Epi. 51: The One-Stop-Shop To Manage Your Business Travel Needs – Duke Chung, Co-Founder and CEO of TravelBank

Learn more about TravelBank at: www.travelbank.com

Find Duke Chung on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dukechung/

JC: Welcome, everybody to another episode of The Future of Biz Tech. I’m your host, JC Granger. And I have another fantastic guest with us on the show today. And if you end up loving this episode, please show your love and appreciation by following the podcast and subscribing wherever you’re listening to be sure to give that five star review preferably with some cool comments on there, because that is how other techies like you and I find cool podcasts like this. And today I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing the Co-Founder and CEO of Travel Bank, Duke Chung. Duke, thank you so much for being on the show. Why don’t you tell the audience a little about yourself, and what does TravelBank do?


Duke: JC, thank you for having us here. We really appreciate it. And a little bit about myself. I’m a second time founder. My first business, we built a customer service software technology that we sold in 2014, to Microsoft, which has now become part of the Microsoft CRM customer support product line and has carried through its roadmap and reaches millions of businesses around the world today. So we’re very excited about that. That led me to TravelBank. TravelBank is an all in one expense, travel and card platform for businesses from small to medium and some of the larger businesses as well. We started this business in at the end of 2016. We launched in 2017 with expenses, and then built on travel and moved into payments. And today we’re the only provider out there that has all of it together delivered in one platform. And for one subscription price for all of our customers approximately 3000 businesses around the world today are using TravelBank to enable their employees with expenses and travel and with payment solutions.


JC: That’s pretty cool. So you’re the only one who brings all three of those aspects. It was travel cards, and then an expense…


Duke: Expense management. That’s correct. That’s correct. Yeah. So…


JC: Why does no one else add that that third one? I mean, guess what, like, what did you What did you see? Like, what was that issue in the industry? I mean, why didn’t someone just go? Oh, yeah, let’s do all three, because clearly all three are part of that equation, when you’re sending, you know, employees out. So I mean, just how did how did you guys get to be the first one?


Duke: Well, it’s it was interesting. So when I moved from the East Coast to Silicon Valley out here in San Francisco, you know, we suddenly had this huge community of startups. And you’re talking about 1000s and 1000s, of startups in 2016, 17. What we realized then was, as we thought about building our suites, you know, where we would start. And we started with expenses, were the only ones in the travel space that started with expenses. And the reason for that was because most of these smaller businesses, as we think about the value proposition you provide for helping to really control spend for companies, the first thing you think about as a small business is going to be controlling spend for all of your employees, not just travel, but across the board, right? It could be office supplies, it could be software products, it could be marketing budget, you’re going to control your spending in one price. So it made sense for us actually, to build an expense technology first, because this way, we could actually help these companies get going. And when the business scales up to a certain point, and begins to mature or go into its growth mode, you’re going to start to hire a lot more people, the company is going to transform into a new stage of business. And then businesses started to think a little bit more about let’s go a little bit more narrow and think about how to control spend for travel. Because travel becomes a big ticket area of spend, it could be as much as 20% of your overall spend as you scale your business. And so that led us to building more functionality around a travel program, including a travel platform, where you can book travel across 400 Airlines, 650,000, hotels, and all the major ground transportation services, and to kind of bring that all together into a travel program as an extension of expenses. So that’s how we led from expenses to travel. And then through the pandemic, I think is really where we pushed on payments a lot. And we’re I think we’re the early evolutions of that because payments is transforming so quickly. And what the pandemic really did was it made everything contactless you know, it actually forced what I would classify as a behavioral change, you know, during the pandemic, if you wanted to go down the street and buy coffee, or buy a sandwich or pay for something you know, suddenly you find yourself using your phone and paying with your mobile wallets. And that was very transformational from when we first started this business you know, we started a business and we’re still using credit cards right more more dominantly now you know we’re finding ourselves using our phones for identity management and also for payments. So bringing payments into this flow was really a nice way to kind of expand our offering and today we’re the only ones that have all three built by ourselves organically the technologies all unified into one experience.


