Social Capital

Welcome to Social Capital, a weekly podcast where we dive into social relationships and how the investment you put into them establishes trust, reciprocity, and value within your network. Your host, Lori Highby, will connect with top business professionals to dive into their best techniques and stories to share with you!
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Social Capital






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Now displaying: April, 2020
Apr 29, 2020

Meet Ian Moyse

Ian has been a sales leader for over 25 years and focused on the cloud computing industry for the past 13 years. Now serving as EMEA sales director for cloud telephony vender Natterbox. He sits as a non exempt on a number of industry bodies and firms and is a social influencer for a growing number of global brands such as Oracle, SAP and Sage. He's a recognized keynote speaker and blogger on cloud, social selling, and personal branding.

As a sales leader, what's the landscape of sales looking like right now? How is it changing?

So I think it's already changed and it will continue to change. And I think the reason for that is we've all changed ourselves. We now live in a world that's different. And it's different because of mobile smart devices, the internet, the World Wide Web, rather than the internet, the true definition social media. Our behavior as a buyer has inherently changed. So from a sales perspective, the game's changed. And it's changed years ago. And it continues to change both because of the environment we live in. Because of millennials and Zeds having grown up in that environment.

You're an advocate of social selling, what is it and how do you use it as a sales leader?

I think the name itself is a misnomer because when I speak to a lot of people they get well, that wouldn't fit our product or service. We couldn't sell that over the internet. You couldn't sell it over social certainly. Social selling isn't about selling over social. Social selling should be called something like how to use social media to get a first engagement conversation open that you turn into a real world conversation, then move on to use all your normal selling skills. But how do you package that? Social selling is about finding a way to engage authentically, with a potential customer or buyer that turns that into a real world conversation. It is not a quick fix. It's a sales nurturing methodology to try and get engagement.

What can you share with our listeners about what exactly personal branding is and why is it important?

Personal brand isn't some illustrious thing about you need to be a celebrity. It isn't something your company is responsible for in terms of branding of a Pepsi Cola or some big logo out there. It's pretty simplistic. It's about how you represent yourself. How are you viewed online? If someone searches your name, what will they find? And what will the impression give? Today's world, often the first impression is digital. Because if you're going to meet someone, it takes them five seconds to put your name in LinkedIn and just have a look. To put your name in and see what comes up in Google. And to take an impression of what they see. And you need to be cognizant of that. So think about your social profile your brand is how you look online. You have control of that to the majority. And it's not complex, isn't it? You can do it for free most times.

Can you share with our listeners, your most successful or favorite networking story that you have?

The traditional one is going along to an event and there's loads of strangers there. And I don't feel comfortable just walking up to introduce myself. What I always go back to is where I went to an event. And I sat down to listen to a speaker and I sat next to someone so I just started chatting to them. Which bit are you interested in today? Where were you from? And did basic fundamental question because I sat randomly next to this person. And it turned out they were the European CIO of a major brand organization. And we chatted, and I wasn't trying to sell to him. The conversation naturally just accidentally ended up in the right place. To the point that we said, well, we should talk after this. That progressed into meetings that progressed into me selling them across the whole of Europe and then traveling out to the states to meet the global CIO, etc.

How do you stay in front of our best nurture the relationships that you're creating?

I sat in with my team on the training. I've been doing this a long, long time. Sales leadership a long time. I didn't know this. And one of those things was around relationship. And it was what the difference between how many times we assume we have a relationship and what we have is rapport. And it was an eye opener to see how many times we think we have a relationship where what we have is a rapport because people have been friendly to us. And people aren't gonna be rude in a business or unless you're rude in the outset. They are going to be friendly; they are going to smile, they are going to have a conversation. It doesn't mean you've got a relationship. We assume relationship too quick.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

Always learn and be open. I think I'm more now because of the environment I work in, in cloud technology. You have to be open to change and agility because tech is changing so fast. We get programmed. And the longer we do something we get programmed into. This is the way to do it. We've become habitual. Because we've done it for so long. We will behave so in front of a prospective client, if they see 10 people, how many of us just behave very similar. We ask the same questions we go the same approach. How boring must that be for them as opposed to Is there a better way?

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think that the tip key today is about engagement. It's about providing value, what everyone's looking for is insight. You know, and customers are looking for insight. What can you add value to that business? What’s a personal value that I can give to that individual that can help them in their day to day job and build. And that's where I think you can help build, go from rapport, and step towards relationship, because you're giving them something.

How to connect with Ian:



Apr 27, 2020

Meet Ian Reynolds

Ian Reynolds is a Partner and Chief Solutions Architect at Zibtek, a software development firm focused on helping businesses of all sizes in the US solve their core problems with software. They empower entrepreneurs, growth companies, enterprises and visionary firms to achieve greater profitability and efficiency, valuation and ultimate success by building the right tools through custom software.

What is it that your company is doing to innovate and stay on top of the latest technologies?

