September 27, 2022

Episode #49: Kurt Koehler – AlGalCo

Kurt has spent his career identifying needs and finding solutions. A serial entrepreneur with five start-ups to his credit he has successfully created companies that have provided answers for many needs and has become adept at turning possibilities into realities.

Sixteen years ago after witnessing a demonstration from a Purdue University researcher on how to make hydrogen on demand from aluminum and water he decided to perfect the technology. After years of research and development in the lab the aluminum based alloy is now fully characterized. He then spent eight years creating a system for delivering the subsequent hydrogen into engines powering fleet vehicles. The process now exists as a viable product for sale. Hydrogen increases fuel mileage in internal combustion engine powered vehicles while reducing harmful emissions. Due to its unique aluminum based feedstock the spent alloy can be recycled an indefinite number of times. This characteristic allows the process to be completely sustainable and renewable. It also opens up the capability of acting as an energy storage medium.

Kurt holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees from Indiana University and his passions – outside of building companies – are his family and competing in Master’s Track and Field.

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 to hear their stories of the journey to building their business and because we know that success in business is not something that we can do on our own we take time to recognize the folks that helped us to excel today I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from Indiana with us today my guest is a competitive athlete in master track and field where he goes to about four to five meets a year so we’re going to want to hear a little bit more about that and check out his background with all those medals and medallions in his downtime he enjoys attending his grandkids sporting events reading nonfiction and playing trivia and he’s most proud of starting five companies without going bankrupt which all of us business owners know is quite the accomplishment so it is my pleasure to welcome Kirk to the show today hello Kurt good morning Tim hey let’s start with having you uh introduce yourself tell us a little bit of your personal story like where you were born where you live and a little bit about your family all right I appreciate that thanks for having me on your podcast uh I was born here in Indianapolis but um I’ve lived in other places like New York City and Texas and a little bit in California so I can’t work for other people I’m not a very good employee so I started my own companies I started five El galloco’s the fifth when I started like I said in the bio that’s five companies I live in the same house and haven’t gone bankrupt so I told my kids that once and they said so I said you wait until it’s your turn pal you learn what the term jointly and severally mean on guaranteed notes and said you know you’ll learn all that all that fun stuff yeah so so five startups and um the first one was in an area I was IU School of Business I said the first one was there but the other four were had nothing to do with what I learned in college so it was just kind of one of those a lot of it is Serendipity a lot of it is because you just keep your eyes and ears open and sure all that so and a lot of folks ask you know why do I stay in Indiana in Indianapolis because the barriers to entry are starting to company here are incredibly low compared to New York or California or Chicago any place I couldn’t have done this startup when I’m on now if it was done any other place because this is and there’s always a lot of people around that contribute you know that won’t invest 10 000 or 25 000 maybe 50 000 so it’s good for that kind of environment as well not very good when you need five or ten million that’s really good when you start out so so tell us about your family well there’s five of the monsters two boys and three girls so I’m very happy that the all three girls graduate from a Big Ten University although one was Purdue uh I’ll still you know I won’t hold that against her because it’s still a big team college so but they’re all grown uh out of the house and there’s three Grands and hopefully more if I can get him to keep the old man happy so uh back your background is pretty impressive tell us tell us about your uh track and field and still competing and sounds like you you do a number of different uh Sports in the track and field so tell us a little bit more about that well uh I was never that talented so when I went to North Central and we had really good track teams there and played football and wrestled as well but track was always kind of my favorite so there are guys with a lot more Talent than me and so they were here I was there and then we’re going downhill and my goal was to go downhill slower than they go downhill so I figured by the time I’m in my 80s it’s gonna cross over and but I might be good at it so no but it’s fine I do that decathlon is my best event that’s a two days you do 10 events because I have a little speed but I’m not as fast as the fastest and a little strength but not as strong as the strongest but I can still do all 10 events and at my age doing all 10 is um that’s kind of a miracle in and of itself yeah okay so but all the kids were required to be in sports they all were required to swim because I figure once if they’re 19 years old on a party boat in the Ohio river and it sinks I want them to be able to swim the shore and save themselves right so they all had to swim and then of course I like to play soccer and all that stuff so an athletic family and it’s fun because it’s you know how it is when you start companies they’re very frustrating most of the time I guess or a lot of the time so to go out on a track and and put your spikes on and you know like we discussed take the tennis balls off the Walker and you know really get some speed going up it just it makes things feel makes you feel a lot better A lot more confident especially when you’re negotiating something sure because you have some fat lawyer there it’s like okay if I have to we can go outside in this negotiate the price right but um so it’s it’s fun and and uh I’ve been competing as a master for 24 years and as long as I’m still able to physically do it I’ll go ahead and keep uh keep working out and keep competing I guess good for you so Kurt is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today a funny story my family likes this um well there’s lots of them one was and of course this all is embarrassing but that’s okay my I was my ex one time I used to run the mini marathon in my 20s and 30s so one time my ex said well I’m she wasn’t a runner but she trained for this she goes I’m going to run the mini marathon I said yeah right so this was in the old days when it ended at the 500 race track at the start stop line so we take off at the start I loser so you’re coming around that fourth turn and you’ve got like you know maybe less than a mile to go it’s hot you know the winners are already on their third beer and you know you’re still the two hour mark and I’ll be darn if she’s not ahead