Space Jam or Space Junk?! Julie Bonner of Freefall discusses innovative marketing solutions| Rise Grind Repeat 044


The buzz about 5G is everywhere, but the tech behind it is complex, so all you hear is the buzz. How do you know what 5G can mean for all of us? How can innovative marketing solutions be deployed to educate consumers on disruptive technology?

That’s where Julie Bonner comes in. Julie has a graphic design degree, an MBA and her own business. And when FreeFall Aerospace — Tech Launch Arizona’s 2019 Innovator of the Year Startup Company — needed somebody to explain their ground-and-satellite 5G tech to people like, well … us, they hired Julie.

See, marketing isn’t rocket science. But marketing rocket science — that takes some really innovative marketing solutions. And Julie’s got ’em.

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Hosted by Dustin Trout
Produced by Andrei Gardiola
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| Rise Grind Repeat 045 |

00:50 Fre-fall is developing new antennas for space and satellite communications as well as on the ground in the five G wireless community. Um, we’re developing the hardware here. It’s a unique design that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. And the technology actually spun out of the UVA. So our co founder, Chris Walker, is a professor of astronomy at the U of a and he connected with our president Doug Stetson on a NASA project called Gusto. Um, a while back and from them getting together, Kay realize that what Chris is doing for space exploration as far as like Terra Hertz astronomy that could be applied to communications. And so it’s very out of the box thinking Chris was used to studying, like he’s going to be studying dark matter at elite interstellar like particles in the sky. But through these Telus, these large telescopes he was building, he realized this to special design he’s doing can help, um, improve communications. So help move the data better from like space back down to earth and vice versa. And so we’re taking those concepts and applying them to move the data better in a more efficient way.

01:59 That’s cool. What kind of data are you guys, uh, moving? Just

02:03 it can be any, any type of data really. So basically where the a, we’re like the antenna part and then we’re partnering with, um, another company that’s on the radio side to build an integrated, um, system to help. That’s cool. The data. Yeah,

02:18 that is crazy. So who is your guys’s target audience? Or who, who, who purchases from you guys?

02:24 So everything we’re doing here at free fall is in the prototype stage. We have contracts with certain people and certain clients. And for the under the research and development of what we’re doing, um, there’s two segments really of what we’re doing. So there’s the space side and we just at an awesome conference called SpaceCom. And so there’s a lot of interest in what we’re building and it’s basically a small inflatable cube set. So to sort of go in space and it fits in like a one, you are too, you size, it was very, very small. Um, uh, goes up and then inflates and then helps beam down a lot more data than what other satellites are doing. And the bonus, not the bonus. The benefit of this is it’s going to weigh a lot less because it’s inflatable. So in plates, upon being in space, um, it’s much smaller, it’s going to cost a lot less. So everyone knows when you send things up to space as much cheap. And so this is a way to reduce costs, reduce the mass, um, and reduce the power and actually, um, get more data transmitting like from space back down earth. So it’s a very unique design and I can show you later in the lab too.

03:31 Cool. So like right now, I mean it’s all 4g, right? I mean kinda what’s out there. What are some of the differences between four and five G is it just, is there a difference in technology? Is it just that it transmits data quicker or,

03:45 so from what I know, because because we actually have people, a few people on our team that are the five G experts won’t really, five G is a set of standards and standards that include, I think it’s going to be about 10 times more data than transmitted faster than 4g. So it’s not just like a tiny step up. It’s, it’s a, it’s a big leap also with that is the frequency at width at which, um, the data is going to be transmitted. So everything we’re building here is very high frequency. Um, so like 28 gigahertz is a very high frequency and that’s what our intent is, are focused on, um, transmitting it that at that bandwidth. Um, and that actually is fantastic because Chris, our co-founder, when I was telling you was talking about terahertz astronomy, that’s in like very, very, very high frequency. And what’s unique about what freefall is doing is we’re [inaudible] coming down in frequency really from what Chris was doing for space where other, um, other say competitors or our carriers are trying to go up from 3g up from 4g up. But we have a very out of the box thinking and so we’re coming down to get to 28 gigahertz versus like the other trying to get up to there. Um, it’s, it’s because of Chris’s Christen Doug’s background in space.

05:03 That’s cool. So what are, I mean there, I think there’s so much opportunity when it comes to 5g just, I mean, getting data quicker can just make the world more efficient and intelligent. What are some of the things that you guys are seeing in terms of opportunity of what 5g could do for just the world in general?

