Mel is a highly experienced international entrepreneur who leads teams to new levels of success in a variety of highly competitive industries. She is now the President and CEO of SplitSecnd, a portable device that, in any car, provides Live Trip Data, Automatic Crash Notification and, in less than 7 seconds, connects to a 24/7 Emergency response center.
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Worst Entrepreneur moment
- A negative email sent to the client by accident caused a maelstrom of controversy that Mel had to deal with head-on. Listen close Fire Nation – this is how you handle a crisis!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Mel had her whole team take the Belbin test, and her eyes were opened wide!
What has you FIRED up?
Small Business Resource
- Basecamp: Chaos, Organized. Basecamp helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities, and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together.
Best Business Book
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
- SplitSecnd: Emergency assistance the instant you need it. Any driver. Any car. splitsecnd works without fail— even when you can’t respond. Click to see video. The Story.
Mel: I certainly am, yes.
John: Mel is a highly experienced international entrepreneur who leads teams to new levels of success in a variety of highly competitive industries. She’s the President and CEO of SplitSecnd, a portable device that, in any car, provides Live Trip Data, Automatic Crash Notification and in less than 7 seconds, connects to a 24/7 Emergency response center. Mel, say what’s up to fire nation and share with us what’s going on in your word?
Mel: Well, thank you, firstly, thank you John for having me on. It’s a great honor to be on your show. I love what you do and I am so tickled that I actually get to be a part of it. So thanks for having me.
Mel: I will give you a little bit of a brief intro in what we are doing here at SplitSecnd. As you say, it is a phenomenal piece of technology that I am just so excited about. It is a little device. It’s like a charger and you just plug it in to a 12-volt outlet in any car. Doesn’t matter what the age of the car is as long as it has 12 volts you’re good to go and it does provide you with auto crash notification. And the reason I’m so excited about that is you know the statistics and the figures around distracted driving have skyrocketed.
We are losing too many people to fatality through destructive driving and especially teenagers. So I am very excited that we are able to bring this to market and it will allow parents to be able to put it in the car for their new teen drivers, to put it in their own car and to put it in the car of their parents. Because this is also a great device for seniors who may have a medical condition and they will have the ability to call for emergency assistance if they have a medical emergency assistance while they’re driving.
And also it allows seniors to keep their keys for longer because if they have early onset dementia. Sometimes they can drive and they don’t know where they are with the GPS tracking a family can locate them and bring them home safe and sound. There is a lot more that this fabulous device can do, but ultimately our goal is to save lives. If you are in an accident it works automatically. You don’t have to do anything. It doesn’t pair with a cell phone; it just works all on its own. It is going to contact our call center, send them your exact location and help will be sent to you immediately.
John: It’s actually going to the point now that whenever I see an accident on the road. I just assume the person was texting. I mean, it’s really gotten to that point, I’m like that person must have been texting on their phone. Like that’s why they got into an accident because it’s such a horrible, horrible thing that we have gone into you know, with just having our smart phones on our laps every time it was his with a Facebook notification or automatically we have to look down and check it and that’s all it takes and scary stuff.
Mel: You’re right, that’s all it takes. It happens in a SplitSecnd, quite literally.
John: The name, I got it.
Mel: Dada deem, one of the things that we are working on for an explosion and I think this ties in really nicely to what you just said is that we will give people the ability to block all text and phone calls while they are driving.
Mel: So there will also be notification that goes back to that person that says, “I’m currently driving call you when I get back.” But what it will prevent is what you just said sort of the notification, the pain, we’ve all got Pavlova syndrome we hear that bell and we react automatically without thinking. We pick it up, we reach for it on so if SplitSecnd technology can prevent that and we ultimately gonna prevent some fatalities too and that’s incredibly special and a privilege to be a part of.
John: That is a privilege, saving lives and something that just kinda came to mind randomly off the top of my head. It would be pretty cool if there was like a little ding or beeping noise every time you took your eyes off of the road. Like whenever they shifted down to like even, even if you are going to change the temperature real quick. You just want to know just hey, the car knows you’re not looking anymore. That would be fascinating.
Mel: That would be that would be cool. Let’s make that so a SplitSecnd version 3.0 I’m on it. I’m on it and have it for you by next week
John: You’re the best Mel, you’re the best and that’s why I have you on Entrepreneur On Fire because I’m really excited about the insights your mind so we’re going to go through one minute mind set questions. These are five insights inside of your mind, so take about a minute each to answer each one. The first one being:
1. Ideally, what are the first 80 minutes of your day look like?
Mel: The first 80 minutes of my day is somewhat of a world wind. I hit the ground running at about 6:00 a.m. and what I will immediately do is I will check my emails and text to see if I’ve have any notifications that is going to change the already planned structure of my day. I like to plan out the day. I know what I’m going to do with my time. Now, things happen and people cancel and that’s undiscernible. So if I find I have an hour free unexpectedly – I actually like to think in the shower about the most productively way to repurpose that time is when I do all my thinking.