of me and I thought how’d that happen so of course you’re in slow motion and yeah I run up to her and I Pat her rear end and I say not today honey I looked at her it wasn’t my ex-wife oh no all right and I looked at her she looked at me I went sorry now of course it’s you know in the 80s so you’re really slow anyway and you’re trying to get away from her in slow motion and she’s trying to get away from you you’re not gonna Sprint The Last Mile after 12 miles so I finally I got away from her and then I told her that story and she said I don’t believe it I think he just wanted to grab her rear end no she wasn’t kind of good looking but I was hallucinating until I’m not sure we have lots of stories like that that we’ve awesome inadvertently do things well thank you for sharing uh Kurt tell us about it how the business came about I know you’ve had multiple businesses that um how did you get started and at what point did you have the confidence that you could run your own business well the first one uh I worked for Merrill Lynch and I really really enjoyed it because that was back and I started in September of 81 and in August of 82 and the market bottomed out at 776 and everyone’s telling me Oh what a bad Market this is because it’s a 29 000. I said I was there when the 21 prime rate when you could buy at T bonds you got 16 yields on there the money market ready asset trust was paying 13 my first mortgage was 14.7 so you guys have no idea what it was like when you have high interest rates yeah now the 30 year mortgages are 6.3 it’s like oh the sky is falling so I worked for Merrell and uh did pretty well there and then there was an old joke in Merrill Lynch that that uh and every transaction the broker makes money and Merrill Lynch makes money and two out of three ain’t bad so that always bothered me I thought well yeah I’m making money and doing pretty well the customer’s doing pretty well too but not always so I went ahead and wrote my own prospectus and started my first company that was a mutual fund yeah we traded we sold options as an opening transaction which I won’t get in the complexities of it but it was a nice way to generate cash it was a conservative strategy as long as you stayed disciplined and I really enjoyed it it was fun so I left there and started my own company because I wanted to make sure I got paid when the customers made money so and then so if you start at 50 000 the next quarter you’re at 60 now if you go under 60 I didn’t get paid it went above 60 I got a percentage of it okay I thought that was a that was a very I thought a very fair way to to work it so I started that company it went it went wild and then the new guy came into the SEC and outlawed all the companies like mine because it was sharing profits with the customer um I don’t know well so in the interim I had done some I met a group City Securities and I used I did Leverage buyouts and so I was the youngster so I would go to do all the due diligence which was kind of fun in your 20s so there was a company the GE owned that was in the power supply business so I told the partner said we we ought to buy this one as a standalone and here’s why it’s a marketing problem they got all these Engineers all this so we went ahead and went to New York for three days and negotiated the purchase of this company and on third we got home on Thursday on Friday I got a call from the partner said the guy was going to run the company for us just had a heart attack and he’ll survive but he’ll never work again so I drove up to Fort Wayne and there was like 23 professional staff and I said here’s your options you’re at five o’clock in 23 minutes you’re all unemployed because General Electric doesn’t love you anymore I said or I’ll run the company but you have to teach me about power supplies because that’s what they made why do they know what a power supply was sure I said so you’d have to teach me what a power supply is how they work and all that so the room was Stone Cold quiet and in the back the guy that was a sales manager who became a good friend of mine holds up a power supply and goes okay this is a printed circuit board these are transistors and you’ll see the little stripes on there so it everyone starts laughing so I had no intentions of ever getting the power supply business I didn’t know what it was but that was kind of our option and of course I’d guaranteed a 1.3 million dollar note to turn Electric so I either renig on that or I didn’t want to go through all that so I got into power supply business backwards and I ran that for five years we were the fastest growing power supply company for three years and I sold to a group in Shenzhen China that I’d I’ve been going to China since 1982. so we got along really well and uh my Chinese partners and I so we started another power supply company up in North Central Indiana for the recreational vehicle Market so ran that for a couple years sold that one and then I had another one and then after the fourth one I promised my now ex-wife that I would never start another company again because she hated them she thought it was the worst thing in the world I said why we’ve lived in the same house and no one’s missed any meals and what’s the big deal so but she didn’t like the uncertainty of a startup you got it so the one I’m on now the El Galco was 17 years ago I was at the State fairgrounds and with the kids we always got the picture at the manufacturer’s building whatever so we had all these pictures on t-shirts yeah so it was Purdue day and I’m an IU guy but I said all right I want to hear Purdue’s has announced this new center for alternative energy so I said let’s you know jelski was a president and listened to his speech and wouldn’t have to introduce myself afterwards and said you know what kind of alternative energy are you guys going to do and they said when solar and biodiesel well I had just been doing consulting work for schwa’s lock and I was at a place in Columbus Indiana where they do a fuel cell so I asked the engineers you know how Engineers are how does this work well this is really cool we put hydrogen in here and the electricity and all this so I went when I was at the State Fairgrounds I asked Purdue I said well let me come up and give you my two cents worth so I go up there and this old guy with the patch on his eye says Andre went out it’s number one Kurt Taylor what do you got for me Ken so explain it to him well I didn’t know at the time in our first meeting I called him a liar he said he can make hydrogen on demand from aluminum Waters no you don’t lie to me Purdue engineers always lie to me you run electricity one way it cools run electrics together weight Heats I said there’s no way that’s no you gotta have a big high pressure tank so let me show you something sunny and does this little this little demo for me and in a lab accident he had discovered a way to make hydrogen from aluminum water and he had no idea that commercial applications he didn’t care yeah well after calling a liar the first time I pointed out he has 81 issued patents he’s a national mental technology Laureate there’s a picture of him in his office with bush putting up in the White House putting this big metal on him I thought well maybe he’s not quite alive