05:21 As end users, we always want things faster and quicker. And when we like want to see a movie and it takes forever to download or, or if there’s any like hiccups in that process, it’s frustrating. And that’s sometimes just for us watching a movie. But there’s people like say for example, you know, one of our audience is like in the, in defense, like in the military, they need data out on the battlefields in rural areas where it’s hard to connect, um, so that their officer or whoever can give them the information they needed that moment. And that’s like could be life or death. Um, also think about connected vehicles and where that’s going in safety and you’re in Phoenix or they’re operating a lot more autonomous vehicle testing and all this and [inaudible] and safety is very, very important. And so staying connected to all of the kind of internet of things, um, is important for, for all of our safety in general. Um, and everything will be connected. I think we all know that, right? That’s where everything’s going. And so it’s important that, um, the transmittal that data’s really, really efficient and powerful and what we were using before isn’t going to work to get us there.

06:34 There’s, I mean, there’s a lot that they just mentioned. Um, I mean, you’re in marketing. Is there anything that five G is going to bring for the marketing space? Um, or do you see any applications on the marketing side of things?

06:48 I can see I was just at mobile world Congress in LA and it was a really big wireless conference. You know, uh, for example, Verizon had an amazing booth with their technology. Um, there’s all these other booths. I think 5g basically just means we get the information we need as quick as possible. So it’s a benefit to everyone. So for example, I saw this, um, thing they’re doing with the [inaudible] almost like, like a Pokemon go or something. But basically where there’s a 3d object, you might know what it’s called. I don’t know 3d like object here on the table. It’s not really there, but through your, through your phone, you see it’s there and then you can acquire that image. And in real time it takes that, it takes that can away from everyone else that’s looking at it. So like not just like, yeah, not just putting stuff like, like this was a cool example as far as marketing.

07:42 I thought in this, this um, person explained it to me. She’s like, what if there’s a concert and you’re like, I’m gonna release 100,000. It’s a lot like say like a thousand butterflies. Okay. And if, if you capture three butterflies, you’ll get 20% off your merge. And so basically with your phone, you know, you’ll be able to capture these different butterflies and then it will connect to people’s POS system and you get redemption back. You get 20% off, like what you buy at that concert or something. So I think being connected, like having, you know, being connected and having this real time, like, uh, um, just connected real time so that that happens. So literally, I take that butterfly and now you can’t get it. It’s not in your view anymore, like that really just happened. So I think that’s for marketing. I I see that’s going to help with that.

08:33 Yeah. That’s going to be huge. I mean, just interactive marketing instead of, yeah. Instead of just here’s the sale that I have, it, it creates more of a relationship with your prospective audience and making it more interactive, which I think that’s just a cool experience.

08:47 And on my end, I’d like to think about how that could help free fall, um, you know, in the future, uh, those sort of interactive marketing and that kind of thing. This past year has been a lot of brand building. I’m connecting with potential investors, partners. Um, but I’d like to continue to learn more just like you guys are about, um, what’s up and coming and how I, maybe I can leverage that for what we’re trying to do too.

09:14 Yeah. So it sounds like you has been trying to work on the branding side of things. Kind of explain that process. What have you guys been doing? I mean, I mean that’s, that’s huge. Just how you, I mean, how a company positions themselves, what they look like. I mean, just brand identity is, is, is big. How have you guys gone gone about that?

09:30 It’s funny because with branding and that’s how I connected to freefall. And so it was really tech launch Arizona that referred them to me. They needed some help with logo design and some marketing, some trade show graphics. So two years ago, tech launch referred them to me. And so our relationship started out actually with kind of, uh, designing their branding as I was a contractor actually. And so, um, it went so well and that’s how I got connected to the company. And free fall went through the tech launchers on a program, which basically is using research and technology that was developed with the U of a and then helping it turn into a possible business. Um, so branding is my passion and that’s what I’m, I feel like I’m very strong in. And, um, with free fall, there’s a lot of education in the beginning. You know, my background is not in space and it’s not in, um, 5g, you know, or, or telecommunications. But I think anyone, especially graphic, oops, graphic designers and marketers, um, if you can ask the right questions, you can, you can learn a lot about whatever industry you’re trying to help.

10:38 Uh huh. Yeah, it’s all about the discovery, asking questions and getting, uh, getting a sense of, of the direction, what you’re wanting to achieve and stuff like that. No, that’s really cool. Um, when it comes to, I mean, just 5g I think there’s a, there’s maybe some negative connotation out there just on health hazards and all of that. Is that a myth? Is that true?

11:00 We’re not worried about that. And actually everything that we’re doing in testing like has to go through a safety, um, you know, con like government safety regulations and checks and like all that kind of thing. So we would never want to create anything that was harmful. And we’re, I’m here where I, you know, I’m here working near antennas all day, so, um, I’m not worried about it. Um, and our experts, Chris and Doug to have a lot of experience in this, and they’re like, you get more, say radiation from taking an airplane ride, which Doug has to travel a lot, so, so yeah, I don’t, I’m not, we’re not concerned

11:37 the whole just a, yeah. A health hazard of 5g causing cancer and all that type of stuff. It just seems, it’s just more of a, just a bunch of headline readers and, uh, just not really thinking a lot

11:47 to be discovered by it. But I think, um, everyone that’s working in this field will be doing the proper tests in, um, making sure things are okay. You know, no one wants to put out something that’s harmful to anybody. The, the goal is, um, we’ve been using microwave, it’s basically microwave, um, radio, um, wavelengths, um, for forever. And that’s how we’ve been communicating in the past. So it’s really, it’s still, it’s still that, it’s just, it, it, it’s just a different bandwidth. Um, yeah.

