President Spotlight: Q&A With Collin Jones Of Living As One
Collin Jones serves as the President of Living As One. Founded in 2014, Living As One fills a void in the professional video market for a highly resilient live streaming solution unlike any other. They now serve a growing number of multi-location nonprofit and for-profit organizations across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia through their Multisite Platform. The Multisite Platform is a turnkey streaming solution designed from the ground up to deliver video to remote locations with unprecedented reliability and quality. The complete offering includes Multisite Encoders for realtime video capture, LAN and Cloud distribution for scalable delivery, Multisite Decoders for live/DVR playback, and weekend support.
What was the original idea or pain point that inspired you to start your business?
My good friend, Paul Martel, had the original idea and founded the company, along with Brad Reitmeyer who wrote the code. I just helped him with the business side and came in after! Paul is an inventor by heart, someone who sees how the world is broken and constantly thinks in solutions to solve it. He was working at Chase Oaks Church in Dallas, they were struggling to stream to other locations as there was no technology that could correct for the issues of the public internet. He went through 4-5 different streaming products and there would be 200-400 people in a room watching buffering wheels and a black video! After reaching out to other churches, they all had the same problem and everybody had so much pain from it. They worked in the spaces to make them effective and created/patented a new technology which later became Living As One! It was quite fun in the beginning, because you would have conversations everyday with people in major pain dealing with streaming issues. A lot of times they wouldn't believe that our technology did what it did. We have lots of stories of people essentially calling us liars!
What is Living As One?
We are the first to stream reliably over the public internet. We focus on site to site and web streaming for different use cases. Most of them are churches, which is where our passion is.
What aspect of your team or company culture are you most proud of?
Treating our customers like heroes and friends. Our customers are our heroes. As technical [people] in churches, they don't get any of the appreciation a more public role gets, but mostly criticism when things go wrong. It's fun to see each person on the team go the extra distance to be extravagant in making life easier for church tech [teams]. That culture has led to our own employees to do that for each other as well, which I haven't seen before at other companies.
What is the most important thing you're working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
I must speak vaguely, because this is not public information. We are constantly innovating and, to be honest, it's both invigorating and scary. What we have coming up changes our whole scale and business model. Our solution changed the market, now that we have the market cap, we can either get lazy and stop innovating or destroy our current business model and go to the next level. We have new products in each corner of our business coming out that will totally transform it and lead to a much bigger scale. It's difficult processing the change and planning for it, as there are a lot of organizational shifts. Mostly, we are going to the next level by some key partnerships and new products. In the beginning, it was all about hoping to get more churches on the platform and now we are designing products around being a good steward of the resources we have to serve the global church. We think about money second and what would God want us to do first. It's scary, because that doesn't always make sense in a clear business plan. We have to reverse engineer how we make money from it.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received as a President?
Spend way more time than you think you should on recruiting. We had to learn this the hard way, and wish we did from day one!
What has been the most meaningful aspect of your engagement with the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network?
Connecting with people who have gone before us that are actually helpful. The thing that separates BEN to me is that they carefully curate people who don't have an agenda. In the business world, everybody wants something from you, and it takes time to meet those who just want to help and will be effective without a bias that will hurt your business. BEN has been instrumental in allowing us to meet genuinely good and helpful people close to us.