so we worked at Purdue he gave me two of his PhD candidates and uh we won the lab and all we had was a one-page phase diagram and that’s how we started wow so I spent two years going to Purdue and my cream and Crimson colored car and they want to make sure that they knew

we worked at zucrow Labs which was way in the middle of nowhere by the airport you know they keep us away from all the regular people sure all the space stuff and gaseous you know dangerous gases so we spent two years up there then we applied for patents and lo and behold the patents issued and the technology worked so then I spent I spent uh another four or five years with the military we did four military applications because their issue is how do you get energy to afford operating base in Afghanistan because they blow up trucks with 3 000 gallons of JP fuel remember a couple months ago there’s a truck on the interstate that blew up that was same that’s what they did in Iraq and Afghanistan they blew up the terrorists and blow up the trucks sure so here’s a way to get energy in in the form of this aluminum you know put a round in it nothing happens just add any kind of water there’s your hydrogen so we did emergency portable generators so then when they sequester the budget what eight or nine years ago then um that didn’t you know we had to no more military spending on new technology so we looked around and thought well who else needs this and they said well fleet vehicles have green Fleet initiatives so I thought we can do that so we found a city that worked with us and and uh you know we did a prototype and a 2.0 3.0 4.05 you know I think how that progresses yeah and now we’ve got a system on the city of fishers and it works and it was installed last Thursday so now we’re gonna couple more development projects to do and then we’ll and then we’ll either lease or license out the technology or sell the company wow our job was to develop it characterize the alloy make a product for sale that people want yeah because I don’t have the money to scale this thing at the level or it needs to scale sure yeah yeah wow so her share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it even though maybe you thought you couldn’t and the impact that person had on on you