We have a select group of engineers who are just looking at a sort of smattering of the biggest and sort of most available trends and technology, mostly AI and these sorts of things. Just dedicated research to see if they can come up with any sort of projects that are going to be interesting, going to solve problems for our clients that we can then turn around and present research. We see the market going this way, here is something that we really feel will be of benefit to you and hopefully, of course, a benefit to us internally as we sort of provide services to the workplace.

Can you talk a little bit about the types of clients that you help?

There are three major categories that we serve. The first category is small businesses in the United States, which accounts for 90% of those firms as maybe 20 to 25% of our business. And these are folks who either have an idea or have a need for a piece of software that doesn't exist, and they're sort of bringing something new to market. Then we have midsize businesses, which account for the majority of our business. And they don't necessarily have that team in house that can solve that complex engineering problem that they have, that would resolve the core issue in their business or would basically allow them to focus more on operations. And of course, we have enterprise clients like Google and Adobe, that we serve, and we're building and supporting enterprise projects for them in house. And those are those are much more structured.

Can you describe the process of building custom software and how a company goes about doing that?

So building custom software is very much like building a house, you have to have a plan. You also have to have certain access to certain things. So we start with really sitting down the client understanding their needs. We had people come to us with literally just napkins where they have an idea. And so we have to take that translate that into a formal or textual document. We then go into a design and architecture phase, where we're actually reviewing the technologies that would be best fit for the solution. And then we're designing it. Sometimes we'll do a discovery phase, that's a couple weeks to really kind of test and make sure build what is called like a POC a proof of concept to see if this can be done. We then go into principal engineering where we pair a team that has built something before together. And then depending on the nature of the project, you have QA teams to make sure that the quality is sort of meeting our standards.

Can you help our listeners by sharing your one of your favorite or most successful networking stories that you've had?

I was actually revisiting a college campus. We were doing some recruiting. And I had bumped into a colleague that had basically made a pretty wild transition in their career and we just caught up very briefly. That conversation sparked a chain of referrals, which I found out later, where I had just sort of talked about what I was doing. And I took rather a sort of unconventional career path, started a chain of conversations on that person side. And then I find out years later, that they had actually come into also my circle of work, doing engineering, largely because of this conversation that I had with him.

How do you stay in front of or nurture your networking community that you've established?

I've taken an approach of trying to write very thoughtful pieces. And share those directly with a group of individuals, to a select group. I'll send it to people that I feel would be most relevant for just to share my thoughts on a topic. And what I find is real engagement, rather than sort of community or social engagement. It generates real conversations and lends itself to deeper, more meaningful, more thoughtful discussion about certain topics. And it's a lot more work I'll say that, but I would say it has generated much deeper sort of friendships.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network?

My advice would be determine what type of communication you're comfortable doing. Then try to leverage that and get really, really good at that one type of communication, that one type of network communication that you prefer, and do that do that on steroids. And if you can, do it consistently. It'll work better than trying to be a man for all seasons.

Digital networking or traditional networking – which do you find more value in?

I'd say the, the digital networking is much more valuable. And I'd say by and large, because we have an increased sort of transaction philosophy in society with the use of technology people are out and about and they can be anywhere when they're working. And so it's much more, I guess, kind of consumable to present yourself digitally, than I think it is to even go to or be present at some of these networking events.

If you could go back to your 20 year old self would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

If I could go back in time, I would probably tell myself to start a business sooner than later. Working in a professional environment was helpful, but not necessary. You can learn pretty much everything you want to learn if you just kind of jump feet first into the problem, and sort of make the problem your own and want to go consume the material.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the six degree?

it would probably be the Seth Klarman at Baupost Group. He's an individual investor guy living in Boston and totally unrelated to the field that I'm in. But he wrote a book that is no longer in print. And just a pretty interesting guy. He's got a unique perspective on the market, and has a long term view of where things are going. So I'd love to have chat with him if it could ever be arranged.

Any final word of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Being personal being yourself is the most valuable thing that I have done and the most valuable thing I would encourage people to do and be comfortable in your skin. Just be comfortable with who you are. Be a little goofy be a little nerdy. That's me. And just put yourself out there.

How to connect with Ian:




Apr 22, 2020

Meet Dr. Matthew Waro

Dr. Matt Waro is a family practice chiropractor that specializes in athletes. He works with his practice members to reach their goals by championing them through chiropractic care. Dr. Matt uses functional movement assessments to determine how best to correct the spine, arms, and legs to increase athletic performance, prevent future injury, and rehab current or old injuries. He loves working with people of all ages and levels of activity at Core Chiropractic, his practice in Oconomowoc.

What exactly is a chiropractor doing?

A lot of people think that I'm a bad doctor that you come to me when you have low back pain or headaches or neck pain, but what I treat is the nervous system. So the brain It's up top and sends down the nerves in the spinal cord. And when a bone in your back comes out of place your body braces out with inflammation. And that inflammation can sometimes irritate that nerve root, which causes the back pain, hence why people come to see me with back pain. But I'm not actually treating that back pain, I'm more concerned about something else. All that extra fluid in the area can put compression on the nerve roots. So my job is to go through the spine and make sure that all of the pressure is off those nerves so your body can function on its very best.