After that it’s really about my children prepare for their day at school. I’m a single mom. I have three incredible children, a son and twin daughters. Each of them is exceptional and we pull together really well as a team. And so we would set off on the school run around 7:00. I have found a fabulous coffeehouse about five minutes from the girl’s school. So I’m usually sitting across from my first meeting of the day at about 7:50. And really, my mindset is how do I maximize every minute of the day that I can? How do I make it count?
John: Love that. Now, and you have some strengths we are going to talk about one of them in a second. But what’s your biggest weakness?
Mel: Easy, staying focus and I’m sure you hear that over and over and over again with entrepreneurs. We are such a funny breed. I mean, I see new opportunity every day. You have already set my mind rolling on this new SplitSecnd device that we are going to have to have. But it sees your eyes moving down I mean I’m talking to you, but I’m thinking about that.
Mel: And it’s about capturing those ideas while still staying executed and focus on your current deliverable. So I do constantly remind myself, hey, stick with the strategy that been agreed and capture those ideas because they are going to be some gems and I use google dots a lot to help me set up the day’s priorities and as a great capture. I love the interface so I am a big google girl.
John: Whenever you find your focus slipping Mel, just see yourself focus, follow on course until success.
Mel: I love that.
John: What’s your biggest strength?
Mel: I would probably say my energy and my positive attitude. Often people say gosh she’s got CEO on your business card. I think it should say GSD,” I say why.” And the go, “Because you get stuff done.” And that not only moves the business forward. But it will also myself and anyone forward as an entrepreneur because you gonna have some first time failures as well as successes. And I have found that you know when you’re hands on it provides learning, it provides growth and it also moves you forward.
So I’m realistically positive, but as an entrepreneur you know you’re going to be face that the blocks and I think it’s up to you to stay positive, lead your team with positivity and come up with a creative workarounds or a new road entirely that is going to lead it to success.
John: What’s a habit Mel that you wish you had?
Mel: Is going to be carving out me time? I mean, I know how important it is you know to find time to switch off, rechargeable batteries when you’re working high pace most of the time, and despite my good intentions I would usually give up the meantime, if there is something else on fire. Could be kid related, could be work related, but they would tend to both come to the top of the pile.
John: And just a little future reference. We only was on fire for awesome things on the show.
Mel: Good point.
John: So Mel, you have a lot of exciting things going on. Obviously, the beeping with the eyes moving off the road thing being one of them. But what the thing that has you most fired up right now?
Mel: Many things, but I’m just gonna stick to one and share with you. I am so fired up about the SplitSecnd technology that we are just bringing to market because it is going to benefit so many people. There is nothing like it out there, it’s kind of like OnStar but for everybody else because it doesn’t need to be fitted into a car. And I just love sharing the passion of what we are doing and how we’re doing it each and every day. That this very simple technology can allow your love ones to stay connected at all times.
John: Let’s get actionable for a second here. So I’m thinking about my grandparents if I wanted them to have this, what would be my next step?
Mel: You can go on to the SplitSecnd website or you can go on to Amazon and you’d be able to purchase the device and send it to them. The beauty of it is when you purchase that the account is already set up. So for your grandparents they would just take it out of the box, plug it in and it’s going to work.
John: Now, is there just upfront one-time fee or is there an ongoing recurring?
Mel: Yeah, that’s great. We’ve actually – what we have tried to do is meet everybody’s budget because everybody has a different financial situation. Typically the device is $99.00 and there’s a monthly recurring fee of about 9.95. But sometimes people want to just pay everything up front, in which case we allow them to buy the device on a years’ worth of service with the discount. And then on the senior side sometimes you know everybody has a set financial budget that they have to meet so we do $15.00 a month for two years contracts, and then there is no upfront fee for the device. So we really want to make it available to everybody.
John: That’s great options about and Mel, you didn’t just wake up and have the idea for SplitSecnd. In fact, you have quite a journey and I know a little bit about it and fire nation is about to hear a little bit more. So take us to a specific moment and for this first story I want it to be your worst entrepreneurial moment Mel. So it might be hard but take us there, take us to that moment in time and tell us that story?
