Love & Biz On The Road: Chris Dunphy & Cherie Ve Ard of Technomadia & The Mobile Internet Resource Center, Part 2
We’re back aboard the motor vessel Y-Not in Jacksonville, Florida, with nomadic tech celebs Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard of Technomadia.com and the Mobile Internet Resource Center. After 14 years together, Chris and Cherie are technically still on their fifth date. For us living full time in an RV or aboard a boat, they're famous. They’re forever on top of evolving mobile internet technology for a committed audience of raging fans. And since they run the Mobile Internet Resource Center from the road, they are walking the talk and living the dream. This conversation is as much about taking chances and pursuing a dream as much as it’s about cooperating in life and business as committed partners. And since beginning their life together inside a 16-foot travel trailer, they know about both the pursuit and the commitment.
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THE SHOW NOTES
CoupleCo – Technomadia Part 2
In this episode we continue our conversation with the nomadic couple Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard. They have spent 12 years living together on the road, in their converted motor coach RV, and aboard their 47-foot motor yacht. They run Technomadia, their world-famous personal blog, and their business is the Mobile Internet Resource Center. They stay on top of developments in mobile internet connectivity for people who live like they do. Hear them talk about how they hire their staff, why and when they move from the bus to the boat, and the times they have considered giving up their nomadic lifestyle.
- The issue of “cheaping out” when hiring assistants
- How having staff allows them to take a break from the business
- Why they don’t market themselves
- How they deal with health insurance and why they use Florida as their domicile (03:19)
- How their staff are also nomads and come from their membership base (04:47)
- Paying their staff well and why their staff want to do the work (07:11)
- How they relax outside work and how they structure their weeks (08:54)
- Their ongoing trip on the Great Loop (11:49)
- Why they decided to add the boat to the mix (13:30)
- How social media is now saturated with people sharing their nomadic lifestyle (16:08)
- Why they don’t need to market or focus on SEO (18:04)
- How they get to share what they love with their community and get paid for it (19:44)
- How Chris keeps Cherie sane (21:32)
- How Cherie encourages Chris to get things done and share his work (22:30)
- Times when they have considered giving up their nomadic lifestyle (23:00)
- The flexibility that comes with being a nomad (25:55)
- The story behind the name of the boat (28:21)
- The significance of Burning Man to Cherie and Chris (30:28)
- Their pet peeves (33:09)
- Why Chris wants to hire an AI (34:02)
- What they do to intentionally annoy each other (34:30)
Mobile Internet Resource Center
The American Great Loop
Blaine: 00:00 Dammit.
Honey: 00:00 Weren't recording any of that, were we?
Blaine: 00:01 Weren't recording. No.
Honey: 00:01 Hooray.
Blaine: 00:04 We won't be wasting the effort necessarily. Probably not, but you have no idea what I'm talking about.
Honey: 00:04 I do not, but it will not be the first time.
Blaine: 00:04 This is how we started the conversation.
Honey: 00:04 Of life?
Blaine: 00:16 You didn't want to waste the effort.
Honey: 00:18 Right.
Blaine: 00:18 And I said we probably won't waste the effort. We will probably win. We are the house.
Honey: 00:23 And the house always wins.
Blaine: 00:24 The house always wins, right.
Honey: 00:25 Be the house.
Blaine: 00:26 Be the house.
Honey: 00:27 Always win.
Blaine: 00:28 Which can we incorporate that into CoupleCo?
Honey: 00:31 CoupleCo will be the house?
Blaine: 00:34 Well, it sounds like you're eating too much.
Honey: 00:37 Which I might be.
Blaine: 00:39 I certainly am. Welcome to CoupleCo, working with your house ... Let's try that again. Welcome to CoupleCo, working with your spouse for fun and profit.
Honey: 00:51 It's business, and it's personal.
Blaine: 00:53 I'm Blaine Parker.
Honey: 00:54 Which makes me Honey Parker.
Blaine: 00:55 As a couple in business together, we are coming to you from the Couple Coach, our compact, trans-American land yacht.
Honey: 01:01 We are navigating the nation in search of standout couples in business together.
Blaine: 01:05 We're bringing them to you so you can hear their inspiring stories of crushing it in business without crushing each other.
Honey: 01:10 This show is also brought to you by a couple-owned business.
Blaine: 01:13 Smokin' Mary's smoked bloody Mary mix.
Honey: 01:15 Made in small batches.
Blaine: 01:17 Tiny batches.
Honey: 01:18 Teeny, tiny batches, itty-bitty batches, little bitty baby batches.
Blaine: 01:25 Okay, they're getting so small we can barely hear them.
Honey: 01:26 With no reconstituted tomato juice. Only fresh, whole tomatoes.
Blaine: 01:31 Smokin Mary's smoked bloody Mary mix. Hey, nice tomatoes. Online at smokinmary.com. Are there any topics, issues, or special interviews you think you need to hear on this show?
Honey: 01:43 If so, we would like to hear from you. Just as someone recently asked us about being a CoupleCo and taxes, so we're going to get into that at some point. Just send an email to email@example.com.
Blaine: 01:58 We are interested in any and all input from the CoupleCos who listen to this show. Like Honey said, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Today, we are returning to the motor vessel Ynot in Jacksonville, Florida to continue our conversation with tech celebs Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard of Technomadia.com and the Mobile Internet Resource Center.
Honey: 02:19 After 14 years as technomads, Chris and Cherie are technically still on their fifth date.
Blaine: 02:25 Cherie and Chris are famous for full-time nomads who are living in an RV or aboard a boat. They are forever on top of evolving mobile internet technology for a committed audience of raging fans.
Honey: 02:37 Since they run the Mobile Internet Resource Center from the road, they're walking the talk and living the dream.
Blaine: 02:43 This conversation is about taking chances and pursuing a dream as much as it's about cooperating in live and business as committed partners.
