About

The Story…

It all started back in 2012…Leo had purchased an office/retail building in Sequoyah Hills years before. One of his tenants moved out and he was looking for a solid replacement. He surveyed the neighbors to see what they would like to see in the building. Of course, everyone wanted a grocery store (not going to happen). Also at the top of the list was a nail salon, hair salon, and…someone asked if an Apple Store was an option…or…a tech support company. This was interesting since Leo had been working on a model to provide technical support to residential users for about a year inside Entrepreneurs of Knoxville. He had been pitching the idea as Sequoyah Hills Information Technologies!

Leo LOVES solving problems, building businesses, and making money. So, he started asking questions. Why don’t you like the current solutions (Geek Squad, Fire Dog, or any of the 300+ IT companies in Knoxville)? What are you looking for? What would you pay? Is there a way to improve on the existing solutions? Is there an opportunity? Is there a way to make money?

Here’s what Leo learned…

  1. Technology is built by Techy people for other Techy people…NOT normal people.
  2. All providers are SELLING a product or service…they make it fit the end user
  3. Normal people are capable of figuring technology out but they would prefer it just worked
  4. What’s missing is a relationship…a knowledge of the end-user – their goals, dreams, desires, needs.
  5. Most people are willing to invest in services to free their time, minds, etc. – we pay someone to mow our grass, clean our house, maintain our cars, manage our money, compute our taxes…managing our technology is just another version of these.

The Neighborhood Nerds Way…

The solution was simple though not obvious. We had to think about things completely differently and get outside the box. It’s more challenging than you think. There are hundreds of thousands of technology providers across the US all doing business the same way they have for decades. We are changing EVERYTHING and just expect it to work…well, we are entrepreneurs…

  1. Know the member – Perform an audit to gather information about the member, their technology, their goals, dreams, frustrations, etc.
  2. Build a Member Profile with contact info, directions, parking, likes/dislikes, normal technology, weird technology, names of dogs/cats/pets, preferences of how to be treated, preferences for engagement, etc.
  3. Build Member Manual entries for everything in the Member’s life
  4. Label EVERYTHING. Why do we expect a “normal person” to know which device is a Modem or a Router or a Switch or a ??? We don’t. We label them and their cables.
  5. We don’t know what we don’t know – It’s hard to ask for help if you don’t know what you’re talking about or anything about it. So, we believe we have to be proactive in the Member’s life and tell them what solutions are available.
  6. Make an impact quickly – After creating a prioritized list of stuff we need to address, we fix the highest priority items quickly. We also look for ways to save money and reduce frustration immediately. We negotiate better deals for internet, phone, tv, etc. We Make devices perform better and faster. We simplify every chance we get! Many times we’re removing technology not adding to it.
  7. We also set the Member up for success and protect them as much as possible. Then, we prepare for the worst…NO ONE can prevent all issues. So, we prepare for and plan to recover as quickly as possible.
  8. Our staff is designed to be proactive, engaging, empathetic, caring, informative, and educational. We use systems, processes, standards, and many tools to select the best staff possible and empower them to serve the Members. Our Nerds are designed to provide care to our Members.
  9. Educate, Inform, Empower – we don’t believe in job security. We are trying to work ourselves out of a job every day! Every Nerd is constantly looking for opportunities to make our Member’s lives better through the use of technology. We don’t want technology to be an obstacle.
  10. Be prepared to serve, support, respond – Our Nerds study our Members and their technology. They are also in a continuous mode of learning about new and better technology so they can provide solutions quickly and easily. After our Nerds document the technology in use by a Member, they are all experts on it and any of them can support it and provide care.
  11. Wash, Rinse, Repeat – So, after the audit and fixing a few issues, everything in the Member’s life is easy sailing…right?!? No, we must constantly be involved in the Member’s life…from now on. Technology is forever changing and we will always be needed. This is why we use the Membership model. That monthly fee funds the efforts of the Nerds to Know, Support, Educate, and Inform our Members today and always. Basically, our Members are timesharing Nerds.

Meet the Nerds…

Leo Knight – Papa Nerd (Founder and CEO)

 

 

Favorite current tech devices – Samsung S7, Samsung Note Tablet, MBA

Favorite retro tech device/game – PalmPre with WebOS was THE BEST! 

Hobbies/Fun Facts – I enjoy Hiking, Photography, Hunting, Boating, Fishing, & Programming.

Community Involvement – Elder at SHPC, Rotarian, Founder EOK, President ACG.

 

 

 

 

Matt Tunstall – Director of Marketing

 

 

Education/Major – Bachelors in Communication, University of Tennessee

Preferred OS – iOS / Linux

Hobbies/Interests – Playing Pool, Kayaking, Hiking, Camping, Swimming, and Playing Baseball

 

 

 

Kevin Huynh – Member Specialist Nerd

 

 

Favorite Current Tech Device – Amazon Echo

Favorite Retro Tech Device/Game – Nintendo Game Cube

Hobbies & Fun Facts – I can ride a Unicycle!

 

 

 

 

Ethan Grissom – Member Specialist Nerd/Software Developer

 

 

Education/Major – Sophomore at UTK studying Computer Science

Preferred OS – Android and Windows

Hobbies/Interests – Running, Mountain Biking, Video Games and Keeping up with current Techology News

 

 

 

Stephanie Yeap – Member Specialist Nerd

 

 

Favorite Current Tech Device – Amazon Echo

Favorite Retro Tech Device/Game – Nintendo 64

Hobbies & Fun Facts – I enjoy traveling. I’ve been to 30 countries and 3 “Eiffel Towers”.

Community Involvement – I’m a student at UTK and have been on the executive team of two fundraising events to benefit local charities.

 

 

Cody Stiner – Member Specialist Nerd

 

 

Education/Major – Graduated from ETSU in Political Science and Computer Science

Preferred OS – Android/iOS and Windows

Hobbies/Interests – Gaming, Comics, Politics and Sports

 

 

 

 

William Thomas – Member Specialist Nerd

 

 

Education/Major – Graduated from Tennessee Tech in Computer Programming and Cyber Security

Preferred OS – Android and Windows

Hobbies/Interests – Competitive Archery and Target/Skeet Shooting

 

 

 

 

Andrew Gillenwaters – Member Specialist Nerd

 

 

Education/Major – Sophomore at Tennessee Tech studying Music Education

Preferred OS – iOS and Windows

Hobbies/Interests – Marching Band, Drum line, Competitive Ultimate Frisbee and Sports

 

 

 

 

Richard Martin – Member Specialist Nerd/Software Developer


 

Education/Major – Sophomore at ETSU studying Computer Science

Preferred OS – iOS and MacOS

Hobbies/Interests – Computers, Outdoor Activities and Sports

 

 

 

 

Kristen Winters – Administrative Office Assistant

 

Education/Major – Graduated from UTK with a BA in French language and Literature

Preferred OS – Windows

Hobbies/Interests – Scrabble, Snowboarding, Singing, Volunteering, Rock Climbing, Reading and History