Why did you choose to specialize in sports chiropractic?

It makes my day interesting. So each different type of athlete has a different need. I work a lot with hockey players. It's their legs, their shoulders. For the goalies as their knees. For runners we have to deal with feet, ankles, knees, hips, just different. Different conditions that pop up each day. My job interesting.

What about cyclists?

So cyclists are actually pretty good. I'd say a big part of it is the pressure that's always on your pelvis. And then also, of course, we got the hip motion though. The ankle motion and the knees as well.

What other projects are you involved with outside of the clinic?

Outside of the clinic, I have a couple different things going on. One being I do corporate care practice. I actually go into corporations around the apartment area and deliver chiropractic adjustments to their employees on site. I'm actually just launching another project called Plants for Local Partners and this is based off of Dr. Anna Koeck idea. It's having to do with small business owners and people that typically don't offer insurance benefits but giving them an option that their employees or themselves can buy into to have regular care.

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking story or experience that you've had?

I like networking events that aren't necessarily common to the reader card to people, right? Because that's very impersonal. In all fields, people tend to do business with those that they know, that they like, and that they trust. And at those events where you're just handing out cards, you're not building that trust. You're barely even getting to know somebody. So one of the big ones for me is actually eWomen's Network, which is kind of funny because I'm a man. But the eWomen's Network is very inclusive of males. But you go there, and you just feel like family.

As you continue to create new relationships and build your community, how do you stay in front of or best nurture these relationships that you're creating?

It comes down to consistency. So a lot of these networking events, these gatherings of people, they happen at a set interval. So you make sure that you are always at those events. You talk with all the people that you've already met, and make sure you pick up a couple new people. So you can start building more relationships. Outside of that, it's connecting with them maybe on LinkedIn or connecting with them on Facebook can and pushing content so that way your face stays in front of them and they recognize your name.

What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?

I grew my network pretty slow. And that's my own decision. That's how I decided to do it. I find more meaning and relationships that are closer and more personal. And you can't that you can't push that. It can't be done super quickly. So just get out there, meet people. Actively listen, and take an interest in who you're talking to, because they're a person just like you. They have a story and everyone can learn from each other.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I personally find more value in traditional networking. Being, I can't physically be with somebody through digital marketing, or digital networking. And when I'm taking someone out to coffee, we shake hands, make eye contact, it's more personal, and people are more likely to remember that.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

My 20-year-old self was studying at UW Stevens Point. And at that time, I hadn't decided exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I studied vocal music education for a while, I ended up with a minor there. But it took me five years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So really, it's just I wish that I had more focus when I was a student, so that way I could accomplish everything a little bit sooner and get more years of practice in.

I'm always interested in hearing what books or podcasts my guests are reading or listening to for their own personal growth and development.

So on the business side, I've been listening to the Empowerment Project, which is a podcast I listen through Spotify. It's a chiropractor down in Greenville, South Carolina, that likes to talk to other business owners and get their story. Typically, business owners, we just see their storefront, we see what they do in the professional community. But there's so much hidden behind that. And she explores that and I really appreciate it. On a personal note, I am reading a book about someone in Oconomowoc named Ramon. The book’s title is Ramon: an Immigrant’s Journey. He is an immigrant from Mexico. And he's someone that I have contact with very often through Rotary and other organizations in Oconomowoc. Learning about the people that you interact with every day. And his book is extremely eye opening and very much an emotional roller coaster. But that's his life. And that's his story. And there's a great appreciation that I have for it.

Any final word of advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

It comes back to always be consistent. Make sure you schedule your time appropriately. There are a lot of events that come up, sometimes on the same day. You need to pick ones that you are extremely interested in, you like the people that are there, so you can continue to show up and grow relationships with them.

How to connect with Dr. Matt:


Phone: 262-204-7007


Apr 20, 2020

Meet Rylee Meek

Riley is the founder and CEO of the Social Dynamic Selling System, which turns dinner seminar marketing into a science. After responding to a small add on crisis in 2009, Riley was introduced to a new concept of selling, one in which radically changed his life forever. Having just $673 in his bank account, but more importantly, a burning desire for more, Riley went on to produce over $80 million in sales over the past eight years. Now that he has perfected his model, through continual trial and error, he is sharing this learned wisdom and is on a mission to help other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve their revenue goals that they have to live the lifestyle they desire. Everything he teaches, is tried, tested, refined, and proven to create a predictable, sustainable and scalable selling system.

Can you just explain what Social Dynamic Selling is?

At the core of what it what it is, is it's gathering a group of people in person in which there is a social dynamic happening. No different than if you were out at a restaurant or a bar, there's a social dynamic happening. What we do is we create a setting or an environment in which we gather people together, that allows us to create an environment for the host of that event to have listeners eager to hear what they have to hear about a topic in which they are the expert in their industry, and then they have the ability to deliver a presentation. And then ultimately, try to obtain sales or make sales after the fact.

