If you are a Landscape Entrepreneur this show is for you. Andy, a former contestant on the ABC hit television series Shark Tank, irrigation technology expert, and multimillion-dollar eCommerce entrepreneur brings his curiosity & creativity to tease out the secrets of successful landscape influencers and business owners.
Discover how to get a leg up on the competition, be the smartest person at the design table, and advance your career in the irrigation and landscape industry at any level.
All stones will be unturned as Andy digs into the nerdy details of business, technology, and personal growth here on the Sprinkler Nerd show.
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#146 - The First Soil Moisture Sensor for Universal Access
Andy: Hello, all you listeners out there in podcast land. I hope everybody's having an amazing day after Thanksgiving. This episode is going out to the world on Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving. So I hope everybody had an awesome, relaxing end of season, sort of speak in our world and a season day after Thanksgiving.
And this is, we're coming into a big week next week, which is the annual irrigation conference called the IA show. Technically it would be the irrigation association annual conference and at the conference, I will be. Not at a booth or anything formal, but demoing some technology that I've been working on for this last year, which is a long range wireless soil moisture sensor.
And if you are able to join us Tuesday evening, which is the night before the show, I will have plenty of sample. And for those interested to join the beta group, some beta devices. And I thought. What better way to prep for next week than to have another discussion with my good friend, Paul Bassett, who has been helping to advise on the development of the sensor [00:02:00] and, uh, the entire, uh, let's call it a project, the entire project.
So Paul, welcome back to the podcast. Oh,
Paul: thanks for having me, Andy. And I can't wait to be one of the first beta users and testers of of this technology. It's been something that our industry's been needing for. Since its inception. So this is going to be one of those technologies that hopefully everyone's going to embrace because it's now going to have the soil moisture sensing, right?
In the palm of your hands.
Andy: That's good in the palm of your hand. When, while he's saying Paul saying that I have one in the palm of my hand and what's pretty awesome too, is I would say you are one of our industry's beta testers. You know, there's a probably just a handful, maybe there's more than a handful, but there's a few people that have always had a liking to test new products and seek out new products in just that early adopter sort of way.
And you are definitely one of them. And this is not your first time, this will not be your first time beta testing soil moisture sensors because you've actually been testing them for, you know, 20 years at this point. At least
Paul: 20 years for sure. And I remember when, when baseline. First came out with their control system and their soil moisture sensors.
And I was ecstatic back then and still to this day on how the technology works. And I really like the taking the wired soil moisture sensor readings and converting it over to now a wireless reading, which is just phenomenal being able to transmit. Out of the ground, what the soil moisture is without a
Andy: wire and to be able to try to connect the dots, so to speak, in terms of hand.
No, it just rained. Let me quickly check my app and [00:04:00] see what that did to the soil profile, right? Or, you know, we adjusted some run times. I had the crew adjust some run times. Let me take a look at the app and see what that did to the moisture profile. I think that most of the time when we set a schedule on a controller, start time, run time, day of the week, it's an educated guess, right, using whatever tools we have ability at that moment in order for us to determine what the run time should be to apply the right amount of water.
But there is never been really a tool, I shouldn't say never, there are some, but there's not a universally available tool that anyone could use to then see the results of. What did that adjustment from 30 minutes to 45 minutes look like, or from one hour to 30 minutes? What is it actually doing to the soil?
There isn't a universal tool available that anyone can use easily and affordable to start learning.
Paul: And I like what, what you've done by taking on this particular project and Finding the latest technology that's available and using the, that technology and intertwining it with soil moisture sensors, specifically, most folks aren't really aware of, you
#145 - Trades RULE, and My Next BIG Thing
Happy Hour Invitation >>>>> Register Here
Podcast Reference: This Week In Startups Episode #1845
Alex Wilhelm - You know, for a really long time, people looked down their nose at people who worked with their hands and those jobs were viewed as, as lesser. And even the whole blue collar white collar divide was, was not just class in the United States, but it was also, you know, kind of like a cultural cachet that, that, that were valued to jobs didn't have.
Uh, if we think about the power of digital technologies in a realm of generative AI, we're taking away the white collar premium. And oddly enough, pushing that back onto the blue collar jobs, there's a full circle element to this that I, that I, that I appreciate and find ironic that the computer guys got so smart, they took away their own jobs.
