Paul Holland with Mach 49

On this week's Industrial Talk we're talking to Paul Holland, Managing Director, Corporate Investing Practice with Mach 49 about “The Speed, Velocity and Scaling Innovation”.  Get the answers to your “Venture Capital” questions along with Paul's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

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Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mach49/

Company Website: https://www.mach49.com/

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT:

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, entrepreneur, business, funded, mach, company, market, industry, called, happen, venture, conversation, technology, world, paul, point, NEOM, big, reed hastings, talk

00:03

Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots,

00:21

and let's go. As always, welcome to industrial talk, the number one industry related podcast in the universe that celebrates you. It is a platform that celebrates industrial heroes such as yourself, because you're bold, you're brave, you're daring greatly. you innovate, you're solve problems. You're making my life and you're making the world a better place to live. Thank you very much. You are an industrial elite athlete. Alright, in the hot seat, we've got a great conversation. I mean, a great conversation. I was really geeking out on this one. His name is Paul Holland, Managing Director, the firm is Mach 49. We're going to be talking about just BC, venture capital and all things in between. So let's get cracking with this conversation. All right. Yeah, I like this. I'm a finance guy, not to his level, heck no. We were talking a lot of I mean, I'm always fascinated by constraints, and constraints that exist within this sort of that financial side of a business. You have this desire, maybe you have this great innovation. Yep. Great innovation. But how do you scale it? What do you do? Who do you connect with? Who do you trust? Those are all incredible questions that you have to ask if you're in that, if you're if you're an entrepreneur, I'm always struggling with that I'm always looking for answers. And And again, there are a lot of people out there. But you really have to do your homework to find out the ones that you want to really work with that can really not only bring solutions to the table for your company, but also just that wise counsel that is needed for every doggone business. Alright. So I was very fortunate to be able to meet Paul at a wonderful event that they sponsored for NEOM. Now I'm going to, again, encourage you, encourage you in a big way to go out to neil.com they're doing they're putting their mouth to practice, they are creating the community of the future. They are living a bold, brave and Daring Greatly vision for what they are doing. It's it's exciting. That's Neil calm, and Paul Mach 49. And Team Mach 49. Definitely are all involved helping to achieve what they are doing out at Neil, big, big time. It's exciting. And I think I mentioned it in in our conversation, that it's it's sort of James Bond ish, but it's it's a it's a phenomenal and it's it's taken all the stuff that we talk on here at industrial talk to the industry for Dido that's sort of like the upper level, but it's it's it's smart cities, it's 5g, it's it's cloud, it's it's quantum computing, it's everything in between, and then some right, it is truly a brave vision. It is it's very exciting. Got to neoma.com. All right onto the interview. Now, there were a couple of things that popped out of my head. When I was talking to Paul, I like the three things that they look at one market, yeah, you have to look at the market, they look at the market, you need to look at that market. Does the market really sort of support what you are doing? Is it there? That's important, right? It's important, the tech the business model, right? Is it in line? Does it work in that particular market? Does the tech even really, you know, satisfy a problem that exists in the market? Does it make it easier for them to get whatever they need to get? Does it whatever that problem might be? Does it solve it? And then of course, the the area that is really dynamic, of course, are the people so we have the market tech business model, as well as people, they look at every business in that type of light. And I think that you too have to because if you're running a business, you're an entrepreneur, you gotta check the market, find some, what is it, you know, get the right counsel for that. Your tech, does it satisfy? Are you talking about the market? Or are you listening to the market and that consumer? And then finally, do you have the right people in place? Yep. It's it's, it seems like a simple equation, but quite frankly, companies struggle with that all the time. All right. Paul, Holland Mach 49 is in the hot seat. Enjoy the conversation. Paul, welcome to industrial talk. Thank you very much for finding time in your busy schedule. Love the backdrop. Excellent. You just made me. I mean, I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed. How're you doing today?

05:09

I'm doing great. I'm doing great. I'm speaking to you from the technically speaking the greenest house in America. So that's why you see the backdrop as it is. It's their lead point house.

05:21

And I'm living proof. And I have to back, you know, back up on that one because it was an excellent event. But more than just don't don't take this any wrong way here, Paul. But I surely walked around your nice place. totaled around, no doubt about it. All right. For the listeners out there. Let's get cracking on who you are. Paul, just give us a little background for one, one.

05:45

There you go. So grew up, back in back east Southern Virginia, followed a girl out here to California 37 years ago, married her 32 years ago, and I spent my operating career helping to start two software companies. One of those was a company called pure software with Reed Hastings and a bunch of folks who got famous later doing some really cool stuff at Netflix and others. And we took pure software public was acquired by IBM for about $2 billion. And I then went back to the venture capitalists who funded pure that was Andy Rackleff. By then he started a new firm called Benchmark Capital. And he asked me to go to a new investment. They're called conic communications with Mark Gagne. And Michael Horvath guys better known today as Strava. I joined Kana, after the series B by benchmark, which was done at about a $13 million valuation. 27 months later, we hit 9 billion. I was number 10.

06:44

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, don't gloss over that. What did you just say? You said 13. To watch?

06:50

Yeah, well, it was also 1997 to 1999. And so that that helped a lot. But yeah, I got brought in to run the global go to market. So built out a team and we we took sales from $10,000 to 132 million in four years. And so it was a ride. It was ag of a ride. And then, as Connor ran its course I got recruited over to foundation capital. We've spent the last 20 years their general partner over for 18 of those years in six different funds. Foundations very good firm. We've invested about 4 billion of investor capital, it's currently worth about 600 billion today. Netflix is half of that, but 30 Other IPOs including some of my companies like mobile, iron and shag and, and many others, and then join mk 49. It's actually starting to help Mark 49 when it was founded about eight years ago, and then I joined full time two years ago.

07:44

Okay, so Mach 49. What does that mean?

07:48

Yes, so Mach 49 is founded by Linda Gates is a phenomenological entrepreneur. She grew up here in the valley with all the folks who started the venture business. She ended up in strategy consulting ended up at 32 years old co founder and CEO of a company called stratigos with Gary Hamel and CK Prahalad later went on the board of Sybase took it from $3 to $65. And then about eight years ago, decided that the global 1000 needed their own kind of equivalent of Y Combinator. So Mach 49 Mach 37 is the speed to exit the Earth's atmosphere. And really we use a lot of metaphors around you know, kind of escaping the gravity, gravitational pole, the mothership and exploring new lands and things like that. And, but that was taken, so she went with 49, because it's the it's the number to escape the gravitational pull of the sun, but also a bigger number than 37 and also evokes memories of coming to California to mined for gold in 1849. She's a fourth generation, California entrepreneur. And so this was a important kind of thing for her and probably worth noting. She's the girl that I followed out here 37 years ago. That's the that's kind of squirt.

09:06

Well done. Well done. Thank you. So here's the deal. Industry for Dotto within just that whole topic, industry, for Dotto, it encapsulates innovation technology. How does it how do we do that? It's edge. It's it's cloud. It's, it's, you know, digital twin, it's all of this stuff that's just popping around one of the areas that I think needs to be explored a little bit more is what is the process of that you start, you know, going down that road, somebody has this great idea. How do we begin that VC conversation that process?

09:45

Well, meaningful perspective of a an entrepreneur? Start?

09:50

Yeah, yeah, because there's a ton out there. If I had a nickel for every time I spoke to somebody saying that I'm a I'm an AI expert, you know,

10:00

then sure, yeah, it'd

10:01

be pretty rich.