kind of a weird way my mother has a was an ultra conservative and when we go to lunch I try to take a lunch at least once a week to see her and she would always she’d always say things like why in the world would you invest money in a company that doesn’t make that doesn’t make any money I put the cash in my hand I why would you do all this time and effort to have a company that that doesn’t make any money I said Mom these are how all startups work is that you have to go through and look at Cummings it took them 20 years before they made money all these companies Amazon all of them no one starts out making profit the first day sure as well that’s that who raised you that’s the dumbest thing ever so that’s I call that the mom test so you have to be able to justify to yourself that your mother is going to say I’ll you know that’s because she’s she’s your harshest critic in a way and also your big support but it was pretty funny because she always are you guys making money yet no or still doing developing a scale when you can put money in my hand and she never invested of course I would never even ask her drive me crazy but that was someone that you know that you always the technical part Works can I add water can I make that is it hydrogen does it does it burn and yeah as long as I can know yes or had a basis that this thing worked then I knew that I felt comfortable so she didn’t push me like you know hey get off your ass and get to work but it was more like you better justify yeah the most Ultra conservative human in the history of the world treasury bonds I don’t know they’ll sound pretty risky I love it so yes he kind of provided impetus of making sure you’re stay grounded and so you kept asking that question how am I gonna how are we going to make money on this thing sure yeah so you’ve had multiple experiences what is your biggest learning as a business owner foreign

