On this special Friday edition of the Establishing your Empire I host Paul O’Brien. Paul is the CEO of MediaTech Ventures, a startup advisor, author and a father of three. We got together to talk about the cancelation of SXSW and how Funded House is pushing forward with sessions that are available online this Sunday, Monday & Tuesday. In this episode we dive deep into the differences between startups, companies and businesses. We talk about how to get involved in the startup community, tips to get funded, advice on how to turn your idea into a startup and how to establish your empire.
Welcome to the Establishing Your Empire show. A podcast that inspires entrepreneurs, creatives and future business owners to pursue their passions, grow their organizations and build their empire. My name is Daran Herrman and creatively I’m best known for my photography. But business wise my claim to fame is growing a company from $15K per month in online sales to breaking the one million dollar a month barrier. And I’m sitting down with interesting people to talk about their process, the lessons they learned and how they have Established their Empire’s.
All right, Paul, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I’m really excited to have you here today.
Thank you very much. It’s a great time to be here.
Maybe not the best times here in Austin, Texas.
It is the time to start promoting some things, getting people back to business cause it’s gonna get tough for a little bit under the circumstances.
I do. I do think actually it’s going to, this is only the start of some of this, but so one of the reasons why we’re here and this is kind of going to be a film here on Wednesday release on Thursday or Friday as opposed to normal episode is because of South by Southwest got canceled as everybody knows. So let’s start off with that because let’s talk about that a little bit of cause you’re really in depth into the South by world Austin startup world. So how has that affected what you guys are doing and what are you, what are you seeing? And let’s just start there.
I’m a pragmatist and I’m an optimist. Rather than looking at the negative, of course there are a lot of, lot of implications that we’re concerned about with regard to the economy and jobs and, and the impact of the virus and so forth. But if I’m a pragmatist and optimist, I actually look to a bit of a silver lining. And the silver lining is the fact that for the last 10 years or so, we’ve all been moving much, much more online with social media in live streaming and things like virtual events and that’s, that’s actually created a bit of a rift in the economy because there are those of us like yourselves, like, like us. There are those of us that understand that space and understand how to really take advantage of and use and leverage the internet. Then there’s a greater majority of our population that’s just still doesn’t get it, doesn’t even know how to make a website.
And, and what this is going to do in this, in a, in an Optimist’s perspective, I think what this is going to do is push a lot more people to figure it out, to get online, to participate from home to build that website, to drive business that way to, to explore how to have a webinar or a virtual conference or we’re a podcast to get the word out about what they’re working on. I think that’s eight. Now granted a longterm bright side. It’s going to take us a while to get there. But the fact is we’re pushing people to experience the internet net a lot more because of this. And, and I think that’s something we should be proud of and excited about. So I completely agree. In fact, like, and I always think, you know, you can vote with your money a little bit.
Like I was, I’m buying up Shopify, Shopify shares right now. I think Eventbrite is like a third of its value right now because the economy’s down and nobody’s wanting to do events right now, but like when this gets over with, I think a lot of people are going to want to if the economy tanks, but the virus subsides, I think a lot of people start going into, if they start losing their jobs, they start figuring out, how can I make money on the side? How, what can I do? How could I survive in this new world? Which, you know, the internet has been around forever, but you know, it’s always slowly taking up all the market shares take, taking a market share or, or perhaps what we might be excited about or think about is how it’s really just transforming every industry.
All right. Perhaps you work in the auto space, the automotive industry, fine. You worked for 40, but the, the fact is what the internet does and how it works is now a critical path to anything that you’re doing as a company. And that’s the point that I think we might appreciate and, and observed that that venture capital consideration, your, your point about Shopify or something, the venture capital community is the greatest risk taker in fueling and funding our economy. All right? There, John is always to take the first risk too, to help start new things, to help explore new things. And so we’re, we’re more busy, more active than ever in the last two weeks, given the fact that it’s, it’s now time for those investors to step up and to lead us forward to appreciate that. Yes, SAS software as a service live streaming platforms, AR and VR social media Shopify, the, these technologies are going to become much more valuable a number of months as we work through this, which means that we could be and should be looking to the venture capitalist now to say, help us get through this, support these things, fund to these entrepreneurs, get involved in these startups because in a few months as we get through this virus, we’re going to need those companies to be successful and thriving and help enable the entire world to be more successful and thriving as a result of that.
And you talk about venture capitalists, that’s an area that I don’t really have a whole lot of knowledge, but I would love to know. It always seems like they’re kind of in their own little world. How do they, they always seem like they have this magic wand obviously, you know, and I think like, you know, if you’re right 5%, 10% of the time and you hit a home run, it’s always great. Sure. You have to look so far in the future. It seems like, or maybe not, I mean, I don’t know, maybe give us a little overview of that world. Yeah, I think it’s, it’s a great question because it’s frankly, it’s one of my favorite topics, but it’s why media tech ventures has built this funded house experience that we have as a part of South by Southwest. And we’re on four cell, four funded house despite South by being canceled because these questions are most pertinent to small businesses and to start a founders into entrepreneurs.
How do I have a conversation with that angel investor? How do I get the attention of that venture capitalist? And, and we like to think, and, and it’s not wrong, but we like to think that they have to have a 10 year outlook and that, and that you know, they’re only interested in unicorns, right? That’s a very popular sentiment in the media. Those things aren’t actually what matters most. What matters most is in fact just intention. A venture capital investor has to get there, money back period and venture capital investors, not a bank. And so what does that look like? Just just appreciate what that means. What that means is that your, your company, your business has to exit at some point, has to get acquired. If you’re lucky enough, goes public, right? Goes, goes to wall street and, and Sarah sells shares on the public market.
But the investors is, is putting money into the company to be a partner as an owner of that business, as an owner of that business. They’re not, they’re not trying to cannibalize the business and other popular sentiment. They’re not trying to remove you and the popular sentiment, they’re trying to be a partner as an owner. And as an owner, the only way they get their money back is for that company to sell at some point. And so the simplest way to appreciate whether or not a venture capitalist is going to be interested in what you’re doing is that question, do you want to sell the business? Can you sell the business? If the answer is no, talk to a bank. Look for a grant, right? Look for friends and family who want to be business partners with you. But if you, if your answer is absolutely yes, I, I want to get out in 10 years, I want this to sell to, to Google.