Why does this work so well?

I do think that in person, kind of touch we'll call it is something of the last art in the in the sales world. I think you're gathering people in a in a neutral environment in which they're not feeling pressured coming into a retail store or something along those lines. It's usually an environment in which they've been to before or they know well, and they're not threatened. It's not like they're in that high-pressure sales environment.

In your bio, it states that you offer predictable, sustainable and scalable selling systems. What exactly do you mean by that?

My background was always selling one on one. And it was this constant struggle of lead supply or lead flow. That feast and famine kind of lifestyle in the in the direct sales world. Where was your next lead was coming from, how you were obtaining that and then ultimately making presentations to close deals. And so this system really allows us to have a constant supply. For instance, if the business owner is in San Diego, California, and they're looking to expand into the Phoenix, Arizona market, but they don't have a brand or any recognition, any wherewithal, within that industry they could call upon someone like us. We then could host events and have a room full of qualified prospects eager to hear what they have to talk about whenever they're looking to expand into any particular market.

What specific industries are you working in? Or have you worked in?

We're kind of all over the board. Financial advisors, they were kind of the pioneers of this. I have to say that I'm not the creator of doing dinner seminar sales by any means. I do feel like I have perfected it taking it kind of out of solely in that financial industry. We've expanded into the home remodeling market, general contracting into the medical world cosmetic surgery, dentistry, regenerative medicine, into the travel world, into investment clubs.

It sounds like it's very heavier focus is on the business to consumer side of things?

Yeah, for the most part. Part of the reason is we do a ton of direct mail. I do hundreds of thousands of pieces every single week. And it's easiest to buy that data and send that direct mail piece to that end consumer. If I'm looking to go b2b, typically the business owner, and it's not always the case, but the business owner usually has that gatekeeper, we'll call it, that's actually collecting the mail for themselves and it doesn’t get into the proper hands.

Can you share one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I ended up joining a group, a mastermind called board of advisors, and it led to an introduction of Kevin Harrington, who is one of the original sharks on Shark Tank. He ended up hiring us on to fill some events and do some networking events for him throughout the country. It was really cool to be able to make that connection and that's opened numerous doors for us not only in his network, but just others that have seen that we've done business with him as well. It's added thousands and thousands of dollars to our bottom line. It took a little bit of investment for me to get into the group, but from there it was very fruitful thereafter.

How do you stay in front of her best nurture these relationships that you're creating?

I travel a ton, but I love doing podcasts like this in general. There's obviously groups online that I'm a part of, that I can contribute to. And I think looking at looking at it, like can I contribute versus always looking at it, on what I can get out of something. Find your core platform or what it is that you want to focus on, and be very, very good at that, versus trying to be the end all be all for all things, I think is key, and being able to always provide the proper support for your community.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network

We tend to always think about okay, what can I get out of this? Or what can I get from this person? But changing that mindset into what can you give? Because everybody is looking for that and if you can come at it with that approach, I think it's it is a breath of fresh air for people.

Between digital networking and traditional networking. Which one do you find more value in?

Obviously I do a ton of traditional fit, you know, face to face. As I mentioned, I think that really is a lost art which is the society we live in now everything is online, group meetups and webinars and things like that, which is it's a beautiful thing. I mean, we're very blessed to have this type of technology in this day and age. But I still, to that point, there is still what I feel people crave is that personal connection that being able to look somebody in the eye and shake hands and sit across the table from each other break bread.

Any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

If we're not growing, we're dying. And I truly, truly believe that. I’ve believed that since I was 15 years old, and that's why I constantly looked to whether I was reading personal development books or seeking out mentors. I was a sponge early on and I still am so if that means stepping out of your comfort zone. If you can step out of your comfort zone and do the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. You're gonna go big places in this world.

How to connect with Riley


Apr 15, 2020

Meet Steve Fry

Co-founder of a number of businesses, including two that have made the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 Lists. Today, Steve spends his time matchmaking organizations that genuinely want to grow or increase collaboration with a team of experts in E-Commerce, M365/SharePoint and Digital Marketing. Steve serves on a number of boards where he gets to see up close how non-profits work. Having been to about 70 countries, Steve loves to travel with his wife, Jan. They have two grown daughters and live in suburban Des Moines.

Tell us a little bit about your company and what exactly it is that you do and introduce the company in general?

We have a couple of companies, but they're all under the banner of spindustry. And we're based in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa. And we do really two major things. The first would be large scale web application development. And as a part of that would be replacement parts e-commerce. We do a lot of that. And then the other side of our business is Microsoft Office 365. And as a part of that platform, we do a lot of work with SharePoint, Teams, Power BI, and some of the tools within that suite to move businesses to the cloud. As people are working more and more remotely, that is a platform that is very busy for us and serves our clients well.

How did you get into this space and tell us a little bit about your background?

