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Podcast title Beyond the Uniform
Website URL http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn...
Description Beyond the Uniform is a show to help military veterans navigate their civilian career. Each week, I meet with different veterans to learn more about their civilian career, how they got there, and what advice they'd give to other military personnel.
Updated Wed, 23 May 2018 09:01:23 +0000
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Category Business
Education
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Episodes

1. BTU #177 - Navy to VP in Crypto (Stephanie Vaughan)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 34.87Mb)

Description:

Stephanie Vaughanis the Vice President, Head of Capital Markets at Block X Ventures, a premier boutique crypto-agency advisory firm. Block X Venturessupports leading Blockchain companies worldwide, serving as a strategic and financial advisory for token generating events. She started out at the Naval Academy, after which she served as a Marine Corps officer for over 5.5 years. After her military service, she earned her MBA at Columbia Business School, worked as an Investment Banking Associate at Houlihan Lokey, a Venture Capitalist at LunaCap Ventures, and as Director of Capital Markets at StreetShares. She is a contributing writer at theBlockchain Times.

Why Listen: 

Stephanie is the first person I've interviewed in the Blockchain / Crypto currency space. She talks about the exhilaration of being in a "wild west" environment, and why Veterans may be better suited to this than they might initially think. She talks about her background in finance, as well as advice to Veterans about how to advocate for themselves in interviews.



2. BTU #171 - Navy to Financial Services at Silicon Valley Bank (Charlie Kelly)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 42.61Mb)

Description:

Charlie Kellyis the Managing Director of the Colorado Technology group at Silicon Valley Bank, where he leads a team focused on providing innovative financial services to high tech companies in the seed / series A through cash flow positive stages of development headquartered in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. He started out at Duke University, after which he served as an officer in the Navy onboard Submarines for almost five years. After his military service, he earned his MBA at the University of Colorado Boulder. He then joined SVB, initially as an associate with the Private Equity Banking team, eventually leading SVB’s team in the Central U.S. He has worked at SVB for over 11 years now.

Why Listen: 

For those Veterans interested in Startups, Venture Capital, Private Equity, or Finance in general, Charlie is a wealth of knowledge. He also has a great perspective on how to evaluate graduate school after Active Duty.



3. BTU #176 - Storytelling in Interviews (part 2)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 13.08Mb)

Description:

This is the second part of Episode #175, in which I give more examples of storytelling in an interview and how to translate your military experience in a civilian interview.



4. BTU #175 - 3 Vets share how they prepared for interviews
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 19.30Mb)

Description:

In this episode, I share clips from four Veterans in previous who interviews who had exceptional advice about storytelling in both networking and interviewing. They share advice for Veterans about how to prepare for and excel at their interviews.



5. BTU #174 - 1,000 True Fans
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 9.44Mb)

Description:

This is a quick episode about a new goal where I need your help: to get to 1,000 listeners per episode, which is just about double our current audience. Part of the reason I am aiming for 1,000 listeners is based on an incredible essay I read four years ago and think of often: 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly. I also read an excerpt from this essay, as it directly relates to anyone who seeks to create something new or be an entrepreneur. 



6. BTU #173 - Intros, coffee chats & email outreach
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 33.77Mb)

Description:

This is a skills episode about a common topic with guests on the show: how to get ahold of people to ask for advice, find out about a job, or get an expert opinion. I'll sure a few quick tips that have helped me raise over $3M in Venture Capital, close multiple 6-figure contracts with Fortune 500 brands, and even find my current job.



7. BTU #172 - a quick rant
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Description:

This is a quick update episode about two new aspects of Beyond the Uniform coming soon to a website near you, as well as a few other random updates, rants, and thoughts.



8. BTU #170 - 20 year Navy SEAL to Published Author (Jack Carr)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 38.13Mb)

Description:

Jack Carr is the author of the book, The Terminal List. He served for twenty years as a Navy SEAL, where he led a special operations teams on four continents as a Team Leader, Platoon Commander, Troop Commander and Task Unit Commander. He served with SEAL teams two and seven, and retiring as a LCDR. 

Why Listen: 

Jack spent 20 years in the Navy SEALs and went on to write a book published by Simon and Schuster. This is not just a great episode for aspiring authors, but for all Veterans. Jack has a great  perspective about tenacity and not taking no for an answer, as well as for setting out clear guidelines for the type of career and lifestyle he wanted after his military service.



9. BTU #169 - Marine Corps to Residential Real Estate (Drew Morris)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 39.72Mb)

Description:

Drew Morris is a Residential Real Estate Broker at the New Era Group at Your Castle Real Estate. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served as a Marine Corps officer for seven years. He transitioned directly from the Marine Corps into his current position, where he has worked for nearly five years.

Why Listen: 

Drew went directly from the Marine Corps into Residential Real Estate. However, beyond this just being an episode pertinent to other Veterans interested in Real Estate, there are two reasons to listen to this episode. The first is our conversation about commission-based jobs. Drew does the best job I've ever heard about why Veterans should consider a commission-based job. I know most members of the military have a negative association with this sort of job, but Drew has some compelling points. Second, Drew has great advice about sales. Sales is the most cited challenge in my interview with Veterans - selling oneself, networking, and sales in general. Drew's advice will hit home for many listeners.



10. BTU #168 - Army to Quantitative Analyst & Data Scientist
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 31.14Mb)

Description:

In addition to talking about the Quantitative Analyst position and Data Science in general, Ryan and I also talk about two advantages to being in a position where you work market hours. One advantage is that the work week is fairly predictable - for Ryan, he generally works 6:00 am - 2:00 pm MST, rarely having to work on the weekends. Second, every single day Ryan and his team get a "report card" on how they performed - they get immediate feedback from the financial markets on how they are doing. If you love numbers, this is definitely an episode worth listening to.

 



11. BTU #167 - Army Pilot to seed stage Venture Capitalist (Aaron Stachel)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 57.45Mb)

Description:

Aaron Stachel is a Principal at PV Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund that primarily invests in Colorado-based software companies prior to their first institutional venture round. Aaron started out at West Point, after which he served as an Aviation Officer in the Army for 10 years. Aaron holds an MBA from the University of Denver.

Why Listen: 

Thank you to all of you who completed my survey in March about what type of guests you would like to have on the show. The #1 requested career path was Venture Capitalist... and it took me a long, long time to finally connect with a Veteran in this career path. We talk not just about Venture Capital and entrepreneurship, but we talk about topics relevant for veterans in every career path: networking, risk taking, and more.



12. BTU #166 - Marines to Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs (Steve Colley)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 36.44Mb)

Description:

Steve Colley is a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Committee On Veterans’ Affairs. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served in the Marine Corps for six years. After his military service, he worked as a Congressional Fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives, as a Researcher at the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, and attended the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Why Listen: 

After his military service, Steve sought out a career in Public Service, and has worked as a Staff Member on the Senate Committee On Veterans’ Affairs. For those of you who are interested in a career in politics or public service, this is a great episode. Also, if you’re curious about what is going on in Capital Hill as it relates to Veterans Affairs, this is also a great interview to check out.



13. BTU #165 - Marines to Real Estate Development (Chris Antonov)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 49.07Mb)

Description:

Chris Antonov is the Director of Development at Morgan Creek Ventures, a boutique real estate development firm focused on leading-edge approaches to sustainability and building design. Their real estate portfolio ranges from office and mixed-use redevelopment to ground up residential and preservation communities. Chris started out in the Marine Corps, where he served for eleven years in both the active duty and reserve components. 

Why Listen: 

This episode is all about Real Estate Development. Most people on Active Duty are likely familiar with Real Estate and Real Estate Brokers, but Real Estate Development is different. Chris does an exceptional job of talking about Real Estate Development: the multi-year process of finding land, purchasing land, designing a building, constructing that building, and then leasing the office space or building. He also provides a great look at how this work is highly relevant to many of the skills we develop on Active Duty. He also talks about how his work in the Marines was largely project management, and how that is one of the key skills in his current job.



14. BTU #164 - Buying 20+ houses, with cash, while on Active Duty (Rich Carey)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 55.22Mb)

Description:

Rich Carey is a Commander in the Air Force, currently stationed in Korea. While on active duty he paid off his $280k mortgage in six years and $32k in student loans in 1 year. He flips houses and purchases rental property with cash while living overseas in the military. He currently owns 20 rental properties mortgage free. He also operates - despite a demanding schedule and frequent travel - the website RichOnMoney.com

Why Listen: 

Financial security is something that comes up frequently in my interviews. Veterans talks about how important it is to have enough time after Active Duty to be able to find your ideal job... and this may take 6-9 months. Rich is an exceptional example of someone on Active Duty who has lived below his means, and invested wisely to provide financial freedom when he leaves the military. His lessons are applicable to every career path, and whether you are on Active Duty or already transitioned to a civilian career.



15. BTU #163 - Army to Season 2 Apprentice Winner (Kelly Perdew)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 36.37Mb)

Description:

Kelly Perdew is the Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Moonshots Capital, which he founded with a fellow West Point grad, and exists to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas. He started out at West Point, after which he served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Officer. Since then he has worked as a Founder, Board Member, CEO, COO, CFO, as well as in Business Development, and Sales. He has raised institutional financing, grown businesses, down-sized businesses, and sold businesses for 8-figure exits. Perhaps most uniquely, he is the Season 2 Winner of The Apprentice, after which he apprentice to Donald Trump and was involved in multiple real estate projects with Donald Trump. He holds both an MBA and JD from UCLA.

Why Listen: 

Kelly has such a unique background and has had so many different aspects to his civilian career. In this interview we talk about what it is like to be an investor, and advice for Veterans wanting to pursue this path. We also talk about entrepreneurship, and advice to Veterans who want to start their own company. We talk about work life balance, recovering from failure, what those final moments were like on The Apprentice, and so much more.



16. BTU #162 - Navy to Data Scientist and Product Manager (Amanda Casari)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 52.28Mb)

Description:

Amanda Casari is a Senior Product Manager & Data Scientist with Concur Labs at SAP Concur, a company that provides on-demand employee spend management solutions that enable organizations to control their costs. Concur customers include over 70% of Fortune 100 and 500 companies. She started out at the Naval Academy, after which she served for five years and one week as a Surface Warfare Officer. She hold an MS from the University of Vermont in Electrical Engineering, is a future O'Reilly author and also volunteers with NASA as a member of the Datanauts.

Why listen:

Amanda puts me to shame in this interview, as she is so incredibly gifted at succinctly and vividly describing a variety of topics in this interview, including: her work as a Data Scientist and Product Manager, how to approach work life balance, remote working, and evaluating a company's culture. I really enjoyed talking with Amanda, and hope you enjoy this great interview.



17. BTU #161 - Update Episode - Website, Books, Events and more
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 17.56Mb)

Description:

This episode is a short update on what is going on at Beyond the Uniform. I share information about our brand new website and many new resources for the BTU community. I also talk about two books I recently released, one event coming up, as well as how the non-profit conversion is coming. Enjoy!



18. BTU #160 - Veterati (Daniel Rau)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 43.48Mb)

Description:

Daniel is the Founder & COO of Veterati, a company that provides Digital Mentorship on Demand, and is designed to empower Americans across the nation to mentor our veterans & connect them to real career opportunities. Daniel served as a Marine Security Guard and Communications Technician for five years in the US Marine Corps. Prior to Founding Veterati, he worked at Scottrade as an Branch Office Account Representative, and as a Personal Security Specialist at International Development Solutions.

Why Listen: 

Veterati is an incredible resource for Veterans. In this episode we dive into what Veterati does for Veterans, what Veterans can learn from Daniel's experience running Veterati, and also about Daniel's experience starting and growing a for-profit company.



19. BTU #159 - 28 Years in the Army to Farm Onwer (Charley Jordan)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 58.99Mb)

Description:

Usually, give an intro giving you a few reason to listen... not doing that this time Just listen to it. One of my favorite episodes, can’t imagine a job more different than my own, but also can’t imgagine a single career path that wouldn’t benefit from hearing Charley’s story.



20. BTU #158 - Lockheed Martin to Residential Real Estate (Sean Ponder)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 43.15Mb)

Description:

Sean Ponder is an Associate Broker at S&G Realty, where he assists home buyers, sellers, and developers in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC areas. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served as a submarine officer for five years as part of the crew of the USS Salt Lake City (SSN-716). He worked at Lockheed Martin for nine years before joining S&G Realty.

Why Listen: 

Real estate! How buying a house and binging on HGTV led to a career in Real Estate. I have been trying for the last several months to get a Veteran in real estate on the show. Sean is the first person I’ve had not the show to speak about this career path. We also talk about a lot of other topics relevant to any career path. We discuss the Pros & Cons of working with headhunters, and how this may set your salary starting point lower than if you are able to go directly to a company. We also briefly chat about Lockheed Martin, where Sean started the first nine years of his civilian career. We also touch on the Reserves.



21. BTU # 157 - Employee #500 at Aol (Rob Shenk)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 51.71Mb)

Description:
Rob Shenk is the Senior Vice President for Visitor Engagement at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Rob graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. After graduating from Aviation Officers Candidate School and Intel school, Rob joined Strike Fighter Squadron 147 (The Argonauts) as their strike intelligence officer, where he deployed to the Far East and Persian Gulf onboard USS Nimitz. Days after leaving the Navy, Rob joined a then-relatively small company called America Online where he rose through the ranks to become the Vice President of AOL’s Personal Finance Channel. After leaving AOL, Rob joined E*TRADE Financial where he eventually rose to manage all the online banking services and cash management products. Rob left E*TRADE to join the Civil War Trust as their first Director of Internet Strategy and Development. He holds a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia. His son is currently a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.

Why to Listen: 

This is a terrific episode for any member of the Armed Forces. Rob joined Aol as their 500th employee and was there for their growth to over 10,000 employees. He went through a similar process with eTrade. But he got his foot in the door, directly out of the military, by applying to be a customer phone support person! His story is one of failing and taking risks, or being part of an internet revolution, and continuing to change his career path over time. I found his story inspiring and hope that you do as well.



22. BTU #156 - Attorney at Jenner & Block (LaRue Robinson)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 39.17Mb)

Description:
LaRue Robinson is an associate at Jenner & Block, one of the 50 most profitable law firms in the United States. He started out at Cornell University, after which he attended Columbia Law School. He served in the Army as JAG Corps officer for four years, prior to starting his career as an Associate at Bryan Cave.

Why to Listen: 

LaRue managed to find a role at one of the most profitable law firms in the United States. He talks about what it’s like to work at a law firm, the common career paths associated with this sort of roles, and advice about the interview and application process. LaRue served in the JAG Corps while in the military, so some of his advice is tailored to JAG Corps Officers. However, if you’re considering a career in law, he provides some exceptional advice.



23. BTU #155 - Elite Meet (John Allen)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 50.85Mb)

Description:
John Allen is the CEO & Founder of Elite Meet, a Non-Profit organization that connects high performing, transitioning veterans, like Navy SEALs and Fighter Pilots, with companies who are looking to hire. He started out at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, after which he served in the Navy as a Navy SEAL for seven years.

Why to Listen: 

There are so many reasons to listen to this episode. First of all, John faced an unexpected transition from Navy SEALs to his own civilian career. While had been planning on going to business school and then doing consulting work, things changed and he found himself with just eight weeks to find a job. Through that process, he started Elite Meet, which is a fantastic resource for transitioning veterans. We talk about Elite Meet, we talk about starting a non-profit, we talk about how to present oneself in the hiring process, and much, much more.



24. BTU #154 - The Commit Foundation
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 37.75Mb)

Description:
Anne Meree Craig is the Executive Director and Co-Founder, The COMMIT Foundation, which is changing the way highly talented veterans think about transition and creating serendipity for them by fostering mentorship, networking, and inspiration. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Bunker Labs.

Why to Listen: 

The Commit Foundation is a fantastic and free resource to help veterans get where they want to go… just a whole lot faster. They take a very individual approach with each veteran with whom the work, and tailor their approach to help instill veterans with information, confidence, and imagination. Having worked with so many veterans over the years, Anne Meree has some fantastic advice for listeners about interviews - it’s some of the best advice this subject I’ve had on the show.



25. BTU #153 - The Dip (book review)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 24.25Mb)

Description:

This is a book review of Seth Godin's book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). I think this is a great book for both Active Duty members of the military, as well as transitioned veterans. It talks about figuring out what you want to be the best at, and going all-in on that one thing. Anticipating the setbacks that will come along the way, and also recognizing when a fight is un-win-able (or not worth the effort).

 


26. BTU #152 - Financial Planning & Entrepreneurship (Aaron Milledge)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 47.79Mb)

Description:
Aaron Milledge is the Co-Founder & Chief Compliance Officer of Targeted Wealth Solutions, an independent Registered Investment Adviser that provides comprehensive wealth management across all stages of their clients’ lives. Aaron started out at Emory University, after which he served as a Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Air Force for over 12 years. After his service in the Air Force, he founded Targeted Wealth Solutions. He holds an MBA from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

Why to Listen: 

Many guests on my show in the past have advised those on Active Duty to take care of their finances so that they have the time they need to find their ideal career. Well, today’s guest, as a financial advisor, has made it his profession to help people take control of their finances. He talks about financial advising as a career path, as well as what it has been like to start his own company.



27. BTU #151- American Corporate Partners (Timothy Cochrane)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 45.67Mb)

Description:
Timothy Cochrane is the President, ACP Citizens Program at American Corporate Partners, a non-profit that offers free mentorships for long-term career development to the veteran community. He is also the Senior Managing Director at Prime Executions, an agency only broker dealer located on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Tim served in the US Marine Corps for four years.

Why to Listen: 

American Corporate Partners is a resource I have mentioned on - literally - hundreds of episodes. In this interview, we dive into everything a veteran needs to know about ACP and why EVERY veteran should use their free service to find a mentor to help them further their career.



28. BTU #150 - Silent Meditation Retreat
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 39.95Mb)

Description:

In the last 149 interviews, a common theme that comes up in interviews is the importance of self-knoweldge: of knowing what one is good at, knowing what gets one energized, and knowing what one wants out of a career and life. For today's Skills episode, I wanted to share my experience with a powerful tool: Meditation and Silent Meditation Retreats. While the benefits of Meditation is well documented with respect to concentration and increased productivity, I wanted to share four different ways in which this may help veterans. The episode covers (1) the basics of meditation, (2) why a veteran may be interested in a silent meditation retreat, (3) an overview of silent meditation retreats, and (4) resources in case you would like to learn more.

Selected Resources:

 

BTU #123 – The Veterans Yoga Project (Dr. Dan Libby) Spirit Rock Meditation Center is where I have done my four retreats, and I have also heard very positive things about the Insight Meditation Society Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - a great introduction to meditation; there are programs around the world that offer MBSR. I took mine through UCSF. Book Recommendations 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)

29. BTU #149: Marines to Finance & COO @ Alpha Architect (Patrick Cleary)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 54.61Mb)

Description:
Patrick Cleary is the Chief Operations Officer at Alpha Architect. He started out at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he served as a Platoon Commander in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years. After his active duty service, he received his MBA from Harvard Business School, worked as a Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group, and worked at the global business service provider, Algeco Scotsman Group.

Why to Listen: 

This is a must-listen-to episode. Patrick covers so much ground in this interview - we talk about choosing a team that is lean and mean; we talk about his experience not being sure of what to do for 5-6 years, wandering from business school to consulting to ultimately finding a place he passionately calls home; we talk about work and life balance and how to think about this as an entrepreneur; and we talk about finance and entrepreneurship. There is so much great advice in this interview!



30. BTU 148- Taking a Startup Public and Founding a New Consulting Company (Bill Angeloni)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 47.40Mb)

Description:

Bill Angeloni is the Founder & Director of Tenzing Consulting, a global management consulting firm he co-founded that now has over 850 experts and works with Fortune 1,000 clients and private equity. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served as an officer in the Navy for five years (while also earning his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management). After his time on Active Duty, he worked at United Airlines doing strategy and operations work, was a Manager at AT Kearney, and a General Manager at FreeMarkets, Inc - a startup where he opened Europe and helped grow to $200M and then took public. After that, he co-founded his own Management Consulting firm, which he has co-led for seven of the last 15 years — he took an 8-year leave of absence to lead a tech company turn around, and start a couple other companies. He has worked with over 30 start-ups over his career and thinks of himself as a bit of a start-up junkie.

Why to Listen: 

Bill has had an eclectic career and covers a lot of ground in this interview. In addition to talking about how to find and join a high-growth startup, he also talks about his experience starting his own consulting company. He also has fantastic advice about networking - how to approach it and why it's so important for veterans to learn how to do this effectively.



31. BTU 147 - Founding Sport Clips Haircuts & Building 1700 Franchises (Gordon Logan)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 51.21Mb)

Description:
Gordon Logan is the Founder & CEO at Sport Clips Haircuts, a company that he started back in 1993 and now has over 1,700 locations in the US & Canada. Logan started out at MIT, after which he served as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force for seven years. After his military service, he worked as a financial planning and control consultant with Price Waterhouse & Co. in Houston, Texas. He holds an MBA with Honors from The Wharton School of Business.

Why to Listen: 

In the past I've interviewed veterans involved in Franchises. Gordon started a company that has become a franchise with over 1,700 locations, and many of their franchise owners are veterans. He gives an incredibly vivid look at what it is like to start and grow a company, how to remain fresh and grow with your business, and how failures are never final.



32. BTU #145 - Active Duty to Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Advisor (Andrew Neuwirth)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 46.08Mb)

Description:
Andrew Neuwirth is a Private Wealth Advisor at Goldman Sachs. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served as a Submarine Officer for seven years. After his military service, he transitioned directly to Goldman Sachs.
 

Why to Listen: 

Andrew never considered a career in the Financial Services industry until a friend contacted him and told him he should apply for a position... where the application was due in just 18 hours. This led Andrew to learn everything he could about Goldman Sachs and a career as a Private Wealth Advisor. Andrew does a great job of explaining more about the Financial Services industry, and why this may be the ideal career for a military veteran.



33. BTU #146- The Three Rangers Foundation (Clay Othic)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 23.46Mb)

Description:
Clay Othic is the Director of Outreach & Special Activities at the Three Rangers Foundation, a non-profit that works to provide deserving veterans with opportunities that will empower them to achieve lifelong success. He served in the US Army Special Operations for over 13 years. He also owns F3 Pursuits, which provides training and consultancy, primarily in the tactical operations and law enforcement community.

Why to Listen: The Three Rangers Foundation is a free resource to help veterans achieve lifelong success. 

Our Sponsor: 

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

The Leadership Podcast - Self Reliant Leadership runs this podcast, where they study leaders and publish interviews every week about leaders and what makes great leaders

34. BTU #144 - Active Duty to the Boston Consulting Group (Kristen Sproat Colley)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 47.11Mb)

Description:
Kristen Sproat Colley is a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in their D.C. office. She started out at the US Naval Academy and earned a MSc from Oxford University in Forced Migration. She served as an officer in the US Marine Corps for eight years, prior to making her transition to BCG. At BCG she has worked on blockchain integration with the global supply chain for a technology company, economic and social strategy implementation for a Middle Eastern government, and foreign business development for a US defense company.

Why to Listen: For those interested in a career in Management Consulting, Kristen does a fantastic job of breaking down what the projects and day-to-day life are like, as well as very tactical steps to prepare for your interview. But even if you're not interested in consulting, Kristen has great advice on how to explain your skills and make a connection with the person interviewing you for whatever job you pursue.

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) - Kristen met with many firms to which she applied at the SACC Books Case in Point Case Interview Secrets Cracking the Case Systems (lots of practice cases) Publications - what are different industries doing, what challenges are occurring in the world Having general knowledge and understanding the economic landscape The Economist The Wall Street Journal The NPR Marketplace Report

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

 



35. BTU 143- Active Duty to Consultant at Bain & Co. (Trevor Miller)
http://beyondtheuniform.libsyn... download (audio/mpeg, 49.39Mb)

Description:

Trevor Miller is a Consultant at Bain & Company in their Boston office. He started out at the US Naval Academy, after which he earned his Master of Public Administration at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served in the Marine Corps as a Force Reconnaissance Officer for six years, before transitioning to Bain.

Why to Listen: 

Trevor managed to go directly from Active Duty military to Bain & Company, something that less than 7% of military veterans in Management Consulting are able to do. He talks about preparing for one's transition to a civilian career as early as possible, and also being willing to take a step back and take the longview on one's career.



36. BTU #142 - Failing Forward
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Description:

In this episode, I review a book that I know will benefit every veteran, John C. Maxwell's Failing Forward. Nearly every person I've interviewed on the show has talked about failure - and many, many failures - that they have experienced in their career. This book does an exceptional job of talking about how you can shift your relationship to failure, build up resilience towards it, and how vital this is to achieving great goals in life.

Selected Resources:

BTU #110: Co-Founding Plated & Raising $55M (Nick Taranto) BTU #84 – Nate Boyer: Army Green Beret to the NFL BTU #139 – Founding Bunker Labs (Todd Connor)

37. BTU #140- A look back at 2017 (and ahead at 2018)
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This is my final episode for the year of 2017. In this episode, I talk about three topics that are very top of mind for me with the Veteran community, and I share a handful of resources related to each topic. I also look back at where Beyond the Uniform has gone in 2017, and what lies ahead for 2018. As always, I greatly appreciate your feedback, and look forward to a great 2018 with all of you!

Selected Resources:

BTU #139 – Founding Bunker Labs (Todd Connor) BTU 141: The CEO of Franchise Business Review talks about Vets in Franchises (Eric Stites) Tim Ferriss interview (ask for 10% discount) Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success Gary Vee #275 - Ray Dalio TED Talk Mel Robbins - How to stop screwing yourself over

38. BTU 141- The CEO of Franchise Business Review talks about Vets in Franchises (Eric Stites)
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39. BTU #139 - Founding Bunker Labs (Todd Connor)
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40. BTU #138 - Data about Vets at a Top 3 Consulting Firms
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Why to Listen: Today is my third and final data post about Veterans in the field of Management Consultants. Today, we dive in specifically to look at the top three Management Consulting Firms - McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain - and what characterizes the veterans who work there. If you're interested in consulting, this will be an interesting look including the most popular schools people go to, how long they serve, and how they get there.
StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

Related Interviews BTU #1 – Blake Lindsay: Active Duty to Consulting @ McKinsey & Co. BTU #135 – Data: A look at Veterans at Top 10 Consulting Firms (Original Data Analysis) BTU #133 – What it takes to become a McKinsey Consultant (original data analysis) Most common schools for MBA based on LinkedIn data mining: Harvard Wharton MIT Sloan Darden Chicago Booth School of Business Stanford Kellogg Duke Tuck Yale

41. BTU #137 - Patriot Boot Camp & Entrepreneuership (Charlotte Creech)
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"Learning in a classroom is much different from actually doing it. And so I thought I had all this great knowledge coming out of my MBA program but then when I actually became a startup CEO, I found it really was a different world. While textbook knowledge can be helpful and important, it’s really not ultimately going to determine your success as an entrepreneur.”
- Charlotte Creech

Why to Listen: 

Long time listeners know that typically on the show, I interview military veterans that have transitioned into civilian careers. Today I’m doing a resource episode and my guest is Charlotte Creech, a military spouse and current CEO of Patriot Boot Camp. Many active duty military members, veterans, and spouses can take advantage of this great resource. We cover many things in this interview including starting a business, the Patriot Boot Camp program, many misconceptions veterans have about starting a business, and advice Charlotte would offer to those wanting to start and grow their own business.  We also talk about how ruling out what you don’t want to do in your civilian career can be just as important as what you do want to do. Finally, we talk about challenges unique to being a military spouse and how you can support your spouse through your transition out of the military.

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

Applications are now being accepted for our February 16-18 session. Those that are interested can go to www.veteransbootcamp.org to apply.  It will be held in San Antonio, TX. There is no cost to attend, it is completely sponsored and paid for. However, if you are coming from out of town, you would need to cover your transportation and hotel costs.

Books

Lean Startup

Do More Faster

Podcasts

A16oz - Andreessen Horowitz

How I Built This

Blogs

FeldThoughts

Fred Wilson’s AVC

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

Today is Episode #137 with the CEO of Patriot Boot Camp, Charlotte Creech.

“Learning in a classroom is much different from actually doing it. And so I thought I had all this great knowledge coming out of my MBA program but then when I actually became a startup CEO, I found it really was a different world. While textbook knowledge can be helpful and important, it’s really not ultimately going to determine your success as an entrepreneur.”             –Charlotte Creech

 

(0:55)

Long time listeners know that typically on the show, I interview military veterans that have transitioned into civilian careers. Today I’m doing a resource episode and my guest is Charlotte Creech, a military spouse and current CEO of Patriot Boot Camp. Many active duty military members, veterans, and spouses can take advantage of this great resource. We cover many things in this interview including starting a business, the Patriot Boot Camp program, many misconceptions veterans have about starting a business, and advice Charlotte would offer to those wanting to start and grow their own business.  We also talk about how ruling out what you don’t want to do in your civilian career can be just as important as what you do want to do. Finally, we talk about challenges unique to being a military spouse and how you can support your spouse through your transition out of the military.

 

(2:30)

A couple quick admin notes. Don’t miss our Veterans in Consulting seminar on January 17th. We have three speakers locked in that are veterans who went straight from the military into consulting. If you have any interest at all in consulting, this is worth checking out. Also, if you haven’t had a chance to leave Beyond the Uniform a review on iTunes, please do. It really helps us get the word out to other veterans.

 

(3:40)

Joining me today is the CEO of Patriot Boot Camp, Charlotte Creech. Patriot Boot Camp is a 501(c) non-profit that aims to equip active duty and veteran military members and their families with the education and resources needed to build the next generation of impactful companies. Prior to Patriot Boot Camp, Charlotte co-founded Combat 2 Career, a technology start-up that matches veterans with higher education opportunities. Charlotte holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Bentley University.

 

(4:50)

Anything to add to that introduction, Charlotte?

 

Well most importantly, the reason why I feel so strongly about serving the military community is because my husband is an Air Force veteran. He was enlisted in the Air Force, serving two years in the Honor Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. Then he went to Fire Academy and subsequently after leaving the military, began serving in a GS role. So now he is a full-time firefighter at Fort Hood in Texas. I also have two siblings that served in the Navy and the Army.

 

(5:29)

How would you describe Patriot Boot Camp?

 

We’re acutely focused on advancing veterans as entrepreneurs with a specific focus on technology entrepreneurship. We help veterans grow scalable tech ventures. Anything ranging from software to hardware and mobile apps. Drones also fall within that umbrella.

 

(7:15)

I think it’s fantastic that you also support spouses in this program since all of us who have served know that spouses are just as impacted by military life as the service member.

 

I was able to go through Patriot Boot Camp myself when I was beginning a tech start-up because I was a spouse of a veteran so I know how important it is for the military spouse community.

 

(7:55)

Could you share a little bit more about the three-day course that you offer?

 

It’s a three-pillared approach focusing on education, mentorship, and community. It’s a three-day intensive course that you attend in person.  Over the course of the three days, we recruit 50 early stage entrepreneurs. By early stage we mean anything from you have an idea that you want to get started to Series A (early stage fundraising). People come to Patriot Bootcamp looking for a community and resources. That comes in the form of mentorship from other veteran entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs in general. These mentors are able to offer participants insight on pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to take advantage of. We believe this helps participants achieve more.

 

(9:47)

Over the course of the three days, participants are exposed to lectures and discussions on a series of topics relevant to veteran entrepreneurs. For mentorship, we bring in anywhere from 30-50 subject matter experts including engineers, software programs, marketing experts, and successful entrepreneurs. These mentors are there to have individual meetings with participants throughout the weekend. Participants are able to receive tailored feedback specific to their own start-up or idea.  On the third day we have a mini-pitch competition which is meant to be more of an academic exercise. Participants aren’t actually pitching before investors but it’s a great opportunity to apply the skills learned throughout the three-day course. The hope is that by the end of the weekend participants leave with 2-3 strong mentorship connections that they can continue talking to in the future.

 

(12:00)

I’m listening to all of this with a bit of envy because in my own journey, I went straight from the Navy to business school. But it seemed like a lot of business school was preparing students to eventually be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Less of it felt relevant to the issues faced when getting a start-up off the ground. I think this is an incredible opportunity for veterans to gain training and mentorship in the tech field.

 

I had a similar experience. I have a business background as well and had gone to school to earn my MBA. I felt like I had the textbook version of how to start and grow a company. But of course learning it in a classroom environment is very different from actually doing it. I thought I had all this great knowledge coming out of my MBA program but then when I became a startup CEO, and was trying to raise capital and build a product, I found out that it really was a different world. I discovered that while textbook knowledge can be helpful and important, it’s really not going to ultimately determine your success as an entrepreneur. One of the key takeaways from Patriot Boot Camp is that entrepreneurship is not a linear pathway. You may need many different mentors and advice throughout your entrepreneurship journey. This can help you navigate through all of the obstacles you face.  It’s for this reason that we make Patriot Boot Camp really mentor driven and bring in a wide variety of mentors. Our participants are also welcome to come back to Patriot Boot Camp more than once so we see many participants coming back multiple times to increase their knowledge and grow their mentor network. As you begin to grow your company, your needs and challenges will change and we want to continue to provide support and mentorship for these veteran entrepreneurs.

 

(16:30)

I love Patriot Boot Camp’s focus on mentorship. Having mentors to provide advice and feedback can save an entrepreneur hundreds of hours of time and millions of dollars of capital.

 

Yes we hear that same feedback all the time and that’s why we feel so strongly about the program’s focus on mentorship.

 

(16:52)

When is the next three-day course happening and what is the cost to attend?

 

Applications are now being accepted for our February 16-18 session. Those that are interested can go to www.veteransbootcamp.org to apply.  It will be held in San Antonio, TX. There is no cost to attend, it is completely sponsored and paid for. However, if you are coming from out of town, you would need to cover your transportation and hotel costs.

 

(18:55)

What is the typical mix in the program between those that are serving on active duty and those that have transitioned out?

 

There really isn’t one size fits all. We’ve seen Vietnam Veterans, we’ve had post-9/11 veterans and everything in between. We’re open to everybody. As far as the most common profile? Most commonly we see veterans that have separated within the last five years. Usually less than 20% are active duty. Most people are veterans but it really varies by program and location.

 

(20:31)

We’d actually love to see more active duty take advantage of the program because I think it can be a really pivotal learning experience. There are few consequences other than having to take a day or two of leave. But to be able to build that network while still on active duty is an important opportunity. Of course we want to see as many successful start-ups as possible grow from Patriot Boot Camp. But if someone comes to the program and realizes that this lifestyle or work environment isn’t for them, it can be just as important because it saves them down the road from investing time and money into something that isn’t a good fit for them.

 

(22:30)

One of the best pieces of advice I received while at Stanford Business School was that you shouldn’t look for what you want to do but what you don’t want to do and then start closing those doors. I really like that sentiment of being able to get a taste of the tech industry through Patriot Boot Camp and being able to decide whether or not it’s a good fit.

 

We’ve had some interesting stories of people coming through Patriot Boot Camp and through connections with some of the mentors there, they discover that joining a startup already in existence is a better fit for them than beginning their own startup.  They might make a connection with a program or software engineer during the course of the weekend and realize that they want to be involved in those specific functions rather than have their own startup.

 

(23:40)

What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about starting their own company?

 

One of the biggest misconception is the lifestyle. If you think you want to start your own business because you want more time and flexibility, this is probably not the right way to do this. I have experience being a small business owner myself and I can tell you it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. When there’s nobody to delegate work to and nobody you’re working with, you’re on call 24/7. You breathe, eat, and sleep your business. There’s lots to worry about and although it’s very exciting, it can also be incredibly stressful. Don’t go into business because you want to be in control of your time because the honest truth is that you’re going to be a slave to your business. I don’t say this to discourage anyone or be pessimistic. But it is the reality of starting and growing your own business.

 

(24:55)

The other hard realization that comes along with this is that usually being in business for yourself does not come with a salary on Day 1. I went about two years without taking a salary because we were investing all of our capital into product development. If you’re not a programmer, it can get very expensive hiring someone else to build the technology.

 

(27:12)

I echo all of what you just said. I had the same experience in my own entrepreneurial journey. Do you have any other advice for someone on active duty that is thinking about starting their own business?

 

I think the important thing is to start now.  Entrepreneurship may or may not be the right fit for you and your product may or may not have market viability but you won’t know until you try. The earlier you can start the process and start narrowing down, the better off you will be.

 

(29:10)

So many times I hear people say, ‘I’m still figuring it out’ or ‘I’m writing my business plan’.  I always advise them that execution is really all that matters in entrepreneurship. So if you have an idea, start talking about it now. Don’t keep your ideas to yourself. Just start executing. I’ve been told before that there is someone out there in the world with the exact same idea you have.  The only difference is who gets out and starts executing the plan.  So don’t sit in seclusion, keeping your idea to yourself. Get out there and share your ideas with others, find mentors, and don’t be afraid to start experimenting.

 

(33:20)

Do you have any resources you would recommend to active duty members and veterans that are thinking about pursuing entrepreneurship?

 

Sure, there’s a whole litany of resources. First, look into programs such as Patriot Boot Camp, Bunker Labs, and EBV. All of these organizations host free entrepreneurship training programs.

 

Books

Lean Startup

Do More Faster

 

Podcasts

A16oz - Andreessen Horowitz

How I Built This

 

Blogs

FeldThoughts

Fred Wilson’s AVC

 

It can also be really helpful to follow different entrepreneurs through social media and just see the kinds of things they are talking about.

 

(35:10)

I love ‘How I Built This’ as well. It’s inspiring to hear about the wild and crazy rollercoaster that some startups have gone through.  Another thing I’d like to ask about is your experience as a military spouse. I’m curious to hear if there are any unique challenges faced by military spouses during the military members’ transition to a civilian career?

 

My husband had separated from the Air Force by the time I started my company so I wasn’t a true military spouse at the time. However, my business partner was a veteran of the Coast Guard and her husband was still currently serving on active duty in the Coast Guard.  In the four years that we ran our business, she PCS’d three times.  It was an unbelievable hurdle for her to get over because every time she got settled somewhere, she PCS’d again. So even something as simple as finding a co-working space can be really challenging when you’re moving all the time. One of those PCS moves was to South Bend, Indiana so her husband could attend graduate school at the University of Notre Dame. But for her, it was difficult, because she was surrounded by cornfields and very few resources. That was a big hurdle we faced as a business. It made me realize how important it is to provide service to military spouses as well because they’re along for the journey too. 

 

(39:00)

Spouses face a lot of adversity not only in terms of their job but also in losing their community and network. All the while they’re juggling work life, home life, having to find new schools for the kids, etc. I think the more we can build a connected network that doesn’t rely on a physical location, the better we all are. I want spouses to know they can come to a Patriot Boot Camp workshop and meet 50 other like-minded people that they can keep in touch with once they return home.

 

(40:58)

Now is better than it’s ever been in terms of the ability to remotely build teams that achieve success even if you’re not in the same physical location.

 

(41:10)

Do you have any other thoughts for active duty military members on ways they can support their spouse as they transition out of the military?

 

A lot of it is just being conscious of the concept that as you transition out of the military, your spouse is along for the ride. One thing we saw with one of our Denver community members – her husband was active duty in the military and she had always done freelance work. Most of her gigs came from her husband’s connections inside the military. When he retired, he immediately got a really great consulting gig without missing a beat. But with her it was different because when her husband transitioned out, she lost her network, her connections, and the support from the community. She came through our program wanting to find a community. It was a good reminder that as you transition out, your spouse is losing access to the resources and community that they’ve had while you’ve been in.

 

(44:00)

I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t thought about it much before but it’s absolutely true that the transition out of the military can be just as challenging for the spouse as it is for the member.

 

Right. And I don’t think anyone has come up with a resource guide or playbook but just being aware of the issue is half the battle.

 

(44:50)

Any last thoughts to share with our listeners?

 

Just that you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s ok. It’s more about learning and growing your network. Be open mind to new opportunities and meeting new people. Even if you don’t have what you consider a stellar business idea yet, it can still be extremely beneficial to just go and meet new people. You might be surprised at the outcome and where it leads you.

 

(46:14)

The other thing is that there is no one size fits all and I encourage people to take advantage of many different programs. Of course I want people who are interested in Patriot Boot Camp to take advantage of our program. But these programs aren’t mutually exclusive and you can take advantage of many different opportunities. Get involved in as many things as you can.

 

(47:20)

If anybody would like to contact me directly, they are more than welcome to do so. My email is charlotte@patriotbootcamp.org



42. BTU #135 - Data- A look at Veterans at Top 10 Consulting Firms (Original Data Analysis)
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Why to Listen: 

In episode #133, I dove into original data about how veterans manage to secure a job at the top rated Management Consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. Today, I take this 100 steps further by analyzing data about how veterans enter into a top 10 consulting firm. I look at salary information, as well as how branch of service, length of military service, and length of civilian work experience all impact your future career as a consultant.

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

This lists the top 10 Management Consulting Firms: “The Most Prestigious Consulting FirmsMcKinsey & Company Boston Consulting Group Bain and Company Deloitte Booz Allen Hamilton Price Waterhouse Cooper Ernst & Young Accenture KPMG IBM Global Business Services

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

For this episode I looked at 4,300 LinkedIn Profiles. This includes people who served in the United States Armed Forces, and then worked at some time at one of the top ten Management Consulting Firms as defined by Forbes. We’re going to look at a tremendous amount of data - how long people serve in the military, how long they work prior to consulting, how this affects which consulting firm they work with and at what level.

At the end of this we’re going to get into a lot of salary information. So I always want to provide a disclaimer at the start that there are SO many factors that go into selecting a career - location, fit, community, opportunity for advancement, fulfillment, and work life balance just to name a few. And yes, salary is one of those factors. It is the simplest for me to quantify, so I think it is worth discussing. However, my intention in going through this data is simply to provide you - the veteran community - with more information so that you can make the unique decision that is right for you and for your family. If you have not listened to the first episode in this series - I recommend you check that out. It’s not necessary to listen to that prior to this, but it has other great data relevant to veterans interested in consutling.

More importantly - if you have not pre registered for January 17th online event, Veterans in Consulting - stop what you’re doing right now and do it.

Pull over  Get someone to relieve you as Officer of the Deck Go to periscope depth and get a satellite connection Do whatever you have to but go to Beyondtheunifom.io Click on events and Veterans in Consulting And pre-register

That way you’ll get notified as this event comes together. It will be a 75-minute, video conference where I interview 3 different veterans who went directly from Active Duty to a top tier consulting firm. I will be asking about how they got there, what life is like, what work is like, what pay is like, what the snacks are like. Everything you could possibly want to know about a career in consulting, and quite possibly 1-2 things you do not want to know about it.

