Pressing Matters

Ryan Chacon, Co-Creator and CMO at IOT for All

March 21, 2024 Big Valley Marketing Season 2 Episode 6
Ryan Chacon, Co-Creator and CMO at IOT for All
Pressing Matters
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Pressing Matters
Ryan Chacon, Co-Creator and CMO at IOT for All
Mar 21, 2024 Season 2 Episode 6
Big Valley Marketing

Here’s something a bit random. We’re only midway through our second season on the podcast, and - Ryan Chacon, this episode’s guest - is the second person we’ve had who served as his college soccer team’s captain.

Remember the first? I’ll tell you in a moment.

In the meantime, give it up for the teamwork one learns on the soccer fields, which Ryan said has helped him in his work as co-creator and CMO of IOT for All, as well as host of its eponymous, seven-year-old podcast. Ryan’s work ethic - instilled by a stay-at-home mom and a Chilean immigrant dad who didn’t know a word of English when he moved here, as well as his natural understanding of how to best curate journalistic content also helps explain why the IOT for All brand is as big or bigger than the IOT tech company that supports it, Leverege. In other hands, IOT for All might have been just another forgettable corporate content site. Instead, it’s an IOT bible. And now it’s expanded into AI with, naturally, AI for All.

Ryan stopped by to discuss his early business ventures, the mission behind IOT for All, and what he thinks AI has in store for us for this episode of Pressing Matters from Big Valley Marketing. This podcast brings you conversations with the top media and influencers in B2B Tech. 

I’m Dave Reddy, head of Big Valley Marketing’s Media + Influencers Practice and your host. Through research and good old-fashioned relationship-building, we’ve identified B2B Tech’s Top 200 media and influencers, including two former college soccer captains - our chat last year with Dark Reading’s Kelly Jackson-Higgins and now Ryan Chacon.

Here’s my chat with Ryan. Enjoy.

Are you interested in more from Ryan Chacon?

Who is Big Valley?
We're a communications firm focused on B2B technology. Our firm specializes in brand positioning, narrative and story development, media and influencer relations, and channel planning.

You can learn more about us at

Show Notes Transcript

Here’s something a bit random. We’re only midway through our second season on the podcast, and - Ryan Chacon, this episode’s guest - is the second person we’ve had who served as his college soccer team’s captain.

Remember the first? I’ll tell you in a moment.

In the meantime, give it up for the teamwork one learns on the soccer fields, which Ryan said has helped him in his work as co-creator and CMO of IOT for All, as well as host of its eponymous, seven-year-old podcast. Ryan’s work ethic - instilled by a stay-at-home mom and a Chilean immigrant dad who didn’t know a word of English when he moved here, as well as his natural understanding of how to best curate journalistic content also helps explain why the IOT for All brand is as big or bigger than the IOT tech company that supports it, Leverege. In other hands, IOT for All might have been just another forgettable corporate content site. Instead, it’s an IOT bible. And now it’s expanded into AI with, naturally, AI for All.

Ryan stopped by to discuss his early business ventures, the mission behind IOT for All, and what he thinks AI has in store for us for this episode of Pressing Matters from Big Valley Marketing. This podcast brings you conversations with the top media and influencers in B2B Tech. 

I’m Dave Reddy, head of Big Valley Marketing’s Media + Influencers Practice and your host. Through research and good old-fashioned relationship-building, we’ve identified B2B Tech’s Top 200 media and influencers, including two former college soccer captains - our chat last year with Dark Reading’s Kelly Jackson-Higgins and now Ryan Chacon.

Here’s my chat with Ryan. Enjoy.

Are you interested in more from Ryan Chacon?

Who is Big Valley?
We're a communications firm focused on B2B technology. Our firm specializes in brand positioning, narrative and story development, media and influencer relations, and channel planning.

You can learn more about us at

Dave Reddy (00:00)

Here's something random. We're only midway through our second season on the podcast, and Ryan Chacon, this episode's guest, is the second person we've had on who served as his college soccer team's captain. Remember the first? Well, I'll tell you in a moment, but in the meantime, give it up for the teamwork one learns on the soccer fields, which Ryan said has helped him in his work as co-creator and CMO of IOT for All, as well as the host of its eponymous seven-year-old podcast.

There's also Ryan's work ethic instilled by a stay-at-home mom and a Chilean immigrant dad who didn't know a word of English when he moved here, and Ryan's natural understanding to publish journalistic content as credit for why the IOT for All brand is as big or bigger than the IoT tech company that supports it, Leverege. In other hands, IOT for All might've been just another forgettable corporate content site. Instead, it's an IoT Bible, and now it's expanded into AI with, naturally, AI for All.

Ryan stopped by to discuss his early business ventures, the mission behind IOT for All and AI for All, and what he thinks AI has in store for us for this episode of Pressing Matters from Big Valley Marketing. This podcast brings you conversations with the top media and influencers in B2B tech. I'm Dave Reddy, head of Big Valley Marketing's media and influencers practice and your host.

