Paul Burnstein talks with us about trends in home technology, leaving his executive-level job to spend more time with family, and starting a new career.
Are you from the Twin Cities?
I was born in Montana. The joke is when we moved away, that was the end of the Jews in Montana. I spent my teens and 20s in Los Angeles. Then, I moved to Boulder, CO for grad school. I got my master’s in Gerontology and Long Term Care Administration. I moved to Portland, OR and successfully ran a start-up non-profit home-care agency, which is now thriving. I had a great opportunity to work for a national non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. and we moved there next with our first child as an infant.
We moved to Minneapolis two years ago because my brother’s here and we wanted our girls to grow up near family. The girls can play with their cousins down the street. It’s great.
Now, you work as tech handyman. Tell me about your Gadget Guy business.
I started the business a year ago so I could work part-time. I was working full time in an executive-level job and it wasn’t right for me. We were rushing the kids to get them to school in the morning. It was constant running and by the time I got home and had dinner, the kids were asleep. I wasn’t spending time with my daughters. So, I started the business and now I can have my little one part-time at home with me and spend half days with both my daughters. I can even bring my kids with me to tech jobs if I need to.
How did you get into helping people set up their home or business technology systems?
I love being an early adopter and helping people out. I found there was a need for people to have someone help them choose between all the technologies and helping them streamline all their devices.
What’s your home technology set-up?
I have a little bit of everything in terms of streaming sticks. I use Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, Google TV, a smart TV, smart Blu-Ray player, and more. I’m starting to play with smart home technologies and virtual reality.
What’s the newest trend in tech for the home?
The Internet of Things which is the design of home devices to connect with each other wirelessly and share information.
A trend I like is universal remotes and their ability to control smart devices in the home. When you want to watch a movie, turn on the heat, lock the door or listen to the radio, it automatically changes to the right device. Everything in your home is connected. Technology can also be used to be more resource-friendly by automatically adjusting lights and heating and cooling.
How did you find clients?
I rely heavily on word-of-mouth, referrals and my website. I also write a monthly column for Southwest Journal, I’m on NextDoor and Facebook. I also have done a lot of personal networking in the Jewish community. I focus on the older generations who need technology help and my background in gerontology helps with that.
What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
I love Passover. It’s the Jewish Thanksgiving. I like remembering where we came from.
What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Matzo ball soup, it’s Jewish penicillin.
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