well it usually takes three or four startups to figure the system out so I guess the biggest thing I learned is it’s you are guaranteed you’re going to screw up there’s no way around it yeah do you think that you’re going to hit it the first time out that’s a a trillion to one odds against that happening you’re gonna make mistake after mistake you’re gonna do things that you’re gonna look back and say that was the dumbest thing I ever did in my life what was I thinking it’s going to happen so some people a lot of companies I’ve seen destroyed over the years because the ego’s get in the way and that’s we’ve had that situation here which you know so is everybody else sure but it’s the thing is you’re not gonna always be right and not only you not always going to be right you’re going to be wrong 99 of the time so just accept that you would do the best you could at that point in time learn from it and go to the next thing you have to be like an NFL cornerback right you know they get burned three plays in a row forget that because the fourth one is the pick pick six and you know you win yeah so you’re going to make mistakes at it that’s just so you accept that you don’t like it because it costs time and money but you just know that that’s hey that’s just the way it’s gonna be you’re not gonna you’re so smart that you’re never going to be wrong you’re out of your mind yeah in fact being smarter probably works against you yeah because it’s just like well I’m smart and then you’ll also notice that you’ll get pressure from people that you would not want to have pressure from like a spouse that says why are you going through this we can’t go on vacation this year one is going to work for Lily and make a nice salary and be home every night at 703 and eat dinner at 7 41 and and watch television until nine o’clock and get it that’s no that’s not you just have just be prepared for that because but it’s not going to happen I mean it’s going to be up and it’s me down and and several times a day and you’re gonna you know don’t don’t even worry about those questions you keep if it if there’s technical or some basis this thing works demand in the marketplace technical basis whatever yeah then you know just you keep pushing on it’s a lot of times it’s gonna be just you it’s going to be cold outside and you don’t have much money to pay for heat and you’re looking at your office window at the snow and it’s like this is this is seven years in uh but everybody else pushed through on their on their technology so you can if they can do it you can do it yeah it reminds me of a cartoon that I saw once where uh this person is digging underground tunneling under the ground with a pick and um and then eventually turns around and walks out gives up and he’s like this far away from this big pile of diamonds if he had to just pick two or three more times right he would have hit the the Diamond pile but he gave up and and went back and so the what you’re saying is you know don’t give up right keep going because you you you if you are persistent and consistent you’re eventually gonna get to that you know some version of that uh that success well the African queen an old movie with with uh Catherine Hepburn and and um uh Hunter Bogart and they’re you know they’re on a boat in Africa they’re trying to find us getting this big lake and he’s in there pulling the boat through the weeds and all that and he finds collapses and then the camera goes up and he’s like 40 feet away from the lake so same kind of deal yeah and I might I like the perspective you shared because um a lot of folks can can have a a false belief that you know that this is easy or that it just happens overnight or right and that you know that that people just you know automatically become successful so I like what you shared in terms of it takes time and it takes persistence and and perseverance and right staying at it and and eventually right the success will come but it’s not an overnight thing very true everyone always sees everyone loves you at the end result once you get the money wired into your account it’s like oh you’re wonderful your greatest where have you guys been the last 10 years it took me to get this dumb thing yeah to a level where someone appreciates it so and then another thing I learned Tim was that there was never it was never Bill Gates he had a partner Paul Allen I mean it was never just Stephen Jobs he had Partners Wozniak yeah you know this there’s never anyone that does no one is so good they can do all the roles right so you’ll find out really fast what your role is so you know I know when it comes to computers electronic stuff I absolutely suck because and I think I know why because it’s it’s inductive reasoning versus deductive reasoning so if you can give me a big picture yeah like okay this is a this is a binary system zero and one yes no switch on off okay now I understand the big picture then I can put the information and figure it out yeah if you go the other way around like they do on computers okay you click onto this app and then you go down to the third scroll and you scroll over to this and then you go down to this I’m like stop what do you do what are we doing I mean I just can’t process it so you learn really fast when you’re an entrepreneur that what things you’re good in and what things paperwork absolute the world’s worst okay absolutely the world’s best you can’t deal with people but she’s really good at the all the initial paperwork this form that form which would drive me nuts I would be on curled up on a fetal position on the floor if I had to do that kind of stuff but she’s really good at that and she likes that and I like the other parts of it so you’ll notice that you’ll always find whatever you’re good in you know that there’ll be other people that can but no one does it by themselves that’s that you know the lone cowboy on the Range you know that no that uh not on a startup right it’s a lot of people yeah so uh great segue my my next question is that we know that business doesn’t happen in isolation our business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about one of your biggest challenges over the years and maybe another business owner who came alongside you and helped you get through that in this in this startup in particular or it doesn’t have to be this one it can be any of your experiences let’s say this one the major problem has been fun has been money which of course is everyone’s problem sure but um we have been turned down by just about everybody I kept track once and I think we’re over 29. on grants on we had some really good but it was what we did is so radical it’s so simple and yet so radical that well apply for this this sbir that’s that’s well the problem is the banks you’re still going to go through what the bank says okay I mean it’s the same required the banks have the same requirements if you just went in there for a loan you know well you want a million dollars well do you have 10 million dollars on a treasury note that we can that we can take first claim against so which I’ve had a bank do so we you know it’s it’s the state of Indiana’s turned this down several times Purdue hasn’t uh they’ve turned us down it’s their technology yeah but um it’s the financing has been very difficult or lack thereof but we’ve always seemed to find a way to uh to come around things and it makes us I mean we’re we’re starving but that’s okay because we’re used to starving and it makes you have to hustle right got a whole lot of fat so that’s been a big issue with this is because number one it’s really radical you know making hydrogen from aluminum and water what in the world yeah yeah but that’s and the reason I like this because this was September 2005 was my first trip to Purdue and when he did the little demo for me and I saw the the hydrant come off and it was during Katrina and I remember watching on television all the people standing there with gas cans at the gas station no power right yeah people there is no electricity to get the gasoline out of the ground into your tank and I thought well if this thing really works why not use the flood water make hydrogen and then run emergency portable generator right there’s no emissions because it’s hydrogen you don’t have to store it it’s like gasoline it’s just stored in an aluminum alloy yeah so when I that vision is pumped in my head and I followed that for 17 years that’s awesome so is this one of those things that just kind of clicked so when Edison said it’s you know one percent inspiration 99 perspiration that was it that was the one percent inspiration was when he did that it just clicked that hey this is so we did emergency portable January that’s the first that was our proof of concept like what 12 13 years ago so we did that for the Army and and uh so that was kind of them it just it all it all fell into place then yeah that’s awesome so Kurt um if I was to ask you to pick three people in your business only on your journey that you’re most grateful for being there uh to help with your business growth who are they who are those three people and how they help you

