I have been trying to get Chris Riegel for an in-person interview for almost a year, but the CEO and sole owner of STRATACACHE has been a busy guy in recent months, expanding his business organically, but also through acquisitions of competitors like Scala and Real Digital Media.
We couldn’t make it happen when he was on one of his frequent trips through Toronto, but we managed to carve out time in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago, at the ISE trade show.
Riegel gets into a lot of things in this podcast - notably how his company got to north of $500 million in sales in 2016 and how he plans to double that within a couple of years. We also talk about how he got started and how he manages a high-growth company that now has some 400 people, but is very much centered around him.
This is a seriously smart, ambitious guy. He's also a smart-ass and doesn't bother using much of a filter when it comes to things like talking about companies he sees as the real enemy in this business.
Here's a snippet of our talk, with me asking who he sees as the competition ...
Riegel: I would say without sounding crass or arrogant about it, the companies that we regard as competitors are the guys who really understand marketing and marketing in retail, so you take, potentially, an Adobe who understands that market, specifically. In sector, I don't really see much competition there. Really for two reasons. One, this kind of deep retail practice that we built around PRN, the expertise that we have there, is really unique in the industry. Number two, when we go into provide solutions to customers, we'll go into very large retailers. We're building that network, financing that network and doing a managed service over the course of 3 years, 5 years … there's not a competitor in the space that will do type of financial models that we will.
Me: So you're carrying the paper on the hardware?
Riegel: We carry the paper on the hardware, the service, everything.
Riegel: A retailer has the pockets, but little dinosaur arms, so they won't reach into those deep pockets. We call it the T-Rex problem.