Sponsored by our friends at Veeam Software! Make sure to click here and get the latest and greatest data protection platform for everything from containers to your cloud!


Sponsored by the Shift Group - Shift Group is turning athletes into sales professionals. Is your company looking to hire driven, competitive former athletes? Shift Group not only offers a large pool of diverse sales candidates from entry level to leadership – they help early stage companies in developing their hiring strategy, interview process and build strong sales cultures that attract the best talent for early stage companies.


Sponsored by the 4-Step Guide to Delivering Extraordinary Software Demos that Win Deals - Click here and because we had such good response we have opened it up to make the eBook and Audiobook more accessible by offering it all for only 5$


Sponsored by Diabolical Coffee. Devilishly good coffee and diabolically awesome clothing


JR Butler is the Founder and CEO of Shift Group. This is an episode filled with lessons on what it takes to commit to building yourself, your team, and your business. JR is an inspiration and I can’t wait to have him back on to dive into more of his story and the work he is doing with Shift Group.

Check out Shift Group at https://shiftgroup.io and big thanks to JR on the launch of our new partnership to help amplify what he and the Shift Group team are doing to help empower elite athletes with the tools to succeed in technology startups as growing sales leaders.

Make sure to check out our big announcement on the partnership with Shift Group too!

Sponsored by our friends at Veeam Software! Make sure to click here and get the latest and greatest data protection platform for everything from containers to your cloud!


Sponsored by the Shift Group - Shift Group is turning athletes into sales professionals. Is your company looking to hire driven, competitive former athletes? Shift Group not only offers a large pool of diverse sales candidates from entry level to leadership – they help early stage companies in developing their hiring strategy, interview process and build strong sales cultures that attract the best talent for early stage companies.


Sponsored by the 4-Step Guide to Delivering Extraordinary Software Demos that Win Deals - Click here and because we had such good response we have opened it up to make the eBook and Audiobook more accessible by offering it all for only 5$


Sponsored by Diabolical Coffee. Devilishly good coffee and diabolically awesome clothing


Have you ever looked at LinkedIn & said “What the heck are people doing here? How can I make LinkedIn work for me?”. Troy Hipolito is someone who has asked, and can answer that question. Troy is a LinkedIn Influencer, brand specialist, and has a very diverse background that we discuss in depth during a dynamic and enjoyable conversation.

If you need to manage your LinkedIn efforts & drive appointments, or support your LinkedIn Events & even run your own revenue-generating system – then you should talk to Troy.

Connect with Troy on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/troyhipolito/ 

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Welcome back, everybody. My name is Eric Wright. I’m the host of your Disco Posse podcast. Thank you for listening. Thank you for watching. If you want to watch, you can actually legitimately watch it’s over at youtube.com/discopossepodcast. Thanks to all the amazing people who are making this podcast possible and growing, growing like crazy. So super proud, having a lot of fun. Hope you’re enjoying the show as much as I am and all of our amazing guests. Speaking amazing guests, you’re about to meet Troy Hipolito. He’s the not so boring LinkedIn guy, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Troy is the founder of the Troy Agency. He’s got a really storied history in helping people with social promotion. But it’s not just about social promotion. He thinks big, and he takes that and applies it to social promotion. His agency style work and understanding of how to help people is really coming together beautifully. So it was a lot of fun. Troy actually was in the midst of a move, and he was kind enough to schedule something. This was one of those fun outreaches that he did a cold outreach to me on LinkedIn, and I actually liked it, and we got connected.

He was super fun. So I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. And talk about not so boring. Let’s head on over and remember the not so boring and fantastic people that make this podcast happen. So shout out to my sponsors, who all right, we got some announcements coming up very soon, so hang on to your hats. But in the meantime, go to vee.am/discoposse to get everything you need for your data protection needs, whether it’s on premises, whether it’s in the cloud, whether it’s bare metal. Metal, yeah. You got mail servers. You got to back those things up. You’ve got to back everything up. How about stuff like SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Office 365? There’s much more. So again, just head on over to vee.am/discoposse, find out and let them know old Disco sent you over there. Speaking of going over there and doing it safely, protect your data in traffic, in transit, in every form. Head on over to tryexpressvpn.com/discoposse. I’m a user. I’m a fan because hey, I travel around, I move around, I’m on other people’s sketchy WiFi. It’s not sketchy because I use a VPN. So go check it out. Hey, even better than avoiding coffee shop WiFi, get your own coffee. Go to Diabolicalcoffee.com. All right, let’s get to the fun part. This is Troy Hipolito, the not so boring LinkedIn guy on the Disco Posse podcast.

Hey, this is Troy Hipolito. I’m with the Troy Agency. I’m known as the Not So Boring LinkedIn Guy. And you’re watching the Disco Posse podcast.

I loved your tagline, the Not So Boring LinkedIn Guy. And thank you, Troy, for jumping on today and for reaching out, getting connected. I’m a real fan of your content, your approach, your style, and it’s something that I even myself, I think. Good golly. There’s so many things I’m under utilizing around LinkedIn, around a lot of social network. You’ve really, really got some great stuff that you’re coaching people through and bringing them towards really strong outcomes. So for folks that are brand new to you, do not yet know about Troy Hipolito, you want to give a quick introduction and a bio and we’ll talk about what you and the team are doing.

Oh, yeah, I’ll even do one better and tell you the story behind it. So I am a designer and developer by trade, right. So I’m a programmer as well as a UI/UX person. And I was actually an award winning designer here in Atlanta, Georgia, several years in a row, like the top designer. And so back in the day, I had a company called ISO Interactive, and we were building video games. It was like the Rockstar programming. We’re doing virtual worlds, we’re doing app development, back end, front end. And it was really cool. We had a small team, about a dozen people. We paired up a designer with a programmer, and we created stuff that didn’t exist. We loved it. Right. So it was going really well until it wasn’t.

Oh, no.

In Atlanta, Georgia, they no longer depend on the agencies because the companies that you get work are the Fortune 500. They’re very corporate. And so they use agencies up to a certain point, and they pretty much cut a lot of that work off. And the agency started fighting each other. So I was thinking, I got all this great work. I did CocaCola stuff. I did Xbox Mobile, did Harry Potter movie releases. We even had our own Harry Potter fan site that we developed a full 3D, pseudo 3D virtual world using multi-user technologies. And it was just like, why can’t we get any work? Well, the agencies grab a lot of these people and brought them in house and really cannibalize the whole agency model. And so they were really fighting over pennies. We had to find another source of getting work. And so I asked a buddy of mine, he was actually doing well, and he had a competing agency, and he was putting all his work through LinkedIn. I was like, LinkedIn, you’re getting all your work through LinkedIn? He says, yeah. And then I had a sales buddy of mine in New Jersey, and he said, yeah, it’s LinkedIn, man.

It’s LinkedIn. I thought LinkedIn was a bunch of stuff for resumes. And they said, no, you have to build a relationship and all this other stuff. And I realized something. Those relationships were like, analogous to old-fashioned dating. And again, I realized I was a terrible dater, like in real life. So I have type A personality traits because I’m very technical, right? And what I and other people were doing and what a lot of people do nowadays still is they date wrong. They go in there. It’s like me saying this beautiful woman and walking up to her saying, I find you very beautiful. I’m going to have two babies with you right now. It doesn’t work you end up getting slapped in the face. And that’s the technical equivalent of what people are doing on LinkedIn. And so we had to revamp it. It worked really well, and we had a bunch of clients, and then we fired those clients and we rebranded our agency. And people asked, Troy, why did you fire all these clients? I said, Because they weren’t the right type of client. They just wanted to sell. And so my type of clients that I hire on the higher end, the high end type of clients, we look for people that offer value like they’re human.

So if you reach out to them, they’re there to help that person, they’re there to engage, and their audience exists in an active forum on LinkedIn. And so that’s a very narrow band of people that are authentic. They’re willing to kind of contribute some time to help those individuals. I said, yeah, I need to find like-minded people. And that’s when we changed from return client to the Troy Agency. So we only pick up maybe one or two primary clients a month, and it’s residual, works out fine. On the other end, we have course materials, and we have our own show, a monthly show that covers that type of revenue stream as well. So it works great as long as you have something that someone wants and you’re there to help them, don’t sell. If you help them solve their problem, there’s really only one of three things can happen. So I’ll take a 15 minutes meeting. They said, Troy, I’m doing this, and this. I’m having this issue. I help them solve the problem on LinkedIn. I said, this is the thing that you need to do to solve that immediate issue. And there’s one of three things that come out of that.

You put out good energy in the universe. They’ll never talk bad about you. Number two, it works so well that they’re into their business and they realize there’s 23 other things that only Troy can fix, and they hire me. And the third is they’re so happy they can’t afford what I have going on. But they like me. They like me enough to send a recommendation. And being recommended by someone else is ten times easier than you tooting your own horn. So it’s all about being human and doing what you say and helping those people get where they need to go, that’s my story. Little long version anyway.

No, it’s perfect. And a lot of folks that are listening to us obviously have a LinkedIn profile. I say obviously. Many folks would have a LinkedIn profile and they use it for a variety of purposes. And look, my dms are littered with these people that just don’t get it. I sort of say this is the common interaction is, hey, I see we have some common interests and like, all right, I’ll bite – accept, right. Because I also use it as a broadcast channel. Right. So I’m ultimately, all my content is going pushing to LinkedIn. I’m not really using it interactively as much as some people would think. And then the next one is, hey, thanks for connecting. Really great. Like what you’re doing with X or interested to connect and chat more. And then 4 hours later is hey, so what do you do about blah, blah, blah. And they immediately are pitching a product to me. And then the next day it’s like bumping the top of inbox just in case you didn’t see this then it’s not sure if you’re getting my messages. And then eventually like seven messages later you get the hey, I know you’re probably busy or you’ve been eaten by a bear or like there’s some kind of witty thing that they read worked once and so they just reused the same meme. And I’m like, no, this is not the way to use this platform.

You know what that’s called? It’s spam. They’re spamming, that’s what it is. I had to release a client because he wanted to spam people. She says, I always want to help people that need help right now and send this one message to everyone and keep on sending it to them. I said spam. Why is spam? I said, that’s the definition of spam. I was telling me that is what spam is. You want to communicate. And so that communication element is important. So what you’re talking about is seven or eight touch points that people think. They’re thinking, well, I have to get between 12 and 14 touch points before they connect with me. But they’re not connecting the dots. So that doesn’t mean people on sending them messages on your LinkedIn dm, it means how can you connect with them in a more authentic way? It’s okay to send one or two messages, I think. But I don’t like the selling portion. I do like the idea of getting to know that person for a particular reason. And so you want to do things with strategy. So a lot of people will use these systems and they’ll just bombard it and automate it and that sort of thing.

And LinkedIn, they’ll crack down on it, you get enough complaints, shut your account down. And so you have to have good habits. One of the things is like how can I come across authentic? The other thing is that how can I have them come to me? How do I separate myself from every other LinkedIn guy out there or in your business as well. Whatever you do, how do you separate yourself where if there is interest, they acknowledge that and they come to you. So you want two way traffic. And one thing that I do, what I don’t do is I don’t do sequencing on LinkedIn. I will have a witty connection message, and I’ll have maybe one follow up. But the follow up is usually a welcome message, and it’s unique to that individual. Right. I have a daily process, so when I pick on a client, I help them with the profile top to bottom, help them with targeting, help them with their initial messaging, and I help them with the day to day process. And that day to day process is really what’s going to keep you sane. Like, oh, I can be on LinkedIn 12 hours a day. You don’t want to do that. That’s insane. You want to spend between 15 minutes and 1 hour a day to do whatever the things that you need and get out because you have a business to run. And someone says, well, how can I get people to actually book a meeting with me? I said, that’s easy. I can easily get between 30 and 50 meetings a week if I wanted to. I don’t know. I think my camera is getting a little blurry. I don’t know what’s going on here. I think it’s the lighting.

Yeah. It’s the joy for folks that don’t understand. Poor Troy just moved, and we’ve made them do podcasts in the middle of a move.

I just moved in. It was like 80% of my stuff got wires and stuff in there. So it’s like the living room of the stuff.

There you go. That was funny. As soon as you move back in, it refocused.

Yeah. So if you get a process down. I said, well, give me a tip, right? I said, okay, how are you authentic? You’re authentic by understanding who you’re speaking to and creating some bit of information about them specifically. It’s not selling. So when you connect with someone instead of spamming them, why don’t you just use your LinkedIn app and open it up to the video option and you can send a native video to them. That’s what, 20 seconds long, maybe 30 at the most, and just thank them for connecting. Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate the connection. And I noticed that you have an interesting podcast called DiscoPosse Podcast, kind of tongue tied there, and I’d love to learn more about it. I said, if you have a moment, just take a look at my profile. I said, if you see any dots to connect, feel free to send me your booking link. I said, I’ll schedule some time with you. Thank you very much. Have a great day. That does a few things. That’s a unique message. You took the time to address them and what they do. You were not selling. And it’s appropriate time for them to look at your profile.

And if they see anything they want to talk about, the onus is on them. Send you the booking link and you’ll schedule with them. So it’s not me, me, it’s you. And so that concept and smiling and of course I didn’t smile. I did it quite quickly. But that idea is very powerful. You are communicating with them as a human would. And that’s just one of many of the tips and tricks. And I think the other thing we were mentioning was all the touch points. Well, there’s all these different things you can do depending on your strategy. Why are you connecting with people, you know? Are you connecting with them to engage with their network? Are you connecting them to sell them something, which is probably not a good thing. What do you have to offer them? How can you help that individual? You have to get down to the human level. So people think, well, I think I’m going to do this thing for their company. I’m going to do it for the team. That person doesn’t care. I mean, they may care, but they don’t really care. They care about themselves. We’re human.

So deep down inside, you have to figure out how can I help that individual? What does he want? Does he want to be the hero? Does he have a problem he needs to fix? Does he get something off his chest? Can I pass the litmus test? And the litmus test is – you know the old fashioned litmus test, when you dip it in there and you figure out if it’s a certain chemical or whatever, if you passes the test, the acidic thing. The litmus test for LinkedIn is – if this guy would go out and have a beer with me or a drink at a high end bar, because you have to think during covid time, your time is valuable. I’m not going to go off some stranger and have a drink with him because he could be creep. And I’m telling him all my secrets and stuff. So if they feel they could have a drink at a high end bar with you, you pass the litmus test, you pass the friend test. And that’s really where you want to be at. Maybe instead of just sending connection requests, you could take a look at five people a week and see, I want to engage with these five people because of their profile, the type of person they are, their network, whatever the case may be.

And I want to see what they’re posting. So engage with their post before ever sending a connection invite. If you engage with one or two or three of their posts and they respond, the chances of them of accepting the invite goes from there 30% to 90% and it goes all the way to 90%. You’ve not just done that one thing. The second thing that you accomplished is you move the relationship down the line. Your ask has to be appropriate to the relationship. Anyway. I blab a lot, but I think you get what I’m saying. Eric.

That’s a pretty one. We’re here because of your method, right. You took the right approach. I get dozens of inmails a day and people who are like, give me that. I’m like, I get it. You read Jeb Blunt, you want to get to 15 touches fast, right? So you think this spamming out my inbox is getting you to the 15 touches. But that’s not the case. And I get often and get outreach for people. They’re like, hey, we’d love to be on your podcast and like, thanks, booked up. But when you reached out, I did do exactly that, right. I looked at your profile, looked at what you’re doing. I’m like, yeah, here’s my booking link. Right. And here we are. So the proof is in the number of times I’ve said no to people. The one thing I always joke about too, is like, I want to make an explainer video of how not to sell people explainer videos on LinkedIn. Because I swear to goodness, about eight a day, people are like, hey, explainer videos are a great way to do whatever the first thing they do is. They’re like, here’s my calendar link to book your meeting, to set up your explainer video pitch session. Like, Nope, this isn’t going to go well for you at all. But welcome to my broadcast network, right. So for me, I’m like, hey, it’s another audience member. Good luck receiving my feed. But the real genuine connections where I could do, like you said, actually reach out and ask for time and meaningfully give back to them where they will care enough to take that time and give me that time. It’s a beautiful, like, it’s a bi-directional relationship of giving time and effort and attention because this is the real big thing. Right. We’re in the attention economy. And how do you get access to that attention?

Yeah, LinkedIn is so different than anything else. Here you have to come from a place of service. You got people that have, like, these Instagram models and what they call the thirst traps and all that. So that’s a different thing. Linkedin is really geared towards career change or building relationship building, working from home, B2B businesses or high value services. So these cheap off one methods that don’t work well, maybe they work well for a widget, right? We’re not selling widget here. We’re selling conversions to business. I have a client right now. One job that he gets is worth $200,000 per job. He’s trying to get one a month. Right. And not every method will work on his audience. And we may have a method that works perfect for me and awful for him. And it’s our job to figure out, well, where does this thing break apart? And then how can we bring it back where it will convert for them. Or we have to cover those dots to figure out how much is this client willing to do. A lot of these higher end people, high up individuals can’t do a lot of things.

