March 31, 2022

Episode #20: Michael Weissman – SYNQY Corporation

Michael Weissman is a 6x CEO and award-winning marketer. Over his 35 year career, he has generated over $700 million in revenue growth, led marketing for two public companies, increased share in 18 different product categories and was instrumental in helping sell one of his start-ups for $190 million. Previously, Michael advised leading technology companies including Adobe, Apple, Amazon, SAP, and Verifone.

Today, Michael is the CEO of SYNQY (pronounced sink-ee), a leading retail media technology company and the inventors of a new kind of advertising called Enhanced Product Listings. They work with leading brands such as Pepsi, Unilever, Starbucks, Canon, and Microsoft and top retailers globally to better connect online with shoppers at the point of sale. Last year alone, the company connected with over 25 million shoppers.

Transcript

hello this is Coach Tim Campsall and i’m your host for the self-made is a myth make a difference together show where we’re talking with successful business owners and executives to hear their stories of the journey to building their business and because we know that achieving success does not happen on our own we are recognizing the folks who have helped us to excel i’m excited to have a ceo from california with us today my guest is a published author in seven languages with a book he co-wrote called the paradox of excellence how great performance can kill your business he enjoys writing music and is currently writing a history book which we’ll ask him about here in a minute he is most proud of five u.s patents which means that he has helped to invent things that the government believes is both novel as well as useful please join me in welcoming michael to the show today good to see you tim well michael let’s start with having you um introduce yourself and uh give us a little bit of your personal story where you were born and about your family and hobbies and all that fun stuff okay so i was born in new england i did my childhood in new england um i was interested as a young child and well really did three things i was a swimmer i was a musician and i worked um started working at a very young age probably 10 or 11. and um i started to uh my academic career at music school and then ended up at business school i’m married this will be my 34th year this year i’ve got two kids one who is in the cyber security space and one who is doing ai for gaming and that’s just a little bit of my background i’ve been in california now for 33 or 34 years wonderful and uh tell us about the history book you’re writing yeah so um in doing some family history uh work just for fun uh i discovered some things about the family that i did not know existed a whole branch of our family i actually went back almost 2 000 years wow because i found i was connected to some famous people in the course of that process i discovered some things that i did not know existed and started to get very deep involved in that um and so i’ve discovered that the world that we were taught was not the world as it was that it was structured in a very different way and so i’m having great fun doing that um right now interesting so when what’s your goal in terms of uh published aid it’s so i the book that i wrote the paradox of excellence was a parable everything was made up based upon some principles that were true this book is the opposite everything that is in this book is true and so the the rigor that i have to go into to assert that it is true right is an order of magnitude or two more complicated i’m now at two and a half years in this uh um project i’ve probably read between three to five thousand pages maybe maybe more of academic research uh i think i probably will take another year to write it it’s uh um the with the internet you can’t be wrong right you lose a lot of credibility if you’re wrong so i’m i’m spending a lot of time uh it is my primary hobby at the moment fantastic i’m having a good time i was just gonna say it’s a good thing that you enjoy it because you’re investing a lot of time in it so congratulations on that um michael is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today yeah so so it relates to the book it relates to the book the uh you know what i’ve discovered is that the history was told through the lands of nations but um the history was not controlled by nations they were controlled by people and you know we’ll we’ll learn that the spanish discovered america and the portuguese discovered brazil and the the dutch ran the east india company and all of these things and all of these changes in world history and power yet they all had one thing in common they were all led by jews or people of jewish background um columbus for example was a jew okay and his story is not told that way because it’s not convenient to be told that way the discoverers of brazil were jewish the ruler of the east india company was jewish the even alexander hamilton and probably two or three presidents were jewish and or of jewish background and uh so the joke within the family is i think that everyone was a jew at one point that’s the family joke right now is uh you know uh even christ was jewish which he was yes

charlemagne was jewish there’s so there’s a lot of very very interesting things that come out of that but that’s the joke in the family everybody is a jewish fantastic well um michael tell us about how the business came about and at what point uh over the years did you have the confidence that you could run your own business well let me let me flip that yeah um because i started um my career in a very different way than most people and um i think it’s better to tell it that way so um i was at music school and i took a summer job working at a company called gte in a group called telenet that group was the internet before the world wide web and um that gte is now known as verizon okay and uh i discovered this thing called computers that these computers could talk to other computers and at the time i