JC: So that payments part so I want to dig a little more on that because I think a lot of people totally understand the travel part understand the expense part right you know, expense reports and plane tickets. Okay, we got that but the payment So I want to I want to go deeper here. So is this kind of like, for example, we use American Express right? And so it’s very easy for me to order an employee card and have it sent to them. So that you know, they can put things on that I can view to my dashboard, I can freeze it, I can up its limit down its limit, whatever I want to do. Walk me through, how similar is what you’re doing to that? And then is it agnostic to any given type of like Visa, MasterCard, Discover Amex? Or do you guys partner with one? Or is it just a platform that links into their phone? And they can use anything they want? And it just grabs the data? Like, let? That’s where I’m going with this.


Duke: Great question. Great question. So I’ll start I’ll go and reverse. When you’re using our expense system, we link up to 14,000 cards, personal and corporate cards, so your American Express card would work perfect. And the way it would work is you just sync up to your card account. And as you spend money on your American Express card or your employees do imagine every transaction will automatically fill into your expense report. So we basically curate your expense report in the backend. So that the end, depending on how you set up your business, you might have some requirements receipts for compliance, you can set that off as a customized to your own business. And we’ll just help you enforce that. So that when the user submits it fully compliant as far as the expense report, so imagine that experience so that we call sort of generation one, just link it up to a credit card. Generation two what we build with payments kind of takes that concept a step further, you mentioned, you know, American Express, I want to send a new employee a card, you can still do that. But now imagine that in the digital virtual form, so you could go to our application, and you could actually select the employee you want to send it to, and you can send them a virtual card, you can send a virtual card for $5,000, because they’re running an event for you. And you can actually specify specific categories you can spend it on, you can also specify when it expires, so you can only use it up to two weeks. And then other requirements that you can add on there. So it’s very controlled, if you will. And you can send this anytime you want, as many virtual cards as you want. And once these virtual cards are sent to your employee, they’ll have access to use it both online, they’ll will generate, they’ll generate a 1416 digit code for them. They could spend it on Amazon if they need to. But more importantly, it integrates automatically into their mobile wallet. So if they go on travel, they can book all their travel through us, of course, but then let’s say you go to the airport, and you’re going to buy a cup of coffee, or expense your lunch where you can just take your mobile phone out with your wallet, you’ll have the virtual card already built in there, and you go ahead and spend it. Now everything you spent on the virtual card automatically populates into your expense report as well. So in both generation one in generation two, but generation two is all about the digital virtual card. And we think that is very much the future, because what it does is it gives the employers more control into how these cards are issued. So instead of sending an executive, a $30,000, credit limit, and then having to audit all their expenses, you can actually kind of go more granular and send these virtual cards out on a per use case basis. And therefore giving the CFOs much more control around how this money is being distributed and democratize across their employee base.


JC: That’s pretty cool. And that I can see how that could be especially like you said, if a company is growing, and being able to to just quickly distribute these…


Duke: Exactly.


JC: And it doesn’t just have to be for travel like for, you know, I have a marketing agency. So sometimes I have employees that need to pay for certain softwares on their own. I’m like, yeah, go get that software, just put it on your card. Right? So that it automatically hits. So what types of companies are you finding.. you have 3000 companies in your portfolio as far as client base? What size? What industries do you find have the most need and benefit from this? You know, is there is there any kind of method to the madness, is there any groupings of certain industries or size of the company?