12:22 So, yeah. Um, I notice on your LinkedIn, you, uh, you mentioned getting an Addie. Is that, was that through here or was that your personal?

12:32 Um, some of the, I’ve won a few Addy awards. Some of those were in the past for different projects. Um, [inaudible] sure, sure. Okay. Um, I guess the one, the one that was most proud of was my passion project. So I created, um, they’re called desert dwellers flashcards. And so I created them at the time to teach my son about teach them the ABCs and also about local wildlife. So instead of like boring set of flashcards, I wanna do something unique and, and basically combine all my passions. So painting and then design. And then I love animals and I love where I live. So, um, so I painted, uh, 26 animals, a through Z, you know, mammals and reptiles, and then, um, put facts on the back and I sell those. And so those one, a, an Addy award. And I was really proud of that because that was a huge project. It was my first, um, I’d say is my first real product, like from like from concept through, um, painting, design, prototyping, printing, promotion. I mean, like everything. And I think that experience is what, how I can help other companies too. Cause I’ve been through it and it doesn’t mean I want to do all the different aspects still, but I know how I know how to do it. So,

13:49 and like what, what was the process getting that? I mean, I worked in a couple agencies and they’ve won some stuff as well. But like how, how did you go about getting your idea pitched? Well? Like what does that process look like?

14:01 Oh, that idea. Well,

14:03 yeah, just, just, yeah, get getting the whole Addy. I mean that’s, that’s a, yeah. Do you, do you, do you reach out to

14:10 the Addys? Um, the Addys are pretty self explanatory and I think they’ve changed a little bit, at least in Tucson, how they’re doing it. But it’s more like, um, you include a sample of your thing and they ask you a few questions and then there’s different judges that basically, that you don’t know that come and judge your judge, your a product or whatever you’re showing. Um, I think the great thing about being, doing something like that and I just saw they’re doing a call now for entries again, is just the exposure. And then at the event they generally have your workout. And so everyone, not only like they get to see what you do, even if, um, maybe it’s not a goal daddy or this or that your work is usually, I think still. And so in like for example, advertising community that’s really big, um, to get the word out about what you’re doing and what your capabilities are. Yeah. So it’s very worth I think.

15:02 Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. [inaudible] that’s, that’s really cool. Um, I mean, you have a design background. How, how important is, I guess, producing content, just content production, how, how far could that go for businesses? It’s a [inaudible] whenever he talks to business and stuff, it’s usually, it’s a, it just costs too much. But what have you seen that that works? And I mean, how important is, is creating content?

15:30 Sure. I think, um, for free fall, some of the tools that have helped us is because we have new technology that’s under development. So for example, animations, I’ve been working with a local animation studio here. Um, they’re really good and that’s a great way to have a tool like that and that kind of content to show what our antennas are going to be able to do and where we’re going. So everything’s being worked on in the back, but they’re not, they’re not to like, I can’t sell you one at this second, but if you’re the animation, we can show what, what we’re, what we’re creating. So that’s a huge, um, tool and worth I think every penny. And I, not only do I feel like that, but like, uh, our president dog and everyone’s just understands the value of having something like that. And then when we’re at a conference, like that’s playing on a monitor next to me and I can point to it and talk to it, and people really get an understanding of seeing like what we’re doing and how it’s use cases. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah.

16:31 How as you guys move forward, I mean, have you guys been marketing at all in terms of just like paid media or what have you guys been doing? Uh, to really get the brand out there?

16:41 I think the past year or two, some of the things I’ve been focusing on is number one, um, building relationships. So I had, um, I recommended that free fall we joined the Arizona technology council and that’s a statewide, um, organization that helps promote technology in Arizona and um, and not only just joining but being an active member. So I’m part of a women in the workforce committee, um, in Tucson, which is really fun. Um, and we’re creating programming for women in technology and that’s been one way I’ve been meeting a lot of people and they’re understanding what we’re doing. But also Doug is in a CEO group through the tech council and I’m also a, I guess an ambassador now. They asked me to be on this board of ambassadors and that’s just supposed to welcome new new members and help them connect to like what they want to help with or be a part of because the tech council is so huge.