Honey: 02:50 Since they began their life together inside a 16-foot travel trailer, think about that for a minute-
Blaine: 02:55 Wow.
Honey: 02:56 Yes. They know a little something about both the pursuit and the commitment.
Blaine: 03:01 They do it in a business that has a killer remote staff they have never met, and the business has an ever-evolving, 24-hour-a-day dynamic. Here now, part two of our conversation with Cherie Ve Ard and Chris Dunphy aboard the motor vessel Ynot recorded in Jacksonville, Florida.
Honey: 03:19 You have your own business, which means you're responsible for your own health insurance and things like that. What is that like for somebody who's venturing into this area to deal with that on your own? When you work for a company, you don't realize how much is handled for you.
Chris: 03:19 Oh, I know.
Honey: 03:38 You've got to ... This is you two.
Chris: 03:41 It's been a struggle, and that's partly why we consider Florida home.
Cherie: 03:45 Yeah, we choose Florida as our domicile, not only do our parents live here, so we have a true claim to Florida as being the place that we would eventually return to and will return to often, but currently for on the ACA marketplace, Florida has one of the only health insurance plans that has nationwide coverage in network, and that's with Florida Blue. Hopefully we find out in two weeks if that stays, because it's always a challenge each year. That's how we currently get our insurance is just through the marketplace.
Chris: 04:13 Right now, we're Utah residents, but we qualify for Florida domicile. If that stays, we might be "moving" in air quotes. Florida has been one of the best states that has the legal infrastructure to support nomads who are not-
Cherie: 04:29 And the economy depends upon the snowbirds, the migratory people-
Honey: 04:29 Yeah, that makes sense.
Cherie: 04:34 ... who spend half the year here. So a lot of tax laws and things here are designed around that. You can be in the state for six months without changing your vehicle tags, those sorts of things.
Blaine: 04:47 How big is your staff?
Cherie: 04:49 We currently have the paid staff members, and we all have cats. So how you want to-
Honey: 04:54 Oh, it's a requirement.
Blaine: 04:54 So you really have staff. Wow.
Chris: 04:55 Yes, [crosstalk 00:04:56].
Cherie: 04:56 Oh, Joe doesn't have a cat yet.
Chris: 04:57 Yeah.
Blaine: 04:57 Are they off-shore?
Honey: 04:57 On this today, Global Cat Day-
Cherie: 05:00 Oh no, we only hire other full-time travelers, so they're all US based.
Blaine: 05:04 Oh, really?
Honey: 05:04 Fantastic.
Cherie: 05:06 When we have a need to fill, we hire from within our membership.
Honey: 05:10 That's brilliant.
Blaine: 05:10 That's really interesting.
Chris: 05:12 Yes, and so there are people who are already well-invested into the content who are depending on mobile internet who they're fans, in a fashion, and they're like, "Wow, I've got time. I have free time." We don't want anybody who's full-time. Yeah.
Cherie: 05:25 Right, so our first assistant that we hired, her name is Liz, she's been with us almost three years now. She is not technical. She loves candy.
Chris: 05:25 And cats.
Cherie: 05:37 And cats, and she's-
Chris: 05:37 And running.
Cherie: 05:39 ... a long distance runner.
Chris: 05:40 Like 50 mile runner type.
Honey: 05:41 Oh, so she can afford to like candy.
Cherie: 05:43 Yes, yes. She doesn't look like she loves candy, but she's amazing.
Chris: 05:47 We've never actually met any of our-
Cherie: 05:47 No. We have met Joe.
Chris: 05:48 ... assistants in person, other than Joe. Yes.
Cherie: 05:50 But she came on board because her now husband, they just got married last weekend, her husband-
Blaine: 05:58 Oh, congratulations, Liz.
Chris: 05:58 Yes.
Cherie: 05:59 Her husband joined the MIA, that's the Mobile Internet Aficionados. It's a premium membership.
Chris: 06:03 That's our premium members.
Cherie: 06:04 It's a premium membership program. Had joined because he works remotely as a software tech, and they're hitting the road full-time in an RV, and she was having to leave her career behind, as she was a speech therapist. She wasn't going to be able to take that on the road in the way that would be sustainable.
Chris: 06:19 So she was looking for something to do.
Cherie: 06:20 They didn't need the income of her having a career, but she was-
Chris: 06:23 But she wanted something to do.
Cherie: 06:24 But her husband has to work Monday through Friday in his job, and she was bored. When he saw us post, he sent it to her and says, "Liz, you need to apply for this." Hers was the very first reply we got to the very first call for help. I had no clue what I was asking for or what help I needed, but she wrote me and she just said, "I am so interested in this." Sure enough, we talked, we did a video conference call with her.
Chris: 06:50 Just clicked.
Cherie: 06:50 Just clicked.
Chris: 06:51 She's been a huge resource.
Cherie: 06:53 She's just ... It started out with her just helping with the Facebook group, but she not authors a lot of our articles, our guides. Because she's non technical-
Chris: 07:02 She makes sure it's all translatable.
Cherie: 07:02 ... her writing style is so accessible. If she can't understand something one of us has written, then she helps us get it to that point.
Blaine: 07:10 It's interesting too, I'm willing to bet, without getting into specific details, I'm willing to be that you pay Liz what she's worth.
Cherie: 07:17 Oh yes.
Blaine: 07:18 Because, yeah, look, they both smiled, both of them.
Honey: 07:20 Yeah, totally. I believe it.
Blaine: 07:21 One of the things people often try to do is cheap out on hiring things like assistants. No, you need to pay top dollar to get the right person, because ultimately it will cost you a lot less.
Chris: 07:34 Particularly, we love that basically our staff, none of them really need the job for financial reasons, which makes it all the better that we are ... They're always very surprised, they're like, "Wait, you just gave me more money. I don't want it. I don't need it." We're like, "Yeah, but you deserve it. You deserve it."