They do certain things well. And if it’s outside the scope and not able to do, how do we cover those things? How do we simplify that process where we can cover those areas? And he can still be that person that can communicate. So it really depends on the strategy and what you’re trying to do on LinkedIn. But LinkedIn is known for a lot of that high-end B2B conversions. For example, I don’t really make a lot of money per client, but I’ll gain between one and two new clients a month, right. They’ll pay something like $3,000 or $4,000 upfront and then $1,100 per month. Right. You think over the course of a year that’s pretty good money because you’re compounding all the previous clients and they’re adding services. So that $1,100 a month could be $3,300 a month and so on. And if you got 20 clients at two grand, you’re making 40 grand a month on it and then adding to it. The trick is to slow down in order to speed up. So it’s not about rushing, it’s about just doing those things right. Another thing, too, is we have our courseware, and I couldn’t have done it without partners.

So partnerships, networking to build really solid partnerships is a really strength of LinkedIn. If it wasn’t for my partners, I wouldn’t have my courses. I wouldn’t have kept the Troy Show. I have a LinkedIn event called the Troy Show once a month, and I don’t want to do it all myself. It’s too much work. So we want to figure out these partners that have ancillary skill sets that will really possibly impact your business. And I even tricked my partner. His name is John Michelle. He’s another LinkedIn guy, a really good guy. And I said, you know what? I said, John Michelle loves to do these profile things, right? I said, Let me get him on a meeting. And so this is an example of a way that I tricked him, but it was beneficial for him. He got three clients out of it, right? So I know he’s going to be I’m a give. I’m a giver, right. I’m going to give him clients. But I said, hey, John Michelle. Hey, Troy. How are you doing? I said, pretty good. I’m redoing my profile. I was wondering if you can jump on a meeting with me, help me out.

He said, well, you’re a LinkedIn expert. Why would you want another expert? I said, well, because there’s crossover and there’s a percentage of stuff you do differently than I do. We have different flavors. I’m more branding, and he’s more SEO. And he’s in a certain type of details versus what I am. So we had a video. It’s 45 minutes. And I was challenging him on certain areas, and it made a good banter back and forth about why certain things. And I even disagreed on just a few blow points just to make it interesting. And he says, well, that was a pretty good video. And I chopped it up into seven pieces that may have a whole series of videos to show on LinkedIn for posting. And then I took those seven videos and I put them together on a LinkedIn article. Then I have an Evergreen article that reaches out to it. And he got three clients out of it. He said, thank you. Why did you give me these clients? I said, well, I mean, you helped out with the profile. He said, not really. I said, Well, yeah, you did. It was entertaining. It was good for my audience.

I said, but your audience is now hiring me to do these profile things. And he charges several thousand dollars, whatever it is, just to do the profile part. And I said, oh, that’s fine. Just keep the clients, you know. I guess. Well what do you want? I said, you know what? You think this would be a good series, maybe a course or something? He says, yeah, this make a great course. That was my goal the whole time, right? So he did the whole course, and then I did the series of courses. Now we have hundreds of videos and courseware now. And then we got people that have a large audience. Now, when I reach out to LinkedIn, other LinkedIn influencers and things like that, they have a large audience. And I said, let’s give them 25%. Let’s have them sell the course, and then they can get 25% and we can split it between the other partners and stuff like that. He says, well, are you okay for only getting a portion of it? I said, sure. Well, my method is if there’s not enough pies, you know the slices, they slice the pie up and you’re slicing it so thin you’re not making money.

I said, well, my idea is just make more pies.

It’s such a good way. The one thing that people are often too short-sighted about this stuff is they just immediately think like I can just hammer up this course and then I can sell it, and then I get 100% of the revenue and there’s literally dozens of ads that people will get a day. Once you click on one, you’re now in a loop of people selling this card and that card.

Oh, yeah, you’re going in a rabbit hole.

But if they don’t do what you did, which is open up the door and give the opportunity to collaborate. And collaboration is bi-directional. Sure, you saw that it would have been great to be able to create courseware with these folks. But in the end, you did it in giving back. You gave before you got.

Yeah, he was already in it before he knew it. And so I don’t think that’s mischievous, but because regardless he was going to get clients and he wanted to do the courses. And he has a certain experience, and I may have a certain audience, it just makes sense. And then we have an email person that comes in to run some of these shows. And so we convert on that, and we bring clients through it. And now we’ve attracted people that have large audiences, and we’ll give them a portion of it. As long as their network is right, everyone makes money. So it’s not a me, me thing. It’s how can we help each other in a way that everyone benefits. And that’s one thing that a lot of these solopreneurs are missing. They’re just like, I can do everything. Well, I’m a programmer, I’m a software engineer, and I’m a UI/UX person. I’m an award winning designer. I can do a lot of stuff well, but I’m a little older now, and I only have like 45-50 hours a week. I’m not doing anything more than that. And so the designer that designs 50 hours a week, and that’s all he does. Maybe he should do those things. We should distribute it out where we want. Because if we do everything ourselves, there’s no growth opportunity.

Right.

Because you’re wearing so many hats and you’re not able to go beyond a certain area. And so that’s where someone’s business processes and actually relationships come in handy.

There’s a great quote that I got from a book, and so I’m going to look it up right now just because I don’t want to miss quote, I want to call the title out because it was one that I really enjoyed, and it was called Twelve Months to 1 million. Ryan Daniel Moran, really fantastic book. But one thing that today says, it’s not a business if you walk away from it and it falls apart. You have to really build a machine around it because it’s easy for especially, we are as creative people as a designer, like, you know, maybe you could make $50,000 off a single client for a six week batch of work. But if three weeks into that batch of work, you have to leave, then you aren’t going to get half the $50,000. You’re going to get zero of the $50,000 and you lose your reputation. So what you do, you wrap a team around it so that you can contribute to it and share in that wealth and also get the benefit that you’re creating future opportunities, because now you can scale versus if you just be Troy Hipalito solopreneur for the rest of your life, something happens where you got to take care of your family, you got to move, you got to do stuff, and all of a sudden what do you do?

You just tell your client story. Work is stopping for the next four weeks because I got stuff to take care of.

Yeah. You definitely want to minimize upsetting your ongoing cash flow. I mean, that’s what’s going to make or break you. All these other things. You can make more money. Like I may make more money in the courseware, but not right now. It was an investment. It’s an investment. It’s building relationships. And on the tail end, you’ll end up making a good chunk of change. So I actually have an article that talks about documenting and creating your SOPs – your Service Offering Procedures. It’s not really a LinkedIn thing, but it’s more of a business thing. And so by having these service offering procedures, you’re actually teaching certain areas of your business so you can hire out. And the truth is, everyone says if they’re perfectionist, you are in the worst boat because you can’t screw yourself up. The person who’s doing his task. You say, it’s true, I can do the job with seven people, but I have to hire one person for one job. And I’ll give you a perfect example. Back in the day, I was the creative director of a company, and it was tied to another company. And they wanted me to engage the engineers and other web people on how to do a project. They’re doing government stuff, and I was doing civilian other stuff. Right?

Yeah.

And they had to create a website for this, this and this. They wanted me to engage with them. And they said, oh, yeah, this is a six month project, seven people. It’s a six month no. How long would it take you to do it? I said, it took me three weeks to do the whole thing. I was just being on. I was naive because I was a designer programmer and I knew all the bits of it. And they said, okay, you do it then. And that was done in two weeks. They never spoke to me again. I screwed up the relationship because they have different processes and stuff. And you have to be kind of careful about because you might be able to get that one thing done. But these longer relationships you can ruin if you don’t have a way to create this service operating procedure, to hire out in order to do certain tasks. And even if they do a task and they’re not 100% as good as you are, do they need to be, you think? Do they need to be exactly like me? I mean, what is really good? Like really good is better than most people.

Look at a program module, someone says, oh, we have to create this one component where it’s reusable. And I said, well, would you reuse it on another project? We probably could. I said, but you’re not. And you have to understand that the client is paying X amount of dollars and you might want to create this reusable component that eats up the entire budget and it makes no difference. So they have to think intelligently. How can I create these service operating procedures so people are taking certain tasks on that they’re good or good enough. And when I mean good enough, I mean very good, but maybe not exactly to what you’re used to doing, because we all are a little perfectionist in our own way.

Yeah. One of my funniest examples of this was like, I was like, 19, and I was building houses. I was working as a landscaper, and we would build houses during the fall when it would be lower in the landscape side. And I worked with this roofing crew, and it was like, such a funny thing that this is their full time gig. And they were run and gun contractors. They knew what they were doing. They come in, they got three days to do a thing. They’re going to stand it up, and they’re working on this house. And it was a friend of mine’s house. So I’m kind of, like, acting a little different because I know the guy that owns the house. And this guy’s hammering in a nail, and it goes in crooked. And then you see him, he’s, like, trying to back out the nail. And it was so funny that the guy’s name was Lumpy. It was his nickname. He said, Jesus Christ, Lumpy, we’re not building an F in piano. Just hammer it in. And it was so funny. I’m like, my instinct would be like, yes, do it right, spend the extra time email.

The other guy is just like, whack. He just hammers it in. It bends it in good enough so that it’s flush. And he’s like, then put another nail right beside it. And the difference of like, look, we just got to get this done. And like you said, it’s weird that we use phrases like good enough or whatever. Like, good enough is good enough. It’s good. It’s not barely good enough. It’s good enough. Most people don’t even do good enough. So it’s like this unfortunate scale that we, and you hear the phrase too, like, if you aren’t embarrassed about your minimum viable product, you waited way too long to put it out.

Yeah, my IT company, I had a lot of people saying, oh, I need to scale it to this. And I just had to tell them the truth. I said, look, you guys spend about $150,000 on this MVP, and once you get funding, you’re just going to rebuild it. Why would you rebuild it? I said, trust me, because investors going to come in because I went through investment many times. So I already know, like the process. They’re going to come in and say, oh, this is great, but our market that I want to hit is this or this is a cool feature and you can’t fit it in afterwards. A lot of times, especially, you have to get stuff done in a very small amount of time. So some people create MVP to take care of the functionality of a certain group of people or a maximum X amount of people. If you get beyond that, sometimes it’s okay to just take that idea and rebuild it, because sometimes the concepts and ideas are half to work. So you really have to think along what is realistic, what is good. When I say good enough, everything that we put out is very good.

But I have certain people that like my writing style. I look at the person and I figure out their personality and I write according to their voice. And another writer may not get that. So I have to figure out everything about the person. So I understand the vibe. And sometimes they don’t like telling me certain things and I drag it out of them. It’s like, okay, how did you grow up? What do you like I said, okay, are you gay or straight? Like, I’m blunt about I need to understand where you’re coming, what’s your audience, what’s your typical kind of client? And I blend that in. I said, okay, I think I got your voice. And I write it down like, wow, this is pretty good. And they make their tweaks to it because when someone looks at your LinkedIn profile, they’re looking at a person, they’re looking at the story. And the reason why we call these reality TV shows are so popular, it’s because it drives the story. I was living in my car and now I make a million dollars. So they want to know that story. How did you start from here and get over there and be successful. Especially in the states, they love a success story. They love the underdog, and they want to relate to you. That’s one reason I work with a lot of clients that have families. They’re family oriented. I understand that they have a bigger care. I work with people that maybe have a similar background because I understand what they’re going through. I have people that try to be sincere. At the end of the day, this is kind of where you’re going. And I’m bluntly honest with my clients. I tell them, okay, I’m going to do this. When you get your first client, I’m charging you more money. I’ll tell them, and we’ll make this thing work. And I think that personal relationship and engagement not just makes him feel good, it makes me feel comfortable and happy about helping other individuals.

The sincerity piece is always an interesting thing because I’ve had people say this. I can help somebody by writing content with them in a sincere first person voice. I can represent their personality. And like, you’re so fantastic at this, right? And then someone would say, like, well, is it really sincere if you’re getting someone else to write it for you? No, but that’s not the point. The point is they don’t have time to create this content. They created, they read it and they’re like, hey, this sounds like I wrote it like, bingo. Yeah.

They may not be good writers. They’re like coaches for this. Coaches by coach. Coaches hire coaches. That’s kind of what I am, and I’m not doing everything for them. Doing the first draft, I feel this is what you’re talking about. So if you’re a good person that does websites, you may be a terrible copywriter. If you’re a good 3D guy, you may be a terrible UI guy. If you’re a good coach that helps women, maybe you’re not that good at helping guys. I don’t know, making stuff up. So everyone has their strengths, but they have this passion inside to do something. And it’s our job to present that passion in a way that makes sense. Like a LinkedIn profile is really about 70% visual. But once you get past the visual, they start digging into the story. That story is the bit that will convert them. So the visuals will bring you in and the story will help convert. Of course, you have your LinkedIn SEO optimization and all those tricks too, but you have to have that balance where they said, you know what, this is someone I want to talk to, and that’s where you want to be on LinkedIn.

And it’s a mixture of all of those things, right? Like you can have great SEO, but then they get there and they go, okay, it was easy to find, which ultimately SEO is about searchability discoverability. But if I have great SEO for a restaurant, but the food’s trash, that’s no good. You can get people there. And then your role is to teach them how to keep people there and engage them and give that sincerity. Tell that story.

People can’t do it. That’s kind of funny. People say, I just want to sell stuff. Well, if you don’t want to put your human out there, maybe it’s not for you to convert in that way. Maybe you’re a high end CEO that uses it for PR purposes, that’s fine. But if you are converting, if you’re trying to get a career going on stuff, you need to have all your ducks in a row. If you’re trying to convert B2B or high value services, you have to have all these things in a row. Because when someone makes a decision, it’s usually an emotional decision first. And second, it’s based on stats. That’s how most humans work, right? And they look at you and you look like a douchebag on your photo. They’re not going to know it. But in the back of their mind, something is off with this guy here. I don’t think I want to work with them. You don’t know why, it’s your douchebag photo.

 t

Exactly.

Something simple as that. So making a decision to work with you, they may have 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 criteria, right? Whatever it is. And they don’t know it’s ten or five criteria. Say five is easy number. But all they have to figure out is one that you’re not qualified to not work with, you know. Like, how do I separate myself from all these other LinkedIn guys? Right. Well, I’m not as serious. I’m more human. That’s why I put the not so boring LinkedIn guy. It’s just funny enough to separate. It’s not really super funny and super off. My other line was actually better, but it didn’t apply to LinkedIn. When I had my gaming company, I was known as the number one Swissipino game designer in the world. Right. Because my mother from Switzerland, my dad is Filipino, I’m half Asian. And so my mother has blonde hair, green eyes, and my dad’s like, really Filipino and so I’m Swissipino. And that would be such a great pickup line of the bars. They would say, really? I think so. I probably number one Swissipino.

The irony is this, Troy, that you’re the second Swissipino person I know. I have a friend, somebody who’s Sonia Missio. She’s actually based in Toronto, and she also in that interesting split. But it is so funny that you say that. And like you said, that the genuineness comes out. And look, the truth is, design is important. User experiences, that engagement is important. If design didn’t matter, then there would be sushi milkshakes.

Yeah.

We like the fact that someone spent way too much time making it look good so you could eat it. Otherwise we would just be having nothing but Soylent milkshakes. And, like, there’s a reason we do stuff. You walk down the street, there’s flowers on the thing. Like, you see somebody’s profile, and it’s like half of their girlfriend or boyfriend’s face is in the shots. It looks like they’re on a fishing boat. That’s great photos.

That’s another thing I tell my clients. Oh, my goodness. Well, I don’t know. Do you have time to make money? I tell them I’m blunt with them. What’s going to cost me so much? I said, how much is the client worth? That’s my closer right there. I said, how much is a client worth to you? Okay. Then you’re going to have to do A, B and C or pay to do whatever. Because it’s like you want to be honest and you want to be authentic. But there’s also a fine line from kissing someone’s feet. The client doesn’t want that. Client wants to know that, hey, Eric knows what he’s doing. Troy knows what he’s doing. If he tells me something, it’s for a reason. It’s not because he’s blabbing. It’s because he’s trying to get me money. And those are the right people. Well, for my market anyway. Those are the right people to actually engage with because they’ll actually take the steps to do a process that works for them.