i was amazed that i going to new england conservatory one of the biggest music uh places in the world did not have all of the music of the world the sheep music didn’t exist and i had this idea what if you put the sheet music on a computer then every place in the world would have access to all of the music this is by the way 1984. so this was a long time ago and i came home and i told my father i had this idea to start a company to do just that um i’m 19 years old or something like this and he said uh you will do that with what skills you know you know how to play an instrument but you certainly don’t know how to run a company and so i left music school and went to business school with the idea of starting a company so my career started with me having the idea to start a business i started um a business in college i had 15 employees in college and so i always kind of had that kind of entrepreneurial spirit in the case of the company that i’m running now um it’s a very strange story in 1996 i was getting my mba and in the process of getting my mba i had to create a e a a web business as a class project i had to write a business plan and create a web business we didn’t have to actually implement the business but we had to come up with a concept and at the time i was running the printer business for canon in the united states it was a big business six seven hundred million dollar business and i um came up with an idea and did a business plan now fast forward 15 16 years i am on a board of a small company and that company has built a cool technology and um it was neat we i was very impressed with the cto and eventually what happened is i was asked to be chairman of that company and when i came on board i split the company in two and i took the technology and we spun it out as a technology company about one to two years into that business it occurred to me we were building the business i had written the business plan on wow almost 20 years earlier wow the the person who came up with the business was the technologist it wasn’t me but it was incredibly similar uh and that’s just astonishing it’s not it’s not the typical story that you would have but that’s really what happened wow um in terms of the confidence to run a startup or run a business after the first i’ve been a ceo six times after the first time i told myself i would never run a company again i did not want my company again i didn’t feel i was qualified it took another eight or ten years before i had someone convinced me to run it again again i said i would never do it again i’ve now been running companies almost almost 25 years or something in that order of magnitude i now have confidence that i can but it’s still hard

i joke with people that um the reason why ceos get paid the most is not because they’re the best or the smartest is because it’s hazard pay it’s just it’s just the toughest job yeah so michael tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing today the the company you’re running okay so my company is called sinky and we are a retail media technology platform now what is retail media if you look at amazon we think of amazon as an e-commerce company but amazon loses money in e-commerce where they pay for the e-commerce business is they run ads on the e-commerce site the vendors who are on the e-commerce site spend money to advertise on the site how big of a business is that for amazon that’s somewhere in the order of magnitude of 32 billion dollars a year amazon makes more money selling advertising than the entire newspaper industry combined amazon makes more money than youtube amazon makes it all of its retail media uh retail profits from selling ads the ad business subsidizes the e-commerce business so we built a technology and a new kind of advertising that is designed to allow the competitors of amazon we don’t sell to amazon but the competitors of amazon compete effectively with that for several reasons one we do not want the vendors to have too much sales concentration with amazon because amazon is a non-benevolent dictator okay and it’s not good for the consumers to lack choice and we want to help the retailers who compete with amazon to be on an equal footing and they don’t have phds and all of this expertise and we can bring tremendous expertise to those e-commerce companies allow them to compete effectively that’s what we do and uh um i know it’s pronounce the name again because i know it sounds different yeah sinky we we help um really create a sync between the um the customer uh experience and the the advertiser experience we’re delivering interactive uh helpful uh uh information for the shopper and sink it at the time and place when the shopper is most receptive for that message which is on the e-commerce state i love the the genesis of this company that you know i the law of attraction i’ve been uh doing a lot of work lately with uh mindset and law of attraction and and so you attracted this business 20 years ago by developing the business plan and maybe maybe you just had to wait for the technology to catch up to you well and even even you know you had asked a question uh in some offline notes what’s been hard um we were early even even at 20 years we were early and one of the things that i was a consultant for a long time worked a lot of big companies and one of the things that is most critical is to get the timing right okay i happened to work at canon for a guy named subota sabota was a genius ceo he had a guy work for him before he took that job that guy that worked for him was steve jobs because he was the chairman of next and um next was a failure and it was a failure not because they didn’t have a good idea i’m right now on a on a mac the mac operating system used today is basically the next operating system because all the guys who failed at next came with steve back to apple they were just 10 to 15 years too early and so being um being early uh is is as bad as being late and uh if you can make it through uh that’s one of the key things that i’ve learned in my career is getting the timing right yeah so that the that cliche phrase is true it’s not just a cliche that timing is everything you betcha i’ll tell you a funny story so uh there was a time in my life where i made a prediction that computing and telephony and consumer electronics and the entertainment business were going to merge into one industry and i would say we could argue today that that’s basically happened and i said that that would happen in three years i was right about the prediction i was not right about the three years because i made that in 1989. i was only off by about 30 years fair enough what happened it happened so michael share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could you could do it and what the impact of that person had on uh on the successes that you’ve achieved over the years well i was i was thinking about impact you had you had sent me a note on somebody who who was about impact and when i was at business school i went to babson college in uh in wellesley massachusetts and i had a mentor he was an executive in residence he was the first executive resident of babson and i was his first victim and i i had run several organizations on the campus and he was a mentor to me and one of them was an m a club in the 80s mergers and acquisitions were a big deal it was the hot thing going on in new york city it was the best career you could have and my mentor had been part of a hostile takeover very knowledgeable about m a’s and um i found myself at the executive dining room of raytheon corporation and i’m meeting with chuck and it’s get his name is chuck schmidt he died only a few years ago at 90 years old and chuck had run a bunch of companies and he had been recruited out of babson to go run the amana business for raytheon and i’m having lunch with chuck and he says what are you thinking about doing when you graduate and i said i’m thinking of going to wall street and doing m a i had just spent the last two years running the largest business organization on campus all about m a and i brought in you know the guys uh some of the biggest m a deals that had happened in my time at college were came to a school and i brought them in and all of this and he looks at me and he said i went to a mana because a mana is not a company a mana is a town in iowa and it’s failing and if the company fails the town dies and that is what i’m doing why why did i invest in you for you to turn around and become basically a [ __ ] and go work on wall street i thought better of you