17:39 There’s all these different facets. Like you could help with diversity, you could help with special the tournament’s that’s a fundraiser or whatever. Um, so through being really involved with that, we’ve, that’s how we now we’re going to be having our new office space is through relationships. Through that. That’s how we, um, connect with like, um, this other company that help us with these parts that we need for our antennas. So through being an active member of an organization is like one way that’s really helped. A few other ones like that that we’ve been involved with. There’s a space business round table in Tucson, um, where we go. One of us at least goes every month. Um, Doug spoken at that before and another organizations startup Tucson and I’ve been involved with startup for, it feels like a long time now. And, um, we were a part of 10 West festival this past year, which you guys should come down for.

18:32 It’s really fun. It’s all focused on, okay. It’s awesome. 10 West is actually about 10 days in Tucson. It’s our like future South by Southwest basically. But the focus is on technology, entrepreneurship. Um, and now this past year was a whole day focused on the creative, on creative. So I ran a, um, I did a program about branding, um, and just other creative stuff. And then another day was all focused on technology. So basically by day it’s kind of sectioned out. And one day it was all idea funding, which has been going on for a long time now talking about raising, you know, venture capital, um, 10 West is, is really cool and I’m excited to see where it goes next year also.

19:16 That’s cool. So the event that you just had, was that for here? Uh,

19:22 the holiday event? Yeah. Oh, okay. That was actually for, um, the Arizona technology council and so free fall, um, sponsored that event. And then our investor, you have a venture capital that was that their office building, which is this really historic kind of mansion in Tucson owned by Linda Ronstadt’s grandfather. Um, so it was a beautiful place. And so we got to have the party there and all the members from, um, tech council and whoever could come. And it was really fun. It was a lot of people, but it was, it was awesome.

19:53 I mean, the, the video was cool. It looked like it was a really good turnout. I mean, a lot of people mentioned it. It was really cool. Um, so as you kind of head into 20, 20, what are some of your guys’s big goals? What are your ambitions? So

20:08 what, this is kind of cool. Um, so now I would goals, I think the goals are important, but we just had a retreat and I’d put together like a top 10 of, um, what did we accomplish this past year? And that was nice. And I felt like David Letterman or someone like I wanted cards, the throw like top 10, you know, and, but it was, we, we had a lot of um, excitement and opportunities that we want to in two different innovation awards and talk about marketing, winning, something like that. The one was up in Phoenix and it was a statewide like governor’s celebration of innovation and free fall one innovator leader of the year start from startup company. Yeah. That’s huge for us. You know, that us to everyone that came to that and up in Phoenix. So one of my goals too is also, you know, Southern Arizona in Tucson are know who we are for the most part.

21:00 So a goal for this next year is reaching more out to like the Phoenix area, building relationships up there. So I’m glad you guys are here. And um, and then, and then, and then expanding from that. So I think we’ve, I think we’ve done things the right way. Like we’re here in Tucson, um, we really connected with our community. We’re also going to be connecting continuously more with, I have a pet, well we all have a passion for helping, um, children and education and, and especially to me females in STEM. So we’re going to be involved with like a she tech conference in March. Yeah. Yeah. And there’ll be Tucson’s first one. Um, so there’s just fun things this next year. So expanding, expanding our reach. Um, uh, I wish I had my list with me right now, so I have 10, I have 10 main things. You know, another thing too is I’ll be working on the website, you know, I built our website and I think, Oh, okay, thanks. I think it’s okay and like, but there’s definitely a lot more I want to do. Um, but you brought up content. That’s my, I do try to keep up with, so we are actually just in the paper yesterday here, the Arizona daily star. And so I’ll try to, I’ll take that today when we’re done and put that on the website and then use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect, you know, to the article. And so I think it’s trying to keep up on all this exciting news and like share it and that kind of thing.

22:24 No, you guys are doing a lot. That’s really cool. So I mean a lot of good stuff. What is kind of maybe the biggest struggle or hurdle that you face growing the company and how did you overcome that?

22:37 Sure. I think it’s, it’s very interesting marketing technology that’s still under development. So we, I everyone here, we are selling, you know, our concepts and we have prototypes and there’s testing backing up. Um, the, the great, I was looking like, cause we were always showing slides of like where we’re going with our testing and, and, and our success stories. And um, so it’s, but you’re marketing more of a concept and an idea. Um, versus like with my flashcards it was like, do you want my flashcards? It’s this much like, here you go, like it’s done. And that’s it. Where with what we’re building, these antennas are very flexible depending on what you want. Um, so like it say it’s an in-building antenna or something that will be a little bit different than the one that’s in space, obviously, so, so very different, but also based on the customer and what they want, there’s a lot of flexibility with the design. So it’s not a one size fits all unit and we don’t think we’ll ever be the ones just selling units out of here. We feel like we’re more of a research and design company building the ideas with customers and, and, and partnering in ways like that. And then probably developing like new, better ways to move the data. So, so that’s, that’s one of the challenges I think with marketing. Something that’s not, it’s not just like a widget.