Yeah. There’s a really interesting thing you talked before about the kind of like firing your client. And it’s an important piece because as you look at where you can deliver real value. Right. And you’re selling value, you’re selling a specific outcome. And I’ve had this for an advisory with startups. And you start talking with them, and as you give them advice and you give them direction and you give them guidance, and they’re just, like going the opposite way on each thing. And then they say, I don’t understand why this stuff is not working. Well, I don’t know, maybe because the last three things I’ve told you that you should do, you’ve kind of gone in the opposite direction. And then at that point. I’m like..

Well, you’re nicer than I am. Yeah.

It feels like I don’t think I’m adding value to this. So I’m going to just step back.

Yeah. I had two clients I remember firing, and there’s a very specific story. One was, I have CPA. Anyone that has a high value of service I could potentially work with. Right. If they’re trying to convert on LinkedIn. One was a CPA, and he was from, I don’t know, the UK somewhere. We moved to Midwest. Older guy in Balding, and he was there. He was very dry. Right. And he used to take Zoom meetings like this. It pissed me off. Right. Like what? He wouldn’t even looked at the camera. He’s talking and he has his accent and all this other stuff. He says, Troy, this is not working very well. And I looked at him with a straight face. I said, didn’t you just get 14 clients in 45 days? How did you know that? I was like, I bet everything I do, I’m a lot smarter than, I don’t tell them that, but I’m a lot smarter than I look. Okay. Because I said, I talked to your VP two days ago before this meeting. He was trying to not pay and get these clients. Right. I don’t like that. That’s being very dishonest. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do.

Right. And I said, you know what? I’ll let you out of contract. Forget about 30 days. Maybe it’s not working for you. And he said, yeah, maybe it’s not working. Oh, it was working for him, but I don’t want to work with people that are trying to lowball me or lie to me. I had another guy, he was in cyber security. It’s another big area. And he was doing training, certification stuff right there’s. All these.

Yeah.

And he wanted to sell the certification to individual LinkedIn. I didn’t think it was a good idea. Right. I don’t know about cyber security. But I was like, yeah, I don’t think this is, is your audience receptive to this? Yes, it is. Yeah, I don’t think so. It’s kind of hard to sell these $4-5,000 courses and stuff. And I said, you got funding for it. And then I said, you know what? You might want to just partner with other security people and use this because you’re an ancillary, you’re an extra. And they already have the in on it. In on this company that’s doing this stuff. And they’d probably need his certifications anyway. And he said, well, I don’t have any partners give me two days. So I went to a security event here in Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia. And I paid my bills to get in, $500 to get in and was talking to these people and I talked to twelve people. I would love to talk to this person. I said, hey, I said forget this whole what we’re doing, just forget it. I’ll give you meetings. I said these clients are worth a lot. I said, this one client here don’t miss the meeting. And he’s traveling and all this stuff. He agreed to the meeting, he missed the meeting twice, right? Twice.

Frustrating.

Yeah. And the other people who were not, I don’t know what he was doing. Some people do their business, shoot by the hip. He was going and he was from Texas and he was going to another country and I was having meetings with them and I told him directly, I said, hey man, I like you, but I don’t want to see what’s happening in their background because he was at his mistress house or something and that’s not cool. I don’t want to know that personally. I don’t care if you have two women or you’re married, you’re single, you’re gay, you’re straight. I think as long as you treat people well, that’s important. But what I have a personal issue with is deception because that means you’re not going to run an honest business, right? So I had to let them go. I like the guy. But if you can’t make the meetings and you’re in these compromising things and stuff and you’re trying to cover the campaign, don’t do that. So you have to work with people that have the same, I wouldn’t say moral structure, but integrity, right. Integrity, that’s a good word to have the same kind of ideals that you do.

Because you know that at the end of the day, if he’s going to do stuff right, I know that I won’t get paid. I’m not going to fight over payment. I would just can you and stop all your services and you won’t make any money. It’s really simple for me. You can’t manipulate me. I’m here to help you to convert. And so you need those individuals that say, you know what, I will make it to this meetin., I will go in here and help this individual do what they need to do and I’m going to make business. You have to have a very clear head on. Like how am I going to get to point A to point B and then know that next month you may have to jump from A to C. You have to figure out the connecting the dots, you have to do some AB testing on what works and then you have to figure out like this works better. And it’s okay because you didn’t know that before. It’s a process. So people think that, oh, I get this automation thing on LinkedIn, I’ll make a million dollars. No, it doesn’t work that way.

It works against you. Linkedin will shut you down. And if that’s the main channel, it’s not going to help you out. So a lot of the lower end and not lower end is money so much, but lower end and thought process and being human and helping, they don’t do very well on LinkedIn, where a lot of coaches that have a little bit of a brand, a little bit of flair, something that separates them from other people, you got people that like them, actually like them, they can engage with them. And every personality works well. Had this one guy really dry personality. I told him, you are dry as toast. I told him, you’re dry as toast. I said, that’s your brand.

Be proud.

I said, yes, you are. I’m telling you are. I said, you know why you could say dry jokes. And it’s funny because you’re such a straight face. It works for you. And I said, and you’re a CPA. Do they want a funny guy to be messing with their money? No, they want a serious dude. And you have to kind of think about it like that. You have to think about what is my personality. And so I actually am somewhat dry. I’m kind of funny. I got dry humor. That’s what it is, right? Not so boring. Linkedin. I’m kind of boring. So I twisted it upside down to do that. And I would love to be the number one Swissipino LinkedIn guy in the world, but it wouldn’t make sense. LinkedIn, they wouldn’t know. It doesn’t. Because when you’re doing gaming, it’s a little more fun. And they’re going to ask, what is Swissipino? But on LinkedIn, they’ll be like, this makes no sense at all. So you have to apply a brand that kind of makes sense to that audience.

And it goes to your approach to it. Right. Which is about adaptability, because even where a method may work for one company, one brand, one person, that same thing. If you just automate it and try and sell it to ten other clients without gating, is this appropriate without evaluating? Is this going to fit their persona, their audience? It’s both sides of that experience, too. It’s not just about you. Two funny people are not two funny people. There are two funny people that each have individual audiences. The one dry CPA guy, like you said, your clients are going to dig this. They want to kind of know that you’re the dry CPA guy. Somebody who’s hiring a real funny person if they want them for a keynote speaker for a CPA conference. Perfect. But if you want, it’s like matching and mapping skills to value, to perception, it is a real like, you achieve a really interesting mix by being dynamic, having the integrity, being genuine through the process. And then making sure that those people then parlay that genuineness, that integrity because of how you work with them.

Yeah. And part of it is clarity. When you’re creating a brand, you don’t want to say, oh, I can do this. I don’t really talk about all my development other than in the story. But in general, when you look at my profile, it’s very clear that he’s a LinkedIn guy. He’d get me clients. It’s very simple concept. But if you say, oh, by the way, I can do website design. I did Coca Cola stuff. What are you, a LinkedIn guy or a programmer? You end up looking like a flea market, and that’s one thing you have to avoid. You want simple clarity. You can add a little humor in it. For branding purposes, you want a separation, but what are you known for? I picked up a client last week, and he says, you know, I want to help professional women, right? They’re owners of businesses or they’re higher up in the thing and they feel like something’s missing. I said, I totally get it, okay? I can help men, too. I said, no, men will come in as ancillary. What do you mean? I said, you can’t say, oh, I helped a lot of women, but men can come in too. Well, no. You want to concentrate on that. Your main nuts or your main fruit, low hanging fruit. And by doing that and doing it well, your interaction with them, they’ll give you another client. You have your clients to come based on referral. I don’t care what kind of system you have going on. We got systems where we have direct message campaigns and stuff, but they’re not sequenced. They’re teaching the client how to reach to certain audiences. We have posting campaigns and stuff like that that we have a whole series of things that are done that promotes authentic conversations. And so a lot of things that we do, we have to slow down, have less but better conversations. By doing that, you convert. How many clients you really freaking need.

Right. Yeah. And the thing that you hit on there is like that clarity and crispness. Like, even when we talk about going to public speaking, I coach people in this all the time. When you go to give a keynote, your opening slide should not be, Hi, my name is Eric Wright. I’m a product marketer. I work for a company, and prior to this, I did 20 years working in financial services. I was a systems administrator. Started off as desktop support. Made my way to me. Prior to that, I was actually a landscaper.

Or you could start with that and say, Just kidding and move on. Right?

But it’s like that’s the first thing they do is they do that, and then they end the presentation with a thank you slide. You’re like, no, what you should do is how many times have you gone into the office and realized that there’s no door by the bathroom? That’s two way door.

Storytelling, yes.

 And you immediately get into this thing. And that’s what your profile has to tell a story. But you’ve got 160 characters to do it in. So you just can’t dilly dally around. You got to get to it and it’s got to be meaningful, engaging. And like you said, it’s got to match the other stuff. But it’s hard as the person, the self, to have the humility to step outside and create that. That’s why having you come in and do this with them, it’s like such a boost, because it is balanced voice.

Because you have character limitations. You have SEO on Google as well as SEO on LinkedIn. So Google has searched everything on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn has their own search as well. And LinkedIn tends to do things a certain way, so you have to do things a certain way. For example, you’re on individual jobs, right. Linkedin tends to pair you with people that are similar to you. Right? Well, that’s not what you want to do if you’re doing B2B sales or your coach.

That’s right. It’s trying to find you a job, not a client.

Oh, I need another programmer. Like, I know a Zillion program. You know what I mean? You’re trying to get business, right? So one trick is to actually put your target market in your title. It’ll start pairing you up with your target market. And people don’t think about that. You know, one thing to do is when I say I’m a Not So Boring LinkedIn guy, right. That’s the first thing I have underneath my name. And it’s not SEO optimized, but I don’t care. It’s more important to have that brand. And then I have the other things that are very searchable. And then when you’re telling a story, this is an easy way to explain it. I want to show the scars, but I don’t want to show the wounds. Right? You can over inundate like you can say, yeah, I was homeless. My mom died. My brother died. He had an overdose. My girlfriend was cheating on me and left me. I was living in the shit. No one can hear that. That’s just horrible. That’s just too much. I mean, you don’t want to say my life is awful, but I’m trying to make it.

That doesn’t work. So showing the scars and then not the wound, that would be showing the wound.

Right.

Showing the scars could be like the dating story. I told you I was an awful dater. It’s funny and it’s true. I am so direct. I used to go straight for it and it works sometimes, but most of the time it didn’t. So taking the approach of old fashioned dating into business just to get to know someone, just to see, I think dots connect. Are you in the same area? You have some commonalities? Is there something that you think he needs that you can help that has maybe nothing to do with your business? Maybe it’s someone I can connect them with or, oh, he doesn’t need a LinkedIn guy. He needs to fix his freaking email. I got an email guy. And people say, oh, I got great deliverability. No, you don’t. People don’t realize that a good portion of emails never make it. And I could tell them, look, LinkedIn is great, but LinkedIn is not everything. Like, we pull stuff off of LinkedIn and create a video funnel series through like dub or some kind of component that makes it more interactive because some people don’t reply on LinkedIn. So what are you going to do? You have to figure out what works best to help convert the goals of that client and a lot of it is technology based. And can you imagine sending a proposal to someone and they don’t get it? And the client says, well, I never got it. Well, the clients not thinking, oh, it’s a mysterious email. No, it’s a you problem.

Yes, right.

You screwed up and you lost the deal. So people sometimes don’t know how important these little components are to fix because it’s a cassette of dominoes. You remove one or two dominoes, it doesn’t complete. And I think a lot of people are so geared about volume. I mean, if you do a high value services, I’m good with one client a month. One, there’s a lot of work for me, maybe two maximum. A high value clients worth at least $1,000 a month compound monthly. You can compound that. My other client, like I mentioned, one job is $200,000. When you take the work in, can you deliver the work? And then maybe you can grow your business and your service offering procedures and training, and you can slowly grow out in that way. But I think that everyone, not everyone, but many people are about that volume and that volume will work against you. Can you imagine reaching out someone’s interested and they reply back and you don’t have time?

If they all come back and say, yes, if you’re not ready for that and it doesn’t have to be many, it can just be, like you said, one or two of them. They say, yeah, go for it. And you’re like, oh but I can’t go for it now.

Yeah, stabbing yourself in the foot. So you have to realize what is appropriate. And it’s okay to have a small business. It’s even okay to have a job if you’re doing career changes. I got a buddy that’s a sales guy for servers. I don’t even know what he does. Right. I’ll be honest with you drinking buddy. We go out, we talk. I said that dude makes a quarter of a million dollars a year having a job. So it’s not all about entrepreneurship. It’s about his ability to build relationships with clients. And whether you’re entrepreneur or having a job, you have to charge what you’re worth and you have to deliver what you say.

Put that on the card. There you go. Well, Troy, this has been fantastic and I tell you that’s a great way to wrap because it is important, right? Whether you’re selling yourself into a job where they’re selling yourself into a service, whether you’re selling a team, whatever it is, there’s the way you do it to bring that personality, that integrity through, I’m glad genuineness that you bring to this is enlightening and it was really great to share this. So for folks, if they do want to reach out to you, they can find you on LinkedIn, I presume.

My first and last name Troy last name is Hipolito. H-I-P-O-L-I-T-O. There is another Troy Hipolito out there, that’s actually my brother but he’s in the army so that’s a whole different guy. I used to be an army. Anyway, long story but I’m the most popular Troy Hippolito out there, right?

Not only is the top Swissipino but he is the top Troy Hipolito.

In the world, yeah.

Well, there you go. Troy, thank you very much. This has been really great and encouraged folks do reach out and taken your content through the great I love the way you approach things and yeah, we all need a little bit more Troy in our lives so thanks for taking the time today.

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Bestselling author Fabrice Testa is an exponential thinker, innovator, serial tech entrepreneur, business angel investor, trusted advisor, public speaker, author, and highly sought-after mentor. He has successfully founded, co-founded, or participated in the launch of multiple companies that created hundreds of jobs and generated multi millions in revenue. 

He is the creator of the Superpreneur Blueprint framework and has developed a set of cutting-edge strategies and tactics that enable super-entrepreneurs to materialize crazy ideas, build breakthrough ventures, and solve the world’s biggest problems. After helping more than 100 companies excel in their fields, Testa is making this proven methodology publicly available in Super-Entrepreneurship Decoded to help super-entrepreneurs everywhere transform our lives—and the planet.

This was such dynamic and informative chat. I highly recommend the book (which I read multiple times because it was that good) so make sure to follow the links to grab a copy yourself. 

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Welcome to the show. My name is Eric Wright. I’m the host for your DiscoPosse podcast. I hope that you liked this one as much as I did when I recorded it with Fabrice Testa. Fabrice is an author, an entrepreneur or an investor, and somebody who genuinely is using technology and business to bring good to the world. It was such a fantastic opportunity to really delve into his book Super Entrepreneurship Decoded. I loved it so much that I actually read it multiple times in preparation for the interview, and it was just that good.

So you definitely got to get a copy. Hit the links that are on the website episode page. You can also hit us up on the YouTube definitely reach out. I’m going to be running a contest on my YouTube channel. If you want to get a copy of this book, drop me a comment on the YouTube channel. It’s YouTube.com/c/DiscoPossePodcast and I’m going to be giving away a bunch of copies of this fantastic book. So just check the YouTube page for the details on that one. All right.

And before, speaking of, how do we make stuff like that happen? It goes without saying that the fine folks that make this podcast happen include people like VM Software who have been longtime supporters and who I support because they have a fantastic set of products. As far as data protection goes, they got you covered. Everything you need for your data protection needs, whether it’s in the cloud, whether it’s in containerized platforms, whether it’s SAS, whether it’s on premises, virtualized, even physical servers, all that stuff needs to be backed up and needs to be saved from things like ransomware and all sorts of naughty things that are going on in the world.

So, it could just be Pete in accounting that accidentally deletes a file. It could be somebody who erases a team’s message that shouldn’t have gone away. So get that stuff protected. All right, just go to vee.am/DiscoPosse and it’s just that easy, vee.am/DiscoPosse. And speaking of protection, make sure you protect your data when it’s in transit as well. Easy way to do that is you can use great products like ExpressVPN. The reason why I use VPN is because I like to make sure that I can do my best to protect my identity, protect my data.

And also it’s just fantastic for web testing. If I need to test like, remote location to make sure that it works as expected from different regions. So it’s really, really great. I use ExpressVPN for that very purpose. If you want to check it out yourself, go to tryexpressvpn.com/DiscoPosse and you can get it for yourself. All right. This is Fabrice Testa. I hope you like the show. He is amazing. Get his book.

Hey. Hello. It’s Fabrice Testa and you are listening to DiscoPosse podcast.

This is perfect. What a great way to start the year. This is fantastic. So Fabrice, thank you very much. I’ve been engulfed in the school of Fabrice now for a while. I was really pleased when I had the opportunity to put you on as a potential guest. And I really enjoyed. First, I read your most recent book, which is the Super Entrepreneurship Decoded. Fantastic book. Went a lot through the rest of your history, of course. And leading up to that book, you have so much to bring and you’ve brought so much to the world already.