Hey there, my friends. It's your host, Andy Humphrey. Welcome to episode 145. of the sprinkler nerd show. I'm super stoked that you're tuning in today. Just like to remind myself this super stoked you're turning into tuning in today because there is a whole universe of podcasts out there more than anyone could ever listen to in a hundred lifetimes.
There's a whole universe of podcasts out there. So the fact that you're hanging out here today. is pretty awesome. Thank you so much. And I hope that you are having an awesome day wherever you are listening from. And as I say that wherever you are listening from, tell me where you are listening from. I love making new friends with all of you guys.
So feel free to shoot me a text message. I'll give you my personal cell phone number here. It is two zero eight.
Send me a text message. Tell me where you are listening from. And uh, when you do text me, please add your name. Don't just say something like, hello, how are you? So I know that. Uh, you are not just a, another bot trying to, trying to sell me something because I do get a lot of spam text messages. So shoot me a text message, 208 908 3229, tell me where you're tuning in from.
Uh, let's see, you guys know that I love sharing. Stories and insights and sometimes even a few laughs here and there. And I hope that today's episode adds some good vibes to your day. I'm going to share a few things that I think would particularly resonate with anyone in the trades. Uh, community, which obviously would be the landscape and irrigation industry as a trade.
Um, and, uh, you know, if you are loving the vibes today, as I say that, you know, if you're loving what you hear, why not spread the good vibes with others, share it with your work buddies, share this episode in this podcast with your work buddies or anyone that you think might appreciate these topics, particularly anyone.
Who might be like you, who likes to think divergently. I mean, different. I mean, anyone who likes to question what it is they think they know, because at least that's what I like to do. Question what it is I think I know so that I can be curious, curious, curious enough to learn something new. Okay. All right.
Enough of this chit chat intro. Let's jump right into the heart of today's episode. Here we go.
If you are an irrigation professional, old or new, who designs, installs, or maintains high end residential, commercial, or municipal properties, and you want to use technology to improve your business, to get a leg up on your competition, even if you're an old school irrigator from the days of hydraulic systems, this show is for you.
So for today, I have three topics to share with you. Number one, something I heard recently that points favorably. To the future of the trades industry. Number two, an invitation to join me at the op Connect late night welcome party at the IA show. Number three, a technology platform that I've been building with two other team members for the past year that we will have ready for beta testing soon.
So, okay, let's start with the future of the trades industry, and in case you missed
#144 - Top 10 You Gotta Know This
Welcome back to another episode of the Sprinkler Nerd Show. I'm your host Andy Humphrey. This is episode 144 coming to you on Friday, almost a live Friday. We're gonna get this one aired within the next two hours. So if you're listening to it on Friday, this episode is being recorded at 9.32 a.m. And I'm joined today by
My good friend, Paul Bassett, who joined me last week in my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan for the Iceman Cometh Race. Paul is a survivor. We may talk about that a little bit today, but while he was visiting, we had this idea to record an episode calling it kind of like Irrigators Top 10, and these would be sort of 10 facts that we should all have readily available in our mind at any moment without having to open.
a book. So we're going to kind of talk today about 10 things all irrigators and or landscapers who do irrigation should kind of just know. So Paul, welcome.
Paul Bassett (01:12.718)
Oh, Andy, it's always good to hear from you and be with you and come up with these fantastic new topics to do a podcast on. As we were preparing this, I've been in the irrigation business 35 years, so you would think these would all be at the top of mind. As you go through life, sometimes you forget or you don't always use these calculations every day. So it was a very good reminder for me to be able to have these at the top of my fingers and be able to...
the pull them out so probably one thing we should do is text these outer get these the folks and you know have them put it on a screenshot and have it available.
Yeah, because I mean, really sometimes when you're in the field, you got to make changes to a design, or you want to run a quick calculation for a customer to run an estimate or an ROI. And you can't always just Google something and find it and figure it out or pull out your design book. And so we kind of thought there are some things. We tried to think of 10, of course, to make this episode a 10 list, which was actually kind of hard.