Additionally, I will open it up to the group for a live Q&A session. You do not want to miss it, so pre-register today. This will be a  paid event - something between $10-15 depending on if we find a sponsor. The reason for the charge is because (1) there is a large body of research showing that people value more that which they pay for, and (2) it does help offset the cost of the BTU show - this is a side project for me, and I’ve managed to rack up quite a bit of expenses in bringing this to life. I want to continue to offer the podcast nd data for free to everyone, but having paid events will help me continue to do this.

Ok - so let’s dive in - to some data

Agenda We’ll start by looking at the firms - by total number of veterans - where folks end up Second, we’ll look at the breakdown by branch of service - what that indicates about where veterans end up Third, we will look at time in service - how that impacts one’s career in consulting Fourth, we will look at civilian work experience, and how that affects where one ends up And lastly, we’ll look at titles - which titles veterans tend to gravitate towards at each specific firm If you are interested in how I assembled this data, post in the show notes - i do not want to bore you here But special thanks to mTurk - people who for $0.05 a task, helped me assemble and analyze this data. They save me hundreds of hours, and also cost me hundreds of dollars But it’s very likely that money would have gone to Larkburger’s delicious though not too nutritious burgers, fries, and shakes So it’s not too unlikely that by using this money for this data analysis, I have saved myself years of life, and avoided unnecessary pounds of weight

Let’s start by looking at the firms and where veterans end up. To do this, I’m going to use that Forbes list of the 10 Ten Management Consulting companies:

The #1 firm is McKinsey & Company, where 2% of veterans who go into Management Consulting end up The #2 firm is Boston Consulting Group - or BCG - only 1.2% of veterans are able to get in the door there Bain & Company is #3 - where just above half a percent of veterans end up. This was the lowest number of veterans of any of the top ten firms #4 is Deloitte, where there are a lot of veterans. 12.2% of all veterans in consulting end up at Deloitte But that is NOTHING - it just a drop in the bucket - compared to the #5 firm. Booz Allen Hamilton took the lion’s share of all veterans in consulting, with 42% of veterans in consulting working at Booz Allen and Hamilton.  #6 is Price Waterhouse Cooper or PWC, which has about 6% of veterans #7 is Ersnt & Young, also with 6% #8 is Accenture, with 10% #9 is KPMG with only 1.5% and last but certainly not least is IBM, which was the second highest employer with 18% of veterans in the management consulting industry

What should you take away from this 

Well less than 4% of all veterans who go into Management Consulting end up at a top 3 firm If that is your aspiration it would be worthwhile to study those who have gone before you and learn from how they got there that was my intention in part 1 of this where I looked at the rare birds who made their way into McKinsey & Company If you are playing the odds, I would be sure to add the more popular firms to your application process - Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture and IBM are all great firms, and have a large veteran population Not only does this mean - statistically - that you have a better chance o working there, but it also means that there is a wealth of knowledge, so many veterans at each of these institutions that can help you understand what it’s like to work there as well as how you might get a job there too

Next, let’s look at branch of service. Of these 4k+ veterans who are working in Management Consulting, where are they coming from:

The most - 39% - are coming from the Army followed by the Air Force - at 31% Followed by my team - Navy - team navy is 28% and then Coast Guard and Marine Corps, with 2% and 1% respectively Don’t read too much into this - Coast Guard and Marine Corps are smaller branches in terms of population, so it’s not surprising that their representative number in any industry will be smaller.

I did find it interesting, amongst the branches, to see where each branch spiked in the population of a firm

At McKinsey & Company, the Navy is actually the largest population - 44% vs. the Army’s 40% - so take that, Army That was the only deviation that stood out - for the most part, Army is the largest population at the different consulting firms Of note - it is pretty equal distribution at IBM, where it’s pretty much 1/3 1/3 1/3 for army / navy / air force Bain is 51% army - so pretty lopsided And BCG & McKisney had Army & Navy pretty comparable - just about 5% apart, but Air Force represented to a lesser extent here with 18% at Bain and 15% at BCG

Let’s look at length of military service and how that affects one’s career in management Consulting

Army leads the charge in terms of numbers in consulting, but is at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to length of service the average Army veteran served for 7.1 years - that was the least amount of service  Navy, Air Force, and Coast guard were pretty event - with 10, 10.3 and 10.5 years of service resepctively And Marines are inspiring me with their patriotism - they serve for 12.3 years on average I do think it would be VERY interesting to look at how length of service correlates to starting title an salary at each company For that I would need a lot more mTurkers and more money so for now - that one will remain a mystery

I also looked at how length of military service affects the Management Consulting firm. Again, using that Forbes ranking of the top 10 let’s look at the numbers:

#1 McKinsey - the average veteran served for 6.7 years. This was the 3rd shortest length of service #2 Boston Consulting Group or BCG - this was the 2nd lowest amount of military service, an average of just 6.4 years #3 Bain was the LOWEST length of service - or 5.8 years of service One can theorize as to why this is, but it is clear to me that those veterans working at a top 3 management consulting firm got out of the military earlier than those who did not I have some hypothesis about this One is that - from my McKinsey research it’s clear that an MBA is the most efficient route to a role at one of these three companies I’m guessing that this is easier to do earlier in ones life, where the opportunity cost is lower to go to business school And I’m guessing it is more difficult to do later in ones life - after one has become accustomed to a higher salary in the military, has accumulated more personal life obligations, and is less able to forgo a salary for two years than earlier in life But of course, that is just a theory #4 Deloitte - 8. 1years of service - this is actually the third highest length of service #5 Booz Allen Hamilton - this is the longest length of service 12.8 years on average. So it seems to attract those who have served longer in the military PWC was #6 on Forbes list and the average service here was 7.5 years  EY #7 was 6.8 Accenture #8  was 8.1 #9 - KPMG was 6.4 years of service and IBM at #10 was 8.4 years of service, which places them as the second longest length of military service What to take away from this I’m not quite sure - share your thoughts in the comments section of the Show notes - would love to have greater minds than mine take a crack at this But the only theory that jumped out to me was about the top 3 firms

Next - I looked at how much civilian work experience veterans had prior to working at in Management Consulting. Again, first we’ll start with branch of service and then break this down by firm

Marines had the least amount of civilian work experience prior to going into Management Consulting, that is 3.3 years on average. You’ll remember that they also had the longest length of military service so maybe this accounts for it the US Army had the most civilian work experience prior to consulting time - or 6.6 years of work experience In between was the Coast Guard with just 3.9 years of civilian work experience, the air force with 5.3 years of work experience, and then the Navy with 7.1 years of civilian work experience This made me think - what is the total amount of experience someone has before going into Management Consulting - between military service and then civilian work experience.  So I cut the data one more way and found That the Army has the least amount of combined experience pre-consulting - 13.7 years Coast Guard closely behind that with 14.4 years of exprience The Air Force had 15.6 years The Marine Corps about the same with 15.7 and the Navy bringing up the rear with a whopping 17.1 years of experience

I then looked at years of civilian work experience by Consulting firm

I found the results comparable to the years of military experience that is the top 3 firms had the lowest amount of service Specifically McKinsey, BCG, and Bain had 2.1, 2.2 and 1.3 years of experience respectively Which, coincidentally is highly correlated to the length of time it takes to obtain an MBA Doillete averaged 7.2 years Booz Allen was surprising - just 2.7 years of work experience. You’ll recall that Booz Allen had the longest length of military service, at 12.7 years. So I would guess that people spend more time on Active Duty prior to working at Booz Allen, but more often go directly from the military to work there. Just a guess. PWC was 4.8 years EY 7.1 years Accenture & KPMG were 7.5 and 7.9 years, respectively And IBM was the longest at 11.1 years of civilian work experience My main takeaways from this were the velocity with which people enter a top 3-firm, and how it seems like it is easier to make a direct transition to Booz Allen than any other firm But again - let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments section of the show notes, and I’ll dig into this further One last thing I wanted to do with this, just as we did with branch of service is take a crack of combined experience - both military and civilian - for each firm. So, looking at the shortest amount of combined experience - both military & civilian - by firm The lowest, with just 7.1 years on average, was Bain & Co Silver medal goes to BCG with 8.6 years and Bronze is McKinsey at 8.9 years of service This is consistent with my hypothesis - the average candidate at these top three firms gets out earlier, and goes to graduate school. Again that is just a theory. the next subset with 4th, 5th, and 6th place goes to PWC with 12.3 years, EY with 13.9 years, and KPMG with 14.3 years of average combined experience. Delloite has an average of 15.4 years Booz Allen at 15.5 yeras Accenture at 15.6 years and finally IBM with the most combined experience, at 19.5 years of combined experience

How are we doing? I know this is al to of numbers to be doing by audio. Before we dive into the final category, I would LOVE to hear your feedback on this sort of information - if it’s helpful, and if it is, how to dive deeper in a way that will help you out. If it is not helpful, any tweaks that would make it more usable.

So finally I looked at Titles and their corresponding salaries according to Glassdoor. So much information here - go to the show notes to see all of it. Note on salary - I looked at total compensation, not just base. Base is what you’re guarantee, total includes performance incentives like bonuses. I also used San Francisco as the office for my search - salaries will obviously vary by location. But this should provide a basic benchmark

Ok - so there are so many different ways to slice and dice this data. Here’s what I did:

I looked at the most common titles for military veterans at each of the top 10 consulting firms I then cross referenced this with salary information that is available at Glassdoor.com Then I ranked each firm - by salary, highest to lowest

Take all of this with a grain of salt - there are so many factors that go into this, but here’s what I found

The highest salary went to Accenture - the most common title there is Senior Manager, which is $207k Next was McKinsey, BCG, and Bain - these are all comparable around $180k The corresponding titles were Associate at McKinsey & company, and Consultant at both BCG & Bain Next was IBM, where the title was Managing Consultant and a salary of $144k Then Booz Allen Hamilton, the most common title there is Associate and a salary of $132 Deloitte was next, with the most common title of Senior Consultant, and a corresponding salary of $127k PWC was 8th, where the most common title is Senior Associate, which has a salary of $104k EY was 9th, the most common title there for veterans is Senior Consultant $102k And last was KPMG with a most common title of Senior Associate and a salary of $91k one final way to look at this data is by looking at those combined years of experience - both military and civilian - and seeing how much money in salary you get per year of experience Seen in this light, the best deal is with Bain, which is the highest at $24k per year of experience With BCG & McKinsey both providing $20.5k per year of experience And Accenture at #4 with $13k per year of experience You can view the full breakdown in the show notes

--comments--

 



43. BTU #134 - Founding Alpha Architect (Wes Gray)
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Description:

Wes Gray is the CEO and CIO of Alpha Architect which is a research intensive asset management firm. He started out at Wharton where earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics after which he served as a Marine Corps Ground Intelligence Officer for 4 years. After his military service, he earned both his MBA and his Ph.D. from the Chicago Booth School of Business. After which, he started Alpha Architect. I was introduced to Wes through a Wall Street Journal article which started out, “Wesley Gray’s value-focused fund is beating all of its rivals over the past year. For him, it’s almost beside the point.” He is also the author of the book Embedded: a Marine Corps Advisor Inside the Iraqi Army.

Why to Listen: 

There are so many reasons to listen to today’s episode. First, finance. Wes was introduced to me by a Wall Street Journal article that my brother-in-law Matt Dankner sent me and said basically, ‘Check this guy out, you need to get a hold of this guy’. I’m still blown away that Wes has taken the time to speak with me. The Wall Street Journal article talked about how successful Wes has been in starting and growing his own asset management firm, which is extremely difficult to do. We talk about so much in the episode. We talk about how when Wes was in the midst of his Ph. D. he joined the Marines. We talk about how that experience has helped him get this far. We talk about why vets are well-suited for fundraising. We talk about how to sell with a passion and how to find a mission you’re excited about. And most importantly we talk about the very simple secret to create success which is to grind every day. I think you’ll find Wes’ experience motivating and inspiring.

 

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

More information about Wes' project, March for the Fallen: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/business/dealbook/hiking-mountains-gladly-with-a-marine-turned-fund-manager.html https://alphaarchitect.com/2017/10/03/hiking-mountains-gladly-to-honor-the-fallen/ https://alphaarchitect.com/2017/05/26/march-for-the-fallen-with-alpha-architect/ https://alphaarchitect.com/category/business-updates/mftf-training-series/

Blogs Wes recommends:

A Wealth of Common Sense

Alpha Architect

Podcasts Wes recommends:

The Investor’s Field Guide

Meb Faber Research

The Investors

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

Today is Episode #133 with Wes Gray.

 

“I remember in Barwanah, in that base camp there, there’s this huge mortar shell that had smashed the side of a wall out. And under it in red letters, it said, “Complacency Kills”. The idea was to remind you that every time you went outside the wire, the minute you think you’ve won, you’re dead. I think that’s a good attitude to have in business as well. We’re just lucky, and quite frankly blessed, that the #1 competitor in our entire industry, is in our backyard. So every day, I’m looking down a Bazooka and I know if we think we’ve won anything, we’re going to get destroyed.”  -Wes Gray

 

(0:58)

There are so many reasons to listen to today’s episode. First, finance. Wes was introduced to me by a Wall Street Journal article that my brother-in-law Matt Dankner sent me and said basically, ‘Check this guy out, you need to get a hold of this guy’. I’m still blown away that Wes has taken the time to speak with me. The Wall Street Journal article talked about how successful Wes has been in starting and growing his own asset management firm, which is extremely difficult to do. We talk about so much in the episode. We talk about how when Wes was in the midst of his Ph. D. he joined the Marines. We talk about how that experience has helped him get this far. We talk about why vets are well-suited for fundraising. We talk about how to sell with a passion and how to find a mission you’re excited about. And most importantly we talk about the very simple secret to create success which is to grind every day. I think you’ll find Wes’ experience motivating and inspiring.

 

(2:18)

A couple quick admin items. First of all, mid-way through, there’s a little bit of sound distortion in the audio. Power through it - it’s very temporary and definitely worth hearing the rest of the episode.

 

(2:32)

Secondly, at the events section at www.beyondtheuniform.io, you’ll find two events that I’m launching in January. I just locked in second speaker for the Veterans in Consulting seminar. In that seminar, we’re going to talk about everything you could want to know about the field of management consulting. How to interview, what life is like, what work is like, etc. Sign up in the events section if you haven’t already.

 

(3:20)

If you haven’t had a chance to give us a review on iTunes yet, please do. It will take 30 seconds of your time. It helps us get the word out. I want to be able to share these incredible stories with as many veterans as possible.

 

(3:37)

Finally, after the episode, there’s a little stinger that you want to hear. Wes talks about an event he is organizing for next year called March for the Fallen. The New York Times has written about this. I’ll have links in the show notes to all the different articles talking about this. It is an incredible event, I plan on being there. It will be an incredible time and I hope to see many of you there as well. And with that let’s dive into the episode.

 

(4:15)

Joining me today from Broomall, PA is Wes Gray. Wes, welcome to Beyond the Uniform.

For listeners, I wanted to give a brief background. Wes is the CEO and CIO of Alpha Architect which is a research intensive asset management firm. He started out at Wharton where earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics after which he served as a Marine Corps Ground Intelligence Officer for 4 years. After his military service, he earned both his MBA and his Ph.D. from the Chicago Booth School of Business. After which, he started Alpha Architect. I was introduced to Wes through a Wall Street Journal article which started out, “Wesley Gray’s value-focused fund is beating all of its rivals over the past year. For him, it’s almost beside the point.” He is also the author of the book Embedded: a Marine Corps Advisor Inside the Iraqi Army.

 

(5:46)

How did you go from the Marine Corps to starting Alpha Architect?

 

Just to take a little bit of a step back, I was in a Ph. D. program before I joined the Marine Corps. I started the program at the University of Chicago in 2002 and started by doing two years there doing finance and math 15 or 16 hours a day. I had passed all the tests and for me, I wanted to try something different. So I joined the Marine Corps for 4 years and then came back to the program after that.

 

(7:00)

What kind of a response did you receive from your advisors and from your family when you made that decision?

 

You’d be surprised - there’s actually a lot of a military personnel in the program. The Ph. D. program attracts a lot of very disciplined people. So when I was thinking about joining the Marine Corps, half of the other people in the program were very on board with the idea. And I think the other half might of thought it was a little weird or different.

 

(7:50)

My mom was pissed off because nobody wants their baby to go into the service but I think she understood. My girlfriend, who ended up being my wife, thought I was insane but she also knew me so she wasn’t too surprised. Then I talked to my advisors who were both Nobel Prize winners. One was immediately supportive and the other initially thought I was insane but then came around to the idea.

 

(9:36)

So then you took a break from the Ph.D. program and went into the Marines from there?

Yes so basically you are allowed a one year sabbatical but I had received approval to do a four year sabbatical. The husband of the Ph.D. director at the time was a former member of the Navy so she was very open to the idea. So I did my four years and then basically showed back up to the program. I re-enrolled and picked back up with the program. I started doing research and started grinding every day and eventually graduated.

 

(10:37)

When you started your Ph.D. program, did you have an idea you wanted to start your own fund one day?

 

Yes, I had always wanted to start an asset management fund since I was a little kid. My late grandmother had me reading Warren Buffett and Ben Graham at age 12. I just always liked finance and was interested in the idea of starting an asset management fund. So I tried to just get as smart on the subject as possible and hoped that luck and circumstance would come together for me.

 

(11:50)

My original plan was to have Warren Buffett call me up at age 18 and give me a billion dollars and retire at age 20 but that idea didn’t pan out.

 

(12:12)

How would you explain what an asset management fund is?

 

It’s kind of like in the Marines how we had various processes to accomplish a mission. With Alpha Architect, our mission is to try to build an algorithm, system, or standard operating procedure that will allow us to buy stock that will hopefully generate returns. In the securities market we identify through various means stocks that meet a certain desire. For example, we have a value algorithm and using it, we buy cheap stock that has a good indication of a future positive return.

 

(14:15)

What was your focus in your Ph. D.?

In my program, I wrote a paper focused on why smart investors share information. I was wondering why a really smart stock picker would share information with other people. So I wrote a paper basically proposing that smart people like to share good ideas with other smart people because sometimes that other person might give you an insight that you hadn’t even thought about.

 

(15:35)

There is an organization called Value Investors Club. It’s basically a fancy message board for hedge fund managers and stock pickers. People would submit really complex pitches on different stock ideas. It was like an awesome research lab. I thought it was really interesting that within these message boards people were open about sharing good information with each other.

 

(17:26)

How did you then go from your Ph.D. to starting a fund?

 

Typically you have to be born into a lot of money but unfortunately that wasn’t me. So I had to do it the old fashioned way which is to get lucky. I had always been into reading source journal literature. I used to have a blog and still do that I used to share my thoughts on what I was reading in various finance journals. I had plans to become a professor but at the exact time I was becoming a professor, I got cold called by this billionaire named Eddie Stern. They were getting rid of a lot of their hedge fund managers and were looking to bring into some new people. He had been reading my blog and approached me to provide consulting services to his real estate firm. So I did that while I started my career as a professor at Drexel. A guy named Jack Vogel was assigned as my research assistant. We got along really well and were doing a kind of consulting thing on the side.

 

(20:16)

I told Eddie Stern, ‘Hey if we work really hard and do a good job for you, do you think you could give us a shot at the asset management business’. In 2012, they ended up giving us a $20 million account to manage and that was quickly ramped up to $50 million. And then we just kept doing what we had always done - did research, did blogs, did education. Somehow, someway, people would just find us. From there, we built the business.

 

(21:45)

I love that you started the blog as a way to continue doing research and sharing your thoughts with other people. You used it as a way to sharpen your skills but it was an also a way to build a reader base that ultimately lead to some incredible opportunities.

 

Yes, absolutely, It was good timing too because we were doing it at a time that blogs weren’t that cool but we were doing it anyway. Normally, you can’t get into asset management or finance without previous work on Wall Street. But the internet has really disrupted that. People can now find you on Google. Just writing a blog where you’re being authentic, being genuine, trying to add value, that can make the difference. So we just got lucky that we were able to scale without any salespeople.

 

(23:33)

What does your day-to-day usually look like?

 

My schedule is very odd and not normal. I am anal retentive when it comes to productivity. So I built an office, a compound, at my house because I hate commuting. I’ve tried to maximize my opportunity to both spend time with my family and focus on my work. I’m literally here all the time.

 

(24:40)

I get up early, usually at 6:00, and start grinding. It’s the time of day when I just like to focus and write and think about stuff. Once the day starts, I’m usually getting pulled here and there putting fires out. We grind until about 4 or 4:30. We do PT, do laps around the block, kettlebells. Then I’ll come back and keep working until 6:30. Then my wife yells at me to come eat dinner. Then I hang out with my kids, put them to bed and then use from 8:30-10:00 to finish up whatever needs to get done. And then I just basically do that everyday.

 

(26:00)

Do you work during the weekends?

 

Usually I work during the weekends. I try to be able to mindful of giving myself a break from time to time. But honestly if something needs to get done, then I need to get it done.

 

(26:30)

I’m trying to wrap my head around the compound. Can you describe that a little bit more?

 

It’s difficult to explain unless you’ve been here. There’s a grizzly bear here in the office. When you come here, I take a picture of you in front of the grizzly bear and post it on Twitter. Essentially I got this place from a guy who had terminal cancer. He was a former big game hunter. He had this house and then a separate trophy room which was about 1500 square feet. And then he also built a man cave. So when I bought it, we turned the man cave into an office, we turned the trophy room into a conference area. And then there’s our actual house here too. And then we have another structure in the backyard that we use as a gym.

 

(29:11)

During the morning before everyone else shows up, what does that time look like for you?

 

Usually in the morning I’m reading through academic papers. I dig a little bit deeper into what seems interesting to me. And then if it seems like something that would be helpful to other people, I’ll write a quick blog post on it. I’m also doing a lot of editing because we have so many guest writers from my team that a lot of times I’m doing more editing than writing my own content.

 

(30:30)

What are some indications that a veteran would either really like or really dislike a job in this field?

If you like challenges and you’re good at just grinding it out until you reach success, this would be a good field for you. One downside is that nobody is telling you what to do. You have to figure out what needs to get done each day. For some people that’s extremely nerve wracking but if that’s something you like, this could be a good fit for you.

 

(32:07)

Not to be a Debbie Downer but the finance industry is changing very dramatically. If you don’t have a niche or specialized skill, it’s going to be tough for you. The days of throwing up a plaque and saying ‘I’m going to start a hedge fund’ are over. Unless you have a niche skillset, going into finance can be challenging. As a veteran, tread lightly getting into the asset management business unless you really know what you’re getting yourself into.

 

(33:30)

What was that like to see that Wall Street Journal article? That had to be great getting such that recognition?

 

At this point I’ve done every podcast, been on the cover of Barron’s, had an article in the New York Times. I don’t let it go to my head, I don’t feel like I’m that special. I’ve got a story but everyone has a story.

 

(34:30)

How is life different now from when you were just first getting started with this?

 

It really hasn’t changed. We’re still in the same office. We have newer computers now. We’re better at making money now. So that’s nice. But we have a cockroach philosophy. There’s a firm called Vanguard in our business and they’re the 800 pound gorilla. They happen to be 10 minutes up the road from here. So I know where the 800 gorilla lives and I what I need to do to survive. So we try to be a cockroach - live way under our means, grinding everyday.  We don’t do anything different from when we first got started, we just have a few more people and nicer equipment.

 

(36:45)

I love that idea of not stepping back and coasting but continuing to push with everything you’ve got.

 

I’ll never forget when I was deployed to Barwanah. I remember in Barwanah, in that base camp there, there’s this huge mortar shell that had smashed the side of a wall out. And under it in red letters, it said, “Complacency Kills”. The idea was to remind you that every time you went outside the wire, the minute you think you’ve won, you’re dead. I think that’s a good attitude to have in business as well. We’re just lucky, and quite frankly blessed, that the #1 competitor in our entire industry, is in our backyard. So every day, I’m looking down a Bazooka and I know if we think we’ve won anything, we’re going to get destroyed.



(38:10)

Do you have any advice for veterans that are interested in this sort of thing but don’t want to start their own firm?

 

The problem with the business is that it’s getting so computerized and automated. You just don’t need as many humans anymore. You need humans that know how to program computers in this business. More and more, you have to be really careful about that path you pick. Because you don’t want to put time and money into learning a job only to realize it’s being phased out.

 

(39:10)

If you want to get into asset management on a bigger scale, you’ve got to be extremely tech savvy. You need programming and technical skills. Another route that veterans are well suited for is the fundraising side because they are usually extremely good at dealing with people from all walks of life. All asset managers will always pay huge dollars to hire a good fundraiser.

 

(41:40)

I hate selling unless it’s something that I’m extremely passionate about. Because then it’s not selling, it’s spreading the gospel. So I think that you can find a firm and culture that you are excited about, you’ll have that passion to sell that product to people.

 

(43:40)

Are there any resources you would recommend?

 

Blogs and podcast are probably the best.

 

Blogs -

A Wealth of Common Sense

Alpha Architect

 

Podcasts -

The Investor’s Field Guide

Meb Faber Research

The Investors

 

Also just get on Twitter. There is a great community of young, up and coming folks that are looking to help people.

 

(45:25)

Do you have any final words of wisdom?

 

I don’t have any special advice except grind every day and work hard. The one thing I would say after being around people in this business is that if you’re not eating right, sleeping right, making time to exercise, then you’re not going to feel well and you’re life is going to suck. Always find time to eat right, workout, get a good night’s sleep. That will keep you efficient and keep your mind clear. Focus on the fundamentals and the rest will be all right.  

 

(46:00)

There’s a 28 mile ruck march hosted by the Pennsylvania National Guard every year called Honor the Fallen. The idea is that you’re out there working hard and being thankful that you can still feel pain. It’s a great event and only about $30 to be involved. What I did last year and what I’m going to do next year is to get a bunch of barracks during the event and host some movers and shakers in the world take part in the march too. We’re all in to to win it regardless of our background. It’s a great event, it’s next September. It’s a great opportunity for vets to reconnect to your roots and honor the fallen.

(48:50)

It’s a great event and a lot of fun. Especially if you’re not from a military culture, it’s a very eye opening experience because there are gold star families out there too. It’s just a bunch of people looking to do right.








44. BTU #136- Survey Results & BTU Updates
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Description:

Why to Listen: 

Thanks to all of you who completed the November 2017 survey about the types of interviews you'd like to hear in 2018, and your suggestions to improve the show. I wanted to share the results of this survey, and a bit more information on where Beyond the Uniform is headed.

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

Thank those of you who took the time to answer my survey about the types of interviews you’d like to hear in 2018. Honestly, this was an enormous boost of encouragement - I read each and every response, and so very much appreciated the incredibly kind, uplifting, and encouraging messages you took the time to write.

It can be difficult to assess the impact this show is having on the veteran community, and I was very touched by the notes you shared in the survey about how this is helping you in your career. So the survey gave me not only some fantastic directional information, but also topped of my emotional gas tank to delve even deeper into topics for BTU for the year ahead

Here’s some of the things that stood out to me from the interview.
When it comes to the length of military service for the people I interview, it doesn’t seem to matter as much as I thought it did Most of you prefer interviews with veterans with 7-12 years of service - that seems to be the sweet spot But this was followed by

45. BTU #133 - What it takes to become a McKinsey Consultant (original data analysis)
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Description:

Management Consulting is the fifth most popular career route for Veterans of the Armed Forces. Today we’re going to be doing a data episode, specifically with information from LinkedIn, that I’ve put together to discover the different paths veterans have taken within the field of management consulting. This is something I’ve been thinking about for nearly a year. It’s just been difficult to carve out the time to sift through all the information that is on LinkedIn. Rather than waiting to publish this information as a massive e-book, I thought it might be better to start out with a podcast. I would really appreciate any feedback you might have. It will help me drill down on what people are interested in learning more about. Feel free to leave that feedback in the shownotes.

There’s so much data out there and I’m going to go into just a tiny bit of it today. But if you have any specific topics or points you’d like to see covered in the future, please let me know. It does take a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money to go through all of this data so your feedback helps me understand what is most valuable to you and whether the juice is worth the squeeze or if I should focus more on the traditional interview podcasts.

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

This lists the top 10 Management Consulting Firms: “The Most Prestigious Consulting FirmsMcKinsey & Company Boston Consulting Group Bain and Company Deloitte Booz Allen Hamilton Price Waterhouse Cooper Ernst & Young Accenture KPMG IBM Global Business Services The most common MBA programs for veterans at McKinsey & Company in the Associate role: Harvard Business School (20%) Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (20%) Darden School of Business: University of Virginia (10%) MIT Sloan School of Management (6%) The University of Chicago Booth School of Business (6%) Northwestern Kellogg School of Management (4%) Tuck School of Business @ Dartmouth College (4%) Yale School of Management (4%) Duke University - The Fuqua School of Business (4%) University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business (4%) Stanford Graduate School of Business (2%) UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School (2%) Washington University in St. Louis - Olin Business School (2%) Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business (2%) Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University (2%) University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management (2%)

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

Today we’re going to be doing a data episode, specifically with information from LinkedIn, that I’ve put together to discover the different paths veterans have taken within the field of management consulting.

First just a few quick announcements -

(0:30)

The first announcement is that on January 17, 2018 at 6PM/PST, I’m going to be hosting an online panel called Veterans in Consulting. It’s going to be really cool - I’ll have three different veterans who went directly from the military to a consulting firm. We’re going to be talking about everything you could possibly want to know about a career in consulting. Pay, lifestyle, career trajectory, etc.  You can pre-register now and you’ll be notified when registration opens.There will be a nominal fee associated with this - somewhere between $10-$15. This allows me to continue to do this podcast for free as a side gig.

 

(2:23)

The second announcement is that if you haven’t had the opportunity to leave us a review on iTunes, definitely do that. I would greatly appreciate a 5-star review, it helps up get the word out about the show and serve as many veterans as possible.

 

(2:45)

And now let’s move into the episode. This is something I’ve been thinking about for nearly a year. It’s just been difficult to carve out the time to sift through all the information that is on LinkedIn. Rather than waiting to publish this information as a massive e-book, I thought it might be better to start out with a podcast. I would really appreciate any feedback you might have. It will help me drill down on what people are interested in learning more about. Feel free to leave that feedback in the shownotes. Or you can email me at justin@beyondtheuniform.io - I would really appreciate it as I want to make the information in these podcasts as valuable as possible.

 

(3:55)

There’s so much data out there and I’m going to go into just a tiny bit of it today. But if you have any specific topics or points you’d like to see covered in the future, please let me know. It does take a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money to go through all of this data so your feedback helps me understand what is most valuable to you and whether the juice is worth the squeeze or if I should focus more on the traditional interview podcasts.

 

(4:25)

Let’s go through a quick agenda for today. In Part 1, I’m going to talk about why management consulting might be a good fit for you as a military veteran. In Part 2, we’re going to look at the key players in consulting. In Part 3, we’ll talk about my methodology and how I got this data. In Part 4, we’re going to talk about titles and corresponding salaries. And then finally in Part 5, where we’ll spend the bulk of our time, we’re going to do a deep dive into the data.

(5:25)

Let’s dive into Part 1. The reason why I wanted to talk about this is that consulting is a very common career path for veterans. When I compiled data a year ago, consulting is the fifth leading industry that veterans go into. Another reason is that from a data standpoint, consulting is very analogous to the military. In the military, I understood exactly how long it would take me to go from Ensign to Lieutenant Junior Grade and from Lieutenant Junior Grade to Lieutenant. This is the same thing in consulting, there is a very clear career path and very standardized roles. Consulting is also a field I’m a little bit more familiar with. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my story, I went to the US Naval Academy and spent five years on submarines before getting out and going to Stanford Business School. I did my internship at McKinsey and Company in New York. I didn’t ultimately end up in the field but during that internship I did get a taste of the consulting industry and what it was like. I’ll try to add in some of that anecdotal experience when I see the opportunity throughout this episode.

 

(7:26)

Part 2 - In putting together this data, I looked at a Forbes 2015 article titled, “The Most Prestigious Consulting Firms”. They listed what they considered to be the Top 10 consulting firms.

 

No. 1 - McKinsey & Company

No. 2 - Boston Consulting Group

No. 3 - Bain and Company

No 4 - Deloitte

No. 5 - Booz Allen Hamilton

No. 6 - Price Waterhouse Cooper

No. 7 - Ernst & Young

No. 8 - Accenture

No. 9 - KPMG

No. 10 - IBM Global Business Services

 

(9:00)

The bulk of the data I have goes through length of service, branch of service, etc. in reference to the top 10 consulting firms. Today, however, I want to specifically focus on McKinsey which brings up to Part 3.

 

(9:19)

When talking about the methodology behind gathering this data , I focused on McKinsey but based on feedback, we can focus on other firms in the future. All of the data we will go through today is gathered through LinkedIn. The reason for that is that it is my personal belief that very few people today take the time to fill out surveys. And so by using this publicly available data, I think we will gather a much greater data set.

(10:22)

When gathering data, I looked at all people working in consulting that had formerly been in the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard - both officer and enlisted. For today’s episode, I’m going to specifically drill into one position. The most common position to enter McKinsey & Company is the title of associate. So today, we’ll deal mostly with associates.

 

(11:34)

Now in Part 4, let’s talk about title. When we talk on January 17th in the online panel, we’re going to go into a lot more detail on career progression. Career progression does vary depending on firm. But for today, I wanted to cover the top three titles that are most likely for a veteran to start in at McKinsey & Company. Those are associate, engagement manager, and partner. Associate is by far the leading of those three. This is generally the level of promotion within McKinsey. Usually, someone will start out as an associate, become an engagement manager, then an associate partner, and finally a partner. Let’s chat quickly about salaries.

 

(12:55)

I looked at a website called Glassdoor. Glassdoor compiles information about what people usually make in a particular position. According to Glassdoor, an associate at McKinsey makes $172,000 per year. That’s $140,000 of a base salary with $32,000 in incentives. Also the hotel and flight points are another perk. The downside is that consultants tend to be on the road quite a bit but the upside is that they also tend to build up hotel and airline reward points.

 

(14:00)

What does an associate do? According to McKinsey’s website, an associate works in teams of 3-5 people. The associate has a role in all aspects of client engagement. I’ll also put a link in the show notes to the full job description. This was my experience during my internship with McKinsey. The title was actually called “consultant”. On one project it was five people and in the other project, four people. We went into the company, we worked almost around the clock doing interviews and gathering data. It’s almost like a SWAT team inserted into the company to solve a particular problem and provide a solution.

 

(14:55)

The next role up from that is engagement manager. According to Glassdoor, that’s a starting salary of $250,000 per year. What does an engagement manager do? They will lead a team of 3-5 people on a project. In my experience, the engagement manager was a member of that team that had done the associate role for 2 or 3 years and had excelled. As the engagement manager, they were doing less of the data analysis and more of supervising the others on the team. They were really leading the project and breaking it down into small pieces for each of us while keeping an overall picture of the project.

 

(16:05)

For partner, the salary is quite impressive - $1.2 million per year. Pretty mind boggling. Base salary is $572,000 with the rest being made up of incentives. There was no job description that I was able to find online. In my experience with McKinsey, I usually saw the partner about once a week. Generally, the partner works on selling the business. They would go to different companies and sell projects. At McKinsey, the partners had usually been in the company for a while. They were extremely bright and extremely talented. They weren’t there on a project day in and day out like the engagement manager, but they were more of an oversight role. They were actively involved in making sure the project was going well.

 

(17:44)

And now in Part 5, we’ll take a deep dive into the data. Let’s talk about branch of service. And again, we’re only talking about the associate position at McKinsey. When you look at veterans that are currently associates at McKinsey, 55% are Army veterans, 31% Navy, 11% Air Force. Only 2% were Marines and I could not find any Coast Guard veterans working at McKinsey.

 

(19:00)

For the veterans currently serving as an associate at McKinsey, they usually took one of three routes to get there. First, some went directly from the military to McKinsey. Others went to some form of schooling between the military and McKinsey. Or third, they worked in a different job between the military and McKinsey. The overwhelming majority that became an associate at McKinsey came from some sort of schooling. This isn’t too surprising. Education can be that giant Nintendo “reset” button that allows someone to start over in a different field. Also, according to McKinsey’s website, to work as an associate, you need an advanced degree of some sort. According to my research 89% of veterans at McKinsey had an MBA, 6% had a Master’s of Science, 4% had a Ph.D., and 2% had a Master’s of Arts.

 

(22:03)

If MBA is the most popular advanced degree for veterans looking to get into consulting, you might be wondering what the most popular schools are. And I love you all so much that I dug into that data too. There was a tie for first place - 20% went to Harvard and 20% went to Wharton. Next up was the Darden School of Business with 10%. In third place, another tie - 6% went to the Booth School in Chicago and 6% went to MIT’s Sloan School of Management. You can find links to all of these programs in the show notes.

 

(23:05)

Whether you’re interested in going into consulting or something else, I just think it’s helpful to see what schools veterans tend to go to. And quick plug here for Service To School. I get nothing for pumping them up, but I really believe in them. They are an incredible and free resource for veterans looking to get any kind of degree. One last caveat on education - there were a few overachievers in the dataset that had multiple degrees. I just simplified this for my own analysis. In the case that someone had multiple degrees, I considered this group to be in the same data set as those with one degree.

 

(24:22)

Finally, let’s talk about length of service. I cut this down in a couple different ways. First of all, a veteran working as an associate at McKinsey has served for 6.6 years prior to leaving active duty. However, if you look at the route the veteran took, if a veteran went directly from the military to McKinsey, the average length of service was 9.7 years. This was interesting for me because an MBA is 2 years. So if you went from active duty to some sort of graduate program such as an MBA, on average you end up getting to McKinsey one year sooner than someone who goes straight from active duty to McKinsey. However if you’re part of that small group that goes directly from the military to McKinsey, while it does take one year longer to get there, you need to keep in mind that you’re saving yourself at least $120,000 in school tuition. And you’re not sacrificing two years of not getting paid. For me, I took the route of getting out earlier and going to business school. I liked it, it worked out well for me. But there are advantages to staying in longer.

 

(26:30)

When broken down by service, Navy vets tended to have slightly more military service - about 7.2 years. Compared to the Army and Air Force which were both at about 6.2 years. For the Marine Corps, they served about 11 years on average.

 

(26:45)

My head is now spinning from going through all this data. Please let me know if this is helpful. I can imagine that this might be difficult to take in via podcast. If it would be easier for you, I can create an e-book and put all of the graphs in there. It does take 10 or 20 times longer to go through all of this data than it does to interview a veteran. I do it because it’s data that I would have wanted to have if I transitioned today. But it would be really helpful to me to receive your feedback, whether you email me, message me on LInkedIn, write something in the show note comments. Please let me know in some way. If you’re not finding this helpful, I can let the Excel spreadsheet cool off a bit and go back to focusing more on the traditional interviews. But there is a tremendous amount of material available. I’ve got all this data sitting here, I just haven’t prioritized parsing through all of it. But if you would find it helpful, I will suck it up and make it happen! Either way, don’t miss out on the chance to sign up for the January 17th Veterans in Consulting video panel session. This is a fantastic opportunity to talk to three veterans that went straight from the military into consulting. We’re going to talk about everything including lifestyle, interview prep, and career progression.

 

(28:50)

One last plug to leave an iTunes review. Your review helps us get in front of more listeners and having more listeners lets me know we’re having a greater impact on the veteran community. If you’re not on our newsletter, please sign up at www.beyondtheuniform.io. I always love hearing from you if there are particular people or careers you would like to hear more about. Have a great week - I will be back next week with another interview with a veteran now working in the civilian sector.

 

--comments--

 



46. BTU #132 - Active Duty to Chick-fil-A Franchise Owner (Marlon Terrell)
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"I thought it was a good idea to get a truck delivered at 4:30 in the morning because I wanted the truck put away before my restaurant opened and if my drive-through was busy for breakfast, it would be hard to get the food out of the truck. And that was a huge mistake because you are not getting 19 year old to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get on the truck. It takes some time to find people that are adults and are able to get to work on time. So I found myself at 3:00 in the morning picking up frozen docks of chicken and throwing them in my freezer. And that process with 3 or 4 people is an hour and a half. And when you’re talking about yourself, maybe with one other person, that’s a 2 to 3 hour process.”
- Marlon Terrell

Why to Listen: 

For those that listened to Episode #129 with John Francis, you know that I’ve been thinking about how veterans that are interested in entrepreneurship should really consider a franchise. It seems to be a business with training wheels. It helps bridge the gap between someone’s military strengths and what’s necessary to grow and run a successful company.

My guest today is Marlon Terrell, who went straight from the Navy into owning a Chick-Fil-A franchise. I really enjoyed this conversation. Marlon provides just the right amount of detail. I walked away feeling like I understood what it’s like to be in a franchise owner’s shoes in terms of pay, career progression, and hours. He really painted a vivid picture of what life in a franchise looks like. I also think it’s helpful because Marlon was really articulate in discussing exactly how what he learned in the military was applicable to his work as a franchise owner as well as how he went about selecting a franchise. He also talks about why a franchise may or may not be suited for you as a veteran.

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

Kauffman Fast Trac - once a week course, 2-3 hours, with required homework. Marlon learned how to write a business plan, and figured out what he wanted to do Vet to CEO Boots to Business Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP)

Transcript & Time Stamps: 


For those that listened to Episode #129 with John Francis, you know that I’ve been thinking about how veterans that are interested in entrepreneurship should really consider a franchise. It seems to be a business with training wheels. It helps bridge the gap between someone’s military strengths and what’s necessary to grow and run a successful company.

(1:50)
My guest today is Marlon Terrell who went straight from the Navy into owning a Chick-Fil-A franchise. I really enjoyed this conversation. Marlon provides just the right amount of detail. I walked away feeling like I understood what it’s like to be in a franchise owner’s shoes in terms of pay, career progression, and hours. He really painted a vivid picture of what life in a franchise looks like.

(2:20)
I also think it’s helpful because Marlon was really articulate in discussing exactly how what he learned in the military was applicable to his work as a franchise owner as well as how he went about selecting a franchise. He also talks about why a franchise may or may not be suited for you as a veteran.

(2:58)
A few admin notes before we get started.  In January 2018, I’m going to be hosting two different events. The first is called Veterans in Consulting. It will be a panel interview with three veterans that went to three different consulting firms directly from active duty.  If you are in any way, shape, or form interested in consulting, you do not want to miss this.

(3:35)
I’ll also be doing my second session of Reprogramming. The Reprogramming Seminar is a six-session video seminar where we cover topics related to a successful military transition. I’m very excited to offer this again.

