David Standard: GrowBuddy
He’s an innovative thinker, he’s a problem-solver, and he’s certainly a model for making the best out of everything. Cannabis came into his life as a necessity and he learned how to grow the best medicine so that he could take care of his ailing family members. What became of that expertise and the piles of notes he brought home that caught his roommate’s attention, became the platform that the industry so desperately needed: a resource, an organization system, and an invaluable tool for marijuana growers… GrowBuddy. David Standard is one of the founders and is here to share with us his story, what he’s learned, and what we can learn from him!
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
To be honest, I feel like the industry chose me. When I growing up, I never thought I was going to get into the cannabis industry. I unfortunately lost my grandfather, my mom, and my aunt to ALS and when they were going through the disease, I was growing the cannabis for them. Seeing their ravaged bodies, especially my mom’s, and how much cannabis actually helped really gave me a passion for growing the best medicine possible!
That was really the deciding factor and then from there, it spawned to something even bigger when I started growing for a dispensary. My roommate at the time, Daniel Starbuck, was a developer and he saw me coming home every day with books and notebooks of all my notes and so he built me a simple program to manage all of it and from there, it turned into what we have today, GrowBuddy. We found an inherent need in the industry for a piece of software to help growers grow better medicine and that’s really why I believe that the industry chose me, in a way.
What were you doing before the green rush?
Before starting GrowBuddy, I was in college studying business and working on getting my pilot’s license; I was on track to become a commercial airlines pilot. That’s honestly what I thought I was going to do with my life, but that’s very different now and I’m glad everything worked out the way it did!
What are you doing to impact the industry?
With GrowBuddy, we essentially created the ultimate ‘grow’ journal. The grow-it-yourself-er’s (or as we like to call them, the GIY’s) are people who want to grow their own medicine at home and when it becomes legal, their own marijuana at home. Our platform gives them the tools they need to grow the best bud in the world. There’s no reason that someone can’t grow the same quality of cannabis at home as you could find at your local top-notch dispensary. We really are giving them the tools they need to do that, while also becoming the largest source of information regarding growing cannabis.
There’s no reason that someone can’t grow the same quality of cannabis at home as you could find at your local top-notch dispensary. We really are giving them the tools they need to do that, while also becoming the largest source of information regarding growing cannabis.
GrowBuddy is designed so that as it moves from the black market to the white market and people become less paranoid about synching their information to the cloud, users can be open to sharing their tips and tricks with others. Hopefully, we’ll get away from where we’re at now which is ‘I don’t want to give away my secret sauce. I don’t want another grower to grow exactly like I do’. As more people start growing and the information becomes available, people are going to be more willing to share their tips and tricks. It’ll be like brewing your own beer at home, except in this case, it’s growing your own bud at home, your own medicine. We will be the largest platform that people can get together and share their nutrition schedules, share their tips and tricks, and actually get problem-specific help through GrowBuddy when problems arise in their gardens.
Describe your work ethic to us in one word.
I have two: relentless and fair. I will do whatever it takes to get what I need to get done, done; But, I’m never going ask a business partner, an employee, to do something that I wouldn’t do. I’ll be done there in the trenches, but it will get done!
Tell us about a time in your career that didn’t go as planned and what you did about that? How did you handle it?
Well, pretty much, the cannabis industry has been my career and anyone who has been in this industry for a good length of time knows that usually nothing goes according to plan; Everything changes every week in this industry. A time that definitely stands out in my mind was back in the early days of developing GrowBuddy; We were just killing it, moving along, and pushing out new features, and we came came to the point in which the application was getting so robust and so big that we became worried about it becoming a little laggy on devices like tablets and iPads, so we had to stop all feature development until we found a solution. Luckily, our all-start developer Daniel, spent 7 months developing a custom data-loading system and now GrowBuddy runs buttery-smooth on any device and will continue doing so no matter how big and robust GrowBuddy gets.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
A book that really helped me was, Crossing the Chasm. It’s a about selling disruptive products to mainstream customers and while it mainly focuses on technology, it’s very helpful in teaching you how to market your product and how to get it out there. I would also recommend anything written by Dale Carnegie, his books really helped me when I was first getting started with the business and finally, a book that I only recently finished, but really learned a lot from was The Virgin Way by Richard Branson. He really reminds you to keep it fun; You only get one chance for creating a company culture and hearing about his form of leadership and how he ran Virgin is really inspiring; I want GrowBuddy to be like Virgin in that it’s fun, laid-back, and everyone cares about everyone.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
I don’t know if it’d be considered advice persay, but a quote I love is, “The journey awakens the soul.” Whenever I hit a rough patch in my life, and I have it tattooed on myself, I have that to look at and remember that life is a journey. Everything you go through, whether it is good or bad, you’re learning from it and it’s going to make you stronger. So, just remember that life is a journey and you’re growing both emotionally and spiritually and it’s important to remember that you just need to keep moving forward with it.
Whenever I hit a rough patch in my life, and I have it tattooed on myself, I have that to look at and remember that life is a journey. Everything you go through, whether it is good or bad, you’re learning from it and it’s going to make you stronger.
How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
Three words: Build, measure, learn! I’m going to steal that from the Lean Startup methodology. There’s a ton of people out there with a bunch of great ideas, but there is a lack of financial backing in this industry. So, don’t get caught up with perfecting your idea before you get the idea out there and get some feedback. Get it out into people’s hands and let them tell you what they think about it. You’ll save time and money by doing that and you’ll end up with a much better product because of it.
What is a skill or trait that you think is necessary to make an impact in this industry?
Imagination. This industry is huge, there’s room for almost everyone! You can come up with some crazy idea and chances are that it’s a pretty decent idea. You need to be imaginative, be flexible, and agile enough to steer your way through this industry as it evolves. It changes constantly from one day to the next. Think about MBank in Oregon who just had to shut down and close their accounts that relates to cannabis; one day you have a bank, and the next day, you don’t.
This industry is huge, there’s room for almost everyone!
What are your thoughts on activists who don’t agree with mega-corporations approaching the hemp and cannabis industry?
Well, mega-corporations are going to approach this industry. It’s going to happen! At the end of the day, cash is king. They’re going to come in and so you can either create something that they’re going to want to buy or you need to align yourself with others that think the same way you do because it’s going to be a fight. I think there are plenty of people who don’t want them to come in, but it’s going to happen; however, I don’t think they’re ever going to get that boutique-quality weed like the small businesses can. They’re never going to be able to scale it large enough that you can buy it at a 7Eleven like a cigarette. So, I do believe that you’ll always have those small mom and pop stores in your town where you can go and get the best weed possible.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
A year from now, we’ll be one year closer to de-scheduling cannabis. I imagine we’ll be celebrating that with some weed and beer pairing and then hopefully for the rest of the conversation, we’ll be discussing innovative grow technology and other products entrepreneurs have come up with. Then, I imagine you’ll have to cut me off at some point because with a little bit of weed and beer… I’ll talk your ear off all day!