Learning to Dad with Tyler Ross 044 - Michael de Geus
Speaker 1: Record Michael Deus. How are you, man?
Speaker 2: I'm doing well. Dana, how
Speaker 1: Are you? Oh, I'm great. I appreciate your taking the time to spend with me today. Uh, we were introduced by mutual friend, uh, namely because of drink hero, uh, your coffee company. And, uh, I know you've been involved with, uh, or you started leatherback gear, which I'm excited to talk to you about secret service career. You bounced around, you got a slew of brothers and you're raising [00:00:30] two girls. So we got all kinds of contrasts and different things to go over. So I'm, I'm pumped to talk with you, man.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Well, I appreciate you having me on man. Glad to be here.
Speaker 1: Yeah. So I, I thought this is unusual for me to know exactly what my first question that I'm gonna ask, but I know exactly what it is. So knowing that you've been in the secret service and that is a we'll, we'll talk about all the different things secret service people do, cuz it's not just, you know, the, the black suit black tie and looking really cool looking [00:01:00] around at stuff. There's a lot that goes on that you've done. This
Speaker 2: Is on the looking cool part. Appreciate that.
Speaker 1: <laugh> right. And, uh, you, and then you've been the, uh, and have been before and after the entrepreneur. So can you talk to me about the difference or the similarities when it comes to trusting your partners in both of those scenarios as an entrepreneur and as a secret service agent?
Speaker 2: Yeah. Great question, man. Um, uh, I feel like you [00:01:30] put some thought into that one. Yeah. <laugh> uh, yeah, so I, I tell people that the secret service is probably the best training you're ever gonna get to be an entrepreneur. And why is that? Um, life's on the line. It's it's life and death. I mean, those are the two op two boxes you kind of operate out of and in, um, you have a week to move to president, Hey, we're getting, we're gonna go to wherever it is. Pick a city, pick a country, pick a state something, and you get five to seven days to build the advance. You [00:02:00] gotta get on the ground, make contact, figure out where you're going. Who's involved, get everything orchestrated on meetings every night, all day long. Um, and we start with a, an idea, much like an entrepreneur does of we're going somewhere.
Speaker 2: And then we assemble a team and we formulate a plan and we iron out stuff and there's adversity and challenges and things work. And then things don't work. And then invariably, uh, on game day here comes the man and um, five minutes out, everything falls apart [00:02:30] and you're the guy like it or not. You're the guy. So you gotta fix it and you gotta do it fluidly. You gotta be in the, in the moment. Um, and it's, it's high stake stuff, entrepreneurship, depending on the level of a game you wanna play is very similar to that. Where you, you literally, you bring on investors, you got a concept you're raising capital or not. You're building a business and putting it on eCommerce or brick and more whatever idea, team rock and roll. Let's [00:03:00] build a plan ups and downs, adversities, challenges, successes, and then things fall apart. And then what, so you either crumble and Hey, I don't have an answer, which is never the answer for a secret service agent. Mm-hmm <affirmative> or an entrepreneurship. I don't have an answer. Doesn't work that way. We've got two boxes alive or we're dead, a CEO and an entrepreneur I'm alive. I'm dead. I, I mean, it's, it's the best training you're ever gonna get.
Speaker 1: So to the, the, I would, I assume I'm making assumptions [00:03:30] because I don't, I'm not familiar with the industry and that's part of why I'm excited to talk to you about it. But when it comes to being an entrepreneur, you can, you know, you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friends nose. Like you, you can say yes to investors and you can say no to investors in the secret service. I imagine that kind of autonomy isn't quite as right. So your partners, uh, relationship has gotta be different. Is that right?
Speaker 2: Yeah. So, you know, your kind of assembled [00:04:00] a team in the service that, that, you know, if you're the, the main guy that's responsible and there's various levels to this Tyler, so you're the, you're the head guy or you're responsible for a site or a, a motorcade route. You own that motorcade route, even though somebody you answer to you're the guy or the gal doesn't matter. Um, in all entrepreneurship, it's very similar except to your point, I get to pick who comes in. The problem for, for most entrepreneurs is, is that you're, you're guessing a lot with the team [00:04:30] you, you just don't know in the secret service, there's a camaraderie. And in esprit accord, that's kind of built over time and a group that you get used to. And then what happens is you start to learn the strengths and we weaknesses of everybody.
Speaker 2: And so when you're elevated to be responsible, well, I can maneuver. And I know I gotta fill this hole because they're dynamite at this thing, but they're not at this thing. Or, Hey, they're, they're awful at this, but they're like, you, you can kind of Bob and weave, but what you can't do is just 86, you're out the door, mm-hmm <affirmative> and [00:05:00] private world entrepreneurship. We spend a lot of time guessing on the hires and the bringing in investors, do they feel right? Are they the right fit? Can they bring the right stuff? But ultimately when you get into it and you know, you either know they're a fit or, you know, they're not a fit and you gotta make a decision. Do I keep you, or do I, do I not? Do I find a hole that you can fill? But now, as, uh, as shareholders come on, I've got bosses. I'm not just the entrepreneur and the guy that runs the show, but I I've got people I'm accountable to. So it's [00:05:30] back to this hierarchy structure. And so not everybody downhill understands what's going on uphill and everybody uphill. Doesn't understand what's going on here. And it's my job to weave it all out and make sure that we maneuver safe and effectively,
Speaker 1: Uh, as an entrepreneur, as a CEO, as someone leading a business, you have kind of created a relationship with your, uh, your client, your investors, your product, uh, and one that is mutual. Uh, you love it. It loves you back and you, and you go that way [00:06:00] in secret service. I'd imagine you protect some people you like or align with, and some people that you don't. Um, how is, can you speak to that difference at all in the way you approach your job? Yeah.
Speaker 2: Um, Hmm. So is a secret service agent politics, or are everywhere, you know, private citizen, entrepreneur seek service agent. The difference here is that is a secret service agent. The job is the job. The mission is the mission and, um, who, who we protect as arbitrary to what we [00:06:30] protect. So in other words, take the president United States, lover hate doesn't matter. It's the office of what we tag. And so long as that person stays alive, um, as a secret service agent, you play a game every day. And the only game you play is a 24 hour clock. And as long as that person's alive a job well done. And it goes in the rear view mirror, and tomorrow we play another game, clock starts over and entrepreneurship. Um, it, it's sort of similar and we're playing a long game, but there's a lot of stuff [00:07:00] that becomes very problematic and fun.
Speaker 2: Um, when you're, you're in the tunnel here and you're grinding your way through and looking for capital, um, or looking for revenue increasing or getting patents or assembling the right team, um, do I have the right investors here? Do I not? And you know, I've lived through all the ups and downs of having the wrong ones and the right ones. Um, so it's, it's just been an interesting ride. It's a phenomenal correlation that I don't know that I've ever seen explored between secret service [00:07:30] world and entrepreneurship. I mean, they're, they're very, very symbiotic and very interesting. Um, the, and the rigor of it is very similar. You know, somebody told me the other day, it's like, you've heard of dog years to human years, you know, like one human at seven, seven dog years. Yeah. Well then you can add on top of that, like that that's like, you know, 30 entrepreneur years <laugh> or secret service years. Cause it's, it's literally in the service. I mean, you can work an 18 hour day, seven days a week, [00:08:00] just grinding, making sure site tie your out everything's efficient and effective to make sure you provide the safest environment possible for that protectee in an entrepreneurship. You can work at 1824 hour day, seven days a week, week in, week out, making sure that everything coming and growing cause that's the job you gotta scale.
Speaker 1: So as an entrepreneur, having, having personally had partners, uh, some have been wonderful, some have been not so great. I feel like when you're, when you're going through a deal, when you're, when you're [00:08:30] facing down the barrel of losing money, you learn an awful lot about a person and their values and the things that are important to them. Those stresses and anxieties are kind of in my experience, the word they get, uh, you, you learn about somebody and you stay with them or move on. Um, what are some of the experiences and secret service that create those same anxieties to say, you know, this is a good relationship and we're gonna work well. Like what's the pressure, is it a moment? Is it like, like where, you know, you go through a basic [00:09:00] training or a buds type thing, or like, how do you establish a relationship and fight through the burdens of them?
Speaker 2: Yeah. Interesting question, Tyler. Um, that's a, that's a very complex question and there's a lot of layer. So I mean everything from the academy to the real world that you get training and practical experience, um, on the job stuff of successes and failures, the one thing the service cannot have is a, is a failure of mission and protection. I mean, you just, you can't. Um, so [00:09:30] it's what we would call a zero fail mission. Um, entrepreneurship, you wanna, you wanna build, leave, you're at a zero fail mission. Um, and that's a micro macro conversation. The service there's a lot of relationship stuff that's built in because you gotta be very diplomatic and effective wherever you go in the country state to state city, city, nation to nation to affect the same core mission with a lot of different personalities, these cultures, temperaments, uh, all of their policies, everything, and yet your [00:10:00] job takes priority, but everybody's somebody everywhere you go.