(4:04)
Apple iTunes seems to be the most effective way to get the word out about Beyond the Uniform so if you are enjoying the show, please take a moment to leave a review. It really helps get the word out and reach more veterans.


(5:00)
Welcome to Beyond the Uniform, Marlon. I want to give special thanks to Charlie Mellow who is also a 2002 Naval Academy graduate. A couple weeks ago, I spoke with John Francis about franchising. And now I’m excited to talk to Marlon, who went straight from the Navy to owning a franchise.

(6:20)

How did you transition from what you were doing in the military into your civilian career?


I was on submarines in the military so I have a mechanical engineering background and I had the opportunity to go back to the Naval Academy to get a Master’s degree in Leadership Education and Leadership Development. During this time, I taught a class in leadership at the University of Maryland College Park as part of my degree program. Around this time, I also realized that I was really interested in going down the entrepreneur route.

(7:04)
During my time at the Naval Academy, I was learning a lot about leading a group of people, I started to work on some different businesses. I got out of active duty in 2010 and I went into a Campus Recruiter position. This allowed me to stay as an active duty reservist and recruit in the area of Maryland and DC. I did this for five years and during that time I continued to work on entrepreneurship and gain experience in this field so that I could eventually get to where I wanted to be.

(8:20)

What did you learn during that time that ultimately lead you to join a franchise?


I didn’t have an MBA but I took the opportunity to educate myself on business. I looked for an opportunity that would be a good fit for a veteran. Through meetup.com, I was able to connect with other veteran entrepreneurs and that opened doors for me. I had the opportunity to be around a group of entrepreneurs and share information. Through this I heard about various free courses and other opportunities such as Kaufman, Vet to CEO, Syracuse Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans, VEP.

(10:10)
When I thought about the expense of starting a business, I decided that a franchise would be a good fit for me because I would have various resources available to me. What lead me to that is that I was working for a non-profit called Lead for America and I was going into schools and teaching philanthropy as a discipline. That lead  me to another organization called Repay Vets That helped veterans raise money to start their own businesses. Doing these two businesses, I realized how difficult it was to build a brand and get capital. So I started to look at franchises. I worked at Chick Fil-A in high school so I decided to go back and research what kind of franchise opportunities they had.

(11:55)
If you’re going to go the route that you’re thinking about a franchise, walk into one and see if you can schedule a meeting with the owner or general manager to see if you can get some knowledge that way. For me, I did think and then started looking at the numbers and compared their model to other restaurants. For me, financially, it made the most sense for me.

(14:05)

I love that idea of going from franchise to franchise as a way to learn more about the business and see if it is a fit.


Sometimes veterans can be very humble and they don’t want to bother people but you would be surprised how many people are out there that would love to help you. I wasn’t sure if I should go the MBA route or if I should go the “school of hard knocks” route and learn by experience. That was a difficult decision for me to make but I finally decided that instead of investing that money in school, I was going to hold on to that capital and start gaining experience. I think as veterans we all have that in common – a drive toward achievement.

(16:50)

Can you give listeners a sense for how much money is necessary to start a franchise?


That’s a loaded question simply because each franchise is different. Each franchise has a different model. Depending upon how much capital you have, I would recommend Google-ing veteran friendly franchises or inexpensive franchises.

(17:40)
For Chick-Fil-A, our franchise fee is minimal. We only have to put up $10,000 to start a franchise. I decided that Chick-Fil-A was a good model because first of all, I had worked there before so I kind of understood how the restaurant was run. With it being so little capital up front, Chck-Fil-A is putting up all the money to find the building and create the restaurant. The caveat for me and for other similar franchises is that I don’t have ownership in the building. If Chick-Fil-A decided they no longer wanted to partner with me, they could make that decision. But I have a great deal of trust in this organization that they would not do that to someone unless something had gone seriously wrong.

To go back to your original question, Chick-Fil-A is around $10,000. FedEx is more like $50,000. Subway is probably up around $100,000.

(20:50)

Once someone has started a franchise, is there additional money that they will need to support themselves while the franchise gets going?



That’s a great question because although there is the price tag of starting the franchise, you could also be looking at a full year before you’re able to start paying yourself.

(21:25)
One great thing about Chick-Fil-A is that as soon as you open your restaurant, Chick-Fil-A will allow you to start drawing an income of $2500 per month. It usually takes 2-3 months beyond that to where you can start earning a decent income. I say 6-12 months because I left the military in May but my restaurant didn’t open until September. But commonly building openings can be delayed for various reasons so that opening date could get pushed back. So the timeline for you drawing an income also gets pushed back. It’s just safe to have 6-12 months of money saved that will keep you going.

(23:50)

What does life look like in the 2-3 months before a franchise opens?


Every franchise is a little different but for most franchises, you will go through a training process. This consists of going to the corporate office and spending 3-8 weeks there going through their training. The franchise, typically, may decide to partner because of what you bring to the table for veterans. For example, some franchises require franchisers to have experience in the restaurant business but many franchises will waive this for veterans because they expect that, as a veteran, you will have that drive and commitment they are looking for.

(25:39)
For Chick-Fil-A, they don’t necessarily look for restaurant experience. They are looking more at character and competency. So for them, they teach you the basic operations of the restaurant and then once you finish the school, they set you up with a current owner. From there, you go back to the area where your restaurant is open and figure out the specifics for your restaurant such as number of employees, ethos, etc.

(27:40)
For the first week of the restaurant being open, they send you a group of trainers of about 20 people. When you compare it to the fleet, imagine having a group of 150 people and you’re charged with a mission that you know little about. All 150 people are being trained for a total of a week and then it’s all on you after that.

(30:50)

I love that you made the point of how veterans can be a great fit for franchises because of their drive and commitment.

 

Yes, Chick-Fil-A loves veterans. All those things that we were frustrated with on the submarine, the training and administration, are the things that I now use today to be successful as an operator at Chick-Fil-A.

(32:00)
I can remember being so frustrated by training during my time in the military. But now, I can see how valuable it is and I go out of my way to find different training opportunities.

It is definitely important. It’s also important to maintain talent. If you hire 90 people but 40 leave within the first week, things can fall apart quickly.

(33:00)

How did you learn to hire and evaluate the right people?


I had a unique background because I came from recruiting. For five years, my job was to go do interviews and figure out if a person was a good fit for the Navy. But I think it goes back to one of the things we do and know as military veterans and that is to prepare. I expected turnover and I prepared for it. So I continued to interview even after my initial team was hired. I also immediately but in a training plan because I know how busy and chaotic a Chick-Fil-A restaurant can be.

(36:05)


At this point you are two and half years into being a franchise owner. What is your perspective on all of this now?


It has been amazing. Chick-Fil-A does a great job of supporting the owner/operator. Chick-Fil-A has always been there to coach me through different decisions. That’s another reason why choosing the right franchise is so important.

(37:29)
I’ve also been able to positively impact my community. I had a young woman working in my restaurant that graduated from high school a couple months ago. Two weeks ago, she left to join the Marine Corps. I have a couple other young people that talk to me about joining the Navy. Leading a group of so many people has many unique challenges and is similar in many ways to the challenges I faced as a Naval Officer. It’s all about really investing into the crew and the vision. I always tell veterans that if leading people and supporting a crew is something they miss from being in the military, owning a franchise can be a great opportunity for them.

(39:35)
I’m extremely envious that you are able to reach back to the corporate offices when you need to. Because they have seen so many franchise locations go through similar struggles in their early stages, I’m sure they’re able to offer extremely valuable advice.
Absolutely. Even something as simple as leadership courses that I can bring my management team to. I set my restaurant up similar to the military.  I have my team members which are like my E-1s to E-4s. Then I have my key holders who are like my E5s to E6s. From there I have a group of team leaders which are like the Chiefs. And then I have my Electors which are like my Junior Officers. And then there’s me, essentially the Captain of the ship.

(41:50)
And that’s where I am now. I have my team trained up pretty well. We have our challenges, we always will. We’re a great team and we work together. It’s given me everything I was looking for in owning my own business. I have freedom and flexibility, I’m able to take care of my family, I’m able to have fun.

(44:00)

What’s your sense from when your Chick-Fil-A first opened to when you felt like you could step back a little bit? And how would you know that you’re ready to open a new franchise?


It was like boot camp for the first three months. I thought it was a good idea to get a truck delivered at 4:30 in the morning because I wanted the truck put away before my restaurant opened and if my drive-through was busy for breakfast, it would be hard to get the food the truck. What I didn’t know was that Chick-Fil-A sales for breakfast are extremely low.

(44:40)
And that was a huge mistake because you are not getting 19 year old to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get on the truck. It takes some time to find people that are adults and are able to get to work on time. So I found myself at 3:00 in the morning picking up frozen docks of chicken and throwing them in my freezer. And that process to unload that truck with 3 or 4 people is an hour and a half. And when you’re talking about yourself, maybe with one other person, that’s a 2 to 3 hour process.

(45:40)
Every year in May, Chick-Fil-A has a conference for all of its franchise owners. My Chick-Fil-A opened in September. The conference happening the following May forced me to leave which was my first time away. For the next six months after that, I was working 10-12 hour days. By one year after the opening, I had cut back to whenever I needed to be there.  Now I’m in a position where I can get a lot of my work done at home. I go to the restaurant when we have an operational challenge that we want to overcome.

(47:27)
When Chick-Fil-A builds a restaurant, it builds it with the capacity to handle three times as many sales as are projected. So we have a lot of growth opportunity and I can keep my team with me because as the franchise grows, I can promote them into new positions.

(48:29)
It’s often said that it takes three years to get a business to exactly where you want it to be. And with Chick-Fil-A, once you’ve gotten to that point, you begin to open yourself up for the opportunity to open a second restaurant. What I’m doing now is preparing my team to open a new restaurant.

(50:05)

It seems like you’re poised, if you wanted to in the future, to open many more franchises. It sounds like franchising has been a great opportunity for you.


Yes it’s definitely a business that works for me and was what I was looking for. You definitely need to find the right fit because there are some franchises that offer more independence, or more autonomy. And maybe you want that, or maybe you don’t. For example, if I wanted to raise my prices, I’m unable to do that whereas in other franchises, that might be allowed.

(53:30)

Is there anything else you would add as a pro or a con for someone looking to start a franchise?


The pros are the tremendous amount of support, same feeling of commitment you got in the military, a service oriented business. It provides the freedom and flexibility you are looking for, not immediately but over time. For Chick-Fil-A it was these things that sold me. And I think many of these are the same for many other franchises.

The cons would be that you’re limited with branding and ownership. But one of the great things about Chick-Fil-A is that they truly care about their owners and take care of you.

(57:00)

I am extremely appreciative of your time today. I feel like I have such a better sense of what it means to be part of a franchise. I love that you’ve been able to carry over so much of what you learned in the military into your civilian career.


Yes that’s true. For example when someone at my restaurant is up for promotion, we do a walkthrough of the restaurant to test their knowledge, similar to a board. I encourage all veterans not just let go of everything you learned in the military. Much of those things that you learned can apply to owning a franchise or being an entrepreneur.




47. BTU #131 - 15 Exceptional (and free) Resources for Veterans
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Why to Listen: 

In over 13 interviews, I've heard a lot about great resources available for veterans, as well as how difficult it is to be aware of all of the free resources available to Veterans. That's why, in this interview I go through 15 of the resources I've interviewed people about on the show, or have heard about from other veterans. While this list is by no means exhaustive, my intention with the new Directory section of the Beyond the Uniform website is to make it easier for veterans to identify and utilize quality programs aimed at veterans.

If you know of other great resources - or would like to weigh in on the ones that I mention here - please feel free to add them in the Comments section of the show notes, or in the Directory section of the website.

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

Guide-on - a resume builder for Veterans BTU #64 - Interview with Anthony Garcia (CEO & Founder of Guide-on) Service2School - advice and help for applying to college or graduate school
BTU #8 - Tim Hsia, founder BTU #92 - Justine Evans  BTU #10 - David Lee NUPOCC - a great career conference aimed at those who have gone through the Nuclear Pipeline, but open to all veterans BTU #72 - Michael Bradley  Finance - The Military Wallet & Cash Money Life BTU #61 Ryan Guina American Corporate Partners - connects you with a mentor in the industry or functional role of your choice BTU #62 Hank Hughes Hire Heroes USA - a 501c3 nonprofit organization that empowers U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses to succeed in the workforce. BTU 105 Nathan Smith Linked In Veterans Mentor Network Rotational Programs Tradecraft - a full time, in-person immersive training program for people who want to work in startups.  BTU #26 RaeAnne Pae JP Morgan Military Veteran Internship Program - for those interested in finance BTU #32 - Brooke Jones GE’s Junior Officer Leadership Program  BTU #42 Shaoli Breaux Tech / entrepreneurship Bunker Labs BTU #38 - Chris Shaw Breakline  BTU #54 Bethany Coates  Boots to Business - 2 days SBA sponsored program for startups  Patriot Bootcamp - 3-day event Connection & Contribution Team RWB - They work in 43 cities, and 213 nationally. In any given week there are local events. Anyone can participate – yoga, crossfit, ruck, hike, pub trivia, bowling, etc. BTU #108 Garrett Cathcart Veterans Yoga Project  BTU #123 Dr Dan Libby Travis Manion Foundation -  BTU 101 - Joshua Jabin

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

 

 

--comments--

 



48. BTU #130- 20 Year Pilot to Hospital CEO (Harry Schmidt)
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Description:

"Really what the civilian sector is needing and looking for are leadership skills. And the leadership skills that [veterans] have learned by getting a tremendous amount of responsibility early careers, or dealing with VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) - that's the life we lived in the military. The civilian sector is looking for people who can deal with and handle and make great decisions within the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. That's the skill set that is transferrable, regardless of your warfare specialty."
- Harry Schmidt 

I was introduced to Harry by Washington University in St. Louis. WashU’s Executive MBA (EMBA), a 20-month program where students meet on campus for 3 days per month, has helped many veterans like Harry transition to their civilian careers.

Harry Schmidt is the President & CEO of Passavant Area Hospital, an 130 bed acute care hospital serving over 3,700 inpatient and 40,000 outpatient visits annually with an operating budget of $120 million, 960 employees and 90 physicians, located in Jacksonville, IL. He started out at the Naval Academy, and served as a pilot for over 20 years, including time as a Top Gun instructor. After his military service, he went into the health services industry at the Memorial Health Systems - starting as a Medical & Affiliate Systems Analyst and working his way up to a Vice President of Facilities Management, before his current role as CEO at Passavant Area Hospital.

Why to Listen: 

20 years but didn't' go into airlines (time away from family) health services - got into it because of neighbor Identity - viewed as pilot... overlooks CS degree, overlooks preventative maintenance. Safety net - from extra income from retirement Leaders 20 years of service and transition to a VERY different role - adjusitn gto lower seniority & pain initiative in a new space (and humlity) trying somethign enw 5:43 - ability to say no...still overhwelmed 27:20 - director level, from department head... humility, one step back StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources: 

Jimmy Sopko BTU #6 - I reference this interview as a great example of a veteran who took a step back in their career to make a big transition. Message to Garcia - we talk about this as a GREAT example of approaching your new civilian career with initiative Cal Newport BTU #86 - I reference this as an example of what has helped Harry grow and develop into his role as CEO Elite Meet- making connections with special forces and pilots and connections to business executives to make informed decisions about where they want to go Washington University Olin School of Business - they have a great veterans group, and they've got an exceptional business school program Emily Cherniack BTU#70 - New Politics is a great organization that helps veterans run for political office (on either side of the aisle in terms of political affiliation)

Transcript & Time Stamps: 

You served 20 years in the Navy as a pilot prior to making your transition. When you were on active duty, how did you start to prepare for your transition? (6:50)

 

It’s a great question because there’s a ton of uncertainty and ambiguity regardless if you’re leaving after one tour or after a full career. I started the process late, probably about six months before retiring which is not a lot of time. I was very fortunate that I had a neighbor who was able to help me through the process. This ultimately ended up being the tie that got me into healthcare.

 

(7:58)

As a pilot you can imagine that the logical conclusion would be going to fly for the airlines. My wife and I considered it but I didn’t want to be away from home so much after 20 years in the military. So then I started thinking about what skill set I had and what could be transferrable. We’re always talking in acronyms in the military and a lot of times when people transition, they don’t translate accurately or effectively who they are and what skill set they have.

 

(9:25)

When a service member is transitioning, I think it’s important to set boundaries and parameters for what kind of a job or career you want afterwards. Otherwise, you could end up chasing something that’s someone else’s dream. It could be a fit for someone else but not for you. My family and I wanted to come back to the mid-west. That was the fit for us. You have to know what your fit is as you start to pursue your transition.

 

(10:55)

The ability to say “no” is also important in the transition process. There is so much  information out there and there’s so many  opportunities. There’s so many people that are looking to help veterans in their transition but you can really get lost in the myriad of opportunities .

 

(11:50)

What he civilian sector is looking for is leadership skills. The leadership skills we have learned through getting a lot of responsibility early in our careers, dealing with VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity). That’s the world we’ve lived in during our time in the service. People in the civilian sector are looking for people that can handle these situations and make great decisions within volatility and uncertainty, That’s the skillset that’s transferrable regardless of your warfare specialty.

 

What lead you to Memorial Health Systems? (13:50)

 

My family was living near Springfield, Illinois. The population is around 150,000 people - a relatively small community. Not a lot of big industry, only certain things in the area. We had built great relationships with our neighbors, one of whom was a physician. He said, “Hey, let me float your resume at the hospital and see if there’s anything they would be interested in.” I didn’t think they would want anything to do with a former pilot. But when the human resources department saw my resume, they saw that I had a Computer Science degree and wondered if I would be willing to work in IT. And that started the chain. Fortunately there was another veteran working in IT who was willing to hire me because he knew that I would do whatever he asked me to do. He saw that I had the technical ability and also the initiative and drive to succeed. He was  a former Marine so he recognized those characteristics in me as a fellow veteran.

 

(16:40)

I think one of the key takeaways for anyone listening to your podcast is that at least 80% of all jobs (manager and above jobs) are earned through networking. People aren't going to hire a piece of paper. They hire a person that they believe they can teach the necessary skills to in order to succeed in a position. The piece of paper doesn’t say anything about work ethic, integrity, or commitment. Leadership is all about influence. If I hire someone that doesn’t have the ability to lead and influence others around them, that isn’t helpful to me. I didn’t fully understand this when I was transitioning in 2007 but I appreciate it more now. I can’t emphasize enough how important networking is - just getting to know other people and letting them get to know you.

 

Veterans are sometimes surprised by the step back they need to take when moving into their first civilian position. After 20 years of service, what was your first transition like in terms of seniority and pay adjustments? (19:30)

 

I was able to handle this in a different fashion because my new job had a title that was so far removed from what I was doing before. One thing I’m very grateful for is that I started out in a lower pressure job where I had the opportunity to learn about the culture and about the industry. I didn’t have a leadership role where I had to stand up in front of people and promote the company culture before I even had the opportunity to learn it.

 

(21:10)

Once I was in my role, no one knew I had run a maintenance squadron with 120 people in it. I had had some really significant leadership roles previously. But I wanted to learn the new culture from the ground up. When various opportunities would come up, I would be one of the first people to volunteer because to me it was an opportunity to learn about the culture and the environment. And next thing you know, just by taking opportunities and learning new things, a managerial position became vacant and I had the opportunity to step into the role. That’s how I’ve been able to move through the health industry. It’s not because I said, “One day I want to be the CEO of a hospital.” I’ve just tried to contribute and learn about whatever role I’ve been in. That’s also why I elected to pursue my MBA. I saw that that’s what I needed to make the next step in my career.

 

I love that you were willing to take on your new role with humility and a willingness to take risk and try new things. You really took a “Message to Garcia” approach. (24:00)

 

If you’re a veteran listening and don’t know what “A Message to Garcia” is, I encourage you to go look it up. I think the message of humility is really tremendous.

 

(25:01)

The competitive advantage a lot of veterans have is that we’ve existed in that VUCA world. We’re willing to step in and figure out a way to accomplish the operation.

 

(26:15)

I’ve been in my new role as CEO for about 10.5 months now and there’s been decisions along the way that I’ve had to make that might not have been the most popular. When I took a step back and reflected on the decision, I thought to myself, “I will not likely get fired making an error of commission. If I choose to do something and it’s not quite right, I can always modify. But I will get fired if I make an error of omission.”

 

(27:20)

As military members, we are biased toward action. A competitive advantage. People working in a VUCA world can often reach paralysis by analysis. Veterans look at the same situation and take action.

 

Could you share a little bit more about your first few roles at the Memorial Health Systems and how you progressed? (28:17)

 

The most important thing that I learned is that so much of the healthcare industry is regulated, from corrosion inspections to operational readiness inspections. You can always go back to the regulatory requirements and use that to build a new program or to run your operations around.

 

(30:05)

Healthcare IT is highly regulated in terms of information management. The military world is also highly regulated so you can see a correlation between the two. The same skillset can be applied to both worlds. That critical skill set that allowed me to succeed during military inspections also allowed my to be successful in facilities management. Facilities management is all about building safety codes and how buildings are compliant with regulations. You’re preserving the lives of staff and patients. I remember when we were preparing for inspections, my boss didn’t understand how I knew these things since I had been a pilot. But then I started to explain to him more about preventative maintenance and corrective maintenance inside the military. In healthcare, it’s those same procedures that are used.

 

(32:35)

I think the problem a lot of veterans run into is that they think because they were a Department Head, Section Chief, etc., that they should immediately be a director when transitioning out of the military. But there’s a lot of learning that you need to do so that you know exactly what the roles and responsibilities are of a position you want to move into. If you’re willing to take a step back to start out, you can ultimately move ahead much quicker.

 

At what point did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA at Washington University? (34:45)

 

It’s been one of the pivotal points in my short civilian career, and I don’t think I would have this role as CEO of a hospital without that education. As veterans, we learn a lot just through on-the-job experience. We learn about finance and budgeting through the money our team or department is allocated each year. But in a lot of ways, we miss out on the revenue side of the operating statement. Taxpayers are giving us our revenue when we’re in the military so it’s a little different.

 

(36:00)

When I was in facilities management role, I knew that I wasn’t going to be doing that for the rest of my career. I talked to my boss about different opportunities for continued growth. He suggested going to business school and learning about different dimensions of business that I hadn’t been exposed to. Regardless of your specialty in the military, the MBA can be a good way to round out your skillset and learn about terminology.

 

(37:20)

I initially looked at a school and started a traditional MBA program, taking classes at night. But it was a little bit disjointed. I didn’t feel like I was being challenged in a way that I wanted to be. So I started looking at different opportunities and found the Washington University EMBA program. In the Executive MBA format, we met once a month for 2-3 days and then worked on projects together in between those meetings. The format set me towards what I wanted to do. I moved through the 20-month program with the same group of people in a cohort fashion. We were able to challenge each other because we had similar levels of experience.

 

(40:05)

I would also add that sometimes people think it’s just about the letters behind your name. But that mentality will only get you so far. More than the degree itself, I want to know where the person got that degree from. I want to know that they had meaningful conversations about business with others in the program, that they had negotiations and debate. Work gets done in business through relationships so I want to know that a person developed these skills during their degree program.

 

When did you make the transition to your current role? (42:10)

I graduated from my MBA program in 2015. I was still in the role of Vice President of Facilities Management at the time. I was transparent with my boss about it - that I wasn’t dissatisfied with my role but that I didn’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life. As the organization was growing and developing, a role opened up at Passavant, which is one of seven affiliates within the Memorial Health Systems umbrella. I was one of the qualified candidates. My goal was never to be the CEO of a hospital but I always seeked increased responsibility and leadership opportunities.

 

(43:25)

In my role as CEO, I probably spend about 60% of my time on people issues. Whether you’re trying to establish relationships, understand stakeholder positions, get buy-in from teams of people...I enjoy this kind of work. In my role in Facilities Management, I think the most important part of that experience was building relationships with contractors and team members. In my role now, I’m able to continue to build and develop this relationship building skill set.

 

(45:55)

As a transitioning veteran, you can start to figure out what skill sets are important in a particular position and during an interview, you can give examples of times when you have used those skill sets to create success. So that just goes back to using your story and your skillset in a way that will easily translate  to the civilian world. When I got my first job in IT after leaving the  military, people said, “What do you know about IT, you’re a pilot?” And then when I transitioned to the Facilities Management position, people said, “What do you know about Facilities Management, you’re an IT guy?” And now people say, “What do you know about being a CEO, you’re a facilities guy.” It’s interesting that people will put a label on you but you need to make sure that you can shed that label and that it doesn’t define you. You are more than any one label and can transfer your skillsets to any position.

 

What advice would you give to a transitioning military member that feels intimidated by the thought of “starting over” in the civilian sector? (48:33)

 

When I transitioned, I was 41 or 42 years old. Fortunately after retiring, there is some sort of financial assistance which helps in allowing you to put yourself in a learning position while your income is augmented by your retirement check. If you get out at 10 or so years, it’s more difficult because you don’t have that benefit. Still it’s worth it to have the willingness to take a step back in terms of pay and responsibility and take the time to really learn whatever industry it is that you’ve decided to go into. That ultimately is going to allow you to succeed.

 

(50:00)

Be a life-long learner. Don’t be afraid to learn something new or take advantage of a new opportunity. Most people would be happy to sit down with you if you wanted to learn more about their industry or what they are doing. Use LinkedIn, make a meaningful connection. I would also recommend various veterans networks. I’m working right now with a group called Elite Meet. It’s a group that looks to connect former special forces and fighter pilots with private sector opportunities. There was also a really strong veterans network at Washington University. I’m sure this is the same at many other schools as well. There’s so many people out there that are willing to help and want you to be successful.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our listeners? (52:50)

 

I was asked to give some comments at a Veterans Day event last weekend which was very humbling. As I reflected on that, one of the things I boiled it all down to was that America in general is about leadership. Ever since I made the transition out of the military, I’ve seen a desperate need for strong leadership in the civilian sector. Do the best job you can in the role you’re in right  now and always look for the next opportunity where you can continue to contribute and lead.

 



49. BTU #128 - Deloitte, Apple, Startups & Facebook (Francis Ebong)
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Description:

"I was trying to put myself in a position to meet as many people as I could that I could learn from to help with [my transition from active duty]. And while you're making those connections, you're also - in parallel - refining your own story, so that you're finding ways to tell your story in a way that resonates."
- Francis Ebong

Francis is the Director, Global Operations & Partnerships at Facebook. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served as a Supply Corps Officer in the Navy for six years, while also earning his MBA at the George Washington School of Business. After his transition to a civilian career, Francis worked at Deloitte as a Management Consultant, at Apple as part of their Global Business Operations team, and the startup Postmates as their Director of Business.

Why to Listen:

Francis went directly from the Navy to consulting at Deloitte, and has worked at Apple, in startups, and now at Facebook. He talks about each of these career paths, why veterans may love operations, and advice to help in interviews and finding your ideal career.

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Show Notes [typed hastily while interviewing... please apologies misspellings or grammatical errors]

As someone on Active Duty thinks of transitioning to a civilian career, what advice would you have for them about the interview process? There's a lot of publicly available info - blogs, publications like Bloomeberg, businessweek, NYT and Business Week), as well as using your network. The Naval Academy was a great resource, as was the broader military community. It really helps to see other vets and hear their stories. I try to make myself open to sharing my experience as well. It can be a scary transition. A lot of the time we spent at the Naval Academy during the summers learning about leadership, our peers have been working in the corporate sector. There's a completely new world - understanding how to interview, where to get information, the best resource can often be another veteran One of the best resources out there is LinkedIn.  It's a great research tool and understanding different paths to a career. You see people working in industries and try to understand how someone went from the military to one of these jobs. Just understanding those pathways can help you understand how to make different ways to get there. There's also a tool called ISABER for those who have gone to a Service Academy. You can share your skills and experiences with people looking to connect in different markets. How to explain a military background to a hiring manager this is the biggest challenge - how to explain your military experience to a layman. Our unfair competitive advantage is the life and work experience we have. You are placed in situations that cannot compare to  civilian workforce in terms of intensity. Many people shy away from talking about their impact in their military experience. Really trying to find a way to articulate your experience without a lot of acronyms and military terms. the biggest challenge you have is explaining your background. Watching CNBC to learn these terms through osmosis. What advice would you have for someone on Active Duty as they try to figure out what they would like to do in their civilians career? What led you initially to Deloitte, and why might this career be of interest to a veteran? My last two years in the military I was at business school, trying to meet as many people as possible to learn from for the transition. I went to every networking event I could find, and tapped into every network I could think of. Heard experiences of their transition and continued to make these connections. This helped me refine my own story - find a way to tell it in a way that resonates. At one of these events I met Ed Vanburen, who was a Naval Academy graduate at Deloitte. And this led me to Deloitte, where I worked for 2.5 years for public and private sector clients. we helped them think about doing a digital transformation in Oil & Gas and different industries. I always endorse consulting for veterans. For me it gave me to exposure across a bunch of different verticals and see typical prblems that companies see. It helped me to learn as quickly as possible from as many people and companies as possible. With Deloitte you pick up a lot of structured training that helps you learn very It's actually ver similar to an military environemtn - you're working with a small group of people in a tight time frame to accomplish something. You're exposed to so many different challenges that require different skill sets for each problem you face What led you to Apple? With consulting you get a lot of exposure to different companies. YOu also have time to think about what you want to do next and to train for it. I was General Science at the Naval Academy and was always interested in the intersection of technology and business. I wanted to get that on-the-ground operational experience. So I looked at companies, and Apple was at the top of the list. It was an opportunity to join their BD and Operations team at Apple. they were focused on developing and launcing displays for all Apple products. we would work with suppliers and engineers. Apple is a large company but it's run like a startup in terms of working with different teams How would you explain Global Business Operations to someone on Active Duty? Operations & Business operations means something VERY different at each company - it's different at Apple, Facebook, Postmates, etc. It at Apple was about negotiations, supply, and bringing things to market. This may be appealing to veterans: you work with teams outside of your function, just like you did in th emlitary. It's all about relationships. The lead up to a product launch and hte stressful situatiohns that lead up to this are similiar to my ilfe in the military. We had to set our goals, communicate them, and execute against those goals. It may be a different industry or technology, but the guiding principles are all the same What led you to Postmates, and how would you explain this startup to someone on Active Duty? I was at Apple for a little over 3 years. It was a very intens time of launching iPHone 4, 5 and 6. I was in Asia for a lot of that time, and I learned a lot very quickly. I was looking at cojmpanies at the center of technology and supplies and logistics, and Postmates was near the top of that list. Postmates is an on-demand delivery and logistics platform. you can order from any business and it'll be delivered within an hour. It's the Uber for delivery. It was an experience in helping them grow - joining as employee #75 Operations was launching new markets, growth marketing, the supply side of the marketplace, and our strategic partnerships. You have to be an "Athlete" - come in and do anything. No task is too small. you're leading a team and also doing data analysis and everythign you can possibly think of It was such a good and intense experience. that intensity really drives a lot of rapid learning There is nothing that is another person's problem - they are run lean (there are not a lot of people) but there are a lot of problems. It can be very stressful and you'll have to build a lot of things from scratch with very few resources. But you always find a way to win. This makes veterans well suited for startups. What led you to Facebook? Postmates is still doing really well and is still growing. The Facebook opportunity was a great personal opportunity for me. they were looking for someone to lead operations for some of their new products across: New Media Products, Marketplace, Workplace, Messenger, and AI for Messenger. Across these there are new products that each require a new operational approaches. How would you explain your current position at Facebook? The team I started with was 150 people and focused across each of the five verticals. We were helping each one grow and each of them were at a different size of growth and development. We focused on translating the consumer experience back to our engineers so they could build better products. For the Artificial Intelligence product we launched for Messneger, we had a team of 90 people who worked with the product and eningeering teams, and also focuwed on the consumer behabior and how the platform connected people with businesses. So we looked at the data to see what people were doing, how often they were doing and the opportunities there. Now I work more with partners - people building on our platform to connect with businesses. Every day is different - size of team, type of team, sometimes working with a global team. Two months ago I traveled for one week to Singapore and then London. The key is to be flexible What resources - books, programs, websites, etc - have been helpful to you in your civilian career that you would recommend to veteran listeners? I work with a lot of resources that help veterans Breakline has a structured program to help veterans transition through case studies, office visits, and different techniques they need to learn. this is really helpful. I also advise the Commit group - they help veterans transition to the private sector. Blogs & podcasts where you can hear about people's experience - no one's path will be the same as yours; a What was one of the most difficult parts of your own transition to a civilian career? The entire process is a challenge. Every conversation you have is an interview 32:02 There's a lot of doors that will be shut in your face; you'll say something you regret in an interview. Its the process that will get you where you need to be, but it can be very discouraging. Understanding that in the end you will make it. Even if 50 people say no, one will say yes. A veterans advantage is their grit - the challenge is more of a technical piece. Learning to go through the gauntlet of understanding how to interview. How to do research. how to speak the lingo.
35:15 You are hunting for your next meal evert day; there is no net. You really are out there on your own. Relationships, relationships, relationships - it's how you'll find and get those opportunities. ERvery discussion you have is an interview - do the research before the meeting. It is tough but with high risk comes high reward. You'll learn something new to take on the next opportunity. As you build up these new industries you'l l Final words of wisdom? We are more powerful than we think.  You have this insecurity starting out; you don't know that your skills will relate to the civilian sector and are intimidated by the competition. Once you realize the strength of your experiences and the relationships you've built - that's when you really become powerful. There will be failure and disappointment - you will get SO MANY no's but you only need one person to say yes. It's going to be tough but it does end up in the right p

50. BTU #129 - Veterans & Franchises (John W. Francis, aka "Johnny Franchise")
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Description:

"There are 3-4k brands in America that franchise, and there's hundreds of new brands every year. Which is wonderful, but it's also a little bit dangerous because a lot of those new brands really don't know franchising. You may have a great concept - a pizza shop, a coffee shop, a shoe shine stand - I don't care what it is, you can franchise a lot of things. But once you do that you're in a different business - you're no longer in the haircutting business, you're in the franchising business and it happens to be haircutting."

- John W. Francis

 

John W Francis runs Next Level Franchise​, Inc in Minnesota​, where he helps franchisors, franchisees and supplier companies with their business issues by offering perspective, experience, advice and connections to help move them forward. He started back in 19​80​'s​ helping in his family business, Barber’s Inc, which ​was​ the franchis​or of Cost Cutters, City Looks, and We Care Hair Salon. Over the next ​15+ years he ​helped to grow ​the business internationally, eventually selling to the Regis Corporation in 1999. Since then he has directly worked with franchises, as well as served as an advisor, board member, consultant, and speaker to ​many people and companies in the franchise world. He is known as “Johnny Franchise” and is a Franchise Expert.

Why to Listen:

A while back I had Matt Miller on the show, and in episode BTU #60 he talked about his experience starting the franchise School Spirit Vending. In episode BTU #115 Ray & Sam Allen talked about Direct Marketing and how it is business with some training and assisting to help people like veterans.

Both of these got me thinking about franchises, and how this is really well suited to veterans who want to start a business and have drive, determination, and discipline, but may not have a killer business idea or a background in business.

So, I took to Google and it did not take me long to find at the top of the list when it comes to franchises, my guest today, John W. Francis. John is not a veteran, but he has an immense amount of experience with and knowledge of franchises, and has graciously offered to come on the show to help me - and all our BTU listeners - better understand franchises and why this may be an appealing entrepreneurial vehicle to veterans

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

https://www.franchise.org/vetfran Office Pride - giving away franchise

Show Notes

Let’s start with the basics - if you were taking to someone who is in the military, and they don’t have traditional business experience, how would you explain what a franchise is? It's an opportunity - it can take on a number of different dimensions. You've got a model or a brand that you want to operate - McDonalds and Burger King are well known. But there is franchising all around in the US because it works well. When you purhcase a franchise a lot is included in it - do your homework and take your time. YOu don't want to make a decision ilke this in a hurry. Usually a franchise is a brand (name) that has some value and a series of systems. A system of operating and marketing and training in that business. Often times, there is vendor benefits and relationships with suppliers and otehr companies to reduce your cost since you're buying on a group scale. It leverages people motivation and ability - if everyone does their part, it creates mutual success. Franchising wins at all levels when done properly. What goes wrong in franchises? It happens at different times in the growth of the franchise. Oftentimes people convince themselves to buy something that doesn't fit I used to sell hair salon franchises - it's a great business - it's been the same for 5,000 years. It's consistent. You wont' get your hair cut at Amazon. Resistant to technology obsolesce. If you run a hair salon, there's regulations, licenses, etc. But as an owner if you don't understand the business you're in and what makes it work, you get in trouble. There's a lot of things you need to operate well, and it requires different skill sets. First - can you afford it? Cash, equity in your house, lending, etc Part was the personality fit - will you be successful selling in this environment; they may not have the skills so it may be more difficult for you. 8:25 - thousands of franchises, but also dangerous, you may have a great concept Is this a good system? It boils down to relationships - do they have integrity and a plan and know how to be successful? It is economic Darwinism - the stronger and faster and the ones who adapt and take care of their people. It gives you a great platform for success - people pick the wrong one or for the wrong reason You have worked with thousands of individuals who work in a franchise - are there any characteristics you’ve found in the people who succeed as a franchise owner? The ability to work hard - when you're the owner, you have a different attitude about things. You can't just work there. Ownership is a lot of responsibility and opportunity and liability. When you have others investing in your deal and you have employees, it raises the bar. You have to have a lot of commitment to never give up. The other trait that is often underutilized is the connectivity. In a franchise brand, you can connect with the Franchisor. They've got marketing, training, leadership, etc. You can connect with these people - you're part of the family, part of the network. There are people running this company all over the country and you want ot do what they're doing in a way that makes it successful. Asking for input on what to change - a different attitude and approach. Worst mistake is when someone wants to change something - they want to change the part of the brand. We don't sell tires at the hair salon. You don't change the model. When a franchisee starts to adjust things or they say "my market is different" - that's a red flag. You need to talk to people at this point - share hte idea and talk about it before you start doing this. You have to do all of it - not just parts. The third thing is hiring people. You need to make sure you get people, it always comes down to people. Often times franchisees have never hired or trained. How much capital is typically required to own a franchise? Franchises - there ar ebig ones and small ones; they come in all shapes and sizes. There are ones that are $50,000 or less, which is where most brands begin. That would be a total investment - a onetime franchise fee, legal costs, training, travel, contracts to sign, setting up a corporation. If it's a $50,000 investment, many times you can finance the equipment, and for a lot of franchises that are veteran friendly there are discounts on those fees. VetFran is organized through the International Franchise Association. You usually pay the fees in cash and the rest are in financing. Good advice is to have half of what you borrow - otherwise you're just working for the bank. Try not to borrow more than 50% of the investment. So you'll need some cash - savings, earnings, sold something else, or people go to friends and families and ask for investments or a loan. A loan is easier than an investment, but you need to make sure you write it down. you can borrow from a friend or family member, and when you pay it off that goes away. but an investor, they get equity and they get a say in what decisions you make and may feel entitled to participate at a level you didn't expect. Vending machines are common. People will do it for a year or two and then sell it and buy a franchise. You can start with a single vending machine, and it's a lot of hard work but it's a starting point. Then you can sell it and buy and franchise where you're managing employees. The ideal is to eventually hire someone who can do the day-to-day activities, but at first you'll likely be doing all of it. You can eventually own the place and not work there. Many times starting a franchise can be like buying a job - it takes a lot of work and feels like just a giant obligation. But if you can grow it you can be the owner and hire a manager, and then your job is to own the place. Do the advertising, maybe some sales, manage cash flow, and maybe even start a second or third franchise. But they usually start somewhere much smaller. Because veterans are used to systems and checklists this is a great fit for franchises. If you have the right attitude and it's a fit - there's a lot of examples of success with veterans in franchises. A lot of franchisees get stuck thinking they have to do everything - that is the beginning of the end. When companies cut back advertising because cashflow is tight, it's the worst you can do. When things are tight financially - who doesn't get paid is a tough decision. This is when a franchisee needs to call the corporate office or another franchisee to see where to go from there. "If it doesn't make dollars it doesn't make sense." This is such great advice. You have to know hwat you're spendign and what you get for it and if it's the right trhing to spend on. Ideally you can pay yourself sooner or later, and you have to be careful about continiung to invest all your moeny in the business indefinitely. Some people will use a franchise as an inheritence vehicle - the parent can make the investment nd the child does the work and over time the child buys the franchise from the parent, or the parent gifts shares to the child. Find something you're passionate about, and something you can get excited about. If you don't like people, you shouldn't get into a hair salon. But other business I work with have different skill sets. The good news is there are lots of franchises out there, but you hae to know yourself and what you would be interested in. If someone is interested in opening a franchise what resources - books, movies, etc - would you recommend they check out? Franchising is a big area today. There are over a million franchise outlets and over 3,000 franchises. There are groups who work as a match maker (a broker or agent) just like a real estate agent sells houses. There are companies that sell franchise this way. They don't charge the franchisee - the franchisor pays a referal fee to the person who brings the deal in. Fran-choice is good Fran-net is great too - their consultants are all over the country Entrepreneur Source has been around for a long time There are 5-10 more who are like this. Their speciality is to get to know you as the buyer and line you up with brands they know and trust and think will be a good fit. They help you understand what you have and educate you on why it is a good fit and you'll hvae to decide. They'll turn you onto three concept and then sell you the franchise. THey prepare you and if you buy they get a referral fee- it's a fair deal and a good value. It does take time and takes a committment and the consultants only really know a handful of brands. They are afmiliar with 20-30 - how many can you really know? So there may be others out there that would be a better fit but you may never hear about them. The risk is manageable because it's a helpful way to see what's out there, find their strenghts and weaknesses. Just be very careful and make a good choice - do your homework on the brand. You want to validate the idea - check it out and make sure the franchise works the way it is supposed to. Before you write a check - go spend a day with someone running the unit and shadow them for the dya and make sure you're co Final words There are a lot of great people and great opportunities. Find a good brand with good people and a business you really, truly enjoy. You're willing to work harder for somethign you believe in and people you like. Get to know the business and really take the time to know what it will take to be successful. My blog has all sorts of things on it There are books and magazines - the Franchise Times, Franchise World - all sorts of Expos and shows and seminars. Take as much time as you can. It's a great way to go - ifyou get into a good one follow the model, ask for help, pay attention, and follow the system. Engage fully in the brand. Franchise Adviory council - get involved in it. If they host a workshop go to it, never miss an annual convention. Most brands have a big conference for all the owners to come togeterh every year - you need to be there. Make that investment in yo8urself andyour business. Fully immerse yourself and follow the good ones. Meet the people who are successful - find the last Franchisee of the Year for the last 5 years and go talk to them. You want ot be the enxt one. SUccess comes in a lot of differnet ways. Father's Eve This is my giveback project. I'm a dad of two girls and I'm lucky that I can do my fatherhood the way I'd like. THis started as an accident - I got together with other fathers the night of father's day. Then we turned it into a charity event and raise a lot of money. Then we licensed it - everything is a franchise to me - we did it in 12 cities last year. This year we expanded and we did it in 42 cities. We had sponosrs and raised more money for charities. Next year we're trying to turn this into a celebration for dads. Father's day is for dads and their families -we don't want to change this. Father's eve is just for the dads the night before, a dad night out. We do a countdown - we can't stay up tll midnight, so at 8pm we do a local toast to the dads. Some places we do charity funcitons and auctions, and bag tosses, or poker or golf. One person did an archery event. It's hosted all over the county It started in my garage and there are people who do it in their garage Connecting dads to each other to celebrate being a dad and connecting them and learn how to be a better father is so important.