i i did not apply for one job i did not take one interview um i never pursued that career uh and i was one lunch and i had that much respect for chuck and he was right um are you going to be a builder or are you going to be an exploiter um what are you going to be pick wow and um and i picked i i said i want to build things like he he wanted to build things uh he had in his past he had saved a a town that was a paper mill town and the town was going under the mill was going under and he told his his company give me 18 months turn the company around and he saved the town and he saved the town of manna too wow and so so you you don’t hear those stories as much anymore in society but that that was a guy that through my entire life had a impact and that was 35 36 years ago yeah wow that’s incredible so michael outside of the timing is everything what’s your biggest learning as a a ceo and and business owner

um well i was taught a lesson it at business school which still is true today happiness is positive cash flow

i think that that is still true today um i i would say this um

you um

you need to think about what

what your job is um as a as a president as a ceo as a whatever and um i never thought that it was about me or um that is my business okay it’s my customer’s business it’s my employees business it’s my shareholders business it’s my partner’s business um and with that comes a lot of responsibility because

often i could be at the moment could be making a lot more money doing something different but i have a commitment to my investors i have a commitment to um everyone we work with and that guides how we think about every interaction that we have and um you know i’m in the advertising business i will be honest with you i believe the advertising business the the digital advertising business today is one of if not the most corrupt business in the world and i don’t say that lightly i think that the waste and fraud in the ad business is somewhere in the order of between 60 to 100 billion dollars a year in the u.s alone and so um we all pay for that fraud and that waste we pay for that in higher prices because the advertisers have to recoup that sure um and so the googles of the world and the facebooks of the world are getting away with some pretty not good things and um so we feel like we have a purpose to bring some honesty to the business and um and that we care about our our advertisers that what they’re getting is what they actually paid for and that we are delivering the value that we have promised and that we’re doing it in a way that restores customer privacy instead of stealing it and creates incentives for the market that push advertising to the place where it belongs which is while i’m shopping in a place that i am intending to engage with that information and take it out of the places that are disruptive and bad for the consumer life experience and so that is the primary motivator that drives our thinking and i think that if you bring that empathy to your business you will be better and you know one of my clients was apple and i provided a lot of value for apple but apple obviously provided a lot of value to me and taught me a lot of things and one of the things that they taught me was not would somebody use it but would i