Cherie: 07:49 Yeah, if we've had a big month and we've all ... They do it because we specifically found people that were either retired early and were bored, they were looking for something to keep in the industry. That's what Andy, our other assistant who's been with us now a year and a half, he has more of a technical background. He retired early out of the military. They're going on the road, but he wanted to stay in technology. He wanted to keep his toes in it, and he wanted an escape from living in an RV with three kids. He wanted something-
Blaine: 08:16 Wow. He wanted a project. Yes.
Cherie: 08:18 He's amazing.
Blaine: 08:19 Not a 25-foot RV, I hope.
Cherie: 08:21 I think it was 35, maybe 40.
Blaine: 08:21 That's better.
Cherie: 08:25 Yeah, for him, it's his passion. He's a geek like us, and he does it because he wants to. I give them all a great base pay, but when we have a big month and we all come together to support a big breaking story, it's like I basically have an internal formula in my mind of what help is worth to me. When we have a good month, they all just get bonuses automatically.
Blaine: 08:49 Very cool.
Chris: 08:50 Yep.
Honey: 08:50 So good.
Blaine: 08:50 Boy, I wish I'd had an employer like you when I actually had a job.
Honey: 08:55 So what do you do to just take a break? Because this, at times, sounds like it can almost be 24/7.
Chris: 09:04 It can-
Honey: 09:04 How do you turn it off?
Chris: 09:06 We have a lot of control on our schedule. We're subject to the ups and downs of breaking news. So if something happens, then we have to be on top of the story, but if something is not breaking and causing it to happen, we have a lot of control on our schedule. Some weeks we have very little work and other weeks it's kind of crazy, but we can steer that.
Cherie: 09:23 It is hard for us to take a true vacation.
Chris: 09:23 Yes.
Cherie: 09:25 But when you live a lifestyle like this-
Blaine: 09:27 Well you live in a vacation.
Cherie: 09:28 Well, we're always working. We're always maintaining. Buses and RVs need maintenance and things like that. We have to make our own bed, cook our own food, that sort of stuff. But we can just say, "Oh, it's a slow news day today. You know what? We're going off and playing today."
Chris: 09:42 Yeah, we'll get up at 9:00 in the morning, we'll finish going through the news scan and stuff, and we'll be like, "This is looking like a good day to not do anything and just go out and be tourists."
Cherie: 09:50 But there's always background tasks. There's guides that are more instructional, and there's constant updating to do. We're constantly releasing new educational content that isn't timely topical articles.
Chris: 10:01 Actually in some ways, we have almost an inverse schedule from the typical 9:00 to 5:00 is unless there's something breaking, we often work mornings and evenings, and then do stuff during the day. Then on weekends are actually the times we work the most, because that's when everybody else is out doing things. Things are crowded-
Cherie: 10:17 I don't want to be out there. I don't want to be standing in lines.
Chris: 10:18 ... and unpleasant.
Blaine: 10:18 Yeah, we are familiar with this dynamic. When I say you live in a vacation, it's not to say ... For the last 11 years, our home base has been Park City, Utah. Our joke has always been we live in your vacation. You know what? We got a lot of things to do, but when you want to go, "Hey, let's recreate," guess what?
Chris: 10:18 It's right there.
Blaine: 10:40 You just do it.
Honey: 10:40 Yeah, in the middle of the day, if I want to do some morning ski runs, I'll get up, do some work from 7:00 to 9:00, ski from 9:00 to 11:00-
Blaine: 10:40 Perfect.
Honey: 10:49 ... come back to the house. But yes, we live in your vacation, but we also shovel snow in your vacation. We do those things you have to do those things that you have to do.
Blaine: 10:58 But we take business calls at the side of the ski run.
Honey: 10:59 But I've found, and I don't know if you find the same thing, I found that there were times that I needed, I just craved two days where I didn't pay attention to the business at all.
Cherie: 11:11 We do that. That's one reason we decided we needed staff.
Chris: 11:14 Yes.
Cherie: 11:15 We've gotten to a point where our staff can pretty much handle most anything that comes up. If a major breaking story comes up, they can at least get an alert out. They know how to break the story, get it published.
Chris: 11:28 Even if we're off and doing a cruise or something, we have a little satellite pager thing that they can get us a message and say, "Hey, there's something happening. We need you to get back online as soon as you can." We have that kind of so we can not worry so much being out of touch. We've taken a couple longer cruises.
Cherie: 11:44 We're about to do from here, we leave here tomorrow, we're going to be cruising up the St. Johns River to Stanford. There's a lot of stretches in there that don't have connectivity and we're not anticipating it. We'll be kind of off the grid for a little bit. We're kind of looking forward to it after being here for two months in the slip.
Honey: 12:01 I bet.
Blaine: 12:02 Might we just point out that this trip they're doing is considered one of the great yachting trips in North America.
Chris: 12:11 Oh, the Great Loop overall.
Blaine: 12:12 Yes.
Chris: 12:13 Yes.
Honey: 12:13 Now that I know about it, I want to do it.
Blaine: 12:13 Let's digress-
Honey: 12:13 I totally want to do it.
Blaine: 12:16 ... from business for just a moment to talk about the Great Loop, because this matters.
Chris: 12:21 The Great Loop is a classic route. It is basically not a lot of people realize that the eastern half of North America you can-
Cherie: 12:28 Not half. A portion. It's a third.
Chris: 12:29 Well, third. A third. You can consider it an island. You can go all the way around it by water. You can go up the east coast, up the intracoastal waterway so you're never in the ocean, duck into New York Harbor, go up the Hudson River, up the Erie Canal, up the Oswego Canal and up basically under the Great Lakes and the Canadian Canal System. Then when you're done there, you can go down through Chicago and Illinois River to the Mississippi, to the Ohio, to the Tenn-Tom River, and then you come out in Mobile, Alabama, and then-
Cherie: 12:29 Repeat.
Chris: 12:57 ... circle Florida and repeat.