But for folks that are brand new and who don’t already know you. Fabrice, if you don’t mind, let’s just get a quick bio. We’ll talk about the book and a really good exploration of this concept of the superpreneur.

Yes. Thanks Eric, for welcoming me on this show. Yes. So I’m Fabrice Testa, and actually I’m Belgian. I have also some origins from Italy. So I live in Belgium, but I work mostly. My business is mostly in Luxembourg, so in Europe and I have, of course, travel all over the world during my career. And basically I’m an entrepreneur. So I co-funded different companies in the space sector in the digitalization. One of them achieved 100 million Euro turnover, 200 people. Then this company was sold and after that I funded also a company in the satellite service company, Luxembourg.

And after three years that company was also sold. And after the sale of this company, I had no new entrepreneurial projects. So I started some new life as an investor, a business center. So I did different investments again in different technologies, space, artificial intelligence, ICT, et cetera. And then, I started also to be a coach and mentor to help other entrepreneurs because I wanted to give back somehow and to help other entrepreneurs by sharing my experience. And let’s say those successful strategies and tactics that was working for me.

I also created by that time a blueprint that I call the Superpreneur Blueprint to help entrepreneurs to become what I call superpreneur. And maybe we will discuss more about this and to solve some big problems by materializing crazy ideas. And actually I met a young Dutch entrepreneur in 2017 and he came with a crazy idea. So for me it was the opportunity to also be again involved in a kind of superpreneur venture. So we co-founded with other people in 2019, the company called Maana Electric that is also mentioned in my book.

And now this company is working well. So today I spent my time between this company as a co-founder and shareholder. I also spent time mentoring, coaching, speaking at several events to explain this super entrepreneurship movement that I launched. And I wrote a book, this book, Super-Entrepreneurship Decoded, because I think that one thing was missing in the Superpreneur Blueprint. It was a method, because the Superpreneur Blueprint gives the core pillars, the guiding principles and the key characteristic of this kind of venture, but it was not telling how to do it.

And so I try to analyze what super entrepreneurs and super achievers, how they do it. What is their secret to succeed? Why others fail? And in the book, I unveil five secrets that I think can help entrepreneurs to maximize their chances of success. Of course, it’s not a guarantee of success, but I think it’s a way to maximize the chances of success. They put all these five secrets around a method that I call the crazy method. So that’s a bit of my story and the origin of the book.

I really appreciated the beautiful use of acronyms. So, we’ll talk about crazy as a method. People think, is he meaning literally crazy? But it’s a perfect pairing because it allows us to assign a memorable name to it. And it’s not far off of, you know, these real sort of crazy and moonshot type of ideas. If we take it in this literal sense of the word and then a pathway to execution that’s been tested and proven that you’re bringing this methodology, you’re bringing a framework to the world that you’ve lived and experienced, which is, I think, one of the best things that people need to appreciate about the book.

This is not a Harvard Airplane NBA guide that you read between New York and Boston flights. This is a lived experience that’s brought down and distilled into effective, meaningful steps that you can implement with great analogous references that are meaningful and helpful. And, of course, likes to bring your personal experience. I trust it. I think Nassim Taleb says the greatest way to be a philosopher King is to be a King first and then a philosopher second. Too many times these days, when you go through the business section or these sort of self help sections, it’s a lot of people who are straight from school and their PhD year was writing from research.

And while it’s a beautiful thing, ten years later, when they go back and revisit their early work, they’re like, ‘Oh, wow. I was naïve a lot of times in what was written’. Your book, first of all, tells a beautiful story. And like I mentioned before, we talked, it is you telling the story. It really comes through as a person telling me how to achieve this from their own experience. And I said, it’s a refreshing change because I’ve read a lot of books of this style that aim to do this, and they often come back as the same three things that I already sort of knew, and it’s a little bit reinforcing, but it was very well done.

So I honestly can’t talk enough. We’ll have links, of course, in all the show notes for people, they should absolutely pick up the book.

Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate it. It’s always nice to hear nice words like this, but I think I wrote the book as I would like to read a book, because I also read a lot of non fiction books, maybe between 50 and 60 books, you know, per year. I like book support, entrepreneurship, business, etc. Some are very good, and some, I think are less good because it’s true that there are a lot of, maybe they tend to have some frameworks, et cetera. But you don’t see really how to apply it.

And what I wanted with the book is to give a very simple framework because I think the framework is very simple in essence. Now the difficulty is to apply it in real life, and it’s why I provide in the book worksheets so that people can apply, let’s say the principles of the book, try to answer a lot of questions and try to put in practice the principles of the book. And it’s also why I’m just launching by end of this month, a companion course to the book, which will be called The Crazy Method Launch online course.

And it’s an online coaching program on twelve weeks. Every week there will be a module and we are mostly following, let’s say, the method which is in the book, but I’m going really to dive deep into each of them, which of course, I could not do with the book, because in the book you are obliged a bit to scratch the surface, unfortunately. Because the book will be indigenous and will be much too big. But with the course, I think the people will have really the opportunity to go really, to dive deep into the principles of the book, to put in actions the method that I propose in the book, and hopefully like this, they can really materialize their breakthrough potential.

They can really have a solid plan if, for example, they want to launch this kind of breakthrough venture that I’m suggesting in the book.

The thing that we need to look at, too, and that’s why I appreciated the references throughout and very specific stories that are called on from other parts of the industry as well, is the proof in execution elsewhere. Right. It gives us a chance to have a reason. Why is the book built to last? One of the most popular ones is because it’s five familiar brands that we know, and that familiarity breeds the belief that I can achieve it. There’s something to be said about this, but when you get into the moonshot areas and these very big ideas, it’s a little more difficult to find meaningful, real existing references.

Looking back now, it’s funny that in two years, three years, you’ll look through those stories in the book and they’ll be like it’ll seem obvious, but at the time when you’re writing this, of course, these are still moonshots. We look at Elon Musk, not just in a single moonshot, but in multiple ventures that he’s achieved. You, of course, coming from supporting and investing in space technologies and being in that ecosystem, there’s a lot of these sort of hidden, there’s a hidden world that’s existing that most people are not going to be aware of until it’s already on their phone or wherever it is.

They just take for granted all of this other work that’s happening to support the thing that makes the news or that makes the big story. So I just realized, too, by actually coincidence, I was wearing a SpaceX shirt. My wife and I are both space fanatics. And last time I got a chance, we actually went to watch the Delta Four Orion launch in Florida. It was fantastic. There’s nothing like an in-person launch. And being aware of how seemingly unrealistic that idea is to most people and why the super entrepreneur has to and is somehow able to put that aside and say, this needs to get done.

And despite advice and despite doubt, we’re going to do things to get back to like this, it can be done. So maybe let’s start there describe to me Fabrice, what is the super entrepreneur or the superpreneur?

Yes, I think it’s a good question indeed, to start somehow the conversation. What I call super entrepreneurs are people that they want to solve some big problems. Because I explained in the book that in 2007 we enter in what I call ‘The Edge of Exponential Acceleration’. So everything is really going very fast. Mostly technology is going exponentially, which is a good thing, because today we have many technologies that have achieved a good level of maturity, and they are used by this kind of innovators and inventors to build some amazing solutions.

But at the same time, problems are also accelerating at an exponential pace of change. If you look at climate change and unfortunately, you know, these disasters in Colorado, for example, I strongly believe that this is a consequence of climate change. And we see that we have now more wildfires, more flooding et cetera. In Belgium, for example, we have terrible flooding in the summer. So I think that we must do something. And unfortunately, most of the conventional solutions have proven their limits. So it’s time for radical solutions, what we call crazy ideas, crazy solutions, solutions that initially seem impossible.

But what I try to always explain is that today at the edge of exponential acceleration, nothing is really impossible. And at the edge of the exponential acceleration, impossible becomes possible. And this kind of entrepreneurs, I call them super entrepreneurs because they probably believe that nothing is really impossible. And they are ready to dedicate ten years, 20 years of their lifetime to solve such kind of big problems and to come with some amazing solution that will solve this problem. And, for example, to give a very concrete example to your audience.

There is, for example, this guy in the book that I described, Joseph Pescounty. He is Italian but living in Barcelona, in Spain, and he discovered that he could use some technology used for 3D print human tissues, et cetera. That he could use the same technology to 3D print food and so now he’s using this technology to 3D print food. Imagine that today is, of course, still a very small scale. But imagine that tomorrow he can build machines, he can scale these machines to produce tons of food and 3D print tons of food.

This could be really a big solution for solving hunger around the world, because today, unfortunately, in the world many people, they have only access to one meal per day. So I think at the 21st century, we are always saying we live extra ordinary times, et cetera, which is true. But how can we admit that today in our civilization that some people, they have only access to one meal per day? So I think we need to come with some solutions. And it’s not with the traditional solutions that we will do it.

But with this kind of breakthrough solutions, it will be possible. And so it’s why I call them super entrepreneurs. And just to be clear, I don’t want to oppose one kind of entrepreneur to another kind of entrepreneur. I’m an entrepreneur, and I respect all kind of entrepreneurship. It’s just that these kind of people, I think they are super because they want to really solve big problems, to dedicate a big part of their lifetime to this, to work on moonshot things that others may think are impossible.

When I met this young entrepreneur, Joost van Oorschot, that is also in the book that came with this idea behind Maana Electric. When I met him first, my first reaction was also to say, wow, it’s crazy. He wants to turn sand into solar panels into a machine. This is impossible. So my first reaction and I’m also in this movement. But my first reaction was to say that’s impossible. So our first reaction, because we have a linear mind is to say it’s impossible. And if we go to an exponential mind, then we see the thing is possible, because in the exponential world, you know, if you can go ten times, if you have ten doublings, it’s a grow of 1000.

If it’s 20 doublings, it’s a grow of 1 million, you know. If it’s 30 doublings, is 1 billion growth. So it’s going very fast. And today we see with this progress of technologies that many things are possible. So I think we need to have a mind shift and to really shift our perspective and see. Okay, if I would have a magic wand, how I will solve this problem. And it’s what I recommend to innovators if you would like to solve this problem, what would you do? Don’t think that with possible solution.

Just imagine if you could do it or you will do it. Like, for example, I said this 3D printing machine, like we seen some science fiction movies, you know, that the food is printed or appears directly like this. And this is really something that we think with a magic wand that it could be possible. But today the reality is that it’s probably feasible and it will happen. I’m pretty sure that it will happen in the coming years that it will be at this time.

To take it back to this first principles thinking approach, which I think is obviously the fundamental to the folks that are achieving these sort of grand visions is because they’ve gotten rid of linear thinking. They have to shed the belief that everything is one to 1.1. It truly is this sort of zero to one. Go back to raw materials. And I think Elon Musk was recently on Alex Friedman podcast. He talked about that. The only way you can approach this is simply look at the costs of the raw materials, and the goal in the end, is always to the cost of manufacturing will be asymptotically close to zero above the raw materials.

And it’s just a matter of the work that you do to get closer to that raw material cost. And that’s ultimately what led to battery technologies. And we’re seeing this with solar. But you’ve proven it out right in that very idea that if you just said, well, we have to just make it slightly better than the current lithium manufacturing, right? That can’t be it. You had to go to what seems like a crazy idea, as Joost brings and say, okay, what if we actually could do this and then you realize you always could with the right, first mindset and then second, which is why the book is important, executing the approach in operations as well, because there’s lots of big ideas.

But then having the team, the growth, the understanding to financially survive to execution is where, it’s a long distance from idea to execution. So that’s why where do we learn this? Is it as rare as it seems to be able to have this thinking?

Yes, I think you are right, Eric. When I met again, when I met you the first time, I was thinking, okay, that’s impossible to transform sand into solar panels. All this will be impossible. But then I go just 1 minute after. Yeah, but let’s imagine that it can work. Okay. So I asked some people, do you think that it’s possible? And many people told me, look, it’s not against the laws of physics, in sand, you can find everything to transform it into Silicon and then into solar cells and glass.

So basically it’s possible from just a physique standpoint. And so this was for me, the confirmation. Okay, that’s probably possible. So now let’s dive a bit deeper into that. So I did my due diligence. I analyze more. I try to understand also the business model, et cetera. What was the plan? I was also impressed by your master plan. It’s a notion that I explain also in the book, what were the big goals, etcetera. And to be honest, we are just following the big milestones right now.

And then you are right. I think an idea remains an idea until it is materialized and so what I see so many times is entrepreneurs. They have a lot of ideas, et cetera. But they never take action, or if they take action, they take the bad action. So it’s why I always say first, you need to really know, okay, what do you want to achieve? What do you want to create in this world? What is your true purpose? Okay. And after that, you need to press your crazy ideas that these crazy ideas will really allow you to materialize somehow your big dreams and you have to dream big and bold.

Many people are unfortunately not audacious enough. These kind of super entrepreneurs or super achievers. They have dream. They have big dreams. They believe in their big dreams, and they are bold. They take the necessary actions to materialize their dreams. But you are right that the proper execution is key, because without a proper execution, without what I call a flawless execution, you cannot, unfortunately, materialize because these kind of moonshots are very complicated, to be honest, to be achieved, to be materialized. So it’s why it’s very important to have a flawless execution.

And these kind of super entrepreneurs and super achievers, they are master at execution. They really try to see anything that can help the business. And now the secret one of the secret to succeed this flawless execution is to have a good preparation. The preparation is key, but now you have not also to spend months and months just in preparation and never take action. So I think there is a good balance to have when you think that your plans are good enough, then you have to act and maybe to revise a little bit your plans, et cetera, iterate.

Of course, move forward because I see also a lot of entrepreneurs. They have big ideas. They create big plans, but at the end they have the fear to fail. Or maybe they try to perfection their plans, but at some point they never do it. And they have very nice pitch deck. Or they have very nice business plans, or they have even very nice products. But they never ask the customers about their products or they never try to sell their products. So they have fantastic products. But at some point they never question also the business case for the product.

Again, it’s nice to have big ideas, but you need to go from a big idea, from a dream to a plan and then to some execution. Again, it may seem very simple, and I think the basics of the business is simple. Business is what an entrepreneur is there to solve a problem with a product or service that you want to sell to some people and you make some profits. I think the basic of business are very simple. The realization is something which is more complicated because there are so many parameters and these kind of super entrepreneurs and super achievers, they have a holistic approach about how to manage the company and they try to minimize the flaws in every aspect of their business.

Now you bring up a very important point when without customer validation, this is quite often the death knell for product management and bringing products successfully to market, because if they wait too long before they expose to their buyer and their user and their true technical consumer, they go far down the path to what they believe is the correct thing to build or method to use. And then you have the double problem of number one. They’re now pot committed or too far invested into this. And so they then start to discount the customers ideas like, ‘oh, no, but you don’t understand. We know what we’re doing better. We built it.’

But then the counter problem exists now, Fabrice, where in moonshots, quite often the customer doesn’t exist in a way when you’ve got an idea, you have long plan as to when a customer will be able to test it. How does that gap get bridged in your experience dealing with very early emerging tech?

Yeah, that’s, of course, a good question. And it can be a problem, actually, it’s also something which is well known. And I re-explain also in the book is the technology adoption lifecycle. So initially I think for this kind of, because mostly what I describe in the book are what is called deep tech companies. So it’s really very long. Let’s say moonshot venture that will take probably 5 to 10, if not 20 years, because there is a lot of research and development up front, et cetera. And for these kind of deep tech companies, generally, what you need is to have the validation, at least a kind of validation or pre validation from early pioneers.

So early pioneers are really people that are visionary that love new things, et cetera. That maybe see beyond, they like futuristic things, et cetera. And let’s take the example of Lilium, for example. It’s a company also that I described in the book. What they want is to have a small electric plan to make inter regional, let’s say, or intercity flights. So this will be perfect. It’s a bit like also Uber Air. So it’s these kind of companies that want to make some flight taxis, et cetera.

And you are right. Is there today customers? No. But there are some people that they may question some people and say, look, if this would be available, will you take it? Will you be able to pay for it? And I think there are many people that will say, yeah, I love Uber Air. That for example, in LA, where there is a big traffic jam, maybe I would have the possibility to fly instead of going on the road. I will love it. And I will be ready to pay for it.

So I think you can always find some people that at least validate your, let’s say, your proposition. Now, the difficulty for this kind of companies is that after two pioneers or what we call the early majority that will adopt, let’s say, their product, it will be to go to the mass market. And they might be more complicated. But, yeah, it’s all the difficulty of creating a business that can scale et cetera. But there are some, of course, fully, some strategies to do this. But I think in the case of Lilian, for example, they now went on the stock market.

