landon ainge

Landon Ainge – Gabb Wireless Transcript

Landon Ainge. Senior Vice President Gabb Wireless

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy
Today I’m talking to Landon. And he is the Senior Vice President of gab wireless, which is a new type of phone company. And they’re doing some really interesting stuff. So I’d like to welcome the show. And Landon, how are you today?

Landon Ainge
Doing great. Thank you so much for having me.

Rob McNealy
So where are we talking to you from today?

Landon Ainge
I am actually surprisingly, in my house today, just at home. Yeah, normally I’m in the WeWork working in the office there but caught me in between investor meetings. And now I’m at home and going all the way WeWork.

Rob McNealy
And you guys are based in Utah. Right?

Landon Ainge
We are based in Utah, yeah.

Rob McNealy
So tell me a little bit about..

Landon Ainge
The founders are based in Palo Alto.

Rob McNealy
Well, we won’t hold that against the company. You know, it’s interesting. There seems to be a lot of divide coming out of At least on the political side when it comes to like, you know, more like, you know, West Coast tech people and even you know, I think even in Utah because it’s interesting because Utah tends not to be so left leaning, but still tech centric. Yeah. I don’t know. I used to I always tell people I used to like it when I didn’t know the political ideologies of companies that we’re doing business with or buying their products from, but now it seems like everything out of Silicon Valley is all about talking about politics, which I don’t think is always that great. To be honest. When I was a kid, when I was getting my MBA, they always said, you know, you know, the best thing is don’t bring up politics might alienate your customers. And now it’s like everybody’s trying to alienate their customers. And I guess I they went to a different business school, but I did. What do you think about all that?

Landon Ainge
I think with marketing, it’s changed a little bit to where in reality, it’s important in marketing, you actually want to address who your customers are not. But a lot of that is a choice. So the company of who their customers should be. And so by doing those aspects, I think it’s interesting that they’re basically saying, we are choosing that we want customers that are like this.

Rob McNealy
Oh, I get it. And you know, and the thing is, it’s interesting to me, at least with a publicly held company with a private company. I don’t have any issue with that, right? I mean, I mean, basic marketing, you start off with micro, you know, market segmentation, and you figure out who exactly your customer looks like, but generally, you want to get as many of those as you possibly can. And but now, it’s like, was certain, you know, companies, it’s like, they’re choosing deliberately to alienate potential customers. Yeah. Because they don’t agree with them. And that to me, I mean, I’m 47. So I’m a little older than you. And, and that’s new. That’s, that’s very new. That’s five years last five years. It’s totally something I’m just shocked by. But it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out and you know, ultimately comes down to, you know, making money and, and being successful and providing the products and service my mic. And my only thing about that is when you’re a public company, you know, do you have the luxury as a public company technically being a fiduciary to make those decisions? And I’m not and I’m not sure about that, you know, if that’s right or wrong. But to me, it’s like I, you know, to me, I want customers and and I don’t want to alienate them unless it’s something specific, like, you know, what I’m doing with our project. It’s very much a polarizing topic, so I can actually understand why I have to be political on some issues, but other issues I’m not so I don’t know. It’s interesting to see but it’s not about me today. It’s about you, and it’s about gab wireless. So tell me about you and your background. How did you you know, how did you get here and at such a young age because you definitely look younger than me. How did you get into such an executive position already?

Landon Ainge
Well, first off titles in startups mean nothing. So let’s just throw that out there. I think that’s important. Everyone needs to understand that. But second, I think, for me, my journey kind of went through switching back and forth from the investment side of things to operations back to investment backed operations. I think. For me, I went worked at Goldman for a little while then I went and did mergers and acquisitions that I wouldn’t operated in e commerce overstock.com. And to venture capital world. I think it’s a great experience. I think not being tied to one industry is really helpful. And that’s what’s helped me be able to recognize patterns across different industries. That’s truly I think, been the biggest education I’ve ever gotten. And kind of helped me get to where I’m at, to where I’m now at God wireless and I’m a well openly I’m a I’m a dad of two little beautiful girls, and And that kind of what sparked a little bit of me joining gab. gab wireless is a cell phone network company for dedicated and priority providing age appropriate devices. So we’re trying to protect kids by putting giving them devices that are the right way to introduce a phone. We’re trying to delay the introduction of smartphone because of the impact it has on kids when we introduce it to them.

