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Beyond the Uniform

Beyond the Uniform is a show to help military veterans navigate their civilian career. Each week, I meet with different veterans to learn more about their civilian career, how they got there, and what advice they'd give to other military personnel.
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Jun 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Our Sponsor

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

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 2:31 - Christopher's background
  • 3:15 - How Christopher decided to leave the Marine Corps and how he approached this decision
  • 5:55 - How Christopher managed to directly from the Marine Corps to a very senior role at Lehman Brothers
  • 12:53 - How Christopher would explain his role as the US Head of Derivatives Intermediation at Lehman Brothers
  • 17:13 - How a call from Citi changed Christopher's career
  • 18:15 - What life was like during a financial collapse, and how Christopher's military training paid off. Also a look at how Christopher has given back through Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) and Citi Salutes
  • 26:48 - The biggest advice Christopher would give to Veterans in finance or those considering a career in finance
  • 29:23 - Some common misconceptions and mistakes Christopher sees when it comes to veterans
  • 31:36 - Christopher's thoughts on the MBA and how valuable it is within the world of finance
  • 34:35 - A few possible career paths to the role of Managing Director at a major company like Citi
  • 36:38 - What Christopher's day-to-day life looks like as a Managing Director at Citi
  • 40:05 - Christopher's recommended resources for those veterans considering a career in finance
  • 42:06 - A look at mistakes Christopher has made and what he learned from them
  • 44:09 - In what ways Christopher felt ahead of his civilian counterparts, and it what ways he felt behind
  • 46:30 - Christopher's final words of wisdom
Jun 7, 2017

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

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

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Passion + Skills - Joshua works for a incredible organization and resource for veterans. They have a transition workshop that doesn't focus just on finding the right job... they focus on helping you find the intersection of passion and skills in your personal and professional life. Joshua LIVES this, as he initially took a 1/3 pay cut from his initial consulting job, in order to follow work that he knew would be more fulfilling for him and his family.
  2. Great resource for veterans - whether you're on active duty, recently transitioned, or transitioned decades ago, The Travis Manion Foundation has a lot to offer and is an organization worth taking a look at.

Our Sponsor:

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

Selected Resources

Show Notes

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

  • 3:50 - Joshua's background
  • 4:35 - What would you want listeners to know about the Travis Manion Foundation?
    • Membership veteran organization to develop character in the next generation to help communities. They want to create THRIVING communities - creating meaning through serving others, relationships, and engagement (leveraging your strengths).
    • Travis was a Naval Academy Graduate (2004) and 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was killed on April 29, 2007 on his second tour overseas. His mother started the foundation to help other veterans and families of fallen veterans
    • Today they are an organization of 90k people worldwide
    • Their goal is also to help create the next generation of leaders
    • For all veterans who come back and want to see how they can continue to serve, they also provide a way they can do this and have that same sense they had in the military
  • 9:45 - What is the TMF transition workshop program?
    • It is VERY different from a lot of other great transition programs out there - they don't focus solely on the career piece. Their goal is to help veterans have a successful post-military life - meaning, relationships, engagement. Both in your career and how you can continue to grow.
    • After this, they help veterans identify their strengths and passions, and how to incorporate into their story, along with their training and education. This helps them network, communicate as they find their ideal job
    • The final piece of the transition has successful veterans come in and share what they do and what they've learned, and how that relates to their passion and strengths (to see options)
    • There are other additional workshops - resumes, interviewing, etc
  • 16:16 - If someone listening would like to get involved with or help support the Travis Manion Foundation, how can they do that?
    • Not exclusive to veterans - we have "inspired civilians" as well
    • If you're 1 year out from leaving or recently left the military and need help in the career transition, you can find info about attending workshops and also resources directly on the website
    • There's also info on the website about their character workshop
  • 18:00 - For someone listening on active duty, how would you explain what you do?
    • He is the #2 at the Travis Manion Foundation. Started 2.5 years ago, and worked way quickly to COO (initially Chief of Staff)
    • He is the #2 next to the CEO
    • Their President is very external - partnership & fundraising meetings, presenting at conferences. So Joshua's role is about overseeing daily operations - finances, budget, curriculum, operations... all the daily operations
    • They have Regional Heads throughout country and various departments - his job is to hold them all together
  • 19:46 - How would you explain a COO role? What does this look like on a day-to-day basis?
    • Every day is different - this is one thing he really loves
    • 5-5:30 - wake up before kids and check email (West Coast team emailed through the night)
    • Spend time with kids
    • When in at the office, every Monday morning he (and his program & department heads) put out their top 3 list for the week
      • This week: #1 Program evaluation, #2 Developing Curriculum, #3 - 1st Spartan Leadership summit
    • Review finances
    • 2:30 - meet with Regional Heads to review big picture anything that affects their programs
    • get home, play with kids, check email afterwards depending on the day
    • End of week they share a weekly summary. This allows to support as needed all the execution that occurs throughout the week
  • 27:08 - You got out after 12 years of service. How did you think about transition from the military earlier, vs staying in for 20 years?
    • What he found from his transition - and working with thousands of vets who have transitioned - it's challenging no matter when you transition
    • After 12 years I felt too senior to go through the JMO Recruiters, but I wasn't senior enough for some of the other positions available
    • He started with a JMO recruiter - they were very knowledgeable and had great advice. TMF uses a lot of this info in their transition workshop as well now. But he knew it wouldn't be a good fit because Joshua wanted a small company rather than a large company. He would need to take a step back in terms of salary and authority / leadership when going to a larger company. However, there would be a larger runway to be able to build into a very senior role.
    • He realized there are other options: working for a smaller company (like Travis Manion Foundation) or starting your own company
  • 30:18 - Big company v. small company.
    • He LOVED being a Marine, and is still a Reservist and loves it
    • It did get to a point where he was in a HUGE organization and realized he couldn't move the needle
    • Wanted to go to a small company where he could see a big impact from his work
    • He loves now that he will be there for a LONG time and enjoys seeing the impact of his work
  • 33:32 - What is the ReefPoint Group?
    • It was started by three Naval Academy grads who started the year before him. He didn't know them at the Naval Academy, but heard about them while teaching math at the Naval Academy
    • He was applying to IBM, Booz Allen, etc and had several friends refer him to the owner of the ReefPoint Group
    • Met with Chris (using his network) and joined them - they were the smaller company he was looking for
    • It's a very bright team - a Management Consulting firm that focuses on data analytics, so different from traditional MBA Management Consulting type roles
    • Enjoyed it but quickly realized it wasn't his passion in life; many people were way ahead of him technically
  • 35:50 - How would you explain to someone on Active Duty what you did as a Senior Management Consultant?
    • Was living in Annapolis as a subcontractor for a large organization and also at a hospital in San Diego. He would fly out every Monday and fly back red-eye on Thursday. He was doing consulting work for Navy Hospitals
    • It was important work, liked the people he worked with
    • When thinking about how he spent his time when he wasn't working, he was a "Character does matter" ambassador for the Travis Manion Foundation - this was his passion. He loved being a leader and a mentor
    • When he spoke with the family he found out they were looking for a #2
    • He wrestled with Travis Manion at the USNA - he was at an Army vs. Navy game and saw Colonel Manion. He told him "at some point I' going to come work for you full time"
    • Joshua though he wanted to make al to of money first and come work there. But Colonel Manion encouraged him to talk anyways
    • He didn't think there was any way he could do it (financially)
    • He was going to need to take a 1/3 pay-cut. He told his wife he couldn't do it, and she actually pushed him into it. He initially turned it down and couldn't sleep afterwards. His wife pointed out that they didn't need all the things they currently had and he decided to make the leap
    • His kids still have way more things than they need and he's never regretted it
    • Everyone deserves to be happy - we as veterans are so competitive and set such high bars for ourselves, always looking ahead. He stepped back and said - "when do I cash in these chips... how long to defer happiness"
  • 47:20 - Are there any resources - books, podcasts, conferences, websites, trainings - that have helped you in your civilian career that you would recommend to veterans listening?
    • Hire Heros USA - great resource for veterans. TMF is a great Step 1, when veterans leave he recommends them to Hire Heroes USA (resumes, job placement)
  • 48:47 - Final words of wisdom?
    • Life is short - you have to do what it takes to be happy
    • Career is important, salary is a factor, but step back and think what makes you happy.
    • Think about your strengths and passions and how to channel them to make a difference
    • Don't wait - don't think that if you grind it out you can do it later
May 31, 2017

For our 100th episode, I thought I would share my own story. 

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

In this episode, I talk about:

  1. My path from the military to today
  2. Advice for veterans thinking of starting a company, including advice on building a technology, raising money and more
  3. The story of how I started Beyond the Uniform, where we're at today and where we're going

Our Sponsor:

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

Selected Resources

May 24, 2017

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

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

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

 

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Extreme Growth - Jacob took over his family's business and grew them from 8 employees to 200 employees, with a 1,200%+ growth in revenue, attaining Inc Magazine's #592 fastest growing companies in America... it's pretty impressive!
  2. Continuous Learning - rather than use his GI Bill for college, Jacob got out of his comfort zone and started growing his company. He is more committed to continuous learning than anyone I have met to date, and is constantly reading new books, attending new conferences, and seeking other ways to learn from others as quickly as possible. I find this inspiring, and his recommendations for resources are the best I've had on the show to date.