 



51. Skills #6 - A Framework for Anticipating Your Transition from Active Duty (6 Human Needs)
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Description:

In this episode, I go through a framework for looking at the needs that are met for most veterans by serving in the military, and the needs that they will most likely miss immediately upon their transition from Active Duty to a civilian career. This is a different take on Skills #1 – Empathy & Non-violent communication (NVC) that may be easier to apply in you civilian and military career.

If you haven't yet had a chance to leave a positive review in iTunes, please take a minute to do so here

Our Sponsor: StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Resources: Tony Robbins podcast: Why We Do What We Do



52. BTU #127 - Preparing on Active Duty for a Career in Financial Planning (Forrest Baumhover)
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Description:

"I really thought that a cornerstone of my business development plan was to take advantage of my ability to retire from my final duty station - to look around my community - and find ways to build relationships over time that I could then build upon when I started [my business]."
-  Forrest Baumhover

Special thanks to Ryan Guina at Cash Money Life and  The Military Wallet, episode #61, for introducing me to Forrest.

Forrest Baumhover recently retired from 24 years in the Navy, first as a hospital corpsman, then as a Supply Corps Officer. While on Active Duty he became a certified Financial Planner and started a fee-only financial planning practice, Westchase Financial Planning. He also runs the site, Military in Transition.

Why to Listen:

Forrest anticipated his transition very early on and prepared for starting his own company in a very proactive way. This is also my first interview with a financial planner, and may be an interesting career path for other veterans.

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

Doug Nordman's interview about financial planning & independence Kate Horell's The Paycheck Chronicles Ryan Guina at Cash Money Life and  The Military Wallet

Show Notes

You have taken a very proactive approach to planning for your transition - can you tell us more about when that started and how you’ve gone about it? What drew you to financial planning? Could you share more about what you do at Westchase Financial Planning? What was your experience like at the College for Financial Planning? How do you balance Active Duty with preparing to transition? What advice do you have for listeners about their personal finances and preparing for the transition? Good resources for finances

53. Skills #5 - Interviews (Part 1)
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Description:

In this episode I share advice from the Beyond the Uniform community about how Veterans can best prepare for and excel at a civilian interview. 

This is a new type of episode, and I'd love any feedback on this approach. Usually, I interview military veterans about their civilian career. Today, instead, I'm going to dive into a specific skill I think would be helpful to veterans in their civilian career.

Our Sponsor: StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Resources: Two interviews that have great advice on networking: BTU #44 – Sam Bond: Bain, Coca-Cola, and General Manager at Lyft BTU #126 – Airlines, E-Learning & finding excellence in VERY different industries (Nicholas Loudon) Book recommendation: PCS to corporate America YouTube links in show notes STAR Method for interviewing Sites for interview prep: GlassDoor, TransparentCareer, O*Net BTU Interviews mentioned on this show: BTU #27 Katie Horgan- Marines to Operations at Early-Stage Startups BTU #98 – Jared Wymer: Marines to Amazon & a PhD… simultaneously BTU #25: Lee Haney – Marines to Goldman Sachs and Hewlett Packard Enterprise American Corporate Partners - free connection to a mentor in your desired industry or functional role Orion Talent Podcasts to check out: #5 & #7 Show Notes: Jon Anderson - network! Meg Potter: Two things: actually wear your interview outfit to ensure fit/comfort and work with a friend to rehearse/drill possible interview questions. Oh and actually familiarize yourself with the company and position. Mark Mitchell: Read PCS to corporate America Aaron Burch 
Learn how to interview: Watch sample interviews on YouTube. Learn the STAR method. Look up lists of behavioral interview questions. Prepare a mental list of 10-15 examples from your past experience that can be tailored to answer most of the behavioral questions you can find, and memorize those examples. Practice interviewing with someone, and record yourself, then watch with them and someone else and ask for feedback. Repeat this.  Learn about the company: Google the company, their competitors, suppliers, and customers. If they are publically traded, read their annual report and listen to their latest earnings call. Research common interview questions and scenarios used at the company.  Learn about your interviewer: Look up your interviewer on LinkedIn. Find out how long they've been with the company and their previous roles. Find them on Twitter or other social media and look for anything relatable.  Learn about the position: Read and re-read the position description, noting key skills and experiences, then think of ways you fit the bill, either directly or indirectly. Look up the position on GlassDoor, TransparentCareer, etc. Try to find a loose connection with someone at the company who has or previously had the job you're interviewing for, and talk to them.  Make yourself memorable: Depending on your skillset and the position type, make a "leave behind" to give your interviewer. Maybe it's an infographic. Maybe it's a book of previous projects. Ideally, it has some parallels to the types of work products you might expect to produce in the position.  Execute: During the interview and where appropriate, sprinkle in anecdotes you uncovered during your preparation. Maybe it's a commonality you share with the interviewer. Maybe it's an idea for a new service. Demonstrate that you're already thinking of real ways to cut expenses or grow revenue, before you even have the job. Show genuine interest in the industry, company, and position. If you can't find genuine interest after all of this preparation, it's probably not a good fit for you.  Follow Up: Depending on the size of the company and the industry, send an email or handwritten thank you card within 24 hours of your interview, thanking the interviewer for his/her time and expressing your continued excitement.  AAR: Doing everything above isn't reasonable for every interview. Take what you learned, having done it all, and tailor your approach next time to what seemed like the most value added activities. Richard Herron  WRT the interview, be yourself.  Think more about what career you want to interview for. A big help for me was finding a mentor to chat about options. Most people we dealt with were also on AD and hadn't seen the other side. Go on LinkedIn and cold email people that have the career you're considering.  Thanks for BTU. I wish this existed when I was transitioning. Jared Wymer  In military terms, treat each interview as a mission. Just as you tailor your resume for a role, you should also tailor the way that you talk about your experience, the role, and the company. For instance (and get used to using the phrases "for instance", "for example", and "and by that I mean"), the same work that an active duty service member put into writing the resume that got them the interview (ex: SCOUR the company website so you understand [1] culture [2] business objectives [3] how you fit into the mix [4] how you add value [note: this is much easier with public companies who are required to disclose certain information]; look on websites like Glassdoor, O*Net, etc. to make sure you understand the breadth of what you can bring to the table; make sure you can speak to every line of the job description in a PAR or STAR format. I could frankly provide a whole layperson class/presentation on this, but these are some of the key actions. Lee Haney: What we learned in the military still applies: nothing beats a Leader's Recon before a tactical movement! In this case, that means learning everything you can about the company and the role before the interview, including informational interviews with people who already work at the company with which you are interviewing. Michael Beard: find veterans in the civilian industry you are targeting, and spend time with them in an informational interview. ask for blunt feedback on your resume and interview skills. use them to get the debriefing and feedback that most civilians are too cautious to give. An HR person will not tell you that you are coming across too stiff, or using too many acronyms, or not smiling enough. Charlie Mello: Discuss how your skillset will provide and drive value to the company. It doesn't matter as much what you have already done....it matters more what you are willing to do to help the company grow Brian Henry: I actually have 2 of Orion Talent's podcasts I'd steer them to that we did to address this question. Episode #5 addresses beginning the preparation process and Episode #7 hits a few of the most important questions to be prepared for and how to answer them. https://www.oriontalent.com/podcasts/

54. BTU #126 - Airlines, E-Learning & finding excellence in VERY different industries (Nicholas Loudon)
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Description:

"At the end of the day no one is ever going to come to you as a veteran [with a job offer] - they're going to thank you for your service, but they're not going to make a job for you. Nor do you want them to make a job for you. The trick is getting in as many people's rolodexes as possible. And I kind of did that - unwittingly - while I was at West Point."
- Nicholas Loudon

Nick Loudon is the Chief of Staff for Eastern Air Lines. He started out at West Point, served in the Army as an Infantry Officer for 8 years before going to the Teachers College at Columbia University to earn his MA in Organizational Psychology and Leadership. He’s worked at the E-learning company, Rowan Technologies, as both a Program Manager and COO, and joined Eastern Air Lines about a year and a half ago.

Why to Listen:

In this interview we discuss a variety of topics relevant to veterans in any industry. Nick has great advice for veterans about checking one's ego at the door, rolling up one's sleeves and doing whatever it takes to improve whatever task you're given. He shows how a willingness to learn has allowed him to transition - and be successful in - wildly different industries. And how a mindset of happiness, learning and humility can make all the difference.

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Show Notes

How did you approach the decision to leave the Army? How did you decide to go to TC? What led you to Rowan Technologies? How would you describe what Rowan Technologies does? What was your role like as a Program Manager? How did your work change when you were promoted to COO? What led you to Eastern Air Lines? How would you describe what Eastern Air Lines does? What do you do as Chief of Staff? What resources - books, programs, podcasts - have helped you in your civilian career that you would recommend to veteran listeners? Final words of wisdom

55. BTU # 124 - Founding and growing GoRuck from $0 to $15M in revenue (Jason McCarthy)
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Description:

"We were sitting in one of [my wife's] guest rooms in her house in Abidjan, and I was trying to figure out what to do next with my life. And Emily said, 'You should do the GoRuck thing.' I don't think she knew what that meant and she certainly didn't have the vision for what it's become, and I certainly didn't at that time either. But that was the happy accident of - I need something to do and this could probably be it."
- Jason McCarthy

Thanks to Jared Wymer for the recommendation for this show.

Jason McCarthy is the Founder and CEO of GORUCK, a company he started nearly 10 years ago, a retail company that builds gear, hosts events, builds teams and strengthens the community. He started out at Emory University, after which he worked as an Analyst at Milestone Merchant Partners before joining the Army where he served for five years as a Special Forces Communication Sergeant. After the Army, he started GORUCK and has grown to a team of over 30 people, and over 100 Special Forces Cadre who lead our events.

Why to Listen:

Jason gives a very raw and honest assessment of his entrepreneurial journey that will be a huge resource if you're considering starting your own company, but also an exhilarating story no matter what your intended career path. 

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

Steve Jobs biography

Show Notes

You had a career before the Army - what led you to the Army? How did you decide to leave the Army? What was the genesis of GORUCK? In the early days, what was your life like? How did you finance all of this? How would you describe GORUCK to veteran listeners? Where is the company at now in terms of it’s growth? What has been the hardest part of starting GORUCK? What advice do you have for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs? What can someone on active duty do right now to start preparing to start their own company? Any resources (books, podcasts, programs, etc) you’d recommend to listeners? Final words of wisdom?

56. Skills #4- Understanding how your length of military service impacts your civilian career
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Description:

In this interview I dive into an analysis of thousands of LinkedIn profiles to better understand how the length of someone's military service impacts what industry they go into, as well as where they live for their civilian career.

This is a new type of episode, and I'd love any feedback on this approach. Usually, I interview military veterans about their civilian career. Today, instead, I'm going to dive into a specific skill I think would be helpful to veterans in their civilian career.

Our Sponsor: StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Resources: The full e-book that I'm using for this episode can be downloaded here: http://beyondtheuniform.io/how-time-in-service-affects-navy-veteran-careers-ebook/ The full list of LinkedIn Industries - and the sub categories I created for my analysis - can be viewed here: http://beyondtheuniform.io/industry-category-explanations/

57. BTU #123 - The Veterans Yoga Project (Dr. Dan Libby)
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Description:

"With all of these practices, if we drill down on what's actually happening with them, it is just a shift in your nervous system. Being able to connect the mind and the body and the breath via this system in your body that is designed to succeed and live inline with your values and goals."
- Dr. Dan Libby

Thanks to Tim Avery, btu #12 for the intro to Dan.

Dr. Dan Libby is the founder and executive director of Veterans Yoga Project (VYP). He has empowered veterans and their communities to access healing resources and find resilience both within themselves and through connection with others. He has also enabled yoga teachers and healthcare professionals to share these practices. He's a licensed clinical psychologist, and holds a B.S. in Psychology from the The University of Montana and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Clinical Psychology from St. John’s University.

Why to Listen:

Veterans on the show often talk about meditation as a ay to stay grounded and be more productive at work. This is a great episode for exploring that and other helpful practices to keep you at your best inside and outside of work. 

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

103 classes being taught around the United States that are free for veterans and taught by a VYP instructor. You can view them here, or contact the VYP to find someone to teach you locally Practice Library at VYP where you can download or stream a practice in breathing, movement, etc Veterans Gratitude Week - all of these resources are free for veterans. This week is dedicated to providing these resources for free for veterans through the contribution of others The Body Keeps the Score - A great book about the neuroscience behind this Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

Show Notes

What was the genesis of the Veterans Yoga Project? How would you explain VYP to someone on Active Duty? Is there an experiential part of this we could start with to give listeners a sense of the sort of tools you provide? In your work with Veterans, what are common objections or reserves you see about this sort of work? What are aspects of your work that you have seen be most beneficial to veterans? What other resources - books, programs, podcasts, etc - would you recommend to listeners Final words of wisdom to audience?

58. BTU #122 - Army to CEO of Skullycandy (Jason Hodell)
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Description:

"For example, we had a $180 headphone that wasn't working - it wasn't the right price point or form factor. Once we stopped trying to win there, and just focused on being great under $100, it was amazing the power that focus can bring to the team. Not spreading yourself too thin, but giving your team the one objective, the one hill - because if we can win here, a lot of other things will just take care of themselves."
- Jason Hodell

See the full show notes and more veteran interviews at http://www.beyondtheuniform.io

Jason Hodell is the CEO of Skullcandy, which markets headphones, earphones, speakers and other products. Skullcandy was founded in 2003 and acquired in October 2016 by Mill Road Capital for $200 million. Jason started out at West Point, after which he served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army for five years. After the Army, he picked up his MBA at Wharton. He had an impressive career prior to Skullcandy, which we’ll discuss in the interview, and joined the Skullcandy team initially as their CFO & COO, the company grew revenue from $210M to approximately $300M after 3 years, he was appointed as the CEO of Skullcandy.

Why to Listen:

Turnaround work at companies - Jason talks about the turnaround work he's done at companies, which may be well suited to many veterans. It involves rolling up one's sleeves, getting your hands dirty, and "improving the unit that is not the best in battalion." Take the long view - Jason talks about taking the long view on your career and investing in learning domain or market expertise Finance - Jason started out in finance, and talks about how this gave him the mental framework to think about companies and evaluate them as well as understand the nuts and bolts of any business General Management - Jason has been CEO, COO, and CFO of some incredible companies and talks about why veterans may enjoy (and be well suited for) these roles.

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

Resources for finance Can check out syllabus for corporate finance class at Wharton and see textbooks (or at any leading finance business school) - here is on example. Book What Color is Your Parachute - Jason read this book and it helped him in his own career; he recommends it to veteran listeners

Show Notes

Jason's background When you left the Army, you went directly to get your MBA - how crucial was that decision in your career path, and what advice would you give to veterans considering an MBA? What was one of the biggest challenges you faced when leaving the military, and what advice do you have for those on active duty listening? I’d like to focus on your role at Skullcandy, but what would you want listeners to know about your career path from Wharton to Skullcandy? How did you first come onboard the Skullcandy team? How would you describe your role as COO & CFO to someone on active duty? What did your day-to-day life look like? You achieve an incredible turnaround - how did you go about this? How would you describe your current role as CEO - what does your day-to-day look like? How do you grow and get feedback? What were the gaps you needed to fill in from the military until the CEO role? What advice do you have for veterans seeking to be CEO of a company one day? What resources - books, programs, podcasts, etc - have been helpful to you in your civilian career that you would recommend to veterans listening? Final words of wisdom

59. Skills 3 - Civilian Terminology #1 (BTU #121)
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Description:

In my interviews, we often use business jargon and terminology without explaining it. As Jason Hodell (BTU #122) said, "you've got to know the lingo." So, in this episode I dive into some of the most common civilian business terms I've had on the show. This is Part 1, so if there are other terms you'd like explained, send me a note about what terms you'd like me to cover for Part 2.

This is a new type of episode, and I'd love any feedback on this approach. Usually, I interview military veterans about their civilian career. Today, instead, I'm going to dive into a specific skill I think would be helpful to veterans in their civilian career.

Our Sponsor: StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

60. BTU #120 - Traveling the world for 4 years after Active Duty Navy (Tim Patterson)
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Description:

"I thought I was a big shot traveller until I met these people and I realized that I was nothing, and they were incredible. I've read books and seen movies and TV shows where people take their motorcycles around the world. It's easy to think  - that person's crazy or that person has a personal fortune or that that person has some unbelievable life circumstance that makes that possible. But when I met people in real life who had done these long-distance motorcycle trips, and I realized they're just ordinary people who and they're just really passionate and excited about what they do. And it's possible for anyone to do it."
- Tim Patterson

Listen to the full interview here

Tim Patterson started off at the Naval Academy as part of the mighty class of 2002. He served as an officer onboard nuclear submarines for 8 years. After his transition from the military, Tim spent over four years traveling the world. Two of these years were done by BMW motorcycle, where he rode over 28,000 miles along the Pan-American highway, from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. Studied Spanish in Guatemala. Survived Arctic weather, flat tires, and Colombian soldiers.

Why to Listen:

Time to reflect - many of my guests have talked about how they rushed into a career or into school and did not have time to consider what they wanted to do or take time to decompress after their military service. Tim took 4 years to travel the world, two of which were spent traveling more than 28,000 miles by motorcycle. He had more than ample time to think about what he wanted to do next. Freedom - Tim is different from nearly every interview I have done to date. He is an example of complete freedom and autonomy after the military. He talks about it in a very real and personal way that shows that any veteran can do this too, and any veteran can pursue whatever dream they want to achieve.

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

Outside Magazine - read frequently on Active Duty to plan his trips The Longest Ride - spent 10 years traveling by motorcycle, very inspirational Road Fever - tried to set Guinness World Record from Argentina to Alaska in 26 days. Gave Tim the inspiration for the destination for Tim's own trip The Driver- the Cannonball Run, the fastest drive from New York to LA. Set a record for fastest trip. Ewan McGregor - Long Way Round & Long Way Down - actor's journey across Europe and Asia. These were inspirational for Tim's planning Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Shantaram The Zanzibar Chest - incredible book about East Africa Anything by Paul Theroux - The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonia Express Lost Japan

Show Notes

Tim's background What did you do while on Active Duty to make this journey possible? How much money does someone on Active Duty need to save up to make this possible? What led you to travel - was the certain moment when you knew you were going to travel the world? How long did you initially think it would last? Could you give a high-level overview of what those four years looked like? What was one of the most challenging moments of the trip? Did you have a favorite location along the way? Why might someone listening who is on active duty benefit from taking time to travel instead of going directly into a job or school? How did you travels shape what you want to do for a career? What resources recommend for traveling? Could you talk about how you became involved journalism? What is a typical week like as a journalist? Where are you headed from here? Final words of wisdom?

61. Skills #2 - The Slight Edge (BTU #119)
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Description:

This is a new type of episode, and I'd love any feedback on this approach. Usually, I interview military veterans about their civilian career. Today, instead, I'm going to dive into a specific skill I think would be helpful to veterans in their civilian career: The Slight Edge. Special thanks to Ray & Samantha Allen for recommending this book to me in their interview.

The Slight Edge is a great book about how small, repeated actions on a daily basis can lead to massive changes in your career, personal life, and relationships. In this 15-minute episode, I dive into some key takeaways from this book that Veterans and Active Duty Members of the Armed Forces can use to advance in their professional and personal lives. 

Our Sponsor: StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links The Slight Edge Other Skills Episodes BTU #86 - So Good They Can't Ignore You BTU #96 - Deep Work BTU #119 - Skills #1: Empathy & Non-violent Communication

62. BTU #117- Jim Vesterman- Marine Corps to Search Funds and Buying a Company to Run
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Description:

“I'm not sure that I'm the best necessarily at starting a business from scratch - figuring out a business model in my garage, making this thing work, and taking all the risks there are in the startup phase. But I was pretty sure that I could take a business that had cashflows, infrastructure, and a business model and make it a lot better."
– Jim Vesterman

Jim Vesterman is the CEO of Raptor Technologies, which is the nation's leading provider of integrated safety technologies for K-12 schools. He got his undergraduate degree at Amherst College, after which he worked at both the Monitor Group and for a software startup. He deferred his MBA to join the Marine Corps as part of 3rd Force Recon Company. After he got his MBA from Wharton, he started an entrepreneurial vehicle called a search fund - which we’ll get into - called Liberty Place Capital. Liberty Place Capital ultimately purchased Raptor Technologies in 2012 and he has been running that company for 5 years.

The top two reasons to listen to this episode are:

Perspective - Jim is the only person I've interviewed so far who had career before the Marine Corps. His look at re-entering the civilian workforce is compelling Search Funds - this is a great entrepreneurial vehicle well suited for veterans. Rather than coming up with an original idea, you can raise money to buy an existing business, which you can grow. Jim talks about how this process works, and why it may be appealing to veterans. Balance - Jim used used 5 vacation days and nights and weekends to raise money for his Search Fund - it's a great example of using one's extra time to further their career. Our Sponsor: StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Stanford has an incredible library of information about Search Funds that you can find here

63. BTU Skills 1 - Empathy & Non-Violent Communication (NVC)
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Description:

This is a new type of episode, and I'd love any feedback on this approach. Usually, I interview military veterans about their civilian career. Today, instead, I'm going to dive into a specific skill I think would be helpful to veterans in their civilian career: Empathy. This has come up in many episodes as something that veterans have needed to develop to progress in their civilian career. A tool that I have found to be extremely helpful in my own life in building up empathy is something called: Non-Violent Communication (NVC).

In this episode we'll talk about how to build empathy (just like a muscle), and how identifying feelings & needs can uncover strategies to meet more people's needs (your team, your co-workers, your spouse, etc).

Our Sponsor: StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links John Kinyon's list of Feelings & Needs handout Other Skills Episodes BTU #86 - So Good They Can't Ignore You BTU #96 - Deep Work Books Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life Choosing Peace: New Ways to Communicate to Reduce Stress, Create Connection, and Resolve Conflict Living Nonviolent Communication: Practical Tools to Connect and Communicate Skillfully in Every Situation Videos Introduction to Non-Violent Communication - Compassionate Listening The Basics of Non Violent Communication 1.1 (you'll have to get past a truly epic music rendition... push past it :) ) Marshall Rosenberg: The Purpose of Nonviolent Communication Groups Sign up for John Kinyon's newsletter - he has periodic online courses that are great Search for NVC groups in your local area

64. BTU #116 - Finance, Co-Founding Live Ops, and starting an investment firm (Patrick McKenna)
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Description:

"I was a Signal Corps Officer trained in telecom - I managed switches and all those kind of things, so I really understood traditional telecom infrastructure. These engineers who became my co-founders developed a soft switch - basically, using a computer, you could control a big piece of hardware somewhere else to make a phone ring. What I knew was that was massively disruptive. And what we didn't know together was where that disruption was going to lead us.  And that disruption led us, eventually, to LiveOps."
- Patrick

Patrick is the Founder and Managing Partner at High Ridge Global, which is a private investment and advisory firm. He started out as a ROTC student at the University of Southern California, after which he served as a Signal Corps Officer in the Army for four years. After his service he got his MBA at Georgetown. He has worked at JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, was part of the Founding Team of LiveOps (a company that now has over $100M in revenue), and has founded, invested in, and served on the board of multiple companies.

Why to Listen:

Networking & Preparing for meetings (~43:00) - Patrick talks about how one of the best things you can invest in is your network. His personal story illustrates how his network led from one incredible opportunity to the next. But he also provides tactical advice about how to prepare for meetings that we haven't covered in other interviews. Building expertise - although Patrick rotated between industries (finance, tech) and companies (JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, LiveOps, and more) he consistently built up expertise that he was able to leverage in his career. His thoughts for veterans about building up expertise and taking a 10-year time frame approach are incredible Resources - Patrick has been part of incredibly successful startups and has started his own investing and advisory fund. He has coached many entrepreneurs and business operators. His advice - and recommended resources - are really priceless in this interview

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

Longer-form Biographies - Elon Musk, The First American (Benjamin Franklin biography) Technical - The Hard Thing About Hard Things Staying Current - blogger or podcasts Sam Harris, Reason, Krista Tippett, Here's the Thing Wired, Techcrunch, Venturebeat Sci fi Crux, Cryptonomicon, The Moral Animal, Sapiens, Guns, Germs and Steel

Show Notes

Patrick's background For someone on active duty, how would you describe High Ridge Global? In terms of whereHigh Ridge Global is at today - what would you want listeners to know (head count, investments, etc) Advice to evaluating an idea/ Skills veterans may need prior to starting a company Many listeners to the show are interested in the world of finance - how vital is an MBA in this career path? What was your experience like at JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, and how has that helped you in your current role? Lifestyle differences between finance and startups? What lead you to make the shift to startups and Live Ops? What would you want listeners to know about your career path from Live Ops untilHigh Ridge Global ? How did you go about starting your own investment company? What did your day-to-day life look like when you first started? What skills did you need to develop to start your own firm, and what advice do you have for veterans seeking to do the same? What resources have been helpful to you that you would recommend to veteran listeners? Final words of wisdom?

65. BTU #115 - Network Marketing & Residual Income While on Active Duty (Ray & Samantha Allen)
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Description:

"We always say that you earn while you learn in this business. So even though we were both full-time active duty when we started this business, you can really build it into the nooks and crannies of your life, while just learning the process. Because there are people who are willing to hold your hands so that you can walk and then run in this business."
- Samantha Allen

Ray and Samantha Allen are both 2009 Naval Academy Graduates. After graduation, Ray went to flight school & became a Navy Helo pilot while Sam became a Marine.

Samantha served as a Marine for 5 years at Marine Special Operations Command (2nd MSOB) and weapons training Battalion. Ray is an HSC pilot now instructing at the Naval Academy.

The two live in Annapolis, MD with their three daughters, and have been building their business together for four years.

Why to Listen:

Direct marketing / network marketing - this is an often criticized & misunderstood space, but may be a great match for many veterans, as it:  Is a people business (where vets typically thrive) Is a business with training wheels (you get the support and mentorship you need as you grow) Has a strong sense of community (which vets often miss post-service) Includes a sense of purpose (which vets also miss post-service) Has a lot of autonomy (to afford a flexible lifestyle) Working with Spouse - if you're considering working with a significant other, they've got great advice. Self-learning - they include a TON of incredible resources to check out, and the motivation to go with it

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources:

LifeVantage Books Anything that Jim Rohn - The Power of Ambition YouTube Jim Rohn for free talks & seminars - everything he says is gold 10 Steps to Achieving Anything You Want Use Your Own Mind, Think, & Make Good Decisions! Why Your Attitude is Everything Do Something Different Inside Network Marketing Building your network marketing business on YouTube for free by Jim Rohn The Slight Edge by Jim Olson - how to improve by small decisions Think & Grow Rich How to win Friends & Influence People Podcasts MLM Nation by Simon Chan - interviews top earners in MLM (Multi-level marketing) system Home Business Profits by Ray Higden To contact Ray or Sam, reach out on Facebook: Samantha Allen & Ray Allen

Show Notes

4:00 Ray and Samantha's background 4:47 - How would you explain to someone on Active Duty what LifeVantage is? 7:58 - How did you both get started working with LifeVantage? 12:00 - What was the starting point like? 14:54 - When you first started what was the time commitment? 17:16 - How do you spend your time today on LifeVantage? 22:15 - How long does it take to make an income from Direct Marketing? 26:30 - What is residual income and how do you make residual income in Direct Marketing? 35:05  What are negative things that you hear about Direct Marketing and how do you respond to this criticism? 38:08 - How is it working together as a husband and wife team, and what advice do you have for couples thinking of working together? 41:51 - What resources - books, programs, websites - would you recommend to someone considering direct marketing? 49:20 - What advice do you have for a veteran considering entrepreneurship? 55:05 - Final words of wisdom?

66. BTU #114 - Founding an Inc 500 Company While Traveling Southeast Asia (Justin Cooke)
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Description:

"Working for this company, we started outsourcing to the Philippines, and we started doing more and more work with the Philippines. Eventually my buddy and I said, 'Why don't we setup a company in the Philippines to do the outsourcing for our employer?' So we pitched out bosses and they loved it. And so that kind of got our foot in the door."
- Justin Cooke

Justin Cooke is the Founder at Empire Flippers, a company that helps others buy, sell, and invest in profitable websites and online businesses. He started out in the Navy, where he spent 6 years as a Sonar Technician 2/C (STG2). Empire Flippers is an INC 500 company - Justin runs a 22 person team and has $27M+ In Online Businesses Sold.

Our Sponsor:

StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces. Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Tropical MBA - community of people building online businesses in remote locations 11 Popular Online Business Model Cal Newport interview - another great BTU episode that talks, like Justin, about building up a skill set https://flippa.com/ - eBay for online businesses; note: not much help in vetting. Justin recommends starting from scratch unless >$10-20k to spend on buying a business NitchPursuits.com - how to build business CloudLiving.com Dropshiplifestyle.com 4 Hour Work Week Justin's Podcast - https://empireflippers.com/podcasts/

Show Notes

What is your remote lifestyle like? What would you want listeners to know about your path from the Navy up until starting Empire Flippers? How to form a good business partnership What was the Genesis of Empire Flippers How would you describe Empire Flippers to someone on Active Duty You have seen a lot of success stories of people buying online businesses that they've then grow. What advice do you have for someone on active duty thinking of going down this path? What skills do you think someone we would need to develop after the military before considering going down this path? You had an incredible growth trajectory for Empire flippers. What advice do you have for other veteran entrepreneurs seeking to grow their company? What resources, that could be books, podcasts, courses, have helped you with your startup that you would recommend other veterans Final words of wisdom

67. BTU #112 - Army to Goldman Sachs, and President of the Florida Panthers (Matthew Caldwell)
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Description:

"No matter what job you're doing or where you're going, you always want to be the best at your current role. I never imagined that I'd be in the sports industry, let alone the President of an NHL Hockey Team. I never imagined that I'd be at Goldman Sachs. When I was in the Army I just worked really hard, and then identified that my next step would be getting into the best grad school, and then I just focused on that. You just have to have this balance of short term and long term planning."
- Matthew Caldwell

Matthew Caldwell is the President and CEO of the Florida Panthers and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment. Matthew started out at West Point, after which he served in the U.S. Army for five years, conducting combat operations in Iraq and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. Matthew worked as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in their Investment Management Division, and then transitioned to Chief Operating Officer for the Panthers before being elevated to President and CEO. Matthew holds a JD/MBA from Northwestern University School of Law and the Kellogg School of Management

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

A guy that I most recently have really started following and has been Simon Sinek. About six months ago I found him, and he's done so much research and it's not specific to sports, or finance, or technology. His TED talk is: Start With Why - it's why great leaders inspire people to take action. It's a simple kind of concept but it's all about understanding why you exist. Whether you're working at Apple or wherever you have to figure out why... your purpose... your vision for the future. These are things we kind of did in the military but it's so important. A company like Apple, they exist because they're always challenging the status quo.  The book is fascinating because he covers sports teams, Martin Luther King, Google, Apple... it's very interesting. He also has another book - Leaders Eat Last. I think people in the military will appreciate it. iv'e gotten into sports books - culture and how people operate is so important to them. I read recently the Real Madrid Way - its the most valuable sports franchise out there. Steven Mandis is a Goldman alum too, and i reached out to him and we talked for an hour about why Real Madrid was so valuable and what they've done in the community.

Show Notes

Please note that I type these notes during the interview so there are likely to be misspellings, grammatical errors, and misquotes. This is not meant to be a verbatim account of our conversation, but a VERY basic text transcript of our discussion.

How did you approach the decision to leave the Army? It was the toughest decision I've ever had professionally. I went back and forth on it a bunch of times. I was in the Army for five years - the first three I was deployed, in Iraq, Kosovo, or a build up for that. It was very high tempo. Ironically, when I was deployed, I actually really enjoyed it and felt like I was making a difference and serviging a highe rpurpose. When I got back, I was stablized for a year, the garrison lifesytle at my base in Germany. I went back and forth for a year but realized I enjoyed teh Army most during dpeloyments, and that's not all the time. I didn't know if I wanted to go special ops and sustain that op tempo for long-term. Ultimatley I decided I wanted other things besides the Army. I didn't think I could deploy every year even though I enjoyed it. I thought graduate school was a natural next step and then se How did you decide on a JD / MBA program? I always liked business and reading the Wall Street Journal and hearing what companies are doign and reading Good to Great. I thought an MBA was very suitable in opening me up to different industries. When I started researchign schools Noerthwestern was my top pick - I love the Chicago area and their culture. They ahve this very integrated, but also very exciting JD/MBA program that was in three years. I thought I'd get a taste of both business and law. I applied to a bunch of buisness schools and thought if I could also get a law degree it'd make me better at busienss or maybe I'd like law instead. Most programs are around four years and it's a lot of money. For me it was a good fit. For advice for other veterans, it really did work out for myself. I had all this leadership experience, I had lived overseas and had a good world view. So I had a good view of what was out there - for me to come home, as much as I had an interest in business I had no idea if I would be a consultant, a lawyer, finance - I was all over the map. For me it was a three year reset. And the networking aspect was most important. If you go to West Point for four years and then five years in the army, that's nine years of uyour life (one third of your life at that point) where you're just with a mlitary segment. It's a secdluded world. To get out and meet people from different backgrounds, hear about what they did and what they did in the workforce, that experience was very eye opening to me. I learned what they did and they were a great resource. It was the perfect transition point for me. Some of my friends got work experience before grad school and I can see the value of that. When people were talking about a case study, i didn't have any context for what they were talking about. What lead you to Goldman Sachs? Most people in business school go to all the networking events, take classes, talk to people and build from the bottom up. I want to be in Private Equity, in the MErgers & Acquisition world. They identify an industry and then start interviewing in certain geographic areas. I looked at I knew I wanted to go to business and enjoyed those classes and then - what company do I want to be most associated with. I did an exhaustive search and talked to consulting companies, and General Electirc, Proctor and Gamble, etc, but I felt like I connected with the banks. I like JP Morgan & Chase, Goldman, etc - I connected with the people at Goldman. They were diverse, hardworking, and wanted to be in an environment like that. There were three areas: the trading side of the house, i enjoyed that mentality but didn't know long term. Investment banking house where working on big deals with major institutions. But ultimately the investment management division was a good balance between working with big institutions on how to invest their capital but also resonate with me long term. There were a few West Point guys who mentored me. For someone on active duty, how would you explain the work you did at Goldman Sachs? It is a great firm - over many generations they've produced great people who have done great things for the country. My every day life there I worked on a team with about six individuals managing thirty or so accounts. Big families, foundations, non-profit, another company's assets, etc. We were the intermediary between the client - what are their needs, what are they trying to do - and then sit with all the experts at the firm (in research, or investing in Europe, or Latin America, etc). We'd be the intermediary between them and the resources at Goldman. A lot of my job was listening to my clients, hearing their needs, running around and talking to different departments and then making recommendations. What advice do you have for a veteran aspiring to work at Goldman Sachs? The banks or any firms on Wall Street generally like military. They appreciate the tenacity, the hardwork, the comraderie - the characteristics of many service men and women. You put the organization first. The company is more important than the individual. That's not common everywhere. A place like Goldman really values that. It is a tough firm to get into - they usually only hire right out of college or an MBA or other graduate program. They value talent and intelligence and very diverse backgrounds. If you have an interesting story and they think you can add a lot of value at the firm, they know they can teach you all the finance technique. It's just a matter of hustling to get in front of the right people. I've gone through a job search a lot of times - it's a matter of reading and talking to the right person. Sometimes you do 20 coffee chats and yuo don't feel like you're making any progress, and then the 21st meeting and it's the perfect meeting. but if you didn't go through all the reps before that you don't know how it would have worked out. I was at school in Chicago and was interested in going to New York. And I wasn't able to get a time to meet with anyone else. I sat at Starbucks all day emailing people and calling them and I figured since I was in NY I might as well try to meet with people. And that got me in touch with someone who was at Credit Suisse who was West Point, he had a few minutes available and I sat down with him. I was open and honest that Goldman was my first choice,; and he introduced me to someone at Goldman. 30 interviews later I got a job there. What lead you to make the transition to the Florida Panthers? I was at Goldman and one of the unique aspects of their culture is that the junior people are the ones who are encouraged to get out there and kick up new business. Typically in firms more senior partners are trying to drive new client relationships. At Goldman they send out their more junior folks. So I was out there talking to institutions and big family offices trying to get them to invest at Goldman. So I was out there hussling and same thing as I did whe ntrying to get my first job. I started a relationship with another West Point grad, Vincent Viola. he ended up becoming a client at Goldman, and was great at investing his capital. We built this great report with him over time and he took a liking to me as a younger West Pointer who got his start on Wall Street. It was very familiar with his background. He went trading and came from Brooklyn (I'm from Staten Island). After a few years he asked me to come and join his family office. So I jumped at the opportunity. As much as I loved Goldman I thought it was something I couldn't' pass it up. I was dreading going to the guy who hired me and probably got ten seconds into my pitch and he said, 'I would love for you to build a career here, but you gotta jump on this.' So i started working directly for Vinnie. He had purchased the Florida Panthers hockey team. He always wanted to get into sports - it's hockey in South Florida, which is tough. We knew there would be a big challenge, he said, I'm a very hands on operator and could use someone I could trust. I signed up for it, and moved down to South Florida. I live in Miami, started off being an ownership representative giving him advice on how to improve the franchise. how to sell season tickets and get the stadium packed. They ended up giving me the COO role as a permanent role. As the franchise turned around 1.5 years later, and he named me the CEO and President. How would you explain your role as CEO? I was a huge sports fan of every sport. There's actually another West Point graduate, Eric Joyce, who was an Assistant Captain for the West Point hockey team. Eric was his guy to help out on the hockey side. And he's done a great job and is the assistant GM. Initially I focused more on the business side - it was more selling the team and keeping the budget straight and sending reports to people about our marketing plan and sales plan. everything that happens off the ice. Right now there's different periods where things change dramatically. We're in the office season so things aren't top of mind for people. However, for the business side of the operation its an important time to knock out some long-term projects. A big thing we're doing right now is formalizing our marketing plan, getting feedback from all the different departments on what will be our slogan this year, how to attract more fans, how to get a big excitement around opening night. It comes on October 7 and so we hit the pause button and think about our identify, our team and how to tell our story to our fan base. We're also very active in our grassroots - sports aren't front of mind - we go door-to-door and go to local boys and girls club events and anything to support our team and show our presence. There's more of an emotional presence between the team and the community After labor day the whole coaching staff and players and hockey side comes and then its about supporting the training camp. And it's ver intense and we want to make sure the fans have a great experience. Visiting suites and clubs and showing them a great time in the stands. Additionally, I'm President of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment that operates  - we got Bruno Mars and John Mayer coming through. All the ushers, all the ticket tapes, all the people who run food and beverages. We want to make sure they have a great experience. What advice do you have for a veteran seeking a career in the sports industry? I don't know if it differs much from other industries. a lot of companies value how interested you are in something, and if someone is leaving the military in six months you need to start reaching out to sports teams or anyone who has any connection there. Go on LinkedIn or Facebook see who you know - give them a call. Start hearing things. See if that sounds interesting. Do you know anyone in the NY area? Get introduced and start having that conversation. Any industry will respect a veteran reaching out. It's not that you have to prove anything. They won't hire you because of your specific job in the military they just want to know you did a great job. No matter what job you're doing or where you're going, you want to be the best at your current role. You can fall into the mistake of coasting or thinking of what you'll do next. The problem is you never know where your career will take you, and it's important for recommendations and when you want to tell stories in interviews and why you did a great job in the current job where you are. Just worked really hard and identified my next step and just focused on that. You gotta have a balance of short term and long term. Research industries, do a great job. What resources - books, programs, seminars, conferences - have helped you in your civilian career that you would recommend to other veterans? A guy that I most recently have really started following and has been Simon Sinek. About six months ago I found him, and he's done so much research and it's not specific to sports, or finance, or technology. His TED talk is: Start With Why - it's why great leaders inspire people to take action. It's a simple kind of concept but it's all about understanding why you exist. Whether you're working at Apple or wherever you have to figure out why... your purpose... your vision for the future. These are things we kind of did in the military but it's so important. A company like Apple, they exist because they're always challenging the status quo.  The book is fascinating because he covers sports teams, Martin Luther King, Google, Apple... it's very interesting. He also has another book - Leaders Eat Last. I think people in the military will appreciate it. iv'e gotten into sports books - culture and how people operate is so important to them. I read recently the Real Madrid Way - its the most valuable sports franchise out there. Steven Mandis is a Goldman alum too, and i reached out to him and we talked for an hour about why Real Madrid was so valuable and what they've done in the community. Final words of wisdom? Taking a risk. Quick anecdote, when I was in business school I was able to sit with the student admissions team. I sat in the room and heard right from the Director of Admissions who was letting people into Kellogg. And they said they see resumes from veterans and have no idea what it says. As much as we try to dumb it down and not use acronyms, it still sounds foreign to people. It's difficult to pull info out of veterans. We're trained to always put the organization first and focusing on the unit. We're trained not to self promote. It's a tough thing to do - you've gotta spread the needle about promoting yourself and clal someone and explain why they should take your call or why they should get on the phone with you. As a veteran you don't want to ask for favors - you want to be rewarded for performance without pounding your chest. It's this difficult balance. IF you feel like you're self promoting you probably arne't- it just isn't. if you don't do it, no one will.