Duke: We’re seeing.. we’re seeing it all across the board for small businesses, particularly, you know, more nimble businesses or technology startups, right? They are quick to change. So newer technologies like ours, they adopted very quickly, they find it to be more efficient. And they are starting from the beginning, right. So a lot of them are building their credit card program. So this is almost like a new generation on how the approach is working for them. And they intend to continue to start here and expand as we innovate around virtual cards as well. And these are think of startups, you know, very small businesses that gets going, but also long tail could be bakeries. Could these, you know, small businesses here and there. We also serve a lot of mid market businesses, mid market businesses, for us, businesses anywhere between 100 million to, you know, say a billion in that range of revenue, because a good amount of businesses there that we serve today. And they are all fully on travel, they’re fully on expenses, and they’re just beginning their migration from plastic card to this virtual digital card and they may enter this in a hybrid approach, meaning they’re still going to issue some plastic cards, but they’re beginning to, you know, these ancillary use cases that you talked about the starting to use those, especially for employees, they don’t want to give a plastic card to. So this is a really great way for them to kind of expand that use case, then you have larger businesses. And I’ll give me a couple example larger businesses that we serve our businesses like DoorDash, like DoorDash, employees are all on TravelBank, we manage all their travel expenses and or GrubHub, or SoulCycle, these kind of businesses. So at that stage where the revenues over a billion dollars, you’re at full scale, and, you know, for CFOs, and controllers that are using our programs, this is really the holy grail for them, it gives them absolute control, they have visibility into the spend, they have visibility into the controls of the spend before it’s issued. But they have real time visibility into what’s being spent as well, because all of the entire organization is standardized, typically on one or two cards. So all the spend is now being visualized in real time through our dashboards for these controllers. And that’s really transformational because we think about where we came from. Most finance teams don’t have visibility into what you’ve spent until you’ve done your expense report. And now we have a value proposition where if you’re issuing all these virtual cards out there, to employees, and they’re using it on the go every day, for all the different use cases, every single transaction is automatically captured and visualized by the finance teams. So they have visibility into what’s being spent at any given time. So that’s really, really exciting on that side. So we’re definitely pushing the envelope up to the bigger enterprises, but we think really, that this will transcend from small to medium to large. 


JC: Okay, and so what’s your, how are you right now trying to go up marketing? You know, I’m a marketing guy. So I always have to ask the marketing questions like, what types of verticals? In marketing? Are you guys using? What did not work in the past? What do you see working pretty well for you guys right now.


Duke: So we sell into the back office finance. CFOs are traditionally very conservative groups, they don’t, you know, when it comes to technology changes, it’s, you know, from my experience, from my first business into this business, it’s they’re not early adopters, they don’t need to be they’re risk averse, they frankly, don’t really like to make a lot of changes, if something’s working, they don’t have to use the latest and greatest in your example. You know, being a marketing consultant, you may like the latest and greatest technologies for marketing. The CFOs are very different. CFOs are very different. Rather, they would rather everyone else tested first, and it works. And it doesn’t have to be the Tesla as long as it works. It’s reliable. And it’s good. Right. So I think that, because of that our, our strategy for going upstream or moving upstream really is we’ve grown a lot with early stage companies. When you when I look at DoorDash, you know, we had the opportunity to serve them when they were the hundreds of employees. And now they’re in the 1000s of employees. And it was just a matter of two to three years that they’ve scaled up. And we’ve kind of grown with them over time. But we’re also in Interestingly, some help verticals like healthcare, you know, OSF healthcare is a good example, they run it’s a $3 billion business running hospitals in the Illinois Chicago area, and we manage all the travel expenses for them. West Tennessee health care systems in Tennessee, we manage all the traveling necessary. So these are large organizations, where we’ve come in, and we have replaced older systems, older systems that have poor user experiences aren’t integrated in together don’t have mobile functionality, and certainly don’t have this next generation, virtual card capabilities, they’re just too far behind. And as we know, these a lot of these large institutions, they are hiring younger generation employees coming in, you know, for the future. And the younger generation has grown up with these functionalities, they expect to be able to go to the phone and book your flight in hotel, to see your itinerary, you know, to not have to go through 10 steps to do an expense report. So the nice thing about this is all integrated. It’s all modern, and it’s all really designed for the user experience is particularly for the users, the travelers that are out there. And you know, the pandemic has really changed the way we travel. And I think it’s going to change the future of travel too. What I mean by that is before the pandemic, you had a small number of people who traveled a lot. So this might be the C level team, the marketing teams and sales teams. Now we’re going to set up where you have employees everywhere, all over the US maybe all over the world. So all of a sudden, you have a lot of spend from a lot of infrequent travelers. And that means that companies are now scrambling to figure out how they can gain more control over the spend. Because it’s not just a small group of people spending a lot of money traveling, you’ve got a lot of people now traveling and the reason they’re traveling is because more companies in the remote work world are encouraging off sites and events and conferences as a means to get together now because they may not be asking you to come back to the office, but people are taking the companies are more for wanting to go out to do these off sites and events. And so you’re going to see a lot more travel from every single employee across the company. And that’s a huge transformation in what the pandemic has done. But I think our technologies are in line with the change of the world. And we’re innovating very closely against that. Okay.