10:02

Unfortunately, there are more and more than now, but yeah, for entrepreneurs, it's, you know, the the first kind of, I mean, for me, I worked at, at two really successful startups, but both of them had been bootstrapped by their founders. And so that's, uh, to me, that's kind of I'm sort of old school, I, I feel like that's kind of the way to get started. These days, it's, you know, we often see folks that will go and do a business plan competition, and they'll, you know, they'll get, they'll get a nice placement and that, and then they'll turn around a week later and go out and raise money. And, you know, and that that works. Also, I mean, there are some businesses now particularly in places like crypto that need to scale so quickly that they that they'll, you know, they'll they'll raise money within a month of actually formulating the idea. But for me, particularly in enterprise companies, and in consumer companies, I always viewed it as I saw a lot of value in people bootstrapping, and putting some of their own capital work and their own time and so forth at work. But at that point, then if you've got a strong enough idea, then you've got many different ways to approach the venture community, whether it be through, you know, things like venture competitions, or through, you know, just kind of getting oriented around people that are doing seed investing, you know, often the best way to get involved with a good venture firm is to have a good seed investor who's got relationships in that firm. So these are, you know, these are just some of the things that folks will get started on. And as you as you get started on your entrepreneurial career, you'll gradually get oriented toward learning more and more about sort of the funding mechanisms and, and you'll get to know folks that are in the in the venture industry, but, you know, work, work on the idea and creating something amazing and the money will follow. See,

11:55

the concern that I have, and I've heard is that there's this there's, there's velocity, we've talked about my 49, there's this velocity, and somebody might have a great idea. And I hear you're talking about bootstrapping. That's fine. That's good. But bootstrap means time. And in this world, there just seems to be this blistering velocity that exists within and you're gonna miss the boat. If, if, if I'm an AI guy, and I have this great idea, but I just I'm bootstrapping a time goes by somebody that's going to come in some sort of fun is going to happen. Does that exist?

12:29

Sure. It does. Yeah, absolutely. And like I said, and in some places that exists more strongly than others. And so I think those are those are, it's, it's the paradox around, you know, the concept of going out and raising money is that that ideally, you're going to be really prepared, you're going to have a lot of experience. That's why I like the bootstrap concept. And you're going to have gone out and skinned your knee a bunch of times and perfected your offering, or whatever it is that you're offering out into the marketplace. But you're right, especially in very high velocity markets, like we're seeing now, you know, for the last say, two or three years, then it puts more of a premium on people, formulating the idea, quietly, getting the team together, and then going and finding a funding source. Now, oftentimes, those people are people who already have relationships and venture. And so they're, you know, I mean, I'll not mention any names, but you know, the some of the folks that we funded or people that we are considered to be bankable from that perspective. And so when they say, Hey, we're working on your project, here's the new project. And then we start to get to know the project, we start to try to add our points of view and perspective and insights. And then if we're really excited about it, we'll fast track it through our organization and and fund it quite quickly,

13:46

as a funding source. So I go down the road, I'm bankable, you like me, I've got some skin in the game. It makes all sense. I agree with you. 100%. I mean, if I was investor, I would want that to I'm not it's it's tough to, you know, just do it, because I'm good looking. And and then you proceed forward. How much involvement Do you in just typical VC gets involved with the scaling of that business, the marketing of that business, the, you know, growth of that business?

14:22

Yeah, I think venture will will have will go in and out of very heavy activity with a company, very heavy, getting the initial funding in place. And then if it's an idea, where, you know, the entrepreneur really just needs, the time and the money to go off and develop the solution, whatever that turns out to be, then then you may be more like a weekly meeting kind of Cadence from that perspective. And so it's not quite as much for me, my area of strength was around go to market. And so I would often look for companies like Mobile Iron, like, response software like Chegg that were in a position where the next thing they need to do is scale. And so that's where I could bring in my expertise and my network of people who've been in funding sales and marketing and these enterprise companies and so forth. So for me, then I get very actively involved in helping to recruit the team getting people on board. But then once you know, once the organization is quote, unquote, scaling, you know, if you're making plan and you're out there, then you're you know, you're introducing the customers, you're working on all these other different things where you can try to help. But it's not quite the same time incentives intensity of of these sort of Nexus points that occur along the way, during different points of funding. And then, of course, at the point of exit, you know, I had a company sky care where I was the kind of the board member on point working once we had an indication of interest from a public company to be acquired. And then once you're involved in that, then that becomes sort of like, all encompassing until until a deal is either had or not had.

15:59

So you bring up a good point where, what is that? You're headed down the road? You've identified these quote, Nexus points, you're saying, Yeah, yep, you achieve certain hurdles probably is like, Yep, okay, good. Let's go. Let's go and you keep on going. Is there a point? And whatever that decision is made a point where you sort of rip that injector seat and saying, it's not going to happen? Do you just sort of take the lumps? And you go, or what? What normally happens in that particular case?

16:30

Yeah, that's a very good question, Scott. And I divided for simple sale divided into two buckets are two paths. One path is the path that certainly I prefer, which is that you're in dialogue with an entrepreneur, you've tried a number of experiments, you've gone to market, you've, you've gotten feedback. And, and basically, it's just not working, it seems like it should be working, it's logical, you're seeing other companies that have similar positioning, they're getting funded, they seem to be getting traction, and it's just not working. And you have hopefully just kind of a rational conversation of look, you know, this isn't worth your life energy level. I mean, yeah, it's not worth my time, but my time is minor compared to the time of the entrepreneur. And so you just simply have a dialog that says, Look, you're too good to spend time on something that you've you've tried and tried, and you can't hit any resonant frequency in the marketplace. And then, and then there's the other side, which is your work with an entrepreneur. And, and they just, they've got so many kind of self locking biases, that have kicked in around confirmation bias, and all these other things. So that they're, they're just like, you know, I've been working on this for years, everybody tells me it should work, I think it's going to work, look, we just got another little tidbit of good news, it's an indication it's going to work. And that's where you end up in a lot of conflict. Because, you know, you've you've, you've gotten involved as an investor, you're an advisor, you're often friends, I mean, most of the time you end up as friends with the people that you've worked with. And then you're in a dialog just saying, Look, this just doesn't, it's either not working for you, or it's not working because of you. And then so that's, that's a, that's a much more tense dialogue. It's like, look, we got to try something else. And either we shut it down, or we we hand this over to somebody else to run and see if they can come up with some things that we haven't thought of yet. But that's a that's a tough place to go. And the the odds of pulling out of that and having a be successful, it's not impossible, and all the ones that are make the newspaper or make the make the news. But most of the time things aren't working, and you just need to move on.

18:36

Ideally, you want to be able to have that conversation sooner than later. Right. You don't want to continue to belabor a challenging business. It's not achieving the objectives as as you had hoped, right?