Cherie: 12:58 It's called the American Great Loop. It's about 6,000 miles. A lot of people will do it, they'll follow it seasonally. They'll buy a boat, maybe having had some boating experience or not, and they'll try to do it in a year or under, because you're going to places where you have hurricane season in the south, you have this winter thing in the north.
Chris: 13:16 If you time the Great Loop according to the classic pattern, you are always following good weather. Your summer is in Canada, winter's in Florida, and there are some people who do that. That is their season. They just repeat up and down. But we're slow loopers. We call ourselves [sloopers 00:13:29].
Blaine: 13:29 [sloopers 00:13:29].
Cherie: 13:29 So we're now on 12 years of being full-time on the road. We're on 12 years of knowing each other too.
Chris: 13:35 And 18 months in the boat now.
Cherie: 13:36 One of the things we talked about on our first dates was we both had a desire to live on boats as well. We thought we were going to do RVing for a year or two and then get a boat. That didn't work out. It took us almost over 10 years to finally get to the boating portion, because RVing is so awesome. It can keep you. There's a lot to see in this country.
Blaine: 13:56 Well especially when you have a 1961 bus like you guys have got.
Chris: 13:59 Yes. You've got to keep it fun.
Blaine: 14:01 It's awesome.
Cherie: 14:01 Yeah, you do.
Blaine: 14:02 I don't use the word awesome very often. It's awesome.
Honey: 14:05 It's pretty awesome.
Cherie: 14:06 Thanks. So yeah, we got the bus in 2011, so it's been our full-time home, land home base. We think it's awesome too and don't want to get rid of it. So we decided that what works best for us is slowing down our pace, because we've been fairly hyper-mobile for the first 10 years of our travels where we're not places much more than a week or two at a time. That's hard. It drains you after a while.
Chris: 14:29 We've been two days in a place sometimes.
Blaine: 14:32 Oh, I know.
Chris: 14:33 It's just got to stop.
Cherie: 14:33 That's our first five years was like that. Then we slowed it down to two-week stays.
Chris: 14:38 Now we're getting hooked on monthly stays.
Cherie: 14:39 Yes. So we're ready to slow it down, and we needed more living space for that to make it comfortable, because when you're still, that's when the space starts to feel smaller. We wanted to go do the boating, but we didn't want to do 6,000 miles in a boat when you're traveling at seven to eight miles per hour basically is like doing 40,000 RV miles.
Chris: 15:00 It's a very long time.
Cherie: 15:01 As far as your driving time. If you start to think of it that way, that's a lot of miles to do in a year. When we're RVing, 8,000 miles a year is a very mobile year for us, and that doesn't leave a lot of time for stopping and getting to know the places that you're at. We thought we'd be going faster than we are now. We've only done 800 miles of the loop so far. We thought we'd be maybe more like a third or a fourth of the way through it.
Chris: 15:27 But the thing with the loop is that as you get north, there's this thing called winter. If you're not going to try and get your boat back south seasonally, you need to put it in storage. There is no winter boating season. We're keeping the bus, and we're going to then divide our year. Our bus will be our winter house in the desert southwest, and we love being in the desert in the winter. We go out in the deep desert and boondock and live off solar power. Love that. Then we'll have winter in the bus and then summers in the boat. We'll be able to do the loop very slowly. Really, really enjoy the northern parts of it.
Honey: 15:57 That sounds great.
Chris: 15:59 We look forward to it. Yeah.
Blaine: 15:59 Anyway.
Honey: 15:59 So now that you've geeked out on your boat stuff-
Blaine: 16:02 We geeked out on that. I wanted to go to marketing for a moment.
Honey: 16:05 Well that's interesting, because that's where I wanted to go. Before we started recording, you both had talked about how long you've been doing this and how you really had a foothold and material when everybody started going online and sharing this kind of information. You had said it would have been much harder to start now.
Cherie: 16:28 Social media today is saturated, especially for travel blogs. There are RVers and boaters sharing. It's amazing. It's awesome, because that's how ideas spread. That's how people get informed about this stuff. There are a heck of a lot more blogs, and YouTube channels, and Instagram, and Facebook channels that you can follow and find the people that you most click with and follow and learn from to get inspired to do these sorts of things.
Back when we started, I could count on our hands, maybe we could name 10 bloggers that were sharing about their journeys and actually had power. Power is the wrong word, but reach.
Blaine: 17:11 Juice. Juice.
Chris: 17:11 Reach, yeah. So yeah, to stand out on social media and to stand out online, you need to have something unique and interesting.
Cherie: 17:20 You have to use marketing now to get your word out.
Chris: 17:23 Or have something really dramatic or sexy bikinis or something that is going to get people to start clicking.
Blaine: 17:31 I can't tell you how often we recommend the sexy bikini marketing angle for most of our clients.
Chris: 17:35 For a lot of channels, they try that. But back when we started, our unique thing was there was only a handful.
Honey: 17:44 Was that you were doing it.
Chris: 17:45 We had particularly we were really unique in having really long, in depth, very well-researched content. We built up that reputation for over a very long period of time. If we were starting today, there's a lot of people writing-
Cherie: 17:57 Doing-
Chris: 17:57 ... long, well-researched content.
Cherie: 17:59 ... amazing, awesome content. It's saturated.
Blaine: 18:03 Can I assume that the reason you haven't had to worry about marketing so much is because you've been around so long and you so own the SEO for everything you're doing?
Cherie: 18:16 I don't think about SEO much at all actually.
Blaine: 18:17 I don't know why you would after a decade.
Cherie: 18:19 We started blogging before SEO was a term that was coined, so it wasn't something that we really thought about in our content. It just happens to be there because-
Blaine: 18:28 Right. Lucky you.
Cherie: 18:29 We just fell into it. We just were doing it, and we recognized ... We woke up and said, "Hey, there's a market. There's people asking about mobile internet. No one is covering it comprehensively. If we get it on this now, we can own this market."