I would say my father’s probably in the top three because he was an entrepreneur okay and um he taught me a lot but I learned a whole lot more than he taught me so he had bought he was probably involved in 40 different businesses when we were kids we lived downtown on East 10th Street and then we moved into a big house and after five years we lost the house and lived in the government Section 8 government assisted housing for five years in an apartment so you understood what the word risk means right it’s really interesting because there are four other entrepreneurs that I knew that we grew up in that apartment we weren’t friends we knew each other that are all started their own companies there’s something about that place in either a major heroin addict or a major entrepreneur I don’t know how lucky you were again right so and then he taught me stuff that I mean he used to have this Bonneville Pontiac Bonneville cars huge thing that got like 10 miles a gallon I said dad why don’t you buy a Datsun B210 and get 30 miles a gallon he says you don’t understand the system he said the faster you use up the gasoline the more the faster the price will go up and then you have other Alternatives and when you’re you know 10 12 years old you never think of that it’s like well that’s a pretty interesting thought sure yeah so yeah that’s so I’d say that he is up there on the stuff that uh you know you can you see what it took and how to do things and a lot of how not to do things yes he was a pound of desk kind of person and that’s I never liked that I didn’t like it when it’s applied to me when I was a kid I don’t like that now I’m not I don’t react very well to that yeah I say the second thing the second person is probably Pete carlino who I’ve known since we’re four years old because he’s he also is a Purdue guy so but that’s okay but whenever we can talk about anything so there’s issues on the girls front or family or the business or a recalcitra board member or whatever it is I can call them up and I can rant and Rave and scream and yell at him yeah and then he ran raise and screamed and yells at me for whatever going on in his life and as always it’s always nice to have a best friend yeah because you know there’s lots of things that you really don’t want to talk to people about sure so I’d say that’s the two people that helped me the most um there’s a lot of other people in the third spot that I would say that were a royal pain in the keister but it worked out fine because that motivated you from the negative things sure I mean there’s this guy in the state of Indiana that drove me crazy because we’ve tried to raise money through them through one of their funds this was like 12 years ago and he was you know supposed to have a they would send your idea and then some expert will judge it okay he was an expert more than the guy that just that invented the prod discovered the process that first place so the a scale of one to four so we had a couple threes and a two so I went back to him I said okay girl what now what and he said well if you do this and this we’ll get there and you’ll get the money and you know a couple million and that will that will be the seed money yeah so he went and did all and this is all the paperwork which I hate anyway and all the things and it came back and went to like a two three twos it’s like how did we how do we go backwards and he was such a pain that I just I was I just wanted to make this thing work just so I can make this thing work over what everyone well this won’t work and here’s why we’ve had lots and lots of people that said oh this will never work there’s nothing here that’s oh he told me there’s nothing here that’s patentable so when I got my two issued patents I said well obviously they disagree with you yeah but you’ll never have a product for sale so then we didn’t run so it was there’s probably 20 people like that were here that just motivates you from fine we’re just gonna all right don’t give me the 2.1 million give it to a company that went bankrupt

there’s lots of people that still do that I wonder who you guys survived for seven 17 years I said well we did are you going to invest now or you’re just gonna keep telling me what I can’t do and then we’ll go outside good for you so it just really made me angry because they didn’t look at the science part they didn’t say Okay so this there really is something that works there really is a need in the marketplace which you know I think people want an alternative to gasoline and their internal combustion engines I think that’s a pretty legitimate but they just were you know well we’ve always done it this way sure so here’s the process and that and it said you’re working with entrepreneurs and you’re telling me it’s the status quo I said you’re in the wrong field yeah that’s what an entrepreneur does is disrupt the status quo yeah right I guess that’s two people and a whole another group of people awesome so current last question here um Jim Rohn said that we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote what advice do you have for business owners who are trying to do it on their own

