when I first started, you were kind of taking a hiatus from the podcast, because you had recently had a second child. Good time to need a break. And one of the goals that we had was to get the podcast back up and to start bringing on more guests and expanding our network, making more connections. So we started there with me mostly just finding the guests. And then that evolved into writing. We do sort of like a general outline before each episode. Sometimes Tim follows it, sometimes he doesn't. Typically the episodes where he doesn't turn out to be the best. But yeah, so I started doing the outlines for the episodes and then once they're recorded, put together any of the links and the descriptions and titles that Jordan plugs in that get, I'm not sure how all that happens, but it helps when he's, whenever we upload it to Libsyn, our podcast host provider. It pulls in all the metadata with all the details about the show. So I write all those too. So I've been doing it for probably two ish years now. And it's my favorite part of my job.

Tim Bornholdt 15:14
Yeah, just like we couldn't do the show without Jordan, I certainly could not do the show without you either. Because you find just the most incredible guests and those notes, while sometimes I do tend to ignore them from time to time, they actually do a really good job of getting the conversation started and setting the tone for the direction we're going to take the podcast. So I, again, could not do this without you. And pretty soon our audience is going to start to be hearing more of your voice through this podcast, you know. Why don't you explain why that is?

Jenny Karkowski 15:53
Yes, I need to work on my radio voice. Won't be hearing me so much on the interview side of it, but kind of the introduction to the show, and the outro, I'm going to, you'll start to hear my voice a little more there as I kind of introduce our guests and ask you to rate and review the show like Tim did at the top, and then tell you how to connect with everybody at the end.

Tim Bornholdt 16:21
Yeah, it's gonna be nice to have, as I've been getting busier and busier with the day job, it's going to be nice to have you taking on some more of those roles. So I can just come in and talk to the guests, and then you take care of the rest. I think it's gonna turn into a pretty nice, well oiled machine. And are there other plans that we've got for the show coming up this year in 2022?

Jenny Karkowski 16:43
Yes, I'm excited for the beginning of 2022. For the next couple of months, we're going to start working on an expert series around some technical jargon. So I think for the past, what, four years almost that the show has been around, or at least 100 episodes, that we've done a pretty thorough job of talking about mobile app development in as many non technical ways as we can. And so we're going to try to expand that into other industry jargon. We've got some incredible guests lined up to talk about robotics, autonomous vehicles, data mining, quantum computing. I don't know what half those are. So I'm excited to tune in and listen and learn putting the show notes together or not the show notes, but the episode outline for those, I'll have my work cut out for me. But yeah, if you're listening, and you are an expert in any kind of emerging tech, and you'd like to come on the show and talk about it, please reach out to us.

Tim Bornholdt 17:48
It's feeling like after 100 episodes, I think we've pretty well covered what it takes to build mobile apps specifically. But, you know, the whole intent of this show, and what I'm really passionate about is explaining technology to people that feel like it's unapproachable, and mysterious, because, frankly, it is. I mean, who just kind of knows what Etherium is, and doesn't need to have a crash course and watch 700 YouTube videos to figure it out. I mean, it is confusing. And same with like, autonomous vehicles, just how does a car drive itself. There's so much cool stuff within technology. And so I think this is going to be a fun direction to push the show is to bring on experts that can help us kind of explain all these crazy complex tech things, without me needing to, you know, just kind of preach at people. It's fun to have a back and forth dialogue about it. So I think the next year of episodes is really going to be our best ones yet.

Jenny Karkowski 18:47
You're really going to get to put your analogy making skills to the test, taking complex terms and turning them into some house metaphor that we can all understand.

Tim Bornholdt 18:57
Jordan, have you been enjoying all of the analogies that come up?

Jordan Daoust 19:02
Sometimes I question them. I'm like, is that really what it says, but you know, hey, you know, I don't know everything about technology and app development. So I gotta just trust you.

Tim Bornholdt 19:14
It's okay to call me out on on any BS that might come out because it's better to be you know, I want to be accurate above all else. So that's the important thing here is to have good analogies, not just halfway analogies. Well, for the second half of this podcast, I'm gonna shut up and well, I guess I'm at least relinquishing the host duties and giving those over to you two, because now it's time for you to ask me questions, I guess.

Jenny Karkowski 19:42
Put you in the hot seat.