Chris: 18:43 Right, and so we really focused on ... Actually, we've had to turn down people giving us free advertising, because we don't want to have that reputation that we're advertising, we're pushing it all. We're all about word of mouth. We're all about our reputation speaks for itself. Now any time anybody asks about mobile internet, even it's not really related to RVs or cruising, which is kind of our core thing, somebody's going to chime in and say, "You've got to check these guys out. You got to go here or go to this article."
Cherie: 19:09 Or here's this article that answers exactly what you're talking about.
Chris: 19:11 They link to us. That is the best thing that can happen. Anybody that wants to write an article about that, they reference us as we're the source that they're citing and stuff like that.
Blaine: 19:22 And this has obviously gone to your head.
Cherie: 19:23 Yes. He does get a little [crosstalk 00:19:28].
Blaine: 19:28 No, it's like you are legitimately celebrities in this niche, or [neesh 00:19:34], if you prefer, yet you're utterly unassuming and charming.
Cherie: 19:39 Thank you.
Blaine: 19:39 Thank you for being those people.
Cherie: 19:42 We just love what we do. We're both geeks, and we've found a way to share what we love, which is technology and travel, get paid for it. At our core, the reason that we share and have shared for years is that we love to help people realize their dreams. If this is the way that we can give to our community is providing the content that enables them to work remotely or keep entertained or stay in touch with friends and family, then we feel fulfilled. This is-
Blaine: 20:11 Well it's a great motivator. I think we certainly pale by comparison, but [inaudible 00:20:18] marketing, one of the reasons it exists is because we feel a similar way about our clients. We have never taken a job just for the money.
Honey: 20:27 It's interesting that when we leave here, we're going to stop and see a [inaudible 00:20:30] marketing client. She became a client because she read our book. She just said, "You guys made more sense than anybody, and she called us." I thought, "That's insane," because that would never occur to me to like, "I loved your book and I loved it, so I called you and thought maybe I'd talk to you," but she did. She's fantastic. We love her.
Blaine: 20:50 We also have a rule, which in our kind of business, maybe is really helpful. We will do business only with someone we look forward to having dinner with.
Chris: 20:58 Yes, that's a great way to think about it.
Blaine: 21:00 It sounds like you've got a similar dynamic in your business. You're hiring people who-
Cherie: 21:04 Yeah, we've all become friends now behind the scenes, even though many of us have never met in person, but we work together, and we're a team. We really have become a team.
Blaine: 21:12 Life is too short to not enjoy these people.
Cherie: 21:14 We can kick back and relax. We did a video team meeting just yesterday morning after Liz got back after her wedding. She took two weeks off. It's just-
Chris: 21:24 We were talking for two hours just joking on video chat.
Cherie: 21:27 It was all about cats.
Chris: 21:28 Yes, all about cats.
Honey: 21:30 I missed it. Damn.
Blaine: 21:31 All right. Cherie, I have an important question for you. How does Chris make you better?
Cherie: 21:36 He keeps me sane.
Chris: 21:43 That is very true.
Blaine: 21:43 You're the grounding force, is that it?
Chris: 21:43 Oh yeah.
Cherie: 21:47 He really is. I can get so caught up in something and get upset. I'm red-headed. I can have a temper.
Chris: 21:53 There have been about probably six or seven times when Cherie has tried to delete the site and shut everything down. Let's just maybe rethink this tomorrow. Let's just wait one day.
Cherie: 22:07 But he keeps me calm. He doesn't ... Anyway, past partners that I've had, they could intentionally provoke me in knowing that red-headedness.
Chris: 22:14 Well, it's fun.
Cherie: 22:15 Yeah, some of them would see it as fun, or they would totally avoid it. He knows where those spots are, and he's not trying to provoke it for fun. He's trying to provoke it for let's exercise it so that it doesn't get out of control.
Honey: 22:29 Yeah. All right, so Chris, how does Cherie make you better?
Chris: 22:34 She helps me bring things to the world and helps me actually be productive and be encouraged to get things done and share them. I'm much happier sharing things at kind of a more one-on-one level or at my own pace and more unscheduled. She's like, "Put that out to the world."
Cherie: 22:52 Before it's obsolete.
Chris: 22:53 "More people could see this. more people want to see this."
Blaine: 22:57 Yeah, as a writer, I know that feeling. Man. I'm, okay, curious, was there ever a time in all the years you've been doing this, you said, "We can't do this?" Anything that almost broke the business apart?
Cherie: 23:11 Oh, the business or the lifestyle?
Blaine: 23:14 Either actually, considering the lifestyle and the business go hand in hand.
Cherie: 23:19 Definitely have been points where you get tired of constantly trying to find the next great location or you get tired of the logistics of everything, or you just have a really bad day and you don't have friends around, because your community is-
Chris: 23:35 1,000 miles away.
Cherie: 23:36 ... a variety of people that you meet. You have amazing connections with people that you meet on the road, but they're not there when you are having a bad day and you just want to decompress with someone who knows you. I would think for me, the thing that will eventually take us off the road will be craving a consistent community again.
Chris: 23:53 Yeah, there's been days like that, but the nice thing about this nomadic lifestyle is you have so much flexibility to change it up. It's like, hey, things aren't working for us, so we'd go and [inaudible 00:24:03] what do we need? Well, let's go book a cruise, or let's go get an Airbnb, or let's go change our state literally, just change our state of mind.
Cherie: 24:10 Or let's adjust the business. For a while, we used to offer private advising for mobile internet. We would actually spend two or three hours with somebody assessing their needs and helping them understand the choices they're making, and then send them a shopping list of this is what we recommend for you. We found those got draining for us.
Blaine: 24:10 I bet.
Cherie: 24:27 After we did about 150 of them, and I-
Blaine: 24:31 It's probable, but it's at a cost.
Chris: 24:33 We keep raising the price, but people still want them. It's like it doesn't matter how much it costs, because we're helping one person in really great depth, but we could do something else that same two or three hours you spend, and we help 1,000 people.