Rob McNealy
Well, I have four children, and two of them are teenagers, and two of them will be teenagers soon enough. And, you know, we homeschool our kids. I don’t know, you know, if I’ve ever talked to you very much about my personal life, but actually we homeschool our kids and my oldest will be 17 and a few weeks and she’s just finishing up her sophomore year college and she’s a full time college student. She started when she was 14 part time, and she didn’t get her first cell phone until she was already a full time college student. Now, definitely she’s younger. And because we were very concerned about, you know, social media and things of that nature. And in fact, with our other children, we have a checkout phone, that we allow what they have to check it back into us. So we’re pretty strict. We don’t allow social media and none of our kids only our oldest right now has even has an email address. So and we definitely, you know, you know, kind of lockdown screentime and limit that. Some people say we’re horrible parents in mean and restrictive and controlling. But I also remember how I was growing up, and I had no parental controls on my life. And I definitely say that I grew up way too early. So what is gab doing to address? I guess, these kind of concerns that I might have, and must back up, what are the concerns that people have? What are the threats that parents are facing with kids having access to a smartphone?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, I think we’ve talked about 20,000 parents. So talk to a ton of parents are going through getting their feedback on what what their concerns are with technology, why? I don’t want to go too deep into specifically what their fears are. But I want to more focus on what the impacts of that technology are. Because the list of impacts I think, are way worse than what people’s fears are. People have lots of fears about like, kids going down dark corners and doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. But really, the concerns are in five categories. You’ve got just sleep deprivation being the biggest, when you have a device with a lot of stimulation that hits a point in kids brains, that keeps them everlean gauge that they don’t sleep, because they want to constantly have more of that. And if there’s one thing I can point to it’s sleep deprivation that’s changing kids and it’s hurting kids and It changes the word academic performance, their ability to communicate, it changes their emotional roller coaster that they’re already going on. But then you can point to kind of the social anxiety involved with social media. Social media is not bad. It’s just at an early age, it can destroy kids, they’re not ready to even communicate in person, let alone understand the complexity in the context of conversations and, and the lack of empathy that it develops with kids at an early age. And then kind of you can point to cyber bullying, pornographic content, addicted to gaming, there’s a lot of anything that does anything to isolate kids for very long periods of time. Pretty much that we can just all agree. I don’t get into politics, but this is parenting, it’s, but we just need them to be a little more careful. We’ve got this thing called technology and we say it’s great. And then we give it to everyone and I think we’re learning that Maybe not great for everyone, and maybe it needs to be a little bit more staged is all and openly, you’re really you’re really like protected, right? That’s who you are as a parent. But we’re trying to listen to all parents to say, We don’t care who you are, we’re going to provide a solution that you to figure out what age you think the solution is best for, you know, your child best, you know, their abilities, you know, their habits, what, what will do it and our way of doing that is pretty unique. And we can talk about that, because I’m so excited about it.

Rob McNealy
And we should do that. I think it’s important. So you touched on a little bit about, you know, the things that you’re providing a solution and all those different, you know, five categories of problems that people are dealing with. What do you say when maybe PE parents might come back and say, well, it’s just a parenting issue. You know, why can’t just let parents you know, be parents kind of thing or, you know, Maybe Do you get any pushback like that?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, I mean, parents are saying, hey, look, we don’t need any restrictions. And I would say, Okay, then you’re not our customer, like I talked to we talked about at the beginning, right? Like, then, if you don’t feel like any controls are necessary, and that’s great. I think what we’re learning now is that we’re taking an adult device and giving it to kids and telling them to regulate themselves, and we’re learning that their ability to do so is not and that we’re just providing options. There aren’t enough options out there. You have a flip phone, and you have a smartphone, and very little in between.

Rob McNealy
You know, I’m not convinced that a lot of parents and adults pivot in and figured out how to like control themselves either. So

Landon Ainge
I have my own issues with that, right? Like I need to, you know, the amount of time that I spend doing work on my phone when you know, maybe I should be more concentrated on with my girls like that’s, I struggle with that dailies right so In a startup world, that’s your life, you kind of, unfortunately, tends to consume. So I think we’re all struggling with that.