I, I hope to get this on the public market and have an IPO. Maybe it’s in five years, maybe it’s in seven years, maybe it’s in 15 years. As long as the intention is there, the conversation should be had and have a lot of questions pretending that, but before we get too far in, so the fun and house, you guys are having an event Monday at in cahoots, is that correct? We’re at, we’re at in Coots actually starting on Sunday. Oh, that’s in Austin. In Coots is on the East side of Austin. We’re hosting a funded house Sunday, Monday, Tuesday with some, some themes to help drive at a more meaningful conversation each day with the audience that’s there. And then Monday in particular, we’ve, we’ve opened up the experience with in Coots and with some other partners to host what we’re calling rally up rah, rally Austin to, to open it up to a lot more of, of our government leaders.
A lot more of the small businesses, a lot more of the other financial partners given the fact that under the circumstances we wanted to have more of a conversation than just venture capital. So Sunday is a focus on female founders and investors and we’ve got programming throughout the day. Monday is a focus on the media business because of where we are in media tech ventures. And then Monday night is what we’re calling rally Austin. And then Tuesday’s a focus on veterans and our military innovation because Texas, as you all know or should know, Texas of course is a major epicenter for a lot of military work, a lot of department of defense work. And then of course a lot of veterans who are coming back home and trying to figure out how to get back into the workforce and start something new. So someone like me, I’m totally good with going there physically though.
Some people wouldn’t be at your stage, so any type of, any way that somebody could attend or get some value without actually being physically there. Yeah, a couple of great ways. We certainly live stream just as much as as you do. We live stream as much as we can. We always have. And it, it’s a good reminder of that first point, right, that we’re under the circumstances. I think we’re all gonna find ourselves more online and we want to show how that works, right? We want to show how that works by making sure that those are experiences are there. We’re, we’re likely going to focus on Facebook. So if you look up on Facebook funded house or media tech ventures or rally Austin, you’ll find some of the experiences where we’ll, we’ll make sure that we’re live streaming. I imagine we’ll have more than that, but at this point things are up in the air.
So, so I think it’s safe to bet that we’ll focus. They’re number one in the number two. We’ve got a wonderful partner in a company called logic tree and logic tree is taking all of the startup applications that we received three or 4,000 at this point, taking all of those startup applications and they’re building a database for the venture capital community that will enable the venture capitalists to sit down in their office inquiry. I’m looking for an investment in a FinTech, for example, an investment in FinTech. It needs to be a series a stage. I’d like a team of three people. All right. What kind of companies are seeking capital right now? And we’re going to show that to them. You already, you have three or 4,000 people that already have kind of filled out this. I’ve started that are wanting the application.
What would he say in there? Yeah, yeah. We built, sounds like a crazy large amount of people. We, well we built, we built funded house last year, so it’s not South by last year. Yeah. Right. Yep. We did it together in I think four weeks last year. And so we honestly, we’re honored that it works so well. Last year and we had a lot of folks step up and participate with us cause it happened so fast. And so this year we had a lot of prep. We had a lot of time to, to get the word out and to be Frank, what we do, like what you do with, with this experience on the show, what we do is a lot of online media in one way, a lot online marketing. We know how to do that. So it’s not hard for us to get the word out where it needs to be and make sure that folks know what we’re up to.
So yeah, as of as a Monday, I think we had 4,000 a startup supply. It’s, it’s still open technically. I mean it’s, it’s a little crazy given the circumstances of weather and we’re on at funded house, whether we’re off at fund that house, whether or not we’re going to get canceled still at this point. Yeah. But, but the, but, but hence your question, the online experience is still there. We’re still going to be live streaming no matter what. And we’re still going to have this platform. So any, any startups listening to the show come [email protected] come apply because your, your application goes into this dataset that’s going to, Ooh, I think 1200 venture capitalists at this point who will then have the opportunity to just query and see if you’re a good fit and then reach out if it makes sense for them.
And as is your ideal customer, or I guess I wouldn’t even call it a customer, really ideal person who comes to hang out or watch the fun and houses that just startups. There’s that people that maybe want, want to get into the startup scene, like who, who would get a lot of value out of this experience? Perfect question because it’s an important one. When we started this experience last year we, we wanted to, we wanted to refine the conversation and I don’t mean to refine as in better, I mean, refine is in specialize fo focus. Mmm. There are a lot of venture capital and startup meetups and talks and networking groups. You can find an endless supply of blogs and videos about, but the venture capital community and what we wanted to focus on, it was the venture capital fund, the, the firm, the, the organization that has a, a sizable enough amount of money that they can actually fuel the economy.
They can continue to invest in startups after their initial investment, right? A very distinct, a definition of a venture capitalist on one side. And so on the other side, what that means is we wanted to focus on the, the, the startup and the founder that is at least seed funded. They, but they’ve at least raised a bit of money, right? They’ve gone through the process, they have a sense for it. And we’re doing that to help make sure that that that stage of a startup makes the right connection with that stage of venture capital firm, it’s more likely to, to find value. It doesn’t mean everybody shouldn’t to tune in. It just means that if you’re, if you’re pre-seed or if you just want to learn, appreciate that we’re having that conversation in particular about what that venture capital firm is seeking and how the venture capital firm works, which means if you have questions about an angel investment, if you haven’t questions about crowd funding, we’re not really, having those conversations doesn’t mean they aren’t pertinent, doesn’t mean they’re a valuable conversation to have.
It’s just that the, the expectation you should have as a listener or an attendee what does it take to meet the expectations of a venture capital firm with say, 80 million, $100 million under management? It’s a very different kind of of entity and it’s one, it’s one that I think it’s important to appreciate because it is very different than other sources of capital. Right. And it’s, I to me, like I’d say that that might be a year or two out, three years out. I think it’d be much . It would be a much better experience to learn from those people than trying to learn from failing and just pitching to somebody really poorly and not knowing what I’m going to do. So let’s, so this is different than you were saying. Basically somebody who wants to do angel investing is probably not the best spot here, but what if somebody is scared of the market in general, just, you know, putting the money out there or they already have plenty out there, but they want to invest in some startups, right? They have the hundred thousand dollars to play with. They want to start dipping their toes into this world. Like what would you recommend? How they would get started? Hmm.