it’s very different thing would i would i want that would i actually use that feature or that thought of that whatever would that be the experience i would want personally and that personalization of that attribute was very paramount in their thinking when they designed products and created consumer experiences and i think that that that is something that every small business owner or owner of any size can bring to it which is are you there to exploit your customers or are you there to help your customers it goes back to chuck schmidt what are you building and for whom and for what purpose right yes makes me think of simon sinek’s book start with why as well in terms of i love that the passion and the right and the focus that you have on doing what’s right so um tell us a little bit more about how are you disrupting that advertising business tell give us more details of how your business model works yeah so it’s it’s very uh it is very disruptive the basic premise of the ad business is i am going to reach you at the place time and place where you least want to get an ad and in order to get your attention i am going to steal as much private information about you so that i can optimize my time and place so i’m picking the people most likely to benefit from my disruption okay and the ad location is sold based upon that private information and uh the match of that private information to an individual okay it has no correlation to context doesn’t care that you are in the wrong time and place it often doesn’t know that you already bought the product three weeks ago it doesn’t know that uh you had a bad experience with that brand in the past it doesn’t know anything okay all it knows is the bad stuff that you don’t want them to know and um so the whole model is broken our approach said

there’s only one moment in time when you actually want to see an ad and by the way we want to see ads when i am actively shopping for a product at the moment i am shopping now i might be shopping on my couch in my living room sure okay but the moment i stop shopping leave me alone so where is the place where that actually happens if if you’re old enough to remember we used to have this thing called the sears catalog and the series catalog came out in the summertime and our parents would ask us what we wanted for christmas it was called the wish book and it was a way for the retailer to help educate us on what to buy and those days have long been gone and the retailers have now become fulfillment centers and not really educators so what we’re trying to do is restore the ability for the retailer to help educate the shopper at the moment that they want to be educated and then our ads are delivered not based upon the demographic of the shopper but based upon the shoppers proximity to the product so if you are in front of the product on the e-commerce site we assume you want to know about that product and we match make the ad to the context and not to the consumer so the whole ad business has no idea what ad it’s delivering it’s only delivering a demographic and the consumer the vendor who pays the most for that demographic is the ad that runs irrespective of context so our patents and the things that we’ve done is to match that time and place with the right content and by doing that we eliminate a huge inefficiency there’s one more inefficiency that we eliminate today we have these things called advertising companies and what do they do they buy advertising and again they’re trying to buy advertising based upon the inefficiency of the buy sell because they’re trying to keep the fraud out of the hands of the advertisers that’s what the agencies are trying to do there’s this fight between the the publishers who are faking traffic and doing all sorts of nefarious things and the advertiser so the advertiser pays a huge fee to the companies to buy the ads okay but in retail every retailer has a relationship with every vendor that sells their products they they have a buy sell relationship already what we’re trying to do is facilitate the direct buying and selling between those two parties and because they can only advertise where they show up there is no arbitrage about fake traffic or things like that and there’s no complexities and so we are eliminating the need for middlemen which just make the cost of the advertising way more expensive for both parties so we’re driving efficiency in the business uh from a supply chain point of view and we’re driving um consumer experience efficiency giving them the information they’re actually looking for at the moment of highest receptivity so this has required us to change everything in the business and the way that we think about it i have three examples that that we think about uh number one is walmart number two is southwest and number three is enterprise rent-a-car those are three companies we think about uh walmart started as a rural company they sold where the big companies weren’t right and because they went where no one else was they built a world that they could control and manage and then they moved closer and closer into the cities and now we’re the dominant company that they are same thing happened with southwest southwest went to the airports that were unpopular love field oakland uh these types of locations they didn’t go into the major airports initially and this gave them an ability to participate enterprise is probably the best example of that because they weren’t at the um the airport and the idea was rental car companies were all at the airport and they started in towns and uh what most people don’t know is enterprise is basically bigger than all of the other um guys combined wow they’re they’re bigger than hertz and avis and dollar together wow and they did that by going where people weren’t and so we sort of see our strategy as following that model is going where they aren’t doing what they don’t and thinking about it in a very fresh way and trying to be the the the ethical player in a space that is inherently extremely unethical very cool so michael um let’s talk about uh business success so we know that it doesn’t happen in isolation tell us about one of the biggest challenges you’ve had over the years and someone who came alongside you to help you through that well i’ll give you i’ll give you a couple examples so