Through research and good old-fashioned relationship building, we've identified B2B Tech's Top 200 Media and influencers, including two former college soccer captains. Our chat last year was with Dark Reading's Kelly Jackson Higgins, and now we are with Ryan Chacon. Here's my chat with Ryan. Enjoy.

Dave Reddy (01:53)

Ryan, thanks so much for joining us on the pod today. We've known each other a long time and talked many times, and it's a real treat to have you as a fellow podcaster; although I'm not sure I can call myself one, you certainly are.

Thanks for that. Yeah, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me. It's my pleasure, our pleasure. I went to college in Washington, DC, and I noticed that you went to school in Maryland. I think in the DC area, maybe in the Baltimore area; I'm not quite sure.

Has that always been the case? Are you a lifelong Marylander?

Ryan Chacon (02:28)

Yeah, for the most part. I live right outside of DC. I grew up there, born and raised. I went to school out more on the Eastern shore of Maryland. So, Salisbury University. I went there to play soccer. Afterward, I stayed around there for a good bit of time. I moved home, moved to South America for a little while, and then moved back, and it was all part of the journey to where I am now, yes.

Dave Reddy (02:58)

We're going to come back to South America and to soccer, which naturally goes hand in hand. Can you tell me about your opening? You were in; I think you went to Gaithersburg High School, which when I was a right when I was a sports writer at, uh, the Washington Post, Gaithersburg High was, was one of the places I went to every once in a while to cover a basketball and football game. Um, so you were, in fact, right outside Washington, DC.

What was Gaithersburg like? What did Mom and Dad do? Did they work for the government?

Ryan Chacon (03:26)

No, they did not. My mom was a stay-at-home mom my whole life. Basically, when I was born and before my sister was born, she took care of us. She volunteered a lot at school and was involved in a lot of different activities from elementary school all the way through high school. My dad has done telecommunications sales for a couple of different companies over my lifetime.

He did really well there. A really cool story for him is he moved from South America. He was born and raised in Chile. He moved here when he was about 13 and didn't speak a word of English. He lived with his grandparents, had to go to school without speaking English, and got a job in that space. Out of high school, he went to night school for college at the University of Maryland, graduated there, and then continued with that organization up into sales and upper management and through to where he's doing now with a different company.

So, um, that's kind of, in a nutshell, what I was really exposed to; I was exposed to sales, exposed to working a lot, um, in like a positive way. I learned a lot about dedication and what it took to be successful very early on, and it was cool to witness this. I did not even realize what I was witnessing at the time, but later on in life, I look back and say, "Oh, now it makes sense as to where work ethic and all those things kind of came from."

Dave Reddy (04:47)

Sure. That's a great story. So you're at least on one half, a first-generation American. How did Mom and Dad meet?

Ryan Chacon (04:53)

Mutual friends brought them together on a ski trip. I forgot where they went skiing. My mom's from Alabama originally, but Army Brats moved around the world all growing up. But I can't remember exactly where they went skiing. But yeah, once they met, they seemed to be together and eventually got married when they were in their mid-to-late 20s. They had me in their late 20s. And then, yeah.

Dave Reddy (05:21)

Okay. So, you know, that's interesting. I understand Dad being a skier since he was in Chile, and they have mountains. Even though, as North Americans, we don't think of South America as having mountains, it's got tons. Your mom was from Alabama, and they met on a ski trip. Okay. That's great.

Ryan Chacon (05:36)

Yeah. I don't know where she was. I think she was living in kind of the, no, not Virginia. She was going to school at Sheppard over in West Virginia. So, okay. Yeah. So she was around the area. He moved to Rockville when he relocated from Chile here. So, his experience has been in the Maryland area, which is probably why we ended up here. 

Dave Reddy (06:21)

Was he a soccer guy, too? I don't want to be presumptive, but I know that soccer is huge in Chile. Was that how you got into it?

Ryan Chacon (06:27)

Yeah. Yeah, it was definitely. My parents made a big effort to have me play a lot of different sports when I was younger. I gravitated most towards soccer and tennis at a very young age, and then golf as well. Those were the three that I played tennis until I was, you know, not very long, but a decent amount of time when I was quite little. And then my dad just had naturally liked soccer from being so connected to it in South America.

He played in some adult leagues and things like that when I was younger. So I had some exposure there, but they just got me involved in that. That was the sport I kind of stuck with it. He coached a lot of my teams growing up through high school, which was great. When I went to college, it was the sport I was best at and focused most of my time on. It made sense that if I was going to play a sport in college to go that route. And yeah, it was great. It's the reason I went to Salisbury and the reason kind of everything has happened past then.

Dave Reddy (07:07)

So you were recruited to Salisbury.