Cherie: 24:47 A year ago, this time last year, we were dealing with hurricane Irma, because we were in Marathon on this boat. We're in recovery mode, and we decided, "Let's just,"-
Chris: 24:56 Cut off those.
Cherie: 24:56 ... "take off, take a break from doing the private advising. We have too much going on. People will understand that we can't do them right now." We've got through the Irma experience and we're getting to the beginning of the year. We're like, "I'm not missing doing them, because they no longer bring me the joy anymore." Originally they were very informative for us. They helped us structure the content we needed to create, because we're getting to talk with people about-
Chris: 25:19 About their actual problems.
Cherie: 25:21 At this point, it's like, okay, I've learned about as much as I can by having those one-on-one interactions that it's no longer a value to me, because I'm not money generated. We're fortunate enough that we have our retirement already taken care of. We don't have to work. We're choosing to. In having that mindset and saying, "Okay, this isn't working for us anymore. It's time to change that about the business model."
Chris: 25:42 It's better to focus on things that are impacting hundreds or thousands of people as opposed to just one person.
Honey: 25:48 Yeah, you talked about Irma and big events. When you're a business-
Blaine: 25:52 You were thinking of Irma Thomas, weren't you?
Honey: 25:54 I was not. But maybe a little. When you're a business that's essentially two people, you have a staff now, and life challenges come up, whether it's family or whatever, and you need to drop it and go, has that worked out? You're mobile in general.
Chris: 26:12 That is one of the best things about this lifestyle is when there is a major life issue, like when Cherie's dad was fighting cancers, we can take our entire house and our business and be there, be neighbors, be there every single day. That's not a sort of flexibility you have when you live across the country.
Honey: 26:29 Right.
Cherie: 26:29 But at that point, our business was integral with my father, because we were still running a business together. That was also part business and being there, and making sure that I had all of his knowledge or ... I could never have all his knowledge, but have enough that I could carry on without him when that time came. That was also part of that.
Now we're running the Mobile Internet Resource Center, when something like Irma last year came up, I think it was critical that we had a staff that was trained up, and they were on it. They were like, "We're here." Both of them came, stepped up and just said, "We have everything." We were able to take two or three weeks off where we were maybe just checking in a couple times a day, but we were focused on saving our boat, because our RV was also in the path.
Chris: 27:14 Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.
Cherie: 27:16 It was majorly draining.
Blaine: 27:18 I'll be.
Cherie: 27:19 When we get back to Marathon-
Blaine: 27:21 It's hard enough to deal with one big moveable object.
Cherie: 27:23 Yeah. When we're dealing with all that and we're getting back to Marathon, and 80% of the boats are destroyed, and we somehow miraculously survived, and we're dealing with getting life back in order, having that staff there trained up, there's sometimes a fear, I think, that business owners have of transferring too much knowledge to their staff, because their staff might become their competitors. You just have to drop that immediately and trust them.
Blaine: 27:48 Okay, so what if they do? You need healthy competition, and it's good to have friends among your competition.
Honey: 27:51 Rising tide. Yeah, absolutely.
Cherie: 27:54 No, I feel like having an empowered staff, and they know that they have my permission to publish an article, even if I haven't read it or approved it yet. They know the places that we look for information and tips and trends. We're training them up too. I would love it if one day we can just go off for a month or two and just leave it in their hands.
Chris: 28:13 Trust them. Yeah. Some day. Some day.
Cherie: 28:13 Some day going there.
Blaine: 28:17 Honey is sitting here thinking, "I want to do that." This is a question we like to ask everybody, but you have got a two-part answer. We've never even discussed this. Honey is going, "What?" What would you say to somebody who thinks they want to do this? That would be A, going nomadic, and/or B, starting a business together?
Honey: 28:41 With your significant other.
Chris: 28:42 Why not? That's-
Cherie: 28:47 It's right there on the shirt. It's the name of the boat.
Blaine: 28:51 It's the motor vessel Ynot? Okay. There's a backstory there too. Should we do the backstory?
Chris: 28:53 The name of the boat?
Blaine: 28:55 The name of the boat, yeah. Okay. Most people when they buy a boat change the name. You bought it from a guy named-
Cherie: 28:58 We bought it from a guy named Henry.
Blaine: 29:01 Oh what about Tony?
Chris: 29:02 But he-
Cherie: 29:03 But Henry bought it from Tony.
Blaine: 29:04 Oh Henry bought it. Oh crap. No, sorry.
Chris: 29:05 Yeah, but Tony was the guy who had the boat built.
Blaine: 29:07 I forget the backstory.
Chris: 29:07 Yeah.
Blaine: 29:07 Okay.
Cherie: 29:08 Yeah, so the original owner's name was Tony. The name of the vessel is Ynot, Tony spelled backwards. The guy we bought it from kept the name for that same reason. He thought "why not" was just a great life philosophy. We've always said we steer our lives by serendipity. So we felt "why not", it's a great answer to so many things. We kept the name as well.
Blaine: 29:29 Nice.
Honey: 29:30 My latest thing-
Blaine: 29:31 Say it in German.
Honey: 29:32 [German 00:29:32].
Blaine: 29:32 Say it in Spanish.
Chris: 29:34 [German 00:29:34]?
Honey: 29:35 [Spanish 00:29:35].
Blaine: 29:35 Say it in French.
Honey: 29:36 [French 00:29:36].
Blaine: 29:37 We've been living this for a while.
Honey: 29:40 Well I've realized that it's one of the best things you could learn in another language, because even if you don't understand most of what they said, if you get the idea that they're trying to get you to go someplace and you say, "Why not?" You're the fun person, even if no one knows anything else anyone's saying.
Chris: 29:56 Perfect.
Blaine: 29:57 Steering your life by serendipity, it's a heck of a way to live. Most people don't do it. I think we do it more than a lot of people, but I don't know that we do it as much as you two.
