Our first interview is with JMG’s own Matt Paonessa.
Our first interview is with JMG’s own Matt Paonessa.
My brother Greg and I started JMG Systems to help solve problems for people and to help take their ideas to market. Before the business was officially launched in early 2011, both Greg and I were working in tech with government and defense contracting, but we walked away from all that to get into a medium where we could be directly involved with helping people.
As for me personally, I’ve always been working in technology. I’ve always been interested in PCs. Tearing them apart. Fixing them… trying to fix them… I spent a lot of time in a computer shop in the town where I grew up. This was before I even had a driver’s license. But I was there so much working on computers, they eventually just started paying me. I gradually moved into learning about software and software development. And when I went to college, I studied software engineering. Then after college, I was still always working with technology. So I’ve never NOT had a job in tech.
But once Greg and I built our first few apps and software systems, we realized we could really build anything we wanted and create systems that could solve very complex or very simple problems. Unfortunately, or maybe just typically, we had no concept of sales or marketing in those early days. However, we made the effort to learn. As we solved our own business problems, we turned what we learned into services that we could provide to our clients. In offering those kinds of services, our business has developed into both a marketing and technology company. But we’ve maintained our original model of taking whatever problems we solve and sharing our solutions with our clients.
We have found that most businesses – large, medium, or small – are all struggling with similar kinds of problems, particularly in the areas of technology and marketing. The minute Greg and I got into business ourselves, we faced many of these problems. But with our background and our passion for systems engineering, we saw how we could help businesses address many of these common problems. From a technology standpoint, we help businesses select and implement hardware, software, networking, and we also develop custom systems when necessary. But we always take into consideration how humans will use these systems. From a marketing standpoint, we help business understand their own identity through workshops and consulting so that when they project their identity and brand into the market, they stay true to who they are.
Whether it’s applying technology or marketing, the main focus of our business then and now is to take away the things that are preventing a business from moving forward. However, being able to identify problems and then do something about them can happen much more effectively when all of a business’ systems are working together and communicating with one another. And that’s at the core of what we do. We do this for ourselves. And we work hard at making sure we set this up for our clients. It’s important to do this, because business owners need to be able to entrust whatever they don’t know much about to someone who does know about it so they can get back to spending their time on doing what they’re passionate about.
And the tools we build are ultimately meant to help business owners get back to doing the things they love. Obviously, business owners want to focus on what excites them about their businesses, yet they’re often forced to deal with IT or marketing because IT and marketing are a big part of being in business. Unfortunately, the outpouring of new technology has allowed for scenarios where people who are experts in something like retail are now trying to implement their own IT solutions, or people who are specialized professionals are now trying to implement their own marketing solutions. This topsy-turvy way of doing business has occurred because technology, although useful, has also made it incredibly easy for uninformed people to take action on things they know little to nothing about.
Uninformed decisions are one of the biggest causes of clutter in a small business’ systems. So technology itself can not always be blamed when a system gets clogged up or breaks down. However, when a system does start going haywire, introducing even more technology to the system always makes the situation worse. But when there’s an educated operator at the helm and an understandable system in place, then success has a way of taking off. When you have systems that are understandable for the users and systems that are seamlessly connected so that they’re communicating with one another, then less attention will need to be given to the technology supporting that system and more attention can be given to what the system is supposed to be producing.
When Greg and I finally got our business up and running, I wanted to attack this area where business intersects with technology and find ways to make the two work even better together. However, Greg and I were (and still are) frequently seeing a huge problem stemming from a lack of fundamentals. People regularly come to us for help with their setting up their email, social media marketing, internet marketing, etc. But after a brief conversation, we’re realizing that many of these businesses are lacking a unified identity, which always needs to be addressed before any new marketing or technology strategies can be introduced.
As obsessed as I am about technology, my goal for every business (even my own) is to function with the least amount of technology possible. But being able to trim something down to its essential components means knowing what those essential components are before you start hacking away at a system indiscriminately. But once we can identify a business’ core mission, function, and values, then we can start trimming and eventually start building.
In the future, I see marketing and technology coming even closer together in a single place because they work incredibly well together to solve THE two biggest business issues: increasing revenue and reducing expenses. With both marketing and technology merging into a single service, one of the most important things for businesses in the next 5 to 10 years will be to partner up with a tech/marketing consultant who knows your business and can make sound recommendations. Businesses will need to have a good working relationship with whoever is helping them with their systems.
As marketing tactics continually change and new technology is regularly launched, every business will need someone on their team who has up-to-date expertise in both. Whoever is making marketing and technology recommendations for your business will need to know your business really well. The minute you put your business’ future in the hands of someone who doesn’t know your or doesn’t take the time to know you, then any decisions made could have adverse effects. If a consultant or partner doesn’t know you, how can they have any faith that their recommendations are going to help you accomplish your goals? Even if a consultant is only dealing with one aspect of your business, they will still need to be able to make recommendations in the context of your whole business. And, again, they can only do that if they take the time to get to know you.
So I see all businesses needing an advocate for all the areas of business that they themselves are not proficient in. And we at JMG Systems already abide by that. We’re a marketing and technology company, but we have our own advocates who take care of our insurance, our accounting, our office space needs, etc. These are companies who have taken the time to get to know us, what we do, and what we want to accomplish. We can then trust these companies to take care of the things we’re not experts in, which enables us to continue focusing on what we are experts in.
Transparent technology and open communication really energize me. And it’s always been that way with me. I’ve been interested in technology and helping people from a very early age. When I was in the in 6th grade, I was handed one of those “what do you want to do when you grow up” type of worksheets, and I wrote down that I was going to start a business with my brother… And I did. But more than just getting into business, I was enamoured with what technology could do for people. I still am. And I’m excited to see what we’ll be able to do next.
To learn more about Matt Paonessa and JMG Systems,