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Cannabusiness: How the Tech Boom Is Influencing Pot CEOs

The Apples of tomorrow in the cannabis industry are focused on their core product or service. This focus is one reason why only a handful of pot entrepreneurs stand out—such as Ata Gonzalez, CEO of GFarmaLabs and Trip Keber, CEO of Dixie Brands, who is known as the “Willy Wonka of Weed” because he creates pot-infused candy and sodas.

“Leading tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Apple all differentiated themselves by making their leaders the face and voice of the company narrative,” Tony Alfiere, author of Pot Inc., said. “That’s why they left hundreds of competitors in the dust.”

For example, the branding of Amazon.com was and still is closely associated to Jeff Bezos, Microsoft with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs with Apple.

“The leading cannabis companies have well-presented and articulate leaders who connect with customers, influencers and investors on a personal basis—even if that’s just getting known through the media by speaking at events and staying personally visible to tell their story the way they want it told,” Alfiere told High Times

Gonzalez, who is known in cannabis community for his award-winning line of Liquid Gold chocolates, lectures around the country at marijuana trade shows and industry association conferences.

“We are seeing entrepreneurs like those at GFarmaLabs, Mass Roots, Dixie Elixirs, Leafly and WeedMaps bring about innovation to a targeted market to fill voids in the industry and become extremely successful,” Dr. Marlon Fuller, founder and CEO of Stonerr TV said. “Acquisitions are occurring on a monthly basis as a means to grow faster and become more diversified which mirrors the tech boom.”

Another trait of successful tech companies that pot entrepreneurs are learning is to hire the best employees and constantly look for ways to improve and expand.

“Google best illuminates this as they consistently hire the best employees, while offering a low stress work environment that helps the team cooperate together better, which allows for more creative expression,” Fuller told High Times. “This has expanded Google’s innovation and resulted in extremely profitable ventures such as YouTube, with little staff turnover compared to other companies.”

Fuller first launched a marijuana website called BudgetWeed and added a CBD protein bar called Cannabar, before adding Stonerr.com and Stonerr TV to his portfolio of marijuana-related ventures.

“So far, we have Leafly and Culture Magazine as content partners for our Stonerr TV channel on Roku, which is exciting, and we are getting a ton of video-on-demand downloads,” Fuller said.

GreenRush CEO Paul Warshaw was inspired by Apple’s introduction of the MacBook, which demonstrated the tech company’s success in understanding customer needs before the customer needs the technology.

Similar to GrubHub or Seamless, marijuana products can be purchased on the GreenRush website but only from dispensaries that have staff to make deliveries.

“What our company has learned from the tech boom is to always focus on the patient’s needs, develop the most innovative technology and evolve as the patient’s needs evolve and use data analytics to anticipate patient’s needs ahead of the curve,” Warshaw told High Times.

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