Speaker 2: And so you gotta really learn how to, how to navigate, um, getting what you, you need done and still not somebody off, cuz at any one point a chief of police goes, you okay, we're done or something to that effect. And now you gotta scramble and figure out now what now? How do I fix this? And so it's, um, it's the best training ground in the world all the way from the academy through, you know, 12 years on the job. When I left, [00:10:30] I, I was very, very fortunate, had the honor of a lifetime and a career of a lifetime in that 12 years from being so selected to run around the country on various campaigns, to making it all the way to presidential protection, president Trump, when I left, um, it, it's just the coolest thing you'll ever do in your life. And then for me stepping away, um, wasn't any more stressful to me when I left to do what I'm doing than what I was doing, where nobody's pointing a gun at me today, or, you know, somebody's, life's not on the line. And then I got out [00:11:00] here and started doing what I was doing and learned actually it kinda is <laugh> <laugh> so it it's just an interesting comparison. Yeah.
Speaker 1: Yeah. So, uh, a little tangential with all of your, uh, travels all over the country as a result of being in the secret service. And I, I use this with up comedians because they travel and see so many different kinds of people that informs their perspective in such a big way. Like what are some of the things that you learned in your travel, seeing so much of America and interacting with [00:11:30] so many different types of people? Like what are some of your observations about our country?
Speaker 2: I think people are people and people are good people. Um, I'll tell you some of the most patriotic things I've ever seen was driving in motorcades at, you know, 20 miles an hour, slow through main streets and Middletown USA like in Ohio, Ohio. I mean some of these major states in the beginning of these campaigns and you've got little kids, the moms and dads now out there waving flags, just waving as the motorcade rolls by as somebody like [00:12:00] Paul Ryan back in the day to mid Romney, to Obama, to like you name it, that was consistent all the time. And I saw that more than I didn't see that in those campaigns. And so I think, um, America's a place of hope and, and passion and you see it, no matter what, um, on, on whichever side of the world you wanna look at and which lens it's, it's hope and passion.
Speaker 2: Um, one of the most takeaway moments that I could give you as far as a lesson, [00:12:30] not moments, but a lesson, a takeaway lesson is that when it came down to the secret service and how we affect protection and how I've learned to, to correlate that into entrepreneurship is what I would call the, the, the magic's in the movement. And so America's an engine that moves, you know, right secret services and engine that moves. And we move people, places and things all, all the time to keep them safe. And, um, you know, even a, even a human body, you know, you move, you feel better, um, [00:13:00] ideas and entrepreneurship, the magic's in the movement. And I don't know how that came to me other than being on the move with the service all the time. Cause I just saw so much magic as we would correlate around the country, um, that it's, it's there's passion and hope and the magics in the, in the movement.
Speaker 1: I like that a lot. I've always, uh, had a mantra of kind of grower die. Um, but I guess growth growth sometimes involves just turning the butter into cream and just keep moving,
Speaker 2: But it's movement, right? Yeah. I mean it's it's movement, no matter take an old door with [00:13:30] the hinges, you start to move, they Creek, oh God. Oh good. You know, but once you start doing it is to move and it starts to open again. Yeah. And I think for me, that's just a, a mantra of mine that's magic in the movement. So even getting stuck in entrepreneurship some days mm-hmm <affirmative>, you gotta, you gotta reframe it and find a way to move and move off of whatever the problem is and, and get through it.
Speaker 1: Well, the concept of efficiency versus innovation, [00:14:00] can you describe maybe the relationship that has as an entrepreneur and as a secret service agent
Speaker 2: Hmm. Efficiency versus innovation? Um, I, I don't think, I mean, efficiency is something everybody strives for all the time. Mm-hmm <affirmative> entrepreneur business, accounting office, the government everybody's always using the term efficiency. And so you're always looking for, um, systems [00:14:30] and processes that help increase efficiency, but to do that requires innovation, which I find sometimes isn't necessarily efficient. You're spending a lot of resources and energy and time, um, trying to find something that becomes ultimately the efficiency you've been looking for. And so in secret service world, uh, when you first start doing protection, Tyler and you're building out sites and motor tape routes and stuff, you don't have a clue what you're doing. You're not efficient at any of it. You've been trained, [00:15:00] but you're not efficient at any of it until it becomes part of your DNA. And you're just hardwired to understand how I maneuver and build a secure environment in a 360 degree bubble commerce at all times.
Speaker 2: Um, you know, you, it's kind of like when you talk sports to somebody that's a die hard NFL person or baseball or whatever they can talk. And I mean, it's just part of their DNA, right? I mean, they just live it, breathe, it, drink it, eat, sleep, blah, blah, blah security and secret service world gets that way over time with experience. [00:15:30] If you're, if you're born for that, it just comes out and, and you're attached to it. And entrepreneurship becomes very, very similar to that where if it's a part of your DNA and you're a, you're a purebred entrepreneur, just like you're a purebred secret service agent. To me, those are interchangeable, but stepping out into entrepreneurship it's, um, it's not efficient when you've never really lived it, breathe, it done. It been a founder, been a CEO. And you know, what is all that anyway at the end [00:16:00] of the day, if you've never like grew up in corporate America, um, for me it was the same thing, the secret service, I didn't care who got what, you know, accolade on the back. I didn't care what title somebody had about which site motor get, like, didn't matter, let's get the job done. Um, and so I find for me, um, stepping out and looking to innovate an industry and looking for patterns that we can disrupt isn't necessarily the most efficient use of time until [00:16:30] something happens where the light bulb moment occur. And then we, we find out how to get really exciting from the innovation for efficiency. Cool.
Speaker 1: Very cool. Um, what are some of, I'm sure there's a, um, brother and sisterhood of agents past present and in the academy for the future and that they've all shared different stories. What are some of the best code names that you've heard from people under protection?
Speaker 2: [00:17:00] Oh man. <laugh> ah, I'm not sure I should get into that one. Um, I'll tell you that there's a, you could Google code names, um, or protectee, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, past et cetera. There there's been some fun ones. Um, they, they typically are involved in instrumental in picking 'em out, but, um, yeah, I'll, I'll step around that question just so I don't get somebody upset that I'm sharing that, but it is, you [00:17:30] can find it on Google and there's public knowledge about it. Fair enough. Sorry. I'm gonna, I'm gonna pause on that one
Speaker 1: And say, sorry. <laugh> uh, how about any, he do that to you brother. Are there any that never got used?
Speaker 2: Uh, not to my knowledge. Yeah.
Speaker 1: Okay. So let's, let's, let's step back as a small town boy in California, uh, growing up. Um, I can relate to that growing up in Warrenton where we had more cows than people when I was, you know, a kid. So, uh, what was [00:18:00] your first job?
Speaker 2: My first job was actually delivering newspapers. Yeah.
Speaker 1: Newspapers at the front door type of thing. Yep.
Speaker 2: Yep. And then, uh, I actually took over my brother's paper route cuz he was sick and broke his wrist. Um, and it just somehow I, I filled in for him. Um, actually prior to that though, I, um, I ended up, uh, procuring a, uh, lawnmower and I would push around my neighborhood and knock on doors and I used to move yards and pull [00:18:30] weeds for five bucks. A yard
Speaker 1: Pro cheering was an interesting word.
Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll leave it
Speaker 1: There. We deflect that one too.
Speaker 2: <laugh> yeah, we ended up getting it. It found its way back where it was and got another one when I could afford one <laugh>
Speaker 1: Roger that
Speaker 2: Yeah, I started, I started did that, um, ended up on the paper route side of things. And then when I was, um, 12, um, there was a local mini mark and gas station and the guy needed [00:19:00] a stock stock clerk, stock boy something. And I don't know if he just took petty on me for being out in the middle of, you know, the, the desert heat and 115 degrees mowing yards or what I ended up going, working over there at a gas station, stock and shelves and doing stuff in there for a while.
Speaker 1: So what, what was the first, uh, position that you took that felt like a, like a career?
Speaker 2: Um, you know, that's a, that's interesting. Um, the first career I had was the secret. [00:19:30] Yeah. Um, I jokingly tell people I lived life backwards, so I, I mean I grand, I started young doing yard work and all that other stuff. I, uh, I was aquatics director. I used to certify and teach and train lifeguards in CPR. You know, first aid, life saving stuff in the water. I was a WSI water safety instructor and taught swimming lessons for a while. Um, went to college, got my bachelor's degree in criminal justice, went to Fiji for a while, helped my dad do some stuff over there, building his house and [00:20:00] wow. Fell into product development while I was there, got out of that wandered around Eastern Europe and taught English, ended up in Mexico, remodeled the house, got rid of that sold estate and Utah for a while.