Our Sponsor:

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

Selected Resources

Show Notes

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

  • 4:06 - Jacob's background
  • 5:04 - How Jacob would explain what he does for a living
    • Investor education and trading
    • Teach people how to trade in the Forex market, exchanging money.
    • When deployed, Jacob would stop in Germany before Afghanistan and would check the exchange rate. When he would stop there on the way back, the dollar would be worth a different amount. So he helps people understand and take advantage of this
    • Their in the business of changing people's lives through empowerment. His goal is to empower people - teach them to fish - and grow their financial income
    • Only about 30% of investors make money... their clients see about 57% of people making money
  • 7:56 - Jacob's Growth & history getting there
    • His father started the company in 1994 and ran it until 2004
    • He grew it to 8 employees during that time and it supported his family
    • When Jacob left the military he joined the team of 8 people and took what he learned in the military - process & structure - and instilled it in the company
    • Within a few years did every position to understand the company and put structures in place and grew the company to 25 employees
    • In 2007 became President and things were going well... until the financial market collapse right after took over President. But his experience in the military in these tough times
    • 2008-2011 there was no growth - just a fight for survival. But at the end of 2011 had figured things out.
    • Since 2011 grown 1250% in revenue, 25 to 200 employees, listed on Inc 5k #592 fastest growing companies in America. He's also been committed to growth and listed top 10 places to work in Florida
    • He talks about constantly having to reinvent yourself as a company - what challenges you see at 25 employees is different than 100 employees
    • What was important to us and what we tracked a year ago isn't important today. And what we're monitoring today won't be important in the future. And what makes the difference is constant growth - grow or die. Not revenue but growing yourself personally.
  • 15:10 - Resources
    • The key to his success has been the commitment to growth and learning
    • Success is a journey, not a destination - this qoute really shaped his look towards education
    • You will never reach "success" - it is constant evolution and growth - it's the only way to push the journey forward
    • We don't want to be first but we don't want to be third. There are a lot of successful business in this world. Go get a mentor and learn from successful people
    • Jacob doesn't have a college degree... but he reads a book a month. He read a study saying the Average American reads 1 book per year! If he reads one book per month, in 5 years he'll have read 60 books vs. 5! The knowledge he has acquired in this way has tremendously helped his company
    • Books
      • John Maxwell - teaches leadership. There's never a time when you will have too many leaders. Staying focused on developing your leadership will create opportunities
        • Leadership Gold -
        • The 360 degree
        • 12 laws of leadership
      • Who moved my cheese - Jacob has read this book 10-12 times over his career. It talks about change and adapting to change.
      • Danger in the comfort zone - currently reading as part of book club, the danger of entitlement and living in the comfort zone
    • Conferences - anything, industyr conference or leadership conference
      • Tony Robbins - Business Mastery. this is pricey but the knowledge gained
      • Industry-focused
        • Steven Covey - 7 habits of highly effective people
    • Training
      • Sales - only way to grow business is to grow revenue. Only way to grow revenue is grow your knowledge
      • Cardone University
      • Caris school of negotiation
      • Fred Pryor seminars - 4-6 hour classes at local hotels or online, very good for constant development
      • Vistage - he meets with executives monthly to discuss areas of growth, culture and challenges of an executive
    • If you're wanting to trade forex, you need trading programs. They have forex foundation courses
  • 24:28 - The Book Club
    • Jacob has several of these at his company now. It started with his father, who would shut down the company for a few hours and discuss a few chapters of a book they were reading at the time
    • Before this he had only read a few books, and this catapulted his reading
    • It has helped his personal income and the business - continuously growing things
    • They accicdentally stopped this during the recession and realized the dramatic impact this had on their growth. How can you change if you're not learning?
    • He leads a book club every week - as an executive team they discuss the chapter they read. He asks his managers to hold their own book club pertaining to leadership or a technical skill in their department
    • Unless you highly recommend this, life will get in the way. We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. But an outsider looking in is actions... they speak louder than words.
    • You can't learn in the comfort zone or danger zone, but in the uncomfort zone. Skirting that line between danger and comfort.
    • Harmony doesn't create growth - dis-harmony does. Every major breakthrough came from his team being in dis-harmony. Something wasn't going well, and they tried something new and it created a breakthrough
  • 31:43 - A challenge Jacob has faced in growing his company
    • He has faced MANY challenges in growing a company
    • Many of them have been internal - struggles with how he views himself, not being able to live up to external expectations
    • Every day he comes to work and faces challenges - he is now in the business of people and managing, so most of his challenges are people-related. At any given moment about 30% of the world is facing some sort of major personal crisis... that means 60 of his team members are facing a personal crisis (divorce, death, sick child, birth, etc).