18:48

Yeah. It's it's a tough dynamic that's got this where I mean, I mean, the third way is if you look at, you know, back when, when I began to work with Reed Hastings on on what was a company that was called sho software at the time, sh, O, with a long O's Japanese symbol for purification, and then later read changed the name to pure software, because we had a product called purify that cleaned up code and was just an amazing 100x improvement of what was going on in the market. And, and what I learned from him working with him over, you know, often on over a year and a half period before the company was even incorporated, is just the concept of perseverance. So so this is the paradox, entrepreneur. And it's the paradox of being a venture capitalists working with entrepreneurs is that the number one characteristics of successful entrepreneurs that I've seen having seen it in person with Reed Hastings, having seen it in person with Mark gagne, and Michael Horvath is perseverance is just the ability to get knocked down, get up, do it over again, knock down, get up, do it over again. A rational person would have quit 50 times before read had actually gotten to the point where we sold the first copy of purify and then by then, you know, it was like a house of fire. It was just, it was just an amazing, amazing experience scaling business,

20:04

ci boy, I'm telling you, I love that I love that perseverance, I, there's, there's one side of me that always in it, maybe it's a frustration on my mind is that many within industry, you know, I'm a product of industry, don't get me wrong, and I love the people of industry. But there's this conventional thinking in industry. And it is a sort of a big piece of luggage that is brought to these conversations. And it's almost, especially today, jump in, if you disagree. But I think today, you have to sort of put that conventional thinking, there's this desire to sort of be a little bit more disruptive. Think about that. And think about how you can approach the market in a way that is unconventional, you have to really sort and that's hard work, especially in industry. Like, yeah, you know, they don't want to do.

20:58

Yeah, yeah, it's, it's tough. It's a tremendous amount of raw emotion that goes along with starting a company working with advisors, whether they're your venture advisors or board advisors, where it might happen to be, and just this constant balance between encouraging and cajoling and trying to be a realistic counselor, to people and their folks in venture to take a completely different approach to this. They just, you know, every every entrepreneur is a nail, and they're a hammer, which is, you know, just go go go go give, give it to your last breath kind of thing. And, like, yeah, sometimes that's right, but actually, sometimes that's wrong. And it's and it's just not fair to people. One of my partners, Steve Solow, counseled a young entrepreneur out of a business that just wasn't a very good business. And the entrepreneur ended up following a passion and participate in a political campaign ended up in the Obama White House, had an amazing life experience doing that, you know, so. So I think it's, I think there's a balance from that perspective. And it's, it's one of the reasons why entrepreneurs get rewarded so much is that if you can work your way through that gauntlet of things and deal with the emotion and deal with the sleepless nights and deal with everything else, and then once once the bit turns, and you know, I watched this with my 49, I mean, with, you know, with COVID, and everything at that before COVID. Mark 49 was a very physical business where we had clients fly to California and incubate new businesses here. And watching what Linda had to do and what the team had to do to pivot to a virtual business. And now the business is literally six times bigger than it was in February and March of 20. So it's exciting when you see these things turn, it's, I call it the halcyon days. So

22:43

see, it's interesting to talk about or hear your story about how nimble Mach 49 is, because I find again, I think, there's good and bad, there's good or bad with the with the, with a pandemic. You know, we got the bad we understand the bad, the challenges with the bad. But the good side, from my perspective, I think there was a vulnerability that existed within industry saying I need help. I don't know what to do. This is way above my paygrade. Right, I have no clue. And, and I, I cherish that, as much as it's painful. As much as created, you know, sleepless nights, it has made companies that were willing to be nimble, willing to sort of be vulnerable, boom, sort of shine and excel in this particular environment.

23:36

Yeah, I think that's a really good observation, I think, you know, what we've experienced that with mk 49 is seeing large companies and seeing people at large companies that had been kind of sort of try try again, on their innovation efforts, their their, their efforts to try to create new businesses to compete with the startups that are disrupting them. And there was the sort of the classic inertia and antibodies and things like that before COVID. And then once COVID, hit picked, kicked in. And there's this blinding flash of the obvious that if you didn't get to digital and virtual in your businesses, then you were Kodak. And and and you weren't going to be in business anymore. And, and so that that became kind of the big flip that then had everybody realizing exactly like you said, Hey, we're vulnerable, like we need help, we need to kind of band together and sort of like, kind of fight back here because startups aren't going away. And, and, and, and we have to get better about being more nimble, and getting out of our own way to be able to accomplish these things.

24:40

That's a tough one for industry. Because typically industry is is, is like, yeah, I've got my idea. I'm right here and I'm holding it close to my vest here, and this is why we're so great. And then all of a sudden, all of this effort here doesn't mean anything. It's like you either survive and you help collaborate with other people who are just having a problem, they might you might have a slice of the solution. But somebody might come in and say, how about this? Hey, that's a, you know, one of those aha moments, I just, I like it. I'm, you know, being the type of guy that I am I like I like speed and velocity and moving fast. And, you know, and making mistakes fast. And, you know, moving on. Let me let me touch upon a point that that happens all the time with many of the companies that I work with, as well as interview whatever it might be. They get approached by venture frequently. And one of the areas that they always say, Yeah, been there. I've talked to them. I'm not sure if I trust them. How do you how do you approach trust within the the VC community? Because some, maybe I'm not talking about mock, I'm just in generally saying there is a attitude about that. What do you what do we do about that?

26:03

And when you say trust, in what form trust between who and whom

26:08

the company and the venture firm reaching out to them and saying, Hey, we can fill in the blank. If we work with Yeah, fill in the blank. And, you know, you will be the next whatever, fill in the blank. Right?

26:22

Yeah. Well, yeah, I think I think it's, I think it's tough, because I think the problem is that whenever there's the perception or the violation of trust, it's so visceral, and it's so meaningful to people that they that it gets repeated, it's the classic negative customer service experience, it gets repeated 100 times, you know, that type of thing. I mean, we had, you know, we were founded by founders at foundation capital, and, and so we, we try to pride ourselves on trying to be really straightforward with people, one of the things that we try to pride ourselves on is telling people No, there's a, there's a phenomenon, Adventurer, and there are some very, very successful venture capitalists that are just like that, you're, you're being a fool, just effectively tell everybody Wow, gee, that's really exciting, come back and see me in six months. And, and you know, and then they just say that over and over and over again, and then it's six months later, the company all of a sudden turns out to be Google, then then they're in great shape, and they can kind of log on or clung on to it. The trust aspect for us is also just having people being willing to listen to things that aren't what they want to hear, and to absorb that information. And either they can follow it, or they don't want to follow it. Right, they can talk to us, and then they can go down the street and talk to Venmo or Mayfield and other folks and, and find somebody who, who gets what they're saying better than maybe what we do from that perspective. So, but the trust aspect of it, you know, once you enter the relationship, and you're, you know, like, if I think about it, I'll use a real life example, I funded a company called response software with with Mike Armour as the CEO. Now, I had the advantage of Mike and I've been together since 1992, when we when I recruited him to pure software. And we've done several businesses together over the over the years. And but you know, in terms of like working with Mike and working with this team, there's just very high fidelity conversations, like there's never any question, are we getting all the information we need? Are they asking for the help? Were they needed? Are we you know, being transparent? Are we working hard to try to help the company? So that would have been one if respond hadn't work? We were to just simply said, look, it just, it wasn't a good enough idea, right? We, you know, everybody did what they're supposed to do, we had this trust based relationship where everybody would show up. And, you know, there's just never any question. And when you're in, when you're in a trust based relationship, then the politics also go way down. So that's also like a nice side benefit. But then ultimately, in the case of respond, you know, they ended up having a really, you know, they got they got bought by FireEye, and had a really, really nice financial exit that ended up out of that. So that was kind of about all's well, that ends well, but it was kind of all's well, all the way through, for the most part in terms of dealing with the people. I've had other relationships, which I won't name, and entrepreneurs that I've worked with, who will look me like right in the eye. And tell me for example, oh, when the time's right, I will definitely step aside. You know. And I've literally I've had situations where I've had the entrepreneur tell me that I've had situations with the where the board member that the entrepreneur had recruited into the kind of the seed stage tells me the same thing. And then we're like six months down the road, we haven't we've made 10% of our plan. And a second, guys, it's time let's gotta move to Plan B, let's kick the CEO up into the chairman and let's go out let's get a search done and go do this stuff. And they're like, oh, no, no, no, no, no, that's not where we met. Like, we still don't think we're ready. We're like we're ready is ready when we turn the lights out, because I don't think you know, it's gonna be kind of hard to recruit somebody in here. And it's, it's this is what I mean like the The human factors become huge. And you sit there, and you're just incredibly frustrated. And in one particular case, I resigned from the board, because I just said, I said, Look, I can't have an impact here, you guys aren't doing what you said you were gonna do, you need to take a different direction, and it needs to be without me.