JC: So you talked about the future. Right? So this being the the Future of Biz Tech, I have a couple future questions for you now. So you are in a somewhat competitive industry, right of what you guys do. Where do you see, and you talked, you touched on this a little bit with the virtual payments and contactless, but in the next 510 years in the industry that you’re in with you plus your competitors? Where do you see things going? Right, notwithstanding, you know, we can dig deeper into the that one you mentioned. But is there anything that could be affected by, you know, AI, or their technology or legislation or anything like that? Where do you see the industry going in the next five to 10 years when it comes to companies like yours?


Duke: Yeah, we see a few key trends happening on the AI side, I think we’re in a race to gather data around that. And, you know, in our business, we, you know, we sit on top of 14,000 credit cards, we’re running expense reports and have a lot of compliance data. Of course, we keep everything confidential and private to each of our entities that we serve in the respective users alone. So we we look at the data anonymized, but what the data can do for us is really build a moat, to enable a framework for future AI use cases. And some examples of that may come in for things like personalization. So I could say, hey, JC, you know, when you travel, when you’re heading into the airport, we’re going to tell you, there’s a piece of coffee there. And you’re gonna say, Well, how would you know, I like pizza, we know you like pizza. Because if you look at your expense reports, we see a lot of pizza expenses in there, right. So that’s a very simple example. Right? Another example, when it comes to actually auditing and compliance, having a lot of data mode is really valuable, because when another employee expenses, another coffee, we can check to see if other employees in the business have expense in the similar location for similar amounts, right. And all these benchmarks are actually established in our, our data, our data cloud. And so that serves as an ongoing strategy for us. And our vision over time, frankly, on on expenses is one where we can introduce the world’s first autonomous Expense Report system, one that actually will not only build an expense report for you behind the scenes, but it can auto approve your expense report. And I think we can do it better than what a manager or mid level manager or refinancing we can do. Because we can provide much more structure around the approval processes. At the minimum, we can provide guidance to the users and the managers. But over time, I think as the as we’re seeing in the auto space, right, for autonomous cars, I think those kind of applications can be applied into our use cases here for expenses. So personalization, compliance use cases. And of course, leading data trends with the data that we’re collecting to kind of predict things that we should assemble into our marketplace of other experiences that our users potentially could benefit from. Those are all things that we’re doing around data. And we think data is a really important part of the future on this side. And that’s why we’re also interested in teaming up the banks, because the banks and us together coming together can also provide more synergies around data around payments. But I also think the future will be more about not only expense travel, but actually coming closer with the banking environments, the and we today, we have a partnership with Brex that in through them, we serve 1000s of startups, we also have started a new relationship with US Bank, which is the fifth largest bank in the world. And they are they have 100,000 customers here in North America. And we’re, we’re working with them. And the synergies that we bring together between the finance side, and expensive travel really is about being able to offer more compelling value propositions back to the businesses in a way where we could be more aggressively giving back rebates. For example, imagine if you run travel bank with one of our banking partners, you know, instead of getting 1% back or 2% cashback, you know, you could possibly get 3%, maybe 4% back. And that’s shows you the power of bringing together, you know, all the systems into one place so that there’s more value back for the companies in a way that would be very difficult to do if you had to assemble this yourselves from a company perspective. So we see that coming through.