Speaker 2: Got outta that. Um, I was just like, I, I joking and telling people I was kind of a gypsy and wandered and um, always fell back on, uh, being able to build things. Uh, I spent a long time learning from my old man how to, how to fix stuff and remodel and repair things. So that was always like [00:20:30] a default for me, um, where I could go in and remodel somebody's kitchen or bathroom if I had to, to earn money. Um, so I used to do that a lot, but the, the real career move that I made, um, was when I got into secret service at 32 years old, the right age of 32, I was one of the older ones going in, um, took me over two years of processing to get hired. Cause I had such a weird background and foreign addresses and all that stuff. Um, but yeah, it, it was, that was my first real career when, [00:21:00] you know, 12 years of that. Um, you know, that was, that was a big chunk of my life.
Speaker 1: So, and what, what is it about you that led that gypsy lifestyle? And did you share any of that with your three brothers? Did they have similar makeup?
Speaker 2: Yeah. So I've got, um, there's five boys in my end. There was four. Yeah. So I've got four brothers I'm the second oldest, all of us, um, are, or were public servants. The four of still are. Uh, I was, [00:21:30] um, I was born overseas in, in Turkey. My dad was assigned in the military over there in the army during Vietnam. And, um, I don't know if I was born under some weird star or because I was born abroad that, that caused that, that wander less gypsy thing. Um, the other four of mine never, never went down the path that I did or maybe the other way to say it is I never went the path. They went, all of 'em went in the military. Um, I, I decided not to do military. I decided to go to college and [00:22:00] grind my way through things and was, you know, always looking for something to do in the next great idea. I was always a tanker, always a marketer on something. Um, but since the seventh grade going back to, uh, some journal stuff, um, the only thing I ever wanted to do was secret service as a career. And, um, I decided it was time to go back to it. So I tried got in and the history. So what,
Speaker 1: And it sounds like to some extent that even, you know, scratch that itch [00:22:30] of moving around a lot and seeing new places and different people and solving new problems, um, what introduced you to the secret service?
Speaker 2: Funny, funny story. Um, so this will speak to the caliber, the secret service and the people that they, they higher. So when I was a senior in high school in Ridge cross, California, my guidance counselor, um, we were doing all the career assessment testing, all this other stuff. Um, didn't know what [00:23:00] to do with me because I said secret service. And she had a computer program that you go through and take all these questions and out pops your top three things. The number one was secure industry related professional. How about that? But nobody in richest had ever even heard of what to do with the secret service let alone, where do you even go? Um, and so I pulled out the yellow pages at the time. Tyler, if you remember those. Sure. Um, and at the time there was a, an office not too far, it was about two hours away from where I live.
Speaker 2: And, um, there was a phone number. [00:23:30] So I picked up the phone in the career center there at the high school and called the number. Some lady answered the phone. Um, I gave her my name. I'm calling from this high school. I'm a senior in high school and I'm calling for, how do you get in a secret service? Um, nobody here knows what to do. And the lady said, actually just hang on just a minute for me. And, uh, a couple minutes later, she says, hold on, I'm gonna send you a so and so, so some guy answered the phone and spent over an hour talking to some kid that he would never meet, answered every question I had [00:24:00] and told me stories that were like heroic legend to me, um, of travel in the world and protecting the president of the United States. And then it's the coolest thing you'll ever do in your life.
Speaker 2: And, um, took the time to send me an application, some brochures in the mail to the high school. And, uh, I never forgot that ever. And so I'm always at every chance I get, I'll tell anybody that story, but I also go out and talk to high school kids, junior high school kids, boy scout troops, um, to this day and [00:24:30] try to recruit people in, in fact, while I was in the Los Angeles field office, uh, the, um, attorney that I use for all of our corporate stuff now, um, his son was in the boy Scouts out there and he called, asked if they could come in and get a tour of the field office over there. Absolutely come on down. Not only did they have the tour, but they had the largest turnout they ever had with all of the parents showing up, wanting to see the secret service office meet an actual secret service agent.
Speaker 2: I, um, showed 'em some of the limos and all the fun stuff that we had. And, um, Brett told me about [00:25:00] six months ago that one of the boys from there just got hired into the secret service. So kind of need to, for me, I don't even know the guy's name. I, I wish I had it, um, to thank him today, cuz I could figure out if I could find him today, but he took all that time. And um, you know, I can't say thank you to him. I don't know who he was other than he was a special agent with a secret service. And um, so I just kind of pay that for as much as I can, but now for me I'm done that and the effect change for people that it, um, probably change the direct trajectory of [00:25:30] their life.
Speaker 1: So you held that conversation with you for 10, 15 years before, you know, at an 18 year old high school kid to a 32 year old joining the secret service. Like what was the switch that flipped that said, okay, I'm gonna commit to this now and I'm gonna stop what I've been doing. The tanker.
Speaker 2: Yeah. What's funny about that is I, I actually applied, uh, in my twenties mm-hmm <affirmative> um, I think I was, I let's just say I was 23, 24, 25, somewhere in that range. Um, but the [00:26:00] response was that you had to have some professional career experience before they would consider me any further, even though I had a bachelor's degree in blah, blah, blah. And so when I got that, I went to work to try to find professional experience. And so I started a couple of brands way back when I got involved in sales for an organization. And then I did real estate stuff. I did English stuff over in Prague. Like I, I did a lot of things with the intent of trying to build out a resume for the service, not realizing that I was building two re resumes at one time [00:26:30] for not just a service, but entrepreneurship mm-hmm
Speaker 1: <affirmative> then at, at what point did you have your first kid?
Speaker 2: Uh, so I got in at 32 and I had my son at 35.
Speaker 1: Okay. How did, how did that change to inform your, uh, career in the secret service?
Speaker 2: You know, it's interesting, um, that job is an amazing job, but it's, uh, it's really, [00:27:00] you know, if you're a single person, easy, awesome lifestyles of rich SHA I mean your James Bond travel in the world. When you start having a family and stuff, it begins to be a problem because they feel every brunt of something that they didn't sign up for. Um, you know, they just didn't know. And so when I, uh, while I was on bopping all over the world, I started writing, um, postcards. Um, so like Dylan, before he was ever born knew he was coming, but I started writing postcards from different cities or [00:27:30] states or countries that I would be sent to all over the world. So he's got a stack of postcards this high, yeah. From dad all over the world, tell, you know, Hey man, here's what, and they're dated and kind of gives him just a, a postcard diary of where I was at or, you know, what I was doing and trying to stay connected from a distance to something that for them, dad was around the president or dad was around this or they got to come see the motorcades and see, um, you know, the Marine one land or air force, one land, all that kind of stuff.
Speaker 2: But it was just like, you know, whatever, you know, I [00:28:00] mean, no big deal. It's like real estate for you. I mean like awesome stuff, but your kids are like, you know, whatever, <laugh> right now, I think they're gonna start to see it. So like they, they all, um, they were at the white house, Christmas parties. They've got pre uh, pictures with the president first ladies. Um, they they've got experiences. You cannot get any other way than what I open up a door for 'em too.
Speaker 1: And then you had hard, it was hard. So what, what were maybe some of [00:28:30] the, like, what's a big plus of that life with family and a big minus of that life with family?
Speaker 2: I think the big plus is you start to set up barometer for, for kids to see. Um, I, I came from small town Ridge coast, California. There was more pee at Cal state Fullerton enrolled in college when I left enrolled there and went there, then population in my town. Yeah. If that makes right. I mean that that's an eye opening thing. Um, but for them, they didn't have where I had where like your point there [00:29:00] was more cows and warrants and than there was people for me, you know, that you start to wander. And I, I took them to New York. I took them to Palm Springs around president Obama. I took like I did as best I could to get 'em where I was mm-hmm <affirmative> or send those postcards, um, because it starts in my mind to set. This is a baseline for you. And if, if where I came from, got me to here and you're now here, where can you go? And so that was all was how I tried to view it of if, if I can set a base foundation for you [00:29:30] of the white house and the president and things like that, I'd love for you to go to the moon.
Speaker 1: So how, uh, you, to your kids, what were your parents to you like in, in terms of that baseline?
Speaker 2: Um, you know, my dad, uh, he, he was probably born in the wrong era. I mean, he was a pioneer guy. Um, I grew up in Northern Utah, so in the winters and stuff, you know, snow everywhere, but [00:30:00] we would hunt <affirmative>. Um, if we didn't, if he didn't hunt, we didn't have food. Um, oh, he, he, I mean, literally, yeah. Um, we lived in student housing with, at the time, there was three of us before all five of us came along, but we lived in student housing in an apartment complex while he was going to school. And, um, I mean, they were, they were dirt poor as, as you could get. And, um, so he hunted and fished. So we had food, he'd take the hides of deer and [00:30:30] make mittens and vests and moccasins. And I mean, the guy was just born in the wrong era.