68. BTU #112- Growing Black Rifle Coffee from $1.8k to $20M in 2.5 years (Evan Hafer)
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Description:

"I spent about $1,800 buying bags and thinks, built my own website and started trying to sell coffee online. So basically I started Black Rifle Coffee from a passion that I sought to test out."
- Evan Hafer

Evan Hafer is the Founder & CEO of Black Rifle Coffee, a small batch coffee roasting company. He started out at the University of Idaho, after which he spent 14 years in the U.S. Army as an infantryman, a Special Forces soldier, and a CIA contractor.

I came across Evan in a 2016 Forbes Article about the Top 25 Veteran Founded Startups in America.

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Selected Resources

Forbes Article about the Top 25 Veteran Founded Startups in America. Coursera is fantastic. It has an online catalgoue from Penn State, Stanford, Michigan. I signed up for courses from Wharton. It's a great outlet. YOuv'e got a lot of access to Coursera. Udemy is another great online learning - courses from specific personalities. Lynda is a fantastic resource - it's amazing. The first thing I do is google it and then take a course on it. How do I built a dashboard with my KPIs based on division. I can't tell you how to do that based on military experience - but I can google this and find classes on how to plug this in. It may take a few days - you can't be too impatient. One of the best books I've read - Good to Great and Built to Last. I've read Good to Great - listened to it or read it, probably six times. These are some of the best books that I've read. Podcasts: every day I can get into a half hour on marketing, or leadership / management - any time I can spend 30 minutes listening. It might not be the most sage advice at that time, who knows what type f

Show Notes

Please note that I type these notes during the interview so there are likely to be misspellings, grammatical errors, and misquotes. This is not meant to be a verbatim account of our conversation, but a VERY basic text transcript of our discussion.

How did you make the decision to leave the Army? Jioned National Guard in 1995 while in College. Was still in 2015. 20 years in active duty or in the reserves, and 8 years with the CIA as a contractor Had been thinking about it for 2 years. I had another business in Idaho - fly fishing, white water rafting, etc. I was planning on getting out and going to grad school or something like that. I was burnt out on deployments, coming up on 20 years of military service and wanted a change What was your first job search like out of the Army? I didn't really have one. I knew I was going to start my won business. I had been roasting coffee for ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I had purchased another company a few years before. I wasn't thinking of doing an online roast to order coffee company. My wife and I were thinking of opening a coffee shop. We had gone back and forth on what he had wnated to do. Ultimately we wanted to try to test the market. Didn't want to spend $100k trying to get a coffee shop. Ultimately, I wasn't sure if we could make it work. I could build a website and invest a limited amount of capital - I spent about $1,800 byying bags and thinks, built my own website and selling coffee online What was the genesis of Black Rifle Coffee? I was roasting enough coffee at the time for a few different restaurants and few friends. When I stood up the website and started selling online, after my first month I repaid the money I paid into the company. I was fairly convinced at the end of first month For veteran listeners, how would you describe Black Rifle Coffee? A lot of people say, I need a full blown business plan. Well, I'm a military guy and we go through a lot of planning and cycles around the planning. Every plan doesn't survive first contact. It's fine to do a five paragraph mission order, but the mission statement can't be around the idea - it needs to be around your life. My mission statement was: I will become economically emanicapted from the government and be able to feed my family through my own endeavor. Then I put out a combination of things I could do iwthin this operatino order. A lot of guys become wrapped around a tactic - I have to be THIS. I didn't I was just attached to the idea of being free from the US goverment and drove into marketing and branding and tact. If I can market one of the skills I have - I was roasting coffee and doing outdoors-e stuff. Black Rifle COffee was built out of these two things. Then I started to get a positive Return On Investment really early. If I spend $10 I can make $20... i can actually make a profit. Especially if I start to scale. I started in my garage with $1,800. I didn't hire any employees for my first year. Just me and my wife (part time for about 6 months of that firs tyear) . I was doing customer service, packaging and shipping, photography, social media, website. I was a one-man show. A lot of guys thought that seemed fairly difficult. I only slept about four hours a night for th efirst year of the business - 7 days a week. I had a thermarest in my office. I hired employee #1 after the first year. After the second year I ahd 26 employees. Now I have 84 employees. I've never taken out any debt in my company - no investment. I run it completely off it's own profit margins. I've scaled the company, continued to purchase everything and anything through the profit. I can beat up my employees over $0.03 and a box. If I'm going to buy 12 tonnes of cardboard from China I know exactly how much that will be. There is nothing I wouldn't tell you about this business. I can tell you down to the cent for the last 2.5 years.I'll spend an hour or two in fulfillment, and hour or two in purchasing. Just packing a box and understanding exactly how I want the product to be displayed when it hits their doorstep. The customer needs to understand that no detail can be overlooked. I try to drive a detail oriented ship. We miss things but it's not because we're not trying it's because when you send out a few thousand shipments a day, you miss a few things. It's not as precision as I'd like it to be. At what point were you able to start paying yourself a salary? 14 months - it was a few thousand dollars a month. Now, we'll do over $20M annual this eyar, and I still only pay myself $70k. I went from $2k to $4k in increments. But I've only paid myself for over one year in the last two and a half years. The more money you take out of a business the less it will grow. A lot of guys make this mistake really early. We sold two houses, and my wife and I went from making $250,000 per year as a high paid contract for the government to making NOTHING. For over a year nothing. I had sold two houses, a truck, all my guns, just to keep going. My wife was ready to kill me. It's definitely worth it. I've got a 40k square foot building a 60 kilo roaster - all of them are What did you do on Active Duty to help in startups? I was doing payroll in mission planning and our budget for our small indigineous force. I thought, if I can run this Afghan with a third grade education, if I can train them to do these multi-level kinetic operations this can translate to business. I thought of it as a small business. If you don't run your budget in a strict and proficient way you're setting yoruself up for your own failure. I had the unique opportunity of working with some guys who had run a small business. My original mentor was a SpecOps guy and he transitioned to a small business. It was always in the back of my mind - I was going to be a business owner. Every part of my service - how does this translate into the business world. When I transitino out I need to be able ot translate this into something I can monetize. Not - I need to be able to tell these stories. How do I take these skills and use them on the outside? They're very unique skills that very few people acquire. Military people are some of the most complex problem solvers in the world. When I look at my service - always look tot ranslate what you're doing now into what you're doing Seek professional development opportunies. Seek some skills that the military can pay for but it might not be translatable to your MOS right now but how about your future. I went to a lot of schools when I was in and would come back when I was home and take professional development training. There's this total access to online learning There are so many different ways you can learn that you don't need the US military - but you have the ability to have the military pay for all the training you want to do. I've sat in on university classes to learn about economics Resources Coursera is fantastic. It has an online catalgoue from Penn State, Stanford, Michigan. I signed up for courses from Wharton. It's a great outlet. YOuv'e got a lot of access to Coursera. Udemy is another great online learning - courses from specific personalities. Lynda is a fantastic resource - it's amazing. The first thing I do is google it and then take a course on it. How do I built a dashboard with my KPIs based on division. I can't tell you how to do that based on military experience - but I can google this and find classes on how to plug this in. It may take a few days - you can't be too impatient. One of the best books I've read - Good to Great and Built to Last. I've read Good to Great - listened to it or read it, probably six times. These are some of the best books that I've read. Podcasts: every day I can get into a half hour on marketing, or leadership / management - any time I can spend 30 minutes listening. It might not be the most sage advice at that time, who knows what type f What has been the most challenging moment to date? WHn you have 80 people who work fory ou you develop personal relationships with them. It's an ecosystem - people rpovide the balance in the ecosytem. Terminating people or repurosing them - having really frank discussions with people in general about work performance. These are incredibly difficutl things to do. A loto f business owners avoid tough discussions with employees, and I know why. I want the best for people - however, some people will never conform to the environemnt you're trying to build. You may love them and appreciate them - but they may not be a good fit for the ecosystem. The ahrdest part is managing people - it's very difficult. Knowing you like people but they don't fit into your company this is a really difficult challenge. Because the company's ecosystem always has to be in balance. Hire slow, fire fast. It doesn't mean firing will be easier but yo have to do it to grow the company. A redwood grows really well in a redwood forest. It doesn't grow really well in Sonora. Just becasue they don't fit in in your company doesn't mean they won't fit in somewhere else. They'll be good people wherever they go. It might not be a good cultural fit. We tend to over exagerate people's failures - it may not be a failure on either part it may just be confomring to the envirnonemnt. It's a difficult part for managers - you're done here. I try to say this sin't a good fit how do we make you succeed somewhere else. What has been the most rewarding moment to date? Not just one moment - I always tell people when I was in the government it wasa  pleasure to serve the country. But I got to the point where Iw asn't enjoying my job or my profession. Here right now in my life, I go from my house - two little girls 3.5 and 8 weeks, a beautiful wife and a loving household. And I go to my place of work, ten minutes away, full of people who are competent and they love me and I love them. Every corner of my life - even though there is stress - there is great people and nothing in my life doesn't insprie me at this point. I don't drag my feet going anywhere. I've never had that before. It's very strange to look forward to every day or every minute of my life. I think that's the greatest achievement I've had - I've been able to rapidly change my life. A lot of my professional life i was unhappy - now every day is a challenge. The people around me are fantastic and excellent people. It's so rewarding to know I looking forward to it. I started with my goal of economic freedom. Everyone needs to define what happiness looks like. I love to work, the art of business. But I love rolling up my sleeves and going to work. So happiness - I'm emanicipating myself from government service. I need to create enough welath to become happy. A lot of people say happiness is about wealth or a means to an end. If you're not happy along the way - yo have to enjoy the mountain climb not just the summit. YOu can't just look back - oyu have to enjoy the climb. What advice do you have for veterans thinking of starting their own company? You have to be dedicated to being a business man. Even though you served you country and that's an admiral thing, the people of the United States don't owe yuo anything. I'm not trying to be negative - you have to be able to translate things into a new profession. You need to concentrate on the future not what you've done in the past. You need to find what you've done in the past you can leverage to be a better busienss person. You have to be humbled at the alter of business - the world doesn't owe you anything. It doesn't owe you anything. It helps you've got dedication and complex probelm solving skills. You need to be more committed to this than anythign else you've done before. Themost stress I've experienced wasn't being shot at - it was having a wife and child at home and knowing they have to be fed and what I did on a daily basis was going to provide a good or bad life for them. That's the most stress I've had in my life - it's constant and heavy. You have to dedicate yourself, and humble yourself. You have to take it on like you've never taken on in your life. you have to be so committed to it - you have to prepre for the worst and hope for the best In many ways you're discounted because of your service - you don't have any business experience What does the next 12 months look like for BRCC? We're going to move out of Salt Lake to another state. We're moving the corproate headquarters to Colorado Springs. The enxt twelve months we'll open up 12 brick and mortar stores, logistics in different states and state specific roasters. And we'll have some joint projects going on with some veteran companies. And I think the next twelve months will be really big.W e launch our franchise initaitive in 18 months. Th enext twelve months will be a lot of work, we'll expand quite a bit. The big expansion is september of next month.

69. BTU #110- Co-Founding Plated & Raising $55M (Nick Taranto)
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Description:

"It was like an apocalypse movie and it was the day we launched Plated - the worst day in the history of the internet. And then our cargo container got picked up in the storm surge and sucked out into the river. The only thing that kept our business from getting flooded out of business was that thumb width 220V electricity cord that got tangled around a phone pole and didn't get sucked out to sea. It was just a lesson in perseverance."
- Nick Taranto

Nick Taranto is the Co-Founder & CEO of Plated, a company whose "Mission is to Help People Eat Better, and Live Better." Plated has raised over $55M in funding, and been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NYT, Wired Magazine and more. He started out at Dartmouth College, after which he worked at KOMPIP Microfinance before going on to Harvard Business School. After HBS, he graduated from the Marine Corps' The Basic School, where he Drilled as an active reservist for 3 years. He also worked at Goldman Sachs as a Private Wealth Advisor prior to starting Plated.

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Selected Resources

There's a great book by Ben Horowitz at Andreesen Horowitz - the hard Thing About Hard Things. Before becoming a VC, he was an entrepreneur and started a few businesses. He talks through his experience and takeaways for aspiring entreprenerus. A resource I go back ot again is entrepreneur.com - you have to sift through some of the news, but there are a lot of great articles about building a business. raising money, hiring, firing, building out a sales team, operations, different contracts and negotiations. Entrepreneur.com is free and a great resource Wired Magazine's article on Nick

Show Notes

Please note that I type these notes during the interview so there are likely to be misspellings, grammatical errors, and misquotes. This is not meant to be a verbatim account of our conversation, but a VERY basic text transcript of our discussion.

You joined the military later than most - what lead you to join the Marine Corps? My career has been very non conventional. I didn't have a big picture plan when I was 21 or getting off active duty about startups. The idea of "living in beta" or testing hypothesis for your business and your life and career as quickly as possible I was 26 years old when I commissioned in the Marine Corps. I had gone through OCS and was looking at either going into consulting, which most of my peers in business school were doing, or accepting a commisison. I thought long and hard about this before graduating from graduate school. It was hard because no one coming out of HBS had gone active duty since World War 2. When I asked people for advice they thought i was crazy for "throwing my life away." None of that feedback made sense to me. It wasn't until I talked to David Gurgain, who is a professor at the Kennedy School and a politial commentator on CNN, and he served in four different White Houses. Most importantly he went to Law School and then commissioned in the Navy after law school. he said "you should go do it and you'll never regret it." That's how I feel about itt. I was older than almost everyone in my platoon. But i saw it as a Now or Never proposition and knew I would regret it if I didn't answer the call. What did you learn in your time in the Marines that has helped you as an entrepreneur? I specialized as an Infantry Officer before going the Reserves side and serving iwth a few different companies all over the East Coast. In my Infantry training in the early days of getting the business off-the-ground was incredibly useful. Operating under ambiguity. Being able to preserve emotionally, psychologically and physically. We had a lot of challenges getting the business up and off the ground. Putting one foot in front of the others and having a big mission ahead of us. When yo're growing an organization it's important to make a mission crystal clear so that people can internalize it and get the big picture. So the day to dya may be a slog but you're getting out to work something bigger than yourself. What aspects from the Marines did you most need to leave behind as an entrepreneur? I've thought about this a lot.When you don't have a miltiary background it's easy to romanticize what goes on in the miltiary. The Marines has the best brand in the United States - they haven't missed their recruiting qouta in a long time because their brand is so strong. There are definitely live of martial life that do not extend into the world of entrepreneurship or starting your own business. The biggest is dealing with beauracrcy. So much of the miltiary is waiting for the mission to come down. In startups, especially in the early days, it's all on you to figure out what th enext plan is, what the risks are, make those assessments, prioritize the entire world that is in front of you and develop an action plan. I tend to do best when there is no structure. Where it really is incumbent on me to develop and hold myself accountable and develop a plan. I do less well when given a plan and need to execute it. I was pretty happy to leave behind the beauraucy and think creatively and operate independently. Between USMC & Plated? Coming off active duty I didn't know waht I wanted to do with my life. I spent time Active Duty with the Marine Corps but was feeling a little lost. I was in my late twenties, had a fiance who had been working "Real jobs" and I hadn't yet had my first "real job" outside of the miltiary. I wasn't sure who I was supposed to be, what I was supposed to do. The thought of working 7am to 7pm in a job I didn't care about depressed me pretty fundamentaliy. I went to Wall Street for about six months and reinforced how different life paths could be. I saw my bosses on the desk on Wall Street who by all measures were successful - making a ton of money, had families, were running books of business - but many of them seemed to be lacking happiness, a bigger mission, and I knew that I didn't want to put my head down, grind it out, put up the periscope ten years later with  acareer I wasn't satsified with, beholding to a very large paycheck. That's when I really started to look around and see that the world of startups exsited. This was 2011 so back a bit, when the fad for entrepreneruship hadn't really taken off like it has today. There weren't as many resources in New York i could go to and ask about what their path to building a successful multi-million dollar business was. I was able to team upw ith a business school friend of mine in New York - he had built a data storage company straight out of college (Josh Hicks, my co-founder at Plated). We did this Founder Dating thing for three months - figured out if we'd worked well together. We did volunteer work togetehr in Hataii for a couple of weeks and had been through some tought stuff together. I approached him as a mentor of sorts, and we figure d How to vet a partner There is so much that can and will go wrong - it's like developing a battle plan, everything looks great until it makes first contact with a customer. It's really improtant to decide - are you up for starting something on your own. Do you want a co-founder? If it's tough to ride the ups and downs alone, a co-founder is very helpful. If the answer is yes, it will be the most dillutive decision you make in terms of your equity. You're giving half the company away before the company even exists - so it's a ;big quesiton. But the way I've always thought of equity is you're going to reduce your total stake in the enterprise, but it's worth it to take that hit if you're increasing your probability of success by an equal or greater ratio. You're giving up 50% of business, but are you increasing probability of success by more than 50%? For me the answer was yes. I needed a co-founder, to go into battle together. The next question was who and what sort of skill set. It's a really important question - human nature is to work with people similar to us. Who talk and think the same way. It can actually hurt your probability of success, especially in the early days. So finding someone with complementary set of skills was important. It started with diagnosigin myself and fiding where I  was weak and strong, and where I want to spend my time, and where I want to complement this. That self examination is really crucial. I knw I didn't want to do the coding or financila modeling. I wanted to be out selling and hustling. Developing the mission and vision and hiring employees and generating business. I needed someone who was more comfortable workign behidn the scenes, making sure the website worked, making sure we had the right spreadshets and wharehouse management point. What was the genesis of Plated? Josh and I had been working on a totally different idea and it wasn't working. It was going nowhere fast. We were working out of a friend's office and went for a walk in Central Park - a mile around, we would just do laps and laps talking and bouncing ideas off of each toehr. We came to this realization that this idea wasn't going to work. We knew we were going ot work together - we had been through months of intense work nto killing each other and actually liking it so we asked: what comes next. We had been thinking through this meal kit concept for some time. On this walk around the resevoir at the end of a couple of miels of walking we turned to each other and said - this is what we need to do. This is what the next attempt at starting a business will be. One was that food industyr trend in general. And out of personal need - our own experience On the food industry side we had done hundreds of case studies in business school, but only one case remotely related to food - a cranberry manufacturing case. So we didn't really understand the size of the market, what they looke dlike, what the opportuniteis were, what the weaknesses were. As we explored that we realized (1) food is an ENORMOUS industry. Healthcare is bigger but incredibly regulated. While food is regulated it isn't nearly as tough to build a business as in healthcare. (2) as we looked across the landscape we realized that no one had built a large business in food with data. There had been big failures in the 90s and 2000's like WebVan - one of the first e-commerce companies, an online grocer who raised almost $1 Billion dollars from the best investors and now a case study as one of the worst failures. So fast forward from their failure to 2012 there really hadn't been data technology and innovation in a long time. It didn't make sense why that was the case. The other realization for us was that we were both athletes - I'm an Iron Man Triathlete - it was hard, complex and expensive to get good food into our tummies. It took a lot of time to figure out what to eat, especially when it came to cooking. We found the more you cook the happier you are, the cleaner the food, the more control you have - this mattered to us in a big way. There was no way to make cooking to work for us, esepcially in NY  - the lines at stores can take an hour to get through. Working in Wall Street I put on 20lbs in six months, just sitting at my desk all the time and felt like crap. It was the first time I felt I lost control over what I was eating and what was going on in my life. So between it bein ga huge market without a lot of data and technology and that problem we thought we could build a better food business with data and technology at the core DNA For an active duty listener who is not familiar with Plated, how would you describe Plated to them? We deliver everything you need to cook a chef designed meal at home in about thirty minutes. All the spices, meat, protein, kale, basil, plus a chef designed recipe card with an image of the final meal and some really easy to follow steps that anyone can use to get a good meal to your table in thirty minutes. We've got over 15 options each week, the menu changes every week, our recipes change based on what you like and don't like and we deliver it directly to your door. What has been the hardest moment since starting Plated? We had a really tough time getting the business going. Five years out its easy to tell a success story, but the first year we ran into obstacles and a literal flood at every turn. First, Josh and I had been working on different ideas for six months prior to starting Plated. We had burned through our savings, our IRAs... we were out of money. it was go and raise money from other people, or go and get jobs, and neither of us wanted to do that. Which meant we had to raise money from outside investors on Day 0. Neither of us had done anything in food or e-commerce or building a consumer brand. You imagine we found people to pitch for our fledgling company and they would say - you've never done anythign remotely related to this! Why should we give you money!?! We quite literally had doors slammed our face. We talked to 200 people in three months and the only yes we got was from my dad, who was by no means wealthy. I grew up in a very privileged household where eduction was always first and foremost but he wasn't in a position to fund the business. He gave us enough money for ramen but it wasn't enough to get the business up and off the ground. It was incredibly humbling as we tried to convince people that we were going to accomplish this thing in the world but got rejected at every turn Eventually we cobbled together some funds. I met this group of Angel Investors - people who fund very early stage businesses. They were former Israeli defense commandos. They had moved from Israel to Silicon Valley and had built two very succesful businesses and sold them for hundreds of million of dollars. They liked the Marine Corps story, our hunger and passion, and we raised our first money from those Angels. They took a big chunk of the business in exchange for the cash they put in - very dilutive, but we didn't have an option. Either stop our dream or keep going. So we had a little bit of money, but it didn't get easier from there. I'm putting a book out later this year or early next year. I tell some more stories in there - The Evolved Eater - a quest to eat better, live better and change the world. I tell the story of having a little bit of money to run the business, but we were working out of my apartment on my couch. I was going to the local grocery store and buying chicken by the pound and we'd pack it and hand deliver around Manhattan, really hustling. We realized we needed a professional fulfillment center if we were going to growth the business. We looked all over NY for space that was refrigerated. We couldn't find anything. But we found a refrigerated cargo cater that they used to ship bulk goods across the ocean. We rented one of these things and parked it in Brooklyn that we rented on a month-to-month basis. This 40 foot long cargo crater we plugged into a 220V yellow cord the width of my fund and we started taking our inventory and run our operations from there right on the East River. Beautiful view of Manhattan right on the water. It was all fine and good until Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012. It was also the date we officially launched as Plated. When Hurricane Sandy came down - it was really something to behold. The city shut down for DAYS! No electricity, elevators not working, traffic lights not working. It was like an apocalypse movie and it was the day we launched Plated - the worst day in the history of the internet. And then our cargo container got picked up in the storm surge and sucked out into the river. The only thing that kept our business from getting flooded out of business was that thumb width 220V electricity cord that got tangled around a phone pole and didn't get sucked out to sea. It was just a lesson in perseverance Was there a point at which things changed - where you knew this was going to succeed? It took a year of just grinding it out. Then we got some press - just through hustle, telling reporters our story, asking them out for coffee. That early coverage led to the folks from Shark Tank reaching out to us. We didn't apply, they reached out to us - the Producer said we love your story and think you'd be a great fit. They flew us out to LA in July of 2013 - one year after we officially incorporated we were at the Sony lot filming for Shark Tank. We filmed thought it went well - didn't hear anything from eight months! Now we're starting to get nervous because the whole idea was to raise money but also the publicity of getting in front of 10 million households on a Friday night. To make al ong story short, we got a call an producers gave us one week that the show was going to air. We were two years in business and not seeing any breakaway velocity. A few hundred orders a week, just grinding things out. Then our Shark Tank episode aired and it was an inflection point - we had sprinted to get a nation-wide system in place. We wanted to take advatnage of the nation-weid media. We saw 1000X increase in traffic to our website - even with all our planning, th esite still crashed. It was great. We saw more revenue th emonth following the airing than we had seen in the entire history of the business leading up to that point. That coverage and demand it generated validated that this is not just an idea that works ro in San Francisco - this appeals to folks all over the country in every zip code. That gave us the confidence to raise our first "real" money - our Series A, which was $15 million. It also validated that we could go then build TV advertising and investing to really grow the business faster. It wasn't until two years into the business that we had that validation What advice do you have for someone on active duty who is thinking of starting a company when they get out? It might be hypocritical advice, but it's a really hard transition, going from the military straight into a startup lifestyle. Goign from having a persribed routine of what to wear and eat and then having complete and total freedom over everythign you do. It can be completely overwhelming. The advice I would give is - if at all possible, go try and work at a startup (fi you want to be an entrepreneur) at another startup for 3 months, 6 months, a year. See how startups succeed or fail and try to learn on someone else's dollar before hussling on your own. There's no susbtitute for doing it yourself, but there's SO much to learn and it is so incredibly hard that you want to give yourself as many advantages as possible. If you can find a team taht will give you a shot - that you can learn how young businesses operate, what financials look like, what building out a team means, what hiring and firing means in the private sector, getting those skills and expereinces - it'll be invaluable when you go out on your own What resources have been helpful to you - books, podcasts, classes, etc - that you would recommend to other veterans thinking of starting a company? There's a great book by Ben Horowitz at Andreesen Horowitz - the hard Thing About Hard Things. Before becoming a VC, he was an entrepreneur and started a few businesses. He talks through his experience and takeaways for aspiring entreprenerus. A resource I go back ot again is entrepreneur.com - you have to sift through some of the news, but there are a lot of great articles about building a business. raising money, hiring, firing, building out a sales team, operatinos, different contracts and negotiations. Entrepreneur.com is free and a great resource Final words of wisdom? Whether you go or build a business on your own or join a team that is already operating, there is such a hunger out there for veterans. Especially post 9/11 veterans. Everyone is looking to hire vets both for waht they can bring to the table and it's also a great story to tell to everyone. There can be challenges in translating what it means to how you can help build or run a busines,s but don't give up if at first it's a challenge

70. BTU #111- Two sibling Army Vets and Their Two Successful Startups
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"Wouldn't it be great if our country didn't have to care about Iraq's oil, or the Middle East's oil? Maybe we should start an energy related business - ok let's go figure that out. That was roughly the thought process that gave us the left and right limits of starting an energy business. That started a process where we just endlessly turned over rock, after rock, after rock trying to find something, while absolutely not knowing what we were doing. Then we eventually stumbled across something where people would pay us money for it. So we just said let's do more of this thing and do it in as many spots as possible.  "
- Chris Boggiano

Jon Boggiano and Chris Boggiano are the Co-Founders of Versame, which leverages technology for large scale impact to improve early childhood education and language development. Versame has raised $2.5M in funding and is a team of sixteen.

Jon started out at West Point, after which he served for five years in the Army, most recently as an Operations Officer & Battle Captain, 1st Infantry Division. After his transition from the Army he worked at Carrier Corporation for three years, before starting his first company, Everblue. Jon is a Sloan fellow from Stanford University.

Chris started out at West Point, after which he served in the Army for five years, most recently as Operations Officer, 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command. He worked at Tessera for one year prior to starting his first company, Everblue. Chris is also a Sloan fellow from Stanford University.

I came across Jon and Chris in a 2016 Forbes Article about the Top 25 Veteran Founded Startups in America.

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Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Forbes Article about the Top 25 Veteran Founded Startups in America.

Show Notes

Please note that I type these notes during the interview so there are likely to be misspellings, grammatical errors, and misquotes. This is not meant to be a verbatim account of our conversation, but a VERY basic text transcript of our discussion.

You each separated about two years apart from the Army - what lead  you each to decide to transition from the Army? Jon: Older than Chris, so transitioned first. Was fortunate that he started just before 2011. Got to experience Army before and after transition. Post-9/11 Army was much more innovative. It shook off the beauracratic shackles. I was stationed in Germany for over five years; it was great but intense. Between training and deployments was gone for most of that five years. As I started thinking about having kids, the future looked like back-to-back deployments with training in between. At that point decided I as going to get out - if I was going to do it, I wanted to have a plan and attacked getting out spending 1.5 - 2 years getting out. Still in the Reserves, but mainly got out for the op tempo Chris: Combination of op tempo. 9/11 happened my senior year so I graduated into an Army at war. I was deployed back-to-back - same decisions of not knowing if and when it would end. Uncertainty was a big factor. For better or worse what was most interesting assignments was early on in career was fortunate to do a lot of interesting things. The nature of the beuaracacy was part of it too - the Army functions amazingly, even in the best of times, it's limited in its ability to innovate. Jon: One thing i was looking for was a better meritocracy. Early on in the Army everyone got promoted at the same time and the same assignments. There were small differences, but for the most part there wasn't differentiation between good and bad officers. What was your first job search like, and what advice would you have for veterans about their transition? Chris: it's impossible to know what it's like on the other side until you get there. The thing I didn't expect was that in the Army there was this binary expectation: career or getting out. When I left the Army the company I went to thought I'd be there for a very long time (decade long). One year later I was leaving to start my own company. Going out with the expetation of doing the best you can and if you move on that's ok. I had a lot of guilt when I left that first company. For better or worse it wasn't the right fit and taught me what I don't enjoy and lead to Jon and I starting our own company together. In the long-0term it worked out but in the short-term there was a lot of stress. Jon: For me a lot of my preparation was reading books, and going through the Cameron Brooks program. Talked to 25 people who made the transition ahead of me and gegtting their advice. SOme of that advice was to make a list of personal goals and values, and dust that off around tax season. Make sure I'm following that and staying true to it. I didn't just want a job - I loved the work hard play hard mentality of hte Army. I didn't just want a job I wanted great people. How did you two start to work together? Chris: OUr dad was a cop and mom was in education so entrepreneruship wasn't in our head. We hadn't thought a lot about it. We had worked together throughout school at West Point and would work together. We were in the same Brigade and deployed twice together in the same unit - we were workign together pretty closely in the military. I moved to Charlotte, NC because Jon was located here. We had worked together in the past, and when we took the plunge to startups it was a natural transition to work together in that capacity. The startup piece was the bigger of the two. Jon: when Chris moved to Charlotte, our dad was always doing business things on the side. He was always a community activist, so we didn't start out wanting to be entrpereneurs but just looking at small scale business ideas. Two events stand out. I got out and enjoyed my job and we made a concious decision to become entreprenerus. Chris, day one, came back and said 'this is not what I want to be doing' If his experience had been different may not have started a company together. That started the idea of the week phase. I had done really well at Carrier doing sales, and my boss left to go to another company. Ultimately led to the decision - are we going to be entrepreneurs. Was your work experience prior to startups helpful? Jon: For me it was, at Carrier. You just gotta get one thing to work in one area and you can scale it. Understanding finances, which I never dealt with in the Army. It's not you can't learn these things, but having had the big corproate expereince made it clear I didn't want to do this, and gave me some training that helped in my startup. It made my decision all the clearer - I can't imagine going back to cubicle now. Not having had had that it would have made that option seem more appealing Chris: The transition I did in short order, but I did make a transition from the Army to civilian world, and then to startups. I'm glad they were staggered. As much as the company I went to knew i wouldn't last there, do think it was hlepful. It gave me time to build an identity and make the transition. It allowed me to separate the two parts of who I was, and then in an intentional manner make the leap to an entrepreneur. It would be more painful and risker for me to jump from one into the other. Jon: We joke about this all the time with recent veterans; my wife calls it "command voice". You have to stop using acronyms, stop cursing, understanding business acronyms. I read a slew of books and that helped with the transition but it takes time to desensitize and be able to relate to civilians. you need to plan for a transition period. There's teh identity piece of not having the team. It took a few years to form a community. In Europe on the miltiary base we all did everything together. We had a forced commiunity in the military. In the civilian world you may have nothing in common with your neighboars. How did you choose to start a company? Chris: for me it was a process of elimination. I looked at 'what am I going to do in my life' most of my peers went to grad school, work at a big corporation, or work for other federal agencies. these were the three main routes - I didn't think I wanted to do any of those. I didn't want to go abck in the Army. I can't tell whether I changed or the world changed - I didn't know ANY startup language when I started this. I didn't know about VC, revenue, etc. So it was a process of elimination, getting out mypersonality I had a more of a chip on my shoulder and more committed to going after it. The biggest thing the military helped me with was that working for something I cared about - 'we're in Iraq... I wish we weren't here. We probably wouldn't care if there weren't oil. Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to rely on energy. Let's start an energy company' That was roughly the point of starting our first company, and then endleslly turned over rock, after rock after rock. It's hard to overstate how little we knew but being motivated to figure problems out as they came to use. Jon: My advice for anyone transitiong is to be deliberate. The people in the military are usually drivers - so be deliberate. The business world for me was still very restrictive. I wanted to control my own destiny. I wanted to choose when I take vacation, that's why I left the mlitary. I like building things and making things - I like creating things. I wanted to have more ownership about it. I also wanted a bigger purpose. All of our companies have been social mission companies - wanting to make the world a better place. We were sitting down on a Thursday evening - are we going to do the startup thing. What was the Everblue experience? Jon: we ended up selling it after about four years. We chose a problem we wanted to focus on and then from there we did a "movement to contact" - develop the intelligence around the enemy. We talked to every expert we could, and in that process became knoweldable experts. That took about two years. IN that process became experts. People said 'if you could solve this porblem, we'd pay you' but without those two years of turning over rocks... we wouldn't have foudn it. I don't think it's about the idea - it's about the idea you're solving. If it was obvious the problem you're trying to solve it would already. How did you make money? Jon: We did a lot of the research while at other companies. Chris gets the credit - he jumped off his job and started full time. Anyone in the military if I said in the next year you need to replace your salary, I think anyone in the military can do that. I give Chris credit for tdoing that because he did it first. Chris: For me it was really scary to think about taking that leap. the exercise that was most helpful to me. I got out of the Army and bought a house and the mortgage rates were higher then than now. My wife had a lot of student loan debt - financially even being in the corporate sector I had so many expenses - gym membership, laundry, etc. There's this fear of - what can I do if I don't pay the bills. What liberated me was: what happens if I don't pay the bills. It was just my wife and I at the time. She had just graduated from grad school. The day I quit, she was working at B&N for $8 / hr, so household income was $20k per year. We had all these bills, and I thought what happens if we burn through savings and the bank takes my house... we'd move in with our parents and go get a job again and figure it out. We have a family and support network to get through it. It wouldn't be pleasant, but compared to things I saw in the Army, it's not that scary. We thought we'd do energy audits on homes when we started out. We had lined up thousands of homes of work. Along the way we got training on this. Jon threw up on Google Adwords a one page website that offered training. People started to call to ask for training - then we shifted to a training business that over the next year or two we grew to 100 or so locations. Jon: The biggest risk in a startup is trying to do too many things. Stanford Sloan Chris: I didn't want to go to graduate school. Jon nagged me and we applied together. I had a ten day window to get my application together and we applied together. It was the most flippant application ever. I was pretty truthful about why I considered this. When we interviewed they asked what happens if we only accept one of you. I said, both or neither of us. I'm very glad we went there - that's where Versame came from. Jon is potentially more thoughtful than me and it balances out my riskiness Jon: Even though we had an epic success we were intent on starting another company. We still felt like amatuers. We had never had any formal business training. So I wanted to address our weaknesses. Second, we had just made a lot of money and Stanford was an adventure. It was the reward for having had the success of Everblue. It was a nice break a one year program. It was the experience of doing something different. I had moved seven times in three years. I was feeling th eitch to do something new. What was the genesis of Versame? Jon: When we had Everblue, we straddled education and energy. When we sold Everblue we had expertise in two domains. When we went to Stanford we decided to go deeper into one of them. Energy was making a lot of progress. It was really taking off and it still is. It's a national security issue. When it came to educaiton we struggeld with the technoloyg and the people we were training. It felt like the impact we coul dhave on people was much greater. If it was an innovation that involved technolgy - we turned over every rock. We were about to walk away - it's an in person business. There was nothing moving the needle at the time. Then Chris read an article in the NYT about an infant training lab at Stanford. She was so excited someone was taking an interest in her work - ifyou really need to impact life outcomes you need to start at birth and do it before kindergarten How would you explain Versame to someone on Active Duty? Jon: We're envisioning reimagingin education. not education at a classroom but at home. We're giving parents the tools and helping them apply the research to grow happy succesful children. We'll help you do that through the technology and tools to do that. But you need to start at birth. What was the first year like starting Versame? What has been the biggest challenge so far? Jon: Biggest change in perspective is that the people in need of help is the agencies in the medical industry. The tools we build help teachers, nurses, therapists - the people who are caregivers. We're trying to change a mindset - most poeple are worried about safety but not about brain development. They don't think about education until kindergarten or preschoool. There are some subculttures that believe this, but we want the mindset change across America. Chris: your memory of childhood is spotty. Many people think you're as smart as you are and you were born that way. YOu don't remember your parents teaching you and hleping you. People attribute intelligence to genetics rather than environmental factors. Research suggests parents can have a MASSIVE impact on their child's success in life. Starting a business with family Chris: research says that more likely you'll fail; it's harder to have tough conversations with family members. Little problems become big ones. The most improtant thing is that you should have a business partner - it's more fun. You should be able to have a good fight and get over it. We fight all the time but it never sticks. There's not a grudge - we can have our disagreements and it's not a big deal. If I wasn't in business with my brother this is the qulaity I would want with someone else. Jon: I would add that whether siblings or others, the most important ingredient is the partners and the suppor tnetwork. I think it's essential to have partners - your energy level and momentum it helps carry you. If all the stress is on one person's shoulders Chris: a lot of ivnerstors won't invest in solo founders. IF yo uhave someone else to pull you through you're more likely to stick it out. From a statistiacal stnadpoint most buisnesses are successful with two or three partners. It's more fun when you have more people to be together. Jon: Defense Secretary Mattis says leaders need to be learners. I think this is true no matter what you're doing. We knew nothign about hardware but we attacked that. We've done well with that - we're the ifrst to ship a product in our Stanford cohort, you have to attack what you don't know. Yo8 uneed to ask for help and advie. That's tough for veterans. I've gotten over that - you gotta ask for help, and people are more than happy to share it. Resources GOOGLE! Jon: it's the best form of online learning. Career advice books are great. If you're a big believer in the mission of the miltiary you'll learn how improtant business is to the strength of our nation. Our economy and the businesses we build enable us to pay for a good military. Business is part of the life time of service. Read books that frame business in the sense of innovation. I'm loving Elon Musk's biography. Jon: I always ahd this mindset with EverBlue that everything will be better in three months. But I've always felt on the cliff's edge... I've learned to live with this fact and realize this is normal. that fear of failure never goes away. Just accept it. Dealing with a team, there's always some personal issue. I thought if I solved one issue my team would be perfect. I know realize this is the core of my job- keeping my team performing. These are two norms taht never chagne. You'll never feel successful, you'll always have the same stress

71. BTU #109- 20 years in the Army, selling a startup to Mercedes, and co-founding GoodWorld (John Gossart)
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Description:

"There was a point in time that we had $719 left in the bank. There were late night discussions sitting around the table and talking about what we're going to do; how we're going to inform people that they don't have jobs. How we're going to inform our larger investors that we ran out of money and we're not going to make it. And we turned that around in the middle of the night with one particular investor who became of strategic importance and that was in the same year that we were acquired."
- John Gossart

John Gossart is the Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer of GoodWorld (www.GoodWorld.me), the FinTech startup revolutionizing philanthropy and social payments.  GoodWorld was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2016 and D.C.’s Best Technology Startup. Prior to GoodWorld, John was an original partner at RideScout (www.RideScout.com), the tech startup acquired by Daimler-Mercedes in 2014.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, John served over 22 years in the U.S. Army and Government, work that took him to various locations across Africa, Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Europe, most recently serving as a deputy director of special operations and counterterrorism policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

He graduated from Boston College and has a Masters in Public Policy and Fiscal Management from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, where continues to teach policy and economics as an adjunct professor.

John’s indie rock band StoneDriver (www.stonedriver.com) recently released their first studio album "Rocks" and in between GoodWorld, teaching, and shows he lives a quiet life in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Lisa, and their four sons.

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

The article where I found John in Forbes can be viewed here - https://www.forbes.com/sites/marklrockefeller/2016/11/11/the-top-25-veteran-startups-in-america/#5120ea756e84, The Top 25 Veteran-Founded Startups In America

Show Notes

Please note that I type these notes during the interview so there are likely to be misspellings, grammatical errors, and misquotes. This is not meant to be a verbatim account of our conversation, but a VERY basic text transcript of our discussion.