How do you get started when you just have an interest? Again, I’m a pragmatist. I, I S I started my career, I didn’t grow up, but I started my career in Silicon Valley. So a grain of salt to your listeners, to our listeners today, I do have a very Silicon Valley perspective and mindset on, on these kinds of questions. And so let me answer it. With that in mind, most startup investment fails overwhelmingly. So if you have $100,000 that you would like to invest in startups, I would encourage that you have roughly $5 million that you have to play with in invest in general that that investing in startups needs to be completely disposable wealth because with $100,000 investment invested, the very likely outcome is that you, you lose $100,000. Ah it’s, it’s important to say that and stress it because I think most investors, and frankly, most startups and small businesses don’t really appreciate that that’s the case.
And that’s why I said that the venture capital community is, is the most risk tolerant of anything in the ecosystem, anything in the economy. That’s the role they play. It’s essentially R and. D. I mean if you think about what, what a Google or, or a pharmaceutical company spends in R. And, D, most of it is just meant to experiment. Most of it is just meant to try to enable entrepreneurs to, to uncover something or experiment with something or . The difference is that it’s not a company, right? It’s an individual or it’s a firm that’s investing and so we have to appreciate that it’s, it’s kind of meant to be lost and we have to appreciate though that in, in being lost, it’s actually not lost, right? It’s, it’s, it’s fuel. Put some people to work. It’s enabled people to experiment. It’s why we have concepts like lean startup and the MVP, right?
This is capital that enables the economy to try things and it’s from where innovation is born and it’s for that reason, that that stage and that aspect of our economy is so important, especially now. Right? We need them to step up more now so that people can try, people can figure out how to get through this, this set of circumstances with a virus. People can can start some new things that might work better, right? We’ve got to enable that venture capital community to take those risks because we need them. We need them now more than ever. So if you want to play, where do you do it? I, I danced around that answer. Where are you going to do it? I actually encourage that you get involved in incubators, not accelerators. And, and there’s a distinction there that we could talk about if it makes sense too, but incubators and accelerators, because incubators by and large are analogous to that idea of R and D incubators are where you’ve got mentors and you’ve got directors of programs teaching founders how this stuff works.
And so if you as an investor are curious and want to learn yourself and maybe want to dip your toe in the water, it’s at that stage where you’re going to get a lot of support around that founder. You’re going to get a lot of support around an idea. You’re going to get a lot of other advisors who say, huh, that’s actually something interesting where you might be able to kick in $20,000, $30,000. And, and if you’re willing to help as an angel, if you’re willing to participate in their success and contribute to their success, I think you’re more likely to find something that works. Then just doing it on your own get involved with the community, show up, become an advisor yourself and it’s, and it’s in that where you can find a couple of startups that are probably worth some attention.
Well, I love the way that you put that, that a lot of these are you know, you’re funding experiments and R and, D, it’s a great way of looking at companies that are startups because I think we get so serious about it sometimes. So then we worry about failure and failure. Obviously you don’t want the hat that to happen if you’re the startup owner, but that you are kind of experiment in this world and you know, you’re, we’re all trying to hit home runs, but that doesn’t always happen. It, it, it, it mostly never happens. Right? And so, so I’d even offer it a maybe a refreshing perspective on those, those notions of the school of thought that a startup founders purpose is to fail. Interesting. it is to fail because unless you fail you’re not going to uncover anything new. All right?
Most new things fail. And so if you, if you’re trying to avoid failure, if you’re just looking for that next customer, then, then what you actually have is just a new business, right. You’re, you’re emulating what others have done and, and you’re just trying to build a business. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s very distinct from a startup, right? A startup is in business too. Uncover something completely different, completely new. And odds are we’re going to be wrong. We have to be right. I, I can’t be right. I think we just, most of them come up with an actual definition of a startup cause everybody likes to call themselves a startup. I’m like, eh, that’s a business. Like, you know, but the, I think that is what it is. Where your business, you’re, you’re looking for immediately how to pay the bill as the revenue and doing what somebody else has already done before.
Maybe a little better or a little different. Yep. Which I’ve done that applying different times over the course of my career. But you know, startup might be to where you’re trying to completely uncover something unique and new. Yup. I, I get in trouble in a lot of panels in Texas because Texas does have that very a business oriented perspective on startups. And, and if I may, again, given where I come from, Silicon Valley doesn’t write Silicon valleys, definition of S of a startup to some extent comes from Steve blank, who, who said that a startup is a new venture in search of a business model. Meaning there isn’t a business, meaning we can’t, we can’t use any existing business model to start that thing. We have no idea what it is. And so of course we’re wrong. Of course we, we can’t just get customers and turn on revenue.
The business that by definition is a business model. So if we don’t know what the business model is, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, right? It could be technology, it could be a restaurant, could be, could be, it could be an accounting firm. But if we don’t know what the business model is, then you’ve got to start up, then you’ve got something new. And, and by definition of that, by extension that we’re going to fail. And so where I get in trouble is a lot of times on, on panels, I’ll make this point, a startup only fails when the founder quits.
A startup only fails when a founder quits. Now think about that. Why would I quit? I would only quit because I need to be making money and if I need to be making money, I’d have a business model and I’m actually just failing it. Closing business and converting customers. But if I’m actually in it as a startup, if I’m a mission driven in venture, if I have a purpose that I’m just, I’m set out to accomplish no matter what, then I’m going to figure it out. I will pivot a million times. I won’t be wrong a million times and I will figure it out and someday we’ll uncover new business model that works.
Yeah, I love that perspective because you know, a business fails when you run out of money that that’s how business venture startup fails when you, when you quit. That’s, that’s very, very interesting. So w what about somebody who, so startups are so cool right now, right? Yeah. Entrepreneurship is way, you know, now when I, when I was starting out, like that wasn’t the cool thing. It was like, go get a job. But now everybody wants to own their own company or do a startup. All right, so say somebody wants to, they want to do a startup, they really, really do
What? Yeah, but they’ve never done it before. How would they get started?
Like where would it be some first steps
Maybe some how to, where they could learn a little bit before diving in completely. And then, you know, maybe just start from there. Yeah. Great, great, great line of thought because I think it extends from what we were just talking about. Frankly I tend to encourage avoiding avoiding the small business advice. Right. The small business device would, would guide you to the idea that you need to set up an LLC or, or maybe a corporation you need to write a business plan. But again, we don’t have a business model, so, so what kind of plan are we really gonna write up? I would look to experiences like a Quora if I were to suggest and reiterate the fact that a lot more people are about to get online. Core is this wonderful website where you can ask any conceivable question and it does a wonderful job of discerning better answers from, from a massive community of millions of people that are contributing perspective.