30:19

See, I, I can, I can respect that honesty. And I can respect that truth. And that is important. In in these cases, where you have to sort of pull the Objective C, and I don't want a big long dissertation on it, because I know it can be really like a rabbit hole, can you sort of distill it down to why projects fail?

30:44

So there are three aspects of what we're looking for at foundation in in a really good startup company. And so I describe it as kind of this inverted pyramid, you know, this kind of upside down triangle? Yeah. So at the top of that triangle are these you know, in our case, through 4000 companies a year seeking funding at the bottom of it, or 10, that we fund that at a at a significant level? So what are the three layers within that triangle? And the first one is market? You know, are you addressing something that has a large enough market opportunity to create a venture style return? The second one are the strength of either that's kind of technology, we used to say the strength of technology, then we funded Netflix, and we said technology or the business model? And then finally the people. And then there's this question of like, well, why are the people last and so well, that people are not last? But the it's in that order? Because that's the order in which we can change things? Like we can't change the market? Like we're not no, no venture firm can really change the market. And then, you know, we can kind of change the technology with some pain, and kind of change the business model. But the thing that we know we can change is that if if we think the markets, right, and the business models, right, we can we can upgrade people, we can bring new people and we can do these other things. So if I use Netflix as an example, when my partner Mike Chu funded Netflix in December 1998. At that time, you would you would argue, wait a minute, why did you guys funded it violated your market kind of Axiom, right, because there wasn't a big enough market DVDs had about 2% penetration into American households at that point. And they were they were renting DVDs. But the studies indicated that that market was going to get to 20 or 30% of households as well, as now we know with history behind us that got to 98% of households. And then that allowed Netflix to go through stage one and then ultimately, stage two what they're trying to do. But but these are the it's market technology people. And and the biggest form of failure for us is what we call a small market problem. We funded something I thought it was going to be huge. And then it just turns out not to be and then there's technology failures. And then there's people there's

32:58

very, very good now I have to venture into NEOM. I know that Mark 49 is a heavily involved in NEOM and the business there. Why is that important for Mark 49 and Neil?

33:14

Yeah, so So NEOM is, of course, this this New Year planned to be kind of semi autonomous territory building being built out of an area in northwestern Saudi Arabia, about the size of New Hampshire, just to give you kind

33:28

of James Bondish, FYI. Yeah. All right.

33:31

Yeah. So it's on the Red Sea. You know, and, and the idea is that the that the the funders of NEOM are, basically want to build the quintessential kind of city of the future and society of the future. So think of a new Singapore, new Dubai, whatever it happened to be, but you know, sort of on steroids. So 14 different sectors of activity and energy, hospitality, consumer technology, food, and agriculture, all these different places. And so what naomh is about is it is, you know, at the moment, I think it's probably the largest project in the world, it's about a $1 trillion investment project in the world. And so what we see in the film is an opportunity to offer new forms of opportunity for people in Saudi Arabia. And also just to kind of more broadly, in the Middle East, we see it as a way to advance the cause of clean energy. Women entrepreneurs, and Saudi, all these other different things that we think are good for the planet and good for, you know, sort of the growth of Saudi Arabia as a as a country. And at the end of it, you know, we are a essentially technology service provider, and this is the largest technology project in the world. So it's a it's a, it's a phenomenal opportunity for us to go in and help grow these sectors and help grow their approach to creating new ventures and how they manage venture activity including some of the funding to get them to a place where these sectors can be successful. Awesome. So it's not show,

35:02

I gotta tell you, man, it's a bold vision. And what I like about it is that they're addressing problems that they didn't know they had, right? They have to solve significant problems because they're building a community, they have, you don't even know the amount of problems. But what's interesting about it is that they're willing to do whatever is necessary to solve those problems to make this this happen. But I look at it from a world perspective, too, is that whatever flips out of that, whatever solutions take place, it has great benefits for many. And that to me is really pretty cool. But you have to have that bold, persistent drive to make it happen. Because I guarantee you, when, when I was speaking with some of the people that Neil is like, it, you know, why not give up now? I mean, that it's like, Oh, right. There's another problem. I'm done with the problems? No, they just keep pushing on. They keep expanding. And you're absolutely right, it is the largest project, I have to say, in the world.

36:10

Yeah, yeah. So So assuming it works, we're gonna see new forms of transportation, we're gonna see new forms of the way people, you know, what we now think of as going to a hotel, think of going to a, you know, 100% robotic hotel that has these amazing experiences for you, in terms of energy, you know, they're there, they're 100% focused on a clean energy future for NEOM. And it's obviously strategic for Saudi, because they're conscious of the fact that they've got a wasting asset, ultimately, in terms of carbon based energy forms. And, and so, you know, as we look at these things over time, you know, we think that they could be, you know, very, very exciting, and they could have broad applicability and broad benefit for humanity.

36:56

Yeah, and I see, I, one of the things that sort of creates a little tension inside of me is that I see this velocity, I see what you're doing, I see what NEOMs doing. And I see the speed at which all of this, I'll just say, industry for Dotto is happening. And I get concerned about other parts of the world who just don't have access to it, right? They don't I mean, it's going so fast, that there's no way in God's green earth, that they're gonna keep up. They're just not. And that to me is a, it's a point of friction for me. How can we make it for everybody?

37:29

Right? Yeah, well, we have to hope. I mean, I mean, I've been very fortunate London, I've been to 74 countries over the course of our lives. And, you know, I have this sort of, you know, pollyannish belief, and I've seen it in person, every single country has the same potential in human capital, I mean, some of the places, sort of better universities and have better educational systems and things like that. But, you know, I've literally met and spent time with entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe, and Zambia, in Nepal, in Mauritius, in, you know, in, in, all over the world, and, and, you know, it's the same kind of drive and human spirit, there's something almost like at a DNA level, for people who want to do better for themselves and do better for their families, we have to get to a place where, in many places around the world, the governments are so corrupt, or they're so ineffective, that they're, they stand in the way of the human capital, their their people's ability to be able to prosper. And then we have to do like, significant remediation, around enabling, you know, Wi Fi all around the world, and enabling education around the world. I do think that is one of the side benefits of COVID is that, you know, it's really, if I look at, you know, one of my companies check. And if I look at many of the other companies, digital education, you know, they've advanced tremendously So, notionally, if you think about it, you know, if we get to a place, you've got Starlink, and you've got other things that are providing Wi Fi all over the world, then there's no inherent reason why somebody in Angola, you know, as a six year old, Angola can't have access to the same educational experience as a six year old in Menlo Park, or it might happen to be now that there's going to be differences of resources and teachers and role models and all sorts of other things that are there. But over time, I'm optimistic that we can actually make this better, not worse.