It started about 35 years ago, when I first got out of school, I went to work for an insurance company and then I moved to Iowa back in 1990. I was involved for a number of years with an exporting business. We sold old firefighting and safety equipment that was manufactured in United States, but all of our clients were international. And I, for a number of years, covered Asia Pacific. So, from Japan down to Australia, and then back west to India, and got to do a lot of traveling. And that was back in the day when we didn't have email. And we didn't have the ability to communicate like we do today. And then in in 1996, we started a new company. I met a guy when I was working in a product fulfillment business, Michael Bird, he's my business partner. And he helped us in the exporting business to automate everything that we were doing. And he just did a wonderful job and he was entrepreneurial. And my business partner and I and other businesses decided to, you know, let's start a new business.

Where do you see the future of business going today?

So I in my business career, I have seen incredible change. I remember When I was early in my career, the fax machine became a prominent feature in most offices. And that was a revolutionary tool that you could actually send something, a piece of paper for from one office to another. And we do so many things that I couldn't have thought of 30 years ago, even 10 years ago, we do things today, we wouldn't have thought of. And I think looking forward there's more change. I think there'll be careers that people do 10 years from now that don't exist today. I know a lot of people are involved in social media work today. Well, if you go back maybe 10 or 12 years ago, that's really when that all started and there was nobody working in social media today. That's a big, big business.

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or one of your favorite networking stories that you had?

I have belonged to a breakfast club for several years now. It meets twice a month, and this is going back about 10 years. One morning after we had our bimonthly breakfast, one of the members that I had just met but didn't really know him very well came up to me and we were chatting and he said he thinks he may have a client for me. It was a hog farmer in northwestern Iowa. And I looked at him and I said, Jim, do you know what I do? And he laughed. And he said I think you'd be surprised, and I thought, I don't know how we're going to help a hog farmer in northwestern Iowa. But I will tell you in the 10 years since, between that relationship and about three or four other relationships, this same gentleman has referred me to and networked with me to find these opportunities. I'm going to say we've done at least a couple of million dollars’ worth of business for those clients. And it's all been I joined that breakfast club.

As a global traveler has met a ton of people throughout your professional and personal career, how do you stand in front of them best nurture these relationships that you've created?

Our business follows the attraction program or entrepreneurial operating system, EOS. And I have quarterly rocks. And I think almost always one of my rocks is that I have to meet with at least one influencer a week for lunch. Sometimes it's two or three people in a week. I also will sometimes bring people in for lunch, bring them a box lunch and just showcase some of the things that we do so they can have a better and better understanding of what our organization does to serve clients and companies. I send out a monthly e-newsletter. That's a private email just to my group of influencers. It's just like, I always put just two things, two points in there that I want to let them know. And it's just a way to keep our business front of mind for those for those folks as they go.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network?

I think the key there is just always be looking for ways to get connected and involved. And so places that you might do that would be business associations. There's a lot of associations for every business. There's community leadership programs, we have a statewide leadership program. And it's great to be able to get connected with people on a on a broader network across every industry. I play golf. I belong to a country club, and I play golf, and I get to meet a lot of people that way. And there's nothing better than spending four hours playing golf with somebody to get to know them and then have a beer afterwards. That's a great way to get connected otherwise people might not ever be able to, you might not ever get a meeting with somebody but I've had the chance to golf with some people that are pretty cool and have helped me out a lot.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value?

They're both equally important in my world, and I'm one of the oldest people in the office. I do things from a traditional standpoint, like handwritten thank you notes that nobody else does anymore. I still think they're important. And then I get good feedback from those. I do those sorts of things. And I do use the phone and I do go to lunch. When I to do a networking lunch, it's often how can I help you get connected to somebody else? Because if I take care and help you match-make to an opportunity, long term, I know you'll think of me when the time is right.

If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

I think I always mimicked the best people in the business that I was associated with. When you talk about networking, it's just getting to know people and not being afraid to ask for a mentor to ask how do you do things? How have you asked successful people? How have you gotten to where you are, and they're always willing to help you, particularly when you're young and when you're young, or you're starting a new job, or you're in some new space within your current job, people like to help. So don't be afraid to ask for help. And so look for opportunities, get involved, jump in, even when you don't know anybody or you're uncomfortable.

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

If you will approach networking with the idea that you're trying to give more than you are to get, you'll end up getting plenty. It's just like when you give Christmas presents, I don't know about you, but I think for most people, it's more fun to give than to receive sometimes. And I think that same thing is true for networking.

How to connect with Steve



Apr 13, 2020

Meet Brian Weaver

Brian serves as CEO of Torch.AI and has more than 20 years of experience leading mission driven high growth technology focused companies. Torch.AI helps leading organizations leverage artificial intelligence in a unique way via proprietary enterprise data management software solution. Today Torch.AI supports clients like H&R Block with fraud detection and mitigation. And the US Department of Defense with machine learning enabled background investigations for all federal employees, supporting the determination of an individual's trustworthiness and security credentialing.

So how did you end up starting your first company?