Ryan Chacon (07:09)

So, recruiting, I was recruited by a number of different schools. Salisbury was one that I reached out to and sent material in for a few reasons. For one, it was local, so they were very good. So I wanted to explore the opportunity to go there. So once I sent material to the coach, and he watched it, he was like, yeah, we definitely like to invite you to come to our preseason camp, which is where everybody who's recruited or is as interested in playing there comes to.

And that was where, you know, worked through that to make the team as a freshman and played all four years.

Dave Reddy (07:45)

And you captained the team, at least as a senior. I presume that was your...

Ryan Chacon (07:49)

Senior, yeah, senior. So, our team at the time, the year before I came in, went to the final four and returned 10 of 11 starters. So, they didn't pick up too many freshmen during my freshman year. I think maybe six of us and seven of us joined. I added to the team since they already had our deep team. And so I made it my first year. Then I started playing as a starter in my sophomore, junior and senior years, and was captain in my senior year.

Dave Reddy (08:14)

And where were you? Were you a striker or midfielder?

Ryan Chacon (08:18)

Defense. I came in as a midfielder, and we had this one weird practice where the coach basically took everybody and put them in positions they'd never played for the team in. So I was an outside midfielder, and he was like, oh, go play central defense, and I had really good practice. We played a full game and had a really good game where people afterward were like, have you ever played this position? I said no, but I think there are elements of the position that just naturally worked out with my skill set. Um, and then after that, it was like, you know, we're going to explore putting you there. Then it just worked out and was a great experience from then on, but I never really played defense aside from the defensive responsibilities of the midfielder. But yeah, that was mainly it.

Dave Reddy (09:02)

It's not necessarily the glory spot on a soccer team, but a leadership spot, absolutely. It's so good for you. Yeah, thank you. It was cool. You played several sports, and you captain a college team. You talked earlier about work ethic and what sports teach you.

Ryan Chacon (09:23)

It's always interesting to think about that because I don't think it's something you realize what it teaches you until you remove yourself from it. So, you know, you're just going through the schedule and the regimen from a very early age up through high school where you practice every day after school, you're working with a team, you're friends with the team, all that stuff. Then you go to college, and your whole college experience is structured around that sport. It's why you're there. It's the friends you spend most of your time with; it's the people that you devote your energy towards.

And, at the moment, you think that's naturally how life is. But once you leave, you start to learn by being kind of, I guess, beholden to other people, beholden to a team, knowing that part of what you do is you have a responsibility to the other members of the team, I think that carries a lot of weight further on throughout your career by being a member of a team. I know a lot of people like playing individual sports and being kind of on their own, which there's value there, different things you learn, but as a team, I think it's just, you learn not to be selfish, you learn to wanna work hard for other people.

I think that's contributed a lot to my work ethic and effort from a career standpoint. Anything that I do is what I want other people to do. I want to carry my weight basically and do what I feel is, um, I can contribute the most to anything that I'm involved in.

Dave Reddy (10:54)

So interesting. As a former sports writer, I was wondering about the question. Were you, did you feel you were best at soccer because, uh, it was a team sport and that's where you thrived, or did you like it better than golf and tennis because it was a team sport and that's where you thrived?

Ryan Chacon (11:14)

Yeah, that's an interesting question. So golf was more of like a hobby and fun, and looking back on it, I wouldn't change anything because it got me to where I am now, but I feel like golf has a longer lifespan for people to play, so it would have been kind of cool to maybe see where that would have gone if I started earlier and played earlier, same with tennis. So, um, yeah, it was always interesting to think back on what life would have been like if you took a different path with the sports you played because of how much it contributed to what you did and where you ended up.

Dave Reddy (11:52)

From an academic perspective, you studied business at Salisbury. Did you have businesses in mind when you came there, or was it like, okay, I'm going to study business?

Ryan Chacon (12:01)

No, I did not. I didn't know what I wanted to study when I went to school. I asked my dad, like, what do you think is the most practical from a skills standpoint that you would learn and actually be able to use later on once you graduate? And so he was like, finance is a good one. So I started in finance, did that, graduated with a finance degree, and then got an information systems double major while I was there, mainly just to learn more about technology and different things like that.

At the time, I also had a lot of credits towards it, so it wasn't that much extra work to get that double major. But yeah, it was a good experience because it got me involved in the business school and associated with a lot of different business people. That's when I started to really have an interest in starting businesses or learning about how to start a business and trying to help contribute as much as possible to the success of a business. But going into school, I wasn't dead set on anything in particular; I'm going to figure it out, but I'm happy I made that choice.

Dave Reddy (13:08)

And yet you're barely out of school when you co-founded what I think was your first company, Knowledge, spelled K-N-O-L-L-E-G-E. What led to that?

Ryan Chacon (13:18)

Yeah. So that was when I was in graduate school. They had an entrepreneurship competition at the school; anyone could enter, write a business plan, and enter it. And I had a couple of buddies of mine who were interested in the entrepreneurial path. So we got together, and we came up with some ideas. We created this business for the competition that we entered in and won the competition, which springboarded a lot of the relationships and the path that I ended up on.

