Paul Kortman, the founder of Connex Digital, was interviewed on the Mission Matters Innovation Podcast by Adam Torres.
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Connex Digital aims to help businesses be more efficient, automating 80 to 90 percent of workflow and increasing revenue in the process. As it turns out, saving money while elevating customer service results in a better experience for all involved.
Paul Kortman describes himself as an IT guy who landed at a marketing agency. “I’ve got a big mouth,” he jokes. “The web developers were doing SEO, and I was like, ‘You guys are doing SEO wrong.’ And they were like, ‘Well, fine, Paul, since you think you know it, why don’t you do it?’ So, from that point on, I built a digital marketing team inside a traditional marketing agency.”
Connex did social, SEO, email marketing, and built an entire infrastructure within the agency, first focusing mostly on social media.
“We rode on the shirttails of that for a little while,” Paul says. Since then, “I’ve gone through iterations; every three to five years, I make a shift in the business,” he explains. “We doubled down on SEO for a little while. We’ve been doing automation and strictly automation for the last two years, so no marketing whatsoever. I was able to reinvent the business and start a new business as an entrepreneur, but I don’t have to start from scratch because I still have a (full-service) agency’s infrastructure in place.”
The shift from office work to knowledge work
“Everybody’s position inside the office still has some of that legacy office worker stuff in there,” Paul says. “Like, I fill out this paperwork or photocopy it, staple it 14 times and pass it out. That was pre-COVID. COVID has changed some of that a little bit. As a lot of us work from home, we’re now noticing a shift to knowledge workers.” And that’s a good thing, he shares.
“I want to bring the intelligence out of that person to the table,” he says. “I don’t want to waste that intelligence on menial tasks. If I can help them not to do repetitive menial jobs, they can bring their knowledge and tangible skills to the table. And that’s where we talk about the knowledge economy of how we can automate. How can we get all of these basic fundamental tasks off of their plate? To focus on something that’s high-level thinking and bring that to the table!”
How does Connex Digital help businesses build MVPs without custom code?
“What we’re finding right now in the startup world,” Paul says, “is this whole MVP— minimum viable product—that’s been around for 10 years, ya know, lean startup stuff. We’ve now crossed the threshold and are tools out there where you can build an MVP without code.”
Paul stresses that you don’t have to use custom code to build an app. He says you can have a fully functioning application—a proof of concept that you can sell subscriptions to, with little effort or cost. Of the dozens of options available, he says, there are even native mobile apps that don’t require writing so much as a line of code. Integration with camera QR code scanners and face unlocks inside mobile apps, he says, can be built now without writing code.
What’s next for Connex?
“Now, I’m trying to optimize my staff,” Paul says. “I don’t want them writing code, reinventing the wheel over and over again. Now that those problems have been solved, let’s move on to higher-level thinking—so we focus on the tools that are out there and then your audience. The scenario is like, ‘Hey, I want this MVP in an app. I want this functionality. I talk to Connex Digital. Can you guys do this faster and cheaper than anybody else in a custom situation?’ Yes, we can. So, that’s the next big thing.”
“We take automation to the next level of how we build custom apps for cheap and move everybody up in that whole knowledge space,” he continues. “That’s where we go with these low-code/no-code tools. We have a toolbox of about 500 or so different apps that we use to automate things and build these MVPs for our clients.”
Whether it’s MVPs or fully-functional apps inside internal programs, manufacturing/floor management, custom print order management, or something else, Connex Digital can automate workflows and build interfaces around the processes at low cost to the client. In other words, Paul explains, it’s one problem solved after another.
To learn more about the MVP building process and Connex Digital, visit https://connex.digital/