24:00 Yeah. I mean it’s, it’s a lot of education. Yeah. Um, bring up data quite a bit. And uh, that’s, that’s my favorite thing is, uh, just all the things that we do have helped produce content, uh, run Facebook, all that type of stuff. It’s all backed off of data and we reverse engineer our, uh, move forward strategy off of data. How do you guys go about to see what’s working, what’s not? Um, and kinda,

24:23 I feel it, I feel like that’s something that I probably needed to do, do a better job of actually. So goal for me also in 2020 is to, to really look back and analyze, um, I haven’t done a lot of mm. Say, well we’ve done some campaigns leading up to like these conferences we’re going to and this year we’re going to also be having more, um, special say like demo events when our to showcase what our antenna is, where we’re at and what we’re doing and stuff. And so I think measuring like the success and I guess I have done that, measuring the success of getting ready for this, um, conference. Like how many meetings did we get registered ahead of time or how many, Hmm. I guess what are, depends what our goals are. But I think that’s something that, for me personally as a marketer that I could always do a better job of. Um, but it’s also defining what’s most important to focus on. And especially as kind of a, a one person. I’m the only, I guess. Yeah. Yeah. And then in a startup too, I think we’re all wearing a lot of hats. Um, but most everyone here is an engineer. And I’m basically the, it’s like the marketing, the PR, the design, the outreach, the, you know, like all of that all is one or so. I have to be pretty, uh, I guess efficient with my time.

25:44 And how, how do you go about that? I mean, that’s, that’s the biggest struggle I think for most. I mean, just small business, especially startups. How do you go about managing your time? Do you have a process or, I think

25:57 what I do is I tend to, I definitely, I write everything down. Um, and then I PR I try to prioritize. That’s a big thing I think because you could just, especially like, you know, I build the website, I could spend three days on the web, you know, three days on the website. Um, I think it’s focusing on what are, what’s the, these top three things I want to do today, you know what I mean? And then also a big part of my job is, um, you know, going to the right sort of networking or functions to represent free fall. I want us to be in the room for important things, um, and be thought of and it’s, and you know this top of mind. So just by you doing your posts on LinkedIn, I’m sure sometimes you get ping about something totally different, but because they saw you on their newsfeed, they’re like, Oh yeah, I have been meaning to talk to you about this.

26:50 So I feel the same way I’ve had that where I met just a function in town and Oh Julie, I forgot. And it’s just cause I was there. So, so that’s a big thing is I’m balancing the stuff I’m doing on the computer, but also the stuff I’m doing, um, with actual people like outside of, oops, sorry. With that, with actual people like outside of the company, not just being stuck like on the computer all day, but being out, helping the community, getting involved and putting my personal like time and effort into, um, building up free falls, you know, brand.

27:23 Yeah. And it sounds like you guys are doing a lot of events, a lot of in-person stuff. Um, how come that such a big thing? And, and I asked because I think, I think there’s huge opportunity for companies to do more in person events. I think it’s a way to help build relationships. Um, is that something you guys are going to be doing more of?

27:40 We’re being strategic about, for example, like conferences and stuff. And you probably know they cost so much money and it’s not just the booth costs, but it’s like flying say three of us, you know, out to this location and then the hotel and then the extra marketing and promotion and the materials you’re creating for that event. And so we’re being really, really strategic and we’re probably only going to do about four main conferences this year. Um, which is about, we’ve been doing two or three, maybe a year. Um, and then as far as, um, like local events, we get asked to do a lot of a lot of things and sometimes we have to say no. Um, but generally I’m usually happy that I was there. It, there’s usually some strange synergy that happens just from being in it, whatever and meeting someone new and then you find out, Oh my gosh, wait, you, uh, you build this, like one of our engineers would love to talk to you. So even if not for like something in my world, I usually can connect the right people.

28:40 That’s cool. What are some of the things to be mindful of as, as you kind of navigate the process of uh, putting on an event? And I asked, because we’re actually putting on a part of a team that’s doing like a social media marketing day and in Phoenix next year in June and I’ve never put on events and we’re trying to get, I mean, between a hundred and 150 people. And so how, how do you go about navigating that? What are the things to be mindful of when it comes to creating an event like that?

29:07 I feel like getting the word out quick, even if all the pieces aren’t filled in yet. Like getting that like almost like a save the date out. So in people’s mind to like holding a date, you can even tease people like, Hey, this is coming, you know, next year. It’s kind of like a, just like a, maybe a little tagline of what it’s going to be about and then building up to that. And you could still fill in all the pieces, but also think about what partners you can work with to help make the event better. Um, we are actually planning, this will be big for us. We’re planning on doing kind of a connectivity conference next year, which I think is going to be pretty big. And it’s kind of the same thing. This’ll be kind of starting from scratch also. And, but it’s thinking about what relationships do are I already have, um, evolving with that.

