The Future Is Now: Matthew White Of Qebot On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Tech Scene
Your network is your greatest asset, and one of your top priorities needs to be consistently growing it. It really is about who you know. The biggest deals, partnerships, and relationships I have were developed through connections. It’s always going to be easier to get a meeting with someone if you can be introduced rather than cold reach out, and the larger your network, the higher the chance you have a mutual connection.
As a part of our series about cutting-edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew White, CEO of Qebot.
Matthew White is the Co-Founder and CEO of Qebot. Matthew and his co-founder, Cornelius Lamb started Qebot in 2016 with the goal of making business technology simple, accessible, and productive for even the least tech-savvy business owners and managers. Years of experience in the agency and advertising world gave Matthew a unique perspective on what businesses really needed to be able to market and manage their organizations, and built a platform to bring all of that together in a single, integrate manner.
In 2023, Matthew is focusing his sights on a much larger target by launching an operating system for the internet. An evolution of the antiquated browser into a system that is more productive, secure, private, and personalized to how you actually use the internet. Matthew and team plan to completely overhaul how you access and use the internet across all devices.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thanks for having me! It’s funny, I look back at the beginning of my career and realize how much has changed, but also how much I really did have a direction I was shooting for. I started in healthcare staffing. I graduated college into the recession of the late 2000’s, and really any job that was still hiring is what I was going to take. But working for someone else, and having that looming feeling of “is this really what I’m destined for,” or “is this the week that I’m getting fired” just didn’t sit right inside of me. I remember being in my early 20’s coming home from work and sitting at my desk writing business plans for different companies I thought I could start. Friends and roommates all thought I was a bit odd as they went out, or watched the newest dancing with the stars while I sat at my computer, looking up business plan templates and toying with different ideas. I think I had plans for bars, clubs, social media platforms… I wish I still had those. I’m sure they are terrible.
A few years later, I actually did get fired from my job in healthcare staffing. It was actually the best thing that could have happened to me! Next, through a bit of perhaps embellishment on my resume, I landed a job in a large marketing agency, focused on tech and online presence for local businesses. That lead me into advertising, mobile advertising, and technology in general, which I really came to have a passion for. So, a few years later, after starting a few tech companies on the side myself, I finally had the idea for Qebot. Had the resources at the time to take the plunge full time, and here we are today.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Getting fired from my first job, after being there for about 3 years was gutting. But hindsight is so 20/20. I look back on that now as one of the greatest moments in my career. It’s the moment that really made me take a step back and rethink my life and career path. I remember being devastated at the time, not knowing what was going to be next. We had just bought our first house. Savings were pretty much non-existent.
But then I had a real conversation with myself and my loved ones about what I really wanted. I hated my job. I loathed walking into that place every day. I disliked the work, and a lot about the industry as a whole. I could have gone and found a similar job — actually I did and worked there for a week before jumping out the window as fast as possible. But I knew it was time to make a drastic change. And that’s what I did. I took a massive pay cut to move into a role in marketing and technology, and within a year, was loving what I did, making more money than I ever had, and was excited about where my future was heading. Bad things will happen to everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s for the worst. Take everything as an opportunity to try something new.
Can you tell us about the cutting-edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
Absolutely! In short, it’s time to ditch antiquated browsers for an operating system built for the internet.
The standard browser has become stagnant and outdated to how people actually use the internet. Browser tabs are a great example of this. Browsers were created to “browse” the internet, but that’s not how most people use the internet these days. Most of a person’s time is spent in applications for work, play, streaming, etc.
Having 50 open tabs across the top of your browser, and having to hunt for your email, calendar, or CRM is a huge productivity hog. The standard browser has not innovated to follow the changes and updates for how people access and use the internet; and so new, more agile, innovative companies like Qebot are stepping up. Imagine a browser that is based around the applications you use the most. That gives you the option of what you want done with your data. That businesses can set up to better control data and app access at the browser level. This is what people want, and why users are loving new options like Qebot.
How do you think this might change the world?