I think it’s on the Nasdaq, their value at 1.5 billion. So the market believes in what they do. And I think there is a strong, let’s say, thinking among the population that, yes, this kind of solution at some point will take off, which is the right word will take off as long as, for example, the barriers related to air regulations, et cetera will be removed. But early validation is very important. And I like to give a very simple tip to start up, which is the Starbuck tip.

So if you have an idea, you go into Starbucks and you ask someone, ‘Look, I pay you your latte, but you spend ten minutes with me. I explain to you what I want to do, and you just give your honest feedback about what I want to do. If you think that it’s completely crazy, tell me that it’s completely crazy. If you think that you will never pay for it or that it will never work. Just let me know if you think that it’s amazing. Just let me know, et cetera.’

But you know what? Recently, a company in Luxembourg. I met them in an event and they talk about this idea. And I said, Did you validate your idea? “Oh, no, we don’t know exactly yet. We have not talked with potential customers yet, et cetera”. And I told them, look, go into a coffee shop and do this, and they did. And they receive an incredible validation of their solution. And many people said, look, if this would exist, it would be fantastic. And since then, they just won some prices, et cetera.

And they started doing well, because now they are convinced that there is a real market behind. So I do believe that early market validation is very important. But you are right that for this kind of companies, it’s not always easy. I think they have to focus on the pioneers, the early adopters, if at least they have this validation, it’s already a good sign. But after they will have some challenges, of course, for sure.

And I think an important thing that obviously plays out in the book. And with all the work you’re doing and the upcoming courses is, I often call it framework over firepower. That the old saying goes that plans are useless, but planning is essential and being able to adjust pivot, deal with changes in inputs. But if you do not have a framework in which you can apply these methods and you’re lucky more than you’re right in the execution. And this is the belief that we can just sort of throw.

If I scale my engineering team by 100, then I will suddenly be 100 times more productive. And it’s the mythical man month, as they often used to call it a mythical person month, of course, but more politically correct now, because you cannot just throw human firepower at it or money firepower necessarily and have it scale. The framework is incredibly important because then it becomes the methodology that anyone in your team can apply and that it also comes from vision and principle of the company. And I guess when you’re creating your own framework and you’re using your own method here Fabrice or you’re looking to entrepreneurs, especially as an angel investor, what is it that you look for in that, this is an idea and I trust these people to be able to scale towards this solution.

Look, before I make an investment. I use what I call the four T’s. And it’s not because my name is Testa. It’s around the T. And again, I like acronyms et cetera. But here it’s very mnemonic system for me to remember what is important. The first tier is technology. So is this technology really something breakthrough? Is it really something unique? Can this technology really create a big value? So that’s the first tier that I look into. Then I look at the second T, which is traction. And for me again, traction means market.

Is there a big market enough for this? Now, referring back to the previous question, sometimes it may be a bit complicated, but at least, is there some early pioneers, early adopters that, let’s say, that are quite excited about this solution and it’s what I call the traction. Then the third tier is the team. Is there a team able to materialize this big idea within this big market? Because for me, this is essential. It’s the execution. Is the team available today or maybe with some other people to execute the vision?

And then the fourth tier is the timing. Is it the right timing for it? Is it too early or is it too late? It’s a notion that I explain also in the book because I think this is really paramount. And there is a famous person that, unfortunately, I forgot his name. But he did an analysis of many ventures. What were their success factors, et cetera. And among, let’s say, all these startups et cetera. I think the video is available on YouTube. He found that, actually, timing was the key success factor.

So yeah, because why? Because sometimes some people, they have a very good idea, but they come too early and they are going to burn a lot of money before the market is ready. It’s maybe a bit the case, for example of Lilium, that I was talking about previously because I think they have a fantastic solution. But today the market is not fully ready, so they need a lot of cash. And it’s why, for example, they did an IPO to have enough cash. If you are too late for the market, the market is already over, and that’s done.

I think probably you will have some late people that might, let’s say, what we call the late majority that might eventually buy your solution. But the market is over. So it’s finished. So I think the proper market, the proper timing is very important. And what I have observed is that most of these super entrepreneurs, they are able to really sense, ‘Okay. What are the moods of the time? When is the right timing for it? And they launch the solution at the right timing. For example, I think Elon Musk, he was a master in that when he launched Tesla.

I think he really perceived that there was something missing on the market, that it was a time for electrical vehicle. But there was a need for some new kind of electrical vehicle, et cetera. He was right when he launched SpaceX. And you have dealt with SpaceX. It’s also in the right timing because there was all the start of the new space, et cetera. There was many projects of multi constellation, et cetera. And he was right to say, okay, if I can have a solution, which is maybe cheaper, et cetera, I can give a boost into this new space edge.

So I think the timing is very important. So I use these four T’s, the technology, I have the right technology, the right market, the right team, and the right timing. And for me, these are the basics after that. Of course, there are many things, but I think these are the four basics. And if at least a company has these four green lines into these four pillars, then for me, I can try to investigate a bit more.

Yeah, the timing is very interesting, and it’s often, it’s difficult to know until you run the other side of it. But if we take anecdotal experience, combine it with data, and I believe that we are going to be better. And we are today better at predicting that timing and ability to execute into that market. Of course, I brought up Built to Last. The funny thing about Built to Last is most of the stories in Built to Last actually led to pretty deep failures, years after the book had come out because the markets completely shifted away.

And it was sort of the idea that while they were successful in this pivot of those companies, they then failed to pivot soon after, and they suffered because of the belief that it was now stabilized. And they languished what they believed they already achieved what they needed to do to survive. But survival, like most things, is a continuous effort, especially in business when you’ve got funding. In the end, they often say it’s like startups fail for two simple reasons. The money runs out or the founders give up.

Yeah. Exactly. Dispute between the founders, or they give up or the lack of cash. Yes, these are the two main reasons, for sure.

But the four T’s that you talk about are the reason why the second part will occur most likely, right. Because we joke about pets.com and the original.com era. They all would have been fantastically valued and successful today, of course. But we’ve now succeeded on the backs of their failure. And I think that’s what as humans and as learners, in business and in tech, if we take those learnings and we say if given the right timing, if we change the approach, if we go back to first principles, could we bring this back to the market and be successful in it?

It’s good. I like that entrepreneurship as well as being celebrated. We saw a long period where it’s a bit of a tough word when you say the Uber of something. Right. Uber was this fantastic thing. But then it became synonymous with a negative view of the founder, of the specific founder. Right. That story was unfortunate because it truly did taint the incredible thing that was done to change the market to create something that just didn’t exist. And so I like that now entrepreneurship, we’re going to see more and more people that are successful with it, because I think further down towards the school system.

They’re studying these things instead of General Motors and Vodafone and the early technology creators as the case studies. They can now use case studies from the last five to ten years, which are fundamentally different than what we had 30 years ago, which were the case studies that were put in print and treated as the gospel of schooling, at least. And I’m curious on this one, Fabrice. Is there enough further down, even like in high school and secondary education, that is being done to make entrepreneurship a viable future for people?

I feel like we’re still not there yet, but I’m curious of your experience as well, talking to especially early founders.

Yes. I strongly believe that we need more entrepreneurship and not only to create profit ventures but also nonprofit ventures. I think anyway, the same principles of entrepreneurship can be applied also for nonprofit. So we need more people with an entrepreneurship spirit. I think when you have an entrepreneurship spirit, you can achieve anything you want in life because you have some capacity to convince others. You have some tolerance, let’s say, to risk. And maybe again, to things that are impossible. Things that are possible. And unfortunately, I don’t think that today the education system prepares enough for entrepreneurship, at least at primary or secondary school.

Of course, after that, there are some masters in entrepreneurship, et cetera. But yes, when the children are very young, I think there should be more kind of entrepreneurship, which is taught to our children. So, for example, to learn them, how to make great presentations, how to maybe have a small business which can be a profit or nonprofit, but at least to try to put in place of projects. So project management is very important. How to test their hypothesis, how to make experiments. That failure is not a problem.

I think there are many, many notions that could be to learn, for example, the exponential technologies. It may seem complicated, but it’s not, you know, a 3D printer is not so expensive and they could play with the 3D printer to build stuff, et cetera. AI, for example, coding in Python, et cetera. It’s also not expensive. So I think there are many things that could be taught in virtual reality, and that are sold today. This metaphors, et cetera. Again, just simple glasses, et cetera for virtual reality is not so expensive.

So I think today again, because in this age of exponential acceleration, we also seem a decrease of many costs, et cetera. So it’s the zero marginal cost society that has been well described by Jeremy Rifkin. And so, today many of these technologies are not so expensive if you want just to experiment a little bit. So why not to create in school some kind of living lapse where children, they can play with this. They can also try to put in place some projects and to pitch their projects in front of an audience, et cetera.

Maybe to fundraise also because sometimes they ask to the parents, or they ask to the teachers, but why not to the children themselves to try to fund raise for their school. And we should also learn the principles of personal finance to children because it’s something which is also not taught. And I think it’s unfortunate. So I think there is a lot to do in that space, unfortunately.

Yeah. You are speaking the words that I think of and said so well to this idea that there are things that we do not teach. And I guess there’s an assumption that the parents, it’s on the parents to teach these principles. But in the end, if it’s not promoted through the school system where they spend the majority of their time learning where that’s the most formal part of their day to day education. By the time the parents get around to it, they’ve spent a day learning or a day in some kind of programmatic method.

The last thing you’re going to do is suddenly, hey, let’s explore creating a pitch deck. And it’s funny that when I work with my kids and I recall here that you have kids as well.

Yeah. Four kids.

There you go. I know your number too. I’m the same. And my older kids when they would come to me for money, I would say, okay, what can we do? So that if I give you this money, we can turn it into a way that it can create more money. The first thing is what’s a repeatable thing that we can do. So rather than just go and buy this thing once and at least just to introduce critical thinking and them having to explain why they really wanted something to me.

They would often become more confident, like, okay, so I’ve got this idea. I need $40 for something. But I’ve got an idea. What I’m going to do is I’ve got a bunch of stuff in my closet. I’m going to maybe do a garage sale. And so I would say, well, tell you what, I’ll save you the trouble. We’re going to donate it. And I’ll give you the money so that we can win twice because you’re going to help somebody in need. And you’ve pitched your case.

I’m now your VC is when you give them, though, that freedom to create an idea and to push to get towards it, they feel good. And you can tell in the next thing they ask you. Now they’ve got an approach. They’ve got a method, right. So I think next time they go to their teacher, they’re going to say, I need more time on this. But here’s my proposal. I’m going to run a study group. This is entrepreneurship in the smallest way. I love that spirit, and you can see it in the kids.

They know it’s in them. It’s not for everybody for sure. There are many kids who they also think and act and learn differently. And we should support that as well. But for those kids that can take that to the next level, I really think we should be putting stuff in place to help them and nurture that.

No, I like it. And I try to do the same with my kids. For example, one of my son said, ‘There is this business that I know some friends. They do it’, et cetera. I said, you can do it, but I need some capital to start. I said, ‘Look, I will make your sponsor. I will give you the initial money and then you have to try. Then if you make profit, that’s fine. And let’s see how it works’, et cetera. I like it. But you are right.

The parents, of course, that maybe are educated can do it. But many parents probably are not businessmen, or they are not entrepreneurs. So maybe they just don’t think or they don’t have the knowledge to learn to their children. And it’s why at some point, the school should try to learn this kind of principles to the young generation, because I strongly believe that we need and it’s all, you know, my mission. I try to elevate a new generation of young entrepreneurs because I think that entrepreneurs can really shape a better future for humanity.

I think it’s through entrepreneurship, through building new things, et cetera, that we will build a better world, as I always say, build the world you love. I think if you wait, that others, build the world that you love for you, it will not happen. You have to do it. So what the book is also called with more doers more builders that can really shape a new world that will be better for the next generation. I’m a father of four kids, and what I want is that when I pass away, the world will be a bit better than the one that I knew because I want my children and my grandchildren that they live in a better world.

And so I think it’s a collective responsibility. So it’s why I call so this super entrepreneurship, a super entrepreneurship movement. I hope that many people will read the book. It will inspire them. Again, it’s not a guarantee of success, but maybe it will give ideas to some people. Okay. Maybe now it’s my time to start. I will follow some principle of the book, and I will try to take my chance because I think it’s never too late and we have one life. So why not to try at least?

Now, some people will fail. And I also had some failures like everyone that’s perfectly normal. But you need just to say, okay, I fail. What I can learn from this failure. And I can try differently next time. But maybe during this journey, some people will meet some investors or some team members, and maybe the next time they will do another venture with these investors or these team members, and it will work. So I think that’s normal. I think failure is part of the journey, but it’s not a reason to not try.

And I think we need more people that try new things, try to change how things are done. So we need more game changers at all, let’s say, levels of the society, we need more game changers, people that don’t accept the status course. I think there is too much acceptance. Let’s see how things are done. And again, at this age of exponential acceleration, everything is going fast and there is no reason why we could not do things differently and change how the world is going. Again, I think there are many things that are going well.

So I’m not pessimistic at all. I think we live probably much, much better than 100 years ago, for sure. But there are anyway, many problems. And I think it’s the collective responsibility of all of us to try to find some solutions to solve these problems.

Yes. An interesting quote is from Penn Jillette of the magician duo Penn and Teller. And he says two things are invariably true. The world is getting better and people think it’s getting worse. There’s an incredible amount of media attention to negative news stories. It’s very easy for that to spread and to us feel engulfed in this. But as you said by most measurable factors, we are better off economically, better off as far as distribution of food. There are many things we have a long way to go, and it happens by people like yourself and people like the superpreneurs and the people that are ready to give whatever to give back. We can continue to exponentially affect the world and at the same time making it commercially viable to run the organizations that can create these systems and solutions that can give back.

It’s an interesting dichotomy of celebrating sort of the free market capitalism to grow a business fund, development fund, research fund, delivery of new things, and then balance that with making sure that we give back. And I’m optimistic of what’s ahead. But I’m also careful about my optimism. Nothing is automatic for sure. You brought up a great point Fabrice. I’d like to quickly touch on this, too. Failure is an important part of the process, and we’ve all had levels of failure at some point in our life.

For those early entrepreneurs, do you find, is there any risk that a lack of exposure to failure can be problematic? I’d say for them as they begin this entrepreneur journey because they’re maybe not prepared for that first hit, that first thing that could set them back. How do you prepare somebody for adversity when they haven’t experienced it yet?

Yes. Look, let’s be honest. Who likes to fail? I think nobody. I think we all like to win and to never fail, that’s for sure. So I think unless you are wrong, I don’t know people that like to fail, but for me, it’s not a reason not to try. Now, all these super achievers or super entrepreneurs are they let’s say, overcome failures is through their massive transformative purpose. So they know what their true purpose is and they are fully committed to this. So it’s what gets them off the bed every morning and they know why they are doing this. For example, to solve hunger or to try to contribute to climate change, et cetera.

And it’s their strong motivation. So with this, they know that, okay. I have to try. I want to pursue my moonshot. It will take time. I will face setbacks. I will face many years. I will have failures, but I will need just to continue, because what I do is great. What I do can be great for humanity. So I need to just continue, even if I face some fears. I think for me their true purpose is their tool to always keep the true north and to always go, even if there is snow, there is rain, there is a lot of things.

They just continue on their track until they achieve their goals. And this is what I have observed. All these guys took Elon Musk and he waited probably 20 years before SpaceX is a great success. And many rockets just crashed and exploded. So he had a lot of failures. But he just continued. At some point he was almost broke. But he continued again and again. I think it’s just the secret. It’s only the secret to succeed is never give up. Like Winston Churchill was saying, never give up.

But I think it’s true. And these kind of super entrepreneurs and super achievers. They have a relentless, let’s say pursue of their dream or their objective. They will never give up until they reach their dream. Now, at some point, if they see that really, they need to take some other route to go to any way to achieve their dream, they will do it. They are not stupid too, so pivot or to try to change a bit and adapt the plans are also possible, for sure. But generally they are very relentless.

And even if everybody around said, look, you will never succeed, they just continue. Steve Jobs was well-known like this. He was saying, no, we will succeed, we will do it, et cetera. Everybody around was saying, no, it’s impossible. Again, it’s impossible. And he was saying, no, it’s possible. I think it’s really a question of mindset. And if you are fully convinced yourself, I think you can convince others. But if the founder says things that he will not succeed, I’m not sure that it’s going to work, et cetera.

How can he convince his team that it will work? So I think the best super entrepreneurs, they have a very strong belief that what they do will succeed and it’s all. They can convince investors, they can convince team members, they can convince customers because they say no, I’m sure it will work, it will work, et cetera. It’s what I’ve observed. I have known some guys, they were incredible. Even if everybody was believing that it will never work, they will continue. No, I’m sure it will work.