Jordan Daoust 19:43
Alright, Tim. So the first question I want to ask you is the same question you usually ask the first of any entrepreneur on the show. You're a co founder of The Jed Mahonis Group. Can you tell the story of how The Jed Mahonis Group came to be?

Tim Bornholdt 19:58
Yeah, you know, JMG, it was a happy accident I'd say. We, so, my best friend from high school who was on previous episodes, Rob Bentley, we just hung out a lot in college. And as college was ending, I was all set to take a job in video production. That was where I really wanted to pursue was doing just broadcast journalism. And while that was going on, I still had a desire, and a really strong interest to build mobile apps. I had waited in line for day one, when the iPhone came out, I hacked the phone open when jailbreaks became a thing and wrote apps before Apple had an SDK out. And it was just for me, it was, I just wanted to know how it worked. Because I mean, iPhones were so, if you weren't around then to experience it, like the first time it was just mind blowing how much better an iPhone was than anything else that came before it. So I wanted to just build for it. And I didn't want to commercialize that. I just wanted to do it. But Robert had graduated from a different college with a degree in business. And he, as I had a job lined up in Duluth at a TV station, Rob approached me and when we were getting lunch one day, and he's like, you know this app stuff, why don't you build apps. I'll go and sell them. Let's just see what happens. And we each took $250 and threw it into a bank account. And it was going to, I was thinking about this the other day, when we opened our bank account, this is how little we knew about business. We walked into the bank, we said we need a business bank account, and they were like, Okay, you know, in order to open a bank account, you need to have articles of incorporation, and you need to have board approved minutes that authorize you to open a bank account. And I was like, Okay, we'll go do that, just a second. So we went out to the lobby, and I took out a piece of paper and was like, Okay, I call this meeting of the Board of Directors of The Jed Mahonis Group to order. And we authorized it right there. And like made up an agenda and then handed it back to her. It was like written in pencil, and on a piece of notebook paper. And she's like, Eh, good enough. So that's how little we knew about starting a business. But we jumped in and made a website and hung up, it was basically hanging an open sign. They always say with businesses, you can't just like hang an open sign and expect people to come to you. But I mean, honestly, that's how it happened for us. We put our open sign up on the internet. And we ended up, because I'd done so much web development stuff, I knew SEO. And so we ranked really high for Minneapolis app developers. So people came across our website, they took a chance on us, and we've grown it to where we're at today.

Jenny Karkowski 22:48
Nearly 10 years later, right?

Tim Bornholdt 22:50
Yeah, yeah, it'll be 10 years in March.

Jenny Karkowski 22:53
Ten year in March. I'll have to, I think there's a picture from that day. Or maybe it's from when you first like LLCed the company, of you and Rob. It's a really great picture that I think you share every year, but I'll put it in the show notes for people to see.

Tim Bornholdt 23:10
Yeah, it was, we, Rob and I were very proud because normally people just send the application in. And that's it. But we, we were you know, just being jerks, and we decided we were going to drive down to the office and file it in person. And when we did that, we were like, we should take a picture to commemorate this. So I gave my phone to the lady that was like doing the paperwork. And she took one picture, but it was like she hit the shutter button while she was moving the phone down. Like she just did not care at all. So it's just the most blurry, awful picture you've ever seen. But that's the only picture we have from the day that we incorporated. So that's our, that's the milestone picture.

Jordan Daoust 23:48
I don't know if you've talked about this on the podcast, I don't remember, but where did the name The Jed Mahonis come from?

Tim Bornholdt 23:54
So the name Jed Mahonis is from when Rob was growing up. He had a pen name like when he was in third grade, he came up with Scott Mahonis. And for his whole life, he had just kind of gone by Scott Mahonis as his alter ego. When we were in high school, we did a TV announcements class together. And this was in the era of Anchorman. And we thought like we needed cool Anchorman names. We couldn't just be ourselves. So Rob had Scott Mahonis already. And so he told me the secret to coming up with a pen name, which is between the first name and the last name, one of the names needs to be a normal sounding name. And the other one needs to be a really weird sounding name. So in Rob's case, it was Scott Mahonis. In my case, I came up with Jed Harrison, because Jed, it was originally Jeb because I thought of Jebediah Springfield, but Jed sounded a lot cooler. So I went with Jed and then Harrison is because my favorite president of all time is William Henry Harrison, because he was our president for exactly 30 days and then died. So I went, my pen name was Jed Harrison. And when we started our business, we decided like we didn't want to be, you know, not ripping on The Nerdery. But we didn't want to be like The Nerdery or Mentormate. Like we didn't want to have a kind of techy sounding name. We wanted to have just like a name that kind of reflected me and Rob, so we went with the two weirdest parts of our pen names, and we thrww them together. And that's how you get Jed Mahon isG roup.