Mel: Well, it was I thought long and hard about this and I think I’m gonna chose this one because it also gave me – it was the worst moment, but it was such a great learning moment as well. And it was many years ago and one of my first companies that I launched which was a production company and had built a team. We had some great plans, we had pretty informal, relaxed atmosphere and it was a moment that I think many people have done, but it was being too quick trying to get things done a little bit fast.
Not taking that moment just to pause, review is this right? Yes, let’s move on and it was one of my producers had sent me an email about a client who was a particular tricky client. They were quite demanding and not particular nice about the way they ask for things and so my producer had sent me – forwarded this email to me from the client and making an observation that was slightly negative about this kind to me. But accidentally he sent it to the client as well.
John: [Inaudible] [00:12:32].
Mel: Yeah, and it was that moment of realizing oh, my gosh this is gone to the client and it was having to call the client and talk to them. They wanted a person fired. It was talking to the producer and explaining the seriousness of the situation and taking everybody on a journey to get to and end resolution that was as positive as it could be. And then really understanding the power that email has but understanding that you do need to stop and review the important things that are going on and make sure that you have taken care of all the little details.
John: I tell you that kind of bring back a few memories obviously, for myself as well. I wouldn’t say anything to that level. But I do know that I really do treasure my little five seconds undue send that Gmail allows me to do because like I’m always just kind typing out email, clicking send and then because I’ve opt to view option of undo send for five seconds. It’s just there and I can kind a quickly skim over the email which I should be doing before I press send.
But you know we are always in such a rush and just say oh wow, I just misspelled that word or I totally I'm sending this to the wrong person whatever it might be and click undo it grabs it back and then you’re off to the races, but sometimes once it sent it’s just sent. And Mel, break it down for us what’s the one lesson in one sentence that you want us to walk away with from that experience?
Mel: In one sentence, I would say keep calm, take your time and make sure you have a positive attitude to resolving the situation.
John: Mel, let’s shift. I mean, that was not the story to share. I mean, it brought back some tough memories, no doubt. But now we’re going to talk about an epiphany aha moment. I mean, obviously SplitSecnd was one of those and maybe you’re going to tell that story. But you know our listeners by now, you know fire nation. We are entrepreneurs, we are launching entrepreneurs, side entrepreneurs, what aha moment have you had that you can tell that story but you think is going to resonate with us and take us to that moment?
Mel: That is such a great question and aha moment. I mean, I love this question because it really does make you stop and think about that turning point. And I think for me it was relatively earlier on in the entrepreneurial journey, and it was back in 97 and I had founded my own production company and you achieve steady, successful growth, but it led to me spending a lot of time hiring people to help grow the business. And I had always been time with that person, I wanted to gauge with my gut reaction would they be a good fit with the culture of the business and I continue to grow the business in that way.
So I was interested in their qualifications and their experience. But I was more interested in their attitude, their enthusiasm, their work passion, their drive, their integrity as these are things I have found that cannot be learned in the classroom and the companies certainly thrive because of it. These are really interesting process. It is called Belbin and it looks at team profiles. There is a great guy Dr. Meredith Belbin, who has done a lot of research and has identified that there are nine rules that leads to a successful team.
If you put Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett on a team does it mean that it will be automatically successful because they are on it? No, but if you bring together a team of individuals who have these nice skills onsets. It has been shown that that will bring success when everybody is working to the highest standard at what they do well. And so my aha moment was we did this we had on off-site day and I brought in somebody to run us through Belbin, and what they do is they have a ninth point access and everybody’s strengths and onset because it is like a psychometric tests of being drawn to like a star on this access.
And if you are a 10, which is the best number then you go to the end of that point and they started to overlay each of the team members on top of one another and there on the screen was this star, whereby we had every single point covered with a 10 of somebody on that team. And that was my aha moment, I just sat there and I thought that’s it. If we can bring people together who understand what their role is and they’re doing something that they’re passionate about and they understand what the importance is of somebody else’s role on the team and how that’s going to help them succeed.
That energy on that dynamism I find has been the bedrock of my future success is working with those people. Finding your culture, living it, breathing it, and it has been – it’s been wonderful. I love working with people.
John: That’s amazing. I actually just got back from Icon not too long ago and Sally Hogshead was one of the keynote speakers and she had an amazing test called the fascinate test and that’s how the world sees you. So I had my whole team take that test as well. And it was really interesting to see how my team came back on that fascination test with all the different. It was 49 different archetypes and what’s the actual name of this test, you take Mel?
Mel: It’s called Belbin, B – E – L – B – I – N and its use more in Europe than it is over here, but it specializes in team. And I would recommend anybody if you are an entrepreneur who you started a company and your seen growth. I would very much recommend going on to the website, learning a little bit about the structure of the Belbin and how you identify the roles within a team it’s been fantastic.