Not knowing that was going to happen, it was a really cool experience to learn about and think through all the different pieces of what's required to pitch a business and plan out a business. So that was an educational, social network for campuses, for students within the same classes or majors to be able to communicate around educational material or the stuff they're learning and things like that. So that was just, it was more of a, it turned out to be more of a project, yeah, project and a practice of getting something from an idea on paper and then implemented and go through, you know, meeting with lawyers, setting up a legal entity, building, working with software developers to build the website and launch it on campus, have people use it, get feedback, that kind of thing.

Dave Reddy (14:42)

You bounced around and did a couple of more very interesting things. And then, and I'm sure there's a through line here that you're going to explain to me. In February of 2016, you joined a company called Leverege. L-E-V-E-R-E-G-E as Vice President of Business Development; you're now the CMO. Shortly thereafter, you started or joined IOT for All as Editor-in-Chief. I'm not sure whether you started it or joined that. So, talk to me about those two experiences and how you ended up as a content creator.

Ryan Chacon (15:13)

Yeah. This actually goes back to the business competition we won with Knowledge. One of the judges ended up becoming a mentor and advisor for me in a professional setting.

We just stayed in contact. He was just always interested in what we were doing. When I came back from South America from that accelerator program, he told us that this is a really good proof of concept, and just like your dedication to being entrepreneurial, you want to be involved in the business. At the time, he was working with a couple of other people to spin out a software application that was being more used in enterprise and trying to make it for the commercial industry.

So he wanted to know if we wanted to join and help them build that out, which was a company called Fractograph. It was a consumer app for your phone where you could take pictures and put them into mosaics. It was a pretty cool application at the time. But through that, I met one of the company's other co-founders.

Then, we went our separate ways and randomly ran into each other over lunch at the same restaurant the same day. And he was in the process of interviewing some people for this company, Leverege, that he and his good friends started. When we met and ran into each other at lunch, he just asked what I was doing. I told him I was doing business consulting at the time for a little while for some startups, which was an interesting experience as well. Then we got together a couple more times after that random run-in at lunch, and they told me what Leverege was trying to accomplish. I thought I could help, and they offered me an opportunity for me to join them.

That's when I came to Leverege and started learning about the Internet of Things industry, which is where the company was focused.

Dave Reddy (17:02)

It is amazing. And we all have one or two or more of these moments. If we're fortunate, it is amazing. Those random moments that change your life—you have no idea when you walk into that restaurant that your life's going to completely change. Right?

Ryan Chacon (17:18)

The weird thing about it is that the company I was consulting for had an office in this building, um, above a community college. It was like an incubator space. Their office was at the end of the hall. There were at least two other offices that I had to walk by to get to theirs. And those are the Leverege offices. That's where Eric was, the guy, Eric Khan, one of the co-founders of Leverege, and Steve Lee were working. So I walked past their office multiple times, never once looked in and saw them.

Then, I was working with this other company to do some consulting work. And we were like, they asked if I wanted to go to lunch, which I never go lunch with them, and they'd randomly pick this Indian restaurant down the street. And that happened to be the same place that they went that Eric and Steve went to with some other people they were working with interviewing. So it was very, like, serendipitous.

It was kind of crazy thinking back on how that all lined up. Um, if I had not gone to lunch that day or engaged with that company, I would never have run into them.

Dave Reddy (18:17)

That is, again, those are those wild moments. You know, I've got a few that I won't get into because it's your podcast, not mine, but that is really fast. So now I'm starting to put two and two together, did IOT for All spin out as content created by Leverege to focus on IoT since that was the company's business?

Ryan Chacon (18:38)

Yeah, so when I joined, my goal at the time was focused on business development and marketing and trying to get attention on what Leverege was doing. But a lot of the work that I was doing while I was consulting was learning about content marketing, just for whatever reason, I got involved in kind of just going down that rabbit hole on social media and on YouTube, learning about it. And I felt that, given the state the Internet of Things industry was in, it was relatively young.

At the time, one could argue that M-to-M, which was the acronym used before IOT, was around for a lot longer, but IOT itself and trying to branch out into a non-technical understanding of it was relatively young. So, my goal was to figure out how we could drive attention to Leverege.

I did not feel that the best approach was to do cold outreach or write heavily promotional content. I didn't think people really wanted to be sold to. It was more important for us to take a different approach and create a relationship through that content with a potential audience or customers. So, I advocated that we should start focusing on content marketing by writing content that took IoT terminology, which, for many people who know this, is much more technical content. 

There are a lot of different components that need to be understood in an IoT solution. And break it down into layman's terms for us or for the potential buyers who often are not technical enough to understand what IoT even is and what the value even is before they would even consider going down the path of exploring adopting an IoT solution, which Leverege was selling. 