So, so hopping on something like Quora and just ask, all right, here’s what I have in mind. What should I do? And, and you’re more likely as the point, you’re more likely to that person who’s in that industry and advisor in that sector who, who gives you really good, practical, pragmatic advice. Number one. Number two certainly look to incubators more than coworking spaces and, and more than accelerators. Again, by definition, an incubator that has a curriculum that is going to teach you over the course of 10 to 15 weeks. It’s going to teach you exactly what you need to do. It’s going to go through everything from what is an operating agreement and, and what are the cap table and how do I deal with equity and valuing that equity and how do I attract a a co founder, right?
It literally gonna teach you how to do this stuff. And there are many many, many in Austin, many throughout the world to be sure. And so just, just look for an incubator that’s right for your experience, your perspective, your, your expectations. And then three I would do this, I would start with mission, vision and values as opposed to you know, what is it that we’re going to do? How are we going to do it? We don’t know what it is yet. We don’t know how we’re gonna do it yet. It’s a startup. W what is the mission? What, what are you passionate about accomplishing? Because if you’re going to get into this space again, you’re going to fail. So how do we, how do we find the thing that you are so passionate about that you will overcome that adversity, you will overcome that failure.
You have to find a mission that you’re committed to for the rest of your life, frankly. Right? And, and appreciate that your business, it might not look like what you think it will, might not look like what you want it to, to look like as long as you’re committed to that mission. Right? At the end of the day, a startup founder is committed to accomplishing something and making a difference in the world. How well we figured out how along the way. And so I’d love as an, as an addition to that. I love folks like Simon Sinek. Start with why. All right. Re read that book. Appreciate how, why really defines everything else that you’re doing from hiring to, to, to determining the customers you want to have to too as well. Figuring out what kind of investors you want to have. That really starts with why.
Because again, an investor is not going to ever get involved if your why is because I’d like to own a business and make money. Well, good for you, right? Investors looking for an opportunity to own that business with you and exit. At some point so they get a return. So if your why is different, if your why is different, right? It’s going to guide you down the right path to help get that business off the ground as efficiently and effectively as possible. Here in Austin, we have this fantastic startup community. What about some just here in Austin? Like say you’ve, you’ve done some stuff, you’ve done some research. How would you get more involved and then just in the startup community here in Austin, what would you recommend there? Focus on your space. I, it, it’s focused under space in the sense that, so I moved to Austin about 11 years ago now and you know, there’s grass is greener concepts or, or perspectives I’ve in every region of the world, right?
A lot of, a lot of people these days want to be in Austin because the grass is greener, right? We’ve got to move to Austin. But it actually is greener here right now. So let’s just you know, and, and the flip side of that coin is, is that the grass is not greener, right? We’re also hearing don’t go to Silicon Valley. We don’t want to be like Silicon Valley. It’s not greener there. We’re, we’re better. Well, I appreciate this. Neither is true. No, neither is any other place actually greener. And, and neither is Silicon Valley worse or better for that matter. And what I’m alluding to is that we have this erroneous perception that tech, the word tech technology, a big tech. You hear big tech had politics a lot these days. Big tech is trying to steal our data. You, you hear the use of this word tech as though that’s the underlying consideration of startups that, that, that that tech defined Silicon Valley and it’s not true.
Technology is just a facet of every industry. And that’s my point. If, if I had more advice about how to get involved in Austin, how to get involved in your community, but I get involved in your city, it’s to focus on your industry, not your skillset. Don’t go to the technology meetup. Don’t go to the marketers meetup. Marketers don’t go to the marketer’s meet up, right? You’re just going to meet a pure group of poor people that are doing the same thing you are. What you want to go to is the sector that you’re interested in, right? If you want to build a real estate technology startup, then go hang out with the real estate community. Go hang out with the real estate entrepreneurs. Go hang out with the , go hang out with the realtors because they’re your market. They’re your partners, they’re your advisors.
They’re, they’re most likely your early investors because they’re the people that get it. And then the people that can enable you to figure out how to build something in that space that’s meaningful and valuable to that sector in particular. Like say if I want to start a company, I have an idea, what would you recommend I do? Like what would be my first step? Sure. Well, to start a business or to start a company well, what a however you want to take it. Well, and, and, and, and two distinct things, I think as well that are important, right? A company. It’s interesting. I love getting into the love. I love getting into the social politics of, of how frustrated a lot of people are about big business companies these days. A company by definition is a bunch of people it’s the word company that didn’t never really thought about it that way and it, you know, and so there’s a lot of sentiment frustration perhaps with, with some founders right, who, who are incredibly wealthy because of these companies.
And, and, and what I’m slowly touching on is the fact that we have to appreciate though that those companies and those founders also made a lot of other people wealthy and also create a lot of jobs, right? Because a company, again by definition is, is people a business isn’t necessarily right. A business can be a sole proprietor, a business can be, can be a freelancer, a right? And so there is that very distinct line. And, and I think it’s, it’s starting with that line. Which of those two things are you accompany means where you start a company means you’re going to set up a a Delaware corporation or Texas corporate, right? You’re going to set up an company, literally for the purposes of having shares equity at this stage, but shares in that company that enable you to bring other people on board in exchange for ownership.
It might be investors, but frankly they’re also just team members, right? Who, who is your co founder? Who is your, who’s your vice president of marketing? Who are the people that are gonna come in, in sales? And, and it’s important to distinguish because most people neglect the fact that that ownership, that equity, those shares are a form of compensation, right? When you’re starting out, let’s answer the question more explicitly. When you’re just starting out, what do you do first? You decide how you’re going to build a team, you’re going to need a team. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you’re going to decide how you’re going to build that team and they’re going to decide how you’re going to value and compensate them. That is job one. That is job one. How are you going to attract people to join you on this mission and how are we going to compensate them?
And I use the word compensate because it doesn’t mean you have to pay them, right? We make the mistake of saying you have to pay people. No, no, you don’t. Startups don’t pay people for the most part until they can. So what? How do we compensate? We compensate with ownership or we compensate with profit sharing, right? There are a lot of different ways that we can compensate as we get this business off the ground. You’re not yet. You’re not yet a sustainable, successful venture. And so it’s almost a mistake to say that you’re hiring employees or that you have jobs you don’t yet you don’t yet. And it’s okay to say that I don’t have any jobs yet, but I would love to have you join me. Here’s how I can take care of you if you join me. Right? And we can help drive business to you.