How to explain Good World Trying to solve the problem of friction-less payment experience. In the charitble giving spac eright now. Allow make people to make donation to causes with just a hashtag or tweet. They have 3k charity partners - save the children, PETA, green peace, salvation army, etc - when they post o nsocial media if you tweet back with # donate, his technology kicks in, processes that donation through a CC transaction and adds it to the charity. You get a response on social networks Working with charity right now but talking to companies about how this might apply in other locations - donations to colleges, commerce, political donations After 22 years of service in the Army, what was your first civilian job search like? Not help on inspiration or advice - it was happenstence Was in Yemen with three people he tuaght with at West Point - they reached out because they had an idea for a transportation technology startup and were looking for a guy to help with revenue and finance They reached out and he was in a military mindset - he didn't even answer the first time they reached out. He didnt' know about apps or startups. Ignored it, a few months later when he was in Pakistan, after they launched at SXSW he was in a different spot - hadn't been home much in the last ten years, his sons were in high school and college - he was looking for a change. He made a hasty decision and decided to join. He was really tired too from the military. Took steps to get out, thought he'd work with them for 6 months and wouldhave time to figure out what he wanted to do next Two things happened ^6:30 (1) The adrenaline rush he liked in th emilitary abounds in the startup world (2) They didn't fail - two years later they were acquired. both financially and personally and professionally it was a life changing experience. luck is a residue of skill What skills did you carry from the military and have to develop in your first startup? There were certainly attributes and skills and perspective that you pick up in mltairy service that are unique to military service and are helpful in the buisness world or specificially the tech startup There are more things that yuo need to leave behind They maybe served you well in the military, but they won't serve you well outside At the beginning, a co-founder would come to his dining room table at 6:30am (their office) and they would open up their personal laptops and start trying to figure out what to do The idea they had was huge and inspiring... but what they were supposed to do, he had no idea and felt in above his head As they started working the business development side of things he was frustrated that he didn't get a response in 24 hours. But the world odesn't work like this - you'll get a response 3 weeks later as if they still got it. THe heirarchy and protocal that are second nature in the military you need ot leave behind - they odn't work well in flat, dynamic, tech startups. Working with engineers is unique and takes skill as a leader to collaborate with them Respect - everyone on the other side of the table. Always giving them the benefit of the doubt. Checklist mentality - people make fun of him, but its VERY helpful to them as a company. These are the things we need to get done before we go live with this new feautre or this new product line. Preparation - the premium placed on preparation in the military before executing. What was RideScout journey like? Their CEO was always consistent on this is going to be a incredible company The four co-founders were all coming from differnet skill sets Joseph (CEO) was th evision guy and the evangelist - always larger than life - on stage and in the elevator John was rolling up sleeves and trying to figure out how to create sustainable revenue John had his down a lot and could have head up more. Jospeh always had his head up and he had to fight to get him to look at the details It happened very quikcly - talking to some entities about raising a few million dollars from firends, family and angels Trying to raise an institutional insittuion, when Dymler came in we thought they were goign to lead our Series A financing. Instead they were looking to acquire them from the start. At this point had 15-16 people (some part time) when they started talking about an acquisition Then went to 50+ employees after acquisition What was the origin story for GoodWorld? They launched RideScout out of incubator called 1776 in DC. In the course of launching the company there and working there and growing their team, he came to know other entrepeneurs in the building one was Dale - his co-founder. It was her idea and she's the FOunder & CEO She had a great idea, an intern, and a laptop, and an engineer collaborator She didn't have any corporate sturcutre. He was advising her on how to take it to the next step. He is the COO and CFO hats The more he came to know Dale, the more he learned about the idea and he thought about the possibilities in this space. It was cool to go to market in philanthropy. Jesuit educated and he always though philahthpoy would be what he'd have to do on the side, but this was the opportunity for his day job to help causes he cared about he found himself thinking about this at night and coming up with ideas with Dale as they were being acquired By the time they were acquired in 2014 he was neck deep in teh acuisition. Then they had a HUGE budget and needed to get going with it. In the course of this he helped her raise the firstbit of money and the light went off. They raised $500k in days. It struck me that people this really resonated 19:00 raised $500k in days Ended up raising $1.6M in their first seed round with instituational finace people as leads While this was unfolding ti became clear - if I'm going to do this I need to committ to it. How could I make the transition without leaving too much money on the table at RideScout. he negotiated a deal to phase himself out and still retain big parts of his equity I was making a lot of money at Dymler - but I would have been a subpar executive and subpar co-founder The idea was too big to pass up -wasn't financially smart in the short term but my passion was with GoodWorld Co-Founders joseph came up with idea, Craig was already out and put in some money. He was a second time entreperneur, and had already started a company that had exited. Joseph had the big idea while on active duty, Steve was just getting out of the military (22 years) and he was the last one to join the core team - during the transition he was workign with them. Everyone was a veteran, but they were in different points of serve If you're starting your own thing, there are two things that are easy to give and hard to take away: titles and equity if you're going to make someone the co-founder When you incoporate, one-time you can give founder shares by the IRS. these are the best shares to have and yuo can only do this once. You shouldn't enter into calling someone co-founder or anythign with a c (CEO, CFO, COO, etc) - if you lack business and instituional expertise you can bring them in and if they don't stay it doesn't vest and then you don't get stuck with themif they don't stay with the company Sometimes people want to find an engineer to make CTO and co-founder. Maybe you need ot just find an engineer - try them out and you can make them CTO later on, but don't jump into it What advice do you have for veterans aspiring to entrepreneurship? Don't believe your own press - this is more true for transitioning veterans today than ever before. My accomplishments look good on paper - there are MANY people around me  who he considers WAY more accomplished than him. 28:23 For veterans transitioning now we are in such a divise point in political scene. The narrative that both side want to cling to - which is popular with people - is this big narrative of how much we owe to vetarans for servie. I don't disagree with this - I'm very grateful to everyone in uniform who is protecting me and my way of life and allows me to do what I do. I'm very thankful for this. Btu this has become conflated with another narrative -t hat veterans are OWED other things. Financial fudning for thier startup - what if it's not a good idea? What if they're not a good entreprenuer? Just because he's a veteran doesn't mean you should invest in their company I worry we're building our soldiers iwth a sense of entitelement that there is an expectation that when they step out in the civilian word they are owed soemething For me I'd argue I got more out the Army than they got out of me. We were 100% square when we got out of the miltiary. They gave me the best leadership experience possible in incredily high intensity sitautions. I have not one complaint about the ledget between me and the Army. And I'm still getting paid a pension and some disablity To walk out and think I'm entitled to somethign because I'm a veteran I don't want to be entiteld to funding because I'm a veteran, but because it's a good idea, and people think I can do this If it comes down to me and the guy next to me there may be attribtues that are particualr to beeing a veteran that give me an edge Today I start the converstion that I'm an entrepreneur - not tha tI'm a veteran. Oh by the way I'm a veteran I get the sense that there are a lot of people who think everyone is a hero and is entitled to something I've been out for a while and I do see people who are treading water The best way to get a step up is the fundamentals - if yo have a real solution to a real problem and a good team and product - cahnce are you'll be succesful. Veteran piece may help you at the margins. But without the fundamentals it doesn't matter 34:43 - 35:16 there was a period when we had $740 left in the bank - how would we tell people they don't have a job. how do we tell investors - we turned it around in the middle of the night with one investor. you need ot be prepared for this - it might not work it. The market is VERY efficient - you need to listen to it. It's not just about starting new things - when you get out of the military and work for a normal company and you turn to your boss and say I've got a dentist appointment today - they say, that's not my problem you need ot be at work. We learned in the military you gotta let me go ebcause I've got a dentist's appointment. As a veteran - you were given a lot of what you were owed - thanks of grateful nation competitive paycheck etc. it comes down to fundamentals - if you How would you describe your role as COO & CFO? One of the reasons he got the bug when he started in startups is because it reminded me a lot of my scrappy days as chief of staff at brigade or exeuctive officer or operations officer. YOu never had the same day twice. I like taht. you're moving from crisis to crisis or executing quickly with little resources, problem sovling, etc. I loved this in the miltiary and I ahd some jobs in the miltiayr that were'nt high paced and i quickly sought the next thing because it wasn't fulfilling. The COO role in a startup is you never know what the day is going to bring. There are a lot of things in the day you didn't know yhou were goin gto have to face when the day started you'll hvae to call people in and fire them and search for people to hire - you're looking to model out their expenses and burn to see to the day when they'll run out of money. i want this date burned into th eminds of everyoen in teh organiztaion. The way we change this is bygetting more money or more partnerships or more funding I don't have a normal day - i go to NY and SF asking epople for money, negotiating with strategic partners I want to brin gon. I look half my time looking inward and making sure trains are going to run on time. What resources have you found helpful that you would recommend to other veterans? I don't have a great answer I was never good at reading the seminal biography of military leaders The pro dev reading list that followed me around in my career that everyone was reading... I was not drawn to those things When I got out there are always startup books that are hot that everyone is reading Reading is critical - you shouldn't take a meeting without learning everything you can about the person across the table Final words of wisdom? When we were acquired I felt very conflicted and wanted to hang out. You need to commit to what you're doing. I see a lot of people who fancy themselves vetraprenerus. They don't want to take their hand off their paycheck or that comfortable thing. There is an opportunity ocst for 8 hours a day doin gsomethign else. It'll make you less likely to succeed in something else If everyone could start something huge on the side and not leave your day job until it was huge, everyone would do it If where you want to be is starting something new, you need to committ to that. There should be risk, there shoul dbe people who think yo're crazy, and you should be a little anxious and a little scared

72. BTU #108- Team Red, White & Blue (Garrett Cathcart)
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Description:

"To find meaning in what you do - that can be in anything. That could be in what you do for a living, or running a podcast to help veterans, that can be volunteering somewhere. For me, for so long in the Army that was my identity and who I was. And once I was out of that, I didn't know who I was anymore. To do what you love and do what you believe in, as a living is a great gift."
- Garrett Cathcart

Garrett Cathcart is the Southeast Regional Director at Team Red, White & Blue - an organization that enriches the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activities. He is also the Chief Community Engagement Officer at VETLANTA. He started out at West Point, after which he served in the Army for 8.5 years, with two years in Baghdad as a Recon Scout Platoon Leader and then as an Aide-de-Camp to Commanding General. After his transition from the Army he worked at NuVasive as an Associate Spine Representative before joining team RWB.

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Podcasts & Websites 80,000 hours - it was started by an Oxford philosophy professor who lives on $35,000 per year. 80k hours is about how many hours you work in your lifetime. It's about what you should do for a living and what will make you happy NPR - How I Built this podcast Tim Ferris podcast Books Colin Powell - it worked for me

Show Notes

What would you want listeners to know about Team RWB? We enriches the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activities. They work in 43 cities, and 213 nationally. In any given week there are local events. Anyone can participate - yoga, crossfit, ruck, hike, pub trivia, bowling, etc. When people get out of the military they miss hanging out with good people; they miss that camaraderie. They want to build authentic and genuine relationships Leadership development program and community service projects Veterans are leaders - get out there and lead and the community is better for it Leadership Development Program One of the best leadership development directors in the world They are building their own content - some form the military and some outside of the military 125,000 members and all are volunteers The way they reward people is by developing them as a leader Giving people the tools to make RWB better and their community better Nike donates shirts, and each Team RWB member gets them - it's a great sign up community Building the airplane while they're flying it - some of the content is created, some is not yet It will be at EagleLeader.com Sign up at TeamRWB and you'll get access Will send to seminars as well This is open-soured leadership - wanting to serve veterans, enrich their lives, and make communities better What’s the origin story on Team RWB? Mike Erwin was an Active Duty Army Major in 2012. He saw a need and wanted to help wounded veterans. There were initially athletes and advocates. Ran the Twin Cities marathon and started running money as a non-profit As they grew they noticed that EVERYONE was signing up to be a mentor and advocate. Very few people wanted to be an athlete. Everyone wanted to serve and give back So they reevaluated their model - what if we had a model where civilians could be part as well, and help close the civilian divide and no one is a helper or someone who needs the team... everyone is on the same page There's a sea of red shirts with the eagle on it at events now Started growing into different cities Based on your work with Team RWB, what would you want listeners to know about their transition to a civilian life? You will miss the military; you tend to remember the great things and forget the bad stuff 11:00 It's important to have a network when you leave - you're going to need people who have understood what youv'e done an where you've been It helps you get your legs underneath you There's a lot of ways to serve once you get out How to get involved It costs nothing - just your time They have great partners in the corporate side to make sure this is free for everyone Activities range from anything and everything, just getting people together Go to TeamRwb.com and click on Join the team How would you describe your role at Team RWB to someone on Active Duty? He's in command - everythign that happens in a region good or bad is on me A lot of folks make it happen, I adminster the budget, oversee the leadership and devel;pment program, speak on panels, engage with corproate sponsors and VA The VA sends a lot of folks to them because TEam RWB is consistent - find other people who understand yuo Relationship building - a little bit of a budget They're a 5 year old startup that is 120k people The Volunteer leaders really run everything - they recognize them and help develop them and support How did you make the decisions to leave the Army? Always thought would be 5 years and out Almost resigned from West Point to enlist after 9/11 Joined insurgency at its height and itwas a tough year - lost four of his guys and his commander, as well as his best friend from West Point Non-stop trainign at home and then back at Baghdad Took over advisign the infantry batallion and he really enjoyed the operations side At the end was going to get out and join the State Department, mainly becuase he was tired from the op tempo. Turned in his resignation paperwork and 3 months later called into his commander's office. He convinced him to stay in and mentored him. Gave him control of ALpha Troop, and move to Fort Collins in Colorado Springs time, and told him he'd be the first mechanized group to command in Afghanistan. He took the post and went back to Afghanistan Finally decided he needed to build a family and turned in his resignation letter again There was a new 2-star and he was put up to be an aide He couldn't find a clean uniform top, and could only find a small one (which he doesn't wear) - it was skin tight like a wetsuit The General said, do you work out? They had a lot in common and he said he didn't want the job The General called him and told him he had the job Learned more in one year about Leadership from General Joe Anderson - he was an amazing leader and Garrett still applies lessons he learned from that one year What was your first job search like and what lead you to NuVasive? Met a gal in Beverly Hills Didn't care what he was doing as long as he was making money Contacted a JMO recruitig firm - first two hung up since he had bummed around for a few months post-transition Third JMO recruiting firm said he should do medical devices He knew nothing about sales or medicine, but he was done for it They flew him to Memphis - went to some concerts, slept a few hours and went to interviews Went down to the lobby and everyone was way more prepared than him - copies of their resumes, black binders, pressed suits He quickly printed out his resume He had 5 separate one hour interviews his first one was the person he asked to print out his resume! He gave him 0 points for preparation and 100 points for innovation he had lots of stories to share he got an offer and the an 2nd offer, and one was in LA so he took it What was your role at NuVasive like? He was in operating rooms with surgeons, and he was so uncomfortable He had no clue what he was doing He was with the top surgeon at the hospital and he asked Garrett's opinion... he didn't even understand the words the doctor was saying He took doctors to dinner told about products and got their business he didn't like it - lacked a sense of purpose What lead you to Team RWB? The girl and State Department job didn't work out and he didn't have a plan Out of the blue a friend from Afghanistan called him (Joe Quinn) - he had gone to Harvard after the Army They hit things off - hadn't talked in two or three years adn he pitched him on working at a non-profit Didn't want to do this because thought he would be poor He went to the website and checked it out and went to an event Didn't want anything to do with other veterans at the time He got there and experienced it and was working out and felt a tension lifted Without realizing it saw what he was missing Two years have been incredible for me Advice for non-profits He had a short stint in the corporate side Find meaning in what you do 10:17 - could be what you do in your job, volunteering... anything For so long in the Army this was his identity - a Cavalary officer who had been to Iraq and Afghanistan. Afterwards he didn't know what to do To love what you do is a great gift (30:52). It's different every day and Im still passionate about it You can make a good living and learn a lot Any resources - books, podcasts, articles, etc - you’d recommend to veteran listeners to help them in their civilian career? 80,000 hours - it was started by an Oxford philosophy professor who lives on $35,000 per year. 80k hours is about how many hours you work in your lifetime. It's about what you should do for a living and what will make you happy At a certain point - the more money you make it doesn't make you happy... maybe $50k or $75k. There are great books and podcasts here and resources to see what you want to do NPR - How I Built this podcast Tim Ferris podcast Colin Powell - it worked for me Final words of wisdom? I don't have anything fogured out I was lucky in finding a job I love I have a twin brother who was in the Army and got out He got to go to Harvard & Dartmouth and is now a big consultant Someitmes I get jealous of the paycheck He tells me I have the greatest job in the world I make my won schedule, have a big impact Enjoy where you are - don't always be thinking ahead and what the next step is

73. BTU #107 - Elijah Crane- SEALS to ABC's Shark Tank & Bottle Breacher
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Description:

"I told my wife: we're going to do this when we get out of the military. That was a tough pill for her to swallow. And you can't really blame her. If you ever tell your wife that you're going to get out of the service and sell bottle openers, she might think that you've been around too many explosions and she might think that you're crazy."
- Elijah Crane

Elijah Crane (Eli) is the Founder and CEO of Bottle Breacher, a company that creates hand crafted 50 caliber bottle openers made by Military Veterans. As President of Bottle Breacher, Eli has grown Bottle Breacher’s annual revenue to over $5 million in 2015, applied for and received 7 patents, and Negotiated a partnership with Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. Eli started out in the Navy, where he served as a SEAL for over 15 years. He started Bottle Breacher while on active duty and has run the company for nearly five years now.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

Starting a company while on active duty: Eli was making over $22k per month while still on active duty, and had plenty of traction by the time he transitioned to his civilian career Growth of an empire: He talks about how he grew from $350 / month to over $1 million a year... all before even appearing on ABC's show, Shark Tank Shark Tank: Eli shares what his experience was getting to Shark Tank, and how he scored a deal with Mark Cuban & Kevin O'Leary Persistence & Scrappiness: Eli talks about how he earned a PhD in failure starting his own company

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Check out Eli on ABC's Shark Tank here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHTlFtRtkG8 Books Rich Dad Poor Dad Mark Cuban's book

Show Notes

2:44 - Eli's background 4:00 How did you make the decision to leave the Navy? 4:45 - Did you work at the Acumen Performance Group while on Active duty? What did you learn there? 5:45 - What was the genesis of Bottle Breacher? 7:30 - What tipped you over to thinking of doing this full time 12:25 - What was it like starting a company while on active duty, and what advice do you have for veterans looking to do the same? 16:05 - What was the application process like for getting on Shark Tank and what advice do you have for other veterans looking to do this? 29:30 - How have Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary helped the company so far? 32:15 - What has been the most challenging aspect of running a company? 36:18 - What skills have you had to develop since leaving the military and any advice for resources (books, courses, conferences, etc) that you would recommend to veterans? 38:40 - What advice do you have for someone on active duty wanting to start their own company? 41:41 - Final words of wisdom?

74. BTU #106 - Alex Stone: Under Armour, Athletes of Valor, and the Sports Industry
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Description:

“You know sometimes - for example, even over this holiday weekend - people will ask if I had to work on a certain day. This is my life! This is what I do. It's always funny because what your life looks like is - for me - this is what I want to make my life's work. It's what I'm passionate about and what I enjoy doing."
- Alex Stone

Alex Stone is the Founder & CEO of Athletes of Valor, who’s mission is to help veterans transition from service to career by leveraging the power of collegiate sports. He started out as a Sergeant in the Marine Corps, after which he worked as a Product Manager at Wellpower Sports Co, and then at Under Armour as both a Development Manager and then Product Line Manager.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

Sports Industry: Alex worked his way up in the sports industry to work at his dream job at Under Armour. He talks about this route, and why it might appeal to other veterans Starting a company: Alex is doing his life's work and has built Athletes of Valour from the ground up. Any veteran interested in starting their own company would benefit from this Collegiate Athletics: This is a great route for veterans, and one that boosts their engagement and fulfillment at school. Alex's organization helps veterans get into collegiate sports and has a lot to say about this

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817919341/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=transparentte-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0817919341&linkId=cff433522a1e724fcc9dcd7c91e4149c

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview, so they may not completely represent a verbatim version of our conversation, and likely contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear the interviewees actual advice in their own words within the interview.

2:44 - Alex's background 3:20 - How would you describe Athletes of Valor? Comes from his experience of being a high school athlete, and no clear path to be a collegaite athelte when leaving the miltary Allows active duty service members to create a profile of themselves as a potential student athlete. coaches come in, evaluate the veteran applicants Most veterans have a great athletic ability and they just connect the dots Answers questions for coaches - PTSD, eligibility etc 5:27 - What does the process look like 100% free Sign-up on website Basic questions - separation date, atheltic background, educational background, military background can upload old highligh films or any videos Everything is housed online in one place 6:30 - What to do to prepare now if on active duty Never too early to start researching programs If you think you have 2 years before separation, the deadlines come up quickly. May need to take an SAT, ACT program Start gathering that info, but you can house it all online with them The sooner you're online the sooner you can be found - can be picked up 18-24 months 7:50 - What have you found in working with veterans over the last year? There's a lot to this - it's a full time job and takes a lot of work and effort Most people think they'll just put their name in and be done with it - it's your life and education, the magic opportunity won't just fall into your lap 9:15 - magic opportunity 9:08 - Success stories 16 football players playing this fall Over 1k athletes on their platform They want to use team sports as a structure for integration back into the college life Gives people a purpose of working towards a common goal; they're going to earn education, play sports and be more employable after college The more work you put in the more likely you are to find a good opportunity 13:30 - What lead you to leave the Marine Corps? Enlisted right out of high school, served 4 years active duty After second deployment overseas knew that he wanted to do something different After 2.5 years of active duty knew he wanted to move on 14:26 - What was your first job search like and how did you end up at Wellpower Sports? It was really tough He had just got back 4 months prior to his separation It was challenging to get call backs after just sending resumes and applying to specific jobs Trying to translate experience and get in front of the right people His old high school football coach, who he had reached out to, worked with Wellpower Sports (overseas manufacturer for sports equipment) and he offered to introduce him He started taking local courses at community college and started working as a paid intern 16:35 - How would you describe your work at Wellpower Sports? He did product line management and had deep exposure to the inner workings of a company Projects from developing new types of equipment to laying out a product line for a new sports medicine line to present to a customer. Figure out pricing, product management, manufacturing, do research on what's in the market, what are current athletes doing and wearing, what are trends? You use all these products over the years and then get the chance to influence it 18:58 - What lead you to Under Armour? He used to go there for business opportunities, since Wellpower Sports worked with UA. When you walk in you really feel the culture on the campus - very smart people, very forward thinking on innovation on how to make athletes better through creating incredible products It was always a great learning experience to see a massive brand and massive company rather than his sales office experience He realized he wanted to be in this industry long-term 20:20 - How would you describe the work that you did at UA? The person he was meeting with at UA ended up becoming his boss. They were growing their sporting line and team and asked if he'd be interested in this So he moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Started in product develppment, managing everyting from protective equipment to gloves and workign on advanced projects on the side (new potential protective pieces of equipment) After two yaers moved over to the product line manager. This was less travel, and more on the business model and building product lines, working with the sales teams, understanding the trends, managaing more of the business and licensing In any manufacturing business you need to understand how decisions are made; how long things take. Spending trip after trip in Asia, seeing how to create a product with a particular margin and ahve multiple price points and understand what consumers are looking for 23:09 - What advice do you have for veterans seeking to work at UA? They are very veteran friendly; he worked with a lot of great vets there It's Network, Network, Network You can apply online and they're responsive. But get involved somehow in someway with the sports industry - with UA, or one of their partners Build a network, get to know people; most positions are filled from referrals It's a small industry and once people get to know who you are it's 24;25 - What was the genesis of Athletes of Valor? Built off personal expeirence transitioning at UA it was a dream career at a dream company It was difficult to leave Worked with a lot of high schools and top recruits across the coutnry He used to joke - why don't we do this on a military base? They could go play college football, college baseball after their service. It piqued a lot of interest Spent about a year at night trying to see who had been successful in doing this, and how impactful it was in their transition This started to put the pieces together in bridigng the gaps and talking to people who went to college sports after active duty - what were the pain points Coaches wanted to find more people liek thsi, but a lot of the athletes thought they had gotten lucky. He htought there has got to be a better way. There are lots of platforms for high schoolers If I coudl do it again i would do it longer - work at UA an work on lunch breaks 29:53 - At what point did you decide to leave UA? The timing perspective it was difficult to do both Under Armour and Athletes of Valor his desire and want was to continuously build Athletes of Valor, not just at night but all the time. He fell in love with the mission Life timing as well - had just gotten married, no kids yet, and knew he would have additional responsibilities soon Secured a few investors who invested so they could build the software 31:50 - What does life look like right now? He jokes that on holidays - this is his life ,this is all he does. This is what he wants to make his lifes work and what he enjoys doing He's not going to be doing 120 hours a week but this is what he does - gets up in the morning, late at night talking to coaches, it doesn't seem like work but engulfs his life around it From a small team dynamic - fundraiinsg, sales, product development - it's constant. If it's not somethign your'e passionate about it'll be hard He spends most days running all over the place -talking to coaches, team members, atheltes Best thing he does is he just keeps going - as much as I can fit in one day, a little further today than tomorrow, 34:16 - How do you get paid? Annual partnership fees with schools they partner with Also have corporate sponsors for events to make sure they can cover the costs Building a career platform that will be ready at the end of the year - corproate partners who want to highlight internships and job opportunities (job board & third party recruiting) to fill specific roles for those who have played college sports and are veterans 35;36 - What advice do you have for other veterans seeking to start their own organization? it's going to be a lot harder than you think and take longer than you think Be prepared because there are a lot of ups and downs Goign to have good days and bad days - biggest thing you can do is keep going Miltiary teaches you this - embrace the siuck and stay the course you'll have a million people tell you what won't work - you're the only one who can really keep it all together and know what it will take to get yuor startup to the next level Be preapred for tht - going to be discouraging - stay the course, keep working towards the goal 37:15 - What resources - books, conferences, programs - have you found helpful that you would recommend to other veterans? Whatever your industry is, you need to immerse yourself into that industry. Make sure you have all the answer to all the quesitons you'll ever get. If you don't have that answer need to find it so you have a good answer next time In the sporting goods industry he didn't know about materials or the brands out there Immersed himself - YouTube videos, how to make certain products, different types of screen printing Next time in the meeting was able to speak to it intelligently When he started Atheltes of Valor it was a space he hadn't been in and creating a new market Books, articles, speaking with people around the sapce - need to immerse self in all aspects of it. You need ot be the subject matter expert in a field 40:22 - Final words of wisdom? There's a lot of transitional programs out there; lots geared toward veterans. Do your research. Reach out to a lot of them, ask quesitons and make sure they'll give you the right level of support People reach out for job search, career training, resumes support, etc. The reality is nothign is more valuable than networking and doing thigns yourself. It won't fall into your lap; your job won't magically come to you. Make sure these are resources available to transition veterans. It's a lot of work and up to you and put the time in, get out of comfort zone. Use a certain tool - to find people who could make an introduction s

75. BTU #105 - Nathan Smith- Marines to COO at Hire Heroes USA
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Description:

“If you don't have a narrow vision of what you want so that you can focus, if you're open to everything - which is the infamous line we get from most of the people we work with: 'I'll move anywhere and do anything' - they think that makes it easier to help them find a job, whereas it's actually the exact opposite. What we need is for you to narrow down and focus. Align with mentors, align with organizations like [Hire Heroes USA], and together we can overcome this structural divide between an all-volunteer force and society that less and less knows what the all-volunteer force goes through."
- Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is the Chief Operating Officer at Hire Heroes USA - which provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses each week, and over 16k veterans and spouses since 2007. He started out at the Virginia Military Institute, after which he served in the Marine Corps for seven years as an Infantry Officer. After his transition from the Marine Corps, he started at Hire Heroes USA as a Deputy Director, and was subsequently promoted to Executive Director and then most recently, Chief Operating Officer

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

Great Resource for All Veterans: Hire Heroes USA is a free organization for veterans and their families. They pair you with a mentor and work with you until you find what you're looking for. He has great thoughts on using volunteering as a way to gain momentum and connection as you may your transition Operations & non-profits: both of these are great fields for veterans. Non-profits seem to provide the camaraderie, small community, and purpose-driven organization that appeals to veterans. Operation is also highly suited to most veterans. Nathan talks about his experience as Chief Operations Officer, as well as non-profits, and why veterans may love each of these.

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817919341/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=transparentte-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0817919341&linkId=cff433522a1e724fcc9dcd7c91e4149c

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview, so they may not completely represent a verbatim version of our conversation, and likely contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear the interviewees actual advice in their own words within the interview.

3:20 - Nathan's bio Hire Heroes 4:26 - What would you want listeners to know about Hire Heroes USA? This is a best in class organization in the country, working with transition veterans and families. There are bigger organizations but none better. They individually assign people who come to them to a transition specialist; they are with them until they have a great outcome - education, fulltime job, etc. 5:28 - If someone listening is on active duty, how would they get involved with Hire Heroes? 90% of what they do is virtual - it's the most cost efficient and effective way to help people. So they can help people in ANY geographic location. As a result, the main way that people come to the program is through their website. If you click on the Services tab and sign up online, you'll start in the queue to get involved with a transition process. There are also workshops throughout the US (50-60 per year) on or near military bases. 6:54 - If someone listening is a few years out of active duty, how could they get involved? Whether it's pre-separation or post-separation; looking to help other veterans or get advice, there's a LOT of resources - interview skills, resume help. They have over 600 volunteers as well who are mentors for their clients, so there is a way to get involved here. 8:20 - What are some common challenges you see veterans face in their transition? The #1 challenge across all services is a lack of knowledge. No active duty member has made the transition before so there's a lot of fear and anxiety about this. The military does a great job of teaching people to operate in a dangerous environment and trains them in a step-by-step way with accountability, professional development, and knowledgable workers alongside them. But this isn't the case in the civilian sector. So many veterans don't understand what is out there and how to tell their story on the outside. 10:25 - What are some common misconceptions you see veterans have when they approach their transition? Veterans are more heavily represented in the government than any demographic in the United States. Disable veterans are even more represented than other veterans in the government. Often this is because these organizations recruit from the military and it is a familiar path for veterans. But this might not be the best fit for each veteran. A lot of veterans also go into contract jobs, and there's a lot of recruitment around this. There are great opportunities here. however, if you're going to be offered $100k+ to do security in Afghanistan, you need to consider why the pay is 3X higher than when you were in the military, often due to increased risk. Large $ doesn't always translate into great job opportunities. Do you need to take a step down for income and responsibility when you leave? It depends. It's situationally dependent. There are many people who transition out and are far better off than when in the military. There are also an equal number who had to take a significant step back when they transitioned out. It depends on what your personal financial situation is- you may not be able to take that step back or step down. Or you may not have an earning opportunity that meets your financial requirements - you'll need to live lean and make the most of things in the meantime. Unlike the military, that has antiquated personnel stations and promotions systems, most civillian environments are not this way. Positions open up and you'll likely find more flexibility. Formal education with a degree at the end of it tends to be a great option for most people. He encourages people not to use the GI bill to delay a career decision - it helps you figure out things, but most people benefit from making a decision soon. Many career paths do require a degree. To be competitive you'll need this so it's good to plan - talk to people on the outside, talk to Hire Heroes people and they can help with these sorts Hire Heroes demographics resembles the US Militaries - they are over represented in the federal government. Healthcare and IT are always in the top 5 for people they work with; security is also up there, but they also find that veterans go into client facing or customer service facing roles in any type of job (not just service industries) since they get along with a lot of people. Another area to consider is teaching and non-profits. It's an alternative to working in government that is mission driven and a way of given back and very value driven. There are often veterans who are coaches, teachers, and non-profit executives. It can be very rewarding and very flexible, but you also get exposure into other sections of the US that you might not get in Oil&Gas for instance. 21:37 - This is from a friend of mine, but if there is a veteran in our life who is facing challenges in their career (let’s say over a year of unemployment), what are ways that their friends can be most helpful? It's a big challenge - this is his full-time job is to help other veterans. What people don't need is a lot of "do this" and "don't do this" they need faith, coaching and someone on their side. But they're also advocates of tough love. They love to hire veterans because they understand the situation of other veterans. There's a big role to coaching, and an understanding that there are things going on beyond just the professional situation. There are almost certainly other factors if someone is long-term unemployed. To get some early wins you could suggest volunteer opprotutnies - rather than the pressure of finding the right job, think of what the person enjoys and try to find that in a volunteer capacity. coaching and helping at high schools; volunteer in way that gets them engaged, builds their confidence and gets them past the momentary lapse. As a reminder, Hire Heroes is completely free, no charge whatsoever. They're not in receipt of government funding - they are funded through donations and foundations who believe in the value of what they are doing. Nathan 27:02 - How would you describe what you do as COO to someone on active duty? He allocates scarce resources to accomplish goals A lot of what he does is bread and butter leadership - he enjoys it and learned it in the Marine Corps. He has other managers reporting to him, and half of a given day is working with a manager to solve personnel issues, discuss ideas for a new program, figuring out adjustments to make and problems to solve. IT's being done in conjunction with other highly capable individuals. It's a neat environment of collaboratively environment. Always focused on the clients. Other parts are related to developing products, reviewing marketing material, reviewing the budget, formalizing job descriptions. One thing nice about working about a company with less than 100 people is that the COO is involved in everything. 31:09 - How did you make the decision to leave the Marine Corps? There were a number of factors. he did his initial four years, and was coming off a difficult deployment in Iraq in the summer of 2006-2007; there was one casualty per week on average. Fortunately things changed on the cusp of the surge, but it was a very difficult experience. At the time, he felt like he was not going to do a full career. But he also knew he didn't have anything setup to do next. So he signed up to do three more years doing security in the Seattle area. It was great to continue service and also have time - he didn't find a wife or a career, but he DID stay in contact with the president of Hire Heroes. Nathan asked him - what should I look to do, and that's when he found out about Hire Heroes and the opportunity there. 33:30 - What was your first job search like, and how did you end up at Hire Heroes USA? It was a very stressful year - even though I intended to get out at the end of 3 years and had a set date, I didn't plan well and focused on my current role. Some was fear based, and some was not knowing what to do. He waited for something to come up and it was an ineffective way to move towards a transition. He lost about 10 lbs in his last year in the Marine Corps and realized it was all due to stress. So he started reaching out to friends and fellow Marines, shared his resume and got direct (though harsh) feedback. And this is how he found his current role. He had another offer of working on base, and he went with the one he knew and trusted and was inspired by the mission. 36:30 - What are some signs that a veteran may like working at a non-profit, and that they may like a COO role? He was fortunate to do both. There are plenty of operational roles outside of non-profits, and operational roles outside of COO. If you're going to a large company, they won't hire a COO straight out of the military. you need to know your skills and where it fits in. For him it was a perfect fit - joining a 7 person non-profit, and grow it to over 90 full time employees over 7 years. He was able to grow alongside the organization. That said, most NCOs and officers will have the leadership experience - you just have to marry it with some skill sets. Budgeting, quickbooks, salesforce CRM or something like that... these are good and important technical skills. It was appealing to me to be able ot be nimble like a startup and constantly improve but also be on the non-profit side. We work with scarce resources and solve tough problems for people,. 39:45 - What resources - books, programs, conferences, etc - have you found helpful in your civilian career that you would recommend to veteran listeners? he was fortunate leaving the Marine Corps that the University Of Georgia had a great program of a Master's of Public Adminitration as a 3 year program (instead of 2) while working full time. It was mutaully beneficial between employement and educaiton. What he learned on the job he shared with classmates; what he learned in school he used to help the non profit. This helped a lot with non-prfit budgeting and grant writing. You can read books on this but he was more comforable being taught it. The second was learning from people who are doing. He put his head down for Quickbooks and bugeting and having people beteter than him around him. He realized none of it is complex - there are things that are very complex, but most non-profits you need to be able to learn and the himilty to know you don't know everything. 43:17 - Final words of wisdom? He would recommend a book that is co-authored by General Mattis - Warriors and Citizens. Is there a gap between the miltiary and teh civiilan sector. There are structural challenges related to transition -it's not jsut that companies don't appreciate the military. There are a lot more structural elements taht won't be solved by governement transition programs or even non-profits. There are plenty of resources out ther eand people on your side, but ifyou don't have a narrow vision of what you want so you can focus - if you're open to everything - you need to be focused to find what you want.

76. BTU #104 - Scott Washburn- Submarines to PhD & Astronaut Finalist
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Description:

“I think the biggest thing is finding something you're passionate about and really going all-in on it. There's no lack of different ways to become an astronaut. If you look at the resumes of people that were just selected, Navy SEALS, Pilots, MIT Professors, engineers at SpaceX, people who specialize in Marine Biology, Doctors - so there's no lack of options on how to get there. I think the biggest thing is just finding what you're really passionate about and going all-in on it."
- Dr. Scott Washburn

Dr. Scott Washburn is a Radiation Effects Engineering Manager at SEAKR Engineering. He started out at the University of Colorado, Boulder, after which he served in the Navy as a Submarine Officer for five years. When he first left the Navy he worked as a Thermal and Project Engineer at SSL (Space Systems Loral), after which he returned to the University of Colorado Boulder for his Masters, and then his PhD in Aerospace Engineering. Since then he has worked as Chief Engineer at Geryon Space Technologies, as well as a research engineer at NASA. Scott was also one of the 50 finalists of the astronaut selection program.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

Shooting for the stars: Scott always wanted to be an astronaut and he pursued this career with all he had.  He was one of 50 finalists... from 18k applicants (0.27% of all applicants). He's a case study in setting crazy goals and fighting with everything you've got to pursue them. Passion: Scott talks about pursing one's passion with vigor, and it's inspiring no matter what your desired career path.

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Josh, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Josh's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

3:43 - Scott's bio 4:40 - There’s a story about you and your wife Amanda, summiting Mt. Bierstadt, a German Shepherd, and the Ellen Degeneres - could you share a bit about what happened? A 14er is a mountain that is over 14k feet tall; it's big in Colorado. Back in 2012, his wife and he went to climb Mt. Bierstadt. They were planning on doing two peaks in the same day (Mt. Evans). They got off course in the traverse and his wife spotted a dog. She had found a big, German Shepherd tucked under the rocks. As they got close, they realized she was injured. They tried to carry her, but the terrain was rough and they weren't able to make it work. They found a park ranger further down the mountain, but he wasn't able to help. So they drove back to Denver, calling rescue groups along the way, but weren't able to get any help. So when they got home, they posted about the dog on 14ers.com, and posted the location and started to organize a rescue group. They received a hug outpouring of support, and went back up with a group of 8. They found the dog, loaded her into a backpack and took turns hiking her out. They took her to a vet (who they had met on 14ers.com) and helped her recover. They figured that was the end of the story. However, it reached it's way to the local news that evening. From that point it exploded, which they hadn't anticipated. Part of the reason it exploded was because they were contacted by the dog owner, who wanted the dog back. They wanted to know what had happened first, and it seemed like the owner had been stuck in a storm and decided to leave the dog behind. However, since the owner hadn't tried to get the dog back or rescue the dog, they were uncomfortable returning the dog. They went on Good Morning America and then the Ellen Degeneres show. 12:28 - For an active duty audience, how would you explain what you do for a living? The short version is that his team tests and analyzes how electronics work in a space radiation environment. There's a HUGE radiation environment in space - more than xrays at a doctor of a nuclear power plant. The space environment is constantly bombarded by these atomic nuclei. They're so energetic they'll go straight through a person or piece of electronics and drive a huge amount of damage. So his group looks at this damage, and analyzes the electronics at his company and see how they respond and fare 14:28 - How did you decide to leave the Navy? It was a really tough decision. He had initially signed up only intending to do five years. However, he LOVED his time in the Navy and the submarine force. He loved the job, missino, and people. So appraoching the end of his term, he struggled with whether to stay in or get out. The reason to get out was because he always wanted to be an astronaut. And he knew he could get there as a submarine officer - back in 2000 Captain Steven Bowen was selected, and one more recently. However, he wasn't sure how to standout amongst other submarine officer. So to improve his odds, he decided to get out go into the industry. 16:20 - When you decided to leave the submarine force, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do? His first job at SSL was fortuitous. There was another former submariner who worked there and was familiar with what veterans were capable of. He worked with a recruiting agency that had worked with him previously and they made the connection. He didn't have a clear picture of when he left how he would go about doing this. So he was employed for a while after leaving the service because he hadn't planned properly. He didn't realize what opportunities were out there, and didn't start this process until he got out. There wasn't a clear-cut path to be an astronaut, so had to really experiment 19:14 - Role at SSL It was very different than my role in the submarine force, where I was mostly operatinally focused. At SSL it was heavy engineering - math, computer models of satellites & thermal systems and how they worked together, and what temperature they'd operate at in orbit. It was a massive transition. One thing that motivated him to go back ot grad school was being in a hard engineering environment, and my skills from undergrad were pretty soft. After over a year I decided to go back to grad school (starting two years after he started working). he had started trying to work nights & weekends. So decided to switch to full time 20:57 - Straight to education vs. industry experience 50/50 on this - it was very beneficial to get experience in industry first But if you have a really good idea of what you want to do or the field, going back right away is a good way to go 22:18 - How did you decide to pursue a PhD in Aerospace Engineering? It was an idea of getting a PhD but not the primary plan. He originally intended to go back to industry with his masters After his first year he was given a National Defense Fellowship; the nice thing was that it gve him the opportunity to study any topic that he wanted to. He had gone to grad school wanting to merge nuclear background with aerospace - space radiation, space nuclear reactors, etc. There wasn't a graduate program for this, but the fellowship gave him the opportunity to forge his own path. his dissertation; Magentic fields to sheild humans from space 24:30 - What advice do you have for veterans wanting to pursue a PhD? One nice thing about being a veteran in a program like this is that you can get down to business and knock it out. I did mine in two years, which is a pretty short time frame. Most service members I met were the same. It's different if yuo're more focused and willing to get the job down My advice is to not get it just to get it; make sure you're really interested in it, because as soon as you leave with your PhD, that sets what you will do; it is difficult to branch out from there 25:56 - What led you to astronaut training? It's not really a training program. He submitted his application early in 2016 for the group that was selected this year. It was 18k people who put in for the application down to 120 semi-finalists who come in for a 3-day interview, and 50 people for a weeklong interview to select 12 people this year. They'll go on a  two year training cycle: wilderness survival, underwater vehicle egress, Russian language and international space station It was a lifelong dream, so he plotted along the way his interests and what things he could add on to help him get there. Working in the space industry was 1. Being a submarine officer was another one (and this had led him to submarines in the first place, in addition to serving his country). he tried to find little things along the way - private pilots license, scuba certification. They were things I wanted to do anyways, but found them exciting and worked It started as a standard job application - follow-up questions, medical requirements, if yo8're a pilot or not. They had over 50 HR specialists to go through all the resumes The 3-day interview process was one of the coolest processes of his life. It's covered by NDAs so he can't talk in detail but they evaluate screening you as a person, medically (medical requirements are VERY strict) for example kidney stones, you're disqualified if you've ever had them. 31:06 - What advice do you have for veterans wanting to go this route? The biggest thing is finding something that you're passionate about and going all-in on it. You've got Navy SEALs, pilots, MIT professors, SpaceX engineers, Doctors, Marine Biologists - there's no lack of options on how to get tehre. it's about finding out what you're passionate about and going all-in on it. Finding people who can push themselves constantly - constantly work to improve yourself and make yourself better. Find things challengin that push your skills and boundaries. 33:27- What was it like not getting in the final stage It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. When I got the news it was in one way a crushing blow - I spent so many years in pursuit of this goal. At the same time it was ok. When you make it to the final 50 every person there is absolutely incredible. It's something they've been pursuing their entire life as well. When he wasn't selected it was hard to be too upset when he saw the people who were selected; so it was hard to be too upset about it. And now he has a few friends who are astronauts as well, which is very cool At some point when you're swinging for the fences and the odds of getting selected are so low you have to temper your expectations so if it doesn't work out you're still ok with everything. 37:15 - What resources - books, websites, programs - have been helpful to you in your civilian career that you would recommend to listeners? Didn't have a ton of resources that I relied on One thing I've gone back to a lot lately is Chris Hatfields - an astronauts guide to life on earth His path to becoming an astronaut - there are so many snippets of wisdom that apply to every day life how to go after things in a way that helps you in your pursuit. Really good life l 38:27 - Work at NASA A co-investigator, while researching at the University of Colorado. Very cool being able to work with the NASA research centers. IF you are really interested in pursuing this path, tehre are a lot of great opportunities to get involved. If you're undergrad or grad school, you can do co-ops that are a great way to get your foot in the door. Or if you reach out and tap into the NASA network. Everyone there is so excited and passionate about what they do, they are more than willing to share their experience with people Find the person at NASA doing it and reach out; you'll be surprised that they'll reach back out 40:04 - Final words of wisdom for active duty & veteran listens? The biggest thing is to find your passion It's wortwhile, espeically in times of transition if you're on active duty looking to get out and at different points - take stock of your world and make sure you're striving for those things. I was taking a look at what I liiked about th emilitary when I got out and looked to try to fit them in my life when I got out. That was one of the big struggles - many things I loved in the service Ic ouldn't find at my job. Realized I needed to find these in outside of owrk activities. Espeically a sense of service. This is my biggest peice of advice - see what you like and find how to get more of

77. BTU #103 - Dr. Felicia Haecker- From RV to Dr, entrepreneur, and mom
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Description:

“There are people who have - in their head - ideas that they think are ridiculous; dreams that they're afraid to pursue because of failure; because we're all afraid to fail. But while you have that safety net, go ahead an investigate it - dig into it deep, and then make a plan. Work backwards: this is the goal, assess what you have, and what do you need. And sometimes with plans you have to go back and course correct. Be OK with that. It's not a bad thing sometimes. We often beat ourselves up because we made a plan and it didn't go the way we thought it would - but that's OK. Always look back, reflect and see how you can grow from this."
- Dr. Felicia Haecker

Dr. Felicia Haecker is the President of Haecker Associates Consulting, CEO of Dog Tag Divas, and Adjunct Professor at Brandman University, where she also received her Doctor of Education and Organizational Leadership. She started out in the Air Force, where she served for 12 years along with her husband, who served in the Air Force for 15 years. She faced many challenges after her separation from the military, and ultimately chose to pursue her Ed.D on female veterans transitions into post secondary education. Using this understanding of transitions, she now seeks to help other veterans diagnose where they are and construct a plan to reach their goals.