39:23

See, I agree with you. I'm pretty excited about it. Right? I do i the thought of being able to have access to unlimited information, unlimited insights, and I think is exciting. And I believe countries are transformed as a result of that. And I believe that through technology and through these capable capabilities, that corrupt governments will have their unfortunate role, but I think you're able to sort of use that technology to help better better the lives and the communities and definitely the world as a whole. I do. I'm not afraid, frightened of the technology, even though I'm old.

40:09

Like, there's a there's a concept and you're probably familiar with this. But yeah, this has been popularized by people in the crypto community. But that is a book called The Sovereign individual that describes a future enabled by the end of the information age, where you basically kind of circumvent the inefficiencies. And they end the corruption associated with many governments around the world. And you enable individuals through information technology to achieve their goals, in one form or another. Now that concept takes on controversial elements, when when you apply that to, you know, billionaires, for lack of a better way to describe it. But But nonetheless, the it's, it's sort of an inexorable concept. You know, we went through the hunter gatherer age, we went through the Agricultural Age went to the industrial age. And we're clearly now in the information age and, and as part of the information age, or all of the things that we took with us from the last sets of things, you know, the governmental structures, the way we approach these kind of controls and things like that, are all those really the most appropriate ways to think about that, as you move further into the information age? And and I think it's going to require evolution across the board.

41:24

I think it's doable. I think the future is bright. I think that yeah, there's gonna be pain just like anything else. But I think that, once again, back to the pandemic, maybe that was the spark. That was, I think that we were bringing our B, maybe maybe our CB game, pre pandemic, now we got to bring our a game, we've got to, we got to get past all the fluff and all the politics and just get to solutions, and solving problems. And I think that that's where we're at, Bob, we're gonna have to wrap it up, I can keep on going for days, you wouldn't want to go for days, that's for dog, people, how would somebody get a hold of Paul Mach 49? If they have any questions, comments, on how to enter?

42:02

Yeah, so I mean, we, you know, if you just simply go to the Mk 49, website, www.ma, CH four nine.com. kind of scroll through, look at the things that are there, if you see things there that could be interesting for your, you know, typically work with large companies and help them create growth, as we call it to restaurant disrupting inside out, disrupting outside in, and then keep on the lookout for the next big strategy book coming out from Hartford press is the unicorn within. That's vinelandii eights are founder and CEO that's coming out next year.

42:36

Oh, I happen to have a library and I better get a copy of that book. There you go. Well, thank you very much, Paul. Excellent, excellent conversation listeners. Don't worry, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side, you know, you're going to be able to get a hold of Paul and everything else associated with Mark 49. So fear not. We'll be right back. Thank you, Scott.

42:56

You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.

43:06

All right. I don't even know how to unpack that conversation. There is so many gems, so many points of wisdom. In that conversation, I highly recommend that you go back, reach out to Paul, of course, you got to go to Mach 49. Of course. Now he has a great stack card out there. Paul Holland. Put a little comment in there, boom, Mach 49. You will find him up close and personal grade stack card chock full of information. Alright. Neil, you've got to go out. You've got to be you've just got to at least begin to educate yourself about them and what they are doing and see how they can impact you in a positive way. But at least they're in the game money where their mouth is. That's what they are doing. Alright. Again, we're gonna always have a great conversation right around the corner. However, you need to be bold, brave, daring greatly. You need to be persistent. You need to have skin in the game and you need to do everything you can to be a success, because we depend on you. Thank you very much for joining. We are going to be right back

Transcript

00:03

Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots,

00:21

and let's go. As always, welcome to industrial talk, the number one industry related podcast in the universe that celebrates you. It is a platform that celebrates industrial heroes such as yourself, because you're bold, you're brave, you're daring greatly. you innovate, you're solve problems. You're making my life and you're making the world a better place to live. Thank you very much. You are an industrial elite athlete. Alright, in the hot seat, we've got a great conversation. I mean, a great conversation. I was really geeking out on this one. His name is Paul Holland, Managing Director, the firm is Mach 49. We're going to be talking about just BC, venture capital and all things in between. So let's get cracking with this conversation. All right. Yeah, I like this. I'm a finance guy, not to his level, heck no. We were talking a lot of I mean, I'm always fascinated by constraints, and constraints that exist within this sort of that financial side of a business. You have this desire, maybe you have this great innovation. Yep. Great innovation. But how do you scale it? What do you do? Who do you connect with? Who do you trust? Those are all incredible questions that you have to ask if you're in that, if you're if you're an entrepreneur, I'm always struggling with that I'm always looking for answers. And And again, there are a lot of people out there. But you really have to do your homework to find out the ones that you want to really work with that can really not only bring solutions to the table for your company, but also just that wise counsel that is needed for every doggone business. Alright. So I was very fortunate to be able to meet Paul at a wonderful event that they sponsored for NEOM. Now I'm going to, again, encourage you, encourage you in a big way to go out to neil.com they're doing they're putting their mouth to practice, they are creating the community of the future. They are living a bold, brave and Daring Greatly vision for what they are doing. It's it's exciting. That's Neil calm, and Paul Mach 49. And Team Mach 49. Definitely are all involved helping to achieve what they are doing out at Neil, big, big time. It's exciting. And I think I mentioned it in in our conversation, that it's it's sort of James Bond ish, but it's it's a it's a phenomenal and it's it's taken all the stuff that we talk on here at industrial talk to the industry for Dido that's sort of like the upper level, but it's it's it's smart cities, it's 5g, it's it's cloud, it's it's quantum computing, it's everything in between, and then some right, it is truly a brave vision. It is it's very exciting. Got to neoma.com. All right onto the interview. Now, there were a couple of things that popped out of my head. When I was talking to Paul, I like the three things that they look at one market, yeah, you have to look at the market, they look at the market, you need to look at that market. Does the market really sort of support what you are doing? Is it there? That's important, right? It's important, the tech the business model, right? Is it in line? Does it work in that particular market? Does the tech even really, you know, satisfy a problem that exists in the market? Does it make it easier for them to get whatever they need to get? Does it whatever that problem might be? Does it solve it? And then of course, the the area that is really dynamic, of course, are the people so we have the market tech business model, as well as people, they look at every business in that type of light. And I think that you too have to because if you're running a business, you're an entrepreneur, you gotta check the market, find some, what is it, you know, get the right counsel for that. Your tech, does it satisfy? Are you talking about the market? Or are you listening to the market and that consumer? And then finally, do you have the right people in place? Yep. It's it's, it seems like a simple equation, but quite frankly, companies struggle with that all the time. All right. Paul, Holland Mach 49 is in the hot seat. Enjoy the conversation. Paul, welcome to industrial talk. Thank you very much for finding time in your busy schedule. Love the backdrop. Excellent. You just made me. I mean, I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed. How're you doing today?

05:09

I'm doing great. I'm doing great. I'm speaking to you from the technically speaking the greenest house in America. So that's why you see the backdrop as it is. It's their lead point house.

05:21

And I'm living proof. And I have to back, you know, back up on that one because it was an excellent event. But more than just don't don't take this any wrong way here, Paul. But I surely walked around your nice place. totaled around, no doubt about it. All right. For the listeners out there. Let's get cracking on who you are. Paul, just give us a little background for one, one.