We can give you shares and ownership in our company. We could do a profit sharing or some sort of revenue sharing with regard to two partners that you bring on board customers that are bringing on board. Right? Explore that first because that starts from that question of why, why are we doing this? Cause we’re going to build a business or we’re going to build a company. Right? And all that was very interesting because you didn’t talk about business plans, they didn’t just talk about people. All that you described was trying to is all people base, which is very interesting because that’s kind of the opposite of what a lot of people would probably answer that question with. Th so the can we get in trouble? So the, so the the, the idea that it’s kind of opposite is actually one that I’m extremely passionate about because my experience has been that the coasts where you see more funding to ventures, and we’re not talking Silicon Valley, now we’re talking New York, we’re talking Los Angeles in the entertainment business.
We are talking to Silicon Valley. But what I, what I wanted to clarify is we’re not just talking about Silicon Valley. There is more capital going into new ventures in those three cities because they appreciate that point. In particular. It is about people we fund, we take risks. People period. You don’t know what your business model is. You don’t know if it’s going to work. You don’t have customers yet. What am I doing? I’m taking a risk on you, Darren. I’m taking a risk on the people involved and when I moved here, rather outspoken and I’m pretty vocal about the fact that here in Texas, we tend to focus on other things and, and you sorta just affirmed that, right? That we hear, we hear something very different. We do. We hear business plant, we hear how many customers do you have? How many, how much revenue do you have?
What’s your breakeven point know exactly. And here’s, here’s what I, here’s an investor. You still have no idea if you’re going to be put out of business by competitors, you’ve done nothing to and convince me that you won’t quit when it gets difficult, because if that revenue and those customers disappear, what are you gonna do? I’m not going to invest unless I’m certain that you’re going to persevere unless I’m certain that some other company can just kill you because it happens, right? It’s a competitive marketplace, especially now that we’re a world economy, a global economy, right? You’ve got competitors in China who have far lower costs of doing business who don’t have any IP or patent considerations to worry about, right? So you have competitors on the other side of the world. If they’re going to put you out of business, investors can’t get involved, won’t get involved, and that’s not wrong of them.
That’s, that’s reasonable of them. That’s, that’s ensuring that they have capital to put to play. That will deliver a return, which is important for us as the economy. Right? And so they’re looking for that confidence that there is a group of people there. We’re working together who compliment each other and who are committed to that mission. I love it. And we’re going kind of from the large, this small here. So my next question is, all right, so you have an idea, you haven’t even thought about anything. How, what, what would be, how would you recommend somebody to start flushing out their idea? Yeah, I’m going to detract a little bit too, perhaps from a lot of the perspective in this part of the world. An an NDA is worthless. A patent is worthless. It says you that just, they don’t even look at it.
They, they don’t even look at it, but, but it’s, but it’s even more worthless in the sense that if you, if you start having a conversation with, I need you to sign this agreement that you won’t talk about it. What you’re actually saying to us in today’s economy where you’re actually saying to us is, I’m not confident that I can do this better than anybody else. So I need to protect myself from the risk that you’re going to do it. Right. What is it and what does that tell me? That tells me, okay, you probably aren’t the best person to do this. That’s funny. Right? So, so what, what do you start with? You really have to shift the way that you look at how things work. The, the, the philosophy, the underlying philosophy you have about entrepreneurship, right. To get started, you have to start talking.
I am, I am a huge proponent of the idea that you should go sit down and coffee shops. Not, not any coffee shop in particular. I want you to go to every single coffee shop in your neighborhood and I don’t want you to look for customers. I don’t want you to look for people that fit the demographic of your audience. I want you to talk to the, the 12 year old kid sitting there with her dad, and I want you to talk to the, the 80 80 year old guy playing chess with his buddy. I want you to talk to everybody in that coffee shop and I want you to ask them every conceivable question that you can come up with, with regard to what you’re doing. And I don’t want you to justify or explain anything. Just ask, right? What do you think of this?
What if we did it that way? Would you pay pay for it this way? How would you use it? All right? Would you use it on a mobile device or, or do you need somebody to sell it to your door to door, right? Ask every conceivable question you can think of. And, and I’m a proponent of that notion because I’ve seen a couple of startups do it. And I literally mean just a couple because most people don’t take this advice. Just a couple. I want you to get to 500 interviews. Oh, he’s at five. So I always tell people a hundred but yeah, 500 I love it. I want you to because what I want to see is his notebooks. Hmm. I want to see notebooks that show that you’ve got 400 there that I’ve actually said no. Right? Then have said, I don’t get it.
I don’t understand. I don’t think it’s going to work, but maybe 20% said yes. Yep, yep. Because, because why? Because most people are going to say no. Right? Right. You’re in, you’re in, you’re in the business as a founder of finding that niche that says yes, and here’s how, and here’s why, and here’s where and so forth. So you can build that efficiently and effectively. And you can’t do that if it’s just you and your founders sitting in an office and you really can’t even do that if it’s popping into that coworking space or even that incubator that I buys. You really can’t do it if it’s just that group of people either is that group of people is going to be, it’s going to have a perspective, right. And it, and they’re frankly, they’re going to be a little too encouraging. You need to talk to those random people on the street.
We’re going to have no idea what you’re talking about. So you could get a sense for them how to overcome that ignorance or that, that discomfort with what you’re thinking about doing. I also think that there’s a lot of extra benefits there too. Just like similar things with this podcasts. Like I, you know, you put yourself out there, get more conversations with people that you don’t know perhaps are not like you. Cause I think we all try to gravitate to people that are like us. And so at the very least, you’re probably developed some social skills, but you could have said you might save yourself five, 10, 15 years and all your life savings by some conversations up front. That, that, that, that’s my point. I’ve seen two startups do it. Now. Those two startups that did it used that conversation, use that narrative during demo minutes demo days, right?
An experience where you get in front of a bunch of investors and, and pitch and, and the, the odds that any investor is actually gonna write you a check is, is negligible, right? Demo events exist too. Promote some startups too to connect the community. Those two startups got on stage with two boxes, a box full of all of the interviews that said no in a box full of all the interviews that said yes and they got checks that night. Well, because they pointed out to the investors that they had had so many conversations that they really were light years ahead of anybody who was just trying to do it themselves. They have that insight to how to do it a little more effectively, a little more efficiently. Thus, if you kick in a little bit of capital, odds are we’re going to figure something out that works.