So, we started to write content. We had a couple of new hires at the time who were very curious individuals, very smart individuals, very good at writing, and they just helped us produce content. So, we were taking all the different terms and technology used and breaking them down into layman's terms. 

We were putting it on Medium, which, for those who remember Medium six or seven years ago, was before they had a paywall and before they did memberships. When you signed up for Medium, it would ask you what topics you are interested in. What publications do you want to follow? Just to get to populate some content in your account.

And we wrote enough content and were popular enough pretty quickly that, because we were covering a topic that no one else was really covering, that we were one of the top tech publications, one of the top IOT publications on all of Medium. So, we got thousands of subscribers to our publication every week because people were checking that box when they joined Medium. So that gave us a lot of credibility as a brand, IOT for All, that we were thinking that if this works well for Leverege to drive attention and awareness on the thought leadership and the expertise Leverege has to then drive leads which come in, which it did very well doing that, this could probably be bigger. It could be more than that.

It could be something that other organizations could participate in, share their expertise, share their vantage point to help create a universal resource that helps drive the industry as a whole forward because we felt like this is not something that's going to all of a sudden not require that level of education. It's only going to require more of it for IOT adoption to hit its stride and meet all these predictions that analysts were having on how big IOT could be.

So we opened the doors up to companies that contribute content, and we had a ton of companies that just wanted to participate, utilize our audience, and provide their expertise. And that's what helped us grow into the brand that IOT for All became. Originally, it was just a slogan we put on the Leverege website, but then we broke it out and put it as the name of the publication just because we thought it sounded good and aligned with the overall mission, I guess.

Dave Reddy (22:35)

There are a handful of content brands that have become brands of their own outside of the company that is sponsoring or started them. IOT for All certainly would be one of them, but again, it's just a handful. Am I right? And if so, when did you feel you hit that tipping point where you were doing more on IOT for All than you were purely on Leverege?

Ryan Chacon (23:02)

I think of two kinds of instances. One when we saw IOT for All, we went into IOT for All as a marketing tactic. We always made a conscious effort not to sell through IOT for All and not to be heavily promotional in IOT for All. And that sticks with us today. Most of the content on there is not promotional. We took a very different approach to how we felt content in a publication should be run as opposed to the competitors out there.

But when IOT for All was proven out and started to draw legit qualified leads to Leverege, and when we started to get traction from an audience perspective pretty quickly through Medium, and then we spun it off into its own .com, that's when we realized that it's probably in our best interest, even for Leverege, to dedicate more time to IOT for All and grow it as a brand because long-term, having that asset associated with Leverege, it provides a ton of value if it can continue to do that, continue to grow its audience and attention, grow its influence in the market, grow its ability to generate leads because that's in a sense what Leverege marketing and business development are focused on doing.

So, if we could do that while also creating another brand, which, at the end of the day, I think brands are probably the most important part of being able to, I guess, grow and drive revenue successfully. That's when we realized that this is going to serve all the purposes that we kind of set out to serve. And why would we want to put it on the back burner or do something that would, in a sense, compete with it? If it's working, let's double down on it and grow it into what it is now and kind of where it's going.

Dave Reddy (24:56)

This is such a critical point about public relations or marketing that I want to spend a moment on it. It still surprises me, and maybe it shouldn't; I guess this is why you and I have a job. It still surprises me that really smart folks can somehow miss this, that there is and must be a connection between what you're trying to do from a business perspective when you're doing marketing and PR and telling a good story. Often, the business objective and the story are right next to each other. So it's just, here's a great product, read about it. Well, that's not necessarily a great story, or you go too far in the other direction, and you're doing media for the sake of doing media. I presume the folks at Leverege were like, yeah, that's great. Or did you get any pushback when you suggested that?

Ryan Chacon (25:52)

No, I was pretty aligned with one of the co-founders and CEO, Eric, on the value of content marketing, but I wanted to prove out what I felt was required. And that's where just starting to write the content did that. And then, as it drove qualified leads that turned into business, which is still customers today, that was the icing on the cake. Like, hey, this can work on a small scale. So imagine what it can do if we grow it and devote resources, time and energy to it. Because I think

At the time, most other publications and media companies in the IoT space were very technical, with very dense content and an engineer-to-engineer focus. We took a completely different path from the visuals of IOT for All to the way we wrote and the content we would allow to be published on the site. As that grew, marketing, generally speaking, was in line with that as more marketing professionals understood the value of content marketing and the value of being something other than super sales in their material.

So, the pitches that we made to other companies or conversations we had with them got them involved. The story I would tell them on a call aligned very well with what they believed their company needed to do, even though, at times, it was a struggle for them because those companies might've been run by individuals who had an older or outdated way of thinking about marketing.

So it took some time, but as they proved, this drives traffic and attention to our brand and adds credibility to our brand and trust. It was much easier for them to devote more resources to contributing content and being part of the community.

