Getting to Know netsapiens’ Dave George
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with—virtually speaking, of course—Dave George of netsapiens. Dave, who has worked at netsapiens for four years, is the telecommunications company’s senior vice president of revenue and customer experience and his duties include overseeing the client services, technical operations and sales departments. Our goal was to learn a little more about Dave, netsapiens and its relationship with OSI. Here’s an edited version of our 30-minute conversation.
Question: Tell us a little bit about your background. Your family, where you grew up, etc.?
Answer: I was born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, outside of Allentown, which was made famous by Billy Joel in the ’80s. I live a little bit north of Allentown now, in an area called the Poconos. A lot of people from New York City and northern New Jersey know the Poconos, because it’s a great place to vacation. It has rolling hills and lots of lakes and ponds and deciduous trees. The leaves are changing color now in the fall. It’s a beautiful area.
I went to Penn State University. Almost everyone in my family owns a business, so it was in my DNA, right out of college with credit cards and a prayer, to start my first business, which was my love: high-end audio for home and car. Took an abandoned warehouse in Allentown and gutted it. Turned it into a very cool showroom.
I did that for six years, then left due to creative differences. At the same time, my family, who owns an independent local exchange carrier (ILEC), a phone company, was looking for someone to head up sales. I went to the family business, which was started by my great grandfather, and fell in love with the idea of all these different communication tools.
Q: What, specifically, did you want to do professionally when you were growing up? Did you always want to be a businessman?
A: I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My mom, when she got out of college, opened her own preschool. Another family member has a farm. Another opened up a surveying business. It was just sort of expected, and it didn’t look that difficult because everyone in my family did it.
But I don’t know if I had a vision of being in the communications sector when I was 15. I think my aspirations at that point were more toward wrestling and baseball. And along this whole journey I’ve been doing martial arts. I actually teach ju-jutsu, aikido and kempo and have been doing them for 30 years.
Q: Tell us more about how you became interested in martial arts and what your relationship is now with them.
A: I didn’t do martial arts as a child. No karate or taekwondo. But I always watched the movies, especially on Sundays. You remember Kung Fu Theater? It was the old Chinese movies from the ’60 and ’70s. I always had an interest in them. But I was a wrestler in high school and I really didn’t gravitate to anything besides sports at the school I was attending.
When I went to Penn State, I didn’t want to wrestle anymore. I had a full scholarship academically, so I didn’t need to embrace sports. But I like the camaraderie and the health aspects of sports, the engagement, so I joined the judo club at 18 and fell in love with it. My instructor there told me about ju-jutsu. I didn’t know what that was, but I found a teacher in New York City and I commuted the four hours each way two to three times a week, so I could learn the martial arts.
I built a dojo on my property and I instruct law-enforcement officers and other adults who want to learn martial arts and self-defense. I’ve been doing that for almost 18 years.
Q: Let’s shift to netsapiens. Interesting name. Can you tell us more about the name and what it means to you?
A: It means people of the Net. It’s something that David Wang, our founder, along with Anand Buch, came up with for the company, which was founded in 2002. They were looking at a vision of cloud communications and evolving an ecosystem and allowing people to plug all these things into that system. The people of the Net is a way of saying we have a solution and a product, but bring your things to our ecosystem and let’s blend them together and become one.
Q: Tell us more about the company.
A: Our corporate office is in La Jolla, California. A beautiful office overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We currently have 55 to 60 employees or full-time contractors and we continue to grow year by year. We are supporting 1.7 million users and 1.5 million seats. When I got here in 2016, we were nowhere near a million seats. We are definitely growing faster than the industry standard. Two of the four years I’ve been with the company, we grew at double the industry pace.
Things look very good at netsapiens.
Q: Tell us about netsapiens’ relationship with OSI. When did the two companies start collaborating and what does OSI do for your company?
A: When I worked for the family phone company, I had a vision of doing something on a national and international level. We developed an app that had international calling through a mobile app to 180 countries around the world. In 2011, this really wasn’t happening, except with credit cards and a PIN. It was a very cumbersome process. We developed an App in multiple languages that would do the work for you and show you the rate to call Afghanistan or Cuba or Colombia.
In order to support the App, we needed a company that could work 24 hours seven days a week. We also needed more staff that could speak Spanish fluently. I found an outsource company, who unfortunately is no longer in business. But I had such a good experience with them that when I got to netsapiens and saw that their client services were in need of help, I went hunting and found Joel Ciniero of OSI. He and I talked, and within the first one or two phone calls I could tell we were aligned on how we could do business together. That was in 2017.
We signed our first contract and brought on six or seven people to see how it went. I’m happy to say we probably now have 20 full-time employees with OSI, and there are plans to hire several more.
Q: What’s a highlight or high moment netsapiens has had working with OSI? In what way has OSI helped you the most?
A: I don’t have to go back that far to answer this question. I got an email literally about an hour ago from one our customers who is growing quickly, and the email said something to the effect of, “We owe you a pizza party for the work OSI is doing!” An employee from OSI stayed on the phone throughout the night and was able to fix some things, so this company could go to production in the morning. Because of that, they are saying they owe OSI a pizza party. That’s a great accolade. We get a lot of emails like that: “Thank you, OSI!”
Q: It sounds like you would recommend OSI to other companies. Is that the case? And, if so, why?
A: I already have recommended OSI to probably a dozen of our clients who are tooling up to go 24/7, are looking to go international or are going into a different vertical. Hiring OSI would be very beneficial to them.
OSI has delivered on everything they promised us. That’s not a sales pitch. Every expectation has been met.