Honey: 30:05 [crosstalk 00:30:05].
Blaine: 30:05 That not withstanding, one of our favorite cities is New Orleans.
Chris: 30:09 Love New Orleans.
Blaine: 30:11 What's not to love, really?
Chris: 30:13 The urine in the street.
Blaine: 30:14 Yeah.
Honey: 30:14 That. That's not to love.
Blaine: 30:19 But one of the challenges with New Orleans is people go with very high expectations and never let New Orleans happen.
Chris: 30:27 Ah, that's the key. You got to let magic happen.
Blaine: 30:29 You have to let it happen.
Honey: 30:30 Blaine always says magic happens if you let it.
Chris: 30:32 That's actually one of the biggest lessons that Burning Man forces on people is you cannot go and try to have a Burning Man experience.
Cherie: 30:32 Schedule your-
Chris: 30:40 You just have to let it happen to you.
Blaine: 30:41 It's interesting, I think maybe we should probably digress for a moment and explain-
Honey: 30:45 We often do.
Blaine: 30:46 ... why Burning Man matters to your relationship.
Chris: 30:49 Oh, so-
Cherie: 30:51 Yeah, [inaudible 00:30:51].
Chris: 30:51 Yeah. That's actually embedded in our ring. Yeah, so that first year, I'd done a big project in 2006.
Cherie: 30:59 He's been going to Burning Man since '99.
Chris: 31:00 Right, so it was a big thing.
Honey: 31:01 Early adopter.
Blaine: 31:02 That's really cool..
Chris: 31:02 Yeah, it was really cool. I was part of some really big projects. Then so when we started going that first year, I was really excited to share it with Cherie.
Cherie: 31:10 So our first year on the road, we incorporated going to Burning Man for my ... Because I did not go that first year that we were supposed to meet there.
Chris: 31:17 Right. So that was part of our third, fourth date, whatever, was let's do Burning Man. Let me share this thing with you. We actually that's basically when we decided that this relationship wasn't a trial run. We had a commitment ceremony in front of the Man. The Man was our best man. It was just us and them.
Cherie: 31:33 You'll see the Burning Man logo, so the Ynot logo, the Technomadia logo.
Chris: 31:38 A little bit of an and symbol there.
Cherie: 31:38 That is Chris and Cherie back to back and a Burning Man symbol. That is in all of our logos.
Chris: 31:43 We cast it into our rings.
Cherie: 31:46 It's in our rings. It's in the Ynot logo to the Technomadia logo.
Chris: 31:47 We wrote our commitment stuff, basically our vows and our intentions, and we burned them at the temple. The day after the Man burns, they burn a temple. We burned them there, and we gathered up the ashes. Then every year we went, we did the same thing and gathered up the ashes. The ashes are actually cast into our rings.
Blaine: 32:03 Wow.
Chris: 32:04 Yeah, so we've had a lot of Burning Man ... Actually, we haven't been back since 2011.
Cherie: 32:08 2011.
Chris: 32:09 So it's been years since we've been back.
Blaine: 32:11 Yeah, they are cooler than we are.
Chris: 32:11 But there's a lot of magic that happens there.
Cherie: 32:13 That's correct.
Blaine: 32:14 Yes. It's funny, we've got a friend who's a 60-something developer, retired, although he seems to keep developing real estate, despite the fact he's retired. He's been through some crazy life changes. This is a guy who's got so much money that he doesn't need to work, but he does. Flies his own jet, goes to Burning Man, life-changing experience for him. He just can't stop talking about it.
You're looking at him like, this is not the guy, the hockey goalie from Wisconsin who I expected to be waxing poetic about Burning Man, yet he goes-
Honey: 32:48 Yeah. He let it happen.
Blaine: 32:50 Yeah, he let magic happen at Burning Man.
Honey: 32:53 So is it time?
Blaine: 32:55 Back from the digression for just a moment.
Honey: 32:57 Or did you have anything else-
Blaine: 32:58 I think that's it. I think that's what ... We're going to go there.
Honey: 33:01 I think we're going to-
Blaine: 33:01 Are you ready? It's the lightning round, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.
Chris: 33:01 Okay.
Blaine: 33:06 Okay, the fearsome five. Cherie, what is his biggest pet peeve about you?
Cherie: 33:13 Probably that I try to delete the sight regularly.
Blaine: 33:14 That would be my biggest pet peeve about you probably.
Chris: 33:21 That's one of them. I'd say it's that she can't stop working sometimes. First thing, I wake up in the morning and she's got her laptop in bed next to me. It's 11:00 at night, and we're finished watching movies. She's got to go make an edit on the site. I'm like, "Can you put the site away for a few minutes."
Honey: 33:40 All right, Chris.
Blaine: 33:41 All right. That's interesting. That's the first time we've ever had someone give, "What is the other's pet peeve?" And the other has said, "Yeah, it's probably this too." All right. Go ahead.
Honey: 33:50 What is Cherie's biggest pet peeve about you?
Chris: 33:52 Oh, that I don't finish things.
Blaine: 33:55 Don't finish things?
Cherie: 33:59 Oh yeah. Yeah.
Chris: 33:59 I'm a not finisher.
Blaine: 33:59 I empathize. Yeah. All right, Cherie, what single person living or dead would you hire if you could?
Cherie: 34:03 I already hired him.
Blaine: 34:05 All right. Nice.
Honey: 34:08 Chris, what single person living or dead would you hire if you could? I'd like to say fictitious too.
Chris: 34:13 Fictitious person?
Blaine: 34:14 Fictitious person. Yeah, you can also do fictitious.
Chris: 34:15 I'd like to hire what Siri and Alexa are 50 years from now when they're sentient. Then they could just do things. It's like, "Here, you manage the site as an AI. Go."
Honey: 34:26 Maybe best answer so far to that question.
Blaine: 34:26 Yeah.