Dave Reddy (27:32)

At what point does the podcast start? Was that right from day one, or did you guys add that?

Ryan Chacon (27:38)

No. It was part of the roadmap because when I was doing my research and just going down the rabbit hole, Gary Vaynerchuk was somebody I read and watched his "Ask Gary Vee" podcast.

He was very adamant about this idea that one way to drive business is to start a podcast that answers questions and talks to potential people or individuals who could become customers of yours, but you're not selling them. It's educating them, having conversations with them, interviewing them. Those kinds of things. 

And that's what I wanted to do with IOT for All, eventually. I felt it was a natural fit to create a podcast as, you know, you go from written content and audio content to video content; it was a natural progression. And that's what we did. So we started the podcast. I don't remember when it was. I want to say the 2018-ish timeframe. I learned a lot very quickly about how to do a podcast and how to talk to people.

And then that just grew. There weren't really that many IOT podcasts out, um, at the time. So we felt like if we could talk about different topics with a different style as we did with the entire publication and brand, we felt like we could stand out and do well. And yeah, it's become a pretty cool project and experience and value to the brand, um, with, I don't even know, over 330 some episodes we've done on IOT for All.

And the people we get to meet, the exposure it creates for them, the exposure it creates for us, the credibility and trust it creates in the brand, just everyone associated with the community benefits from that. So it's been a really cool journey to start a podcast, which I would never have thought about podcasting. I would never have thought about writing content, creating content, or doing any of this if you'd asked me back in the 2013-14 timeframe.

Dave Reddy (29:45)

One of the great things about IOT is that you can, to your point, cover a lot of things. You've been kind enough to have a couple of big Valley clients on the show over the years. UhIOT is also very interesting to me. Many times, we either work on it directly or indirectly. Honeywell and Qualcomm are a couple of big examples, as well as some other current clients, including Broadcom.

The phrase, though, the word, the acronym, IoT, doesn't seem to be used as much as it used to be. And maybe that's irrelevant because, at the end of the day, the Internet of Things is a reality, whether you call it smart or connected this or you call it IoT.

What do you think about that? And have you ever thought about, at this point, you probably can't have ever thought about, yeah, maybe I'd change the name of this to something different.

Ryan Chacon (30:41)

Yeah. I mean, I want to respond to your last point. I don't think the name change has come up before, not in a really serious conversation, but I think the value the brand has in the name is not worth disrupting it by trying to change the name.

I mean, you're seeing it with Twitter and X and, you know, Yahoo and Amazon; what do these things even mean until you've created a brand and experience around them? So I'm not as concerned about that. I do; I have conversations with people about whether IOT will be phased out at any point, like M-to-M. It may, but nobody's offered up a good replacement yet.

It's probably not being used as much anymore. Well, it's still being used within the industry, but external to the industry. I think people in organizations who are adopting these IoT or these connected or these smart solutions, whatever you want to call them...this is the enterprise and commercial side more so than the consumer side...I think, and I don't mean this in a negative way towards the companies who build IoT technologies. I think the buyers care less and less about the technology and more and more about the solution and the benefits that they provide them.

The term IoT doesn't matter to them. It just, "Does this to improve operational efficiency? Does this help me track my assets? Does this help me monitor things better?"

That's what they care about. They care about the benefits these solutions provide them, not the technology or what the technology's even called. It's not as important. So that's probably why what I think companies are learning is that the language that they are putting out in their marketing needs to align more with what a buyer is looking for or how they would think about and understand it. And if it's not...if they wouldn't understand or use the term IoT or anything, there's no reason to include it in their copy, their marketing material, or their sales material because that's not what a buyer is looking for.

Like a farmer looking for an agricultural solution is not looking for IoT sensors. They're looking for a device that monitors the moisture of soil. They're not thinking IoT. So why should a company try to force that into language that the buyer will not understand?

And we've gotten to the point of an industry where the technology is less focused on that than what the actual solution is for these end buyers. That's why I think IOT is really being focused on and used internally within the industry because a hardware company that sells IOT devices and a network connectivity provider who sells IOT connectivity understand what they're saying because they're each other's potential customers or partners. But a farmer or an auto dealer, they don't care what it's called. They care that it does the job. So, I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to try to force IoT in there.

Dave Reddy (33:31)

To that end, you recently started a; I guess what you'd call it, a sister brand, AI for All (timely). How's that going? Is the traffic picking up? Are you seeing traffic from one site go to the other?

Ryan Chacon (33:45)

Yeah, we're seeing both. We're a small team, so we allocate our resources where we think is most important at any given week.

A big thing for us was getting the brand off the ground and creating a pipeline for organizations to follow the same model that we did with IOT for All, which is to open the doors for companies to contribute content in the AI space.

