Published: June 11, 2019

Meet Bruce Adair, Co-CEO of freeTVee and an alumnus of our evening MBA program. freeTVee provides professional cord cutting services to anyone frustrated by the constantly increasing prices of pay TV. freeTVee helps customers find and install the best free and legal alternatives to pay TV. Customers typically save over $100 per month on TV and get more high quality content than they can ever watch in a lifetime.

Bruce’s career began in the restaurant industry. After using OpenTable for the first time, he was so impressed that he made the decision to find a job with them. What they had come up with as an operational tool was unlike anything he had seen before. Bruce says he always tinkered with computers as a hobby, making him “an ideal candidate because [he] understood technology and restaurants.”

Motivation to pursue an MBA

During his tenure at OpenTable, Bruce worked in many different roles, including product management, marketing, client relationships and inside sales. This variety of positions offered him a high-level of interaction with the executive staff, all of whom held MBAs from top schools across the country. Bruce had never worked for such a well-run company before and with the encouragement of OpenTable’s leadership, he decided to pursue an evening MBA at Leeds School of Business in 2011.

The magic of cord cutting

Bruce became a cord cutter in 2012. He was working on his MBA and wanted to take John Lynch’s marketing intelligence class, which was only offered during the day. “I really wanted to take the class and after nine years, felt it was a good time to move on from OpenTable.”

He was tired of paying too much for cable and figured out how to cut the cord with his cable company, but still enjoy his favorite shows. Soon after, he met Brian Cavanaugh, who had a cord cutting side hustle, freeTVee.

Bruce started working with Brian as an installer and cord cutting consultant. He spent a lot of time on roofs and talking to customers. “After a few months, I saw Brian was onto something, but he didn’t have the growth experience I had with OpenTable.”

When Bruce joined OpenTable they had just over 100 employees and 1500 restaurants. When he left, they had over 800 employees and over 30,000 restaurants on the platform.

Bruce joined freeTVee full-time last year. He and Brian are working hard to scale the company and they’re about to close on their first round of investment. They’re helping thousands of households who pay too much for cable and don’t have the technical skills, time or knowledge to implement a better system and save money.

“There is significant opportunity for growth in Denver and the 30 largest television markets.”

Where does entrepreneurship come into the journey for you?

As a subset of business, Bruce is drawn to entrepreneurship because it requires you to use a variety of disciplines in your thinking. “Psychology, English literature, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, behavioral economics … human knowledge disciplines are required to be an effective business leader or entrepreneur. I’m an infinitely curious person. I love to study everything. There is always more to learn.”

Bruce is a former Jeopardy contestant and says it was the most nerve wracking experience of his life.

Bruce believes entrepreneurship is “something you come to because it best suits your personality. My father is not an entrepreneur, he’s a company man.” Working at OpenTable, he was introduced to the idea of building something from the first ideation to something more impactful.

Biggest takeaway from your MBA

“The most interesting thing about an MBA is that teaches you how to think in a completely different way.”

After his MBA, Bruce says it’s difficult for him to go to the grocery store or Target without thinking about presentation strategy and analyzing the different marketing tactics being used to reach customers. He still remembers (and tells people nearly everyday), something John Lynch taught him: “the most important question in business is how to get your product or service into someone’s consideration set.”

Advice to students

  1. Set expectations with your family

  2. Be curious in fields outside of business

  3. Learn to tell a joke

“Your job as CEO is to be the chief storyteller. Understanding why people choose to construct their story a particular way is hugely important. And then you can determine how your story can merge or fit within their story.”

Favorite [clean] joke

Where does Napoleon keep his armies? In his sleevies.

Learn more about freeTVee or connect with Bruce.

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