So I was sort of a serial entrepreneur even an employee. I got out of college and I conned to this guy to hire me, no experience, I was the youngest employee that they'd hired a company called the Kansas City Star. I had a normal day job and I've always considered myself someone that really enjoyed working with others and trying to solve problems for others and in a business development or sales capacity as a 21 year old kid, but I always had kind of this curiosity and this bit of a creative spark. And so I then left that job and actually followed the guy that had hired me right out of college. And I was a manager over a whole group of people. But the way my first business started, I actually got in trouble at that job. I NASCAR came to Kansas City. We did a great job on NASCAR’s project. And it went very well. But my employer didn’t like it and I was written up for the project. So I went actually went to the NASCAR guys that had had the project and asked would you guys be willing to hire me? And I'll start my own company, and you can be customer number one, and they agreed.

What has been one of your biggest lessons that you've learned as an entrepreneur?

So in order to grow and actually in order to build a real business that’s financially viable where you can have resources and innovation as a function of the business and actually solve problems for big companies and even maybe make a difference in your community, you have to have a little bit of a different attitude because it's a living, breathing thing. And you ultimately need to figure out very quickly how to put to build teams. And you might be as a business owner or an entrepreneur, you might be like the hero CEO type, where you've got a lot of charisma, you can make a sale and you can kind of keep the thing going. But the real measure of success is can you build an organization that is sort of independent from you and that skill set or character trait?

Can you share it with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I think the way most people network is like a complete waste of time. So I think I'm a good I'm a good candidate to help share some information. I think your relationships and your reputation are everything. I find that the way I do it is maybe a little different. I don't like going to a networking type of events. I've never been wanting to join a chamber of commerce or another organization. I always approach it is that I am looking for opportunity. I have a desperate need to solve a problem. So I'd say number one, I'm self-aware of what I need as a human being. And believe it or not, I think that that's directly applicable to your success. I think the more you know who you are and are comfortable in your own skin, the easier this whole thing will be because you won't be asking yourself to do something that you're just not naturally inclined to do.

If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

I think it would be don't stress so much. It's easy to say and I just think I'm wired to sort of be hyper motivated and sort of driven by fear. The wisdom that I found doing this for over two decades and having failures and great successes and the whole bit is that actually the journey is super fun if you can just be open and relaxed. The bad times aren't as bad as you think they are. And you don't realize it and you can't even understand it until you're way past it. And you can kind of reflect on it.

I found that meditation is really helpful with that. Have you done any of that?

I totally have. And the problem for me is my brain is always on and it is a curse. I am a frustrated creative type. My brain is on overdrive all the time and that's my challenge with meditation. And I think what I figured out is how I can slow down and be contemplated is to garden.

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Just be brave and try and do something big with your life and with your company. We have purpose. Our company has purpose and I can live my life with that purpose. And I think the more you find that whether it's a mission for your customer, whether it's a mission for your family, whether it's whether it's just being deliberate about how you live your life. Whether that's eating, sleeping, exercising, you know, whatever it happens to be how that manifests feel for you. Absolutely try and find it.

How to connect with Brian:


Apr 8, 2020

Meet Tim Fulton

Tim owned and operated several small retail businesses in Miami. He also taught as an adjunct professor and served as the interim director of the Family Business Institute at Florida International University. Tim was a Vistage chair for 16 years, retired from Vistage in December 2018 and currently enjoys chair Emeritus status. In 1992, he started his own small business consulting firm, Small Business Matters. He has an award-winning newsletter and has self-published two different books and co-hosts a popular podcast. He also hosts one of the largest annual events in Atlanta for small business owners.

What are some of the entrepreneurial myths that you're aware of?

There are some myths about entrepreneurship that just tend to pervade no matter what. And so, an example, many of your listeners may be familiar with the book, The E-Myth, one of my favorite books of all time, written by Michael Gerber. We tend to think that most small businesses are started by entrepreneurs, you know, people with great ideas and initiative and drive and vision. Kerber found that it’s not the fact that most small businesses instead are started by, by the term he used was technicians. A technician is someone who has a particular skill and expertise and experience that causes them to then want to start a business around that experience. So that the technician is the chef who opens up the restaurant or the attorney who starts as his or her own law practice. And so that's how most small businesses get started not by the ideal so to speak entrepreneur, but by the technician.

So entrepreneurship is on the decline in the US. Why is that?

One is, health insurance, which is always kind of a hot topic. But when they study that they found that fewer people are starting businesses because they're afraid of losing their health insurance, because maybe they have a pre-existing condition. We've also got an issue around immigration. But the reality is we have more restrictive immigration policies today. About 30% of new business startups can be directly tied to immigrants, people who have just joined this this country. About 30% of new startup activity due to immigration. When we restrict immigration, it just makes sense that we're also restricting small business. The third factor that comes into play is capital. When businesses first get started, many of them need startup capital. And for some, that means going to relatives, family members. For others, it means going to a bank. And ever since the recession in 2008, bank capital has become increasingly difficult to acquire.

Any suggestions for those that do have a business and helping them grow and take it to the next level?