Jordan Daoust 25:22
You guys sound like quite the team.

Jenny Karkowski 25:24
Yeah, speaking of the team, can you talk a little bit about how it's evolved over the last 10 years, along with maybe how the clients have changed, or just the focus of the business has evolved in the last 10 years?

Tim Bornholdt 25:36
Yeah, I mean, when we started, we again had zero focus. And the team was just me and Rob, and we were trying to get everything done by ourselves. And as time has gone on, we've had a lot of different people kind of filtering through, a lot of different developers, some very, very talented people have worked with us. We've kind of gone heavy on the hiring full time. And then we've moved to a contractor model. And we've moved kind of back and forth between how the team is made up. But for the most part, we've got developers, we've got QA people, project managers, we've got you, obviously, Jenny, doing marketing for us. We've been kind of growing and growing in that regard. And it's as a reflection of our focus, because again, we originally we were just trying to build apps for whoever. But I think we've really narrowed it down to building apps for businesses now and helping businesses solve actual business problems. Like when I say that in our intro, and whatnot, I actually mean that. And it sounds like what every other business says that's in our space, but it's true. Like, we really want to work with businesses that have complex problems that we can automate away or build software that makes it so it's not a problem anymore, or less of one at least. So we've gone from having a lot of mom and pop smaller clients to having bigger companies that we've been working with to, you know, help solve more complex problems that need a really good dedicated team that's adept at taking what's the newest stuff in technology and marrying it to what are the new problems that we're seeing as a result of, you know, take a global pandemic, or just everybody online or whatever the case may be, you know. Being able to understand those problems and give solutions to them, that's really been our focus over the last few years now.

Jordan Daoust 27:29
So, Tim, on most of your podcasts, if not all of them, you were talking about entrepreneurship. I mean, it is a big focus of what you talk about, and the relationships that you foster. So that being said, you started JMG just a couple of years out of college, you're a founding partner in other businesses. What about being an entrepreneur do you enjoy? And also, I want to know, what are the struggles? What are the hard parts?

Tim Bornholdt 28:06
Well, I think what I enjoy about being an entrepreneur is just I think, once you become an entrepreneur, and you start to see like, I always throw out that Steve Jobs quote on this show, I know you guys are sick of hearing it, but it's the one where once you realize you can push on life and move things to be the way you want them to be. The world just becomes your oyster. You can really make it the way you want it to be. And that's what's really great about being an entrepreneur is like if you are sick of working in a job that you're not happy with, if you're not happy with what you're doing in the moment, you can change it. You can talk to people, you can make your own destiny, do your own thing. So that's what I like about being an entrepreneur is just every day is a new challenge. There's always new problems to solve. And there's new people to work with and to, you know, take what you're really good at and marry it with what somebody else is really good at. The kind of relationships you forge building a business and seeing that business grow into doing something successful is just, it's intoxicating, like it's something that I just I don't know if I'll ever be able to not do it. Now that I've been doing it for so long.

But you know, on the flip side, like you said, there are struggles. I mean, there's been countless times that we've had to, you know, really worry about are we going to make payroll this month or, you know, where are we going to find our next client from? Just ask Jenny, I mean, we've been trying for two and a half years now to really narrow down what our core target market is and what our core customer is. And it's still just an ever evolving thing. And sometimes it gets frustrating because you start to think you're making good headway. And the thing with marketing and sales is it's one of those things where you do something today you're not going to see the benefit of it until a year or two or even three down the road. So you have to take these kind of calculated risks and stick with it until you can see it through. But then you also have to make sure you're not just following it into, you know, the pit of despair either like you have to actually make sure that it's gonna pan out and everything. So, you know, it's a roller coaster. And I think in a time right now where like in our country, we've got a really big mental health crisis, like everyone's dealing with depression and anxiety and just worrying about all kinds of things, regardless of where you lie on a political spectrum or on on a social spectrum, it's like, everyone's stressed out about everything. And so when you add that in in concert with having to be responsible for salaries for lots of people, and also getting like these projects that we take on, I mean, like, take TurnSignl, as an obvious example. It's like, that app literally saves people's lives, like there's no getting around it that having that in people's cars is going to make a big impact in people's lives. And so having that kind of responsibility of making sure that you're actually delivering what you're promising to these people is a very big stress and a very big burden. So I think balancing like the stresses of entrepreneurship with seeing some successes on the flip side of it is, it's a very big challenge. And I really enjoy big puzzles and big challenges.