three three examples one i i had lunch with my first boss out of college i hadn’t seen him in 25 years i was in boston he and i had lunch and he had just uh during the first.com boom he had sold his company he made a bunch of money they they went ipo for 150 million or something like this and then uh i said uh talked to me about the story and he had raised like 75 million dollars and he had this great exit and he said but don’t misunderstand i chased payroll for four years and right before we were gonna go public somebody gave me like 75 million dollars and then we went public and it all happened and it looked like it was it always been there and it was never there okay i was story number one story number two is i was at a conference for sas companies and there was a company who was winning the sas company of the year award which was docusign and um their their sales was like this and the guy’s on stage and he’s telling his story and he said understand we’re a seven-year-old company and for six years our sales was like this okay now you’re seeing me now and my sales are like this but understand and so you just got to be patient for it to come right so during this time we are a 10 year old company and our revenues still haven’t because we’re too early um we were just too early so i’ve had a um a board member named brad smith who is taught me a tremendous amount about managing my investors and building the relationship and the trust with them so that they stay with me during this rocky time as we’ve been ahead of the game and um before that inflection point and so i’ve learned a lot from him he’s uh just a very wise person that’s amazing so as you you think about all the people that you’ve had in your life um if you if i asked you to pick three that have been the most helpful to you that you’re the most grateful for as part of you know all of your different business successes who are those three people and how they help you okay i’ll pick three um so first one is a guy named ron okamoto ron was a business colleague um when i was a cannon he was a peer of my boss so he is senior to me and then i worked with him as a consultant at uh adobe and at apple and i remember probably in 2002 he pulled me aside and he said i need to tell you you’re a really bad writer you uh you need to go fix that you uh you got a um you know you’re too smart to write so bad or something

and that was not the first time he’s kicked me in the ass but it was one of the times and i went and i read a bunch books and i worked on it and three years later i was a published author okay but a good friend is the one who tells you the things you don’t want to hear and when i want truth he is the guy i go to for truth and he will tell me straight and um that’s a good mentor he also is a genius it helps um so that’s one the second one is

um uh one that i’ve acquired in this company i have a a guy named charlie bickerton and charlie bickerton is my largest investor and charlie prays for me he doesn’t pray for the business pray for me what’s going on in your family what’s going on with such and such you know with my mother-in-law who’s dying at the moment and and he prays for me wow and that kind of support allows me to know that i it we just have a a trust with each other that he knows that i’m trying my hardest for him but i know that he is contending for me in ways that are not typical and that’s quite an amazing thing to have okay and that is something i am immensely grateful for um the third one is my friendship with dave mosby who i wrote that book with and um we are innovators and we’re just we just ideate together and have great fun together uh and he’s just uh uh a great mentor uh so much so that um he’s on our patents because he helped contribute even though he was not an employee uh he’s an advisor to the company um but he is um he was very instrumental um to the thinking about the business and so on the patents that he was involved in in the beginning of the company he’s named on those patents that’s awesome and so mosby is uh been another uh wonderful mentor of mine and you know been a four or five times ceo before and uh maybe maybe 15 years older than me or 17 years older than me i’ve always collected uh older mentors it’s been something in my life since my earliest days fantastic so michael as you we kind of pivot and think about the future over the next three to five years what are the biggest challenges that you see that you’re going to face in achieving the business goals and who are the types of people you’re going to need in your life or in your company to help you solve those yeah it’s a good question you know i’m always thinking like right now i’m in the middle of a joint venture deal and you know what’s going through my mind is who’s my joint venture expert who can i talk to who’s going to coach me because if i have the mental model to think about things correctly i can i can make better decisions and so i’m always looking for that expert and the funny thing is in my mind i i found a resource online that explained a certain way to think about it and that led me to hey i’ve got an investor who has expertise in that domain and you know later this week i’m intending to reach out to him and so i’m always looking for that um we um we will need capital to grow uh as we’re landing some of these big accounts that we’re landing right now um they will scale ahead of us and we will you know the ad business um we run the ad we have the cost then the ad is paid for by the uh advertiser to the retailer and then the retailer pays us the time lag is quite quite long before we get the cash and i remember happiness positive cash flow uh so i will need working capital to manage as we grow um one of the i helped a i was like a research assistant in college on cash flow and the fact that fast growing companies will run out of cash faster than failing companies because the cash gets caught up in the working capital of the business so i’m quite sensitive to that so i am um thinking through who will not only fund that cash but who will educate me on how to acquire that cash in the most efficient way to help me grow and i’m part of the joint venture is they have quite a bit of sophistication in that area so that’s one of the benefits they will be bringing to us in that domain the second is sales and marketing even though i’m a marketing guy as a you know a consultant in marketing um we need more of that um customer acquisition transactional marketing expertise and it is a quite dynamic field i had a very nice conversation with our mutual buddy tony uh yesterday and um he’s providing some wise counsel in such domains but um uh skills in those areas are um are scarce the really good ones are quite scarce and that’s in the second area and then the third is ai we have some ai patents but we have not leveraged the full capacity of our capability and uh while i am a data guy i ran a data company and i have a data mindset i need a person who can do that for me with my level of skill and be really innovative in their thinking around the data business because the data business will require there’s a symbiotic relationship between the ai machine learning and the data business and our ultimate goal is that the ads self-optimize so that the the you know typically a person who is uh advertising the advertising buyer may be very young and inexperienced at the company they’re not the cmo and so if we have a way to automate that functionality such that the best practices are dynamically delivered through machine learning we can deliver tremendous return on investment for our advertisers and i i that’s the one area i have not identified the experts yeah okay uh so that’s an area that that i am uh i’m keeping an eye out for and over the next year or so uh we’ll utilize we’ve done we’ve done experiments we’ve hired some interns in the ai space and learned a lot and uh we know that we have the capacity but we haven’t we haven’t leveraged it yet that’s that’s one of the big long-term opportunities of our business yeah what an exciting space to be in that everything is so far ahead of everybody else that you’re it feels like it correct me if i’m wrong that every day you’re learning in areas that don’t really exist yet or or just barely are existing yeah i think i think that there’s there’s an interesting problem because the ad business is old okay and the digital ad business is all digital ad business is 25 years old at this point thereabouts um but we’re doing it different enough that part of it is what are the best things that we can learn about the ad business that are useful to transfer that we are unfamiliar with and what are the parts of the business that are nefarious and we should shed and not participate in and there is definitely a challenge in linguistics and in mindset between the two domains because i i i had a guy tell me once why why would you want to advertise on the retailer’s site they the purpose of advertising to get them to come to the retailer site

