The Tension Podcast
#19: David Wachs — Technology vs. Tradition

#19: David Wachs — Technology vs. Tradition

Founder & CEO of Handwrytten on Success, Human Connection, and the Magic of Handwritten Notes

The best day to start a business? Today! That’s the word from David Wachs, the highly successful serial entrepreneur featured on this episode of The Tension Podcast.

Most recently the visionary behind Handwrytten, a robot-based platform for writing personalized notes in pen, David shares his words of wisdom and life experiences that have shaped his career. He has never been afraid to get in over his head, embracing tools before he could fully imagine them and building out technologies on the fly.

You’ll find out how David bootstrapped his earliest ventures and got out way ahead of the mobile marketing curve by growing a widely used platform to deliver millions of text messages to consumers for clients like Toys-R-Us, Abercrombie & Fitch, Sam’s Club and Pizza Hut.

He also explains how, more recently, he has pioneered Handwrytten robot-based solutions capable of sending out personalized, direct-mail notes at the rate of some 20,000 per day. It’s no surprise that David is a sought-after speaker at technology hotspots like South-by-Southwest and a commentator for prominent publications like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Learn why personal connection is more valuable than ever to business success in a world increasingly dominated by AI, robots and automation. The show also wraps with recommended reading you won’t want to miss!

Curious about how Handwrytten can translate your personal thoughts into pen and ink communications? Visit their website to get all the details about how your business can deepen customer bonds through systematic direct-mail that conveys a human touch.

Relevant Links/Further Resources

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What You’ll Learn: 

  • Life-Changing Encounter: How talk show host Conan O’Brien changed the trajectory of David’s career with this advice: Always get in over your head!

  • In the Deep End: Why – even more than specific expertise – David looks for people who have the “figure it out” gene – the innate ability to get ingenious.

  • Out of Ashes: How David’s first entrepreneurial ventures grew out of adversity and a strong gut instinct for leveraging the early mobile marketing wave.

  • The Magic of Handwritten: About the opportunity David identified to zig where other marketers were zagging, offering an automated sales tool to generate personal letters.

  • Organic Growth: Why David is a big believer in bootstrapping businesses rather than taking (and burning through) outside investor funding.

  • Key Differentiator I: How Handwrytten’s advanced technology and platform separated its service from the pack of competitors who were unable to scale.

  • Visionary Framework: What it looks like to develop a platform driven by a robust API layer rather a static website with limited interactivity and applications.

  • Key Differentiator II: More than a one-off marketing gimmick, Handwrytten is a utility whose design fully integrates with daily CRM functions at scale and on an ongoing basis.

  • Spinning Gold: Why snail-mail retrieved from an old-fashioned mailbox is received like treasure these days – and how Handwrytten leverages that special feeling.

  • Maximizing Time: How putting in place systems and tools that telegraph a personal touch sends a signal to customers: We care on a human level.

  • David’s evolving leadership style incorporates:

    • An inclusive approach.

    • Mindfulness with regard to demeanor and behavior.

    • Meditation or hypnosis and other tools that support calm.

    • Coupling intentionality with deliberation (before action).

  • A Shout-Out for Business Management Tools that Work:

    • EOS – Entrepreneurial Operating System.

    • Ninety – the cloud-based operating system.

    • Weekly business meetings to keep everyone on the same page.

  • Mantras for Handwrytten’s Corporate Culture:

    • Be the change you seek (aka figure it out!).

    • Focus on the customer.

    • Play as a team.

    • No B.S. – be open, transparent.

  • How David Protects Work-Life Balance:

    • Uninterrupted dinner time is non-negotiable.

    • Online work at home has to wait until after the kids’ bedtime.

    • Weekends are devoted (as much as possible) to family time.

  • David’s Recommended Resources for Entrepreneurs:

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The Tension Podcast
The Tension Podcast is for those of us who’ve read every single leadership book and article that gives us just only one way to do things — but we’re ready to hold opposing ideas at once. It’s an exploration of where curiosity and wonder can take us.