Speaker 2: Um, and so I learned a tremendous amount of stuff from him on, again, the magic and the movement. I mean, you faced the, he never backed down. He kept going, even when he didn't have an answer, um, which is not easy to do, especially dragging a wife and five little kids around mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but he kept, he kept pushing forward in the movement and trying to find a path for himself and ultimately went through, um, college again for chiropractic school, [00:31:00] thought of that, um, this practice in richest and ended up becoming fairly successful as a, as a small business owner and did, did pretty well for itself. Um, and my mom was a, a, a government employee. She, she worked, um, when we left Utah and went to richest, she got a job it's AEST is like a, it's a military town. It just because of the Navy base out there. Um, and she started working out there for, you know, peanuts when I was a kid. Um, but just recently retired two years ago [00:31:30] after a, you know, 40 year career. Oh. Um, and, uh, yeah, so I, I mean, there there's success stories in, in their own. Right. So that they not easy doing what they did. Yeah.
Speaker 1: A huge contrast between the way you, your kids are growing up in the way you grew up. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, and as much as you have raised that bar being in the white house with the president first ladies and all, um, what's an advantage that you had in your lifestyle as a kid that your kids do not have
Speaker 2: [00:32:00] <affirmative>. Yeah. Um, uh, you know, I used to look at things in movies, um, and aspire to, to find that and go touch it. They get to touch it and it it's handed to them. I had to claw my way to it and find a path, you know, back to your innovation and efficiency question. I had to innovate and design a life that led me to that and make it efficient for myself. [00:32:30] Um, for them, I don't know if this is the right thing or not. We'll see. But, um, they've been accessed to, they have access to a lot of things that I never ever had at those ages. I mean, could, could you imagine you and your kids, how old's your youngest?
Speaker 1: They're, uh, five, I'm sorry. Six and seven. Yeah.
Speaker 2: So let let's say, uh, I think my youngest one, the last time we got a photo of the president, she was four or five, but all of 'em are standing [00:33:00] with the president. And first lady, in fact, the president's got his hands on my son's shoulders. So now growing up like that, that should be on your wall. And I mean, you'll get to say, Hey, I was at the white house, got to be the president one day. Like, who does that? Yeah. But that's the kind of stuff they got to be handed to. For me, that was the stuff I dreamt about and watched in movies, um, where you, you saw people down in LA and Hollywood and, you know, watching the cool movies of stuff going on. It's like, how do you, how do you do that? And for me, I'm, I'm hoping [00:33:30] to get them to do all their things on their own.
Speaker 2: I don't, I don't want them to be anything other than what they want to be in life. Um, entrepreneurship is hard. It's very hard being a secret service agent. It's hard. Um, it's a hard lifestyle, but that's just how I grew up was a hard lifestyle. I had a, a very hard childhood and then my parents even split up and divorced and that's a whole nother ball of wax. Um, so I, I had a very hard time growing up with stuff. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, but you, at some point find a path [00:34:00] of not my problem. And here you either design your life or some you're gonna, you're gonna design your life and build that plan and, and create the success or you're gonna fit somebody else's.
Speaker 1: So your kids not going through that, those challenges, like you say, will see how that plays out. Um, my kids, aren't gonna go through those challenges will see how that plays out. Um, so that's definitely a difference in, uh, an advantage, uh, for you that being hungry. Um, [00:34:30] what's an advantage that your kids have that you do not, or you did not as a kid.
Speaker 2: I think this goes back to the barometer setting, Tyler, where, uh, um, my baseline was single wide trailer park, tumbleweeds, and, you know, top ramen for 19 cents for a meal, or, you know, cutting up a hot dog and a box of Mac and cheese was night of Ritz at my house. These kids have actually eaten at the Ritz, right. I mean, it's just a different animal. And so [00:35:00] if your T a starting point is X, how far can you go up or down? And the choice is up to you. But for me, if my, my starting point was down here, you don't have too much more to place to fall down to. Yeah. Um, you know, when we grew up and where we were at, I think because of the struggles of what we were going through with the all five boys growing up in a, in a divorce, in a town with no money, blah, blah, blah, blah. Um, most people thought we'd all wind up in, you [00:35:30] know, drugs, prison, whatever. And two to a T all five of us ended up, um, being the definition of the brand that I started hero and helping everyone remain operational.
Speaker 1: So the, the resiliency that was baked into your childhood, uh, I guess in some way, needs to be manufactured now for how high you've set the bar for your kids. How, how do you, what circumstances in San areas and opportunities do you put them into to help [00:36:00] them build that sense of resiliency?
Speaker 2: That's a good question. Um, you know, a lot of, lot of sports team sports stuff, um, they're into travel, volleyball, travel baseball. I've got one that, um, she was just in the, if you saw it out, you in, uh, the production of Annie out here. Yeah. She was just in that. And so I, uh, you know, we're constantly encouraging to, to go try it if you don't like it, cross it off the list, but if you commit, you better commit all the way, and you're [00:36:30] not quitting, I've only let you do that. Um, because you made a commitment to your team, to your coach, to your classmates, to the like, whatever. And, um, my, uh, earlier you asked me a question about the team and the choice and the service and entrepreneurship, you know, my, my brothers and I weren't, we didn't get the chance to choose each other.
Speaker 2: We were just kind of born and attached to each other, but somehow like my older brother and I, um, you know, that was just what we did was look out for one another and push, push, push, push, [00:37:00] excuse me. So for the three of them, I think having them in all those things that require, um, a commitment be in your word, be disciplined to follow through and learn, learn the game if that's what you wanna do. But if you don't wanna do it, you're not done until the seasons of you committed, we're gonna follow through. So I think there's, there's a lot of things that we, we try to do and try to encourage, um, obviously, uh, you're a dad. [00:37:30] I mean, they become your world. And when I was in secret service and I didn't have kids, uh, and then you do the lens and the optics at how you view it, start to shift.
Speaker 2: And so the older they get and the more things they're starting to do and get into, it was harder for me to be on the road, um, and sleeping on a car plane, you know, next to the motorcade and a C one 30 or whatever, um, or C 17 traveling around the world and sending postcards when they're going off to play baseball. And then Christmas morning and [00:38:00] birthdays and ballet, and I'm sitting, you know, in a secure room or standing outside somebody's hotel door that like, what am I doing? I, I could work, work, work hard and keep doing this and be, uh, honored to do it, or, you know what I've done it. I, I got all the way to where I wanted to get to, which was the highest levels you can get on presidential protection and, uh, flew on air force one and traveled all over the world and thought, I got a lot of cool stuff behind me. I got a lot of [00:38:30] cool stuff all over the walls. The kids have seen it, but I think it's time to shift gears and show them that you can re uh, reconfigure. You can innovate, you can redesign your life and let's roll the dice and be an entrepreneur and build brand and build what we're gonna do. And I'm, I'm here to help you. I'm at every baseball practice. Now I'm at volleyball. I'm at the Annie plays. I'm, you know, just being present
Speaker 1: That's and now you've got, uh, <laugh> to, to use a pond, a coffee [00:39:00] pond for drunk hero. You've blended your entrepreneurial, my drunk <laugh> drink, hero.com, everybody check it out. Um, but yeah, you've, you've coffee blended your way into an entrepreneurial world, but, but a, your protective, uh, career to it, uh, first with leatherback. Correct. And I was one of your brothers that helped in an experience your brother had that helped inspire the idea. Um, I've [00:39:30] heard the story before. I've heard you tell the story before, but it, would you please tell that story again, to anyone listening about what leatherback is and how, what inspired the idea?
Speaker 2: Yeah, I'd be glad to. So leatherback years started about five and a half years ago. Um, kind of on the backbone of a lot of different things. So back to your question of innovation or efficiency, um, I met a lot of neat people in LA, a lot of high network people, a lot of innovators, lot of tech people, blah, blah, blah, and a buddy of mine, who's become [00:40:00] a very good friend of mine and partner. Um, when the act of shooting thing was going on all the time, and it was kind of in Vogue in a big, like, I don't know, news where they topic, it seemed for so long. He and I were ideating our way through where the technology team on how do you build an app that and bats the active shooting problem. And so my problem was as we kept going through it, if I don't hit the phone and the Ironman suit jumps out, this is just a cool way to call 9 1 1.
Speaker 2: Um, why was I involved in that had to do with [00:40:30] secret service? Everybody knows premier protection agency, a lot of trainings, lot of school stuff that I was doing trainings on and learning. I had kids going to school that teachers were talking about active shooter training prior to joining the service, though, um, about a year or two prior, my older brother whose law enforcement responded to an active shooting. And so I got to experience, um, firsthand what that does to a law enforcement person, whose job is to go out there and do what he did and save lives, but how that impacted him and the struggles [00:41:00] he went through for so long, doing the job. Um, so flash forward, um, summer of 2016 in June, I'm the lead guy for, at the time it was candidate Donald Trump come to Los Angeles nor county. And I was assigned with his re safety and security.