Jenny Karkowski 31:26
That roller coaster emotion you mentioned is something that I hear a lot of entrepreneurs say when you interview them on the show, and the conversation between the two of you almost becomes a little therapeutic. Because you can, each of you can relate. And it's just like, I don't know, misery loves company, maybe. But it kind of seems to lift you both up a little bit. Have you noticed any other common themes about entrepreneurs from these all these conversations that you've had?

Tim Bornholdt 31:55
And, I know you prompted us with these questions before and this one I was really struggling with trying to think of like what some other common themes would be like. It is, like you said the biggest one is just being able to empathize with, you know, not only do you have to be good at usually, I guess, okay, here's a good one. Entrepreneurs, usually entrepreneurs are really good at one thing, like the thing that they want to do, whether that's running the business from like an administrative or operation standpoint, or whether it's, they're really good at marketing, or they're really good at building software, or they're really good at manufacturing, whatever. It's like, they're really good at that. And then everyone I think that is like a true entrepreneur struggles with the delegation part of it from time to time, because I mean, speaking from my own personal experience, it's like, sometimes I feel like I could just jump in and do it myself, instead of trusting somebody else to do it. But man, take marketing, for example, I was in charge of marketing before you came on, Jenny, and you saw how terrible it was before you got here.

Jenny Karkowski 32:58
I would not say terrible. Look at all the SEO that you did to get the high rankings on Google before I even came around. So I would not say terrible.

Tim Bornholdt 33:09
Okay, well, then subpar we'll say compared to like, what you've been able to come in and help us with, like, I think that was for me, like a big personal success was being able to like say, Okay, I'm trusting you, Jenny, just go and do it. And thankfully, you're a rock star that just goes and does it. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs that I interview and chat with have those same struggles, but then see also how powerful it is, once you do kind of let go of having to have your hand in everything and just say, Okay, I'm going to focus on this. If someone else is focusing on that for me, then I don't need to keep my eye on that ball. I'll just check in and make sure we're still moving in the right direction. But I trust that you got it. So I'd say that's probably another big common theme that I see with entrepreneurs here.

Jenny Karkowski 33:52
Man, I like having control too much. I don't think I could ever be an entrepreneur. My Type A personality. I don't know that it would that it would work too well.

Tim Bornholdt 34:02
I think you could. I think you could figure it out. Like I mean, you've been getting good at letting go of certain things within the company. And you know, I think if you meet other people like you that you can trust with it, then I don't know, it ends up working pretty well, I think, But yeah, it's not like, that's another hard thing is just finding the right people and building the right team. That's something that I think most good successful entrepreneurs that I've seen on this show are good at too is being able to, you know, judge people and what they can do and make good decisions quickly as to whether this is going to be a person that fits in well with the company culture or whether they need to find a different opportunity.

Jordan Daoust 34:40
Speaking of good decisions and finding opportunity, you know.

Jenny Karkowski 34:46
Nice segue.

Jordan Daoust 34:47
Thank you. After you had started The Jed Mahonis Group, you know, you're six years in and you decide, hey, we're gonna start a podcast and we're gonna call it Constant Variables. I'm curious as to where that name came from, although I think I kind of understand it after listening to it. But the main question here is, how does Constant Variables fit into The Jed Mahonis Group?

Tim Bornholdt 35:15
I guess the name first. I don't remember how. I know I came up with the name, but I can't remember specifics. So I think I was just kind of riffing on technical terms. Because there's, when it comes to programming, if you think back to like algebra, you know, you always have X within equations, you know, those would be variables. There's certain variables in programming that are constants, like once you declare, you know, this variable x equals one, then you can't later on go and change it to say x is two, because you said it's, Nope, this is always going to be one. So, you know, that's where like, there's constants, and there's variables, and I thought, like, constant variables, that kind of sounds like a cool name for a show where it's, there's just especially with app development, there are just constantly changing variables within how all of this stuff shakes out and how apps come to life. So I don't know, I'm terrible at naming things. I like to, I say that a lot. Because I think it's true, but that one I'm actually kind of proud of. So I'm going to own it and say, hey, I can sometimes come up with good names, if you give me enough opportunity, I guess.