um on your own you’re not going to be able to do it on your own because you don’t know everything you you don’t know the accounting well I mean maybe you’re an account but your chances are you’re not going to know the accounting before I started any of my companies a whole bunch more that I didn’t start I’d go see teaching Schwartz and Weingart see John Weingart well edit Earl Peach and back in the old days and they were alive I know John weingart’s the principal and I would sit down with John and say okay here’s what I’m thinking and I would lay out the idea and then just see what he says because I mean the tax code is like this high right and it changes every year I’m not going to know all those changes right and John would say okay here’s the rule you have to follow here’s the rule but knowing they’re not going to enforce it here’s the gray area yeah so here’s what you want to do and he would lay out whatever my idea was from a financial perspective okay so that was I that was always something that he goes first and I have an attorney that I’ve known for you know 30 years or whatever and so whenever I have an idea he’s the second person I go to all right case here’s what we got he tells me how to legally you know here’s what any idea he has and I go to him and he tells me what the legal consequences are most entrepreneurs don’t know the law that well they don’t know the accounting part of it that’s just absolute must have and then you have to know your you know what you’re good in and what you’re not good in maybe you’re a brilliant engineer you’re going to need someone in marketing same thing if you’re in marketing you have to know someone engineering that can keep you no you can’t sell this because this doesn’t work here or whatever it is right you have to you have to have your weaknesses there’s no way just on your own I mean you know unless you’re painting nails or something that’s polishing shoes that you don’t really need expertise but most entrepreneurs have higher yeah higher sets of expectations yeah so just and don’t be afraid to ask people don’t mind you know don’t be shy about it because the the alternative is if you don’t check these things out if you don’t talk to people and you just thinking you know what all I’m gonna do on your own going through losing all your money losing your house that’s not a fun thing to go through no you will do anything it takes once you lose your house once you will go through do whatever it takes to avoid that and that means if you’re shy and don’t want to know the accounting talk to an accountant ask people around that’s one thing about Indianapolis what’s pretty good about that if you there’s always entrepreneurs I mean everyone knows pretty much everybody else they go to them and say hey I know we’re in different Industries but when you had this problem what did you know what who did you talk to I don’t know anything about computers who I talk to on computers that have a tracking system so I know when the trucks need to be filled up with to change the alloy on so you know don’t don’t be afraid to to ask him why and you are not going to know everything put your ego on you got to have your ego to keep you going the bad times but you also have to put it on hold at certain times and say no if I don’t know what I’m going to ask and then if I look stupid I don’t care yeah yeah because it looks it’s better than going through you know well I’m sorry you have to move or repossessing your house so go live in your car somewhere yeah that’s not that’s the what that’s what you want to avoid yeah I like that you gave a a number of different ways to be able to get help so that could be Outsourcing it by you know going to a CPA or an attorney or asking fellow you know entrepreneurs for you know just share their experiences or their advice um and so or it could be hiring somebody and you know bringing somebody in-house who has that expertise so um for everyone listening right there’s different ways that you can you know fill close the gap in terms of the the things that you don’t know and and get that help and and guidance and Direction and I I love what Kurt said very blunt right it’s like you you either get the help you need or you you fail right and and have to you know hand in your house so spend the extra money or the time to figure out your blind spots and and get help from others so that you can avoid making the mistakes of of having an ego that feels like you’ve got it all figured out so great advice Kurt I love that I’m so smart a sheriff comes and kicks you out of your home so it’s

not not much fun I mean so 35 years in this house so that’s that’s always one of my things of pride is that no one went hungry they want kids on vacation they got to go to school go wherever they want travel all those things and without losing house that’s so if all you have to do to avoid that is talk to someone yeah sure how do you do this accounting stuff yeah what are the what are the what’s an LLC what’s a

what’s the smartest way to set this up yeah so don’t be afraid because a lot of people that don’t know either just afraid to ask yeah but if you go through the alternative then you figure out that’s easier to ask than it is to yes suffer in silence yeah and that that famous phrase that there’s never a dumb question right there there really isn’t in this world because there’s hundreds of other business owners or entrepreneurs who had that question too and are more than happy to you know to share some of their experience and wisdom um with you if you just have the you know the nerve to reach out and ask somebody so and the CEO’s not supposed to know all the details about everything right so if you’re going there and say okay tell me what what do you got my Engineers I do that through them all the time so that’s you know I say okay so what why are we doing this wasn’t there Boyle’s law that says you have to do this and then they they kind of get used to someone looking at that with another pair of eyes and yeah so you know you don’t want to become an engineer but uh it helps to don’t feel shy about asking but whatever you’re I don’t we don’t do software a little bit but but um we do more mechanical engineering right but uh you know I have no problems now you’re paying for it you’re paying them and you’re paying for the parts so you might as well see what your what your money’s getting so absolutely so Kurt sounds like you’ve been uh blessed with some incredible people who have helped you along your journey if they were all here on the show today what would you want to say to them

