Jeff Freemyer | The “Zoom Backstory”: Launching One of the First Business Satellite and Distance Learning Networks

Jeff Freemyer is a serial entrepreneur in high technology. He has been a visionary and amongst the early-stage pioneers in interactive distance learning, outsourced business TV production and distribution, as well as interactive multimedia content development and publishing. For many years, he was the CEO of Convergent Media Systems, the world’s largest business television provider with expertise in satellite communications, e-learning/distance learning, and turnkey TV production and delivery. The company installed, maintained, and operated satellite communications networks for 250+ of the Fortune 500 companies as well as the world’s largest private satellite-based distance learning network, serving 8 million students in 12,000 high schools daily. 

Jeff has also collaborated with numerous world-class thought leaders including helping create and produce an innovative interactive multimedia platform for Topgrading, the #1 best-selling book on selecting, hiring, and developing A-players with Dr. Brad Smart. He is currently involved as a Managing Partner of Epione Venture Capital Firm.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran is joined by Jeff Freemyer, Managing Partner of Epione Venture Capital Firm, to talk about launching and working with satellite and distance learning networks. Jeff also shares his experience in working with Fortune 500 companies at Convergent Media, the advancement in satellite networks, working with Verne Harnish, and going into the venture capital world.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • How Jeff Freemyer helped an early client reduce its product release costs from $5 million to $80,000 per product release.
  • What made the satellite technology and frequency successful in the 1980s.
  • How the expansion of satellites led to the growth of e-learning and distance learning.
  • Jeff talks about working with BMW to provide content for their team and other Fortune 500 companies.
  • How Jeff dealt with evolving technologies, reduction of communication costs, and competition while at Convergent Media.
  • How Jeff met and got to work with Verne Harnish.
  • The role the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) played in Jeff’s work and development at Convergent Media.
  • Jeff talks about his work at Epione Partners and the companies they invest in.
  • The people Jeff acknowledges for his achievements and success.
  • Where to learn more and get in touch with Jeff Freemyer.

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

A podcast is the highest and best use of your time and will save you time by connecting you to higher caliber people to uplevel your network. 

To learn more, go to or email us at [email protected]

To learn more, book a call with us here

Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and done-for-you podcast services. 

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:14 

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran  0:40  

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, the host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast. And this episode is part of our series profiling companies that are members of EO which stands for Entrepreneurs’ Organization. It’s an organization I’ve been involved in. We’re going to talk about it a little bit. I am John Corcoran, I’m a recovering political hack and a recovering lawyer having spent years working in politics, including as a speechwriter was stints working in the Clinton White House and for California Governor spent years practicing law in Silicon Valley. And 10 years ago, I discovered this medium of podcasting and I’ve been loving it ever since. And over 10 years of hosting the show, I’ve had the privilege to talk with top CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs from all kinds of companies and organizations, ranging from organizations you’ll hear about in this episode YPO, EO, companies like Activision Blizzard Lending tree, FreshBooks, Open Table, and many more.

I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help b2b businesses with their strategy and production. They need to create a podcast and content marketing that produces tremendous ROI for them. And I’m excited because my guest today is Jeff Freemyer. Now everyone is using Zoom these days we’re using Zoom right now and everyone is using distance learning. Kids are learning from distant video learning. These are commonplace, but we’re gonna hear about the origin story. We’re gonna hear about the very early stages about how all these technologies got started because my guest Jeff is a serial tech entrepreneur and early visionary and early stage pioneer in interactive distance learning, outsourced business TV production distribution as well as interactive multimedia content development and publishing. For many years he was CEO Convergent Media, the world’s largest business television provider with expertise in satellite communications, e-learning distance learning, and turnkey TV production and delivery and giving everything that’s happening in the world. I thought that this was a great time to talk to him. Convergent worked with 250 plus of the Fortune 500 companies as well as creating the world’s largest private satellite based distance learning network serving 8 million students in 12,000 high schools daily like Channel One, that many of you have heard of before. Jeff also collaborated with numerous world class thought leaders, including helping create and produce an innovative interactive multimedia platform for top grading which is the number one best selling book on selecting, hiring and developing players. That was along with Dr. Brad Smart. In fact, go check out search on iTunes Inspired Insider, and Chris Mursau is the president of Topgrading my business partner Jeremy featured him on his podcast not too long ago. And Jeff is currently involved as managing partner of Epione Venture Capital Firm. So much to talk about. 

But first, before we get to that, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, which helps b2b businesses to get clients referral partners and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing, you are listening to a podcast right now. And that means you like podcasts, and therefore you should have a podcast as well. I’ve been telling everyone that for about 10 years now, one of the best things I’ve ever done because I get to talk to smart guys like Jeff, which I’m going to in a moment, if you want to learn more about how to do it go to or email us at [email protected]. All right, Jeff. So I’m super excited to talk about this, your background and some of your different areas of expertise. And you’re telling me beforehand about one of your early customers at Convergent Media Hewlett Packard (HP), who was spending $5 million a year doing an expert per sales.

John Corcoran 4:05

Per sales really. So every time they release a new product. That’s right, 5 million duh. Yeah. So millions of dollars a year to just communicate and educate their sales forces, right? Yes, yeah. And they realize there was this emerging technology, video conferencing, teleconferencing, business TV, whatever, you called it at the time to talk a little bit about how you helped to shepherd this iconic American company into what we really take for granted today, which is the ability to communicate over video with people who are, you know, thousands of miles away?

Jeff Freemyer 4:46

Sure. So as John mentioned there when Hewlett Packard would release a new product in the early 80s. They would send sales training trainers around to each of their sales offices. around the country, and on average that cost $5 million per product. And as you can imagine, Hewlett Packard was releasing a lot of products, even at that time. And so around 1984 85, they came to us, and said they wanted to utilize satellite television to reduce the costs of the sales training. So we established what we call a special event network, where we would put in a portable satellite downlink at local hotels and invite all the sales people from the local office. And then the sales training would happen out of the headquarters in Palo Alto. So the sales trainers just were able to reach all of the offices at once. That went so well, that they decided to put in a permanent network. So we installed a satellite antenna at every one of their sales offices around the country. And within very short order, we had helped them reduce their $5 million per product release to $80,000 per product release and all that happened by 1985.

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