And then, yeah, how does it fit into the bigger picture? I mean, again, I think our company, the way that I've been trying to steer it over the last 10 years is, I want our company to be known as the one that you can trust. We're going to tell you exactly what you need to know. And we're going to make sure we actually solve your problem with like, you know, reasonable timelines and budgets, and that you're really happy with what you get at the end of the day. And, you know, part of being able to deliver that kind of commitment is to build up that trust. And I think one of the easiest ways to build up trust is to explain what you're doing, just be very transparent. I think laying out, well here, for example, like the other day, our shower down in the basement started dripping, and like when you'd turn it off, and so I, of course, went on YouTube, and I watched five videos on what is it when your shower drips, and there's all these plumbers, like put out videos that's like, Hey, I'm so and so from this plumbing company, and here, I'm going to show you how to fix a drip, and they show you how to take apart your whole thing and change the cartridge and blah, blah, blah. And you're watching it and you're like, Hey, I could do that. That's pretty easy. That is actually a pretty easy repair. And later on down the road, you might think back to, Oh, man, well, okay, I fixed that thing. But now like I've got, there's a gasket that blew off of the valve. And now I need, there's water all over the place. So I need a plumber. I'm going to trust that guy that showed me, Hey, instead of me coming out and spending $300 to replace the cartridge in your shower. You know, I'll just tell you how to do it real quick. So then later on down the road, you can pay me more money to fix actual confusing problems that you need to have training and practice on. So when it comes to building software, I think everybody can learn the fundamentals, like everyone should be able to learn the fundamentals of how apps work, like, you know, you don't need to know exactly what an API is. But you if you're wondering like how do I hook up my software with Salesforce? Or how do I integrate with Twilio or whatever, like there's, I think it's important for everyone to in this day and age like technology is part of every job. So I wanted to have a resource that people could turn to just listen really quick on a conversation of. How does this stuff work? How do apps get built? What are the pieces I need to know? And not necessarily that you can then go out and build your own app because it's not as easy as just knowing just because you know what an API is doesn't mean you know how to consume them or talk to them. So that's kind of what I thought of for the podcast was, here's a really good way to kind of show off what we know, in a actual helpful way so that later on down the road when people actually have problems that they need a technologist to help solve, they'll think of us because we gave them just really good free advice. Thanks to your guys' work for lining up the guests and for making us sound good.

Jenny Karkowski 39:12
And you said you weren't good at marketing.

Tim Bornholdt 39:16
Nah, I'm not.

Jenny Karkowski 39:20
So before you started Constant Variables, you were already pretty familiar with the podcasting space. You were editing another podcast that you still edit today. Can you talk a little bit, because we talk about podcasts often during the show and the power of it for a business, and so I'm curious how you got working in the podcast space. What drew you in?

Tim Bornholdt 39:44
So this is like I guess a little embarrassing, but when I was growing up I used to listen to there was a radio station in town called Radio Oz. And it was essentially a radio station for kids. It's kind of like Radio Disney but it was way way way better. And I would call in to that station. I called in so much they actually blocked my number. Because I was winning too many prizes. So they were like, you can't call in, you have to wait like 60 days from now on between winning prizes. And I'm just like, Well, alright, you know, I guess I'm just too fast on the draw, you know. But they had this thing called, I think it was like air for or radio force one or something like that. It was like, they had a program for kids to come on and be DJs. And they were like, you know, fourth through sixth grade kids. And I was like, so wanting to do that, because it sounded like so much fun, being on the radio just seemed so cool. And by the time I got to fourth grade, though, radio oz had gotten acquired by radio Disney, and then just shut down entirely. So I never got to live out my fantasy of being a DJ. And since I know a lot of people that do work in radio, and they all say it's terrible. So it sounds exactly like getting into TV. Like you don't just get to go and work in a like KDWB, for example, like you have to go and work at like a AM station way out in the country at the 10 o'clock at night shift on a Saturday, you know, for years until you build your way up to working the good stations with the good shifts, and you get paid nothing. So I was just, you know, I figured a future in radio and a future in being on TV was not really in the cards for me.