With a Web Operating System like we’re talking about, we can start to create a more standardized, personalized internet experience for each person across a multitude of devices. Imagine creating your Qebot profile, with all of your favorite applications, settings, tabs, etc. synced across devices wherever you are. Go to your smart fridge and pull up the recipe you were just looking at, and play music you were just listening to. Go to a hotel, and log into your Qebot profile on their smart TV to watch your Netflix, Hulu, HBO right from your account. Get on a plane, and use the in-seat computer to actually send emails, Slack your team, and catch up where you left off on your favorite show.
And for businesses — what a gamechanger. Better security, better device controls, simple setup. Imagine someone breaks their computer. Instead of getting them a new expensive computer, downloading all of the apps they need, getting them the access necessary, you hand them a cheaper, internet based computer, have them log into their Qebot account, and they are right back where they were within minutes.
This is what a centralized web operating system will enable. Better, more personalized internet access from wherever you are.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks of this technology that people should think more deeply about?
Hmmm. This is an interesting question. I’d say the fact that almost every system in our lives are now becoming “smart” has the potential to create issues. At a minimum, we all become so dependent on our technology that we start to lose touch with the real world as a whole — which some could argue is already becoming the norm with social media addiction. But if we want to get really dystopian — having all of your devices in your life smart and connected could create some level of all-knowing systems and organizations that can monitor every aspect of your life, and do with that information what it pleases. Technology advancement absolutely has its benefits and risks.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
Qebot 1.0 was always a first step in our goals in creating a more integrated, broad-range platform that could be used for home, office, and family to make technology more productive and personalized. But we had seen that next iteration to the web operating system as something we’d work on down the line. At a certain scale point for Qebot.
Then the pandemic happened. We got hit pretty hard at the beginning. A lot of our business was from marketing agencies that were using our platform to manage all of their software needs for their clients. When businesses got shut down, the first thing they stopped was marketing. We saw a lot of our agency partners just completely go out of business during this time, and our revenues took a major hit.
We were able to weather the storm, and have since come back and surpassed our pre-pandemic levels, with a more diversified client base, but we also realized that we may want to look at moving forward on our goals of having a technology that was not so hyper focused on one thing. Something that can be used by both businesses and individuals. A platform that we could hedge against world changing events in the future. So, we started moving forward on our dream of the web operating system. It was literally a meeting in November of 2021 where we just decided to put all projects on the backburner, and all of our resources into building the future of internet access and usage. That was our real tipping point into pivoting into what we are today.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
Honestly, people to just try it. The feedback has been overwhelmingly excited about what we’ve built and where we are going. Adoption, active usage, and peer sharing are through the roof after people see what this thing can help them do. Everything we are building now is directly based on user feedback, so the system is just becoming more and more what people want from the future of the internet, and I think people will see that right from the get-go.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
The beauty of having been in business for a number of years and having success in our first venture was that we were able to really tap into our network to get our initial user-base. People had loved and trusted the technology we built before, so they were excited to jump in on what we were launching. We got a very nice boost from the beginning, and we provide perks and freebies to users for inviting other users. That has been very helpful in initial growth.
We also have a great partnership program. We work with a number of large companies and organizations that we can provide free upgrades and benefits to their customers or members — they in turn get more perks to offer their customers or members for marketing and retention, and we get growth. The Better Business Bureau has been a great example of this. Accredited Businesses get to take advantage of free upgrades to our premium business tiers, and discounts on tools and our privacy+ program.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would be nowhere without two people in particular. My wife, and my co-founder. My wife has been incredibly supportive throughout this whole process. From the beginning when we were just trying to get our first customer, to the mess the pandemic caused, to the financial investment I put in. I know how frustrating all of this can be on a spouse, and she’s been right there, marching along, being my greatest cheerleader and confidant the entire time.
And my co-founder, Cornelius. I can’t believe what we’ve been through together with this business. We’ve had early employees come and go, seen ups and downs, and have made sacrifices together that seem utterly insane to most people. But each time we get on a call, he’s the first to say he 100% believes in what we’re building, and that together we can really change lives. His fortitude to keep going, even when things were hard has been a huge inspiration to me to keep fighting and pushing.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Oh wow… That’s a tough one. I’d say there is a lot that we hope to do with our success — helping democratize technology for better and easier use to as many as we can. I know that we’ve done some part in helping small businesses be able to compete and find their niche, which is something I’ve always been passionate about. But I guess, at this point, I hope I’ve been able to give good advice to others starting their founders journey. I hope I’ve been able to be an inspiration because you never know who you might touch — what that one person that you inspire might end up doing to create something the world needs.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Your network is your greatest asset, and one of your top priorities needs to be consistently growing it. It really is about who you know. The biggest deals, partnerships, and relationships I have were developed through connections. It’s always going to be easier to get a meeting with someone if you can be introduced rather than cold reach out, and the larger your network, the higher the chance you have a mutual connection.
2. You’re about to find out who your real friends are. Being a startup founder can be a grueling life at times. People aren’t going to understand when you can’t make it to functions, get togethers, etc. Or, if you’re like me when I founded Qebot, I took a big pay cut, so those invites to group trips and vacations weren’t possible. And then the invites stop coming. You’ll also see which friends are your cheerleaders, and which are spectators.
3. Rejection is an opportunity for learning and growth. And, there will be a lot of it… Investors, prospective customers, potential partners, that perfect hire. You’ll have to grow some thick skin and keep moving ahead. The ability to take those rejections and not get beaten down by them, but instead use them as learnings to evolve your pitch, or understand what’s not resonating, and pivot your messaging, or even your product. That’s where success lies.
4. Embrace change. You might have what you think is the perfect idea — but the market may think differently. Your idea may be close, and all you need to do is make a few tweaks. Some of the most successful businesses have made complete pivots from what they initially launched. And that’s completely fine. It’s better than fine. It’s listening, learning, taking your ego out of the situation, and forging towards success using real world feedback. It’s the businesses that don’t embrace change and innovation that eventually fail — just look at Blockbuster.
5. Building the product is only about 10% of actually starting a company… Most people can build something. Can you fund it? Can you market it? Can you find market fit? Can you sell? Can you hire? Can you lead? Can you remove your ego and make changes and pivots when it’s necessary? You’ll find things along the way that you won’t be good at, and that’s when you find the right people to help. But getting a product built, and taking a product to market is the difference between success and failure.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think one of the most disheartening things I see today is the anger and hate we see everywhere. Much of it on the internet, but also heavily spilling over into real, everyday life. The best times I’ve had, and greatest lessons I’ve learned have been from people that are different than me. People that shut that off in their life are missing so much. So, I think the movement I would want to strive for would be to help people of different walks of life connect in meaningful ways. It’s hard to hate someone when you truly get to know them. The repercussions of people getting to know others not like themselves is also so far reaching. Hate causes so much strife — all the way from hometown racism to intercontinental war. If we can find ways to connect, see each other for who we are, and see that maybe all of us really aren’t that different. I think that would make the world a much better, wealthier, and happy place.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Do it! Do it now!
I know, it’s silly. But it’s also very relevant. There’s always an excuse to put something off until tomorrow. I knew people growing up that always had their “million-dollar idea” but never took a step to make it happen. Then they see someone else on TV years later making a success out of that idea and having a melt down about it. But you never did it. Everyone has an idea — it’s the people that execute that idea that change the world. So stop talking about it and “DO IT! DO IT NOW!”
Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, the way we access and use the internet seems antiquated. How are we still getting lost in a sea of browser tabs? What’s happening with my data? There has to be more secure ways of using the internet.
If you think we’re on the precipice of a new internet revolution — well then, come with us on this journey. We’re going to make some huge waves.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/mattewhitey
Twitter — https://twitter.com/MWayneWhite
Website — https://www.qebot.com
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/company/3645932/
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/qebot
Twitter — https://twitter.com/QebotHQ
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
The Future Is Now: Matthew White Of Qebot On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.