Speaker 2: I was responsible Volvo wax when he landed. And, um, so we're traveling from his golf course in Palo Verdes on 4 0 5 north towards his residence of Beverly Hills, when it just became a parking lot on the freeway, [00:41:30] like nobody was moving, but the scanners that I had going to police radio, everything cracked off the shots fired at UCLA, which was about two miles from where I was. So I started watching the feeds on the phone, listening to everything and watched how the cops showed up on campus and do what they do. They set up a perimeter and then they start to respond and methodically going to a building, Excel people out safely securely. Well, they're doing tell her 99.9% of these college kids walking out, hands up, all of 'em had backpacks on. And it finally [00:42:00] hit me, um, based on my brother's experience, based on my training and experience and background, based on the technology stuff that I wast through, that this is how you help people.
Speaker 2: And the way we do this is we take a backpack and separate it into front and back protection. So it's a hundred percent a functional backpack, but it means to function and be the same level that I would wear standing next to the president of the United States to afford you as a person caught in the worst situation that you could ever find yourself. Um, the time until a [00:42:30] guy like me got to you. And so I went home that night, cut up a pack in the garage, tried to sew it together, maybe the glit thing you've ever seen in your life, but it, it conveyed the message of what I was trying to do. And, um, five and a half years later, uh, we've raised money. We've got four patents in the United States. I've got three international patents, multiple trademarks. We did 2 million in revenues last year. And, um, it's, it's been an interesting project and product. It's a, a training ground for entrepreneurship. [00:43:00] Um, and that's when I left the job was to take full time on leatherback.
Speaker 1: And, and, and, uh, if you may have said it explicitly, I know what leatherback is, but anybody that doesn't, when he is talking about a book back, it is, uh, essentially converts into a Bulletproof chest and back protection. Yeah. Correct. And that's, is that leather back gear? What's the
Speaker 2: Website. Yeah. It's leather back gear.com. And, um, I've had a few people ask the question why leather back gear. And that has to do with my background [00:43:30] in, um, scuba diving and being in the south Pacific and leather backseat turtles. I was trying to come up with a brand, cuz I'm a marketeering branding guy. Uh, what could we name this thing as a backpack? Jansport was obviously taken, so we gotta come up with some else. Um, and so the image of a turtle was kind of how I would convey to people messaging on the front side of building out the concept of a, I, I want you to take a backpack and think of it like a turtle shell. Yeah. So that you're inside this thing [00:44:00] and you're safe and secure until law enforcement arrives. The problem was every time I, I would do homework on the name turtle, wax would pull up or teenage mutant into turtles would pull up or, you know, anything like that.
Speaker 2: And so I was just going through some old stuff and, uh, was involved with a leather back over in Fiji, uh, sea turtle and did the homework on them. And it turned out, um, they've been around since dinosaur era, they've survived every possible threat. You can imagine from dinosaurs [00:44:30] to natural disasters, to humans and they keep surviving. And the interesting piece to their shell is it's not exterior, it's hidden underneath their skin and it expands and contracts. And so it became like the perfect icon and name for what we were doing with leather back gear. In fact, the icon for leather back gear is actually a leather back sea turtle. And so that's kind of the backstory of why leather back here, but the concept of what it does. You, you as a consumer, whether you're a kid in school or you're an executive traveling [00:45:00] around the world, uh, you most likely have a backpack if not multiple backpacks, but you can almost customize protection layers.
Speaker 2: So we include our stuff in it. But if you put a laptop and a textbook and then you separate it, if you're at an airport or a school or a hospital and you put it on, well, that laptop may be against your chest, above the armor piece that's in there that you don't even feel is in there. Same thing with the book in the back. And so it gives another layer of protection that you, as a consumer, you don't even realize you're doing it, but you're [00:45:30] customizing and adding layers of stop ability to what that can be. And so we, um, we spent a long time explaining to people what it is and how it connects to things like fire extinguishers and the fire industry. So, you know, most people, I asked a question, when's the last time a kid died of the school from a fire.
Speaker 2: And I don't know if you know the answer to this, but yeah, no clue do you, um, it would probably shock you, but it's been about 70 years ago that that happened. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and yet at a school, [00:46:00] there's a fire suppression system. There's fire sprinklers. There's uh, fire extinguishers, fire department still comes running, but in every classroom, in every hallway, in every stairwell, there's a fire extinguisher. <affirmative>. And so it's, it's literally a personal reactionary tool to a life threatening problem called a fire. Everybody knows how to use all that stuff. Everybody knows to check the door for heat, stay low, if they're smoke, stop, drop, roll. But when it comes to the comparison of active shooting situations, I'm not trying [00:46:30] to take away that they're scary. No, nobody likes to get shot at right. Yeah. But I don't wanna be burned to death in a fire either.
Speaker 2: I gotta tell that's probably right up there with awful as it gets, but everybody is competent enough and comfortable enough to carry a fire extinguisher. You probably have one in your house or close to where you're sitting right now. A lot of people have in their car. It's like just normal. So what I decided was we need to do something with a, with a, the backpack that became that personal reactionary tool to a life threatening problem called active shooter. Fire department [00:47:00] still comes running, but they're dependent on you to grab that extinguisher and mitigate it. And as long as you can and help yourself and those around you until they get there an active shooting thing, my thought was, if you could deploy something to help self, if you're gonna do what they teach you to do, which is run, hide, fight. My contention is you should run with safety and protection on if you're gonna hide, you should hide with safety and protection on. And God forbid, you're ever having to fight in well of situations. You should do that with something on, I don't ever want [00:47:30] anybody to do that. What I'd rather you do is you run or hide, but you need the protection on until a guy like me gets there. That can take that situation on.
Speaker 1: And I I've seen this product in, you know, liven in color and it looks just like a normal backpack and function. It is just like a normal backpack. Uh, it is a normal backpack only it's got these, uh, is, is Bulletproof the right word that I wanna use for the, for the, yeah.
Speaker 2: I mean we, yeah, they're inserts. They're they're armored panels. They're, they're literally a soft armor is what they call it. So it's bendable. [00:48:00] I pliable they're extremely lightweight. Um, in fact with the two of them in a backpack, it adds a pound and a half. And so like most people, people don't even realize it's in there. Um, when I toss on the backpack, um, but it's, it's technically an armor panel. And so we call it, I, I, Bulletproof is correct. A lot of people use Bulletproof vest is what everybody knows in reality. It's kind of a misnomer and I get trolls every day, hitting us up on social about nothing's Bulletproof. [00:48:30] I totally get it. That's why it's an armored backpack. Yeah. It is what it is, but everybody understands Bulletproof. Well,
Speaker 1: I, I was shocked at how little of an impact the, uh, inserts feel in terms of the usability of the backpack. I got, I, I can't believe that those things are capable. I mean, it's, it's like wearing another t-shirt or something like, it, it, it, I can't believe those things are capable of armoring somebody at that kind of high level. Um,
Speaker 2: [00:49:00] Well, yeah. And you know, you're highlighting your first, one of your first questions to me on efficiency and innovation. Mm-hmm <affirmative> right. That's the, that's the biggest innovation in backpacks since they've been a hundred years ago. Right, right. But it's a hundred years to find an efficient way to take something you're already carrying and make it a tool. That's, it's an innovative efficiency in something everybody's aware of. Right. But those backpacks are 100% backpacks looks, act feels does everything [00:49:30] that a backpack does. Oh, by the way, it hides the skillset of a secret service agent in it to help you if you
Speaker 1: Need it. And that that's the same, uh, material the, was that the same material or different than what you were using as a secret service agent? Same material. Same exact time. Yep. Okay. So, uh, growing up in Virginia, we have four seasons. So I'm, I'm ready at any given time for, you know, eight days of no power because of a big snowstorm. So I've got this slice of prepper in me. Do [00:50:00] you find that, uh, that community is buying those backpacks? Or is it mostly, you know, uh, people going to school?
Speaker 2: Yeah. So when I, it's a good question, too. When I started this, I thought for sure, the low hanging fruit conversations would be around the preppers and the military crowd mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but what we found was there was more and more moms buying product for their, uh, for their kids going to school. And that became an, an interesting thing for us, because [00:50:30] that was also part of what I started the whole process for. I just assumed that it was gonna be so much more difficult to get a mom to understand you should, if you're gonna buy a backpack, you should buy one that separates the front and back protection because of what goes on every day out there, like you just, don't where the rule at wheel's gonna stop as to which school's gonna have this problem. And I understand the debate on politics and gun rights and, but totally get all that. Not my lane. There's a hundred thousand people that are way smarter than I am [00:51:00] that are probably involved in Capitol hill having this debate. And they're gonna have it next year. And the year after that. And the it's just gonna be an so in the meantime, let's help you. And the only thing I can do to help you is to give you a tool that helps keep you safe. Should you ever be caught in these situations?