29:51 And then even in town, like what venues do you know already or can you reach out to your LinkedIn? Oops, sorry. You reach out to your LinkedIn network and say, Hey guys, like what venue? VNX would be great for 200 people. That would be modern and cool. And then get that feedback, you know, so I think realize that you don’t have to all do it yourself and you can put it out to you. That’s why we have connections and networks and stuff. And it doesn’t mean you’re asking for free this or free that, but, but just brain power, like, do you guys know of a, uh, a cool place for this? Oh yeah. Okay. And then you connect with them. And, um, and then for example, that event, I’m kind of going on a tangent, that event for the tech council. We use local vendors and my friend, um, Alyssa’s an event planner and she connected me with like the, the right food place, you know, and the right guy that does lighting, that’s not, I don’t know all of those people. And so she was my connector for all of those things and I helped make the event beautiful and like professional people left. Very excited about what we’re doing. Um, so I think I would say the partnership piece is like one of the biggest things. And then from there getting the word out, which sounds like you, you know what you’re doing like on that end.

31:04 Yeah. I mean it’s that, that I think that’s the thing that trying to think through the most is just the logistics side of it. What are all the, you don’t know what you don’t know and just trying to, yeah, just navigate those waters.

31:14 It’s overwhelming. And then I also, you tie it back in to like with Mark, it’s always like the benefit. So what is the benefit of these people coming to your event? What do you want them to walk away with knowing and how do you want them to feel? And sometimes I think it’d be better to do an event not super long so that they have that feeling of like, Oh, I do want to know more. I want to connect with them again and dive in deeper than that thing where it’s just like brain dump too much information and you leave tired and you’re just like, I just want to get a drink or get some ice cream or whatever you want to do. Like it just if, so you don’t want to overwhelm people. So keeping it fun and interactive and, and, and also picking the right people for your presentations. I, I’m sure you know what I mean?

31:58 Yeah. And how, I mean, how do you go about that? Do you do, I mean do you like get on a phone and vet people or cause that’s kind of where we’re looking for a keynote speaker.

32:07 Ah,

32:07 like how, yeah. How do you, how do you know if it’s a good fit? Is it just,

32:11 I would say for like for example, when I help out a 10 wise, I basically asked friends, like friends of mine to help out into, to be a part of it. And there were people I already knew knew their town but also their like speaking ability. But I’d say if it’s someone really big that you don’t know that well, like then I would definitely look online and see what sort of real they have are. And then also testimonials and, and, and that kind of thing. But I bet you guys know enough people that would have some strong recommendations. It’s always easier to, to pitch someone if there’s that connection, if you have some sort of like second connection or this or that, someone that knows them and, and that gets you a lot further than just to me that like email from someone. You have no idea who. That’s why, um, you know, we met on LinkedIn and that’s why I’m a big, strong like user of links.

33:05 How, how long, I mean it seems like you’re pretty active on there. How long have you been pretty active on LinkedIn?

33:10 As long as it’s been around. I don’t know. Yeah, I’ve been on LinkedIn a really, really long time. Um, one of the things I love the most, I’ve seen success not only for free fall, but like my, my other business with the flashcards. So instead of trying to, um, Oh, for example, it, it’s how I had gotten into the Phoenix airport, like the flashcards in the Phoenix airport. But I saw this cool store and I was like, Oh, they should be in here. And then I looked on the receipt and I found the name and then I looked on LinkedIn and I actually found the CEO of the, and I sent her just a quick little message but also a link to my product. And I was like, I think these would salt, you know, amazingly and I love that you’re a local like local business in the Phoenix airport. And yeah. And then she actually responded back, she was like, send me a box. And like that’s how I got in. And I think that was way more successful than just a strange email because LinkedIn, they see your face, they see your experience, they see if you have any connections. It just feels way warmer than like random soliciting phone call or, or random email. That’s why I like it a lot.

34:16 That’s cool. What are, uh, I mean, what are you seeing in terms of success? Like what’s working, what’s not? And I ask because it’s like, I mean, you’ve seen some are video clips and what’s crazy is like, I mean we were just talking about it on the way up here is like, I mean most social platforms are pushing video quite a bit. Whenever I’m posting videos. I mean it’ll get 50 60 views, but like literally I’ve been posting more images and even just text and kind of testing the different types of content and they’ll get a few hundred views and it’s just crazy to see that video isn’t getting pushed as much as other things. And what are some of the things that you’re seeing that that’s successful on LinkedIn?