all the people helped well one thing that I always one thing that bothered me and one thing I thought was always helped you see a lot of times in the Wall Street Journal because I always read the weekend edition so it takes me all week to read the whole thing and they give away a lot of CEOs take they have super voting rights stock and then everybody else all the plebes get regular stock I thought I would never invest in a company where the top guy has control of it through super voting rights I want everyone to have the same stock I mean to me that just that just annoys me that this guy is you know I came with a guy that did the the state the living space the invented spaces and he was worth billions of dollars because he’s so brilliant well he screwed everybody else by having the super bunny ride like 20 shares for every share he had 20 votes I thought that was that was just awful why would you do that to people because I’ve always was a believer that everybody gets stuck they either you either work for it or you put up money so I like the idea that everyone’s pulling on the rope and that you know to me that was so Pete’s got stuck Kim that does the I mean everyone that does on our board has put up cash and they all have common stock there’s only one class of stock and you know this that’s how that’s how they’re motivated that’s how they’re rewarded sure so my goal was to make as many millionaires as I possibly can I love it so you know that that was a way of saying thanks and then uh you know just you tell them that well they do a good job you tell them thank you and you appreciate it and when you make a mistake that’s fine you tell them you made a mistake and hey I thought if we put this and the pressure would reduce well I guess that’s not right and then when they make a mistake don’t don’t beat them up right I mean that’s one thing another thing I never liked because you’re going You’re always trying something new it’s a startup sure so you’re gonna do new stuff and you’re not gonna be the only one that screws up all your people are going to screw up too yeah and to call people out I’ve seen that happen before and I never if I was that person I I would have a a less than congenial reaction and being called out you know I I remember once there was I was doing work for some brokerage firm and so this guy thought he was a pound the table kind of guy and so there’s one lady there and her husband had literally dropped dead had a heart attack on the office and so she was she was the wife and she was getting a series seven and trying to learn all that and before a group of 60 people he’s there bashing her well how why haven’t you made more calls why haven’t you done this why haven’t you done this and then he didn’t know and he just looked like an a total ass right which is what he and I thought that is a classic example why you don’t berate people if you have a problem with it you tell them you have a problem with it you don’t sit there in front of a group setting yeah so my engineer did something stupid here recently he measured it to put the mount this system on the truck and Fishers and he put 18 he couldn’t read his writing that was an not eight inches it was 18 inches so that cost us three days but I didn’t say all right I know they don’t teach you how to read and Purdue but how come you couldn’t read your number but I didn’t say anything I just I said oh maybe have it upside down and kind of made a joke out of it and he understood that you know that was a thank you for not yeah you know because you aren’t paying me to do mechanical engineering stuff yeah yeah but you know that’s but that’s you’re gonna screw up they’re guaranteed and you’re gonna not square a little bit you’re gonna do constantly when you don’t screw up is when so our technology on this startup was totally unknown yeah no one had any idea how all these catalysts work together nobody knew how much water how much time how much hydrogen all we had is what what are two facts and that’s all we had so you know that there’s going to be no easy way around this and you’re just gonna have to get down the mud in the trenches and go on the back of the truck and test it every single day you know how awful boring and tedious that is but I didn’t see any other volunteers and plus I don’t charge anything I just get the stock yep but they would but it had to be done as I was just you know one other thing but you all you’re doing is every single day each test was four to six hours sure plus tear down right so you’re in a garage all day long recording date every five minutes checking all the stuff yeah hour after hour but it was you know that’s so just if you ever get find a parameter that was like a huge celebration okay three tests in a row this doesn’t work yeah good oh we found something okay let’s try so at least we know and we have proven because I did the work that this little thing you can’t do this way yeah and I mean that’s just for a lot of people they can’t accept that especially in Academia they can’t be wrong they’re doctors they have to know everything yeah that’s why they’re not good entrepreneurs most of the time but you know that’s just that’s just the way it’s going to be well Kurt it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today and I appreciate you being on the show thank you Tim I appreciate the opportunity and uh hopefully someone will take here’s something and go well that doesn’t make sense but if you change it this way and that’s because all we’re all the same pretty much yes you know willing to take risk and disrupt the status quo and see if it works fantastic well to everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to self-made as a myth show with your host coach Tim cancel be sure to help us spread the movement by liking the show and sharing it on your social media and to join our movement go to be mad together.com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and I’ll see you all next time take care thank you Tim