Meet the Disruptors: Raz Bajwa of IndusTrack On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Jason Hartman
Jan 8 · 6 min read
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Tension and conflict give rise to change and improvement. You need to put yourself in an uncomfortable place to learn new things. A year after we started, a patent troll came after us. It was devastating as it threatened to shut the business down. The best advise I got was to keep emotions separate from business. Listening to that I was able to successfully negotiate issues with the troll. In the end, I learned a lot and my journey with the patent troll and fight against them was published in a Star Tribune article after Minnesota passed laws against the patent trolls.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Raz Bajwa, a technology expert in trade industry, has been creating software solutions for the past 20 years. With a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas, all of his businesses have some combination of engineering and technology. With a passion for giving back, Raz sits on several boards including the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the University of St. Thomas.

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?

I love solving problems and have the keen ability to observe everyday life challenges. I studied both engineering and business and with the combination of the two it helps us to build software and also execute the business plan. I started out IndusTrack after observing huge technology gaps in trade service contractors. I moved to Minnesota to start this business because it seemed like one of the best environments to find innovative people with a strong work ethic.

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

We’re pioneering a new model of app for the service trade industry. Almost all competitors in the space have grown “organically.” Some of them come from project management, some from payment processing, some from accounting, others from different functions. They all claim to be a one-size-fits-all tool.

The platform we’ve created, IndusTrack, was conceived as an all-in-one solution with APIs, so we have a more holistic architecture. We surveyed all the leading apps and built one platform that offers the best of all of them. This makes it easier to develop and enhance, and easier to learn, since the user experience is consistent from all angles.

It also means that we can charge lower license fees, because we don’t have to cover extremely high overhead of a large development team running a “Frankenstein” of an application. All parts work together, yet users can decide not to implement things they don’t need. You won’t break it, for example, if you turn off Dispatch, Estimates, or CRM. You can swap in your favorite apps for these things if you want to keep them.

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?

I was in the bathroom and a customer called. They call was very important and I had to take it. I ended up pretending that I was sitting in my office by continually muting the call so the customer did not hear anything. You never know when opportunity might strike, so you should always be ready for it — even in the bathroom.

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 have had lots of great mentors along the way. People are so willing to help if you just ask. Craig Dillion helps so much in technology choices. We were considering AWS cloud versus Microsoft and he was instrumental in guiding. Dave Ladner, former CEO and Founder of Peoplenet, is on IndusTrack advisory board and I worked with him to morph the company to what it is today. Steve Sill, CEO of Aspen, and Douglas Smith, Founder and CEO of a few companies, are also on my advisory board and were instrumental in guiding the business. Jay Coughlan, former CEO of Xata and Ron Konezny, CEO of Digi, frequently offered their assistance whenever I asked. Without the guiding hand of the mentors, I would not have had the success I had to date.

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?

In our industries of focus, disruption of any kind is typically negative. This is because the regulatory requirements and unique skillsets for trade contractors require extensive training — years, in fact. New regulations and standards equal more training and potential for costly errors. New tech equals greater investment and these industries are overwhelmingly service-intensive, so they always want to be lean. On the other hand, a truck, tools, and a phone line is sufficient investment for a plumber.

In this space, a positive disruption is one that accelerates learning, improves customer experience, gets rid of repetitive tasks, reduces risk, finds waste or increases productivity. But new tech, like advanced materials or new devices, etc. has to prove itself in practice for years before contractors will have confidence in it.

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

Tension and conflict give rise to change and improvement. You need to put yourself in an uncomfortable place to learn new things. A year after we started, a patent troll came after us. It was devastating as it threatened to shut the business down. The best advise I got was to keep emotions separate from business. Listening to that I was able to successfully negotiate issues with the troll. In the end, I learned a lot and my journey with the patent troll and fight against them was published in a Star Tribune article after Minnesota passed laws against the patent trolls.

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

Currently, all my focus is on IndusTrack. The hardest thing for entrepreneur is to stay focused. I am sure I will invent other things, but all my focus today is IndusTrack.

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?

My favorites are some of the all-time classics. Think and Grow Rich, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, High Performance Habit. The reason I love some of these books is because they speak to human psychology. In an entrepreneurial journey, an entrepreneur is typically the bottle neck for the growth. Learning how to get yourself out of your way is key to growth and ultimately success.

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

Michael Jordan — “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” I have found this speaks directly to the life of entrepreneur.

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. :-)

Encourage every child in school to code, as an accompaniment to reading, writing, and STEM. In the future, almost everyone will need to know how to customize the applications they use in everyday life as well as in business. When a huge network of people has a basic skill, such as using a smart phone or sending email, user expectations rise. This drives demand for greater innovation.

How can our readers follow you online?

Linkedin.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/raz-bajwa-1428b34/

Thank you for these great insights!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Jason Hartman

Written by

Author | Speaker | Financial Guru | Podcast Rockstar

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Jason Hartman

Written by

Author | Speaker | Financial Guru | Podcast Rockstar

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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