So a couple ideas around growing the business. One is the importance of having a plan. You've got to have a business plan. But the reality is that the SBA has studied this, the Small Business Administration, fewer than 20% of all small businesses have any type of plan. Again, you look at failure rates in small business it's more than 50%. And some judge it to be 75-80% of small businesses fail within five years. I think there's a connection between those two, that if a business does not have some type of plan, business plan in place, they’re at risk of failure.

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

There was a book that was written, you may be familiar with it. The book is called Netweaving. It takes a very different take that weaving suggests or ask the question, when I meet you for the first time, what can I do to help you? What in this short conversation, what could I learn? That would put me in a position where I could be a benefactor of yours? So maybe it's connecting you with someone within my network? Or maybe it's recommending a book? Or maybe it's inviting you to another event that might be advantageous, but it's just turning the table.

How do you stay in front of and nurture all of these relationships that you've created over time?

It was doing what I think a lot of people do and it was attending different networking events or the Chamber of Commerce, or an industry group in today's world or maybe using LinkedIn to just reach out to people. Rather than going to events. I began hosting my own events. And it started six, seven years ago, I began hosting a conference here in Atlanta. It's called the Small Business Matters conference. And I thought, wouldn't it be neat to have my own conference and I could invite people maybe who've never met, and they'll get a chance to meet people from this group, get to meet people from another group. And I'll bring in some speakers and just have a one-day event where instead of me going to try to find people, people are going to come to this event. And once a month, I host a networking lunch. And I invite people to come to lunch and I bring in a speaker.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network?

One would be, I would want to be very strategic. I want to try to be as strategic as possible. Am I looking for a certain professional? Am I looking for attorneys? Am I looking for engineers? Am I looking for people older than me? Am I looking for people younger than me? I'd want to be very strategic about what that might look like in terms of growing my network. I'd want clarity around the return on investment. Am I doing this for more sales? Am I doing this to add value to my business? Am I doing this because I just want to enlarge my sphere of influence? But I think I want to be really clear about my rationale, my purpose for expanding the network.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

I've been a prolific reader over the last decade. And I think back to my early 20s, that was not the case. And I have found that to be such an integral part of my life now in terms of learning that I would have been more mindful of reading and of learning. That's one. Two so when I was young, I just felt like so much had to be done alone by myself. And I didn't know that there was a vistage group. And if I had I'm not sure I would have joined it, or a peer group just didn't seem natural. Through my 20s, maybe into my early 30s, I began to understand the power of having peers and leveraging those peers. So I think I would have done that earlier. Also, if I were to go back to my early 20s, I would have started taking a month off a sabbatical sooner.

How to connect with Tim:




Apr 6, 2020

Meet Peter Yawitz

Peter Yawitz is a management communication consultant helping individuals and groups at global companies communicate more effectively. His website has videos, an ask-dad column, and a podcast, giving tons of practical and humorous advice on how to manage life at work. His book, Flip-Flops & Microwaved Fish: Navigating the Dos & Don’ts of Workplace Culture, is full of advice and humor for young professionals and anyone else whose questions are rarely answered in the workplace.

So let's talk about your book little bit. Why did you write it and who exactly is it for?

It's for young professionals entering the workforce, but it's also for anyone who feels a little bit disenfranchised, going into a work and feeling they don't fit in. I just found that over the years people would start asking me questions that they were not getting answered from the HR department or of any kind of orientation session. And these were just things that no one had ever told them. And it could be something simple about, well, how do I construct an email? Or what should I do in the subject line? Or how does my tone come across? But then it got a little bit deeper. And people would say things like, well, what happens if you're talking to somebody at work? And that person is totally hot? Like, how do you focus?

So let's talk about the young professionals right now. Gen Z is officially entering the workforce. How would you recommend they start building a network now that they're just starting out?

So the first thing I would say to people who are starting out is chill, just chill a minute. I mean, it's nice to develop a network, but it's not necessarily the first thing you have to do when you start a job. Start your job and learn to do your job well and develop a little bit of credibility about what you do. And then once you've done that, then try to look for people just to get to know and to let people know what you're doing.

I'm sure you've been leveraging the digital space a bit to grow your audience, what's been the most effective social medium for you?

I say the most effective thing is hiring someone to do it for me. That's been the most important thing I would say. So I would rather provide content and have someone tell me where to put it or how to design it. So I know that I'm doing it in the best way.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I've had a lot of success with my alumni network. Who from my college, who from my grad school is around? Who is doing something interesting or working for a company that I want to target that I should just contact. You never know where things are going to come from. I would just say, don't be afraid to be assertive about what you're looking for. And just be polite about how you're doing it. 

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network community?

I don't want to be so self promotional, I guess I'm more self promotional now because I've got a book to sell. So I will have a MailChimp list. So if there is an Ask Dad that I find interesting, I'll email it to those people. I also post on LinkedIn and use other social media. If it's interesting, I try not to jam it down people's throats, but I figure I'm only going to do something if it's a topic that I think a general population might be interested in.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in digital or or just traditional?