well for the retailer maybe but for the brand the goal is get them to buy yes and so there’s there’s mental models that are different between the two and i would say the intellectual challenge for us is to craft a new way of thinking with a large group of people um in a short amount of time with very little capital that’s that is the hard algorithm to sort out and that’s what we are focused on as a company is trying to create the highest efficiency um you know it was funny i was interviewing for a job once and i had a company that i ultimately did not want to work for but i won’t mention the name but they said we are the lowest cost producer and we’ve never met a lower cost the lowest cost producer not win the business that was an interesting mindset and so our thought process is how do we build the efficiencies in the system so that we are delivering the highest roi of any choice that they have and if we do that and we do it honorably we will win a very sizable part of the business and that’s kind of um how we get there and how we capitalize it and how we do it in a way that’s not going to uh that’s going to yield the highest outcome for our investors that’s that’s the interesting calculus that we focus on every day and again i’ll just pull back what you said earlier is and you’re doing it all because it’s the right thing to do as opposed to you know just taking advantage of other people which i think is just amazing that that’s your mindset yeah and we’re very grateful we have a management team that is very equally oriented that way and we have an investor pool that is equally oriented that way and that has given them patients and us patients and a tremendous amount of trust between the two parties because we have a common goal that if we win by doing bad we did we didn’t win and i’ll i’ll give you this one story so i i have a friend who’s venture capitalist and he had sold his company to a big company and the um his cto stole the code and held it for ransom and told the the acquirer you need to give me an additional 10 million dollars or i will not release the source code for the deal okay and they all acquiesced and the guy got the money and within two years the guy was divorced and broke and uh it didn’t disappoint my my buddy no uh um and it it’s you know you go okay there’s something you know the guy has a happy end to that story right it’s it’s you know you got what you deserved you you did something criminal you got away with it you thought but you never got away with it yeah and uh so we you know i keep those things in the back of my mind that that who you partner with matters a lot and i have great team um we are peers i happen to have a role that ceo but we are peers we see each other that way that’s how i see it and um i trust them and they trust me and my board trusts me and i trust my board and my investors trust me and my customers trust me and if i do that um i will be successful even if we fail yeah that’s that if i have that mindset i’m in the right place yeah amen to that so last question here michael if something catastrophic was to happen in the business today who’s the first person you’d call and what would that conversation sound like yeah it’s um

i wouldn’t say every day there’s a catastrophe but almost every day i think that um i am very um i don’t have a mentor i have a hundred yeah okay um typically historically i would go to my father my father’s a genius and a very successful business person his whole life my father’s in a current health state where that is not necessarily viable anymore which is a challenge uh because he was always somebody whose wisdom was always right uh just because he was a ceo for almost 50 years and um you know ran a company with a quarter of a billion people a quarter of a million people type of size companies so he he brought a wealth of experience um you know just in on m a and so forth he did 300 deals or something like that so he brought this experience that i had rare access to um but you know i had a situation like i said on monday this such and such happened who do i go to i have a situation today who do i go to and so i’ve always fostered wise counsel and i’m always um uh seeking it um i’m not seeking it for validation okay so a lot of people i know can’t be decisive so they ask others to decide for them yes that is not my mo my mo is how should i think about it not what is the right answer how should i think about it what is the criteria that i should use to make the decision i need to make where are the risk factors in the things that i’m deciding to do and given that now what uh i will ultimately have to apply the data that is relevant to my circumstance and make the decisions based upon the attributes i probably won’t have had the time to fully explain to the person right okay but what i want is you know i’ve done a bunch of stuff on understanding how we think and we cannot think without a mental model and so you have to start with the paradigm with the mental model with the framework for how to think and so the biggest thing that i’m trying to get is the framework and if i understand the framework uh and i am getting um honest input about the the sources of data and the quality of the inputs that’s coming in i can render a good decision if the framework is a good framework and so that’s what i’m focused on and i’m always looking at the industry for what is the skill i lack or the firm lacks what is the the person who is the person who will have the framework right and then go acquire that framework through relationship building and maybe giving a little bit visa to the company or whatever it is i have to do to to gain that and then um partner with them for the success of the business i love that perspective michael this is it again it goes back to what you’ve already been sharing and that is you know you you’re my interpretation right you’re very humble right it’s like hey let’s do what’s the right thing overall as opposed to it’s all about me and and you know who are the right people to talk to to get that in from get the the right framework or the right perspective from and then pull that all together and um and that final piece of and then ultimately you’ve got to make the decision based on how you process all that information um i think that’s just an awesome lesson for everybody listening to to to be able to implement into their own businesses or into their own uh professional careers yeah it’s funny i i did a um a secret video on the life of my father and i interviewed a guy who had been his roommate in college and um he said your father was the type of guy or is the type of guy that would always seek those who would help him to solve the problem as opposed to solving the problem himself it was a very interesting thing and this was only a couple years ago but it really struck me which was the instead of i’m going to do it who can i co-opt together we’re going to go and do this and so i have never been a selfish person like i want all the money i want all the power i want all the so i’m i i do have that mindset that’s hey how do i um how do we become a we and how do we go and solve this problem and were i to have capital i probably have five times as many people in the business and i would give up the stake to do it because i think the opportunity is there right and it’s a mindset and a lot of startup people feel possessive and feel this need that they have to control everything and do everything and i think that the idea that says who can i bring along that could help me achieve this goal is a is a world view that i i didn’t realize i had and where it had come from and i would say from this experience in preparing for this call i didn’t realize how much chuck schmidt had affected me and uh and you know seeing it in that context was quite interesting and i appreciate that tim because i realized that one lunch and it was more than lunch i mean we had been friends for a year at that point and he had mentored me from my first day as ceo of a 300 person organization to that moment but what it it was a pivotal moment in my life and it obviously affected all of the decisions that i’ve made ever since and so i you know i would encourage everybody to find a mentor find a coach find somebody who can um make you better amen so wow michael you’ve been blessed with some incredible people that you’ve just shared uh with us about um along your journey if they were all here on the show today what would you want to say to them

thank you thank you and uh don’t give up on me i i am i am not past the need for the need okay and uh you know uh literally i’ve got um uh those guys are active in my life today i mean chuck has passed but um but um a lot of those guys i have come to it in the past weeks and months and charlie’s praying for me today and uh i still need him to pray for me tomorrow and um so so you know to brad and to everybody who has come along all my board members all of my investors thank you um it is uh a team effort wonderful well hey michael it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today and thank you so much for giving us your gift of your time and sharing your insights and being on the show today yeah my pleasure it’s great to spend time with you awesome to everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to the self-made is a myth show with your host coach tim camsell be sure to help us spread this movement by liking the show and posting it on your social media channels to join our movement go to be mad together dot com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and we’ll see you all next time take care