Meet The Disruptors: Larry Talley of Everyware On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Tyler Gallagher
Oct 9, 2020 · 7 min read

Purpose: Once you have that passion you’ll have the desire for a purpose in life. You can focus on going after what is going to make and keep you happy. For me, there is something gratifying about knowing what I want to do and knowing that it will help others.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry Talley.

Larry Talley is the founder of Everyware, a leading contactless payments and communications solutions company. His passion for partnerships, connecting with people, business development, and customer satisfaction led to the creation of a payment and communications solution like no other. Everyware combines the tools that meet the new demand for contactless payment in a multitude of industries. Larry served his country in the U.S. Navy and lives in Austin, TX with his wife and three sons.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My path into this career started about 20 years ago when I was developing software that streamlined communication for the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. Later I applied my experience in helping to make resorts and hotels more efficient with developing software to support sales & marketing. We knew there was a better, faster way to be doing things and we wanted to be the ones to make that happen. Fast forward to today and everything is automated — we developed a system that streamlines communications and payments.

Ultimately, everything that we’ve created was done for this particular moment in time — when businesses and their operations need to be automated and efficient. Layering in a global pandemic only increased the necessity for tech efficiency and has fast-tracked the need for the solutions we offer. People don’t want to touch cash or credit cards anymore; making our solutions for contactless payments is the answer. It’s this type of technology that puts us where we expect to be in 2020.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

What’s “disruptive” about what we are doing today is that there’s a burning desire to stop using cash and a need to streamline business logistics. It’s now perceived as dangerous to exchange cash or remit your bill in-person. The demand to get rid of cash is real and growing.

Now is the time when the disruptors come in because everyone is forced to give contactless a try. What would have happened gradually has been accelerated and it’s time to try doing things in a new way.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Mistakes are part of the DNA of a startup, it’s where ideas are born and every day you learn, refine, and transform the company. I’m not sure I have one funny mistake to share but I can say as a startup or for anyone working to establish a new business — you’ll make many mistakes along the way. That is okay because for every 1000 mistakes you make, there will be one major breakthrough that makes it all worth it.

You’ll need to be open to trying everything, and that’s a fantastic part of being a startup. You have the flexibility to try new things and change with current trends, while big companies have established systems and protocols in place that hold them back from being able to change quickly. Take advantage of this as your first starting!

Everyware was pretty much born from the many broken processes that exist in payments and technology today. From a lack of true contactless options available to communications systems that did not make it simple for both business owners and customers to engage. We were able to make mistakes and adapt to become better and become the answer that businesses expect today.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve had many great mentors that have worked with me and helped me along the way. As a startup, you need advisors and mentors who have done what you’re about to undertake and can help guide you.

Scott Orlinsky, my founding partner of Everyware, is a mentor who played an important role in where I am today. He owned and operated one of the largest eye ware manufacturers globally for 25 years. He hired me and gave me my first job opportunity as a programmer when I had just left the military. Now, fast forward 20 years later, Scott is my business partner. He’s been my mentor all along the way, giving me my first job and he’s still with me today.

Another important mentor I have is Cam Lanier, one of the pioneers in the phone company industry (think MCI Worldcom, MindSpring, T-Mobile, etc.). He’s played a big role in being someone who has been there and done that. He’s been there to guide me on the best way to do things — having someone like that in your corner is crucial because it keeps you balanced.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Talking about disrupting being good or bad really comes down to how negatively is the disruptor impacting their vertical? One example is pharmaceuticals which is long overdue for disruption with prices being outrageous and the other issues they have. They’re an example of companies getting too large and overpowering — they continue to be disruptive just due to their size and having trillions of dollars that continue the cycle. Everyware is working with more and more retail pharmacies to improve their billing and communication efficiencies which will save patients time and money. We’re glad to be part of this disruption.

An example of a good disruptor would be Instagram. It came along and completely changed the photography space, which Kodak had been a leader in for more than 100 years. Positive or negative, being a disruptor is part of natural growth and we all need to constantly disrupt.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

My three words of advice for any journey would be:

Passion: Nothing will drive you more than being passionate about what you’re doing. It’s really not about the money if you have that passion and desire.

Purpose: Once you have that passion you’ll have the desire for a purpose in life. You can focus on going after what is going to make and keep you happy. For me, there is something gratifying about knowing what I want to do and knowing that it will help others.

Love: You have to love your job and love what you do because you’re doing it for more than just yourself. This love fuels your passion and purpose.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Our name says it all — we are Everyware and we plan to be everywhere! As I mentioned before, we started by working with resorts and hotels and grew from there to be leaders in the payments space today. We will expand further beyond payments next.

We are already taking Everyware’s solutions into new business and industry verticals that will see great success with our technology.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Entrepreneur’s read a book a day, so this is a tough decision to choose just one.

One I recently read is “Mapping Cloud Nine” by Steven Kotler — it’s all about the state of mind you get into, even if you’re an athlete or business owner, you get into the mode of being a superhero at what you do. It talks about the adrenaline that gets released from doing what you love. It’s a state of mind and once you get into it you become extremely creative. I love the book because understanding that potential and doing what you love is what brings meaning. It also looks at the minds of people who have created amazing things which is always interesting to explore.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

This may sound a little silly, but when you’re an entrepreneur there’s a buzz phrase you think about every day: Are you a unicorn?

With that said, my favorite quote would be: “Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.”

Another couple of quotes that I love are: “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” as well as “Change your thoughts and you’ll change your world.”

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. :-)

If I could inspire one movement to bring the most amount of good, to the most amount of people, it would be to focus on helping kids that come from nothing realize that they can change everything. Unfortunately, kids who suffer in their youth either become super successful or have a higher chance of developing mental illness.

Children with mental illness often get written off because they are misunderstood and those without mental illness don’t know how to cope or care for them. Education and awareness are key. That’s where you would see me spending my time these days. Everyware donates to and supports Christel House, a global children’s charity focused on educating and transforming children.

How can our readers follow you online?

Larry on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/larrytalley/

Everyware on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everywareapp/

Everyware on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EverywareApp

Everyware on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everyware/

Everyware on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/469239/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!