JC: Yeah, I really liked the auto approval part you were talking about. Because what I find interesting about that is that I imagine you could set certain thresholds where it’ll auto approve unless something breaks a certain line, you know, like a manager does not sit there and go through every single expense report, but they could get like an alert that says, hey, this one just looks a little weird, like this one, because the data will tell it that that’s maybe abnormal, right? Especially if you have a whole team of people that went out to the same location, and all their expense reports are here. And there’s one person’s like way up here. I imagine you know, that an algorithm could could point and flag things, right. So I think that’s really cool. And then on the other hand, if it automatically disapproves it, you’d obviously be able to have that the employee to challenge and that could send it to a manager or something like that. So I think that’s really cool.


Duke: That’s right. That’s right.


JC: There’s a lot of time in that efficiency process, which is really nice. So now let’s talk about Okay, so my audience likes the inside scoop. Alright, so we’re gonna ask about your company, specifically not the industry, I just wonder about TravelBank What is something that’s coming up soon that you guys are gonna be maybe launching maybe feature-wise, you know, what’s the next cool, big thing on the roadmap that everyone here can look forward to? 


Duke: Well, there’s a couple areas and expenses, you know, with the extension of payments, we’re looking at broad areas where we take the payment contactless to the next level. And a good example there is imagine now going to the hotel, where you don’t even have to check in at the front desk, you have, we have your mobile wallet, I could say JC here’s your room number 2808. And that will show up right in your itinerary. You go straight to your room. Now take the same idea and say imagine going to the airport. And today the airports are designed to have a check in service in the front, it takes up quite a bit of real estate as you know, right? You’ve got these kiosks you’ve got, you’ve got people there checking bags, but what if I said to you JC, go right to gate 13 and hover your phone over there to check into your flight. And boom, you’re on there. Imagine what that would do to transform the airports today, it would simplify it down very significantly. And then if you go to the car rental, right like now Hertz is purchasing Tesla’s. Everything’s moving digital, you don’t have to go through the Hertz line anymore. You don’t have to wait even for your name to show up on the border. JC you’re going to go straight to your car. And by the way, your car doesn’t have to be the airport, everyone thinks Okay, your cars because in the future of autonomous driving cars, your car can be anywhere.


Duke: Yeah it’s just come pick you up, it can pick you up exactly, it can pick you up right at the airport, right and you hop right in, you hover with your phone becomes not only your payments, but it also becomes your identity management. So we think the future of business travel is going to change very fast. And that’s why we’re so interested in this area, because we can help create the future here with bringing these technologies into one place. So that’s one big area of focus for us that we’re looking at that’s really fascinating. And there’s a lot of innovation happening with all the major banks out there on this effort to kind of digitalize your identity and your payments into a way that’s really streamlined. So we’re really, really excited about that. Outside of this, you know, the other areas we’re really looking at are things like ESG, you know, improving the climate and improving putting more awareness around travel. Because as you know, in our generation growing up, we had a lack of awareness around a lot of these things. And we think we’re in a great position now to be able to introduce more awareness in so when you travel, when you spend things that you’re going to expense, we can give you a report and say, JC based on this trip, you’ve created all these carbon emissions, right? For example.


JC: Sounds like a guilty report though… I don’t know.


Duke: Possibly, possibly, well, it’s a phase one, right. So like I said, it’s more of an awareness thing. You just don’t know what you’ve done, and the ideas is really to force you to make any changes. But I think the initial goal is to make people more aware. And we’re seeing this to be a huge, you know, more important focus for our world. And because we are in the business of booking travel for our constituents, we’re in a great position to display this information, and really, to provide more insights and awareness for our users. And we think that’s really important. Moving forward. So there’s…


JC: So it’s like nutrition facts on the McDonald’s menu. Now you’re like, I’m still gonna get the Big Mac, but like, at least I’m aware of what I’m doing to myself, right?