And they were demonstrating why it will work, etc. And they can bring some convincing arguments. Just people follow them. Why? Because dreaming is nice too. And so you try to also believe in these dreams too, because you want to be part of the big dream, because if you don’t have a big dream yourself, but you want to help someone else, maybe to make their dream come true. So I think that’s something which is fascinating.

Oh, definitely. And the most important thing and why I will implore people to pick up the book. And I’ll say that either through the blog or through social media, I want to make sure that people get access to this. So I’m going to offer up to buy up a few copies myself on people’s behalf and make sure that I get more people exposed to this. If you take something that’s executed successfully at scale and bring it down to a human level, that’s what makes day to day entrepreneurship accessible.

If we use the practices and the successes from incredible moonshots and bring them down where there’s less risk and there’s less things but use the methods. This is fantastic. It’s much harder to take traditional business methodologies and then scale them into an area where no one’s been exposed before. This is why it’s such a beautiful opportunity to take the lessons from the book and then put them into day to day. And when I read it, it immediately made me want to revisit a few things that I’ve got active.

I’m an advisor to a start up, and I’m doing other things, and it just lit up an incredible creative spark in me to shed the unnecessary things that are being worked on. And let’s go to core principles. Let’s go to what needs to get done. So I found it to be a very inspiring read, and I sure hope that other folks do. And it’s funny just to further that one thing you talk about SpaceX landing rockets. I use this in presentations all the time recently at a customer talking about how today’s stuff that we see as normal was not that case two years ago, even because Blue Origin, they sent people to the edge of space and back, and they landed the rocket.

So they land the first age of the rockets, and it wasn’t even in the news because it’s normal now. So SpaceX has normalized landing the first stage of a rocket, which was unfathomable five years ago.

Now for sure. And if I tell you that there is a way to land rockets without using any fuel, because SpaceX is using fuel to land rockets. But if I tell you that there is today, a means to do it without using any fuel. So a very sustainable way to reuse a rocket. Will you believe me or will you say that it’s impossible? I can tell you that it’s possible because I’m now part of a venture which is a German entrepreneur, fantastic super entrepreneur. And he just demonstrated very recently with a drop test on a small scale that it works.

It’s a kind of an inflatable parachute, if you want that enveloped, let’s say the rocket and it works, but it’s not using any kind of fuel, et cetera. And so it’s a fully sustainable solution to reuse rockets. So you see, it’s going so fast. What I wanted also to say maybe about the risk is that there are some techniques also to minimize the risk, and it’s part of the good preparation. And I explained a little bit in the book and in this course, the crazy method launchpad that will start end of this month.

I will also give much more explanation about these tools, but there are some tools that exist also to try to have a very good preparation to analyze all the possible risk, et cetera. So that again, the risk of failure still exists, but at least you try to minimize it. And I think that again, maybe some entrepreneurs are fearful to do something because they say it’s going to fail, and sometimes it’s a lack of preparation. I think if you are well prepared, if you have well evaluated risk, and if you see what I like, this principle of asymmetry of risk.

Okay. There are some risk, but they are minimal compared to the reward that can be provided by what I want to do, then it should be always the decision. Okay. I’m going to do it because what I’m going to do if I succeed will just be great for the planet. By the way, if I succeed, I can even have a billion dollar company. Why not? And the risk is quite small. Or at least I know what I can do because I have some backup plans, et cetera, to minimize the risk.

If eventually they would happen.

Well, I look forward to seeing the outcomes from the first cohorts in the crazy method launchpad, so Fabrice will stay close for folks who do want to get in touch with you. What’s the best way they can reach you in order to get in contact?

Yeah. So I think the best way is to go on my, I have two websites, but my main website is fabrictesta.com, where you can find all the information. You can reach out to me on this website. I have also another website, which is superpreneurblueprint.com. I’m also available on all social media networks, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube. So just feel free to connect with me if you need some advice for your startup. If you need some mentoring, coaching if you want to follow this new course, if you want anything, I try always to be available for entrepreneurs because I love entrepreneurs and I want also to give back by helping them so that we built a better world.

That’s fantastic. Yeah, I wanted to spend some time talking to mentoring, but I didn’t want to take away from what we wanted to talk about here. Mentoring is incredibly close to home to myself as well, and I’ve definitely seen the advantages that come. And so thank you for giving back to the entrepreneur community. In doing that, it’s more and more. I’ve now spoken to a couple of hundred entrepreneurs through the course of this podcast life, and invariably the successful ones always say my success is because of the lessons that were given to me by others through mentoring and effectively, we can save each other risk.

We can save each other pain. We can share. It’s not all just about pat on the back. You’re doing a great job, kid, and that’s really not what mentoring is about. Mentoring is about having a good, critical voice partner to share ideas with, and I’ve seen it myself as a recipient and also in mentoring I’ve done in the community as well, so it’s great. Hopefully we’ll come back. I’d love to have you back on again in the future, and we can talk a bit more deeply about mentoring.

With pleasure, Eric. It was a great conversation, great questions. And I really enjoy very much this conversation. Thanks a lot for inviting me.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fabrice Testa. Thank you very much.

Bye-bye. Thanks.

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Craig Goodwin is the Co-Founder and Chief Platform and Strategy Officer at Cyvatar, a technology-enabled cybersecurity as a service (CSaaS) provider.

He has over 15 years of experience leading security across both the public and private sectors, building holistic security functions that combine the range of security disciplines under a single effective function.

We talk about the method of delivering Cybersecurity-as-a-Service, the reason it’s more critical than ever, and also the approach of building leave-behind process and platforms to deliver the best customer experience. 

Check out Cyvatar.ai here:  https://cyvatar.ai 

Watch the Full Show Here

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

Welcome, everybody. It’s Wednesday. Or at least it is if you’re catching this when it comes out fresh because this is the DiscoPosse podcast, your weekly leading technology startup podcast, and you’re about to get exposed to a fantastic conversation with Craig Goodwin, who’s of Cyvatar.ai. Now Craig is really fantastic. He’s co founder and he’s somebody who I really enjoyed because as a chief platform and chief strategy officer, he had this beautiful mix of having lived the life of doing the things around security and now brings them to how to deliver these as a platform, as a true cybersecurity, as a service.

Really great stuff. His methods, approach, just a very enjoyable discussion as well. Somebody I would love to spend a bunch of time chatting with. And speaking of spending a bunch of time chatting with. I got to tell you that the reason I get to spend a lot of time chatting with these amazing people is because of the amazing folks that actually make this podcast happen and supporting it. So I want to implore you to please do me a favor. Number one, go check it out because everything you need for your data protection need. You can get from our good friends at Veeam Software.

I’m a longtime friend, fan, and they are really cool and that they’re supporting the podcast and making sure that as they look to bring their own message to the market. I’m pretty pleased that I’ve been able to be a part of that featuring some of the great folks at Veeam as well. So go to vee.am/DiscoPosse. They just came off of AWS re:Invent. They got a really cool campaign. It’s a comic book download, so really cool. So go there. It’s actually the landing page. If you go to vee.am/DiscoPosse, you can get your very own AWS superhero comic book.

Please do that. Very cool. I absolutely recommend it. And also, of course, speaking of protecting, the one thing you want to make sure is not just protecting your data wherever it is by protecting it inflight. Protecting your network, protecting your identity. You can do this by using ExpressVPN. I’m a longtime user of ExpressVPN because I travel a bunch and as part of it, I want to make sure that I’ve got consistency of experience and safety while I’m traveling around and using other WiFi and other networks.

So please do try that. Go to tryexpressvpn.com/DiscoPosse. It really is just that easy. Oh, that’s right. And also, have a coffee company. I hope that you enjoy it. I do. And if you want to go check it out, it’s diabolicalcoffee.com. Not much more to say about that. Really, really good coffee. Go check it out.

Hi. My name is Craig Goodwin. I’m the co-founder of Cyvatar, and you’re listening to the DiscoPosse podcast.

So thank you, Craig, for joining. I’m definitely in excited mode in what we have a chance to talk about, because when I saw Cyvatar come up on the list. You’re actually on my companies to watch. And it’s a rare treat when we can dive into, I’ll say it’s funny. It’s like this burgeoning area around cybersecurity and offering it as a service and injecting ourselves earlier in the development and operational workflow. It’s new to the world, which is terrifying because it shouldn’t be. But this is why the opportunity is huge.

So I think the best thing we can do for folks that are new to you. Craig, if you want to give a quick bio and we’ll talk about Cyvatar and the challenges that you’re solving.

Absolutely. Pleasure to be here, Eric. And thanks for adding Cyvatar to that list. I’m sure it’s a long one given what you do, but I’m privileged to be a part of that. Sure. My name is Craig Goodwin. My background. I’ve been on the end user side of cybersecurity for about 18 years before that. I was in the intelligence services with the UK government and fell out of that when chief security officer was just becoming a thing, really. And then spent 18 years building, operating, running large scale cybersecurity businesses as an end user.

So companies like Monster Worldwide, Ferguson plc, CDK Global, which is a big automotive tech firm out in Chicago and then Fujitsu before finally co founding Cyvatar with my co founder, Corey White, who is based in Orange County in California. He’s also got a long history in cybersecurity, but from the other side of the house. So he’s been building and running cybersecurity vendors for 25 years, and I come from the end user side. So the first pitch of cyberattack is always that we’ve got both ends of the spectrum.

We’ve been there and done it from an end user perspective and also a vendor’s perspective. So we know what’s broken and we know what we need to fix to deliver better outcomes for customers and businesses globally.

I think this is really why I loved your sort of mix in the founding team. It’s a fundamental problem that we have in so many startups is that we attack it purely from the intellectual like this is sort of the scientific method, and we come at things and there are points when you have to have a very opinionated resolution to things. It’s often how we succeed, is you can’t just sort of do incremental change. You have to come in and say, this is the way that it’s going to work.

We have to remap some of the processes. But because you’ve come from the experiential side, the buying side. I used to do the customer deal as well for a couple of decades, and it allows me to approach technology in a way that I know well in a pure intellectual approach. Fantastic. But will this actually get adopted and used in the way that we would hope. Really, the thing that I want to focus on, Craig, is this idea that you’ve seen it in flight. You’ve seen it in play.

You’ve actually implemented solutions, and you know that it’s much more a human problem sometimes than a technology problem, especially in the area of security and cybersecurity. So how did that two sided approach influence your choice to start the company?

Yeah. When I met Corey a couple of years ago, at the kind of founding of Cyvatar, I was in that place where the industry is going crazy right now, particularly from the VC point of view, there are, I don’t know. It changes every day, four and a half thousand plus products out there or something crazy. So I was having a lot of VC friends. A lot of founder friends say to me, you should found a business. You should do something now that you’ll be able to get the funding.

You should take that knowledge that you’ve got as an end user and create something. And I’ve been thinking about it for 6, 12, 18 months, but I wanted to find the right, and it sounds like a bit of a cliche, right? But I wanted to find the right thing, the thing that actually solve the problem as an end user. I’d fought with it for 18 years, and the kind of problems that I found were that I bought pretty much every product that existed. You could say the Noah’s Ark of Cybersecurity, but two of everything.

And that was true. You’d go out and you’d convince yourself as a CSO that your number one objective was to convince the executive team or the board to give you more budget, and you do that. And I do that really well. And then with that budget, I go and buy some more products, but still wouldn’t get to secure. I still wouldn’t get to the actual outcome that I wanted as a chief security officer. No matter how many products I bought, I still found that I needed large internal teams or my own platforms that I built myself internally to actually do the hard part.

And the hard part was actually the fixing. Actually getting into the outcome of secure. And I found that 90% of the products on the market would point out my problems for me, but simply add to that list of things I had to do. Add to the problems that I had to fix and not actually fix or solve any of those problems. When me and Corey met, he told me about his idea for Cyvatar and as a service solution, I said, Well, look, I’ve done that internally, three or four times over.

I’ve built the platform that we need to build to allow that to be successful. I’ve been the end user side consuming that. So let’s join forces. Let’s bring those two components together. He’s been running services businesses for 18 to 25 years, so he knew that one-off services just didn’t cut it anymore. I’ve been running the end user side and knew that products didn’t do it. So then things combined just led to what Cyvatar has ultimately become, which is the ability to pull to your point people, process, and technology altogether into easy to consume subscriptions that mean you’re getting to an actual outcome rather than just finding more and more problems.

Well, I remember, the thing was ADT security or something. It was like something like a physical home security company that had a great set of commercials. And it was the whole thing of there’s monitoring. And then there’s us, right? And this whole thing of like a guy, a bank is getting robbed. And someone just looks at the guard says, “Aren’t you going to do something?” And he says, “hey, he’s robbing the bank”. This is monitoring. Obviously the first layer is always discovery doing that monitoring that observability, which is sort of the new catchphrase in the industry.

But then from that point, is being able to action on it, is the gap, rather than just basically saying, hey, there’s something going on. And now it’s your fault. Your just handing it off to an operator or developer. And this is a complex ecosystem in the organization. The CSO doesn’t have effective control over IT in the same way, because they generally report up, like directly to the CEO. They report up, if anything, possibly adjacent to a CIO, possibly through legal and procurement. More so than just operational IT.

And there’s really a lot of stuff that falls under that bucket. So while they could say, there’s my aspiration to achieve a secure workplace, a secure environment, this now has to cross into seven different divisions of IT and many, many other things.

Yeah, 100%. And I could talk about that for days. I think to unpick that a little bit. You’re absolutely right. I think the trend and it’s going to continue to be a trend is decentralization of the security function. I used to joke or half joke as I was building security functions, that my ultimate goal should be to not need a budget as a chief security officer, right? Because I shouldn’t need to protect the organization. It should be so ingrained into everything we do as a business to your point, the different departments that actually, they understand it.

And I build such a strong culture of security that they pay for out of their own budget. Craig doesn’t need a separate security budget. I’ve tried to do that at the businesses that I’ve always been at, which is to put the power in the hands of the developers, for example, right? Where they have the tools, the power to be secure by design as they build their products, as opposed to what doesn’t work, which is Craig’s team coming along and acting like the police, right?

Which is definite cliche in the industry. But it’s hurt us for many, many years as that kind of outsider type approach to security. And then the other thing you touched on, which is just incredibly important and a lot of people forget is the politics associated with it. Like, how do you drive behavioral change that first day shouldn’t be about looking at technology. It should be about going to buy a Starbucks card, so you can take all the executives that you’ve got to influence out for coffee and build those relationships. Right?

Because that is 100% the most important thing. And one of the things that we’ve done from Cyvatar is enable that. The platform that we’re building or the platform that we’ve built really enables that decentralization. It enables those workflows to be created across organizational bounds and put the power in the hands of the people that actually need to fix it, as opposed to just firing a load of vulnerabilities and alerts at the security team and expecting them to do the hard work in chasing up and getting things fixed and influencing people.

It becomes the challenge. I was at an organization, and this was in the 90s through the 2000s and the CSO didn’t exist. That function wasn’t there. It was at least rare in sort of the Canadian world, particularly, we’re such a friendly bunch. We didn’t need one. Right. And all of a sudden, we see a CSO show up. And this is right around the time that Sarbanes-Oxley also was implemented. So you had, first of all, a functional change in the organization that they were separating out this role of information security officer, and also everybody that had the CXO title was signing their name on a contract that put them personally liable for the outcomes of their organization.

And it really changed things. So immediately, the first thing that happened, as we do with security organizations is they hired a bunch of VPs of security, and then they hired a bunch of directors, which are basically sort of their very high titled interns. And they began crafting policy, crafting policy. Quick. We must craft policies. And it was almost like a Monty Python ask level of, quick a proclamation. And they would come and they would post it on the board, and they would email it out and send. And immediately you’d say, “Well, we can’t do this”.

And they’re like, oh, no worries. Then file for an exception. And then they built a system to file for exceptions. And they had created the sort of process spaghetti. And I was torn, right? Because with what’s going on, I recognize what you needed to do is we need to actually look as an organization. How are we going to attack this problem? How do we recognize the problem within a medium, this is like putting a government into a functional organization and where they don’t see the outcome, they don’t see the negative side effects.

They just simply have to come in and say, policy checkbox. And then as it made it further on the organization, we would just find ways to get through the audit safely. And that was the first phase. But then from there like we’ve seen it in action. We’ve seen real. No one wants their company name to show up in the news. And it’s like when somebody has their name show up in the news and the word embattled is in front of it, there’s certain things you never want to have.

And I’ve got good friends who are solar winds, and that was a tough one to watch them go through where the reputation attached to being exposed to a vulnerability carries for a long time and has a real commercial effect on them just as an example, right?

