Read the transcript of the CFRA radio interview between Dean Roberts and our CEO Joel Matlin. Joel talks about his former company Alarm Force and why his new venture Think Protection is the best thing that ever happened to him.
Dean Roberts: Your CFRA expert on call is a new forward-thinking alarm company. Canada's fastest-growing home alarm company, the best security system at the lowest price. And I know you're going to know this voice when you hear it. Say hello Joel Matlin
Joel Matlin: Hi how are you Dean? Nice to chat with you.
Dean Roberts: You got that John Walsh voice from the TV crime show.
Joel Matlin: Absolutely.
Dean Roberts: And that fits in with what you do, right? You are trying to prevent crime.
Joel Matlin: That’s what we do every day, 24 hours a day we are trying to prevent crime in all our clients’ homes.
Dean Roberts: OK and you changed things a little bit, no longer with Alarm Force.
Joel Matlin: Yes it is unfortunate that I am, but it is also fortunate that I am not. As you probably know I started Alarm Force in 1988 and built it up over 25 years to quite a company. Then apparently had a disagreement with the board and they gave me a choice: retire or get fired. And of course it was without cause. I said "Well, I am just too young and too energetic". Working very closely with my son Adam, you do what you got to do and we're gonna move on.
Dean Roberts: I have a question about Adam. How is a guy who took film studies at the University of North Carolina, besides your influence, getting in the alarm system business?
Joel Matlin: That is a very interesting question. First of all to study film in fact is all about telling a story and it’s pure marketing. Because when you market something you are telling a story to the consumer in the hopes they will get it.
Adam worked for a couple of years out of Los Angeles and he was doing fairly well, and I had a tremendous need at Alarm Force for a Marketing Director, I was not too happy with the way things were going and I approached him, I said “Adam, I have an opening", we never thought of working together, I just felt he could probably do an excellent job.
I said "The condition is that you have to apprentice for a year with the existing team and if you can demonstrate to me that you are capable of running the department then a new career is available”, and he took me up on that offer.
Dean Roberts: And the new company with Joel and Adam Matlin is called Think Protection.
Joel Matlin: Absolutely that is the company and we are both the co-founders. Adam is very, very instrumental in the direction the company is going and I'll tell you, I am just so elated working with him because every day I have the opportunity to see how he's working with our management team, how we're working together and guiding the company and its rejuvenated me where if I wasn't enthusiastic and happy working with my old company I'm that much more fortunate to be working with my son on a day-to-day basis growing a new entity.
Dean Roberts: So let’s talk about the philosophy of Think Protection
Joel Matlin: That is a good question. What I have seen over the years, well interesting enough when I was at my former company Alarm Force – always, always the goal was to give value and as the industry progressed , I found that the alarm industry has turned into what I would call a very greedy entity or group of companies and the reason I say that is because although the technology is getting better and more affordable, the alarm companies, pretty much completely, are raising their prices just because they can with the contracts they have with the consumer.
So when we took a look when I left Alarm Force, Adam really wanted to get back into the business so I said to Adam “Look, right now I have one-year non compete and I really have to think things out whether or not I'm prepared to get in and number two I want to be certain what is going to be our competitive advantage and as things progressed after the one year non-compete we started consulting with quite a few alarm companies.
Dean Roberts: Joel, sorry to interrupt, how many alarm companies are we talking about.
Joel Matlin: There are so many cram slammers and small dealer operations in Canada there are probably 3,500 to 5,000 in Canada and there are north of 15,000 in the United States.
Dean Roberts: So how do you know which one to deal with? That’s what I want to know.
Joel Matlin: The key to dealing with an alarm company is number one credibility and value. Today’s situation with the traditional alarm companies – 99.9% of all alarm companies in Canada – want you to sign a contract and they make all kinds of claims, but they want your signature on the contract.
With our philosophy we don’t want any contract – we do not have any contract between the consumer and ourselves. We take a look at pricing strategies and most of alarm companies are north of $40 a month on a contract. To us, that is a lot of money – we are $12.99 per month and No Contract. So the onus is on us to give better service, better quality equipment, for less money.
Dean Roberts: Exactly, and you have been doing this since June 2015… is that correct?
Joel Matlin: Correct and we have been so fortunate. The value proposition has been taken up by thousands and thousands of customers in Canada, It’s amazing. Adam and I did projections when we started the company and we have blown through those projections. The reason is because we are thinking like a consumer.
And the technology, we put a 30-day free trial on our product so if you get the product, you use our alarm product and if you don’t like it for any reason at all – you just send it back. That’s how sure we are on the value proposition we offer and the technology, the features that are into that technology that we could remotely control what is going on in your home starting at $12.99 per month.
Dean Roberts: What have you learned in your 45 years in this business?
Joel Matlin: Fortunately enough, I travelled the world, I go to security shows throughout Canada and throughout the word to see what type of technology has been offered. And most importantly and I said this earlier in the show it is easy to think like an owner of a company but it is harder to think like a consumer and I know as a consumer I want a company that is going to be close to me, who's going to be there with a great value proposition and when I have a problem somebody is there to stand behind it, and that is the key with Think Protection. You don't have to be a genius to start a company but you have to think totally like a consumer.
Dean Roberts: Let’s talk about when someone has the same alarm system for 20 odd years… maybe it’s time to upgrade… wouldn’t you say so?
Joel Matlin: Absolutely… for a very small amount of money you can own your equipment and if you are unhappy with our monitoring you can cancel it at a moment’s notice. All the other companies in the market today they want you to sign a contract, not because it’s in your benefit but because the contract also says that they can raise your prices, as they see fit, as the contract continues year by year.
Dean Roberts: We haven’t touched on the mobile app which is included for free…
Joel Matlin: I have to tell you… our mobile app… when you turn on you cell and you take a look at our app… you will be amazed. When people see it and they use it they become addicted. You just press the app and bingo you know exactly how your system is doing. This system is meant for the average homeowner. We have designed a system that gives you a better app than any other system that is in the market today. The reason being is knowing you can turn your system on and off, you can even give a different code to different people who are allowed to come to your home. So you can give a different code to you kids so all of the sudden you can get a text with a message that Johnny just came home – you know exactly when he came in or when he left. You can add full home automation – lights, flood detectors, you can add a little module to open and close your garage door. You can control your thermostat, with your app you can see that temperature you are at – if you want to lower it – you just lower it from your app anywhere in the world.
Dean Roberts: Joe Matlin – we have one minute – so let’s leave our listeners with one message about Think Protection.
Joel Matlin: I want to say one thing – I want to wish the best of season to all your listeners and I also want to give a strong thank you of appreciation to all your listeners who have joined our list of customers. We appreciate it and we will continue to do whatever we can to secure you in your own environment.