Duke: That’s right. 600 calories. Frankly, I don’t know if it will stop you from eating it. But you know, but at least you know, right?


JC: Back on how many per week then maybe, right? What you bring up is interesting, though, because if you start showing, again, like nutrition facts, it’s not that it’s going to stop actions on some mass scale, like day one. But being aware helps plant a seed. And then that grows in your mind. And what happens is just historically, from my, from what I’ve seen, is then people start to voice that. So for example, I could see a scenario where in the future, let’s say, what you’re doing is it becomes widely adopted, and there’s a carbon footprint and breaks it down by like, well, you took a Airbus 737, you know, or a, you know, for whatever, 400. And then you took a Boeing, you know, 737. And you see the difference, you know, there could be a scenario where employees start saying, Hey, if you wouldn’t mind, I prefer to be booked on this airline because they use these more conscious planes. And then that forces the airlines to then invest in, in better, more efficient planes, because people are wrestling flights because they’re on, you know, gas hogs…


Duke: That’s right, that’s right…


JC: So it pushes in that direction, which I think is actually pretty cool. Yeah.


Duke: It is cool and the other areas that influence behavior so for example, let’s say you’re going on a multi-city trip, right, you may consider instead of doing a lot of short leg hops, you may consider to go to a place and just stay there a little longer because that will change your behavior as well. Right? So when you think about planning your business trips, you know, you change his behavior based on the carbon emissions footprint, if you’re doing a lot of hops and getting a lot of flights, you know, it’ll kind of give you a bigger report around how many emissions you’re generating. Right? So I think on a behavioral change, it also has an impact. But you’re absolutely right, I think what we’re really excited about is, the awareness is really, maybe not so much about the users as awareness for them. It’s much more about the suppliers, you know, we dream of this day where the planes aren’t fully relying on gas. I mean, you know, if the day that Tesla gets into the electric plane, for example, right, who’s going to build that nobody’s going to build that today. And unless we actually build more awareness, into improving the climate, that’s going to push the suppliers to innovate. But unless that awareness is actually established today, there’s no reason to actually push on that. And so I think where this will impact the world is, is going to force innovation all across the board across the travel industry. And we’re excited about that. We’re excited about being at the forefront, in building that early awareness and adoption, and actually pushing for future innovation to make the world a better place, essentially, so. And that’s our role…


JC: I like that. Socially conscious company.


Duke: Exactly.


JC: So let’s ask personal questions about you. Let’s talk about Duke for a second. So when you were a kid, right, and you were like, 10 years old, and someone’s like, what do you do when you grew up? And you answered? What was that answer? And then, is that what you’re doing now? And if not, how did you you know, how that path, you know, change and get you here?


Duke: I when I was growing up, my dream was to be a detective. And so.. and I think maybe has to do with the books you read. But I always loved you know, growing up like all these different books around mysteries and solving crimes, right? I love that I always was really fascinated by.


JC: Like Columbo and Murder, she wrote. Man, those my two favorite as a kid Columbo and Murder, she wrote.


Duke: There you go, I love them well, I know them all. Well, and so I always dreamed, I mean, for Halloween, I always dressed up as a detective. And you know, and I loved it. I can’t say that’s what I do today. But other than probably the closest similarity might be when you’re, you know, problem solving is probably the best example of what I can extract from what I grew up what I inspire to be growing up, you know, when you’re solving crimes, and, you know, trying to solve a problem. You know, I feel like these this when we’re doing these startups, and frankly, all these, you know, new things that come around, right, they’re sort of new challenges that are set forth in front of us.


JC: So it’s like a puzzle, a one big puzzle.


Duke: You know, there you go, exactly. It’s a puzzle. And you’ve got to figure out how to solve these puzzles, right? And then once you solve this puzzle, while there’s going to be another puzzle, another puzzle, right? It keeps going. That’s what’s actually sort of exciting. It’s sort of an ongoing series of crime scenes that you’ve got to solve over the time.


JC: Here’s I love about what you just said, you basically just equated entrepreneurship to coming across multiple crime scenes, and I could not agree with you more.


Duke: Well, that’s yeah, I don’t I never said that on a podcast or anywhere. But now that since you asked the question, JC now I can actually step back and think about it more clearly. But it does feel like that, right? 


JC: And They’re all bloody. They’re all like mass murder.


Duke: That will say for the second podcast, you know, the more detail but you know, build your business tonight and others out there who have as well, you know, it’s almost what we do every day, right? We were looking at these challenges, but someone say they’re mostly opportunities, right? You kind of look at these challenges that we have today and try to solve in make it better for the future. So that’s fun. That’s actually very fun. I think that’s probably the number one thing keeps us going like we picked an industry to, to to build something in. And then how do we kind of help this industry move forward? So…


JC: That’s awesome, you seem like a very educated man, you know, as especially with your puzzle person, you have to be you know, well read. I’m sure you watch documentaries a lot, too. Especially that real crime stuff, you know.


Duke: CSI.


JC: So let me ask you, yeah, oh, yeah. All of them all the things I like the true crime series personally, you know, it’s funny, I saw a meme the other day that it said, because, you know, Halloween and whatnot. And it said, it was like me watching a scary movie, and there was like, and then it was like, me watching a movie like a real crime. It’s like, oh…


Duke: Yeah, the real crime. I have to say JC is a little darker. I think the regular ones, right? The the intense seem like they’re always a little bit darker. Or at least they’re written that way. Yeah. So but I, I know, I hear you loudly on that.


JC: That’s funny. Last question and select which piece of this question it is, which is if you had to pick a must-read book or what or documentary, watch documentary or podcast, not No, not this one. But I mean, like, just for business stuff, right? didn’t pick a podcast, a documentary, or a book that someone listening absolutely should engage in, what would it be and why?


Duke: I think, you know, I’ll go with a book. I think you know, one of the there are two books really, but I’ll talk about one of them but really He inspired me through my personal journey. entrepreneurship journey it was, Tony Hsieh’s book from Delivering Happiness, I thought that was really well thought out and well written in, it talks a lot about like, the, you know, at the end of the day, we go through these journeys and, you know, what’s the final destination? Right? What are we really all aspiring for, and in what you realize is that, you know, those that are, that are, say, very wealthy today, or those that are kind of very poor today, they all have their own struggles. But actually, the happiest people that I found are really the people that are somewhere in the middle, that have the aspiration to achieve something great. And oftentimes we talk about is the success, the Earned success, call it that is really what is the drivers for the pursuit of happiness, meaning, you know, you go through all these struggles to build these businesses and challenges that we talked about. And ultimately, when he gets to the other side, when you’ve solved the problems, and you do it over and over and over again, and you almost kind of see like a graph that goes up, right, you kind of look back, it’s almost just a series of challenges that you’ve solved over and over, and then you kind of get to the top. And whatever that top is defined for you, you know, along the way. And you look back, that is really what I would classify as a pursuit of happiness. And he talks a lot about that he talks about, you know, what we do every day, why we do it, and what makes us happy. And ultimately, those are the biggest drivers, right? And a lot of people, you know, equate happiness, so to wealth or other visible things, but in reality, you know, I think when we look at what we’re doing, outside of all those things, it’s truly just this sort of graph of earning success, like going through the grief and the stress, if you will, along the way. And in one word, to say maybe that’s really just the cost of success, you know, the cost of commitment over time, you know, without having to go through these difficult periods of times, you can look at the pandemic and all that, you know, if one were to look at that and kind of capitalize on it, you get some tremendous outcomes out of that. And those are the things that ultimately make people happy. And what we do make us more fulfilled over time. So I think that book really changed the way I thought about my own journey for my first visitors and also for TravelBank, and I think for future ones, as well. So that’s when I really would recommend for people to read through the spend time to be inspired by it.