34:53 I, you know what, I think we just announced. So Alex Rodriguez is our new COO and he just announced that and then he put our video with the announcement. So we have this company overview video. We had to prepare very quickly for that, um, award. And, and I had been wanting a company overview anyway, so I was really happy we had that. But, but I think it’s really, if it’s a cool new, I mean, okay. I honestly, I think it was cool news. So by him announcing though that he was at vector rockets before, which was, um, a very cool startup here in Tucson. Um, and unfortunately things didn’t work out, but Alex is now part of our team. So he was announcing he was our new CEO, CEO. And between us we have a lot of connections. I’ve never seen as many. He had, it was like a 10,000 view.

35:41 It was something I’ve never seen in my life on LinkedIn and what we should look later. Oh, if he’s here and we can, it just blew my mind. So basically his announcement that he was CEO with like our video on there, I think I was really about the announcement. It was his connections being happy for him and be like, congratulations. And so I don’t think it’s always just video versus image, but I think it’s also like what’s the gist of it? And does it excite your, excite your connections to actually take action and say, Oh my God, that’s so awesome. Or is it just like, Oh, that’s cool. And they don’t, they look at it and probably don’t even like it, you know? So I think it’s, I think it’s based on really what it is. What is being said.

36:23 [inaudible] it’s, I mean LinkedIn, I feel like it’s just picking up a ton of steam. It’s like, it’s crazy cause I mean it is fairly older. I mean it’s not like it just came out a year or two ago. Um, yeah. And there’s just, I think so much opportunity. I think people on the business side, I, I don’t know, it’s just crazy to see how fast it’s growing.

36:42 Yeah. I think it’s a great tool. I’m actually going to be, I brought this up at the retreat. I’m going to be helping engineers here with their LinkedIn accounts and it’s not to make more work for them. Um, that’s the last thing I want to do. They’re focused on like, like testing and bill building stuff, but helping them build out their profiles and um, because you know, everyone checks everyone out, you know, on LinkedIn and so making sure everything’s up to date on that. But then also then when I share something on our free fall company page, all I want them to do is share it on their own personal page. And that generates so many more impressions and eyeballs seeing like what we’re talking about. And that’s I think an easy way that I can help all of our team be consistent and be on the same page and then get the news out more about what we’re doing amongst all of our personal connections that we have on there.

37:30 Oh, that’s cool. Um, what marketing channels are you, uh, are you guys using? Um, are you guys on LinkedIn, like running paid ads on LinkedIn or has that all pretty much been organic?

37:42 Yeah. Um, being a part of a startup where we are, we’ve gotten like venture capital funding, but we’re pre-revenue, so everything we’re doing is still, um, we’re not like, you know, there yet. So, so I’m constantly thinking of what can we be doing? Um, that’s efficient and that doesn’t cost a lot of money and it has a good return, that sort of thing. So for free fall, the channels I find most beneficial are number one, LinkedIn. What we’re doing is very B2B. Um, it’s not, we’re not selling these antennas to, to just you as a customer, like at your house. Like this is something that another business will probably use or acquire or incorporate with with what they’re using. So LinkedIn is the best place to be for us. Um, secondary, I like Twitter a lot. Um, and Twitter is, has been a a good way to just share, like I was saying like the news, like we were in the newspaper yesterday, so I shared that out last night.

38:43 Um, and then some of our connections there, like Arizona space pore Alliance like shares our news. And so that’s one way to share news. But also just like we were talking about how on LinkedIn you can sometimes connect with people versus like just a plain email. I think Twitter is another way when you want to reach the media. Um, it’s a lot easier to get a response from someone in the media on Twitter versus just an email. At least that’s what I, my experience. Yeah. And so I’ll try to send like a, a quick message and Hey, I think you might be interested, may I send you and I am and like basically ask him for permission to like, uh, may I have your email address to send you this news that we have and um, that’s been successful. So I think LinkedIn and then Twitter, we are on Facebook.

39:28 I don’t think that’s necessarily um, a top one for us. But I, I basically started it because startup Tucson kept tagging us and we didn’t have a, a page. Like they kept trying to tag us and I was like, Oh shoot cause we are doing, um, Doug was speaking at startup coffee and then we hosted this other thing and I was like, all right, we should be on it. So I am sharing some things on Facebook. So we do have like, you know, a presence on Facebook. But um, I really feel like LinkedIn is where I’ll continue to spend more time and um, and use I think even better in 2020.

40:00 Have you done any of the, uh, I guess articles cause I know that

40:03 I should be, we should a free fall should be doing the articles and we haven’t,

40:07 I, we haven’t either. And so it’s a, yeah,

40:10 I think it’s a great, I think it, I think we should be doing that. That should be something that we do for next year. Definitely. Yeah.

40:19 What are some of the businesses that are using your, uh, your antennas and everything like that? What, what kind of applications are they using it for?