05:45

There you go. So grew up, back in back east Southern Virginia, followed a girl out here to California 37 years ago, married her 32 years ago, and I spent my operating career helping to start two software companies. One of those was a company called pure software with Reed Hastings and a bunch of folks who got famous later doing some really cool stuff at Netflix and others. And we took pure software public was acquired by IBM for about $2 billion. And I then went back to the venture capitalists who funded pure that was Andy Rackleff. By then he started a new firm called Benchmark Capital. And he asked me to go to a new investment. They're called conic communications with Mark Gagne. And Michael Horvath guys better known today as Strava. I joined Kana, after the series B by benchmark, which was done at about a $13 million valuation. 27 months later, we hit 9 billion. I was number 10.

06:44

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, don't gloss over that. What did you just say? You said 13. To watch?

06:50

Yeah, well, it was also:

07:44

Okay, so Mach 49. What does that mean?

07:48

ago, decided that the global:

09:06

Well done. Well done. Thank you. So here's the deal. Industry for Dotto within just that whole topic, industry, for Dotto, it encapsulates innovation technology. How does it how do we do that? It's edge. It's it's cloud. It's, it's, you know, digital twin, it's all of this stuff that's just popping around one of the areas that I think needs to be explored a little bit more is what is the process of that you start, you know, going down that road, somebody has this great idea. How do we begin that VC conversation that process?

09:45

Well, meaningful perspective of a an entrepreneur? Start?

09:50

Yeah, yeah, because there's a ton out there. If I had a nickel for every time I spoke to somebody saying that I'm a I'm an AI expert, you know,

10:00

then sure, yeah, it'd

10:01

be pretty rich.

10:02

Unfortunately, there are more and more than now, but yeah, for entrepreneurs, it's, you know, the the first kind of, I mean, for me, I worked at, at two really successful startups, but both of them had been bootstrapped by their founders. And so that's, uh, to me, that's kind of I'm sort of old school, I, I feel like that's kind of the way to get started. These days, it's, you know, we often see folks that will go and do a business plan competition, and they'll, you know, they'll get, they'll get a nice placement and that, and then they'll turn around a week later and go out and raise money. And, you know, and that that works. Also, I mean, there are some businesses now particularly in places like crypto that need to scale so quickly that they that they'll, you know, they'll they'll raise money within a month of actually formulating the idea. But for me, particularly in enterprise companies, and in consumer companies, I always viewed it as I saw a lot of value in people bootstrapping, and putting some of their own capital work and their own time and so forth at work. But at that point, then if you've got a strong enough idea, then you've got many different ways to approach the venture community, whether it be through, you know, things like venture competitions, or through, you know, just kind of getting oriented around people that are doing seed investing, you know, often the best way to get involved with a good venture firm is to have a good seed investor who's got relationships in that firm. So these are, you know, these are just some of the things that folks will get started on. And as you as you get started on your entrepreneurial career, you'll gradually get oriented toward learning more and more about sort of the funding mechanisms and, and you'll get to know folks that are in the in the venture industry, but, you know, work, work on the idea and creating something amazing and the money will follow. See,

11:55

the concern that I have, and I've heard is that there's this there's, there's velocity, we've talked about my 49, there's this velocity, and somebody might have a great idea. And I hear you're talking about bootstrapping. That's fine. That's good. But bootstrap means time. And in this world, there just seems to be this blistering velocity that exists within and you're gonna miss the boat. If, if, if I'm an AI guy, and I have this great idea, but I just I'm bootstrapping a time goes by somebody that's going to come in some sort of fun is going to happen. Does that exist?

12:29

Sure. It does. Yeah, absolutely. And like I said, and in some places that exists more strongly than others. And so I think those are those are, it's, it's the paradox around, you know, the concept of going out and raising money is that that ideally, you're going to be really prepared, you're going to have a lot of experience. That's why I like the bootstrap concept. And you're going to have gone out and skinned your knee a bunch of times and perfected your offering, or whatever it is that you're offering out into the marketplace. But you're right, especially in very high velocity markets, like we're seeing now, you know, for the last say, two or three years, then it puts more of a premium on people, formulating the idea, quietly, getting the team together, and then going and finding a funding source. Now, oftentimes, those people are people who already have relationships and venture. And so they're, you know, I mean, I'll not mention any names, but you know, the some of the folks that we funded or people that we are considered to be bankable from that perspective. And so when they say, Hey, we're working on your project, here's the new project. And then we start to get to know the project, we start to try to add our points of view and perspective and insights. And then if we're really excited about it, we'll fast track it through our organization and and fund it quite quickly,

13:46

as a funding source. So I go down the road, I'm bankable, you like me, I've got some skin in the game. It makes all sense. I agree with you. 100%. I mean, if I was investor, I would want that to I'm not it's it's tough to, you know, just do it, because I'm good looking. And and then you proceed forward. How much involvement Do you in just typical VC gets involved with the scaling of that business, the marketing of that business, the, you know, growth of that business?

14:22

Yeah, I think venture will will have will go in and out of very heavy activity with a company, very heavy, getting the initial funding in place. And then if it's an idea, where, you know, the entrepreneur really just needs, the time and the money to go off and develop the solution, whatever that turns out to be, then then you may be more like a weekly meeting kind of Cadence from that perspective. And so it's not quite as much for me, my area of strength was around go to market. And so I would often look for companies like Mobile Iron, like, response software like Chegg that were in a position where the next thing they need to do is scale. And so that's where I could bring in my expertise and my network of people who've been in funding sales and marketing and these enterprise companies and so forth. So for me, then I get very actively involved in helping to recruit the team getting people on board. But then once you know, once the organization is quote, unquote, scaling, you know, if you're making plan and you're out there, then you're you know, you're introducing the customers, you're working on all these other different things where you can try to help. But it's not quite the same time incentives intensity of of these sort of Nexus points that occur along the way, during different points of funding. And then, of course, at the point of exit, you know, I had a company sky care where I was the kind of the board member on point working once we had an indication of interest from a public company to be acquired. And then once you're involved in that, then that becomes sort of like, all encompassing until until a deal is either had or not had.

15:59

So you bring up a good point where, what is that? You're headed down the road? You've identified these quote, Nexus points, you're saying, Yeah, yep, you achieve certain hurdles probably is like, Yep, okay, good. Let's go. Let's go and you keep on going. Is there a point? And whatever that decision is made a point where you sort of rip that injector seat and saying, it's not going to happen? Do you just sort of take the lumps? And you go, or what? What normally happens in that particular case?

16:30

Yeah, that's a very good question, Scott. And I divided for simple sale divided into two buckets are two paths. One path is the path that certainly I prefer, which is that you're in dialogue with an entrepreneur, you've tried a number of experiments, you've gone to market, you've, you've gotten feedback. And, and basically, it's just not working, it seems like it should be working, it's logical, you're seeing other companies that have similar positioning, they're getting funded, they seem to be getting traction, and it's just not working. And you have hopefully just kind of a rational conversation of look, you know, this isn't worth your life energy level. I mean, yeah, it's not worth my time, but my time is minor compared to the time of the entrepreneur. And so you just simply have a dialog that says, Look, you're too good to spend time on something that you've you've tried and tried, and you can't hit any resonant frequency in the marketplace. And then, and then there's the other side, which is your work with an entrepreneur. And, and they just, they've got so many kind of self locking biases, that have kicked in around confirmation bias, and all these other things. So that they're, they're just like, you know, I've been working on this for years, everybody tells me it should work, I think it's going to work, look, we just got another little tidbit of good news, it's an indication it's going to work. And that's where you end up in a lot of conflict. Because, you know, you've you've, you've gotten involved as an investor, you're an advisor, you're often friends, I mean, most of the time you end up as friends with the people that you've worked with. And then you're in a dialog just saying, Look, this just doesn't, it's either not working for you, or it's not working because of you. And then so that's, that's a, that's a much more tense dialogue. It's like, look, we got to try something else. And either we shut it down, or we we hand this over to somebody else to run and see if they can come up with some things that we haven't thought of yet. But that's a that's a tough place to go. And the the odds of pulling out of that and having a be successful, it's not impossible, and all the ones that are make the newspaper or make the make the news. But most of the time things aren't working, and you just need to move on.