JC: Yeah know, I’ve read that book, too. And one, you know, the one inspiration that came to me from that book, years ago was that we got rid of financial goals, my agency, right, so a lot of people say, what’s your goals for 2021, 2022? Whatever, right? And they were talking about revenue goals, and I, I tell them well, we don’t have any like, well, how can I not have any? How do you know like, well, because our only goal is to be remarkable, right? Because when you have a financial goal, and this is just my opinion, what I took away from the book kind of thing just right out inspired me is that you turn your clients into extractions, right? Like your goal, the the mindset is, you’re extracting financial gain out of them for you, when your goal is to be remarkable, you are injecting your expertise and the value that you give for them. And both will lead to this, you’ll still make money, the difference, right? Where’s your mindset? And so that’s what I took from that’s one of the big things that I took in the book that we play. 


Duke: That’s awesome. Actually, that’s awesome. 


JC: Yeah, we have goals we have, we have taxes, we got to file, we know what we made at the end of the year, but we don’t have like electronics. Like no, we are going to figure out how to be twice as efficient. As we were last year, we’re gonna figure out how to get twice as many leads for our client this year, that and when those become the goals, right, the money will come right. And so that’s, I’m glad you mentioned that book. I thought that was a great book, too.


Duke: I think, yeah. When I met, I met Tony a few times he spoke at my conference because I was in the customer service business. So I got a chance to know him. Unfortunately, it’s, it’s, you know, we were so sad to see him leave, ultimately. But when when I visited him in his office, he shared with similar stories of one you shared, which was we took a tour, he used to do these tours, and he would personally do the tour. So you go around his office and all these people would be so happy. And there was a group of people on a corner on a phone kind of isolated. So I asked Tony, I said Who are those people over there? And he said, Oh, those people are service-specific function. And he said, there are certain people, you know, let’s say, have lower income and can qualify for higher credit. So let’s say for example, you have a credit card, and you only have $500 limit on it. Well, sometimes let’s say you bought a pair of white shoes for an upcoming wedding. But it turns out, you actually need black shoes, you’re not actually able to purchase a black shoes, because you know, you don’t have enough credit limit. So what that group was actually doing was saying to the customers, well, we understand your problem, and we’ll go ahead and send you the black pair of shoes first. And when you’re done just when you come back from your wedding, go ahead and send us the white shoes back and they were willing to do that. So from a financial decision, if one were to look at this and run a business from a P&L and say why would you ever do that right? You not only increasing risk, you’re dealing with, you know, lower income earners and you might have certain biases around why this doesn’t make any sense to do at all. But what they learned through this process, and the spirit of Delivering Happiness was that by doing this, they earned the trust and the loyalty of these customers. And not only did they return the shoes back as they said they would, but they came back over and over again to buy more things from them. And that long term sort of lifetime value of that customer was really what they were looking to acquire. Not the short term transaction, right? So that’s…


JC: The short term, VS the long tern right, exactly.


Duke: Exactly. 


JC: So I want to make sure that people know how to get a hold of you, Duke and in the company. So first, for anyone who’s listening who wants to reach out to person maybe they have, maybe they are up market, right? And they like we had to say today, how do they reach you personally? And then how do people find the website.


Duke: The best way to find me, you find me on Twitter, Duke Chung, Instagram, Facebook is fine, or you can email me at Duke@travelbank would be perfectly fine as well.


JC: That’s awesome. And for everyone out there listening again, if you liked what you heard today, here, if you’d like listening to Duke and myself, be sure to subscribe to this podcast give that five star rating we talked about the beginning, put some writing behind it. So other techies like us can find it and enjoy learning about all these amazing and helpful b2b software’s on the market today, Duke thank you so much for being on the show and I appreciate it. I’m going to be checking it out because like I said, I like that digital, the digital payment thing they want to control the spending of employees virtually. So thank you so much for showing all of us that.


Duke: Thank you, JC thanks for having me here.


JC: Buh-bye.

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