Tell Us is a company started by an average Joe, or in my case an average John. Hi, my name is John McKinney. I am a husband and father of two wild boys, and I do mean wild. I have spent the last 20 years as a career firefighter which I truly enjoy. I have seen how the devil is in the details with my job. The same holds true with any business you run.
I live in a small community outside of Austin, Texas and along with living in a small community you have only a few choices for dining and shopping. When a new place opens up it is very exciting in a small town, much like when they add a third or fourth stop light, because you feel like you're moving up. One day I was sitting in a new place that just opened and I started to notice all the things that were less than I was hoping for. As I sat there, I thought to myself how I wish I could let the owner know what I was expecting and how it was not what I actually received.
The next day I did a little research and found nothing simple for a discreet, direct messaging system for businesses really existed. I thought that was stupid, so I decided I would make one. Like many people, I get excited about ideas and never follow through, but not this time!
This is something I am really passionate about. I enjoy helping people as well as bringing them together. What better way to do that than with a product that can one day do that on a global scale. It’s all about helping individuals be successful. We all have the power to help!
I am fortunate enough to have two great buddies who I approached with the idea and they both loved it. Enter Don Barthlow and Bradley Obrocto.
Don and I worked in a downtown fire station together, seeing the best and worst that society has to offer. Don recently retired (I won’t tell you how young he is as it would only irritate you), and was planning to relax and travel for a bit. Don has that can-do attitude that gets me fired up every time I am around him. I convinced him to travel for Tell Us Intel and spread the word on how awesome our product is. He did not need much convincing.
Brad and I worked together in what seems like another life, as firefighters in the mountains of Colorado. We were instant buddies and spent most of our free time together. He recently moved down to the great state of Texas, in the same small town where I live. Can you imagine the excitement of getting my old side kick back!? He is very much wired to run the business side of this. He has years of experience working for companies such as SpaceX and the like after leaving firefighting.
While I came up with the idea, it was very basic and looks a lot different today from what I could have ever imagined. The group collectively brainstormed hundreds of hours trying to make a product that is easy and effective to use for both businesses and their customers.