E44: Season 4 Episode 9 – Messaging & Content Delivery in the Senior Living Market
Tom Dunlap chats with Rob Wray, founder of Blue Star, a senior care technology company, Lisa Roden, owner of Shadow House Media Company, and Aimee McKinney, CMO of Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig. Topics include what Blue Star does, the legality of content creation, and legal advice for new entrepreneurs.
How Blue Star Started and the Aging Market
When Rob retired as a two-star Navy Admiral in his 50s, he and his wife both had aging parents. He started Blue Star to provide simple technologies to help families take care of aging parents. Senior care and technology is a growing market, with over 20 million elderly in the country, and 20 million 40-50 year old adult children looking to take care of their parents. Blue Star is particularly helpful in the time of COVID, where the home model—caring for an aging parent in their own home instead of in a nursing facility—is becoming more popular.
Legality in Content Creation
The internet is still a wild west when it comes to utilizing imagery, so any producer must consider licensing, as well as the quality of the content itself. The second you make something—a video or an image—you have copyright rights on creation. A small business must be aware of its budget, so they can ensure they can afford the licensing. On the flip side, thousands of letters go out every day from image owners, looking for compensation from others who have used their work without permission.
Every business, even small businesses need legal consultants to avoid IP problems or other legal issues. Business and legal issues are tied, and so the weight and expense of avoiding legal trouble for small businesses can feel enormous.
Advice for Content Creators
Lisa imparts three pieces of advice for any content creator. First, they must understand how the media is going to be used. An Instagram video that references something has a very different legality to it than printing that information out for hundreds of brochures. In other words, different forms of media come with different rules, and it’s important to make this clear to any client. Second, it is helpful to have a stock of websites you can go to where you can get content that is safe to use, or content that you can modify to then change its legality. Paying attention to the source of images or videos can help save you trouble down the road. Third, she encourages honesty with the clients about what the rules are. You don’t have to tell them no but let them know what the challenges are with each piece of media. Lastly, she reiterates to keep in mind the budget.
Advice for the New Entrepreneur
Rob provides his advice to the new entrepreneur about dealing with legal issues for the business. First, you must educate yourself on legal issues as best you can. You don’t need to be fluent in legal jargon or go to school for it, but you do need to know that certain issues exist and read books or take courses to help you understand. As he says, “get smart.”
Next, he tells any business owner to comply as best he or she can with legal procedures. This could be as simple as making sure to read emails and important letters, as well as keeping track of important files. When you don’t comply, which will happen eventually even if by accident, do your best to right the situation. He suggests being thorough: to take the time to fix it properly. He advocates for honesty with the government about the fact that you aren’t trying to avoid the law, but rather had a mess up. In his experience, the government workers generally will try to help you best they can. To add onto that, you should consult with a professional before talking to the state.
How Blue Star Operates
Rob outlines how Blue Star works, and how Blue Star can help aging parents and adult children alike. With over 5,000 clients, 30% of which are veterans, Blue Star offers a subscription service includes hardware, software, communications, and back office labor to help keep aging parents safe, healthy, and happy. The company aggregates technology such as medical alerts, panic buttons, and devices that will notify people if the stove hasn’t been turned off. Their systems provide technology that keeps them healthy as well, which includes taking the right medicines at the right times or a wireless blood pressure cuff that can send data to the doctor and to the adult child. Lastly, Blue Star seeks to keep the elderly connected to family, especially in this time of COVID, such as video technology or changing picture frames. Senior isolation is a big problem as it can lead to depression and depression can shorter a life span.
Rob Wray: LinkedIn
Lisa Roden: LinkedIn
Aimee McKinney: LinkedIn
Tom Dunlap: LinkedIn
Blue Star: Website
Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig: Website