40:28 So we have a ground station called the all sky antenna. We see that really helping a few things. So one, um, the data on the move. So basically say if you’re in a vehicle or you’re on a ship or something like that and, and things like you’re on bumpy terrain and you could lose a signal a lot sort of thing. Um, the way we’ve designed this with this spherical reflector and the basically like a steerable beam basically helps people stay connected despite movement. And this antenna doesn’t have to physically move. So you know how like a parabolic antenna on a house or this or that usually has to point towards like a certain antenna and it has to like, you know, and say if the wind knocked it off, you’d have to like move it. Again. Ours has no moving parts. It literally is staying still. It’s just electronically steered to stay connected. Um, yeah. So, so that for data on the move, we also see this being really great for um, helping people in rural areas, um, have connectivity and can get and can get data, um, in places like where they don’t normally have it, the infancy infrastructure or cables or wiring. Um, so that’s, that’s one aspect.

41:39 What is just the [inaudible] not so much that business they’re doing wrong, but what is the biggest opportunity for companies to do to get themselves out there more? And it’s just more of if someone’s trying to start their own business or in startup mode. Um, what is the thing that could be done

41:55 from my perspective to help build your business is, is really to get out there and to not, and I talked about that with, about being involved with organizations and I think I’ve had a lot of success over the past years being involved with the community and not just sitting behind my computer, but um, building awareness about like what I’m doing and then what whoever I’m helping like free fall, like what we’re doing and, and then not just, um, being one way about it being like, listen to what we’re doing. It’s so amazing. Like, ah, like really, I’m like, I’m aligning with organizations like I believe in and I want to help. So say it’s Arizona technology council. Like I want Arizona to be the next space state, which it can be. I want, um, with my illustration business, I’m part of local first Arizona local first. Their goal is to support local Arizona business.

42:54 I mean, that’s, that’s the focus. Any type of business and when you spend locally, you’re helping your economy, um, you’re helping your fellow person’s business. When you’re, when you’re sending something to a local printer or you’re, um, using a local animator, you’re helping each other, like you’re helping your community. So I’d say for anyone with their business is getting involved and, and by you helping like your community and others, you get work back to you without even thinking about like, well, if I do this, I’ll get that noise. It happens because you’re out there helping, you’re showing what you can do and then you’re top of mind for people and they’ll think of you, they’ll be like, Oh yeah, like for that thing that was really awesome and Oh yeah, we should try that. You know? And especially for what you’re doing, like you help someone with something and then you, you’re more top of mind than someone that’s they’ve never met in their life. It’s a trust thing.

43:51 Yeah. Yeah. No, I love it. I think being authentic and just telling your story, just, just showing who you are and the value that you bring, more so than selling. And the selling then happens. And I think, uh, being strategic with who you’re partnering with and the why I think it goes so far and I, it’s, it’s, I think there’s just too many companies that are just trying to sell themselves rather than build a community. And I think, uh, um, yeah, you just focus on the community aspect and really helping out the community work comes your way.

44:21 Yes. And no one likes the, you, I’m sure you’ve been to different events and networking things. No one likes the, I used to joke that like there’s a guy who’s like, Hey, can I get your card and like doesn’t even really know what you do. And then I’m like, and then I always in my head I was like, Oh, spammy later. Like, like literally, they’re just like, he just wants to spam me later. His stuff didn’t even really talk to me. He doesn’t even know like what I’m involved with. Like, so when you, so then you get an email from this thing trying to sell you something, you’re like, I don’t know you, you know what I mean? I don’t even know what you’re doing. Like why are we, and, um, so I think you don’t want to be that guy. So, so doing everything the other way where you’re actually just like, like you’re educating others about what you’re doing, that’s the way to go.

45:07 Yeah. Actually Karen, I mean that’s what, yeah, that’s what it boils down to. Cool. And so where can, where can people find you? Um, find you the business and, and uh, yeah.

45:19 Okay. So number one, I’m on LinkedIn since we talked about LinkedIn a lot. So Julie Bonner and I’m on LinkedIn. Um, I’m happy to talk to anyone about marketing or, or anything we talked about today. And then free falls website is free fall moving Um, free falls also. Um, like I mentioned LinkedIn and on Twitter and on Facebook. Um, but we’re right here in Tucson and, uh, we’re excited to move into our new office and we’re going to have a big, um, I’ll invite you back. We’re having a ribbon cutting kind of ceremony once we’re all moved in. Um, and so we’re excited to show off the new space in the next month or two. Um, yeah, so happy to talk to anyone that’s interested.

46:00 Cool. And then, uh, on a personal plug for your business, what is the, what is your personal, uh, business and where can people find that?

46:07 Sure. Um, my personal business is called Julia originals. And on that website you’ll find the desert dwellers flashcards I was talking about and some of my other art and designs. Um, and I’m also on, uh, Facebook and Instagram as Julie originals and Twitter. Yeah,

46:25 that’s awesome. Well, I appreciate your time and like I said, especially on a Christmas week and, uh, yeah, I hope you guys have a great Christmas and a great new year.

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