Definitely traditional. I think it's my generation. And I would rather have coffee with somebody and schedule an actual meeting because you get more done that way. But even if I'm trying to network with a junior person, or even let's say some of these young CEOs that I am trying to get on my podcasts, I will approach them first on email, but then I'd like to have a phone conversation. And if I can do something in person, I just find you develop relationships better. 

A lot of companies are really trying to embrace the work remote policies. So what is your opinion on that?

I think it's wonderful that companies are flexible about at home time. And I've had a lot of comments from people whose workplaces have changed from offices, to cubicles and now total open plans. I think the downside of a total virtual network is that you miss that human interaction of even the small talk or the water cooler talk or just to get people to really sense of what you can do besides just basic tasks.

Do you have any final words of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting their network?

I would, again, reiterate never be shy about this, people like connecting into networks and especially if there's a shared experience or shared people that it sort of gives you the imprimatur of acceptability. And that could be that you work at a certain place, or you worked in a certain industry or you went to a certain school, there are always some kind of shared affinity groups.

How to connect with Peter:




Instagram, Twitter & YouTube: @someoneelsesdad


Apr 1, 2020

Meet Dr. Wayne Baker

Dr. Wayne Baker is the author of All You Have To Do Is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success (Jan 14, 2020). He is the Robert P. Thome (“Toe-May”) Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, as well as Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations. Wayne is a co-founder and board member of Give and Take, Inc., which develops technologies based on the principles in his new book.

Why is asking for what you need such an important skill for success?

We found that people tend to be very generous at work and in their lives and they're very well regarded for that. Most people want to be helpful and will help when they can. But they don't ask for what they need. And because they don't ask, they don't get the inflow of all the resources you need to be successful. It could be knowledge, information, referrals, ideas, contacts, Any kind of resource that you need to be productive and to do well at work.

So why is it so difficult for people to ask for what they need?

There's a couple of reasons. One is that people are concerned or they're worried that they'll appear to be incompetent, weak that they can't do their jobs. Another very common obstacle is that people figure no one can help. Many, many times I've run different events and activities using the tools in my book, and people will take me aside and say, you know, I'm not going to ask for what I really need, because I know no one could help me. And I always tell them the same thing, which is to never know what people know, or who they know. Until you ask.

What can people and teams do to build social capital?

The most important thing is to give yourself permission to ask and to realize that asking is an essential part of the equation. So if everyone wanted to be a giver, and everyone wanted to help, nothing would happen. So what we found that in the workplace is that most people are willing to help. In fact, the studies there show up to 90% of the help that is given in the workplace is in response to a request, but most people don't ask, so therefore, nothing really happens. 

Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking experience that you've had?

Well, I think the one I would have to relate goes back a number of years. When my wife and I were coming up on our 10th wedding anniversary, I said to her, you know, what would you like to do? She said, I want to be on Emerald Live in New York City to celebrate our anniversary. I was participating in the orientation program for all of our incoming MBA students here at the Ross School of Business. I said, you know, I'm gonna take my own medicine I'm gonna make a big request and I use the "smart criteria." Like five people came forward and said, one person said, you know, I know someone who's dating Emerald's daughter and I can make an introduction for you. We were connected.

As you continue to build and grow your network and community can you share how you stay in front of over best nurture these relationships?

There's a couple of things that are important to do. One is to stay in contact, but stay in contact in a meaningful way. Look for opportunities to share something of value. It's like a little investment. I just think it's part of the importance of building a network is that you want to be an investor, you want to help other people, you want to be generous. 

What advice would you offer the business professional who is looking to grow their network?

I would say it would be three parts Join. Give. Ask. So it'd be to
join a meaningful group. It could be join a LinkedIn group, or there's so many online communities. Then look for opportunities to give, you know, a few, almost every conversation, you can listen with that intention in mind. And then of course, whenever you need help, to ask for it whenever you need a resource to get your work done, to solve a problem, to ask for what your needs. So it's those three things to Join. Give. Ask.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

It's kind of hard to answer because I think they each have their place. Traditional networking occurs in the daily grind of our lives where we interact with and meet people. And in those encounters, we can look for ways to help. And also ask when we have a need or goal we're trying to achieve. And then the digital networking. It's a small world now it really expands our whole universe. I think they both have their place and I I kind of look for more opportunities to use digital technology as a way of investing in your network and then asking when you need something.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Now, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the six degree?

I've always wanted to meet Bill Gates. And there are two people that I'm connected with on LinkedIn that I know know him. So that I guess would be two degrees of separation. 

Can you share with our listeners what book you're reading right now? Or maybe a podcast you're listening to?

So one is that I am re-reading, Give and Take by Adam Grant. Adam was one of our PhD students from about 10-12 years ago and he is just an incredible person who has done wonderful things out there in the world. I've learned a lot from him. And then the other side is that if I have a vice it's science fiction. So I'm currently reading The Lost Colony by A.G. Riddle. It's the third in a in a series.

Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I would say to become more active on LinkedIn. And to look for ways to find interesting things and share it or re-post it on LinkedIn. 

How to connect with Wayne:


Book Website:

Personal Website: