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Todd Pedersen

Vivint gets $100m investment from Peter Thiel, Mitt Romney’s investment firm

Pedersen: Investment is ‘huge validation of what we have built’

PROVO, Utah—Vivint Smart Home on April 27 announced a $100 million strategic investment from Peter Thiel and Solamere Capital, an investment firm founded by Tagg Romney, Eric Scheuermann and Spencer Zwick, and chaired by Mitt Romney.

Design matters at Vivint’s new monitoring center

Dixon: Center is built to benefit employees and the bottom line

EAGAN, Minn.—Featuring natural light, an expanded cafeteria with free food and a pond where employees can go fishing during breaks, Vivint’s new monitoring center is loaded with employee-pleasing amenities that translate into increased productivity and profits for the company, according to Steve Dixon, Vivint’s VP of customer experience and operations.

Vivint and Undercover Boss: Lessons learned

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Vivint CEO Todd Pedersen wasn’t “fast enough” to work in one of his own warehouses, was “moving a little slow” on an installation job and should have been more adept at handling a basic tool, according to two of his  employees.

Pedersen got those professional reviews during his stint on the CBS show “Undercover Boss” on Feb. 20. I wrote about that here. During that experience, he says, he learned much about being a company leader and that “details matter most.”

For the popular reality show, Pedersen posed incognito, which included wearing a wig, as a Vivint trainee and met with four of his company’s employees at their workplaces.

First he worked with Mark on an install job that involved being up on a roof. That encounter enlightened him on the need for Vivint workers to have proper, non-slippery footwear.

He then worked with a monitoring center rep, Sandy. Pedersen, handling a call, disconnected it inadvertently. During one call, static was prevalent and Sandy told Pedersen that the system needed some fine-tuning.

On his third stint he worked at one of the company’s warehouses with Alma and was surprised when he had to fill out a work order on paper rather than digitally. Alma is the employee who told him he wasn’t suited to work for Vivint: “Too slow.”

He also was told he was working too slowly by employee Will during Pedersen’s final “Undercover Boss” gig at a smart-home installation. And, Will added, Pedersen needed practice working with a basic tool—a drill.

When I talked to Pedersen before the show aired, he couldn’t say all that much about the outcome of the show due to CBS restrictions. But I did catch up with him via email this week to get more details.

Here’s what Pedersen had to say.

Q: What was the top lesson you gleaned from being on the show?

A: As a leader, it’s your job to look at the big picture and focus on the vision of the company, but I learned that when it comes to employees, the details matter most. The smallest upgrades in equipment and installation hardware can shave off significant amounts of time and stress for employees. Little things really do make a big difference to the people you employ.

Q: How will the show have an impact on the way your company is run/managed in the future?

A: After each day on a new job [for the show], I would get on a conference call with senior management and discuss what I learned and potential improvements pertaining to that job. And while the experience hasn’t changed the way we run the company in a major way, we have made several changes in equipment and processes. 

The most significant change we implemented was announcing a brand-new facility for our monitoring professionals. As I worked alongside Sandy, she had interference issues with her equipment. In addition to improving phone cords and headsets for Sandy and her coworkers, we decided to give them a beautiful new facility. 

Q: Any other insights? Would you do this again?

A: The most interesting part was just being able to work alongside my employees as a regular guy, rather than the CEO. I truly enjoyed getting to know each of them on a personal level and learning about their backgrounds and the things they’ve overcome. I’ve always believed in cultivating strong relationships with my employees, and this experience reaffirmed the importance of that for me.

While not every executive has the chance to go undercover like I did, taking the time to work side by side and connect with employees is important for all members of the leadership team. I plan to give this opportunity to other executives so they can benefit from the invaluable insight that comes from being on the ground. (Although, I won’t make any of them wear a wig!)

I don’t think I could get away with going undercover again. Word has definitely gotten out around the company, but I did really enjoy going out in the field and working with employees across the business. I would definitely do that again, and I’ll probably take some of our other executives along with me next time. 

Pedersen also heard the four employees’ personal stories and responded to their hardships—widowhood, bankruptcy, cancer treatments, custody disagreements and more—with compassion and with his wallet. Kudos to him.



Vivint boss goes undercover

TV show experience offers insights

PROVO, Utah—Vivint CEO Todd Pedersen’s incognito stint on “Undercover Boss” prompted him to make some “tweaks” in his business, he said.

Vivint set to close Washington state sales center today


PROVO, Utah—Vivint last summer opened a new 400-employee sales center in Liberty Lake, Wash., suburb of Spokane. Now, barely a year later, the home automation/home security company said it was closing the center as of today.

Vivint launches own panel, own platform in new solution

Vivint Sky not the limit—Vivint’s goal is to ‘control anything and everything’ in the smart home; Vivint beta testing Internet service as well

PROVO, Utah—Vivint today launched Vivint Sky, a new cloud-based smart home solution featuring the company’s own control panel and software. The company anticipates a gradual migration of its more than 800,000 subscribers over to Vivint Sky from the 2GIG Go!Control panel and the software that they currently use.

Vivint partners with LifeLock


LAS VEGAS—Vivint, a leading home automation/home security provider, and LifeLock, a provider of identity theft protection services, announced a partnership at the ISC West show here that will give Vivint customers the ability to bundle their new or existing Vivint packag

Vivint Solar gets new CEO


PROVO, Utah—Greg Butterfield has been named the new CEO of Vivint Solar, the residential solar integrator announced in a Sept. 5 news release.

Vivint to open new sales center in Washington state

The door-to-door company looks to diversify by growing inside sales 75 percent this year

PROVO, Utah—Home automation/home security giant Vivint is opening a new 400-employee sales center in Washington state, part of a move by the door-knocking company to diversify itself by increasing inside sales.

Vivint CEO encourages entrepreneurs to pitch ideas


PROVO, Utah—A group of 10 Utah County-based startup companies competed to win $4,500 in cash and a chance to sit down with Vivint founder and CEO Todd Pedersen, according to an article from the Daily Herald, a newspaper based here.