    • Business isn't about money it's about developing people. In the military he thought business would be cut throat - but that's not what a successful business is. It's about helping and growing people. So in this respect the challenge is an opportunity to have a positive impact.
  • 35:22 - Maintaining emotional stability amidst the chaos of growing a company
    • You need to keep things in perspective - 30% of the world is having a personal crisis right now
    • He has had many challenges - 2 tours in Afghanistan, medically discharged from a shartered vertabrae. These challenges, vs business challenges, are not nearly in the same bucket. These challenges are nothing compared to what others are facing. Seeing the problem as smaller helps him get to a solution quicker. The Sky is never falling.
    • When you take a step back and evaluate
    • Get a mentor - get several mentors. There is no such thing as a perfect mentor. Depending on the crisis you will have a different mentor - business colleague, someone outside the business, a family member. They help you put it in perspective because they're not emotionally involved with the problem
    • It can be VERY uncomfortable to be vulnerable around a mentor, but it will lead to growth. Maritial problems, money problems, relationship problems - when you let go of the fear, you get out of hell a lot quicker
  • 41:22 - Creating systems in a company
    • Success is a formula, not a fantasy. Even gut feelings are intuitions that you prove with a process or strarety to see if it's valid
    • Nearly everythign at MTI is run through a process: even the amount of money they spend. Spending $X for marketing to get Y leads that dictates the # of sales people they have to the # of clients they bring onboard, and that determines the number of customer support which determines the amount of product developers... everything is connected
    • In the military, Jacob saw that everything was a system. He was in a company of people who were virtually identical, with very similar skill sets. This didn't happen by chance - it was a process the military created. If you continue to refine a process you'll get the same results
    • Business isn't a massive feeling of how you feel today. If you have a process and are dedicated to a process you are constantly refining and iterating, you realize that the business starts to operate at high efficiency. It doesn't matter how you feel today - it matters how you adhere to the formula. Of course emotions matter, but structure helps a company grow
    • Don't be so married to the process that you're blindly married to it - be committed to improving ti and
  • 46:31 - Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
    • If you're on active duty and thinking of transitioning, know that it's an emotional experience: exciting, fearful, and sad.
    • Jacob wasn't sure what to do - be an overseas contractor, use the GI bill to go back to college, or join his family business and not make much money
    • He opted for opportunity - he could make 10X more money as a contractor... but is that sustainable income in 10-20 years. For him, it was short-term.
    • Look for opportunity - for things outside your comfort zone. Sometimes small opportunities - like his with his family business - can become enormous.
    • If you're already out of the military and looking to grow: companies don't always communicate what really matters. If they tell a salesperson you need to have 80 calls a day to have 1 sale per day... so if you make 60 calls and make 1 sale, you may feel like you weren't successful. This comes from not properly defining what really matters - what matters is changing someone's life. If you make each call with this intention, it can change things. So find out what 1-2 items REALLY matter. "Moving the rock" - what are you doing that will "move the rock"
    • Force X Distance  = Work... what really matters is DISTANCE. It doesn't matter how much force... how far does it go
    • Are you moving the rock? find the 1-2 things that really affect this
    • Train yourself to separate yourself from other people. Grow your knowledge - it's not the companies responsibility to train the employee. Sometimes people will say 'if the company can't send me to a conference I won't do it' But if you take responsibility, this is what I need to grow... it changes everything. Do I need this knowledge or not? If yes - find a way to get there. This is how you separate yourself - the average person won't do this.
  • 55:18 - Final words of wisdom
    • Thank you for your service
    • When I was in I thought I was just one of the bunch. But since then has realized that he has made a difference on the world. It is a real sacrifice to serve in the military... no matter what you're doing you're having an impact
    • Idea not coupled with action is not worth the brain cell it sits on
    • You can have the best idea, but if you don't act it doesn't matter. You're going to fail 100%. You will fail WAY more often than you succeed. there's no such thing as a true failure if you learn from it.
    • Act on your ideas, even if they're failures - learn from them and grow from them and eventually - it just takes one good hit. It's not luck - its a culmination of all your learnings from all your
May 17, 2017

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

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

The top reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Amazon - Jared talks about working at a fast-paced, top technology company like Amazon. He discusses interviewing tips and advice on finding the right job for you
  2. Improving your working habits - being in Global Talent Management, Jared has a few tips for any veteran on how to grow, improve, and stay ahead
  3. Education - Jared talks about getting a PhD while working full time, and advice on higher education.