I love it. So I know there’s a lot to get to and I know we have a time constraints, but give us a brief overview of this long list of background that you’ve done with your career. Sure, sure. I so I grew up in Michigan and, and I’m in my forties. So for those that can imagine, you know, I grew up building computers. I grew up when the auto industry was struggling. I grew up with, with a health healthcare industry up there. That was, that was leaving Michigan. And so the economy was, was rough, frankly for, for the most part. And so I bailed, I bailed out and I went to Arizona state because at the time, and even still, you wouldn’t think it necessarily, but I’m, I’m actually very introverted. So, so I, I looked at something like Arizona state and I was just blown away.
Right. There’s beautiful school, warm out, lots of parties, lots of parties, and don’t have to deal with Michigan winters for fun. I’m from Kansas. So the winters was like, no, don’t do that anymore. I, I, I was drawn to the optimism and the enthusiasm of, of that environment and Mmm. Honestly, right time, right place. Because at that time, Arizona state university was just starting to invest heavily in their business school, which is now a world-class and heavily invest in computer science, which is now world-class. It’s, it’s one of the most notable online schools for people who are looking to just attend ASU virtually. . So at the time that introvert and that, that partier kind of merged. And I, I, I spent most of my time at Arizona state, either building websites cause I was interested or honestly just socializing and and I built a website about the Beatles.
This is 1996 or something. And I got an email from surge George Martin. Hopefully everybody knows it. No kidding. And, and you know, this is early, early days, if you will. And so I didn’t even occur to me how to save it or anything, but it was very brief, you know, found your website and very, very impressed. Good. Good luck. Kind of kind of note. Yes. No kidding. Right. My mind was blown because here I am, a 20, I don’t know, maybe even 19 year old kid. Never received an email really to speak of outside of the university. Here I’m getting one from the other side of the world from somebody who is, is among the most incredible people ever about something I built. I built in my dorm room coding on a computer. Now I’m no engineer. Right.
But, but I’ve got enough of that acumen that I, that I like to play around with these things. And so, and when I graduated, I got a call from Yahoo and there’s the start, I got a call from Yahoo at a time when you get a call from Yahoo, you take the job. Yeah, yeah. He was massive. But then they still massive. But they were the biggest of the biggest. It’s, yeah. Really, it’s just, it’s just changed a lot. Right. At that point it was the innovator. It was, it was a, you know, I, I couldn’t even use an appropriate analogy today cause Facebook is not doing what Yahoo has done. Google, maybe Microsoft, frankly, Microsoft today is incredibly innovative. And, and people don’t even realize it, but yes, Yahoo was, was the dawning of all of the cool stuff. And so of course took it long story short did, did about 12 years in, in the Valley. Yahoo, a couple of other companies did a couple of startups that were successful and then increasingly moved into helping venture capital and helping, helping startups figure out a way to appeal to this conversation that we’ve been having. And, and moved to Austin about 10 years ago just to for, for personal reasons, kids, kids. It was the mortgage crisis that, that I think a lot, I can remember.
Yeah, I moved in 2008 as well. So yeah, close. Just, just didn’t feel like it had affected this area that much. I mean it did, but not not compare to the rest of the world. Right? It
Yeah, it did. It did. It did in the sense that my world, this, this world was, was actually rather decimated. And, and so it’s,
Oh, that’s true. Yeah. You’re kind of report point here.
My passion, my why. You know, so I arrived here and, and yeah, this, this place was Def decimated there. There wasn’t much of a startup community. We had a couple of tech related brands. Of course Intel is here in Bazaarvoice and so forth. And so imagine now, 10 years ago when the mortgage crisis hit that that community was just destroyed. Mmm. What I saw in, in Texas more than more than even just Austin, what I saw in Texas was this incredible resilience and passion and entrepreneurship more than a startup scene. And I was just drawn to it. I was drawn to the idea that if anywhere in the world was going to pick ourselves up and recover from what just happened, then and, and build something completely new and distinct is this part of the world. And so we w my wife and I moved in a matter of weeks cause we saw that and we just thought something is going to happen there. And I think to some extent we w we were prescient to some extent it’s certainly happened. And, and so Austin is now this great, great ecosystem of entrepreneurs and small businesses and, and creativity and innovation and and, and, and now here we are. As we started the conversation, here we are in a sense picking ourselves back up again. Right? That’s why I’m so passionate about being here.
I love it. And I, you know, South by Southwest always draws so many people. And that was, you know, one of my first experiences in Austin. You’re just like, ah, this place is just, has so much fire. And like you’re talking about Arizona state, just the energy, it just, you know, it’ll grab you real quick. So one of the questions I have is, so you started, you know, you were, I know you went also worked at HP, some large corporations, like how did you go from, you know, a corporate job and you know, there’s some negative connotations there, but there’s also, it could be fantastic
Two more into the venture capital world. Like walk me through how that happened cause that seems like
Completely different areas.
They, they, they are, and, and, and we should, we should be distinct in the fact that the, the work I do now and the work that we do in media tech ventures, is not explicitly venture capital. Just so folks know I’m not to, to use the, the words properly, if, if, if I could, I am not a venture capitalist. We worked in venture capital, right? We, we are a venture, what’s considered a venture development firm, which is a bit of a hybrid of economic development and capital. And so we actually even work with, ah, corporate innovation and corporate funds. We work with public sector on public funding. Right. How do we move more of the city of Austin’s creative funds, arts funds, for example to support entrepreneurs in particular? How do, how do we move the university of Texas interests in entrepreneurship? How do we help them be a little bit more effective with, with their kind of funds? So, so in that context, what, there, there, there’s a story that I love to tell just to make people think, what’s the difference between someone like Mark Zuckerberg and someone like Elon Musk?
I mean, there’s so many differences, but I like to hear your answer, I suppose.
Ah, I’d like to characterize that it’s the distinguishing definition of the word entrepreneur. Mark Zuckerberg is not an entrepreneur.
They built a company, right? Yeah. And you know, I’m has a just constant crazy visions, but he gets very excited about it, you know? Yeah. You know, if you listen to his interviews, I just love his passion and he just, he can’t, it seems like he can’t turn it off. You know, it has to dabble. And I, and I, and I think that’s,
That’s the distinction, right? That, that both right. Who are, who are we to say either are or are not successful in an incredible right. That’s not the point. Clearly they are, but, but there is something distinct about the fact that someone started one major successful company that’s worth billions, millions of dollars and the other one is started a few. Yeah. And instead of keep going and keeps throwing out random ideas and they’re completely different, right. He went from PayPal to space, right. To Hyperloop, right. To, to transportation, to to Tesla, to batteries. Oh my goodness. Right. I can’t even conceive of doing so many different things. How I made the transition was actually experiencing how in HP I was, I was uncomfortable. I was held back. HP was a, a blessing in disguise. Make no mistake. This was the time when I was one of the first people from the inside to get hired too.