John: Totally and fire nation I second that I’ve seen it in person right here with my team and just you know with what Sally Hogshead has done and now I’m definitely gonna check out the Belbin test too. So thanks for that Mel, and we have a lot of awesomeness coming up Mel. I’m not going to let you go anywhere quite yet. We are about to enter the lightning round but before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors. Mel, welcome to the lightning round where you will get to share incredible resources in mind blowing answers. Sound like a plan?
Mel: I’m on, I’m game on.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Mel: It was definitely my pre-conceived notion of what my life path should look like, which is often laid out by parents and teachers, or society. I constantly felt that I had to fulfill other people expectations, which initially prevented me from getting started on what I really wanted to do.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Mel: That would have to be that you can only make the best decision with the information you have at the time. Do you do diligence? Ask the questions that are on your mind? And when you have made your decision, there’s no room for looking back or regret. New information is going to come to light, which may have change your decision, but you can only make the best decision with the information you have at the time.
John: What’s a personal habit, you do have that you believe contributes to your success?
Mel: That would have to be a six p’s. The six p’s are:
Time and again, I found this to be a great grounding habit when a situation may seem overwhelming. You have to recognize you can only eat an elephant one bite at the time. So with proper prior planning you’re going to increase your chances of success by a very large multiple.
John: For some reason whenever I hear that phrase about eating an elephant one bite of the time I picture starting with the ear. I don’t know why. Don’t ask me.
Mel: Okay, I’ll start at the trunk and will meet somewhere in the middle.
John: Mel, do you have an Internet resource like you never notes that you can share with our listeners?
Mel: Yeah, I actually like base camp. I don’t know if you have used base camp or part of it. It’s relatively new, but it’s been a fantastic results for us as a flexible small growing entrepreneurial business to still be able to have some project planning in place so we love base compares SplitSecnd.
John: If you could recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Mel: It would have to be Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, I can’t count the times I’ve found myself in a situation when I have known the right course of action immediately. Then you try and second-guess yourself or you use precious time to contradict yourself. It is and all about the gut and he says it so well in this book. Listen to your instincts you know when something is just right and you can make a decision based on that.
John: Well, fire nation. I know you love audio, so I teamed up with audible and if you haven’t already can get an amazing audiobook for free @EOfirebook.com. And Mel, this next question is the last of the lightning round but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand-new world. Identical to earth, but you don’t know one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, your food and shelter taken care of. But all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Mel: So exciting. I mean talk about real life fantasies. This is fantastic. I see the game in your future. Mind cross game around this is at some point in your future.
Mel: I would wake up full of excitement and promise and I would immediately have my laptop. I would go to a coffee shop and spend about five bucks on a really large coffee and I would get online and I would start doing some research about the best place to network. I love people. I think people can be inspirational. I would want to get there in the next seven days and meet people to find out where the strengths, where the opportunities that we could focus in on.
And that would happen in day one and from that I would be sitting down and once I’ve identified the opportunity I would then be meeting with people who had the experience of being in that world taking care of business in that world. And learning from someone who’s done that before. So I would take some time to spend a small amount of that money may be about $300.00 in total on meeting with the right people and putting together my plan. And then the other $200.00, I would reinvest
John: Love it, fire nation relationships. I mean, how often does it come down to the when it comes to the $500.00 question so critical. Investing in yourself and investing in relationships.
Mel: That’s right because at the end of the day people do business with people right? They are so many technologies that are out there and there are so many opportunities for us to go and eat at the restaurant or go and buy a new pair of glasses. We tend to go back to the place where we like the people.
John: Love that Mel, and let’s end it today on fire. The good on fire you sharing one parting piece of guidance the best way we can connect with you and then will say goodbye.
Mel: Okay, well, firstly thank you so much for having me this has been such a trip, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. And I think my piece of parting advice was something my dad said to me as I was going up and I really didn’t get it. And he used to say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” And I have often fallen back on that you know when you sometimes get frustrated, you think, how am I going to do this? It’s okay and take the lessons, take the learning and if at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again.
John: And what’s the best way we can find you Mel?
Mel: You can find me on www.SplitSecnd.com. The spelling of SplitSecnd is slightly unusual. There is no o in the end of the word. We just didn’t have time for it. So it is just SplitSecnd and you can email me. Also at [email protected] I would be happy to hear from anyone.
John: Love that wow, well, fire nation you know that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you have been hanging out with Mel and Jod today so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type in Mel in the search bar, her personal page will pop right up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. Book, resources, her websites SplitSecnd.com Her email, [email protected] And Mel, I just want to thank you for sharing your journey with fire nation today. For that we salute you and we’ll catch –
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