AI is very popular. I think enterprise AI still has ways to go in really understanding the value it can provide to an organization. But we wanted to get the brand going because we would post a lot of AI content on IOT for All, and it would get a decent amount of traffic. So we were like, well, let's start building its own experience, put it in its own area, its own website, and build out a complimentary brand where the sites would link back and forth to each other and so forth, which it does because we feel that AI and IoT go hand in hand and will continue to go hand in hand exponentially throughout the coming years because of how important both pieces are to each other.

Dave Reddy (34:48)

Let's talk a little bit about AI because it has been the topic de jour for at least a year and change, and probably longer and will probably stay there for a while. What do you like about it? What scares you about it? Are you a pessimist? Are you an optimist? I'm going to guess you're more of an optimist if you're running AI for All, but I'm curious.

Ryan Chacon (35:06)

Yeah, I'm definitely more optimistic. Anytime new technology comes out; people are going to find ways to use it in a more negative way or think through all the different scenarios in which the technology can be used. Some of those are positive, and some of those are negative. I think what OpenAI did, and I'm trying to really start to put AI more on the map, especially with the general population, with ChatGPT and generative AI and the LLMs, like all this terminology started to come out. And that's done a really good job of showcasing on one level what AI tools and companies can accomplish and what kind of solutions they can build, how they can be used, what they can help organizations and individuals do.

So I'm very bullish on the AI space, especially the enterprise AI space. I think...what needs to happen is these companies need to focus more on creating solutions with AI technology and not just showing how cool AI could be because I think that's what will drive the industry forward. I know I'm not the only one who said that. There have been write-ups, articles and things, but the more I see it, the more I think it's hard to argue against that.

I'm not worried about... I mean, AI will replace certain jobs. It'll enhance other jobs and responsibilities people have. It'll create new jobs. Um, so I'm not one of those. It's like, you know, freaked out and says, Oh, AI is going to take all these jobs. Automation is going to take all these jobs. It's just the natural progression of any industry. Um, I think it's something we should be excited about. Um, and if it's something threatening to your job or your role, then, you know, now's the time to try to learn as much as you can to make yourself irreplaceable in the job or figure out something you want to do.

So, I'm very bullish on where AI is going. It works really well; the more data we collect and produce, the more AI will provide value. And when we go back to IOT, that's what IOT is focused on, right? Connecting or collecting data from the physical world. So, the more data we can collect as IOT grows, the more we need to do something with that data and be able to analyze it more quickly, run it through different models, and use it in different ways. And that's where AI is going to come in. So that's why I think they're so important.

Dave Reddy (37:24)

How much are you using AI in the production of IOT for All and AI for All?

Ryan Chacon (37:31)

Yeah. So, we stay away from AI-generated content for a number of reasons. We do it, and we have it help us with copywriting at times. When I say copywriting, like, um, if we need to tweak some short couple of sentences on something that we're producing, Um, it helps us there to give us other ways to think through a sentence or two, but we don't have it produce articles or anything along those lines. We won't really accept AI-generated content either, but we use it a good bit.

There are a lot of tools, and whether it's really AI or not is still up for debate in some cases because I think everyone's just throwing AI into their verbiage and their marketing copy because if they don't have AI, then it looks like they're not up for the times. But there are a lot of tools that we use that say they're AI for video production and podcast production. It's helped our producer streamline the ability to produce two different episodes per week, write content for each of those articles, handle the transcript production, optimize content from an SEO perspective, and edit and produce the videos and audio clips way more quickly. So we use it a lot there.

So I think when it comes to that stuff, it's definitely allowed him to be more efficient and productive as it is a one-person team, which is, I think, where a lot of the power for consumers will be with AI initially is being able to do more with less. And I think that's a positive thing. So he's been testing a lot of different tools and finds tools that help make video production more streamlined and efficient.

Dave Reddy (39:14)

What's next in terms of the For Alls? Are there any other brands you've thought of that we might see rolling out in the next couple of three years? I presume there'll be a Quantum For All in about five years.

Ryan Chacon (39:25)

Yeah, we've thought of a number of different ones. We have a number of domains that we've already purchased this year and years in the past, even when we first started IOT for All. Like seven years ago, we bought domains at the time. We were like, we could build a whole library of these For All brands. I think the most natural progression, and the reason AI and IoT work or make sense is because of how well they work together.

The next space we've wanted to explore is probably VR, mixed reality–those kinds of spaces. We think that's interesting and could align the connection to IoT and AI, maybe more AI, but it is not as clearly drawn as IoT and AI are, but we think that's the next space, given what's happening with Apple's recent device and Meta's work in that space.

We could go down that path as a fit for our next for all brand, VR for All. Spent my Thanksgiving two years ago, bidding and buying that domain, which I will always remember about how I spent my holiday. Well, yeah, it was a very interesting experience trying to buy a domain that somebody just like forgot to renew and what happens through that process. So that was educational.

Dave Reddy (40:49)

I want to talk a little bit about the business model. Now, I'm going to guess that while you think journalistically, you probably do not consider yourself a journalist (not to put words in your mouth). Okay, so you're an influencer or a content creator. Which one of those fits you best?