Speaker 1: So, uh, again, something else I can relate to being a real estate agent is coffee. I today had two ups between four 30 and five 30, another [00:51:30] one on the way into work. And then I had to go to some, uh, uh, association event where I had three more cups, coffee. <laugh> this is, yeah, this is not highly unusual, but it's a little more coffee that I'm used to, but you, cuz you can tell I'm peak caffeine right now. Uh <laugh> so, but drink, hero, um, hero back company, help everyone remain operational. We've sat down and talked about it at length, which is a great privilege of mine and uh, cliff, our friend, uh, I get to see regularly on the jujitsu Matsu talks about [00:52:00] it and brings it in regularly and it is delicious coffee. Uh, but, but tell me about the, uh, origin story of that.
Speaker 2: Yeah. So, uh, you can tell you're a coffee guy with the word origin. That's big in the coffee space, but um, ironically also in hero world stuff. So for us hero came about in the midst of the pandemic last year, Tyler, um, around may June, I think it was actually June formally. Um, you can imagine in secret service acronyms mean everything to simplify communi [00:52:30] the, the less we can talk and step on someone on the radio, the more efficient we can make things using acronyms the better off we all are. And so I, I just offered that up as to how and why hero came to be in the middle of the pandemic leatherback year. We had a ton of requests, um, that were coming at us all the time. Would we donate to police heroes, to teacher heroes, to firefighter heroes, to nurse heroes, et cetera.
Speaker 2: Answer was always of course, yes. Just like everybody else in the little pandemic, how do we help? My problem was I don't feel [00:53:00] like we were helping, um, because you needed PPE equipment, you needed stuff to combat the global pandemic called COVID. And so early in the morning in June, I'm running on the treadmill at like four o'clock in the morning, had hero at top of mind for all the hero requests that we had to give away. And it occurred to me that hero is an acronym that defines what a hero is and that means help everyone remain operational. And so I called the, the creative team and said, guys, I got an idea. Um, I think we should shift gears here and build, uh, a [00:53:30] line of apparel called hero and let's sell it, give away the proceeds to help support the acquisition of PPE equipment for cops, firefighters, nurses, doctors, firefighters, military, whatever.
Speaker 2: So we did that. And in short order Tyler in the summer, it was pretty obvious that hero was starting to resonate with people because I mean, you, you gotta be a real winner not to support heroes. Uh, and I mean that sarcastically. Yeah, but, but branding hero was starting to resonate. And it was really [00:54:00] obvious to me that there was way more than, than just a t-shirt for what we were doing to help all of these heroes that were out there. And so again, me being a mark theier and branding and tinker guy, um, it occurred to me that let's build the hero beverage company and let's build a brand and a business that gives back and supports heroes from all walks of life. And so I formed hero beverage company, um, filed trademarks on drink, hero, hero, beverage company, hero, help everyone in the [00:54:30] operational, blah, blah, blah, caught all those in, uh, I almost fell over when I could buy, drink hero.com, but I did.
Speaker 2: And um, we built a website out in January, right before that I had met in the summer. Um, well I called at them a long time ago previously, but I called 'em in the middle of the summer, this group out of Arizona that makes some unbelievable coffees and um, said here you may or may not remember me, here's who I'm calling about, but here's what I want to do. I wanna launch a line of [00:55:00] coffee called hero and support five categories of heroes, police, fire, military medical, and education. Would you guys be our co packer? And they of course jumped at the chance and here's why in the middle of the pandemic, um, 90% of their business shut off and it shut off because they supplied hospitality and restaurant people, ah, which as you know, in the middle of COVID, nobody could go anywhere. Nobody could do anything.
Speaker 2: And so supply revenue stopped. And so they're thinking, how [00:55:30] do we keep people on payroll? How do we keep moving forward? Like what are we gonna do here? And then here comes Mike in this brand called hero. And so they jumped in the chance to start with us. And um, so we turned it on in January and um, it's been going ever since I've been doing my best to keep it at Periscope depth underwater this entire year. And the reason was I wanted to learn a lot, um, had never played in the beverage category. I wanted to know who, who we were up against. What was our strengths? Where were we weak at? Um, how do we, how [00:56:00] do we become efficient at what we were doing in the innovation of what we were doing? And so I made some calls to people like te Kyle, Chris Kyle's, uh, widow, you know, he was the American sniper.
Speaker 2: He saw the movie and explained what I'd like to do and put Chris on the, the cover of a bag and support her foundation with jumped, to work with us subsequent to that. We've signed on the secret service association, California association of highway patrol, tunnels to towers just [00:56:30] recently signed on with us. Um, we've got taps, which is a big organization out in Arlington that supports, um, military families. We've got tons of 'em coming in development. Uh, we're getting ready to launch a big one here. That's a collaboration. I got the first ever consumable product license from a, a company called Sony pictures for a brand called Cobra. Kai, we're getting ready to launch that here in short order in conjunction with that. Um, we have a lot of big hope for that and that'll be a give back that supports after school programs for kids. [00:57:00] So it's, it's a really fun brand. Um, it's an interesting thing that's happening with it and it's, uh, it's got a lot of legs to go because we can do not just the, the original five police fire, military medical education, but we've added farmers, EMS personnel, we're, uh, working on alignment, blend for the power. You know, the people working on the power lines, um, truck drivers. I mean, you name it. If you're out there helping people remain operational, we wanna highlight and give back and [00:57:30] it's, um, it's a lot of fun
Speaker 1: And your kids are all, uh, are they all teenagers now?
Speaker 2: No. So I've got a seven, 10 and 13.
Speaker 1: Okay. I do. They kinda understand what's going on at, you know, about 10, 13, even seven, the dad's entrepreneur spirit building businesses, do they contribute in any way?
Speaker 2: Yeah. The older two want me to help them build YouTube channels and websites and I'm just like, oh my God, <laugh> <laugh>. Um, [00:58:00] but they're, they're excited about it. In fact, the older one came home from school the other day and they were about the economy and economics of things. And she mentioned that dad's got, uh, a couple of companies with secret service. So, you know, the teacher was asking if I could come in and talk to the class. And so I, you know, little by little they're understanding what's happening. Um, and it's, it's neat. There's a lot of fun stuff associated to it and with it, and it's fun to watch 'em and if this is what they wanted do cool. If you wanna go train dolphin someday. Cool. Like whatever that is, I'm all about [00:58:30] for you.
Speaker 1: Very cool. Um, so what do, do you have them working like, do, like you obviously have a, a, a work ethic that's, I'm sure partly ingrained partly a of, you know, goals that you've set and, and built. Um, how do you build a work ethic for your kids and, and is that what you want them to have? Are you satisfied with that? Or is that just your DNA or both?
Speaker 2: [00:59:00] Yeah, I, I think for me, I want them to be happy with what they're doing and be just in two and excited about life. So, you know, if you want to go be an attorney, awesome, here's the path you wanna be an entrepreneur, cool. You want to train horses or turtles like that, whatever that is. I want 'em to be able to do that. But for me, the work ethic is, is modeling through for them that here's the objective. And then let's, let's work out the list to get into it. And every day we get up and no pun [00:59:30] intended, but, you know, we, we shoot from the hip and pull the trigger. Here's the list. If it worked, it worked, if it didn't, we throw it out, we start a new, um, and we just constantly are evaluating and going to the next step for hero or leather back for everything I do.
Speaker 2: And I, you know, I hope that they pick that up along the way. Um, you know, my dad, uh, you know, here's a shovel, but my 16th birthday is a great story. <laugh> my 16th birthday in the middle of summer in the desert. Um, I got woken up at five 30 and said, Hey, um, there's pancakes ready? [01:00:00] It's gonna be a hot one today. And I had to go dig a, a trench, a foot and a half feet and a foot wide for a block wall that he was wanted built. And, um, that was my 16th birthday. Most people are like, what, that's, how my dad, you know, showed love and affection. Um, just the way it was. And I'm not off about it. I think it's funny, but Mike is, would probably lose their mind if that's what I did to 'em today.
Speaker 2: <laugh>, but, you know, I don't make them go out and dig ditches and all that other stuff, but I, I do try to show 'em [01:00:30] some minor things along the way. Um, my daughter, we just did the, uh, the room remodel and she got some, some stuff from Ikea. And, um, so her nightstand, Hey dad, can you put this together? Like, yeah, I can, but I'm not going to <laugh> you're gonna do it. So I sat there with her and here's the drill, here's the stuff. And so she was going through the step by step and following the instructions, you know, good or bad for Ikea instructions, it, they were instructions. Well, she got about halfway through Tyler and [01:01:00] was trying to assemble something and it wasn't lining it up. And so I'm sitting there and we worked our way through it and she says, I think I put these in the wrong spot.
Speaker 2: I said, yeah, you did. But this is kind of like, like watch, this is just like, life, let me undo this, let me undo this. We can put it back together and then watch. And she's like, that's really cool. I go, life's no different, make a mistake, undo it. Let's go fix it and go on, forget about it. Let's move on. But put it back together where it needs to be. And, um, it's just, it's neat to throw a little lessons like [01:01:30] that and stuff without, uh, you know, the, the way I had to do it, but I, I don't know if it's more efficient the way I'm doing it. I, I don't know if it's right. I don't, I don't know. Yeah. Or not, the job gets done.