Rob McNealy
Well, you know, I think that it’s important to recognize that I think the first you know, thing that you need to do if you’re going to try to change or improve is to recognize there’s a problem. I think a lot. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even see there’s a problem. So tell me a little bit about what you guys are doing. What is your solution?

Landon Ainge
Yeah. So what we’ve done is we’re providing a network provides this age appropriate devices. And we’ve launched our first device on our first device. It’s a looks like smartphone, it feels and acts just like a smartphone and hold it up right here. There’s a device so it looks and feels got a touch screen. And so you, your kids get to play on it and they get to do what they want. But that being said, it’s a tool. It’s a functional tool, as a phone as an alarm clock has a calendar as texting even as a camera, but what it what it limits is External outreach or external entertainment. So there’s no App Store. So you’re not going to download any social media or games or any of that aspect. There’s no browser. And then our first phone doesn’t allow you to send group or picture messages. Now why, why that’s important is it truly is just a functional device then. And it’s meant to communicate and help connect people, and adds the benefits of having a touchscreen phone with applications that add function. But our role is to help them maintain a life outside the screen. So parents reason for getting kids fun is to communicate with them. And so their kids can communicate with their, with their parents and with their friends.

Rob McNealy
So why so if you’re just limiting the lot of the Smart App kind of things, why not just use like kind of a flip phone?

Landon Ainge
Well, that’s a good question. Ask your kids openly it’s more it’s a really important thing for kids to understand. For them, it’s their social acceptance foot on some connotation That is really negative. It’s a cause for being made fun of. and appearance is really important to kids young age. And there’s a reason they’re wearing their fake Ray Bans and looking really good and why they look at certain types of clothing, its appearance is really important. And we’ve learned that from past companies that have tried to make kid devices that they made them to Kitty, and that’s the reason why it didn’t work. They don’t want to stick out from a parent’s perspective, even if they don’t necessarily want it. We’ve had teenagers come to us and say, I don’t want social media. I don’t want any of that stuff. And but because I have it on my phone, that’s a path of least resistance to where I just go there. But you know, but that appearance really is important.

Rob McNealy
So is your device capable of adding those functionalities say as a kid grows on Older? So for instance, you can, isn’t it there are options to add in functionality at some point or is it just permanently locked down.

Landon Ainge
So our goal is to provide a stepwise function to kind of help kids graduate. Our first device here, does what it does. And it’s $100 device. So it’s like really easy, really palatable for parents, it’s a month to month contract, introduce it when you want. And then when they’re ready, they’ll graduate to either that next device that we introduce or to the family plan on a smartphone, when they’re ready for that type of behavior will start to introduce those we won’t be doing, you know, we won’t be introducing kind of a, that they’ll have YouTube on this, or they’ll have other entertainment apps on there. It’s really a we will add more functionality and more functional apps but, but none of the entertainment aspects until they’re ready. And once they’re ready for that entertainment. We recommend parental controls on on a smartphone.

Rob McNealy
So what kind of time Technology is this what kind of hardware software? is this? Is it a Linux based unit? What kind of oS? Is it running?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, so it’s a custom binary operating system. It’s actually exclusive to Gabb. But it’s based off of the Google Android system. Because of the unique nature of what we’ve done. It is exclusively to ours. And we work closely with one of the top phone manufacturers in the world zt to co develop that exclusively for our network.

Rob McNealy
I was just thinking, because, you know, it’s amazing and how smart kids are when they’re trying to get access to something. Technologically, I’ve been surprised with my own kids at how young they will, they’ll work really hard to get into things that they’re not supposed to. And I was just worried. I was wondering, you know, How hard would it be to like, you know, you know, crack it or, you know, jailbreak it or something like that.

Landon Ainge
A really good question. It’s pretty hard because it’s done at the manufacturing level. That’s the reason we did it. because it provides greater security and stabilization there, that even to kind of factory resets and other things that they try to do. It maintains it. But that being said, you know, not every nothing is in penetrable in my mind, at least from what I’ve experienced in technology. So I think that someone, I, someone someday, I think will definitely do that. But for most of the children and most kids that we’re doing, dealing with, concerned about.