Ryan Chacon (41:05)

To be honest with you, I don't think of myself as an influencer. I have to think of myself as a content creator because I create a ton of content, but I've never thought of myself as an influencer, mainly because I never set out to be an influencer anyway. Really, we try to create the For All brand where we are not the face of it in a sense.

Like I know I'm on the podcast and the voice from that standpoint, but we wanted to put the people who are doing this everyday front and center, which is why we opened the doors to companies that contribute content, why we really focus on putting them front and center because they're the ones doing this. They're the real experts. More entrepreneurial. I always have, well, I guess not always, but you know, since that story I told at the beginning when I got into the business plan writing and won these competitions, it was like, wow, this could be, you know, there's a lot of cool stuff here.

I've always tried to think that way, even if I'm not starting the company if that makes sense. So, obviously, I'm not a founder of Leverege, but I am one of the creators of IOT for All. So to me, that's kind of like, at times, my baby and the thing that I've been one of the creators of. So that's the entrepreneurial side of me coming out and building something. And that's how I think about it.

That and like from a growth marketing standpoint, tactically and strategically trying to create value to help a business grow. So I don't know if that answers your question, but that's how I think about what I do and myself individually.

Dave Reddy (42:28)

It does, and you're being modest. You are an influencer whether you want to be or not, but I do understand where you're coming from in terms of content creation being the business, and it's what you do.

Ryan Chacon (42:39)

Yeah, and I think when you say influencer, there are just so many different stigmas attached to the word influencer where, like, you know, you can go all the way to like the extremes of TikTok influencers and people who are like setting out literally to make a living, trying to give opinions and tell people what they should do and buy and, and pay attention to them so they can, you know, make a living, which that was never like the intent. It just happened to be someone who liked talking to people and understood what IOT for All as a brand was trying to create and could build that brand.

And that just always puts me in a position to be the voice or the face or the person talking externally about the brand. I think that just naturally put me in that spot. It wasn't planned from that standpoint if that makes sense.

Dave Reddy (43:23)

Yeah, I certainly didn't mean it as an insult.

Ryan Chacon (43:26)

I don't—no, no, I agree. Influence is such an interesting word, that's all. It's just such a new thing, and I think it gets a lot of bad stigmas, but, yeah, we're really big. We try to be advocates for the industry, both for what we're trying to accomplish and what other companies are trying to accomplish. We always try to view ourselves as advocates for IoT and the industry and what it can do for businesses.

So if we're able to influence the growth of the industry, then I'll take it.

Dave Reddy (43:55)

I know you didn't go to journalism school; you went to business school. I typically ask this question of journalists, but the fact that you went to business school may make you more apt to answer it these days. Is there a business model for journalism, which is struggling to find one, in what Leverege and IOT for All are doing?

Ryan Chacon (44:13)

I don't know if I connect them so closely to say that other companies should model and do this to grow their business or have journalism transform into this. I'm not sure if it makes sense because I don't think all industries are in the same growth position to see the return that IOT for All has provided for many companies around the industry, and Leverege is obviously one of them.

I do think the focus on original content is still a focus, but it does raise the conversation about, well, how do you make money on it? Because journalism, like you said, is struggling to find a business model.

And I don't know if we've; I personally have not thought about it outside of the realm of Leverege and IOT for All just because we've been so ingrained in all of that. And I still view it as its own brand, obviously. I am trying to continue to find ways that it provides value from more of a marketing and growth sense for companies that are associated with it as less of a journalistic standpoint.

So, if you were to think about it that way and say that if journalism could create these destinations, these hubs, and resources that other companies could benefit from to help grow their business, then there's probably a way they can make money off of it. It's tricky because companies spend less on marketing than they may have in the past. And I wonder how much value there is in content from a journalism standpoint because we get so much more content than we ever have before. I think that's what's so tricky.

There are so many different ways to report on content or to report on anything happening, digest that content, and it's kind of like the price, and I'm sure the cost of it is just dropping dramatically, you know, month by month, which is why we're in the situation we're in with certain journalistic roles and positions.

Dave Reddy (46:34)

It's a good place to stop because I don't think anyone's answered the question. We're certainly not going to do it on this podcast, even though we do try every week or every month. Ryan, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it. It was fantastic to have you on and continued good luck with Leverege, IOT for All, AI for All and Future for Alls. I'd like to thank you all for listening today. And once again, a big thank you to our guest, Ryan Chacon of IOT for All.

Join us next month when we interview another member of the B2B Tech Top 200. In the meantime, if you have feedback on today's podcast or would like to learn more about Big Valley marketing and how we identified the B2B Tech Top 200, be sure to email me at That's d-r-e-double-d-y at bigvalley, all one word, dot c-o, no m. You can also email the whole team at 

Thanks again, and as always. Think big.