Help run online media, online marketing for any big company. And so here I was 20, around 23, a 24 million. And I just get a massive budget and, and support from this, this big corporate entity because who else knows this stuff? But, but this young kid from Yahoo, all right, sure. And, and so it was a blessing in disguise in the sense that right folks were looking to, to someone like me and, and, and others and say, what do we do about Google? What do we do about this new thing called Facebook? What do we do with email? How do we deal with analytics? Right? This was not the wild West, but, but there weren’t many people that the had a experience with it. And so I had the opportunity then to do a lot that most people didn’t have the opportunity to do.
And that, that was just incredible. But at the same time, Mmm. I got to experience what it meant for a company, a corporation to be concerned about things like privacy on the internet, things like whether or not we’re using the right language on the internet, whether or not we have the right terms of service to, to experience those concerns. The, the, the concern I experienced as an example was it legal at one point pulled us in to say, we can’t use the word laptop. Oh no. To sell these devices. And the internet, right? The internet guy, the search guy says yes, except most people are looking for laptops, right? Most people want to buy laptops. I’m sorry you can’t use that word. It implies that people can put them on their labs and not get burned and they could get burned. And I said, well, what do we, what do I do?
People are one of my laptops. And I just got the, I’m sorry, you can’t. Mmm. That was when I realized that’s not my culture. That’s a little handcuffed. Yeah. That’s not my culture. Now I get it. Right. And we all should appreciate it. I appreciate why they’re concerns like that, but that’s where I experienced, that’s not my kind of environment. That’s not the way I work. And so I got pulled out by some angel investors to help launch some startups and that, that was the start of it to launch some startups to get back into the environment of, you know, what, if we don’t have all the answers, how do we just do things efficiently and effectively? How do we, how do we explore an experimental along the way and how do we have just focused on making sure this works so that we have something and the rest is kind of history from there.
So yeah, my background’s kind of opposite. I’d go F went from more small, medium companies that looked at, Hey, how can we 10 X this? How can we break everything to make ourselves as double, triple, you know? Sure. And then we got acquired. One of the companies I worked for got acquired by air electronics, massive companies, 17,000 employees, you know, $26 billion revenue. And I was there for a couple of years. But yeah, it was just a whole, you know, those grow 2% don’t mess anything up, look good internally. And I, I had a tough time with that. That was a whole different pace for me. Mmm. But it’s interesting because there’s a, there’s also a lot of, there’s some fantastic positions. Those companies, they do a lot of great things because they have the fuel, they have the revenue, the money to do some stuff. I think you just got to find the pocket there.
If, if that’s a nail, if you’re an entrepreneurial kind of background or spirit or even just the fact that you want to great a lot of things quickly it’s, I think it is difficult in a larger corporation. I agree to a great extent. I also though think it’s, it’s the best place to start as a young person. You know, the, the likelihood that you’re going to be a successful founder at 22, sorry to break the news to you, but the data shows, the likelihood of that is, is, is negligible. The average age of success is a, as a founder is actually 45, five. And, and there, there was a study just a few weeks ago that, that a 60 year old starting a startup, the, the distinction of a starter that we talked about a 60 year old is three times more likely to be successful than a 20 year old.
So, so as a, as a young person, the F the facts still is where’s the best place that you can get this kind of experience too? To build a network, to build some wealth to, to try a lot of different things. It’s going to be in those more innovative companies, right? It’s going to be at the Google or the IBM or, or even the Dell, frankly these days. Look to look to one of those big companies where even the HP where you can have that experience that I had that says, we do want to try all of these things. And then, and then you discover when they go, ah, but we don’t want to try those things. And that, that almost lights a fire in you to say, great, well I’m going to go do those things. Right? Sure. So, so do I do them with you or do I break off and go figure it out for myself and start some things?
And a lot of people don’t have much experience out, you know, college, you know, you’re more learning as opposed to actually doing and you know, corporations will hire you and you can, you can learn it hun very quickly. Right. So out of all the, the your long list experiences and you’re super involved what’s kind of, what’s been kind of one of the, I don’t know, moments has set out, stood out to you that you can kind of give us an out of, there’s probably a tie. It’s hard to, hard to reach back, but what’s that? That kind of stood out to you? Maybe a defining moment at vomit or something that was fun. We’re, we’re going to have to write a book about this someday, just because it’s what people do, right? Mmm. I, I met, I met my cofounder. John’s is aro.
My, my cofounder in media tech ventures at Starbucks for those of us at Austin, at Starbucks, at the Arboretum, you’ll know where I’m talking about that that location in particular a has always held the soft spot in my heart for the Austin startup scene because it’s that, that venue in particular, that coffee shop in particular where it’s actually the epicenter of the tech companies, the venture capitalists in a lot of the young people in the entrepreneurs lot, a lot of people in this part of the world like to suggest or imply that this startup scene is downtown. It’s actually not it’s actually roughly along three 60 the three 60 freeway on the West side where angel investors are found where tech companies are found, et cetera. And that’s really where the epicenter is because if you’re an entrepreneur and if you’re going to take these risks, all right, you want to be close to, you want to have access to these advisors.
At the Arboretum, at Starbucks. Johns is our own eye met, I believe on Twitter. I don’t recall. And, and he, he had just moved here from Chicago and he was talking about starting a music technology program. He was, he was noting that the Austin music scene was, was lacking, was, was lacking a lot of the typical players, publishers and producers and even lawyers and so forth. And, and so as, as the live music capital the world, we had to do something. We had to do something more than just have philanthropies and venues. We had to focus on the fact that there was a an economy that was, it was frankly just kind of missing any, any noted that that live music capital of the world, roughly 60, 70% of the entire music industry actually works below the poverty line. Noted.