18:36

Ideally, you want to be able to have that conversation sooner than later. Right. You don't want to continue to belabor a challenging business. It's not achieving the objectives as as you had hoped, right?

18:48

Yeah. It's it's a tough dynamic that's got this where I mean, I mean, the third way is if you look at, you know, back when, when I began to work with Reed Hastings on on what was a company that was called sho software at the time, sh, O, with a long O's Japanese symbol for purification, and then later read changed the name to pure software, because we had a product called purify that cleaned up code and was just an amazing 100x improvement of what was going on in the market. And, and what I learned from him working with him over, you know, often on over a year and a half period before the company was even incorporated, is just the concept of perseverance. So so this is the paradox, entrepreneur. And it's the paradox of being a venture capitalists working with entrepreneurs is that the number one characteristics of successful entrepreneurs that I've seen having seen it in person with Reed Hastings, having seen it in person with Mark gagne, and Michael Horvath is perseverance is just the ability to get knocked down, get up, do it over again, knock down, get up, do it over again. A rational person would have quit 50 times before read had actually gotten to the point where we sold the first copy of purify and then by then, you know, it was like a house of fire. It was just, it was just an amazing, amazing experience scaling business,

20:04

ci boy, I'm telling you, I love that I love that perseverance, I, there's, there's one side of me that always in it, maybe it's a frustration on my mind is that many within industry, you know, I'm a product of industry, don't get me wrong, and I love the people of industry. But there's this conventional thinking in industry. And it is a sort of a big piece of luggage that is brought to these conversations. And it's almost, especially today, jump in, if you disagree. But I think today, you have to sort of put that conventional thinking, there's this desire to sort of be a little bit more disruptive. Think about that. And think about how you can approach the market in a way that is unconventional, you have to really sort and that's hard work, especially in industry. Like, yeah, you know, they don't want to do.

20:58

Yeah, yeah, it's, it's tough. It's a tremendous amount of raw emotion that goes along with starting a company working with advisors, whether they're your venture advisors or board advisors, where it might happen to be, and just this constant balance between encouraging and cajoling and trying to be a realistic counselor, to people and their folks in venture to take a completely different approach to this. They just, you know, every every entrepreneur is a nail, and they're a hammer, which is, you know, just go go go go give, give it to your last breath kind of thing. And, like, yeah, sometimes that's right, but actually, sometimes that's wrong. And it's and it's just not fair to people. One of my partners, Steve Solow, counseled a young entrepreneur out of a business that just wasn't a very good business. And the entrepreneur ended up following a passion and participate in a political campaign ended up in the Obama White House, had an amazing life experience doing that, you know, so. So I think it's, I think there's a balance from that perspective. And it's, it's one of the reasons why entrepreneurs get rewarded so much is that if you can work your way through that gauntlet of things and deal with the emotion and deal with the sleepless nights and deal with everything else, and then once once the bit turns, and you know, I watched this with my 49, I mean, with, you know, with COVID, and everything at that before COVID. Mark 49 was a very physical business where we had clients fly to California and incubate new businesses here. And watching what Linda had to do and what the team had to do to pivot to a virtual business. And now the business is literally six times bigger than it was in February and March of 20. So it's exciting when you see these things turn, it's, I call it the halcyon days. So

22:43

see, it's interesting to talk about or hear your story about how nimble Mach 49 is, because I find again, I think, there's good and bad, there's good or bad with the with the, with a pandemic. You know, we got the bad we understand the bad, the challenges with the bad. But the good side, from my perspective, I think there was a vulnerability that existed within industry saying I need help. I don't know what to do. This is way above my paygrade. Right, I have no clue. And, and I, I cherish that, as much as it's painful. As much as created, you know, sleepless nights, it has made companies that were willing to be nimble, willing to sort of be vulnerable, boom, sort of shine and excel in this particular environment.

23:36

Yeah, I think that's a really good observation, I think, you know, what we've experienced that with mk 49 is seeing large companies and seeing people at large companies that had been kind of sort of try try again, on their innovation efforts, their their, their efforts to try to create new businesses to compete with the startups that are disrupting them. And there was the sort of the classic inertia and antibodies and things like that before COVID. And then once COVID, hit picked, kicked in. And there's this blinding flash of the obvious that if you didn't get to digital and virtual in your businesses, then you were Kodak. And and and you weren't going to be in business anymore. And, and so that that became kind of the big flip that then had everybody realizing exactly like you said, Hey, we're vulnerable, like we need help, we need to kind of band together and sort of like, kind of fight back here because startups aren't going away. And, and, and, and we have to get better about being more nimble, and getting out of our own way to be able to accomplish these things.

24:40

That's a tough one for industry. Because typically industry is is, is like, yeah, I've got my idea. I'm right here and I'm holding it close to my vest here, and this is why we're so great. And then all of a sudden, all of this effort here doesn't mean anything. It's like you either survive and you help collaborate with other people who are just having a problem, they might you might have a slice of the solution. But somebody might come in and say, how about this? Hey, that's a, you know, one of those aha moments, I just, I like it. I'm, you know, being the type of guy that I am I like I like speed and velocity and moving fast. And, you know, and making mistakes fast. And, you know, moving on. Let me let me touch upon a point that that happens all the time with many of the companies that I work with, as well as interview whatever it might be. They get approached by venture frequently. And one of the areas that they always say, Yeah, been there. I've talked to them. I'm not sure if I trust them. How do you how do you approach trust within the the VC community? Because some, maybe I'm not talking about mock, I'm just in generally saying there is a attitude about that. What do you what do we do about that?

26:03

And when you say trust, in what form trust between who and whom

26:08

the company and the venture firm reaching out to them and saying, Hey, we can fill in the blank. If we work with Yeah, fill in the blank. And, you know, you will be the next whatever, fill in the blank. Right?

26:22

and I've been together since:

30:19

See, I, I can, I can respect that honesty. And I can respect that truth. And that is important. In in these cases, where you have to sort of pull the Objective C, and I don't want a big long dissertation on it, because I know it can be really like a rabbit hole, can you sort of distill it down to why projects fail?

30:44

ou know, in our case, through:

32:58

very, very good now I have to venture into NEOM. I know that Mark 49 is a heavily involved in NEOM and the business there. Why is that important for Mark 49 and Neil?

33:14

Yeah, so So NEOM is, of course, this this New Year planned to be kind of semi autonomous territory building being built out of an area in northwestern Saudi Arabia, about the size of New Hampshire, just to give you kind

33:28

of James Bondish, FYI. Yeah. All right.

33:31

Yeah. So it's on the Red Sea. You know, and, and the idea is that the that the the funders of NEOM are, basically want to build the quintessential kind of city of the future and society of the future. So think of a new Singapore, new Dubai, whatever it happened to be, but you know, sort of on steroids. So 14 different sectors of activity and energy, hospitality, consumer technology, food, and agriculture, all these different places. And so what naomh is about is it is, you know, at the moment, I think it's probably the largest project in the world, it's about a $1 trillion investment project in the world. And so what we see in the film is an opportunity to offer new forms of opportunity for people in Saudi Arabia. And also just to kind of more broadly, in the Middle East, we see it as a way to advance the cause of clean energy. Women entrepreneurs, and Saudi, all these other different things that we think are good for the planet and good for, you know, sort of the growth of Saudi Arabia as a as a country. And at the end of it, you know, we are a essentially technology service provider, and this is the largest technology project in the world. So it's a it's a, it's a phenomenal opportunity for us to go in and help grow these sectors and help grow their approach to creating new ventures and how they manage venture activity including some of the funding to get them to a place where these sectors can be successful. Awesome. So it's not show,

35:02

I gotta tell you, man, it's a bold vision. And what I like about it is that they're addressing problems that they didn't know they had, right? They have to solve significant problems because they're building a community, they have, you don't even know the amount of problems. But what's interesting about it is that they're willing to do whatever is necessary to solve those problems to make this this happen. But I look at it from a world perspective, too, is that whatever flips out of that, whatever solutions take place, it has great benefits for many. And that to me is really pretty cool. But you have to have that bold, persistent drive to make it happen. Because I guarantee you, when, when I was speaking with some of the people that Neil is like, it, you know, why not give up now? I mean, that it's like, Oh, right. There's another problem. I'm done with the problems? No, they just keep pushing on. They keep expanding. And you're absolutely right, it is the largest project, I have to say, in the world.

36:10

Yeah, yeah. So So assuming it works, we're gonna see new forms of transportation, we're gonna see new forms of the way people, you know, what we now think of as going to a hotel, think of going to a, you know, 100% robotic hotel that has these amazing experiences for you, in terms of energy, you know, they're there, they're 100% focused on a clean energy future for NEOM. And it's obviously strategic for Saudi, because they're conscious of the fact that they've got a wasting asset, ultimately, in terms of carbon based energy forms. And, and so, you know, as we look at these things over time, you know, we think that they could be, you know, very, very exciting, and they could have broad applicability and broad benefit for humanity.

36:56

Yeah, and I see, I, one of the things that sort of creates a little tension inside of me is that I see this velocity, I see what you're doing, I see what NEOMs doing. And I see the speed at which all of this, I'll just say, industry for Dotto is happening. And I get concerned about other parts of the world who just don't have access to it, right? They don't I mean, it's going so fast, that there's no way in God's green earth, that they're gonna keep up. They're just not. And that to me is a, it's a point of friction for me. How can we make it for everybody?

37:29

Right? Yeah, well, we have to hope. I mean, I mean, I've been very fortunate London, I've been to 74 countries over the course of our lives. And, you know, I have this sort of, you know, pollyannish belief, and I've seen it in person, every single country has the same potential in human capital, I mean, some of the places, sort of better universities and have better educational systems and things like that. But, you know, I've literally met and spent time with entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe, and Zambia, in Nepal, in Mauritius, in, you know, in, in, all over the world, and, and, you know, it's the same kind of drive and human spirit, there's something almost like at a DNA level, for people who want to do better for themselves and do better for their families, we have to get to a place where, in many places around the world, the governments are so corrupt, or they're so ineffective, that they're, they stand in the way of the human capital, their their people's ability to be able to prosper. And then we have to do like, significant remediation, around enabling, you know, Wi Fi all around the world, and enabling education around the world. I do think that is one of the side benefits of COVID is that, you know, it's really, if I look at, you know, one of my companies check. And if I look at many of the other companies, digital education, you know, they've advanced tremendously So, notionally, if you think about it, you know, if we get to a place, you've got Starlink, and you've got other things that are providing Wi Fi all over the world, then there's no inherent reason why somebody in Angola, you know, as a six year old, Angola can't have access to the same educational experience as a six year old in Menlo Park, or it might happen to be now that there's going to be differences of resources and teachers and role models and all sorts of other things that are there. But over time, I'm optimistic that we can actually make this better, not worse.

39:23

See, I agree with you. I'm pretty excited about it. Right? I do i the thought of being able to have access to unlimited information, unlimited insights, and I think is exciting. And I believe countries are transformed as a result of that. And I believe that through technology and through these capable capabilities, that corrupt governments will have their unfortunate role, but I think you're able to sort of use that technology to help better better the lives and the communities and definitely the world as a whole. I do. I'm not afraid, frightened of the technology, even though I'm old.

40:09

Like, there's a there's a concept and you're probably familiar with this. But yeah, this has been popularized by people in the crypto community. But that is a book called The Sovereign individual that describes a future enabled by the end of the information age, where you basically kind of circumvent the inefficiencies. And they end the corruption associated with many governments around the world. And you enable individuals through information technology to achieve their goals, in one form or another. Now that concept takes on controversial elements, when when you apply that to, you know, billionaires, for lack of a better way to describe it. But But nonetheless, the it's, it's sort of an inexorable concept. You know, we went through the hunter gatherer age, we went through the Agricultural Age went to the industrial age. And we're clearly now in the information age and, and as part of the information age, or all of the things that we took with us from the last sets of things, you know, the governmental structures, the way we approach these kind of controls and things like that, are all those really the most appropriate ways to think about that, as you move further into the information age? And and I think it's going to require evolution across the board.

41:24

I think it's doable. I think the future is bright. I think that yeah, there's gonna be pain just like anything else. But I think that, once again, back to the pandemic, maybe that was the spark. That was, I think that we were bringing our B, maybe maybe our CB game, pre pandemic, now we got to bring our a game, we've got to, we got to get past all the fluff and all the politics and just get to solutions, and solving problems. And I think that that's where we're at, Bob, we're gonna have to wrap it up, I can keep on going for days, you wouldn't want to go for days, that's for dog, people, how would somebody get a hold of Paul Mach 49? If they have any questions, comments, on how to enter?

42:02

Yeah, so I mean, we, you know, if you just simply go to the Mk 49, website, www.ma, CH four nine.com. kind of scroll through, look at the things that are there, if you see things there that could be interesting for your, you know, typically work with large companies and help them create growth, as we call it to restaurant disrupting inside out, disrupting outside in, and then keep on the lookout for the next big strategy book coming out from Hartford press is the unicorn within. That's vinelandii eights are founder and CEO that's coming out next year.

42:36

Oh, I happen to have a library and I better get a copy of that book. There you go. Well, thank you very much, Paul. Excellent, excellent conversation listeners. Don't worry, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side, you know, you're going to be able to get a hold of Paul and everything else associated with Mark 49. So fear not. We'll be right back. Thank you, Scott.

42:56

You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.

43:06

All right. I don't even know how to unpack that conversation. There is so many gems, so many points of wisdom. In that conversation, I highly recommend that you go back, reach out to Paul, of course, you got to go to Mach 49. Of course. Now he has a great stack card out there. Paul Holland. Put a little comment in there, boom, Mach 49. You will find him up close and personal grade stack card chock full of information. Alright. Neil, you've got to go out. You've got to be you've just got to at least begin to educate yourself about them and what they are doing and see how they can impact you in a positive way. But at least they're in the game money where their mouth is. That's what they are doing. Alright. Again, we're gonna always have a great conversation right around the corner. However, you need to be bold, brave, daring greatly. You need to be persistent. You need to have skin in the game and you need to do everything you can to be a success, because we depend on you. Thank you very much for joining. We are going to be right back

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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