But I've been listening to podcasts for a really long time. And I thought it seemed like something that I could do, and that it would be really fun. I just never really had a topic for it. Or really, I never really wanted to build just a show where I talk by myself into a mic, because that gets really boring. So I think that's kind of what led me to wanting to be a podcast host here was I thought it's a cool idea to merge what I enjoy, which is technology, and also be able to being able to talk into a microphone and be comfortable interviewing people. It's been a skill that's been really fun to cultivate over the last few years.

So you're right, like I also do edit another podcast. It was originally a YouTube series that I, when we had my first kid, we decided to turn it from a YouTube series into a podcast because editing audio is, it's challenging, not as challenging as having to edit audio and video at the same time. And more so in having to capture all of that, I'd have to go and we would record these videos. It was like, I think they say usually like an hour of, like a minute of video takes an hour to edit. And we were editing these like, you know, eight to nine minute YouTube videos. So do the math. It was just, I was taking way too much time. So I told Carrie, the show I host is called or that I edit, the show that I edit is called C Tolle Run and Carrie Tollefson, who's this Olympic athlete here in town. You know, I told her when we did the switch, I'm like, and we got to, we got to stop doing video because I'm not going to have time with a kid and all of that. So I think it's serendipitous that usually I make these big podcast life decisions around the time that I have kids. So hopefully, I don't have another one anytime soon to, you know, stop the train that we've got going here.

Jordan Daoust 43:20
That's awesome. I didn't actually know that about you. So that's interesting to me. That's great. I'm kind of nearing the end of our little interview here, or our backwards interview. You know, we're obviously, 2021 was quite an adventure. 2020 was a dumpster fire. What goals do you have coming up in the next year for JMG? And also, if you're going to hop in your TARDIS, what's going on in the next five years?

Tim Bornholdt 43:58
Oh, man. So when I think about JMG, when we started our business, like I mentioned earlier in the interview is we just were kind of like, Oh, let's just build apps and see what happens. I think we've gotten to a point now where we've been doing this long enough that where we really have been shining, again, is building those apps for corporate clients and enterprise clients. We also have a really big soft spot for startups. And I don't want to entirely give up on that. I know we've got a couple of startups in the works that we're starting to chat with. But where I really want to see JMG go for the next year is to find a couple more big name, you know, not just big name, but just big companies that need help in the mobile space, building out software that's going to help their teams work more efficiently. So that's where I think in the next year, it's going to be really looking at our processes and getting us to a point that we can scale and bring in more developers and get stuff done faster and with better quality.

Over the next five years, I think I can see us moving even further into newer mobile technologies that are going to be emerging. You know, I talk a lot about augmented reality on this show. I really feel like there's going to be some device like there was an article that just came out a couple of weeks ago from an analyst that said, Apple internally is talking about how, in the next five years, we're not even going to have iPhones anymore. There's going to be some new augmented reality device that we're all wearing somehow. That's what will be our primary interface with the internet and mobile technology and stuff. So I think that's where I want to just keep pushing our company is to thinking about these emerging technologies. Like web three is a big thing with Blockchain technology and all that. We also have a pretty strong partnership with an autonomous vehicle company. And I know they've got some interesting projects coming down the pipeline. That would be an interesting space. So I guess, you know, over the next five years, I just want us to continue to innovate and look at where mobile technology is going and make sure that we're able to provide those services to any companies that might need to integrate that into their process.

Well, you know, I think this has been fun. Obviously, we are recording this late at night. I know Jenny used this to get out of giving her kids the bedtime routine, which I don't blame her. I did the exact same thing. And you know, Jenny, since we talked about you kind of taking over intros and outros for the show going forward. I want to see how you bring the show in for a landing and wrap things up.

Jenny Karkowski 46:35
You can learn more about The Jed Mahonis Group at JMG.mn. And you can connect with Tim, Jordan, or myself on LinkedIn.

Show notes for this episode can be found at constantvariables.co. You can get in touch with us by sending an email to Hello@constantvariables.co. That'll go right to me. Or you can find the show on Twitter @CV_podcast.

Today's episode was produced by Jenny Karkowski and edited by the witty Jordan Daoust. As Tim mentioned at the start of the episode, if you can take two minutes to leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts, we will give you a mention in a future episode as a thank you. Visit constantvariables.co/review and we'll link you right there. Or if you have the Apple Podcast app open on your phone right now, you can head to the main show page for Constant Variables, scroll down and leave a rating and review that way.

This episode was brought to you by The Jed Mahonis Group. If your team needs mobile expertise, we'd love to work with you. Give us a shout at jmg.mn.