That was a little disingenuous that we have all this music and yet nobody’s w doing too well. Nobody’s really getting, buying successfully. And those that were, were likely leaving, those that were, were likely going to LA or Nashville. And as he started socializing that our, this, this media tech ventures that we have. And of course, media tech refers to not just music, but every form of immediate podcasting and video games, news media. So we built a concept that is really just in a broader context exactly what John wanted to do. And so John kept kept hearing of our intentions, our why. And so we sat down at Starbucks. Long story short, so we sat down at Starbucks and it took us maybe three minutes for me to say, why don’t you just join us? I’ll give you, you know, whatever percentage of the company was.
Mmm, Nope, no, no discussion of how we make money. No discussion of whether or not we have funding, no discussion whether or not it could pay him. It was, it was this, you know, as folks ask how to find and meet co-founders, that’s my point. That, that we need to write a book someday as folks ask how to meet co-founders. There’s a narrative, there’s a, there’s a lesson in what happened between John Zaro and I. We, we, we each had been building something that overlapped. We each had a need to have partners. We each socialized, we talked about a lot, our vision and our passion and our mission. And people keep saying, kept saying, you two should talk, you do, should get together. And all of that groundwork having been done meant that before our coffee even showed up at Starbucks before they even called my name, the barista even called my name.
Right. I was looking at him and saying, let’s go. Let’s just do this rock and roll. I love it. So what is success look like for you? So success is, is . Well, so I love, I love the notion behind your show, cause let me, let’s explore it this way. We’re building an empire and I believe an empire exists to serve. I agree to serve. And, and, and I, I like that notion in the sense that it’s a bit it distinct from, from the kingdom or a for that matter. Mmm. You know, a kingdom has a Monarch of, of sorts. And of course an emperor emperor exists an empire. But I liked the notion that an empire, in fact, it exists to serve the people which, which isn’t necessarily true in the case of a monarchy or isn’t necessarily true in the case of a company.
Mmm. And so w what we, what we are as a holding company, actually, we, we we’re pretty democratized a cap table to use that reference, right? Everybody has some ownership and some things. And what we did was we built a holding company with the intention of enabling people who share the same vision to really just benefit from the resources that are available, the, the rest of the team doing very different things and the fact that together collaboratively we’re likely to get more attention and audience and support then if it’s just one or two of us. And so success looks like for us, frankly, Mmm. Enabling capital to move more substantially and effectively to entrepreneurs in media.
How do we define that? I don’t know yet. We’re still a startup, right? We don’t have the business model yet. We have some business models. We’ve, we’ve built a media technology incubator called collective. That’s been very successful and is, is a source of revenue and a source of our portfolio. We, we are attracting investment in real estate because we’re investing in studios that, that serve entrepreneurs. We we built this funded house experience, right? Is this experience at conferences to help connect investors. So we have businesses, but all of those businesses aren’t oriented to that notion that whether your capital is that of a venture capitalist or an angel investor or frankly if your capital is with the city or you are a nonprofit foundation or we’re a capital is by way of a company, you, you are Dell ventures or, or your capital records innovation group.
Our definition of success is that those entrepreneurs need more of your help. It is our responsibility to move that and to help move that through teaching through education, through socialization and so forth. We’re, we’re building a data platform. We’re building a company exclusively to expose and promote all of the media innovation in the world. What’s in it for us? Don’t know. We’re not charging for it. We’re not putting ads up. We’re just building it because it needs to exist. We need an easier way to find what people are doing to, to promote media technologies, to promote the next Netflix, to promote the next Spotify. Mmm. Such a thing doesn’t exist. So we’re building it and we’ll see what happens. We’re building it because the Capitol community needs that kind of thing in order to figure out how and where to get involved. And so most important to us is that the investment community, the, the corporate innovation groups, the, the public sector and, and the economic development folks and the people with, with funds and foundations just reach out to us because if they want to know what’s going on, if they want access to this data, if they want to get some visibility to where they could get involved, we’re just here to help. We’re just here to help inform them so they can do that. Any regrets around along the way?
You know, it’s w I, I don’t think they’re regrets because I don’t, I don’t think an entrepreneur can have regrets, but there are certainly things that we’ve, we’ve focused on that didn’t work out. The, the one big one might be this, we put too much faith and hope in in the education system. It’d be Frank. We did, we, we early, we focused on K through 12 and we focused on universities and we said, great, where can we best teach technical skills to people that have creative interest? All right, where can we teach people who want to be musicians? How to build a website in, in its simplest terms, that’s a bit of what we’re doing. Mmm. Where, where can we teach entrepreneurs in college to be much more effective? Well, let’s do it through working with, with universities and K through 12 program.
Well, we found out real quick that there is actually a lot of reservation too, getting the private sector involved in those things. There is a lot of pushback in, in those, you know, government and public sector kind of, kind of organizations. They, they w they want you to volunteer, they want you to help, they want you to come teach, but to actually come in and disrupt things, do it, to do it differently, to run those things. Mmm it’s an insurmountable mountain. Yeah. They still want to control that area. Yep. And then last question how do you want it to be remembered? Hmm. How do I want to be remembered?
I’m a, I’m a practitioner of the school of thought that the most important thing in the world for anyone to do is just love other people. That manifests in a whole bunch of different ways. Whether or not you believe in you, you have a faith and you believe in heaven or, or, or you, you practice something more like Buddhism and you just believe in doing the right things or, or you’re an entrepreneur or you’re an investor, as, as we’ve been talking about. Mmm. I want to be remembered with that in mind, that no matter what I accomplished, made others feel more fulfilled and made others be more successful. To be Frank, I’m a father of three kids that, that most importantly, it had that impact on them. That that to me, no one else matters before those three kids and before myself best I can everybody else matters.
And then I come, then I come into the picture and hopefully I’ve a difference in other people’s lives in a way that I’ve, I’ve embodied that idea that, that as long as we love one another, we’re going to do it right. We’re going to get through all of this. I love it. Well, your perspective is fantastic. I think we’ve got a lot of value out of today. I know you had it to get to a meeting. I probably pushed you over a little bit. I really appreciate you being on the podcast today. My pleasure. It was great. It was an honor. Really nice chatting with you, Darren, and I know you’re slammed with all these conversations you’re trying to have. So thank you for what you’re doing because these shows, please, please listeners, you know, share these shows. Cause this, this format like we started the conversation is, is where more and more people are going for information to learn to be informed to get the news. So the best thing we all can do is be a part of that conversation and share these kinds of things. So I’m honored to be here and I’m, I’m, I’m even more honored to be a part of what you’re doing. Thank you. I appreciate it. Cheers. Cheers.