Christopher Dell’Olio: PyroTree, Inc.
Positive thinking is the key – And as cliché as that may sound and as many times you have been told that, I think we can all afford to hear it once more. After all, it is undoubtedly one of the keys to success that Christopher Dell’Olio has harnessed as the CEO of PyroTree, a web development company geared towards the cannabis industry. He describes his work ethic as restless and after hearing his story, we couldn’t agree more. That’s what it takes to get to the top!
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
I had always contemplated joining the cannabis industry before I actually made the move. For over 6 years now, I’ve been a software engineer and online marketer and it was about 2 years ago when I was first introduced to the owner of a well established collective in the San Fernando Valley who needed a website developed. Over the course of working with this collective, my knowledge on the industry grew tremendously and I began identifying various sectors that needed software or tools.
It was about this time last year that my partner and I were running a general web design business that wasn’t doing too bad. It was a late night and I think I was watching a Laker game when I got a call from the collective owner I was working with. He asked me to update his website and I remember thinking to myself how he was one of my best clients… and then it struck me. Why wasn’t I contacting collectives about our web development services? That same night, we registered the domain name CodeKush.com. We created a simple landing page, began reaching out to collectives, and the rest is history.
I instantly noticed the potential and how much our services were needed and with the influx of clients being more than what we could’ve imagined, I knew that we needed to find a way to service them all. Our solution was to develop a software that would allow us to create a website for a client within minutes and integrate built-in tools that would help them run their day-to-day activities. However, a project like this was going to take a lot of work and a great programmer.
Our solution was to develop a software that would allow us to create a website for a client within minutes and integrate built-in tools that would help them run their day-to-day activities.
I was lucky enough to get in touch with Billy Bateman, the developer who took over as CTO at a company I had sold in 2013. He was interested in dedicating his time to help us develop this software, so we teamed up and Code Kush LLC was born. That was the day I decided that it was time to join the technology sector of this industry and dedicate my time to servicing related businesses.
What were you doing before the green rush?
Before I entered the green rush, I was the Sr. Web Administrator at Delta Groove Music, Inc. and an SEO specialist at a Los Angeles consulting firm. While doing both of those, my old high school friend, Hilart Abrahamian, contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in starting a company with him that would be a professional educational platform for students to learn how to design and develop web and mobile applications. While working full time at the label and managing another job, Hilart and I began structuring our new company in our spare time and working late nights to get everything in place. The project eventually took a toll on us and had realized that we needed proper capital to make it happen. We then decided that starting a general web development firm and targeting local clients was the best way to raise money in our current situation. I spent the rest of our time up until the launch of Code Kush designing and developing websites for various small businesses in the Los Angeles area.
What are you doing to impact the industry?
Establishing a vertically integrated vision throughout the software sector of cannabis, beginning first with the release of our dispensary management software, Web Joint. Web Joint allows collectives to create their own branded website, enabling features such as patient registration, automatic patient verification, and online ordering. However, Web Joint software has tons of integrated tools and capabilities which include auto importing their menu from 3rd party websites (WeedMaps, Leafly, MMJ Menu), managing inventory counts, storing patient information, automatically verifying doctor recommendations, tracing vendor purchases, tracking grows from seed to sale, exporting sales reports, and much more. Our software even includes a built-in point of sale program that can be integrated with hardware for the full collective solution.
With Web Joint in place, it makes the perfect avenue to begin creating a much more integrated network. The platform allows collective owners to get a service that does more than just market and give them exposure with a custom website, but also integrates the online ordering and patient registration features within the entire management software. This saves the collectives tons of time, organizes their workflow, and also saves money by eliminating the need for multiple software platforms and services to achieve the same solution. This platform will allow us to continue developing useful tools that we can seamlessly integrate with everything we invent.
The platform allows collective owners to get a service that does more than just market and give them exposure with a custom website, but also integrates the online ordering and patient registration features within the entire management software.
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
Tell me about a time in your career that didn’t go as planned and what you did about that? How did you handle it?
In early 2012, I co-founded a company called Battle Perks LLC which was a platform for gamers to wager points in online matches which they could then redeem for cash and prizes. During this time, I was fully dedicated to the company for more than a year until mid-2013 when we began losing traction and had to make the decision to sell and walk from the company along with the other co-founders.
I had high hopes and extreme ambition to make Battle Perks a success and when we finally came to our turning point, I knew I needed to continue looking for new avenues and personally take on a new venture. I started looking for various IT and online marketing positions in the Los Angeles area and my technical experience from Battle Perks was prestigious enough to land a job at Delta Groove Music two months later. I eventually evolved to co-founding what is now PyroTree Inc.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
To be completely honest, I was never one to read many books. I guess I can say ‘PHP for Dummies‘ inspired me to learn how to develop web applications back in 2009.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
To think. Yes that’s right… Think! And think positively. Why? Because you become what you think about. Don’t take it out of context. I’m not saying you can think about being Superman and the next thing you know you’re saving the world in a blue cape. Your goals and destiny are controlled and determined by your mindset in every action you make. Every successful entrepreneur or individual got to where they are because their ambition and positive mindset guided them there. Yes of course it takes hard work, knowledge, dedication, and experience, but you obtain this by working towards your goal and thinking about it positively. Regardless of the ups and downs, if you keep this mindset you will always get to where you want, you just may not realize it until you get there. In turn, negative mindset produce negative results, every time. This is the best advice I’ve ever gotten.
Your goals and destiny are controlled and determined by your mindset in every action you make. Every successful entrepreneur or individual got to where they are because their ambition and positive mindset guided them there.
How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
My advice to anyone who wants to join the industry is to make sure that you are doing what you love to do. It shouldn’t be all about dollar signs. For me, it was technology and need for creating revolutionary software in the cannabis industry that brought me to develop applications for collectives and patients. For others, they might have a passion for culinary and making infused products. You may even be a lawyer with an idea on how you can introduce your services in various ways. As long as you support the industry and find a way to get involved in something you’re passionate about, you will find much success.
What is a skill or trait that you think is necessary to make an impact in this industry?
I don’t think there is a necessary skill to make an impact on this industry. Every individual brings various skills that help the industry grow and evolve. However, I do think you need to have a good understanding of the industry’s current status and how it’s operating to make a successful impact on it.
What are your thoughts on mega-corporations entering the cannabis space?
I think big corporations approaching the hemp and marijuana industry are only going to help it evolve. However, I do feel that big corporations don’t have enough inside information about the industry to take in the direction we need it to. Because of this, big corporations haven’t really stepped foot in the marijuana space and have allowed the advocates and passionate entrepreneurs such as myself to establish a framework and direction where corporations can then later have a big impact on solidifying and taking it to the next level. Right now, it’s companies like ours that are paving the way towards a legalized industry because of our inside knowledge that the mega-corporations won’t have until we evolve it a little more.
Right now, it’s companies like ours that are paving the way towards a legalized industry because of our inside knowledge that the mega-corporations won’t have until we evolve it a little more.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
Very good! One year in this industry feels like a decade. So much is always happening and everything is moving so quickly. I think by next year we will be talking about the new states that have legalized, the advances that have been made, and what continued growth we expect to see over the years to come.