Rob McNealy
So for the smart kids in there that, you know, they’ll try to do you know, they can still get in trouble with texting, right, because it still allows, you know, you know, Ms. You know, SMS messages, that kind of thing.

Landon Ainge
Yeah, so for the smart kids, but he, I guess my you’re saying people can get into trouble. Yeah, I mean, right. What we’re trying to do is we’re not trying to remove parental involvement for those parents and say, Look, it’s printing problem or parental question. That’s kind of true. This we are here to provide a technology solution that makes it a little bit easier. But a parents still should be involved in introducing a phone that here’s this new responsibility. This is what’s appropriate to text and call and this is what we shouldn’t shouldn’t do. But that’s an easy conversation compared to here’s a supercomputer. Right? Like, yeah, so the question I would have, is there a lockout? Can the kid lock the parents out from seeing what they’re texting? Or is there a way for the parent to have like a super password to kind of monitor that piece? Yeah, so we don’t have monitoring right now and really talking to kids. What they like about phone is look that has a camera and their ability to talk to friends, and then it doesn’t have spyware. Really, we’ve tried to say, okay, what’s appropriate, let’s, let’s drive that conversation. And when your kid is ready to have that responsibility, that’s when they should get a phone now We should get them a phone and then we should try to monitor everything they’re doing on it. Let’s change that conversation and say, is my child ready for a phone? And if so, how do I have those conversations to make sure they are, and that we indicate to go through those aspects. So there’s no monitoring, there’s ability to lock it. We always give out kind of a, we try to recommend a family contract when you give a kid a phone of these are what the expectations are to have a phone. This is what we do. You always share the password mostly because kids forget and lose their password. That’s First of all, but also because it’s important for parents to do it. We recommend centralized charging stations so kids shouldn’t have their phones when they go to their rooms. Just if you don’t want to get your kid into trouble just let’s just say everyone in the family charges their phones in one place that will help adults and kids in our habits that maybe need to improve.

Rob McNealy
I think that’s pretty wise actually. So Gabb Wireless you know starting a phone company it sounds like a lot of work and a lot of money. How are you guys funded?

Landon Ainge
Um, we we ran an Indiegogo actually to get started. So that was really cool. It’s kind of cool as they were telecom real nationwide telecom company right now and we started on Indiegogo. Once we got customers and we got pre orders, we were able to close kind of a Angel round and right now we’re closing our seed round to prepare and we’re about to scale pretty large for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Rob McNealy
So you guys are already out then so I could buy one of these for my kids right now.

Landon Ainge
Get in three days. Free shipping.

Rob McNealy
Are you where are you saw you sold in retail stores or online? Only Amazon? Where can people where do people get it?

Landon Ainge
GabbWireless com. That’s pretty easy. There’s one phone and one plan Choose to take it and we ship it directly to you. You have a account you create month a month. And like I said, flexibility we’re not like, or not like most telecom providers, we’re here to say we’re here to provide a solution and make it easy. And whatever we can do to make your life easier, apparently easier just in a little bit makes a big difference.

Rob McNealy
So you said that the phone itself is about 100 bucks. What are the payment options? What are the payment plans look like?

Landon Ainge
Yes, it’s $19.99. Talks, unlimited talking text with cover policy there. So it’s pretty simple. Just one bucks a month. Here you go. month a month you decided when you introduce.

Rob McNealy
So we’re so we’re coming into that holiday week and I don’t even like to call the day. The day that will be named what the one that’s right after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, so you guys got anything coming up for Black Friday?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, some pretty amazing stuff coming Black Friday. So much. So that like Can’t even up. It’s good. So anyone that is interested in guy was just either follow us on Instagram or Facebook. And we will tell you when it goes live and pretty much if you’re thinking about buying iPhone, you’ll want to buy a whole nother

Rob McNealy
Landon, where can people find out more?

Landon Ainge
GabbWireless.com

Rob McNealy
Landon, thank you so much for coming on the show today and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Landon Ainge
Thank you. You too. Have a great weekend.

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Landon Ainge – Gabb Wireless

Landon Ainge, Senior Vice President of Gabb Wireless, talks with Rob McNealy about their new line of smartphones that are safer for teens and children.