If you're listening to this and you've got other ideas, let us know because this was just a list that we put together kind of top of mind. And when we get started, you'll see that this list is, we're trying to make it sort of memorizable things versus concepts. But I think there are a couple that are concept based, but we really think that these are just sort of the, you know, if we were in school, these would be things you would memorize and there would be, and you would put on a test. You would be asked these questions and you commit them.
to memory, sort of like, you know, how many states are there in the United States? That would be a fact that you'd commit to memory that everyone would know. Just common knowledge. And so maybe that's what we need to call this, sort of like common knowledge facts that irrigators should have top of mind.
Paul Bassett (03:08.834)
Or as you say with this particular topic, common knowledge concepts or constants. I even, constants, common knowledge constants in the irrigation industry. And all of these numbers and calculations that we're gonna discuss are all in tests that we've taken in the irrigation industry, whether it's a certified irrigation designer, contractor, and all of these are extracts from any of the textbooks that we've ever read.
Constance, right. Constance.
Paul Bassett (03:38.422)
be a part of.
Mm hmm. So I think what we should do is, well, first of all, let me congratulate you on finishing the Iceman Cometh race. I'm really impressed because you didn't even hesitate when race registration opened. You signed up and this was six months prior. And this is no joke of a race 30 miles point to point in the woods with 5000 other riders and you just signed up without any hesitation. You flew your bike out to Michigan and.
Boom, you'd finished the race, so congrats, man.
Paul Bassett (04:11.358)
Yeah, and it was super fun and I can't wait to do this. Hopefully e
#143 - You Have NO Competition - Just Put Them An A Bucket
The race is on to set the mood for today's episode, which is about competition. I'm going to talk about competition because I've had a few suggestions that maybe I should talk a little bit about some business strategies. Maybe at some point, we'll talk about finances, P& L, balance sheet, estimating.
But in this episode, I want to talk a little bit about sales and we will talk more about sales in future episodes. But I think today what I want to do is talk about. competition, and how, how you speak about your competition. Do you speak about your competitors? When do you speak about your competitors?
Should you speak about your competitors? Because, uh, you know, in the landscape industry, there's oftentimes not a lot of sales training and the way that a lot of us handle. Our competition isn't always very strategic. It's oftentimes unprofessional. Yet, Um, we tend to, when I say we, my observation is that a lot of you get tied up thinking too much about your competitors, which also affects the way you price and market your company, your products, your services, et cetera.
So today I'm going to dig into how to speak about your competition, how to frame your competition, and how to position yourself and your competitors in this episode.
If you are an irrigation professional, old or new, who designs, installs, or maintains high-end residential, commercial, or municipal properties, and you want to use technology to improve your business, to get a leg up on your competition, even if you're an old school irrigator from the days of hydraulic systems, this show is for you.
Okay, here we go. So I think I'm going to use just my own personal experience, um, helping to build the baseline company, uh, specifically because, you know, way back in the day when, when I was first introduced to baseline, which was. 2004 or 2005, they, they didn't, they didn't have any salespeople. It was just the founders, a couple of engineering, manufacturing people, and a, you know, sort of receptionist, uh, accountant, a bookkeeper, if you will.
That was it. There were like five people, you know, and then, and then we, we grew the company. But, uh, at one point there, nobody knew who Baseline was. Nobody knew really amazing emerging technology. Nobody knew who the company was. So the various sales situations, that I was a part of, there was only competition because nobody knew, who I was.
And I'm going to try to make a couple of analogies as we go through this, but I want to start by saying there's a difference between being the existing leader in the space, the biggest. competitors versus being the incumbent small, let's call it startup company, whether that's a manufacturing, a distributor or retailer, a contractor, whenever you're starting out, you're kind of that smaller emerging player.
So depending on who you are, when you're listening to this, you know, keep this in mind because there might be some strategies that you want to deploy. If you are the small and emerging, and there might be some cautionary words if you are the biggest players. So when I say the biggest players, let's just say Rain Bird, Toro Hunter.
Transcribed Uh, for instance, in, in our industry, or if it, as it relates to contractors, you know, maintenance contractors, perhaps Brightview is a big player. And then, you know, Joe's, uh, Joe's landscape maintenance that's starting up is the, is the incumbent. So just keep that in mind as we go through this.