That was one thing where they’re in the news. So at first it was like, in 2009, it was probably happening all over the place, but it wasn’t in the news. Now there’s a really significant risk that it’s prevalent that this is active in the industry, like DarkSide did it. They created ransomware as a service. This is fantastic. But how do we attack the problem and make sure that we don’t end up in the news? But most importantly, that we aren’t vulnerable. That’s the real thing. Obviously, the news is bad, but let’s actually fix the problem.

So if the ransomware has a service, then what do we do to counteract that?

Yeah. And I think you hit the nail on the head and we could talk for hours about the compliance versus security debate. But I think actually, in a number of cases, compliance is damaged, what we would call real security. Because if you think about, you mentioned the top down approach. One of the things that all those compliance standards first say is, go and get the board approval, like, get your executive buy-in all that stuff, which makes it that very policy focused, like top down approach where we create mandates and then we try and force it into the organization and actually back to that decentralization conversation.

The most effective way I build security is from the ground up. That doesn’t mean negating the executive buy, and you need the budget. You need people to understand what your objectives are, but being very clear with your sponsorship, your leadership, about what is the objective. Do we actually want to be secure, or are we just ticking a box for compliance purposes? If your answer is we actually want to be secure, that’s a very different journey than creating a ton of policies. And that’s one of the fundamental principles when we started Cyvatar, was that there’s a ton of really quick and easy ways to go and get SOC 2 compliance, for example, like, I say, 27001 compliance and will help with the operational aspects of that.

But the majority of the small to medium sized businesses and other companies that we’re serving wants is to be actually protected from ransomware, is to be actually secure. And to your point, like solar winds prevent their name from being in the media because they’ve lost data or been hacked or been interrupted or whatever it might be. They actually want to be secure, and that then differentiates them from their competitors because they’re more secure. So what we’ve done with Cyvatar is build real security in and security that actually gets you secure, which is a big step change from a policy, creating something and telling everyone that they’ve got to do it.

This is real world. How do I prevent that from actually happening and moving to that prevention? Moving to that remediation is the key step that the majority of vendors in the market just don’t appreciate or don’t help customers to achieve right now. .

When it comes to differentiation, it’s funny, I lead them. I’m not going to compare you to anybody. I’m going to compare you against the industry at large, in that you’ve chosen to price by human rather than object. And this is interesting because quite often when we think about security services, developer services, all of these services, they’re effectively marked per application per object per cloud target, per whatever. There’s always some technical target. So let’s talk about that, Craig. The idea that you’re basically working at the human layer with technology and thus you price, I’ll say differently than most folks would expect.

Yeah. 100%. And that’s another indication of number one, kind of that really customer centric approach, making the experience for the customer a lot more streamlined. One of the things me and Corey are constantly looking at the industry or taking our experience and changing the way that things should be done and making it simpler when we thought about the customer consuming it for anyone that’s ever commissioned a penetration test, for example, that horrible booklet of, like, 20 pages you get from the provider that says, and it used to take me even with a security team, four weeks to fill in the technical data to have to gather this technical data, to even get the scoping document back for a penetration test. Right?

And that just can’t be the way it is. So what we wanted to do is number one, make it customer centric, number two, make it really easy to consume. So therefore, what we do is we use the number of employees in the organization as an indicative factor for the size and scale of the organization itself. Right. And that then allows us to build those subscriptions, build those solutions based on the size of the business and scale it effectively. For example, we’ve got customers who have 500.

They’re in the entertainment industry. They have 500 employees that never touch a computer, for example. Right? And we’ll work with our customers to figure out how that subscription works and how best to address it and make it more palatable for that customer themselves. We have other customers where some of their employees have got three or four different laptops. And in the old model, that means four or five different licenses, right? We want to deliver security, true security for the customer. So we’ve build all that complexity.

And we just say, let’s base it on head count. Let’s base it on head count of the organization. As you grow, we grow, and we’ll partner with you to deliver security, whatever that means for the size and scale of your organization.

When it comes to the mapping to importance of the business, it really is a human tally, right? Because the scale of the workforce is effectively a marker of the network effect of risk, because the more people you have, like you said, they’re specific. Some employees, they’ve got seven devices hanging off them. They’re much more active, their field work, so they may be sort of more exposed than others. But then back office folks, they log into the computer only to get their morning email. And then the rest of the stuff they’re doing is they’re scanning paper into systems.

It actually makes complete sense. And you start to think like, ‘Why hasn’t someone done this before?’

That’s my favorite thing. Like, my head gets a little bit bigger because I love it when we sit down with customers. And hopefully that’s an indicator of a good idea, because we sit down with a ton of customers and customers go, doesn’t that exist already? And they’re like, actually, no, no one’s done it like this before. No one’s done it the way that we’re doing now. The reason that we built what we built is because the business model exists elsewhere. The likes of Netflix and the B2C space, the likes of Trinette and others within the B2B space for HR.

Why would you not have that model for security? And that’s what we’ve built with Cyvatar. We always use the example of why would I bother building a HR function at this point and even our revolution? I wouldn’t. I’ll go and outsource it to Trinette because they’re better at it. It makes sense. It works for the scale of business and how we operate. I don’t want to be a HR professional, just like a lot of these businesses don’t want to be security professionals, right? They want someone who can do it for them and actually get to the outcomes of secure.

So that’s why we built the business model that we did for sure.

When you looked at, obviously, the first thing we have is we have team, the three T’s. Right? Team, TAM, technology, as they call it. Right? You’ve got your co founder. You have to address on the technology side, you both come at it from each angle and see if you got a good sense of where you in the technology stack will be able to attack a problem. When assigning TAM, this is really about choosing your first market. What is the ideal customer that you wanted to begin with? Because it literally could be anywhere from SMB up to global enterprise.

There’s a lot of potential. And if you’re a VC, of course, there are like trillions of TAMs. They want this Gartner Esker type of up and to the right quadrants everywhere. They want to see a lot of that stuff. But you, as a founder, you have to be pragmatic about your first market.

Yeah, 100%. And you’re right. There’s a ton of opportunity in terms of even larger enterprise organizations. I’ll talk about that in a second. But if you think about the absolute target market, it’s those Greenfield organizations that haven’t built a security function yet. And what that normally means is probably 500 employees or less in the technology space where the ROI, the return on investment, associated with the model that we’ve created is quite frankly, a no brainer. When you talk to customers and you spell out what it takes to build a security program these days, with the cost of talent, with the complexity of tools, with just everything that’s out there.

And back to that original point about the CTO, and the startup really wants to be focused on making their products great, not doing the cybersecurity stuff. You come in and you take that pain away. And the model from a Greenfield perspective, just makes absolute perfect sense. And even a lot of our customers have got a single contributor, the first CSO hired, like you mentioned before, or the first security person hired into the organization. Even then, what they’re not going to be able to do on day one is justify another ten resources.

And that’s relatively lucky, right? So to have a solution that enables them to be successful and deliver those outcomes as well in a cost effective way, that’s number one target. Right. And also to your point, from the vendor perspective, it’s just a massively underserved market. We talk to a lot of our partners who say anyone under two and a half thousand employees. Our VCs are telling us not to touch because the economics don’t make sense when you get to a certain scale and we throw the term democratization around.

But it’s true. We’re taking these best-of breed technologies that perhaps wouldn’t be accessible to that smaller end of the market and making them accessible, making them consumable because you don’t need those internal resources or expertise to get them in and operational quickly, which is what we’re able to do.

Yeah. It’s kind of funny. Like I’m in the tech space and I meet with large organizations all the time, and they have more developers at most North American banks than the vendors they buy from. So it’s really difficult to go in there and sort of say, all right, we’re going to do a ground up development of this service approach because they’re just like, well, we’re going to use you for six months, and then we’re going to take a team and make them shadow you and then build the thing you do.

So it’s actually often a dangerous thing, especially for a start up to go in with a great fundamental challenge solver because they’re just going to go in. Tech companies are the same way. Right? Large social networks are famous for this one, right? Where they’ll buy a company, buy a product for a year and then not renew. And you’re, like some people on the sales teams are like, I don’t understand, why didn’t they renew? Because they are filled with amazing technologists. And they just watched what you did for a year. That’s all they needed, they needed to be close enough.

I think one of the real differentiators that we’ve got is that we started as a platform player. Right?

So we’re not a product led company. We are true platform. And you see it, we all see it. There are many businesses out there that claim to be platform based organizations. The problem that you’ve got is particularly with the larger businesses. They’re tied to their own products as well. So if you’ve got a shitty antivirus product and then you go and build a platform, well, guess what, which antivirus products are going to be the one you use in that platform. Right? And that’s the problem. What you’ve started from is a very blank canvas that we’ve started from a point where we’re building the platform first.

And therefore, if you want to integrate with us, we will be picking the best-of breed technologies. We’ll have a selection. We’ve got three or four different partners in each of our solution areas, and our member services team is constantly assessing what’s the best out there, what’s going to get the best value for our customers? What’s the best solution? And the customers are subscribing to a flexible subscription, which means if one day AV number one is the best one on the market, we’ll install that. If next day AV number two completely outdoes them and gets to a better state of prevention than number one, we’ll change it out for them.

And that’s all part of that subscription. So it’s focused on the subscription outcome as opposed to the particular product or technology that you’re driving.

Yeah. One of my favorite platform stories. And like, I’m in product marketing, I know, it’s always like, you’re not a tool. You’re a platform. It seems like better marketing. But Dave McJanett, who’s the CEO of HashiCorp, and I said, I described to him and I said, it’s great because you effectively got all these layers and it ultimately makes a platform. And he goes, well, we describe as it, if you squint hard enough, it’s a platform. But it really is a separated set of tools that integrate very easily.

And it was funny that even he was unwilling to use the word platform for fear that it would have this connotation of something that is easy. It’ll be automatic, you have to buy one thing, and then you have to buy the other four things. Their goal was ultimately interoperability, which is, again, this is why I wanted to pick on this point with you, Craig, by being able to know that you’re looking for the best of capabilities, the best-of breed. And you are handling the integration since the interchange.

It means that I don’t, as a customer, have to get locked into going to antivirus A and looking for the best deal, because, effectively, they’re going to tell me why I need them, and then they’re going to suddenly become the one that wants everybody else to integrate with them. I want to have a platform approach where that I can think of it as a framework that I fit things into. And then it gives me the comfort that I can negotiate with those vendors now, because before, especially an antivirus vendor, it’s the easiest thing in the world.

We have 3000 endpoints. How exactly do you think you’re going to change that over? It’s one step away from, it would be a real shame if something were to happen to your car, now, wouldn’t it? Like that’s almost a Mafia-esque type of way. But I’ve worked in organizations where we’re like, I actually had 22,000 endpoints and yeah, we got it done because we threw humans at it. But it was a huge expense. It was a huge lift. It was a huge risk. So if I can offload that risk and that assessment of the right current set of platforms to you, that’s a huge win in my eyes of why I would say Cyvatar is like, all right, this is a true platform play.

Yeah. And you got two things, I think. Number one, you’re absolutely right. A lot of those businesses, like I said before, four and a half thousand products out there, like, what startup wants to come wade through all of that.

The periodic table of things.

All Eric’s product marketing. Who wants to go wade through that to find the one problem. Sorry, the one tool that’s actually going to fix your problem, right? No one can. No one does. Right? So, yeah, that’s number one. My own member services team are experts in the field, have been doing it for 100 plus years, whatever the combined number is, and they will pick the best-of breed, right? Agnostically and build them into the partner framework, build them into the platform. And like I say, we’re not afraid, right?

When partners aren’t performing or it’s not the best tool anymore. We have the capability and the wherewithal to change that out. Because we’re so customer focused, we want it to be about the customer and delivering the right outcome for the customer. The other big deal here, I think, is really important. We went on this evolution, I think you mentioned it earlier for inSecurity from technology, and then we’re definitely focusing on the people right now. But the process bit for me, is probably even more important than the people, right?

Because you can have the best cybersecurity experts in the world. You can have the best tools in the world. If you haven’t got the process that makes those things successful, you’re still ultimately going to fail. And what we’ve built with the platform that we call the operating system for cybersecurity is the process of security, what we call, we’ve got proprietary methodology that we call ICARM, which is installation, configuration, assessment, remediation and maintenance. So you go from all the way from installation of the tools, all the way from maintaining a full security program.

But essentially all it means is the process of security. Like, how do you get from a point where you have nothing or a very immature security function to the point where you’ve got something that’s functional operational and you’re maintaining the organization in a clean maintained state and the tools can be interchangeable. The people can be interchangeable. But that process remains constant. And that’s what we built in the platform. And that’s why I think we are so successful in such a short space of time in terms of getting those outcomes for our customers.

We’ve got that experience, we’ve got that knowledge. We built those processes into the fabric of what we do. And that’s why we’re driving this speed and easiness of security that just amazes people to the point where they don’t believe us sometimes, to the point where people go, how do you do that? And it’s because you’re taking that fundamental approach and you’re building the processes right.

And I don’t want to talk about people leaving the platform, but the subscription model opens the door to a sense of freedom in that they’re not locked in to you, which is a strong thing, right? It’s sort of illegal and functional lock in is difficult, and people don’t want to take on a new thing because there’s sort of a risk there. What’s the thing that, what they say to you, Okay, Craig, I like what you’re doing, but let’s just say for whatever reason, we have to change gears in six months, and I stopped my subscription.

What does that mean for my organization?

Yeah. So we built ‘cancel anytime’ into all of our solutions, just like any other subscription but don’t like using it so much. But back to the Netflix example. For as long as you’re getting value out of Netflix, you’ll continue to pay your subscription. And me and Corey, and the whole of Cyvatar, is not afraid of that model. We truly believe that with those process components, with the people components, with the way that we’re driving value for our customers, it challenges us to continue to continuously drive value across that lifecycle and that lifetime value of that customer.

And we’re not afraid of that challenge, right? We haven’t had anyone canceled yet, and I’m hoping we’re not going to in the future because we are driving that consistent value. We all know my favorite quote ever. I don’t know who said it, so I might just claim it as my own. Security is a condition to be managed. It’s not a problem to be fixed. And that is absolutely true. It’s not a one-off engagement. This is about growing with the customer, partnering with the customer, and being that continuous source of security for the business.

So the short answer is, Eric, as long as we continue to deliver value and the customers see value from it, we’re not scared of it, but we’ve built-in’ cancel anytime’ so that customers, if they really don’t see the value, can make that break.

And I love this idea that you talk about something to be continuously managed. This is not like a juice cleanse to suddenly make you healthy. Security is something you just sort of throw a tool at it, and then by magic, it’s fixed. It really and truly is an operation, because even if the choice is right today, it’s not to say that that particular product or some process that you’ve got won’t be suddenly vulnerable just because of a change in the ecosystem or change in process in a month or two months or six months.

So that’s why it does need to be the subscription and the service model really makes sense to me, because this is something that I want to make sure is maintained. And we think about maintenance as SNS on a contract, right? Like, oh, I can phone 1800. I’ve got a problem with something, but that’s really not what maintenance is about. Maintenance is about maintaining the health of the ecosystem, right?

Yeah. I love the hygiene and health analogies. I think they’re really helpful when you’re thinking about cyber hygiene and cyber security. It’s that continuous process. Corey always gives the example of, I don’t know whether this is true or not, but always gives the example of doing the dishes, right? Doing the washing up, you leave it for three or four days and you’ve got a massive pile and it’s a hell of a workload to get through. Whereas if you do little bits on a daily basis and you could do the same analogy a million times over, whether it’s automotive maintenance or whatever, it might be doing those little things and keeping up with it means that actually over time you’re continuously maintaining that state of hygiene.

You’re continuously maintaining that in a clean state, which makes your job much easier over time, means it doesn’t cost you as much. We talk about another good example is always the developers building code. And if you wait until a vulnerability or whatever is out in the wild, it costs you 50, 60 X, the cost that it would be to fix it while it’s in the development lifecycle. The same is true for general security across the board. Fix it while it’s being happened, build it in, make it a maintenance. Again, back to process.

Make the process continuous, and you’re in that position where you’re getting much more value out of your security program. Pentest is another great example of that. How many organizations just do a one -off pen test every year? How many times have I done a one-off pen test next year. They come back the year after and say, why is it the same as it was last year? Yeah, of course it is. And that pentest somehow makes you secure. But no one does anything about it. It shouldn’t be one-off, it should be continuous.

And in our threat and vulnerability management program, that’s what we’ve done. Yes, you get a pen test every year, but also you’re continuously scanned all year round because you might do your pentest on the coming Monday. But who’s to say six months before that, you didn’t have a vulnerability that’s been hanging around for the last six months. So, yeah, I can’t say enough about the ability to be continuous in that program. And that’s what subscription brings.