She has made herself available to the Beyond the Uniform community by email at shaecker@yahoo [dot] com

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

A road of discovery - Felicia articulates so well what I - and so many of my guests - have experienced about a meandering road from the military to finding our career. She talks about taking leaps of faith, making mistakes along the way, but learning and being ok with those mistakes. Felicia and her husband left the Air Force after 12 & 15 years of service, respectively. They purchased an RV, and with their newborn daughter spent a year traveling the United States. This was the starting point of a journey that would lead Felicia to pursue her doctorate. Advice on transitions - Felicia did her doctorate work on the female veteran transition into post secondary education. She has also advised and mentored many veterans about this process, and has fantastic advice about how to avoid common mistakes in this transition.

Our Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life - a great book to help you figure out what to do with your career

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Josh, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Josh's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

3:10 - Felicia's bio 4:03 - How would you explain what you do Every veteran makes a transition Her and her husband realized they transitioned out of a community that was safe and comfortable. After their transition, a lot of people didn't understand their background and they were definitely out of their comfort zone. This applies to the families as well - they have to deal with their significant other 6:15 - How she divides her time HCC & Dog Tag Divas are both emerging. She was diagnosed with PTSD and ADHD, and is learning there are things she needs to do to stay on task. Must do / should do / could do "To do lists" dominate her schedule on bright orange post its. She has two kids, and it's a matter of taking advantage of time when she has it - time in line at Starbucks, at piano practice. Sometimes she 8:12 - How did you decide to leave the military? It wasn't an easy decision; she was an Army brat, with both parents in the military. She followed her dad all over Europe as an Army kid. She recognized on her own she wasn't ready for college, and didn't want to waste her parents money Decided to join the military - originally the Marine Corps - but wasn't treated seriously during the process and saw the Air Force recruiter on her way out. The military was safe and something she understood. She was a photographer, and wanted to try something else out - she loved the military but wanted to try something new When she found out she was going to have a mother, she wanted to be the mother she didn't have. It would be tough to do both the military and a mom, so her and her husband decided she would transition. Her husband had a similar background, so they both decided - at 12 & 15 years - to get out of the military. They made the goal of each of them finishing their master's degree prior to leaving the military, which lead for a rushed schedule leading up to departure They purchased a 35' RV, and spent a year traveling the United States. 11:46 - Advice for figuring out when to leave the military Investigate the feeling - if you feel like you need to move on, give that room. See if you can switch jobs within the military, but if you can't find it start figuring out how to make it happen. She recently worked with someone who decided to open a catering business. But you need to do EVERYTHING you can to investigate this right now - intern, or find a temporary job. This person learned it wasn't what they wanted to do it. So investigate every avenue you can. Call people who do that job (better yet a veteran who does it) and get a feel for what it is like. Harness your power - my power right now is I have a paycheck and roof over my head. This is what I have - what is it I need. Capitalize on your opportunities for growth. I want to have this much money in the bank, this much education, talk to them and get buy-in with the family. Sometimes you need to go back and course correct The Hack Process: H - Harness your power. You have SOME power in the situation A - Assess your resources. What do you have on hand that will propel you forward, and what do you need to gather to get to that goal I - Identify them. The people and resources that will help you and you need to get in your corner to get there C - Capitalize on the opportunity You may be more comfortable right now than you realize - any stress you can take Give yourself permission to recognize how difficult the transition is, but don't wallow in it. 22:59 - How would you describe your path from the military to deciding to pursue a PhD? They were stationed in Missouri. They got in their RV and didn't know what to do next. They decided to visit her parents in Oklahoma. They piecemeal the first part of the trip together, visiting diners and different sites. They noticed in their journey there was a subculture of veterans everywhere they went.  She noticed many experienced difficulty, and many were on the verge of homelessness. She realized that she wasn't the only one who felt challenged in the transition - there were many other veterans like this. Along the journey she became pregnant with their second child. As they were unpacking their house in Georgia, her husband received a job offer in Sacramento. So they packed up their house and moved cross country with their two kids After five days as a stay-at-home mom, she realized she couldn't do it. It was more difficult than her three deployments. She saw a commercial for a doctoral degree, and wanted to give it a try. Her children were 9 months and 3 when she started - it was crazy but she did it. And her husband just received his degree from the same program. He saw the growth and self discovery journey she went through and that motivated him to do it as well What was the PhD process like for you? She views herself as very lucky. Her program was very creative, and she was able to chart what she was interested in - which was transition in veterans. She was able to research, write papers, and do whatever she wanted. It became addicting, because she kept finding more and more information, but didn't find the readily available resources she wanted for veterans. It felt like a well-kept secret and she didn't want it to be like that. She kept getting assignments that kept her digging and before she knew it she stood back and realized what she wanted to go after When she left, her resume was good, professionally she was ready to transition. No one spoke to her heart and mind transition, that you never receive when leaving the military. 37:40 - In your work with veterans, what are common problems you see them facing in their civilian career? She teaches a masters class on Leadership. One thing she has her students do (and she does as well) is Morning Pages. You put the pen on paper for 20 minutes and you just write non-stop. She didn't think it would work and the first two weeks were random song lyrics, shopping lists, and babble, but at the end of two weeks the cob webs went away and certain things came into focus. She kept doing it and started to get clarity on different items - things she hadn't thought about in years. It's completely free and is an easy way to make progress in thinking through issues. Just write about whatever comes to mind - no matter how random. Keep with it and you'll find clarity. Supposed to do it first thing in the morning, as soon as she wakes up. There's a book called Road Map. There was a PBS show called Road Trip Nation and they actually wrote a book "the get it together guide for what to do with your life" - it will inspire you but also give you a roadmap. A mentor would be a GREAT addition for veterans. Help you navigate the new waters and identify what is important to you. Common mistakes that veterans face The adage that "the grass is greener" is definitely true. Without someone telling you what to do, there is also a challenge of autonomy and having to do everything on your own. She encourages people to imagine that you were dropped into the center of England. Yes - they speak English, but there are different words, customs, and norms. You still need to learn a lot - and it's like this with a military transition Some people may not understand your life and may ask you offensive questions like, "Have you ever killed someone." Try to remember it's out of ignorance and curiosity and not malice. She has found in Mommy Groups that things that are earth shattering to other people are not so for her... she has to remember that "my journey is different." It may take time to find your time. Observe how they interact with other people. Emotional Intelligence will be key too and this was something she had to learn 44:50 - What can we do to help veterans who are struggling in their transition Her local VA has a special office to help veterans who are homeless and she is looking at how to help with this Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them The TAPs programs send a LOT of information towards veterans, and going and talking and sharing there could help a lot She was surprised that she was diagnosed with PTSD, even though she had taken many disturbing photos as a photographer on active duty. 49:20 - Final words of wisdom? If you've been listening to this and thinking of an idea and not sure if you should do it - give yourself permission to try. It's ok to be afraid to fail - that's ok. If you think about it - the times you succeed you probably didn't think about how you got there... you didn't think about how you got there. It's only when you fail that you do. But this is when we learn - from this failure. It may work, it may not, but it's ok. Have more than an A-D plan - there are 26 letters in teh alphabet. At the end of the day, try to do what makes you happy.

78. BTU#101 - Christopher Perkins: Marines to Managing Director at Citi
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Description:

“I leveraged the skills that I learned in the Marine Corps, and literally I just started kicking in doors. When I got to New York I had to figure it out and I had to figure it out quickly. Again, it was all about establishing that network. I called people, I learned from them. And I started to whittle down exactly what I wanted to do... There are things that a veteran can control and things they can't control. I couldn't control my technical proficiency at the time because I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps. But - darn it - I could control how hard I could work. So I was the first one in in the morning, I was the last one to go at night, and I was studying like crazy."
– Christopher Perkins

“I leveraged the skills that I learned in the Marine Corps, and literally I just started kicking in doors. When I got to New York I had to figure it out and I had to figure it out quickly. Again, it was all about establishing that network. I called people, I learned from them. And I started to whittle down exactly what I wanted to do... There are things that a veteran can control and things they can't control. I couldn't control my technical proficiency at the time because I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps. But - darn it - I could control how hard I could work. So I was the first one in in the morning, I was the last one to go at night, and I was studying like crazy."
– Christopher Perkins

Christopher is the Managing Director and Global Head of OTC Clearing at Citi and founder of Citi’s Military Veterans Networks. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He then served as an officer in the Marine Corps for over nine years. After the Marine Corps, Christopher worked at Lehman Brothers as their US Head of Derivatives Intermediation. He is also the co-founder of Veterans On Wall Street - an initiative dedicated to honoring former and currently military personnel by facilitating career and business opportunities in the financial services industry.

The top three reasons to listen to today’s show are:

Senior finance - Christopher is very high up at one of the most respected financial institutions in the world, so if you’re at all interested in the Finance Industry, this is worth a listen Explanation - Christopher gives great advice on how a veteran can explain their background. He managed to land a senior position at Lehman brothers directly out of the military. He was the ONLY person to do so without an MBA - not only not having an MBA, but competing against valedictorians from top business schools. He did it by being an expert storyteller, and his advice for veterans is fantastic Financial Collapse - Christopher talks about what it was like on wall street during the financial collapse and how his military training paid off, keeping him calm and stable when the world around him seemed to be falling apart. Our Sponsor

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Links Citi's Veterans initiative, Citi Salutes, is a great program for veterans to consider. Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) - symposiums, job fairs, and fundraising by a consortium of financial services firms A recent article on Christopher by Military.com: http://www.military.com/hiring-veterans/resources/citigroup-veteran-hiring-program-spotlight.html Book Recommendations Liar’s Poker (Norton Paperback) - for those interested in a career in the finance industry, this is recommended by Christopher Market Wizards, Updated: Interviews With Top Traders Newspapers Christopher recommends The Financial Times The Wall Street Journal TV Programs Christopher recommends to see how current events are affecting markets CNBC Bloomberg TV Show Notes 2:31 - Christopher's background 3:15 - How Christopher decided to leave the Marine Corps and how he approached this decision 5:55 - How Christopher managed to directly from the Marine Corps to a very senior role at Lehman Brothers 12:53 - How Christopher would explain his role as the US Head of Derivatives Intermediation at Lehman Brothers 17:13 - How a call from Citi changed Christopher's career 18:15 - What life was like during a financial collapse, and how Christopher's military training paid off. Also a look at how Christopher has given back through Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) and Citi Salutes 26:48 - The biggest advice Christopher would give to Veterans in finance or those considering a career in finance 29:23 - Some common misconceptions and mistakes Christopher sees when it comes to veterans 31:36 - Christopher's thoughts on the MBA and how valuable it is within the world of finance 34:35 - A few possible career paths to the role of Managing Director at a major company like Citi 36:38 - What Christopher's day-to-day life looks like as a Managing Director at Citi 40:05 - Christopher's recommended resources for those veterans considering a career in finance 42:06 - A look at mistakes Christopher has made and what he learned from them 44:09 - In what ways Christopher felt ahead of his civilian counterparts, and it what ways he felt behind 46:30 - Christopher's final words of wisdom

79. BTU #101 - Joshua Jabin- Marines to COO at the Travis Manion Foundation
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“When I got out after 12 years I was married, we had our first child and were looking at having our second child. I was very focused on a career that would pay me what a Major with twelve years in was currently paying me. I wasn't so interested in taking a step back and thinking about these questions of what am I good at, and what do I enjoy doing and what do I think is important. What most people don't think about is that you have forty more years in your career - so really, that's the right time to start asking yourself these questions - what do you enjoy doing, what are you good at?”
- Joshua Jabin

Joshua Jabin is the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Travis Manion Foundation. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served in the Marine Corps for 12 years, first as a Aviation Supply Logistics Officer, obtaining his MS in Operations Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, and teaching Mathematics at the Naval Academy. After his transition to the civilian sector, Joshua worked as a Senior Management Consultant at the ReefPoint Group, before joining the Travis Mountain Foundation about 2.5 years ago.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

Passion + Skills - Joshua works for a incredible organization and resource for veterans. They have a transition workshop that doesn't focus just on finding the right job... they focus on helping you find the intersection of passion and skills in your personal and professional life. Joshua LIVES this, as he initially took a 1/3 pay cut from his initial consulting job, in order to follow work that he knew would be more fulfilling for him and his family. Great resource for veterans - whether you're on active duty, recently transitioned, or transitioned decades ago, The Travis Manion Foundation has a lot to offer and is an organization worth taking a look at. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Resources Brothers Forever: The Enduring Bond between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice - Travis' father wrote this book about two roommates who gave their lives defending their country Team Red White and Blue Team Rubicon - deploy veterans after natural disasters Hire Heroes USA - great resource for veterans. TMF is a great Step 1, when veterans leave he recommends them to Hire Heroes USA (resumes, job placement) Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Jacob, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Jacob's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

3:50 - Joshua's background 4:35 - What would you want listeners to know about the Travis Manion Foundation? Membership veteran organization to develop character in the next generation to help communities. They want to create THRIVING communities - creating meaning through serving others, relationships, and engagement (leveraging your strengths). Travis was a Naval Academy Graduate (2004) and 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was killed on April 29, 2007 on his second tour overseas. His mother started the foundation to help other veterans and families of fallen veterans Today they are an organization of 90k people worldwide Their goal is also to help create the next generation of leaders For all veterans who come back and want to see how they can continue to serve, they also provide a way they can do this and have that same sense they had in the military 9:45 - What is the TMF transition workshop program? It is VERY different from a lot of other great transition programs out there - they don't focus solely on the career piece. Their goal is to help veterans have a successful post-military life - meaning, relationships, engagement. Both in your career and how you can continue to grow. After this, they help veterans identify their strengths and passions, and how to incorporate into their story, along with their training and education. This helps them network, communicate as they find their ideal job The final piece of the transition has successful veterans come in and share what they do and what they've learned, and how that relates to their passion and strengths (to see options) There are other additional workshops - resumes, interviewing, etc 16:16 - If someone listening would like to get involved with or help support the Travis Manion Foundation, how can they do that? Not exclusive to veterans - we have "inspired civilians" as well If you're 1 year out from leaving or recently left the military and need help in the career transition, you can find info about attending workshops and also resources directly on the website There's also info on the website about their character workshop 18:00 - For someone listening on active duty, how would you explain what you do? He is the #2 at the Travis Manion Foundation. Started 2.5 years ago, and worked way quickly to COO (initially Chief of Staff) He is the #2 next to the CEO Their President is very external - partnership & fundraising meetings, presenting at conferences. So Joshua's role is about overseeing daily operations - finances, budget, curriculum, operations... all the daily operations They have Regional Heads throughout country and various departments - his job is to hold them all together 19:46 - How would you explain a COO role? What does this look like on a day-to-day basis? Every day is different - this is one thing he really loves 5-5:30 - wake up before kids and check email (West Coast team emailed through the night) Spend time with kids When in at the office, every Monday morning he (and his program & department heads) put out their top 3 list for the week This week: #1 Program evaluation, #2 Developing Curriculum, #3 - 1st Spartan Leadership summit Review finances 2:30 - meet with Regional Heads to review big picture anything that affects their programs get home, play with kids, check email afterwards depending on the day End of week they share a weekly summary. This allows to support as needed all the execution that occurs throughout the week 27:08 - You got out after 12 years of service. How did you think about transition from the military earlier, vs staying in for 20 years? What he found from his transition - and working with thousands of vets who have transitioned - it's challenging no matter when you transition After 12 years I felt too senior to go through the JMO Recruiters, but I wasn't senior enough for some of the other positions available He started with a JMO recruiter - they were very knowledgeable and had great advice. TMF uses a lot of this info in their transition workshop as well now. But he knew it wouldn't be a good fit because Joshua wanted a small company rather than a large company. He would need to take a step back in terms of salary and authority / leadership when going to a larger company. However, there would be a larger runway to be able to build into a very senior role. He realized there are other options: working for a smaller company (like Travis Manion Foundation) or starting your own company 30:18 - Big company v. small company. He LOVED being a Marine, and is still a Reservist and loves it It did get to a point where he was in a HUGE organization and realized he couldn't move the needle Wanted to go to a small company where he could see a big impact from his work He loves now that he will be there for a LONG time and enjoys seeing the impact of his work 33:32 - What is the ReefPoint Group? It was started by three Naval Academy grads who started the year before him. He didn't know them at the Naval Academy, but heard about them while teaching math at the Naval Academy He was applying to IBM, Booz Allen, etc and had several friends refer him to the owner of the ReefPoint Group Met with Chris (using his network) and joined them - they were the smaller company he was looking for It's a very bright team - a Management Consulting firm that focuses on data analytics, so different from traditional MBA Management Consulting type roles Enjoyed it but quickly realized it wasn't his passion in life; many people were way ahead of him technically 35:50 - How would you explain to someone on Active Duty what you did as a Senior Management Consultant? Was living in Annapolis as a subcontractor for a large organization and also at a hospital in San Diego. He would fly out every Monday and fly back red-eye on Thursday. He was doing consulting work for Navy Hospitals It was important work, liked the people he worked with When thinking about how he spent his time when he wasn't working, he was a "Character does matter" ambassador for the Travis Manion Foundation - this was his passion. He loved being a leader and a mentor When he spoke with the family he found out they were looking for a #2 He wrestled with Travis Manion at the USNA - he was at an Army vs. Navy game and saw Colonel Manion. He told him "at some point I' going to come work for you full time" Joshua though he wanted to make al to of money first and come work there. But Colonel Manion encouraged him to talk anyways He didn't think there was any way he could do it (financially) He was going to need to take a 1/3 pay-cut. He told his wife he couldn't do it, and she actually pushed him into it. He initially turned it down and couldn't sleep afterwards. His wife pointed out that they didn't need all the things they currently had and he decided to make the leap His kids still have way more things than they need and he's never regretted it Everyone deserves to be happy - we as veterans are so competitive and set such high bars for ourselves, always looking ahead. He stepped back and said - "when do I cash in these chips... how long to defer happiness" 47:20 - Are there any resources - books, podcasts, conferences, websites, trainings - that have helped you in your civilian career that you would recommend to veterans listening? Hire Heros USA - great resource for veterans. TMF is a great Step 1, when veterans leave he recommends them to Hire Heroes USA (resumes, job placement) 48:47 - Final words of wisdom? Life is short - you have to do what it takes to be happy Career is important, salary is a factor, but step back and think what makes you happy. Think about your strengths and passions and how to channel them to make a difference Don't wait - don't think that if you grind it out you can do it later

80. BTU #100: My Story
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For our 100th episode, I thought I would share my own story. 

Justin M. Nassiri is the Founder & CEO of StoryBox, a digital marketing start-up that helps companies transform their customers into brand ambassadors. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served five years as an officer onboard nuclear submarines. After his transition from the military, he went to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, after which he started StoryBox. He started Beyond the Uniform at the end of 2016 in an effort to help military veterans navigate their civilian career.

In this episode, I talk about:

My path from the military to today Advice for veterans thinking of starting a company, including advice on building a technology, raising money and more The story of how I started Beyond the Uniform, where we're at today and where we're going Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Resources Life Underwater: A Letter to First Time Founders Websites TechCrunch, Pando Daily - actively avoid. Triggers too much comparison Sales course - Grant Cardone University IndieHackers - see range of ways in which people make money / engineering bias Books Big magic Helping  So good they can't ignore you Deep Work Motivation - biographies; Tony Robbins - get brain used to thinking how great minds have Shoe Dog Elon Musk Everything Store Pandora’s Star Hyperion Shogun Mistborn Podcasts How I Built This - creativity, startups, entrepreneurship Tim Ferris - general efficiency Tony Robbins - motivation & mindset Smart Passive Income - get ideas of ways to make money EO Fire Life
Meditation Coaching  Therapy - CBT, Somatic Therapy. Want to make massive movement in short amount of time Seminars The Landmark Forum - caveat: very sales-e, and will need to keep an open mind Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within Date with Destiny Business Mastery Non-violent Communication

81. BTU #99 – Jacob Martinez: Army Sergeant to President of USA’s 592nd Fastest Growing Company
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“At that point we had about 25 employees and things seemed to be going well... and then the financial markets crashed and we went into a very deep, deep recession, right after I took over as President. So for a few years we had to weather the storm and it was a very difficult time. But I actually accredit a lot of [my success] to the military for what I was taught. So when the tough times came, I didn't start running - I just buckled down, dug my heels in and said - 'I'm smarter than this recession.'”
- Jacaob Martinez

Jacob Martinez is the President of Market Traders Institute, a trading technology and education company with over 200 employees. Jacob started out in the Army, where he served for 4.5 years in military intelligence achieving the rank of sergeant. He started out at Market Traders Institute as Vice President of Managed Accounts and has held virtually every position in the company.

Jacob has offered to connect with any veterans interested in speaking further. He is also offering a discount on his company's Forex training platform for any veteran. This is a great chance to investigate investing as a potential career, as well as learn a new skill set. You can contact him at jacob [at] markettraders.com

 

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

Extreme Growth - Jacob took over his family's business and grew them from 8 employees to 200 employees, with a 1,200%+ growth in revenue, attaining Inc Magazine's #592 fastest growing companies in America... it's pretty impressive! Continuous Learning - rather than use his GI Bill for college, Jacob got out of his comfort zone and started growing his company. He is more committed to continuous learning than anyone I have met to date, and is constantly reading new books, attending new conferences, and seeking other ways to learn from others as quickly as possible. I find this inspiring, and his recommendations for resources are the best I've had on the show to date. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Resources Books John Maxwell - teaches leadership. There's never a time when you will have too many leaders. Staying focused on developing your leadership will create opportunities Leadership Gold: Lessons I've Learned from a Lifetime of Leading The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (10th Anniversary Edition) Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life - Jacob has read this book 10-12 times over his career. It talks about change and adapting to change. Danger in the Comfort Zone: From Boardroom to Mailroom -- How to Break the Entitlement Habit That's Killing American Business - currently reading as part of book club, the danger of entitlement and living in the comfort zone Conferences Tony Robbins - Business Mastery. this is pricey but the knowledge gained Steven Covey - 7 habits of highly effective people Training Sales - only way to grow business is to grow revenue. Only way to grow revenue is grow your knowledge Cardone University Karis school of negotiation Fred Pryor seminars - 4-6 hour classes at local hotels or online, very good for constant development Vistage - he meets with executives monthly to discuss areas of growth, culture and challenges of an executive Market Traders Institute - If you're wanting to trade forex, you need trading programs. They have forex foundation courses Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Jacob, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Jacob's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

4:06 - Jacob's background 5:04 - How Jacob would explain what he does for a living Investor education and trading Teach people how to trade in the Forex market, exchanging money. When deployed, Jacob would stop in Germany before Afghanistan and would check the exchange rate. When he would stop there on the way back, the dollar would be worth a different amount. So he helps people understand and take advantage of this Their in the business of changing people's lives through empowerment. His goal is to empower people - teach them to fish - and grow their financial income Only about 30% of investors make money... their clients see about 57% of people making money 7:56 - Jacob's Growth & history getting there His father started the company in 1994 and ran it until 2004 He grew it to 8 employees during that time and it supported his family When Jacob left the military he joined the team of 8 people and took what he learned in the military - process & structure - and instilled it in the company Within a few years did every position to understand the company and put structures in place and grew the company to 25 employees In 2007 became President and things were going well... until the financial market collapse right after took over President. But his experience in the military in these tough times 2008-2011 there was no growth - just a fight for survival. But at the end of 2011 had figured things out. Since 2011 grown 1250% in revenue, 25 to 200 employees, listed on Inc 5k #592 fastest growing companies in America. He's also been committed to growth and listed top 10 places to work in Florida He talks about constantly having to reinvent yourself as a company - what challenges you see at 25 employees is different than 100 employees What was important to us and what we tracked a year ago isn't important today. And what we're monitoring today won't be important in the future. And what makes the difference is constant growth - grow or die. Not revenue but growing yourself personally. 15:10 - Resources The key to his success has been the commitment to growth and learning Success is a journey, not a destination - this qoute really shaped his look towards education You will never reach "success" - it is constant evolution and growth - it's the only way to push the journey forward We don't want to be first but we don't want to be third. There are a lot of successful business in this world. Go get a mentor and learn from successful people Jacob doesn't have a college degree... but he reads a book a month. He read a study saying the Average American reads 1 book per year! If he reads one book per month, in 5 years he'll have read 60 books vs. 5! The knowledge he has acquired in this way has tremendously helped his company Books John Maxwell - teaches leadership. There's never a time when you will have too many leaders. Staying focused on developing your leadership will create opportunities Leadership Gold - The 360 degree 12 laws of leadership Who moved my cheese - Jacob has read this book 10-12 times over his career. It talks about change and adapting to change. Danger in the comfort zone - currently reading as part of book club, the danger of entitlement and living in the comfort zone Conferences - anything, industyr conference or leadership conference Tony Robbins - Business Mastery. this is pricey but the knowledge gained Industry-focused Steven Covey - 7 habits of highly effective people Training Sales - only way to grow business is to grow revenue. Only way to grow revenue is grow your knowledge Cardone University Caris school of negotiation Fred Pryor seminars - 4-6 hour classes at local hotels or online, very good for constant development Vistage - he meets with executives monthly to discuss areas of growth, culture and challenges of an executive If you're wanting to trade forex, you need trading programs. They have forex foundation courses 24:28 - The Book Club Jacob has several of these at his company now. It started with his father, who would shut down the company for a few hours and discuss a few chapters of a book they were reading at the time Before this he had only read a few books, and this catapulted his reading It has helped his personal income and the business - continuously growing things They accicdentally stopped this during the recession and realized the dramatic impact this had on their growth. How can you change if you're not learning? He leads a book club every week - as an executive team they discuss the chapter they read. He asks his managers to hold their own book club pertaining to leadership or a technical skill in their department Unless you highly recommend this, life will get in the way. We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. But an outsider looking in is actions... they speak louder than words. You can't learn in the comfort zone or danger zone, but in the uncomfort zone. Skirting that line between danger and comfort. Harmony doesn't create growth - dis-harmony does. Every major breakthrough came from his team being in dis-harmony. Something wasn't going well, and they tried something new and it created a breakthrough 31:43 - A challenge Jacob has faced in growing his company He has faced MANY challenges in growing a company Many of them have been internal - struggles with how he views himself, not being able to live up to external expectations Every day he comes to work and faces challenges - he is now in the business of people and managing, so most of his challenges are people-related. At any given moment about 30% of the world is facing some sort of major personal crisis... that means 60 of his team members are facing a personal crisis (divorce, death, sick child, birth, etc). Business isn't about money it's about developing people. In the military he thought business would be cut throat - but that's not what a successful business is. It's about helping and growing people. So in this respect the challenge is an opportunity to have a positive impact. 35:22 - Maintaining emotional stability amidst the chaos of growing a company You need to keep things in perspective - 30% of the world is having a personal crisis right now He has had many challenges - 2 tours in Afghanistan, medically discharged from a shartered vertabrae. These challenges, vs business challenges, are not nearly in the same bucket. These challenges are nothing compared to what others are facing. Seeing the problem as smaller helps him get to a solution quicker. The Sky is never falling. When you take a step back and evaluate Get a mentor - get several mentors. There is no such thing as a perfect mentor. Depending on the crisis you will have a different mentor - business colleague, someone outside the business, a family member. They help you put it in perspective because they're not emotionally involved with the problem It can be VERY uncomfortable to be vulnerable around a mentor, but it will lead to growth. Maritial problems, money problems, relationship problems - when you let go of the fear, you get out of hell a lot quicker 41:22 - Creating systems in a company Success is a formula, not a fantasy. Even gut feelings are intuitions that you prove with a process or strarety to see if it's valid Nearly everythign at MTI is run through a process: even the amount of money they spend. Spending $X for marketing to get Y leads that dictates the # of sales people they have to the # of clients they bring onboard, and that determines the number of customer support which determines the amount of product developers... everything is connected In the military, Jacob saw that everything was a system. He was in a company of people who were virtually identical, with very similar skill sets. This didn't happen by chance - it was a process the military created. If you continue to refine a process you'll get the same results Business isn't a massive feeling of how you feel today. If you have a process and are dedicated to a process you are constantly refining and iterating, you realize that the business starts to operate at high efficiency. It doesn't matter how you feel today - it matters how you adhere to the formula. Of course emotions matter, but structure helps a company grow Don't be so married to the process that you're blindly married to it - be committed to improving ti and 46:31 - Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs If you're on active duty and thinking of transitioning, know that it's an emotional experience: exciting, fearful, and sad. Jacob wasn't sure what to do - be an overseas contractor, use the GI bill to go back to college, or join his family business and not make much money He opted for opportunity - he could make 10X more money as a contractor... but is that sustainable income in 10-20 years. For him, it was short-term. Look for opportunity - for things outside your comfort zone. Sometimes small opportunities - like his with his family business - can become enormous. If you're already out of the military and looking to grow: companies don't always communicate what really matters. If they tell a salesperson you need to have 80 calls a day to have 1 sale per day... so if you make 60 calls and make 1 sale, you may feel like you weren't successful. This comes from not properly defining what really matters - what matters is changing someone's life. If you make each call with this intention, it can change things. So find out what 1-2 items REALLY matter. "Moving the rock" - what are you doing that will "move the rock" Force X Distance  = Work... what really matters is DISTANCE. It doesn't matter how much force... how far does it go Are you moving the rock? find the 1-2 things that really affect this Train yourself to separate yourself from other people. Grow your knowledge - it's not the companies responsibility to train the employee. Sometimes people will say 'if the company can't send me to a conference I won't do it' But if you take responsibility, this is what I need to grow... it changes everything. Do I need this knowledge or not? If yes - find a way to get there. This is how you separate yourself - the average person won't do this. 55:18 - Final words of wisdom Thank you for your service When I was in I thought I was just one of the bunch. But since then has realized that he has made a difference on the world. It is a real sacrifice to serve in the military... no matter what you're doing you're having an impact Idea not coupled with action is not worth the brain cell it sits on You can have the best idea, but if you don't act it doesn't matter. You're going to fail 100%. You will fail WAY more often than you succeed. there's no such thing as a true failure if you learn from it. Act on your ideas, even if they're failures - learn from them and grow from them and eventually - it just takes one good hit. It's not luck - its a culmination of all your learnings from all your

82. BTU #98 – Jared Wymer: Marines to Amazon & a PhD… simultaneously
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“One of the first things I heard in grad school was: Get used to B's instead of A's. And I had a knee-jerk reaction to that. But you know what - I'm pretty OK with high B's now, and solving cool problems with cool people for a really cool company. So you just need to decide what trade-offs you're willing to live with in your life and divide and conquer.”
- Jared Wymer

Jared Wymer is a Program Manager for Global Talent Management at Amazon. Jared started out by enlisting in the Marine Corps, where he served for eight years in logistics, supply chain management, and intelligence, while also pursuing and receiving an undergraduate degree and MBA. Jared transitioned from the Marines into a PhD program, working concurrently in finance and as a Fellow for the Department of State. Since that time Jared started his own consulting company, Wymer & Associates, and joined Amazon. Jared is currently one year away from obtaining his PhD.

The top reasons to listen to this episode is:

Amazon - Jared talks about working at a fast-paced, top technology company like Amazon. He discusses interviewing tips and advice on finding the right job for you Improving your working habits - being in Global Talent Management, Jared has a few tips for any veteran on how to grow, improve, and stay ahead Education - Jared talks about getting a PhD while working full time, and advice on higher education. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Resources  Service 2 School - they were a big help in Jared finding his way to a PhD program TheGradCafe.com - it's like Reddit, where ideas / questions are voted up or down. There's feedback on program, professors, and classes Kanban Board - list of projects you will do this week, next week, tomorrow, etc. You limit the number of projects you can focus on. Trello is a great example of this. Books The Wisdom of Insecurity - Jared's big takeaway was to not get too wrapped up around material possessions but to be present in one's life. It's easy to focus on moving the ball forward at every moment, but really being present in whatever you're doing Deep Work - a great book at being more focused at work The Everything Store - a biography of Jeff Bezos and look at Amazon Show Notes 3:00 - Jared's background 3:36 - What Jared does Program Management is similar to most NCO' responsibilities - a go between for people aligned with a certain program: how you promote someone, a piece of software, event planning, etc. In general it's aligning with one of these things and bringing the user's of the product and team responsible for it, and helping it come off without a hitch. Talent Management is promotions, and what it looks like once you're hired (performance review, etc) 5:46 - Jared's road from the military to Amazon Build your network while on active duty - talk to people who leave before you do; people at universities you're thinking of applying to; people who have jobs you admire Jared didn't get into Amazon through a traditional recruiting process - it was through a friend of a friend, where he emailed his application directly to a hiring manager This is true of his first job out of the military, which was in finance Take every moment you have to think about where you might want to go (and where it is possible to go) Figure out how to talk about what you did within the military - get comfortable telling your story in a way a civilian can understand (10:30) Networking is rarely about me - it's about the person I'm speaking with and what value I can add for them 11:42 - What drew Jared to Amazon initially Right time, right place - there was an opening right at the right time Amazon has many of the positives from the military - there is a high standard for everything (it pays to be a winner) Amazon does not have much red tape - you're encouraged to run fast and people are willing to take risks on you Many Marines are offered jobs that don't take advantage of their full skill set... Amazon is the opposite of this. They understand where you've been and where you want to go. If you can prove yourself once or twice, they will make BIG bets on you It's a great example of the importance of narrative - everything they do is based on an overarching vision document. Nothing gets done without a vision document - synthesize where you want to go and how you want to get there. 15:00 - Advice on applying to Amazon The Star Interviewing method - make sure you have examples from your experience, what you did, what was the outcome, who did you do it with. You should definitely have this under your belt and know what you're doing. Amazon, similar to the military, is very serious about their leadership principles. You can research this easily online, but every interview is structured around these leadership principles Being able to talk about your resume in 2-3 different ways in this Star Format Veterans shy away from "name dropping" or referring to leadership principles directly but people love it when you do this There is a whole new veterans initiative at Amazon. You could apply at Amazon.com/jobs, but it's hard to make it through this way. But the link in the Resources section is much better 20:15 - Career Advice for veterans a few years out of active duty (how to avoid failing) People at Amazon move at the speed of Amazon, and there is a lot of ambiguity in each role The #1 best thing you can do is to - regardless of role or company - have a framework that reduces the ambiguity you're feeling. It will make you more happy & content, and will also help you move forward when you do have an ambiguous situation. An example would be 3-4 conversations where everyone is brought together, and they decide as a group which action items are dropped from the communal list, and which are given priority. A timeline is established with all major deliverables and milestones, and 5 minutes of conversation around each milestone is re-grounding everyone in where they are in the process, and what steps are involved between different parts. It leads to a lot more collaboration and identifying of potential faults 26:52 - Pursuing a PhD while working full time He started by creating a list of people who could provide honest feedback, people who could provide empathy, a career board of advisors, a list of people who are social support. Throughout the PhD process he has viewed a part-time or full-time job as a way to continue to network and have a social circle outside of the PhD process. Jared has two brothers who have done this as well; while it comes at the expense of grades and research, it adds incredible professional experiences that may outweigh these (especially applying what you learn as you learn it) 31:38 - Advice for veterans considering pursuing a PhD Service 2 School was a huge resource for Jared Grad school / PhD program are going to seem like a lot. He found so much by calling the universities he was applying to and professors he would work with... it provided incredible insight (as well as an inside track to admission) Many school website are not updated as frequently as you'd expect, so it's important to get the info first hand or from sites like TheGradCafe.com Think 2-5 steps ahead so you can stay ahead of where you want to go 35:48 - Resources 40:26 - Final Words of Wisdom A lot of time we don't talk to each other about our successes and failure, and our time in the military can feel like high school rather than getting to know people on a deeper level Talk to each other about the highs and lows. Whether it is professional or educational or otherwise In doing this you will come across people who tell you something cannot be done... be your own myth busters.  Whether this is learning a new skill, or reducing dependencies on others Veterans have a lot of qualifications and this can make things scary and ambiguous - we don't know how to tell our story or brand ourselves. get out there, talk to people, get out of your current circle to figure out what you want to do and how to talk about your past. Celebrate the small things in your life. When you're a young military member it may be about going out drinking. as you get older, intentionally celebrating the small wins - redo your resume, get into a program, meet new friends, etc - intentionally take time to reflect on the positive things in your life

83. BTU 97 Jonny Coreson UNEDITED
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This is the unedited, full interview of my conversation with Jonny Coreson. An edited, production version can be found at: http://wp.me/p7MLkR-wx

Jonny Coreson is currently on active duty in the military, and has started two different companies while on active duty. His current company - Blue Jacketeer - helps Navy Sailors prepare for their advancement exam. This is a great interview for anyone on Active Duty or recently separated who is interested in entrepreneurship.

Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Jonny's company: https://bluejacketeer.com/ Recommended Resources Bunker in a Box - brick and mortar collaboration spaces as well as online resources with meet-ups for military aspiring entrepreneurs. Geared towards people on active duty, provides a 14-module course The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future Veterati - connects veterans with mentors in a desired civilian industry

84. BTU #97: Jonny Coreson – Starting a company while on active duty
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Jonny Coreson is currently on active duty in the military, and has started two different companies while on active duty. His current company - Blue Jacketeer - helps Navy Sailors prepare for their advancement exam. This is a great interview for anyone on Active Duty or recently separated who is interested in entrepreneurship.

Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Jonny's company: https://bluejacketeer.com/ Recommended Resources Bunker in a Box - brick and mortar collaboration spaces as well as online resources with meet-ups for military aspiring entrepreneurs. Geared towards people on active duty, provides a 14-module course The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future Veterati - connects veterans with mentors in a desired civilian industry

85. BTU 96 Deep Work
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In this interview, I take a look at Cal Newport's book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, which provides information about how to work more productively and efficiently. I've found this book to be immensely helpful in my own work life and hope that it helps you as well.

Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Audible Trial - receive a free audio book (and support BTU) So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Interviews referenced Cal Newport Ryan Guina Show Notes Cal Newport - #86 Secret to finding deeply fulfilling work is NOT about following your passion Instead about getting really, really good at whatever it is you do And that developing a craft - honing a specific skill set, will lead to the three ingredients of a fulfilling career, which is: Autonomy Competency Relatedness (connection to others) Deep Work Special thanks to Ryan Guina - BTU #61 - cash money life & the military wallet I’m just going to skim the surface Talk about the 3-5 tips that have been most helpful to me these last few weeks The book is FULL of other ideas - some that may resonate more for you. So check it out. Audio Book or Digital Book - do order through BTU helps offset the $120 it costs to keep this showing going every month. Full disclosure if you do a free trial of Audible, BTU makes z$15, if you buy a book through our link we get about $0.15… clearly we are crushing it financially Not really, but if you do either of those things, it means I lose less money on this show. LOVED this book HUGE impact on my productivity Very excited to share this with you and hope it helps you in whatever you’re doing Structure Background and Deep Work for context Tips Email Scheduling Daily shutdown procedure Sprints Work-centric meditations Free time Focus on Deep work What is deep work How long would it take (in months) to train a smart recent college graduate with no specialized training in my field to complete this task? If answer is less than a year… probably not incredibly deep work May keep you busy, may make you feel momentum and feel like you’re making progress Not the deeply skilled work that will set you apart and make you fulfilled Balance of Deep and Shallow Work Will always have shallow work Writers, intellectuals may be able to detach for months to focus on their work Most of us can’t do that What is important though is maintaining an awareness of when you’re doing shallow work "It’s difficult to prevent the trivial from creeping into every corner of your schedule if you don’t face, without flinching, your current balance between deep and shallow work, and then adopt the habit of pausing before action and asking, “What makes the most sense right now?” Focusing on highest leverage item "If you give your mind something meaningful to do throughout all your waking hours, you’ll end the day more fulfilled, and begin the next one more relaxed, than if you instead allow your mind to bathe for hours in semiconscious and unstructured Web surfing" Might think this would be exhausting Always pushing your mind to focus on the highest leverage & most strenuous activity "One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change—not rest, except in sleep.” If you’re like me - some of the things that typically distract Apps facebook Reddit Email I often find myself reaching for these things instincitlvely before i even realize it Effort to keep from getting bored Cal is a HUGE advocate of boredom It’s restorative It allows you mind to recoup and allows your subconscious to solve problems in the background Great idea in the shower or on a drive But these things like Facebook, email, apps - they have a way of creeping into our lives "Addictive websites of the type mentioned previously thrive in a vacuum: If you haven’t given yourself something to do in a given moment, they’ll always beckon as an appealing option." One way to help when it comes to these apps that often pose themselves as productivity boosting or necessary is a message Cal has: "These services aren’t necessarily, as advertised, the lifeblood of our modern connected world. They’re just products, developed by private companies, funded lavishly, marketed carefully, and designed ultimately to capture then sellyour personal information and attention to advertisers” Cal talk about how there is no way to increase your ability to conduct deep work unless you start to ween yourself off of these distractions And so to help with this Cal advises to really be deliberate about which tools you let into your life. Are they really helping you? "The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.” EMAIL "Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside these times. I suggest that you keep a notepad near your computer at work. On this pad, record the next time you’re allowed to use the Internet. Until you arrive at that time, absolutely no network connectivity is allowed—no matter how tempting.” I’ve done this the last couple of weeks and been amazed Cal talks about how even looking at your email distracts you for minutes and tens of minutes afterwards this CONSTANT distraction takes a toll little of us realize in our daily work SCHEDULE Scheduling day before in 30 minute blocks Schedule work day - each line 30 min, draw line down center. Block out all activities; provide overflow time. Assign task block and to right detail what tasks. Haveoverflow time allotted for email or something else. Ok to reschedule as many times as necessary throughout day If you stumble on insight, pursue as long as necessary regardless of schedule. Point is to build habit of asking what is most important to work on Evaluate depth by # of mos it would take a college grad to learn. Assign % of time for deep work and plan accordingly SHUTDOWN Fixed schedule productivity: don't work past 5:30. Don't offer excuses when declining opportunities and don't offer consolation prizes It's essential to shutdown from work at the end of the day and give subconscious time to rejuvenate and work on problems. NO intrusion of work email or work website ready. Unaccomplished tasks will dominate attention. Daily shutdown ritual: Check email - anything urgent? Review to do list - anything urgent outstanding? (Ensuring plan in place will relax mind) Review next 3 days of calendar - anything I'm missing Set plan for tomorrow Say "shutdown complete" - give mind permission to disengage Schedule when I will be online (e.g. Every 15 min for 5 min) If I absolutely cannot work on offline activity without access to internet, impose 5 min wait and then reschedule internet time (don't do it immediately) Schedule online blocks in evening too. Need periods of boredom SPRINTS Roosevelt dash - once per week, set aside time and give self less time for deep work than you need. FORCE self to work more productively. Can expand frequency after a few weeks MEDITATION Productively meditate - 3x / week, take a walk and think about one specific problem. Keep coming back to it. Avoid distraction and beware of looping back over same points continuously. FREE TIME Need to plan free time with structured activities that exercise mind and truly rejuvenate - social networks and web shouldn't be used for decompression and will fill any time left vacant

86. BTU #95 - Andrew Watts: Navy to Full-time Author
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“I wrote two books before I decided to leave [Proctor & Gamble] and do write full-time. You've got to have a steady source of income, you've got to have savings, and you have to have a clear path to getting to profitable replacement income for where you were. There's no real get-rich-quick path to self-publishing. I definitely think you need to have a list of products that are already out there and a proven track record before you start doing it as a full-time job.”
- Andrew Watts

Andrew Watts is the author of three books, The War Planners, The War Stage (The War Planners) (Volume 2), and Pawns of the Pacific. Andrew started out at the Naval Academy in 2003 and served as a naval officer and helicopter pilot until 2013. He started his civilian career at Proctor & Gamble for nearly four years, first as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader. He published his first two books while at P&G before making the transition to full-time author in 2017.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Operations - Andrew started his civilian career in Operations, since he had experience with Operations in the Navy... but he found out that there's considerable differences between the two. He talks about Operations at Proctor & Gamble (and in the civilian sector in general) and the differences from what one might expect coming from the military. Proctor & Gamble - P&G is a company with a fantastic reputation, and also has a reputation for loving military veterans. Andrew talks about how, after only hist first week at P&G, he started to receive recruiting calls trying to lure him away. He talks about the interview process, how to prepare, and what life at P&G was like. Side projects - Andrew wrote his first two books while working full time at P&G. For any veteran wanting to pursue their own company or idea, he has great advice about how to make progress towards that goal before jumping off into the unknown. Writing - after publishing his first two books, Andrew took the plunge to become a full-time writer. He talks about this in a way that made me realize that it's akin to running a company entirely by yourself - marketing, publishing, getting cover artwork done... and doing it entirely by yourself. For any aspiring veteran writers, it's a great look at this creative lifestyle and the world of self-publishing. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links The Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) - Andrew credits this with helping him find his job with Proctor & Gamble Andrew's Books The War Planners The War Stage (The War Planners) (Volume 2) Books recommended on this episode Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World - I recommended this book as a great resource for any veteran about how to do deep work that will be valuable in your career rather than the superficial work that takes up time and doesn't make a difference. Author Cal Newport was on the show before, and hits it out of the park with this book. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear - I recommended this book (GREAT on audiobook) for anyone interested in fostering their creativity as an entrepreneur, artist, or worker On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft  - Andrew recommended this book (and I wholeheartedly second it) as an incredible look at persistence in any craft, and what it takes to become a great writer Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print - Andrew recommended this book as a great primer on how to self-publish and everything you need to know. Mark Dawson - Andrew recommended this thriller writer, whoe started self-publishing 5 years ago and has since then produced over 20 books. He offers great courses about Facebook ads, email lists, how to sell books. Andrew particularly recommended his starter Course on how to self-publish Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) - this is the resource that Andrew used to self-publish his first two books Show Notes
3:18 - Andrew's background 3:54 - How Andrew would explain what he does for a living as a full-time author 4:40 - For aspiring veteran authors, how important it is to have sustainable income prior to launching a career as a full-time author 6:00 - How Andrew decided to leave the Navy 7:45 - How Andrew used the Service Academy Career Conference to find his way to P&G 9:12 - What Operations in the civilian sector and at P&G, and how it differs from Operations in the military 13:13 - How P&G boosted Andrew's credibility within the business world and lead to head hunters calling him only one week after starting there 15:36 - An overview of the hiring & interview process at P&G 18:55 - What Andrew would have done differently when negotiating his first contract at P&G 20:06 - How Andrew would explain his roles at P&G as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader 24:26 - What Andrew's life looked like while working at P&G 30:24 - How Andrew was able to write two novels while working full-time at P&G, and advice to veterans seeking to start a side project while working full-time 36:42 - An overview of Andrew's work as an author and the incredible traction he's received so far 37:57 - How long it took Andrew to write his first book while working full-time, and then his second book 41:14- Advice to veterans debating between self-publishing vs. using a publisher 43:45 - When Andrew first thought of writing, and how writing on a deployment lead to his though of becoming an author 46:30 - Resources Andrew would recommend to any veteran aspiring author 48:27 - How Andrew structures his day when he has an open landscape for his own work and advice on how to stay on task

 



87. BTU #94 – Phil McConkey: Navy to NFL Super Bowl Winner & Investment Bank President
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“I was 27 years old, 150 pounds, and I hadn’t played football in five years. And I decided that I wanted to go chase this dream [of joining the NFL]. Literally, people laughed at me. They said you have absolutely no chance - the odds are astronomically against you and you can’t do it.”
- Phil McConkey

Phil McConkey is the President of Academy Securities, our nation’s first and only post 9/11 military veteran and disabled veteran owned and operated investment bank and broker dealer. Phil has served in this capacity for the last 6 years. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served for five years as a Naval Aviator. After his military service, spent 6 years in the NFL, with the Packers, Cardinals, Chargers and the Giants - where he won the Super Bowl.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Resilience - Phil's first career was in the NFL, where he caught a pass for the winning team in the Super Bowl; he went on to start his own investment bank of which he is now president. He talks about being cut from the NFL multiple times and fighting his way back, about having the tenacity to pursue one's dream no matter what that is. Finance - Phil's company, Academy Securities, employs many veterans through Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Resources Veterans on Wall Street - Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) is an initiative dedicated to honoring former military personnel and employees currently in the National Guard and Reserve 100,000 Jobs Mission - https://www.veteranjobsmission.com/ Man in the Arena - A speech that Phil kept with him at the NFL and has encouraged him to remain resilient through all adversities Show Notes 2:35 - Phil’s background 3:40 - How Phil approached his decision to leave the military 15:10 - How Phil transitioned from the Navy to the NFL 19:45 - Phil’s advice to those pursuing professional sports or anything that seems like a farfetched dream 23:08 - How Phil started his second civilian career in the world of finance 25:52 - Phil’s advice to veterans seeking a career in finance 28:50 - Advice for veterans seeking to start their own company 37:45 - What life is like as President of Academy Securities 40:48 - Recommended resources 42:52 - What it’s like for a new veteran hire at Academy Securities 44:42 - Final words of wisdom

88. BTU #93 – Matt Ufford: Marines to Editor & Host at SB Nation
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“My job now is [compared to my time in the Marine Corps] so delightfully meaningless and inconsequential that the only way that I an look at sports and covering sports is that it is the silliest, most fun thing. It allows me, after the ultimate seriousness of combat in the Marine Corps, to laugh at anything, no matter how seemingly serious it is.”
- Matt Ufford

Matt Ufford is an Editor-at-Large and Video Host at SB Nation - a digital sports media brand and network of team sites built by and for the modern sports fan. He started out at Northwestern University, after which he served in the Marine Corps for four years as a Tank Officer. After the Marines he worked as a columnist at AOL Sports, as well as an editor at Uproxx Media, where he founded their sports and TV blogs.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Sports Writing - Matt set out to be a writer, and has worked his way up to a role where he now produced YouTube videos about sports. His story is inspiring, and is an example how through repetition and hard work, veterans can achieve any role. New Media - when Matt started out, Twitter didn't even exist. Now his role is all about YouTube. He talks about how the Sports and Media environment is rapidly changing, and what it's like to work in this constantly evolving space Perspective - I love the gratitude and perspective that Matt holds. He talks about how, compared to his military service, his job is stress free, and the gratitude he feels each day to be alive. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Related Episodes Cal Newport - Matt is a great example of building and using career capital. Cal talks a lot about how one can go about doing this Nate Boyer - Nate served in the NFL and Matt references Resources The Things They Carried - Book that made Matt want to write On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft A few of Matt's YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86q9Cvapczg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfu5J8r2WoE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPKDUxC7dCQ Show Notes 3:32 - Matt's background 4:00 - How Matt approached his decision to leave the Marine Corps 7:07 - What Matt does right now at SB Nation 8:25 - What Matt's day-to-day life looks like covering sports at SB Nation 10:23 - How Matt brings his videos to life on YouTube 17:34 - Matt's journey from the Marine Corps to a career in sports media 22:42 - How Matt started his own blog, which lead to his current career 27:54 - Recommended resources 33:42 - Final words of wisdom

89. BTU #92 - Justine Evirs: Service to School and 6+ years helping vets with education
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“Navigating my way through school as a first generation college student, I made a lot of mistakes. I could have done things a lot differently if I’d had mentorship or guidance on how to make decisions. I believe that I went through that and found myself within the military higher education space over six years ago, really just wanting to be what I needed when I got out.”
- Justine Evirs

Justine is the Senior Director of Programs at Service to School. She is a Navy veteran and Navy spouse, and has helped countless veterans find and be accepted to their ideal college and grad school programs. She started out as a Fireman in the US Navy, and has dedicated the last 6 years to transforming our active duty, military spouse, and veteran community through academic advising & program development. She has worked at ECPI University, the University of Maryland, and College of San Mateo in veteran services coordinator positions.
The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Education - Justine has spent over 6 years helping veterans find the right school (undergraduate or graduate) and program to accelerate their career. She's got extremely helpful advice about how to maximize your educational experience Entrepreneurship - Seth talks about starting a business, a brewery, and a foundation all at the same time Mentors - Seth does a great job of talking about how to find and learn from mentors as veterans pursue their civilian career Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Related Episodes - if you liked this episode, I would recommend you check out the following episodes: Tim Hsia - Founder of Service to School David Lee - used Service to School to go from the Marines to the Stanford Graduate School of Business Alex Chivers - Army Ranger NCO to Dartmouth Service 2 School Veterati - Veterati is a free mentorship platform. Our mentors are professionals volunteering to serve those who have served our country. Student Veterans of America (SVA) - Student Veterans of America presents groundbreaking research about student veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. American Corporate Partners - Founded in 2008, ACP aims to ease the transition from the military to the civilian workforce. LinkedIn - essential for networking and very underutilized by veterans Show Notes 2:39 - Justine’s background 3:47 - How Justine found herself unexpectedly facing a career transition far earlier than she expected 8:00 - Justine’s road from the Navy, through higher education, to Service to School 10:40 - Why Justine advocates education after military service instead of going directly into industry 13:50 - An overview of Service to School 21:30 - Some common mistakes that veterans make when applying to attending higher education after military service 29:20 - How to start to uncover - while on active duty - what you may want to do afterwards 35:10 - How to find the right school for you 41:45 - Advice on pursuing education after the military vs. while on active duty 46:00 - Recommended resources 48:08 - Final words of wisdom

 



90. Seth Jordan
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“I wanted to use something that I thought was special that was tied to my Marine Corps time, which is the celebratory nature of using beer as a way to give back. And I'm proud to say that this grew into a movement, and we're excited about the work that we do."
– Seth Jordan

Seth Jordan is the Founder & President of Dog Tag Brewing, a brewery that provides the highest quality crafted beers that deliver a message of gratitude for the selfless sacrifice of our nation’s military. Proceeds from Dog Tag Brewing sales are donated to causes determined by the families of fallen warriors.

He graduated from Clemson University in South Carolina and went to work for ESPN in New York City, but felt compelled to serve after 9/11. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps for nearly 10 years as a Naval Aviator and UH-1 Helicopter pilot with over 250 combat missions. He started Dog Tag Brewing after leaving the Marine Corps.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Support - Seth established a Brewery where all of the profits go to supporting veteran families and the causes they believe in. It's a great example of using one's career for a purpose greater than oneself Entrepreneurship - Seth talks about starting a business, a brewery, and a foundation all at the same time Mentors - Seth does a great job of talking about how to find and learn from mentors as veterans pursue their civilian career Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Related Episodes - if you liked this episode, I would recommend you check out the following episodes: BTU 60 - Matt Miller - Vending machine; helping family and building own life BTU 71 - Jeff Tiegs - Guardian Group - giving back BTU 38 - Chris Shaw - Good overview of Bunker Labs Recommended Resources Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business - The difference between innovators and executors. Division of labor, who does what and when. Battle Rhymths and how to get through things. LinkedIn - using LinkedIn requests instead of Facebook friends, connecting with new people and following up on those connections Bunker Labs - used own experiences as entrepreneurs to help veterans. Great place to test business plan and pitch deck, and learn from others. Dogtagbrewing.org - foundation doing work for the families of the fallen who have largely been neglected Video overview about Dog Tag Brewing Show Notes 3:45 - Seth's Background 4:30 - Seth's decision to join the Military from the civilian sector 5:22 - Seth's decision to leave the Marine Corps 6:28 - When Seth first started to think about starting his own brewery 8:04 - Seth's decision to donate all profits he makes to help veteran causes 12:27 - What it was like to start a brewery and advice to other veterans seeking to start their own company 16:52 - Advice for veterans seeking a mentor - how to find them and evaluate when to bring them on in a more formal capacity 22:00 - How often Seth meets with this mentors and advisors 24:16 - What Seth's day-to-day life looks like 27:16 - Advice on finding work-life balance 31:24 - The most valuable skill Seth took away from the Marine Corps that has helped him at Dog Tag Brewing 32:12 - One skill that Seth had to develop since leaving the Marine Corps 33:50 - What advice Seth would have given to himself when he first left the Marine Corps 39:37 - Resources Seth recommends to all veterans 44:00 - Final words of wisdom 47:50 - Where you can find out more about Dog Tag Brewing and how you can support Seth and his mission

91. Dan Piontkowski
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“Not every conversation that you have should up with a hiring "yes or no" decision at the end of it. You've got to spend some time going out there and finding what's out there. The right job is out there for everybody. It's a matter of us finding it."
– Dan Piontkowski

Dan is the Manager of Sourcing for all the hourly roles at Marriott in the US. He has worked in a variety of recruiting capacities at Amazon, KPMG, Hewlett-Packard, and Booz Allen Hamilton to include leading and launching many of the veteran recruiting pipelines and initiatives. Dan started out as a Corporal in the Marine Corps, before going to the Naval Academy and then serving as a Surface Warfare Officer. His last tour in the Navy was as an Officer Programs Recruiter stationed at Penn State that got him hooked on recruiting.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Job Search - Dan has worked with some of the best companies in the world, and has some great advice on common pitfalls veterans can avoid in their job search and interview process LinkedIn Advice - Dan leverages LinkedIn quite a bit in his job, and has some tactical advice for how veterans can best utilize LinkedIn in advancing their civilian career Recruiting - for veterans interested in Recruiting as a possible career, Dan provides an overview of what this job looks like. He also talks about how his involvement in recruiting within the military helped prepare him for and inform his decision to pursue this as a civilian.  Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Related podcasts Liz McLean - Dan got her her first job, and she provides another great perspective on recruiting Sam Bond - I reference how Sam found his job at Lyft through staying in touch with his network in an authentic way Networking is a Contact Sport: How Staying Connected and Serving Others Will Help You Grow Your Business, Expand Your Influence -- or Even Land Your Next Job The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts - recognizing how people you work with like to be acknowledged as a means of building allies and strengthening your network The LinkedIn Group, The Veteran's Mentor Network, Dan talks about being the most active group on LinkedIn Show Notes 2:07 - Dan's background 2:44 - Dan's decision to leave the military and how he approached this decision 3:48 - Dan's first job search and what he learned from this 8:20 - Based on Dan's experience and having worked with many different veterans, some common mistakes he sees veterans make in their job search 20:35 - What Dan does as a recruiter, and what his job looks like on a typical day 26:40 - Advice for how veterans can best utilize LinkedIn 31:14 - Other resources Dan would recommend for veterans 34:27 - One piece of advice Dan would give to someone on Active Duty on how to prepare for their career transition 38:43 - Final words of wisdom

92. BTU #88 - Mike Benedosso - Army Boxing National Champion to LinkedIn & Google
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“That self-discipline and drive, the foresight and focus on accomplishing a goal larger than yourself and more important than quenching your thirst (literally and figuratively) is what drove me to succeed in boxing and what drives me now to succeed in sales and other positions I may have in the future."
– Mike Benedesso

Mike works in New Business Development at Google as part of Google Cloud. He started out at West Point, where he was the Boxing Team Captain and a National Champion. He served in the Army for five years: first as an Executive Officer (XO) of a Military Intelligence Company and then as a Platoon Leader and Team Captain of the Army Boxing Team in the Army's World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colorado. There, he trained to earn a spot on the 2012 US Olympic Boxing team. Since leaving the Army in 2012, he has worked at Sony, LinkedIn, Google, and earned his MBA from UCLA.The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Determination - Mike didn't get into Google until his third time;  he is a case study in persistence and he talks about how boxing and the military prepared him for this. Sales & Account Management - Mike provides a great depiction of an Account Executive role, what the sales aspects of this actually look like. Mike had no experience in this role, and has a great description of what life is like and why other veterans may like this Google & LinkedIn - Mike has worked at both of these iconic companies and provides a good overview of what life is like here Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links LinkedIn Sales The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation SPIN Selling Websites TechCrunch VentureBeat Show Notes 2:16 - Mike's Background 3:00 - How Boxing helped Mike prepare for his civilian career 5:38 - When Mike decided to leave the military 7:00 - Mike's first job search 9:20 - An overview of Mike's experience at UCLA's Anderson School of Business getting his MBA 10:40 - What lead Mike to LinkedIn 13:38 - What Mike's role as an Enterprise Account Executive Role looked like 15:40 - Signs that veterans may enjoy an Account Executive Role and indications you might not enjoy it 18:34 - What led Mike to Google 20:22 - What Mike's day-to-day life looks like at Google 22:00 - Advice for veterans seeking to work at LinkedIn, Google, or a highly-desired company like them 27:00 - A mistake Mike made sense the military and what he learned from it 29:29 - What habits Mike has had to break from the military to be successful in his civilian career 31:49 - Final words of wisdom

93. BTU #86 - Joe Musselman: Navy to Founder of The Honor Foundation
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“They have no issue negotiating a Syrian and a Kurd ceasefire in the mountains, unarmed with warlords. But if you tell them - what's next for you? They don't know how to do that. Because they've been very frontside focused on the mission in front of them for the last 5, 10, 15, 20+ years. So from that moment it all began for The Honor Foundation."
– Joe Musselman

Joe Musselman is the Founder & CEO of The Honor Foundation. He started out at DePaul University. Joe enlisted in the Navy with intentions of becoming a Navy SEAL, but as he says, “God had other plans.” He sustained an injury that ultimately lead him to found The Honor Foundation. He is also the Founder of The NEXT Series and The SOF Garage.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Founding - how he did a simple step to help one veteran, and how that led incrementally to founding an incredible organization. Joe's story is one of obsession - of taking massive action to make a difference in the world. How to find your dream job - Joe talks about a very prescriptive process that has helped countless members of speical forces though the transition process Learning - this is a theme of Joe's story - reading everything he can each year, studying happines (in the workplace and in life), studying unhappiness, artificul intelligence, and writing a white paper at the end of the year about he's learned. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Books Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World - the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are most risk averse. It emphasizes the importance of planning in startups Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future - inspirational about starting an organization The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - outlines what you need to do as a startup CEO Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career - outlines a mentorship role in a very different way Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win - 2 Navy SEALs Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies - learning about AI and how it will affect society Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration - about fostering creativity Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Podcasts Grey matter Tim Ferris Philosophize This Show Notes 3:21 - Joe's background 3:55 - Joe's unexpected departure from the Navy and how he started The Honor Foundation 15:43 - One of Joe's biggest mistakes in starting The Honor Foundation 18:20 - What it looks like to be involved with The Honor Foundation as a participant 21:30 - Joe's advice for other veterans thinking of starting their own organization 24:45 - Common mistakes that Joe has seen veterans make in their career transition 29:55 - What Joe's day-to-day life looks like 34:30 - How Joe has used interactions with world-class thinkers, leaders and doers to catapult his own learning and The Honor Foundation's growth 36:48 - Joe's involvement with the NEXT Series and the SOF Garage 41:05 - Books, podcasts, and resources Joe would recommend to listeners 46:34 - Things that Joe had to unlearn (and has seen other veterans have to unlearn) from their military experience 50:40 - Final words of wisdom

94. BTU #89 – Drew Sanocki: Navy to bootstrapping from $0 to 7-figures in 1 year
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“I’m so passionate about entrepreneurship, I think everyone should have their own business on the side. If you’re a career person and you like your day job, I would still encourage you to start a business on the side. It’s really liberating, you learn a lot about customers and about marketing and I think the same rule applies to those who are still in the military."
– Drew Sanocki

Drew is a Founding Partner at Empire Growth Group, a hybrid consulting agency, services provider, and investment vehicle. He started out Harvard, after which he served in the Navy as an intelligence Officer for four years. After his transition from the Navy, Drew attended Stanford Business School. After a role at Commerce.TV in Business Development, Drew co-founded Design Public, an 'inventoryless' ecommerce company focused on the home furnishings market, which Drew bootstrapped from $0 to 7 figures in under one year, eventually selling the company after eight profitable years. Drew also runs the site NerdMarketing.com, where he writes about marketing automation and customer segmentation rules that have driven over $100 million in transactions in 2015.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Everyone is an entrepreneur - Drew's advice for veterans is very practical and tactical. He talks about how he got an MBA and took his first job to boost his confidence, but neither of these are necessary for a veteran to start their own company Lifestyle - Drew has an awesome perspective on lifestyle (and a blog post about it here). He also talks about how e-commerce is great for vets, as they can start these companies without a technical co-founder. He talks about looking at the skill set you have that people would pay for, and how to productize as much as possible Functional Skill - Drew has really grown his expertise in eCommerce of over a decade. He's a great example of one potential route for veterans, and it echoes what Steve Reinemund advised about a Hip Pocket Skill for veterans Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Another great interviews that talk about starting a company while on active duty: http://beyondtheuniform.io/btu-20-ian-folau-tactical-advice-for-starting-a-company-even-while-on-active-duty/ Drew wrote an EXCEPTIONAL blog post that I speak about in the interview. You can read it here: http://www.nerdmarketing.com/lifestyle-goals-2017/ Drew’s site: http://www.nerdmarketing.com Drew recommends Ramitz Seffy - http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/ . It’s really solid training that spans from getting started to make $1k on the side all the way to building, sourcing, and delivering your own product online Show Notes 3:55 - Drew’s background 4:55 - The point at which Drew knew he was going to leave the military and how he approached this decision 5:33 - How a lack of confidence lead Drew to graduate school, and advice he has for other vets about how to consider graduate school 7:18 - Advice for steps veterans may take while on active duty to better identify their next move 9:40 - Drew’s experience at CommerceTV in Business Development and Drew’s thoughts on gaining experience prior to starting one’s own company 12:40 - The Genesis of Drew’s company, Design Public 15:09 - One of the most difficult points of growing Design Public 19:33 - “I don’t want to be a billion dollar company, here’s what I want instead” - an exceptional article Drew wrote, and how his thoughts on running his own company has evolved over the years 23:30 - Advice for veterans of thinking of starting their own company 25:58 - Resources that Drew would recommend to aspiring veteran entrepreneurs 28:46 - What lead Drew to start NerdMarketing and what his life looks like on a day-to-day basis 32:20 - Drew’s other venture, the Empire Growth Group 33:30 - How Drew determines how and where to spend his time while he is working on multiple projects simultaneously 36:16 - How Drew has built up Career Capital around e-commerce marketing, and his advice to veterans on doing the same 41:36 - Drew’s final words of wisdom

95. BTU 86 - author Cal Newport: So Good They Can't Ignore You
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“Master something and suddenly you’re going to start noticing very compelling opportunities. Start from scratch, and it’s like you’re at the kiddie table - you’re not really going to come up with something the world cares about."
– Cal Newport

Cal Newport is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, who specializes in the theory of distributed algorithms. He previously earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 2009 and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age as a professor, Cal also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work.He is the author of the recent book Deep Work, which I am reading next. The book we’ll discuss mostly today, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, argues that “follow your passion” is bad advice. Inc Magazine listed it as one of the best business books of the year, and Cal’s related Oped in the NYT was one of their most emailed articles for the entire site.

This is one of the MOST influential books I read in 2016, and I feel it is a message that every veteran should hear.s

Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Cal's Book that we discuss in this interview: So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Show Notes 2:20 - backstory on this interview and a brief background on Cal Newport 4:08 - the context around which Cal wrote So Good They Can’t Ignore You 5:38 - the central premise of So Good They Can’t Ignore Your - follow your passion is not just bad advice, it is potentially harmful advice 8:15 - how we often focus on “the match” of finding the right job places more pressure on one in their job search 12:30 - the Craftsman Mindset and how this is a more compelling approach than a Passion Mindset 17:55 - Career Capital and how veterans can think about their initial transition from the military, and every career transition thereafter 32:00 - Finding a Mission, and how operating at the cutting edge makes this more achievable 35:35 - Deliberate Practice vs. Hard Work, and how the former is essential for developing expertise 43:44 - Control, and how if it is acquired without career capital it will not be sustainable in a career

96. BTU #85 - Nicholas Karnaze: Marines to Founder of Stubble & Stache
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“It’s been amazing and often sometimes very depressing. I mean, it’s not a logical transition to go from Intelligence to Special Operations to Men’s Grooming"
– Nicholas Karnaze

Nick Karnaze is the Founder & CEO of Stubble & Stache, a new breed of skincare for men, and a company that also donates a large of profits to high impact charities helping veterans travel the road to recovery. Nicholas started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served in the Marine Corps for over 7 years as an Intelligence Officer and the Special Operations community. After the Marine Corps he served as the Co-Founder and CEO of The Stabilization Group, and then as Program Lead at Praescient Analytics.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Startups - Nick started hist first company directly out of the Marines, and talks about how important it is to pick the right co-founder, and have difficult conversation upfront.  And he talks about starting and growing his second company, Stubble & Stache, without any business school experience, but instead using books, free resources and programs like the Stanford Ignite program to help him scale his business For profit vs. non-profit - Stubble & Stache is a for profit venture that donates a portion of their revenue to help veterans. He talks about how he made the decision to be for profit rather than a non profit and the big difference that can make in the impact a startup has Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Nick talks about his company's philanthropic effort to combat PTSD. A few interviews relevant to this are Tim Avery - Tim provides a TON of great resources for vets in this regard Duane France - Duane focuses on veterans mental health and provide a lot of great advice and resources Anthony Garcia - Anthony discusses his own battle with depression in a way that is very powerful David Smith - David speaks about his own experience with PTSD and struggle with suicide SBA Website - started here, and found it to be a GREAT source of information about starting your own company SCORE - provide mentorship and classes for entrepreneurs. They have offices in every major city  Books The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It - debunks many misconceptions about ent and also presents the hard reality of life in startups through a variety of case studies Confessions of the Pricing Man: How Price Affects Everything - people often overlook how to set prices. Stanford drove home the idea of how important pricing is, but this book really helped him understand the tactics of setting these prices Think And Grow Rich - Nick reads this book every year and loves it Podcasts How I Built This - the humble beginnings of most companies Show Notes 1:57 - Nick’s background 2:33 - Nick’s decision to leave the Army and how he approached this decision 4:33 - Starting Nick’s first company directly out of the Army 5:22 - Finding a Co-Founder, mistakes Nick made the first time he did this, and advice for veterans on finding the right co-founder 10:58 - What lead Nick to Praescient Analytics 12:48 - How the loss of one Nick’s good friends in combat lead to the genesis of Stubble & Stache 14:58 - When Stubble & Stache turned from a project into a full-time venture 17:22 - An overview of Stubble & Stache 21:02 - How long until Nick was able to pay himself a salary when starting his own company 23:18 - What the journey has been like for Nick, starting his own company 27:53 - Starting a company directly out the Army, what skills Nick would recommend to someone on active duty thinking of starting their own company 30:20 - Resources about finance and startups that Nick would recommend to other veterans 34:12 - Stanford Ignite and why this is an incredible asset for all veterans 36:33 - Having had experience with a startup before Stanford Ignite, Nick’s thoughts on how veterans can best approach and prepare for Stanford Ignite 39:05 - Advice for veterans thinking of starting their own company 44:33 - Habits that Nick had to break when he transitioned from the military to civilian life 46:50 - Nick’s final words of wisdom

97. BTU #84 - David Smith: Marine Corps infantryman to CMO of a Norwegian Startup
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“You should always apply a couple levels above where you think you fit in. I’ve never applied to a school that I actually thought I’d get into; I never applied for a job I actually thought I’d get. I managed to get all of them - it blows my mind every single time but it’s good; it’s a reality check."
– David Smith

David Smith is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Dogu, a Norwegian Business-to-Business (B2B) software company that creates unique solutions that allow businesses to visualize data and and accelerate sales. He started out in the Marine Corps as an infantry rifleman. Since the Marines he has graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, volunteered as a social entrepreneur doing humanitarian work in over 12 countries, has been part of the Stanford Ignite Veterans program, and many other diverse activities I’m sure we’ll get into during the interview.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

Courage - David is such an awesome example of courage; the courage he showed when he moved to Norway, where he eventually joined a startup as their Chief Marketing Officer. The courage David showed in taking a year to travel to over 12 countries doing humanitarian work and also doing person development work; the courage he has to talk about his struggle with PTSD and very personal experiences he’s had with suicide; and the courage he demonstrates in constantly pushing himself to apply for things just out of his reach… and very often achieving them. I find David to be a passionate and inspiring person, and know you will too. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links David shows a lot of courage in discussing his experience with PTSD and suicide. If this resonates with you, three other episodes to look at are: Tim Avery - Tim provides a TON of great resources for vets in this regard Duane France - Duane focuses on veterans mental health and provide a lot of great advice and resources Anthony Garcia - Anthony discusses his own battle with depression in a way that is very powerful David works at the Norwegian startup, Dogu David talks about his work with Team Rubicon and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  David started his career at Andrews International in security, before going on to Berkeley David talks about doing each assignment to 100% of your ability, and we discuss my conversation with former PepsiCo CEO Steve Reinemund as a great example of this A book we discuss as focusing on doing 100% of your capabilities in your work So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love Entrepreneur Resources LinkedIn - great way to connect with the veteran community Stanford Ignite Veterans program VetTechTrek - gets good exposure to tech companies Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) - an awesome weeklong immersive program for entrepreneurship Bunker Labs - startup incubator for veterans Show Notes 1:52 - David’s background 2:30 - David’s decision to leave the Marines Corps and how he approached this decision 3:40 - David’s first job search and what led him to Andrew’s International 4:29 - David’s experience at Berkeley and his advice for veterans considering education after their military service 11:50 - David’s work with Team Rubicon and the George W. Bush Presidential Center 15:12 - International work, touring the world, and David’s work prior to joining Dogu 20:58 - How David moved to Norway after one year of humanitarian work 23:33 - How David found his first job at Dogu when he moved to Norway 27:11 - An overview of Dogu 29:22 - An overview of David’s role as Chief Marketing Officer at a startup 32:14 - Resources that David would recommend to other veterans considering startups 36:32 - How David struggled with PTSD and thought of suicide, and what he learned from this 49:33 - David’s final words of wisdom

98. BTU #83 – Chris Dattaro: Navy to Goldman Sachs to Operations at Lyft
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“Always do the best job that you can possibly do, even if it’s not something that you want to do. And always keep relationships open."
– Chris Dattaro

Chris Dattaro is an Operations Manager at Lyft in Washington DC. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served as a Surface Warfare Officer for five years. After departing the Navy, Chris participated in the Goldman Sachs 3 month Veterans Integration Program, before joining FBR, an investment bank, in an Institutional Equity Sales role. He briefly worked at Trustify as the Director of Recruiting before joining Lyft. Chris is married to an active duty Lieutenant and HR Officer and he is also active in his spare time coaching veterans about their career transition to the civilian workforce and working with veteran entrepreneurs.

The top three reasons to listen to this episode are:

Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program - Chris started his civilian career in this 3 month program, and provides a great overview of why veterans should consider applying Startups - Chris talks about using angel list and other tools to find the right startup for you Career Advice - Chris has mentored hundreds of veterans, and I really, really liked the advice he gives throughout our conversation. Things like recognizing how priorities change throughout your life, so there is no single dream job - it changes over time. And how many times our military experiences is a series of sprints from one 2-3 year assignment to another, which is in contrast to the marathon of a civilian career. He’s got some incredible advice any vet would benefit from hearing. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Another interview about Lyft is my conversation with Sam Bond, who is a GM at the Atlanta Lyft office Angel List - linkedIn for Tech Startups. Chris recommended this as a great resource to find startups to work at Book Recommendations About 20 minutes in, Chris has a great phrase about doing your best at every single assignment you're given, and I couldn't agree more. This is a great book that delves more into that - it's one of the best books I've read in the last three years: So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love In Transition: From the Harvard Business School Club of New York's Career Management Seminar - Chris always recommends this to veterans. It's an Harvard Business Review book, and talks about finding a job that you will find fulfilling. Vet Tech Trek - if you're interested in tech, Chris highly recommends this to veterans Show Notes 1:51 - Chris’ background 2:37 - How Chris’ decided to leave the military 3:25 - Chris’ first job search and what drew him to the Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program 4:36 - An overview of the Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program and advice for veterans considering applying to it 6:18 - The types of work Chris did as part of the Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program 7:06 - What lead Chris to FBR, and overview of FBR 9:08 - Chris’ first role in Institutional Equity Sales 13:28 - What brought Chris to Trustify and what this experience was like 15:18 - How Chris found the opportunity at Lyft 19:12 - What it’s like to be part of an extremely high growth company, and an overview of the Operations Manager role 21:25 - Chris’ advice for veterans seeking to work at Lyft or a technology company similar to Lyft 23:35 - Some common mistakes that veterans make, based on Chris’ work helping hundreds of veterans in their career development 33:35 - Resources that Chris would recommend to other veterans 36:00 - Habits that Chris needed to break in order to be successful in his civilian career 40:00 - A failure that Chris faced in his civilian career and how he learned from it 47:37 - Final words of wisdom

99. BTU #81 - Doug Nordman: Submarines to Financial Independence at 40
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“In the 14 years of financial independence that I've enjoyed since retirement, I've found that you can relax, you can figure out what's really important to you and you can focus on that. And so I do maybe look mellow and free and easy and having a good lifestyle, and some of that is because I've been able to do whatever I want all day for the last 14 years or so. But it also means that you get to design the type of lifestyle that you want, and you really are responsible for your own entertainment."
– Doug Norman

Doug Nordman is an early retiree, who has found financial independence far before he thought it possible. He is the author of The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement - a book where all royalties are donated to military charities. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served on submarines for 20 years. Since retiring from the Navy, Doug has worked to help other veterans reach financial independence, for free. Doug's spouse is a Navy Reserve retiree, and his daughter is about to start her 2nd Surface Warfare Officer junior officer sea tour on the USS GERALD R FORD. He holds a Masters in Engineering Science/Computers/Weapons Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

This is one of those rare interviews I do that I would recommend to every single listener - whether you're on active duty or have been out for twenty years, this is an episode for you. The top two reasons to listen to this episode are:

Financial Freedom - Doug retired from the military just after he was forty years old and hasn't worked since then. At first, he and his wife didn't even realize they had achieved financial independence. Since he retired, Doug has helped countless others achieve financial independence, and he talks about it in a very open and transparent way that I know you'll find achievable and accessible. Tactics - Doug talks about "the fog of work" and how easy it us for each of us to get caught up in to do lists and the daily grind. He talks about taking time away from work to gather ones bearings, but also how you can use 20 minutes a day to get perspective and move towards your goals.

Sponsor:

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Doug's book, where 100% or royalties go towards charity: The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement Doug's website about financial independence: http://the-military-guide.com A podcast where Doug discusses writing, blogging, philanthropy, and angel investing  - http://jlcollinsnh.com/2016/12/13/angel-investing-or-angel-philanthropy/ Recruiting group mentioned: The Lucas Group Book Recommendations Your money or your life - whether your spending is aligned with what you value in your life The Millionaire nextdoor Website Recommendations Early Retirement - Doug found a lot of great and helpful information here The Military Guide - Doug's website where he writes daily and answers every user question FinCon - a network of bloggers for people who want to write, or teach financial independence Show Notes 2:02 - Doug's background as an early retiree 2:52 - At what point Doug knew he was going to leave the military and how he approached this decision 3:31 - Doug was slow to realize that he and his wife had achieved financial independence. Doug shares actual numbers about what financial independence looks like 6:02 - The 4% withdrawal rate, and why this is critical for financial independence 10:00 - How retiring in the military is a choice... it's not crucial for financial independence. But if you're enjoying it, it's a great option 11:40 - How Doug chose a life pursuing what energizes him, rather than letting a single number - salary - define his life 13:45 - A look at Doug's life, where he is able to pursue whatever fulfills him and makes him happy 16:25 - How completely attainable financial independence is, and how it is something anyone could achieve. It centers around mental shifts rather than monumental changes in your lifestyle 18:26 - Chronic fatigue and "The Fog of Work" and how it can hinder us from reaching fulfillment. We can get caught up racing from one thing to the next, without thinking about what we really want, or what our ultimate destination is 24:37 - Doug's book and website about financial independence, and what started this path 28:00 - What guided Doug to donate 100% of the royalties he receives from his book, and why this was an enormous advantage in the writing process 32:00 - Other resources Doug would recommend to listeners 34:27 - A few of the most common questions Doug has seen over his last 14 years of financial independence 39:23 - Doug's advice for those on active duty who will transition under ten years of service 43:55 - Doug's advice for those on active duty who are past ten years of service or plan to get out after at least ten years of service 46:09 - Final words of wisdom

100. BTU #88 - Zach & Drew - two Navy vets team up to raise $13M for Rhumbix
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Zach: "And so the two of us grabbed beers down in Santiago when we were both overlapping there, and started talking about this same problem. And about three months later we had officially decided to co-found Rhumbix together."
Drew: "My favorite part of that three months later story was that you look at three or four months of being in and around the idea and getting comfortable with it. But then it really took a leap of faith. And the moment for us was we actually did a whiskey tasting in Alameda at St. George's Spirits. And after a great tour and continuing to talk about Rhumbix, we were sipping some whiskey and looked at each other in the eye and said, 'let's do this.'"
– Zach Scheel & Drew DeWalt

Rhumbix is based in San Francisco and is a mobile platform designed for the construction craft workforce. They were founded in 2014 and have raised over $13M in funding from investors including Greylock Partners, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Spectrum 28, and Glynn Capital.

Zach Scheel is the Co-Founder & CEO of Rhumbix. He started out at Duke, after which he served in the Navy for five years as part of the Civil Engineer Corps. After the Navy, he attended Stanford Business School, where he earned an MBA and a MS in Renewable Energy. After Stanford he started Rhumbix.

Drew DeWalt is the Co-Founder & COO of Rhumbix. He started out at Notre Dame, after which he served for over six years as a Submarine Officer. After the Navy he attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business, earning his MBA and his Masters in Public Policy, a 3-year process. After Stanford he started Rhumbix.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode are:

Co-Founder: if you’re thinking of starting your own company, one of the first things you’ll need to decide on is whether to go solo or with co-founders. And if you get this wrong, it’s the fastest way to destroy your company. Zach and Drew are both Navy vets who co-founded a successful SV startup, and talk about how they vetted each other and focused on difficult questions up front to make sure they would have a lasting working relationship. Tactics: Zach & Drew have a wealth of advice on everything from running a company, maximizing your efficiency through scheduling, managing work life balance for the long haul, and committing to continued personal growth as your company grows. Our Sponsor: Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books Selected Links Drew & Zach's company, Rhumbix A 2015 TechCrunch article detailing Rhumbix and their ambitions An Huffington Post article on Rhumbix A NYT Article on Rhumbix Resourceste Veteran specific : TechStars, Patriot Bootcamp, Bunker Labs - each of these provides immediate access to a network, so they are ideal starting places for most veterans First Round Review - daily newsletter that has great content on startup Tomasz Tunguz- daily blogpost that has a lot of great info from VC perspective around enterprise Saas Greylock Partners posts  Books The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers Podcasts: A16Z Show Notes 2:14 - Zach and Drew's backgrounds 3:43 - How Zach and Drew each decided to leave the Navy and how they decided on Business School after they left 5:33 - Advice for veterans thinking about applying to business school (or Stanford in particular) 7:12 - The genesis of Rhumbix 10:05 - Advice on finding - and vetting - the ideal co-founder 13:05 - How they thought about pairing with someone with a similar background, given that they both had served in the Navy 14:55 - An overview of Rhumbix 15:45 - How Zach and Drew decided who would be CEO, and how they delineate their responsibilities 17:40 - How they think about growing together as co-founders, building on the level of trust they established early on (Zach uses a great phrase of, "you're in my swim lane") 20:30 - Advice for veterans about the fundraising process 23:03 - Mistakes they made along the way and what they learned from them 24:30 - Having hired so many employees, advice they have for how to evaluate if someone is a good fit for your team 27:15 - A look at the day-to-day life in an early stage startup 31:50 - Advice for veterans thinking of starting their own company 34:32 - Resources that have been helpful for Zach and Drew that they would recommend to other veterans 38:10 - Habits that they had to break in order to be successful in their civilian career 39:33 - In what ways their roles have changed since starting their company 40:46 - Final words of wisdom