Speaker 1: Yeah. We are. We are genuinely, if I, there was a right way to do it, there'd be a book and everyone would read it and everyone would 100% execute. Yeah. Yeah. And, and nobody would get anything wrong ever. And all 100 things would be tremendous producers and, uh, happy and perfect relationships. But, um, so you, your story is, is an anecdote [01:02:00] onto a question that I want to ask on a grander scale. So you retired secret service around 2016. Now you're at home, uh, full presumably full time, um, working from your home office or wherever. So now your presence in your kids' life is completely different than it had been up until that point. Like, how did your role as a dad change when your lifestyle changed?
Speaker 2: Yeah, that's another good question. Um, just to clarify, too. So it was last year, uh, when [01:02:30] I left at the end of June that I, I left. Yeah. So it's been, been a year, year in change, um, since I left. Okay. So, but in that year and a half, I mean, they, they became homeschooled, you know, the world collapsed mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, so we were all thrown into the house together. So it was, it was interesting to go from being scattered all over the country and the world to we're all under the same roof. Yeah. For an extended period of time. And so, you know, there's a lot of friction points because nobody was used to you being here all the time. [01:03:00] Um, but it it's ultimately worked out really, really well, especially when things were moving again, baseball started back up school, started back up, volleyball, started back up.
Speaker 2: And so I don't miss a practice anymore. Whereas before, um, Hey Dan, you be my game. Yeah, absolutely. I'd love to be there. I'm on my way. I'm coming. And then the call comes and then I gotta go home and pack a bag they're in bed and I'm gone before they ever get up in the morning and miss the game, miss the practice, miss the ballet, [01:03:30] miss whatever. And there's nothing I can do about it. And now, um, now I can do something about it and hopefully they see the difference that, you know, I walked away from a world that most people would kill for, to build a world the bigger to be. You know, I'm a part of their world now and see what goes on.
Speaker 1: So that that's a pretty dramatic, I didn't think about it in the context of now you're like quarantine basically together for the pandemic. Uh, what, what's something that you learned about your kids or your wife, uh, going, suddenly being around them full time again, [01:04:00] something that might have surprised you. Yeah,
Speaker 2: I think resiliency. And back to that statement of the magic's in the movement, man, everybody just kind of adapted improvised and overcame and, and just moved on. Right. Life moves on. Everybody was pretty resilient.
Speaker 1: So what do you feel like your as a dad, what what's, what's your role what's Mike's role as a dad?
Speaker 2: Um, I think to, to model for them best I can to be one a good, just what a good man is, what a good dad is, what a good husband is, what [01:04:30] a good, how to build a good life, uh, how to work hard, um, how to be accountable and responsible. Um, and then just, you know, be the best loving dad I can be, which sometimes requires some discipline. Sometimes it's just giving you a hug and cracking jokes with you.
Speaker 1: Yeah. I'd imagine growing up, uh, you expressed love with, uh, your brothers through fist fights, stealing each other's stuff, wrestling. Uh, and now you've got girls. Uh what's. What's tell me, what's blowing your [01:05:00] mind about that.
Speaker 2: Yeah, my older brother, one of the best stories that he and I growing up today, he and I are best friends today, but dude, that guy picked me up and threw me through the drywall. Like literally threw me through a wall <laugh>, which is the moment we became best friends. Um, because I'm literally Tyler sitting in the wall and we're like, uh, and instantly became, we gotta fix this and somehow we gotta work together. And so, um, we ended up paper macheing the wall back together. And we're like, yeah, it looks [01:05:30] pretty good. My mom walked into her house. Like what in? But today, uh, to your point with five of, of us, it was all cops and robbers and blowing stuff up. And I I'm surprised, you know, we somehow made it out alive, but now having, um, I have a son and we've got two daughters it's, uh, the youngest one, she's a lot like I am and God help whoever that, that becomes she's with, because that's just, it's we watching a female version of yourself running around. You're like, oh [01:06:00] my God,
Speaker 1: I've got one of those too. This would like
Speaker 2: <laugh>. I'm so sorry. <laugh> it's just weird.
Speaker 1: Yeah. It puts into perspective. Like what your parents, uh, tolerated, uh, when you see your kid is like a little mini you. Yeah. So what, what's something that your kids have, uh, changed about you or taught you?
Speaker 2: Hmm. That was a good question. Um, uh, I think to be selfless and more, you know, more giving [01:06:30] and caring about everybody else, but myself. Yeah. I just don't, I I'm I'm first to fight, but I'm last to eat.
Speaker 1: Oh gosh. What's, what's something, what's a challenge that, uh, was unexpected. Uh, just being a dad in general, or maybe just coming home to being around fulltime.
Speaker 2: Um, you know, that's probably a health related question. So my youngest one, um, when she was in uro [01:07:00] uro, we did discovered she had a, a malformed kidney and at five months old, she became part of a, a study at UCLA where they went in laparoscopically and took out one of her kidneys. It was malformed. And so she was like one of six kids or something like that as part of this research study. And, um, you know, having them tell you that there's an issue as a result, take taking a cancer medication for nausea that the doctor prescribed and then come to find out that caused all kinds of [01:07:30] kidney problems in, in babies. Um, that was a, that was a tough one. Cause there's nothing you can do.
Speaker 1: So, uh, there are a lot of people that go through challenging times with their kids, whether their life is at risk or their lifestyle is at risk or, or just, just something scary. Um, what kind of advice would you give to a parent that would be in a comparable scenario where they just, you know, maybe the husband and wife are having a hard time dealing with it together, or maybe they're having difficulty [01:08:00] reconciling it with their own head or crisis of faith. Uh, is there anything that you might say or suggest to a parent that's living that scenario now?
Speaker 2: Yeah, that's a deep question, Tyler. Um, I think my experiences have led to the fact that everything works out for the best, no matter how hard that is to go through. So on the front end to the tunnel of darkness that you may be in, there's always a light at the tunnel at the end of the tunnel. [01:08:30] I mean, there's always a positive outcome and sometimes it just takes a while to find it and figure it out and decide for yourself that, you know, what, that was the best thing in the world that happened perspective. And it's not easy to hear that, and it's not easy to when you're in the middle of all the crap to, to think that mm-hmm <affirmative>, I think that's the advice I would give somebody is you gotta learn how to condition yourself, um, to find a mindset of it takes when to, to think your way through it, but there's a reason for this going on. And it always, always, [01:09:00] always is for the best.
Speaker 1: Um, looking back at your kids growing up, what are some of the milestones that just kind of pop into your head?
Speaker 2: The fact that I had kids <laugh>,
Speaker 1: That was a significant experience.
Speaker 2: Um, some of the milestones, um, you know, it's just fun to watch 'em grow and develop from their birthday parties to, uh, you know, my son, Dylan, [01:09:30] um, when he started playing baseball for the first time, uh, you know, I remember being a kid playing little league, um, and pitching and doing all this stuff and playing teeball. So watching somebody start to get into that, that I used to do, that was really neat to experience. And then, and now that kid, he sleeps, drink, breathe baseball. That's, he's convinced he's gonna play professionally for the Washington nationals and who am I to tell him otherwise? So it's, it's neat to see all of that. Um, I think when they, [01:10:00] you know, they, they get mobility again, back to the magic and the movement, watching them all learn how to walk the first time. And then all of a sudden it clicks and it's like their radius expanded from what's in arms reach to where the hell did they go, you know, like, but their radius expand and just watching the creativity and the en for experiencing things, uh, at, at multiple levels is just really, really awesome.
Speaker 1: So, uh, expanding that radius into the future and thinking about milestones [01:10:30] that your girls or your boy have in the next 5, 10, 50 years, like, what are some of the ones that you, you may look forward to or dread
Speaker 2: <laugh>? Uh, so, so right now we have a foreign exchange student living with us that, um, I ended up having to talk to two gentlemen from high school age bracket last night. Mm. I don't look forward to that just sort of happened. And I'm so we had to have that fun [01:11:00] experience last night of being protective dad to a 15 year old that I wasn't expecting to have to do. Uh, I don't look forward to that with, uh, everybody else. Um, but I think some of the milestones coming up that are gonna be fun are watching them, you know, spend a lifetime through school and then they decide, Hey, I'm going to college. Where is that gonna be, what am I going to school for watching, um, who you become, not what you become, but really who, who you [01:11:30] continue to become and develop in the world you is, is just awesome to experience and watching how they, they sharpen and they, they struggle. And then they get excited and, you know, continue to grind through things. Um, milestones are daily, weekly, I mean, yearly it's, it's just neat to be a part of the experience, you know, and you're just probably like you, I mean, you just feel blessed to have kids to, to watch and, and see it through that lens. Yeah.