This is the funny thing, right? Like you said, compliance and security, while seeming to go in the same. There’s an ampersand between them, like it’s attached to most people’s resume in that way. But it truly is separated functions because compliance is the annual or the quarterly checkbox to make sure that you’ve passed a test. Security is an ongoing operational process to make sure that that’s happening. You said pentest is one that’s interesting because as we develop more active testing, it teaches us to make antifragile systems as well, much more than defensive.

But truly, I’m going to build a system so that it can withstand continuous penetration testing. Actually, at this one place I was at, we used a product and they would do, like, regular scans. So every night, it would go and scan all this stuff and it would wipe out half of our homegrown applications because it would just basically batter them like a denial of service. And then you’d have to restart all these services. And I was like, they said, well, can you stop scanning the system?

I’m like, no, can we start developing to be prepared for it? Like, it was funny that integrating, the tooling changed the practice of development.

Yeah, one of the things that I always liked. And I was talking to someone about it the other day. I was used to just talk about, security is another facet of quality, right? Developers, a lot of development organizations understand the concept of quality. They’re constantly scanning the code for quality. They want to create quality products and quality code. But security is somehow some kind of outlier from that. And when we started to take, and one of the tips I always gave to kind of CSO as they were going into large product based or application based organizations was borrow from what’s already there.

Like take the quality scoring mechanisms and just add security in as a facet of that, because they’re building quality code. They wouldn’t, for the life of them, send out bad quality code. So security is just another facet of that. You can’t build a quality application or product if it’s not also secure. So borrow from that language of the existing business instead of trying to be a special snowflake on the side.

Yeah. Now let’s talk about the Forbes Technology Council. So this is a rare opportunity to be invited in to be a part of this. You’re involved, which it’s a testament to, obviously, your history and your skills and your involvement in affecting the industry, not just purely from your product perspective. What do you feel is a real strong opportunity with something like what the Forbes Technology Council is able to do?

Well, like you said, the name Forbes is one of those things you grow up with, I think, isn’t it? You go through school and you think about Forbes and who do I want to talk to and what’s the goals for me? So, yes, incredibly privileged. I think it’s a great group of people. There’s a great online platform where we share ideas. And to your point, Cyvatar has always been for me, about fundamentally changing the way the industry operates, not just about creating a product, not just about solving a spot problem.

Like a lot of the current solutions do. It’s about fundamentally changing the way we consume. So I think both ways, number one, giving to the Forbes Technology Council, sharing my 18 years worth of CSO experience with other members, helping them to understand how you build security programs, how you do security effectively, what you should be focusing your investment on, but then backwards as well. We get a ton of feedback from those council members about what they want to see, because ultimately, one of the things that we built with Cyvatar is we wanted it to be a business tool as much as a technical security tool, right?

Our audience in startups, particularly is CFO sometimes, it’s CEOs, it’s cofounders, who are not necessarily the most technical savvy people. They want a business outcome, not a technical outcome. So taking feedback and you see a lot of security vendors will take feedback from the technical security communities, which is great and valid. And we do that as well. But also, there’s a massive advantage to taking feedback from senior technology leaders, senior business people who can say, you know what, Craig? I don’t want to see a cross-site scripting vulnerability in an application.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less. Tell me how and when it’s going to be fixed. Tell me what it really means to buy business. Tell me how much it’s going to cost me to sort it out. Tell me how I can solve it in the future. Those kind of things, those ROI business based conversations is what we want to solve as a business. And therefore, hearing that feedback, having the opportunity to share that with Forbes Technology Council. Senior technology leaders really benefits Cyvatar and really benefits the way we’re building the platform and the business.

So, yeah, it’s a fantastic opportunity. And I’m proud to be a part of it.

When you’re a certified CSO, which is quite often, the CSO, sadly, is a role that they’re like, it’s like the CIO, which at one point when I was in first getting into tech, CIO used to stand for career is over, right? It was just somebody from the business unit. They were just like, you’re the CIO now. And they’ve served their two years to ride off into the sunset as they headed to retirement. Now it’s an active function and then CSO sort of fell into the same thing, like somebody has to be a CSO.

You, you’re the CSO, right? Make sure no one picks up USB sticks and push them in their laptop. And there was a sudden, you’ve heard a wide eyed thing of like, how do I be an effective CSO? And it’s because it’s a burgeoning role. Certification is something that I think had been vastly missed. So what is the path to certification and what are ways that professionals can look at working towards that?

Yeah. Well, I think that particular qualification is interesting. I think more widely the question around kind of experience as a CSO, to your point being thrust into a role where you’re told to stop USBs being put in computers, for example, I think ultimately comes back to it. And a lot of the responsibility falls on the individual. I did a talk a number of years ago about challenging CSOs as to whether they really are CSOs or not. And what does it really mean to be a CSO? And quite frankly, I don’t have the answer.

I don’t think anyone does. The answer no one likes is it depends. But what that means is when you start that job, you need to fundamentally understand why the role was created and what the executive and the business expects you to do and make sure that’s compatible with what your skill set is. And that’s what needs to happen more in the industry. It’s the same with, I always say, ton of CSOs will join a role and won’t have had a budget conversation for the first twelve months.

They just plow on, on the understanding they’re going to be allowed unlimited products and tools, right? Getting those things upfront, what is my role to our conversation about compliance versus security? All right, you’re hiring me as a CSO, but does that mean you just want us to get top two compliance if it does. And you’re happy to take that you approach that in a very different way than a role that says, actually, I want you to be the technical knowhow, I want you to work with the development teams to embed security into the development lifecycle.

Or I want you to be the strategic leader that is the figurehead for security across our business and drive sales cycles by being better at cybersecurity. All those roles are roles of the CSO, but in different organizations of different maturities and different expectations, and you’re ultimately setting yourself up for failure. If you don’t have that conversation up front with the executive team, with the business. It’s a long way of saying it depends. But as long as you’re clear up front what your role actually means, that’s the only way you’re going to be successful.

Yeah. And I think that’s the ideal thing, even like the CISSP, if you look at the foundations that it tests, it’s very wide range. And it’s everything from physical security to low level programming, understanding all the way up to much more high through technical cloud and networking. It shows you what it takes to really be a security leader in an organization or CSO. It is much more than just one aspect of it. And quite often it’s counter to what we’d expect if we make things more difficult.

If we make things technically challenging, that’s not always securing the environment, it could influence poor practices, because if you make everything super complex and people are just going to write it down, they’re going to write down their passwords. They’re going to do things that will then move against the policy setting, and it becomes, you’re effectively working against yourself by coming with this top down of you will not pass approach.

Well, the advice I’ve always given to anyone kind of early in their career or moving through their career that wants to ultimately become CSO in the end, is wider rather than deeper. It’s becoming more and more a business role. It’s becoming more and more about strategic leadership, about business leadership. There’s been a trend in many large organizations where CSOs aren’t coming from technical backgrounds anymore. You’ve seen people come from the risk function or the project management function or the program management function into CSO roles. And for me personally, I think that’s a really positive thing, bringing people in with that wider business experience.

That wider kind of programmatic experience and strategic leadership, I think, is really important because you get that separated agnostic view like boys and their toys tend to get excited about security technology and AI and all that kind of stuff, whereas someone that takes a business centric approach and says, what’s most important for the business, what is it we’re trying to protect? What is my job here? Like, all of those things contribute to being much more successful than diving in and going, oh, I need to buy this product.

So I think that’s really important. Back to SIT phase, it’s incredibly wise. I think it’s a great certification that you have, out of all the ones that exist to get you that kind of width in terms of understanding when you’re ready to do that. But I think as your career progresses, you want to know a little about a lot of different things. I’m no technical expert. I have technical people who do that for me. You can’t do everything. And it’s about having a little of a lot. I think as you grow up as a CSO.

In the world of tech, especially community is incredibly important, and the ability for people to find a peer group. We’ve talked about the Forbes Tech Council, which I primarily is savant at the C-suite. There’s a lot of folks that are there that they can really look at the leadership level. There’s others that go further down in New York. But then you’ve got the bottom up, sort of the SANS and even the BSides and those types of conference opportunities. What is if you’re saying, as a Cyvatar founder, what’s your community of practice that you feel is effective in helping your team both empower as well as to stay close to what’s really going on out in the world?

Yeah. I think it massively differs depending on the team. Right. So for me and Corey as co-founders, it’s entrepreneurial organizations. It’s learning from other founders, people that have been there and done it. And actually, one of the things that I’m really passionate about is not in cybersecurity. I’ve got some great friends who are founders in cybersecurity, which is fantastic. But you’ll see from the way that we’ve built the business, we haven’t learned from cyber, we’ve learned from other business models, and we brought that into the immature space that is cybersecurity.

So therefore, when we’re learning from other businesses, subscription based businesses like ourselves or SAAS businesses or whatever. So me and Corey have been very conscious to take those learnings from other areas. And the other thing to remember is we read a lot of books. We listen to a lot of audiobooks, get ideas from those things, but don’t prescribe to one single thing. There’s millions of different ideas from different theories and different books all come together to create a strong business model. So I would say, for me and Corey, that’s important.

But then, obviously, like our member services team, they’re heavily embedded in the ethical world of security. It’s their job to know what the best products are on behalf of our customers. So they’re absolutely interacting in the black hats of the world, the cybersecurity conferences of the world where they can hear have their ear to the ground so that ultimately our customers don’t need to do that themselves. And we’re taking that burden away from them. And then we encourage everyone. One of the things that we have all done in the business is go through a course called Scaling Up, which is a methodology for building businesses.

And we’ve been really open with the whole team from the beginning. It would be easy just to have me and Corey do that because we’re building the business. But actually, we wanted everyone to understand that methodology. The Rockefeller methodology for building a business. We wanted everyone to know what that meant, how it operated, so that as we grow, we can be completely transparent with the whole team. And everyone understands that they play a part in it. Everyone understands that they’re a part of the growth of the business. We do KPI stand up calls every day where everyone sees what the business is doing.

Are we failing in certain areas? How do we change that? And we have those open conversations with the team where everyone shares the learning and we build the business together. And me and Corey think that that visibility is incredibly key. So to your point, there’s definitely external communities, but there’s also internal communities where we bring all of that together and we grow as one team.

And I think this is also a testament to your approach in that when I choose a vendor, why we say the three T’s begins with team, I have to depend that the company that I’m buying from has viability, and it’s really difficult, right? If you’re like, they look around and know that, I’ve got twelve series A technology companies that look exciting and you know that they are close enough in their messaging and in the end, in four years or six years, there will be three series D company. But I have to lay that bet.

And your approach is beautiful, right? It’s differentiated because this means that trust that you will grow with me as an organization, as a customer versus like, yeah, we got a widget problem, I get to solve your widget problem. That’s fantastic. There are pure specific problems to solve, but being consultative and not just looking at like, all right, I’m just looking to get the CRC and get bought by Accenture like, whatever the thing is, not that that couldn’t happen, but you’re looking at growth. You’re looking at building a foundation on which you can grow with customers.

And again, like I said, the weird thing is I called on the pricing and the subscription model early because it’s such a rare treat that, you know, that the sense of freedom gives you the ability to be free to adopt. It’s such a funny thing, but it’s a welcome change, especially in the world right now, where we have to be able to adapt. We don’t know what four months from now is going to look like, and just that sense that you could buy as you need grow in a consultative approach, learn from experts who are, their economy of scale is knowledge scale.

I can’t possibly, with an 800 person organization or 4000 person organization, trust that I can hire 25 people that I’m going to send to conferences every week and make sure they’re on top of things and that they’re doing their bloody job. That’s why I love the approach.

100%. And I think that’s why it’s so important for us. If you look at me and Corey, you look at many VC funded businesses, ostensibly, you have a very technical founding team. You have a team that is focused on product building the widget, whatever it is. And that is what the team is really highly focused on. They’re very good at doing that. And then you get a ton of sales people who go out and push that with you and push that product, right? Our business is fundamentally built on the experience of the customer, where we add value is in that people and process space, it’s not necessarily what we’ve got some solid technology in the platform.

It’s not product led, and therefore it’s really important to us that the customer and the customer’s experience is at the heart of everything that we do. And that means that we approach it slightly differently. That means that all of our team members are highly skilled in what they do, highly skilled in making the customer experience incredible. And second to none, not necessarily highly experienced in selling a widget. Right?

Which is not what we’ve built the business to do. And to your point about cancel anytime we fail, we fail as a business. If the customers aren’t seeing the value and the fundamental value proposition that we deliver, so that’s where our heart is at. That’s where we focus. The business is all about that experience.

Yeah, because there’s nothing worse when you buy a product and you just look concerned. It’s always the matrix is the same and look like I said, I’m in product marketing. I know the dance we do. You’re going to have a three column thing and most people will land in the middle. You want to edge them towards the far right. You want to put them in the enterprise plus, or we call it platinum or unobtainium. We call it some exciting new thing, and it’s always like basic bronze, iron, cobalt, whatever. We try and make it like no one buys that thing.

But the fact that you’ve got a freemium entry point all the way up through effectively scaling on consultative additions to what you’re doing. You’re using a human based counter on the engagement level. Like I said, it’s a refreshing change. And I was excited by the approach, and I’ll be excited to have you on when we announced your series D as well. So mark your calendars, kids. You’ve got a lot of really good stuff coming ahead. I’m sure.

Yeah, we’re super excited as well. Thanks for having me on, Eric. Yeah, I think you mentioned it there. We want to take that consultative approach. We’re not afraid to say customers, don’t buy this. It’s too advanced for you right now. Don’t go buy APT protection against AI threats when you’ve got, you haven’t done your basics of building a threat and vulnerability management program yet. You don’t know what assets you’ve got. So we take customers through that journey. We don’t sell them something they don’t need, and we really help them to build a program that’s strong enough for where they are in their maturity in their growth phase.

But then, from a Cyvatar perspective, we grant super quick. Really excited to be on this journey. I say to the whole team, we want to enjoy the ride as much as the destination, if not more. So we’re having a great time doing it. Team is incredible. Customers are incredible. And yeah, looking forward to updating you on series B, C, and D, hopefully.

Definitely a lot of good stuff. And as far as the building approach, too, this is something we can actually, I’d love to have you back on, and we can dive into the founding team relationship of a technical founder and a nontechnical, is always such a, it sounds almost like a pejorative, but in that you’re not purely technical as a founder. It’s such an interesting mix and finding that match, it’s kind of hilarious. I’m sure when we look back on it, it’s always like chapter one of every book where you’re like, here is Craig.

And then he was sitting in a coffee shop in San Francisco.

It was a pub in San Francisco instead. I said, it super fast. The story of Cyvatar is just, the founding story is an incredible one because there were so many factors that might not have led to it happening. I lost my father a month before RSA in San Francisco. I nearly didn’t go. I was very tired at the end of a long week, and I nearly didn’t grab a beer with Corey. All those things just capitulated. And I eventually did. And the rest is history. Corey would say it was the universe.

I’m English, so I’d say it was luck, but whichever one it was worked out in the end, and like I say, the rest is history. But yeah, there’s a good story for a book there one day.

Yeah. And it’s hilarious that when you look back on it, you realize how many of those opportune moments that really, truly like I said, it’s luck of occurrence and somebody else as well. I literally just went into an Apple event and I happened to be sitting next to somebody. And next thing, they were backing my start up that I had never thought I was going to build four months later. It’s like just by the happenstance of sitting in a seat, never know what can occur. But it’s much more than the luck of the moments.

It’s the gumption and the choice of the team to put the time and work into it. So it’s pretty amazing see it come together. Good stuff. So, Craig, if people want to reach out to you and get connected, what’s the best way to do that?

I love the social media. I’m all over it, Eric. So hit me up on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter or obviously Cyvatar.ai for Cyvatar stuff, but I’m pretty easy to find online, so feel free to reach out.

Excellent. Well, thank you very much, Craig. It’s been a real pleasure. And there you go, folks. The links will be down in the show notes and such. And yeah, this was great. And sure enough, just like I said, history always tells you that if I say I’m going to have technical problems, we had technical problems. But we got through it. And this was a really great conversation. Thank you very much.

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Carl Gould is a business growth expert, author and serial entrepreneur. His career started by accident when he broke his leg and dropped out of his undergraduate accounting and finance program. At eighteen, he turned to what he knew best- landscaping- and his business growth endeavors began as he doubled his business each year for the next five years until it sold. Since then Carl has built three multi-million dollar businesses before age 40, and advises others on successful growth strategy.

Carl and I explore many important aspects and lessons around growing and starting a business, the importance of leadership, empathy, team, and understanding process flow to succeed in scaling. 

Check out Carl Gould at 7 Stage Advisors here: https://7stageadvisors.com/