Chris: 34:26 Yeah, all right.
Blaine: 34:32 Cherie, what do you do just to get Chris's goat?
Cherie: 34:34 What's a goat?
Honey: 34:37 Just to kind of get him, just to have a little fun at him, just to get a rise out of him?
Cherie: 34:41 I'll sometimes give him deadlines just to get him to finish things that don't actually exist.
Honey: 34:47 That would be perfect.
Chris: 34:47 Yeah, yeah.
Blaine: 34:47 Wow, that's a good one.
Chris: 34:50 Yeah, she'll just put something on the to-do list. I'm like, "Why is that here?" It's like, "That makes no sense." Then she'll be like, "Have you finished that yet?" I'm like, "Where'd that come from?"
Honey: 34:57 All right, Chris, what do you do just to get Cherie's goat?
Chris: 35:04 I don't think I do.
Cherie: 35:06 Yes you do.
Chris: 35:07 What?
Cherie: 35:07 Don't you?
Chris: 35:09 I don't intentionally annoy you.
Cherie: 35:09 Okay.
Honey: 35:10 Get a rise out of her.
Chris: 35:13 It's unintentional maybe. I don't know. I don't think I intentionally do anything.
Honey: 35:19 All right, Cherie. You clearly have an answer to this.
Cherie: 35:21 Well, I don't think he intentionally chews ice to annoy me, but yes.
Chris: 35:24 Oh, there's that. Okay. Yeah. I'm an ice chewer, and yes.
Cherie: 35:28 It's very annoying.
Chris: 35:29 Okay.
Honey: 35:30 Understood.
Blaine: 35:30 Once she complains, do you ever actually do it just to really piss her off?
Chris: 35:34 I don't think so, but maybe subconsciously, because I just-
Cherie: 35:37 It just gets louder.
Chris: 35:38 Yeah. Yeah, it gets louder.
Blaine: 35:39 You'll get louder with your mouth open.
Chris: 35:39 Yes.
Honey: 35:39 Blaine does it slowly.
Blaine: 35:43 You can answer this together or separately. Since you launched this great adventure that you're on, what has been your best date night?
Cherie: 35:54 There's so many.
Chris: 35:55 Yeah there have been.
Blaine: 35:56 I bet there are.
Honey: 35:57 Pick a good one.
Blaine: 35:59 By the way, I ask this question knowing it could be really difficult to answer.
Chris: 36:02 I know. There have been so many incredible magic nights. It's hard to decide, because we just consider date night and life nights all one and the same.
Cherie: 36:11 Yeah, especially since we're only on our seventh date right now. How do you-
Honey: 36:15 I would say that you guys are lucky so and sos, but you created your love.
Chris: 36:21 Yeah. We actually do sometimes have to try and get out of our regular life routine to have a specific date. Actually here in Jacksonville, we've been doing the symphony. We went three different times and have loved it, because we've never been to a symphony before. We try to squeeze in real date nights, but normally our life is just like it's one long date.
Blaine: 36:42 One long date. All right. That's a good one.
Cherie: 36:43 Feel like I'm just in the way.
Blaine: 36:44 Yeah. Cherie, describe Chris in one word.
Cherie: 36:49 Detailed.
Chris: 36:50 Detailed. Ooh. I would describe her as creative.
Blaine: 36:50 All right, detailed and creative.
Honey: 36:55 There you go.
Blaine: 36:56 Detailed, meet creative. Creative, meet detailed. I think it's worked out.
Cherie: 36:59 See, if you just started the interview beginning with that one, we could have saved everyone an hour or two.
Honey: 37:04 It would have just been done. Everything in one word.
Cherie: 37:06 What are your complimentary skills?
Honey: 37:08 Creative, detailed. Done. All right.
Blaine: 37:10 It would have been a much shorter interview.
Honey: 37:12 These interviews are about to get much shorter.
Blaine: 37:13 Yes. Cherie Ve Ard, Chris Dunphy of Technomadia.com and Mobile Internet Resource Center, thank you for letting us come aboard. We know that this is a rare treat. Usually nobody ever gets to interview you in person.
Chris: 37:28 Yeah. This is fun. I like this. I'm really glad you insisted in coming in person.
Blaine: 37:33 It is fun. Well, it's because you know what? We wouldn't have gotten to see your smiling faces and sit around and drink good wine with you in the middle of the day.
Chris: 37:41 Nice. Good plan.
Blaine: 37:43 I can think of worse things to do.
Honey: 37:45 Yeah, thank you both. This is, for us, we love doing all these interviews, but for us, because of what you're doing and what you know and the things you talk about just hits so close to home. It was really fantastic. We loved it.
Cherie: 37:59 Well thank you.
Chris: 37:59 Thank you.
Cherie: 38:01 Thank you so much for having us on. Thank you.
Chris: 38:01 Loved it. Thank you.
Blaine: 38:06 This has been part two of our conversation with Cherie Ve Ard and Chris Dunphy of Technomadia.com and the Mobile Internet Resource Center at mobileinternetinfo.com.
Honey: 38:15 If you enjoyed this podcast, and we hope you did, and you think it would be useful or fun for other couple entrepreneurs, please go to iTunes and leave a star rating and a review to help them find it.
Blaine: 38:26 Join us next time when we get tech in a much different way.
Honey: 38:30 Elden and Amy never intended to run a successful IT business together.
Blaine: 38:34 Amy had no interest in joining the business and had to be persuaded to help her husband.
Honey: 38:39 So how is it that now with an extraordinary level of success, she refuses to let her husband even consider selling the business?
Blaine: 38:46 What is the secret to their success? And what can we learn from it? Amy and Elden Quesinberry of Westminster, Maryland next time here on CoupleCo, working with your spouse for fun and profit.
Honey: 38:58 Copyright 2018, all rights reserved.
Blaine: 39:00 Love you, baby.
Honey: 39:01 Love you too.
Blaine: 39:02 CoupleCo out.