Speaker 1: Yeah. It it's amazing. Um, well, uh, now [01:12:00] looking forward and talking about the, the, not what they become, but who they become, uh, if you got to outline that who, or at least set a foundation for that, who in the form of maybe a cut of characteristics that you think are just a hundred percent needed to, to thrive and survive in this world, what are some of the characteristics that you hope that your kids, uh, have, or continue to cultivate moving forward?
Speaker 2: Yeah, I think a genuine caring [01:12:30] or love towards, towards other people, but an interest in being strong in their beliefs, but open to have the, you know, the emotional intelligence and development of understanding other, other positions and opinions, but you gotta help help the cause forward here. Um, I hope they're patriotic. I hope they're proud of who they are and where they come from. I hope, uh, they're excited about the, uh, the, the choices and path they choose to take. Um, yeah. I, I mean [01:13:00] being responsible, being accountable for all of it and, and just having the conviction to stand behind what you believe in and go.
Speaker 1: Awesome. Awesome. Well, um, oh, what's, what's a way that, uh, over the last, I don't know, 15 years that you feel like you've improved as a dad.
Speaker 2: Um, well definitely having daughters, um, <laugh>, that's a whole like learning a foreign language to me. Um, um, but I think in making [01:13:30] a hard decision to leave, you know, samurai warriors, don't take the samurai sword off and decide we're not gonna be a samurai war anymore. Um, and I think for me, I I'm in, I'll tell you, I shed tears when I left secret service and turned into my badge and my gun. Um, that was the hardest decision in my life and ultimately the best one to leave an entire world of what I knew and was proud to be a part of, to, um, to become more proud, to be a dad. And do I do all day to be around
Speaker 1: Right [01:14:00] now? I've got some, uh, kinda rapid fire questions to kind shoot, let's go towards wrapping up our segment.
Speaker 2: Uh, it's been a while since I've been shot at, so let's go.
Speaker 1: Um, money's no object. Time is no object. Quantum space is no object. Uh, what gift would you give to every father on the planet? Uh, could be a, an item. It could be an experience, uh, could be a feeling. What gift would you give to every father on the planet?
Speaker 2: [01:14:30] That is a tough question. Tyler mm-hmm <affirmative> <laugh> um, I, I think I would, I would give you the gift of, um, the problem I described to you with my daughter and her kidney. Um, she's not a special needs kid. She's got no issues, no restric. In fact, I mean, I feel like I hold her back sometimes, um, because you're like my God, you're running on one here. And so it's kinda a running [01:15:00] joke with us, but the gift of having that, um, experience of you send her off, and I don't know what's gonna happen in surgery and all stuff. And then she comes back. Um, I think the, the emotional side of that and the experience of letting go of that and bringing her back in and then cultivating and watching her develop, um, the, the passion behind that and the, you know, the love and admiration and, and affection you, you develop. I mean, it's just a, it's [01:15:30] an interesting bond. So I think, I, I think maybe the, if I would give is, is just, just a love and affection and attention. You can give your kids that's heightened through those kind of experiences.
Speaker 1: Oh, that's beautiful. Um, what are two or three characteristics that, uh, every dad should have every super dad should share these common charact to be the best they can be being a dad,
Speaker 2: Uh, being humble and, you know, showing some humility [01:16:00] <laugh>, um, not being afraid to make fun yourself and, you know, um, play Barbie dolls with your daughters or going out, even though I'm slam busy, my son wants to play catch every day. Absolutely let's go. Um, and I, I think putting, putting them first, um, I mean, I understand there's other things that take priority sometimes, but I do the best I can to be present for them. So I think that's probably something, you know, too powerful words and [01:16:30] in language to understand or be present,
Speaker 1: I'm gonna diverge for a and jump on that for a second. The, the idea of being present, and this is kind of a broad question, but, uh, talking about time, I wanna talk about your relationship with time being a, a, a parent to three kids. Um, can you talk about your relationship with time?
Speaker 2: Yeah. Uh, um, you know, we all never seem to have enough of it no matter what's going on. [01:17:00] Um, I think I, I spent a long lot of time. I I'm structuring my days. Um, I could show you my calendar on my phone and it's all the way down, but I do my best in, uh, in the morning to make sure that they're, I'm here when they're getting up and we're getting ready for school and making breakfast and making sure they got their water bottles and all the stuff that I'm just a part of that, and then send them on the way. Um, and then I'm structured throughout the day on zoom calls, meetings, emails, paperwork, [01:17:30] investor calls, um, and then trying to do things like pickup from swimming to volleyball, to baseball, to whatever I need to be. And I think the, um, being present demand and requires an organized efficiency in a, in a schedule because yeah, there's me, but there's actually, um, five of us over here and everybody's got their own thing going on from school to activities to who's going where, and like, who's, you, you have to be efficient [01:18:00] in a scheduling of time, even though you wanna be present for everything.
Speaker 1: Uh, is there a favorite fictional dad or tell dad that, that you always liked now or grown up,
Speaker 2: You know, probably gonna laugh at me, but, um, the one I like now most is Tim Allen in last man standing. Yeah. Um, I love the personality. I love that. He's, uh, you know, the marketing branding guy for the, the company, um, drives him [01:18:30] an old truck. I've got an old truck. Um, and I just like the, uh, the way he slows it down for his daughters to understand and teaches life lessons along the way through everyday experiences. Love that show. Awesome.
Speaker 1: Thought he was great. I haven't watched, I used to love home improvement. I, I love
Speaker 2: Home improvement too when I was a kid. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 1: I've, I've watched the Santa Claus 14 times already. Just watch it again. It's December 10th. So, uh, well,
Speaker 2: If you've never seen it, you should watch it. That's a, it's an excellent show. Um, last man standing
Speaker 1: Show. [01:19:00] I will. Um, so this is the, the billboard question. Uh, if you had a billboard, what advice would you give to, uh, dads? Like it's, it's, if you're driving a hundred miles an hour on 66 and you get just a billboard and it crank their neck, take a quick peek at, you know, the short message that can fit on a billboard with something that you'd offered all the dads out there.
Speaker 2: Don't take it too seriously and it's all gonna be okay.
Speaker 1: Like it. And, uh, when in your life do you feel [01:19:30] the most love?
Speaker 2: Hmm, that's a tough one. Um, when do I feel the most love? I don't know anybody's ever asked me that question, Tyler. Um, I, you know, probably just, uh, the minor little things, you know, you get a text, um, kids run up and give you a hug. Um, uh, yeah, I think just, you know, the acknowledgement that I'm here and not somewhere else in the world, um, [01:20:00] through the, the little things that you can do, you know, a text, a call, a hug, um, it, I'm, life's pretty complex. I'm pretty simple.
Speaker 1: All right. And so, uh, I just have, uh, one last question, but before I do, let's, let's rattle off a couple of the resources that we have to, to reach your companies, uh, leatherback gear.com, uh, drink hero.com. Um, you got Instagram <affirmative>, uh, which can, yep.
Speaker 2: You can find us both on both those [01:20:30] brands are on Instagram, Facebook, uh, TikTok, um, Twitter
Speaker 1: With the websites, email. Yeah. The website is beautiful, even if you're just into bringing and marketing. Yeah. Uh, Mike, Mike's not kidding. When he is talking about expertise and branding and marketing, it's a beautiful website and great online presence with your team behind you. Um, appreciate that. So everybody I'd encouraged to check that stuff out and, and drink hero it's it's good coffee. Um, so my last question, uh, [01:21:00] this recording may not last as long as the pyramids, but it, it could last for a very long time. And, uh, in the event that your kids and their kids and their kids, you know, perpetually have a copy of this recording, what, what's a piece of advice or a message, uh, an expression or something that you would share with every generation to come
Speaker 2: Piece of advice. The first thing that comes to mind for me is that the most common problems always have the simplest [01:21:30] solutions, just nature of the game. Don't overthink it. It's, it's real simple. They're very complicated, make it simple. And it it's everything I've ever done. The most complicated protection assignments, business, building stuff, anything in between, and always sense the simple solutions when you start to look for it, actually when you stop looking for it. But when you think about it,
Speaker 1: <laugh> yeah. Sometimes it's taking a step back, makes all the difference. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2: I dunno. Have you ever heard the, [01:22:00] uh, the theory AUMs, razor? Have you ever heard of that?
Speaker 1: Uh, uh, uh, the phrase, yes. The theory. I don't recall. Please tell me.
Speaker 2: So the it's based basically that, that premise of what I said. So usually when you got multiple things, um, and you, you're trying to pin your way through something, the, the summation, but all Tyler, it really ends up being at the easiest answer or the simplest answer is usually the right answer.
Speaker 1: Awesome. I love, well, I appreciate your time so much, Mike. Thanks for being on the pot. No,
Speaker 2: [01:22:30] Man, I appreciate you. Glad you had me on loved it.