But I want to start by saying that in the most general sense, I tend to, and I guess me, my, my thought is to, when you talk about your competition, try to talk about them without naming them or naming their particular product or their particular company. If you have to talk about your competitors, you don't have to talk about them by name.
And there are a couple of reasons why this is beneficial. And instead of talking about them by name, I think it's better to look at kind of the entire landscape. Uh, and if you are a s
#142 - The END of ET
Link to Data Chart (ET vs. Air temp)
BAM! We're on fire today, guys. This is the end of ET. End of it. End of ET. Do I have your attention? Think about it. This is the end. The end. This is the end. The end. End, my friends. All right. Hopefully I do have your attention. Because... I just want to make you think. You guys know me by now. I love thinking of things upside down, sideways, backwards.
Just think of something in a way you've never thought of it before, and when I say this is the end of E. T., what does that mean to you? I'm just gonna sit here for a minute and let you think about that. When I say the end of E. T., what does that mean to you?
Hmm. Does it mean we're never going to use ET again? Possibly. However, ET is a uh, known good formula. It's a very detailed calculation that probably took whoever came up with it, Edmund Monti, lots and lots of research to figure out. So, I don't, I personally don't think it's the end of EET in terms of we're never going to use it again.
I guess what I wanted to, what I want you to think about is that is it the right tool to determine how much water we should apply to the landscape right now? For that purpose, I think this is the end of et not today 'cause this is still how we're watering. But if we fast forwarded 20 years, will we be using ET to determine how much water to apply to the landscape?
Right now? At this moment I want you to go out to your landscape, to your project and I want you to water turn on the sprinklers. How long? Should you water the landscape right now? How long should you water it? Will you, will you look at yesterday's wind speed, yesterday's temperature, yesterday's solar radiation, yesterday's humidity?
Will you look at yesterday's Cite environmental data to determine how long to water today. Right now, I don't think you will , so when I say it's the end of et, we are in the transition zone. We are in the transition zone of taking a mechanical. system, a turn on now for 15 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6 a.
m. We're in the middle of that transition to a automated system that can apply the right amount of water. Right now, in real time. And the only way to do that is to put a sensor in the soil. So this is a long winded way of saying my prediction is that this is the end of ET as a real time automation tool.
ET will become the Will become, and actually is right now, the only tool and the best tool to predict water usage, to run calculations, to forecast, to run, uh, forecasting models. It's the only tool for that, but it's not the right tool to automate the irrigation system right now, here, today. So I'm going to start talking more about soil moisture sensors, how they work.
You know, the ups, the downs, the, the, the good, bad, and the ugly. But I kind of wanted to just frame this episode around the end of ET number one to get your attention. But number two, so that you can understand where is it, where is et the right tool for the job? And in my opinion, the right tool for the job is for forecasting, calculating estimating, but it's not designed for real-time watering.
It's not designed to. Be the tool to water until the ground is at field capacity and stop watering. If I told you to go outside right now and only put down enough water so that the soil reaches field capacity and turn it and it turns off, would you really use yesterday's weather data to run a calculation for that?
All right, I'm in the weeds a little bit, but that's the that's my topic for today. And I ran. An experiment that really got me excited. It has to do with ChatGPT, and I asked ChatGPT a really cool question that had some amazing results, and what's kind of fun about ChatGPT is that it doesn't have a It doesn't have a, you know, a horse in the race.
It doesn't care who's right or who's wrong. It's very, uh, sort of factual. You know, so
#141 - Straight Out of GIE (EQUIP)
Andy shares is update after speed dating at the EQUIP Show this week (formerly known as, GIE).
K-IT Wire Konnector: https://youtu.be/PQXwNig-Gwo
Great content and entertaining too!
A colleague referred me to Andy and The Sprinkler Nerd podcast. The first one I listed to was the Helium for Everyone episode. What a crack up and insightful. Andy gets technology and how it can benefit business. I have listened to more episodes and enjoy each one. Thanks for the insight Andy!
Fantastic for both technical and business perspectives
Whether you’re a landscaper, or own an ecommerce business / wanting to get into ecomm, this is a MUST LISTEN! Wealth of knowledge on both sides.
Must listen for industry professionals
Our industry lacks standards to follow causing so many jumbled together systems. This precast is a great source of information both on the technical and business sides of things. Great guests and content. Thank you for the listen