Our Sponsor:

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

Selected Links

  • Resources 
    • Service 2 School - they were a big help in Jared finding his way to a PhD program
    • TheGradCafe.com - it's like Reddit, where ideas / questions are voted up or down. There's feedback on program, professors, and classes
    • Kanban Board - list of projects you will do this week, next week, tomorrow, etc. You limit the number of projects you can focus on. Trello is a great example of this.
  • Books
    • The Wisdom of Insecurity - Jared's big takeaway was to not get too wrapped up around material possessions but to be present in one's life. It's easy to focus on moving the ball forward at every moment, but really being present in whatever you're doing
    • Deep Work - a great book at being more focused at work
    • The Everything Store - a biography of Jeff Bezos and look at Amazon

Show Notes

  • 3:00 - Jared's background
  • 3:36 - What Jared does
    • Program Management is similar to most NCO' responsibilities - a go between for people aligned with a certain program: how you promote someone, a piece of software, event planning, etc. In general it's aligning with one of these things and bringing the user's of the product and team responsible for it, and helping it come off without a hitch.
    • Talent Management is promotions, and what it looks like once you're hired (performance review, etc)
  • 5:46 - Jared's road from the military to Amazon
    • Build your network while on active duty - talk to people who leave before you do; people at universities you're thinking of applying to; people who have jobs you admire
    • Jared didn't get into Amazon through a traditional recruiting process - it was through a friend of a friend, where he emailed his application directly to a hiring manager
    • This is true of his first job out of the military, which was in finance
    • Take every moment you have to think about where you might want to go (and where it is possible to go)
    • Figure out how to talk about what you did within the military - get comfortable telling your story in a way a civilian can understand
    • (10:30) Networking is rarely about me - it's about the person I'm speaking with and what value I can add for them
  • 11:42 - What drew Jared to Amazon initially
    • Right time, right place - there was an opening right at the right time
    • Amazon has many of the positives from the military - there is a high standard for everything (it pays to be a winner)
    • Amazon does not have much red tape - you're encouraged to run fast and people are willing to take risks on you
    • Many Marines are offered jobs that don't take advantage of their full skill set... Amazon is the opposite of this. They understand where you've been and where you want to go. If you can prove yourself once or twice, they will make BIG bets on you
    • It's a great example of the importance of narrative - everything they do is based on an overarching vision document. Nothing gets done without a vision document - synthesize where you want to go and how you want to get there.
  • 15:00 - Advice on applying to Amazon
    • The Star Interviewing method - make sure you have examples from your experience, what you did, what was the outcome, who did you do it with. You should definitely have this under your belt and know what you're doing.
    • Amazon, similar to the military, is very serious about their leadership principles. You can research this easily online, but every interview is structured around these leadership principles
    • Being able to talk about your resume in 2-3 different ways in this Star Format
    • Veterans shy away from "name dropping" or referring to leadership principles directly but people love it when you do this
    • There is a whole new veterans initiative at Amazon. You could apply at Amazon.com/jobs, but it's hard to make it through this way. But the link in the Resources section is much better
  • 20:15 - Career Advice for veterans a few years out of active duty (how to avoid failing)
    • People at Amazon move at the speed of Amazon, and there is a lot of ambiguity in each role
    • The #1 best thing you can do is to - regardless of role or company - have a framework that reduces the ambiguity you're feeling. It will make you more happy & content, and will also help you move forward when you do have an ambiguous situation.
    • An example would be 3-4 conversations where everyone is brought together, and they decide as a group which action items are dropped from the communal list, and which are given priority. A timeline is established with all major deliverables and milestones, and 5 minutes of conversation around each milestone is re-grounding everyone in where they are in the process, and what steps are involved between different parts. It leads to a lot more collaboration and identifying of potential faults
  • 26:52 - Pursuing a PhD while working full time
    • He started by creating a list of people who could provide honest feedback, people who could provide empathy, a career board of advisors, a list of people who are social support. Throughout the PhD process he has viewed a part-time or full-time job as a way to continue to network and have a social circle outside of the PhD process.
    • Jared has two brothers who have done this as well; while it comes at the expense of grades and research, it adds incredible professional experiences that may outweigh these (especially applying what you learn as you learn it)
  • 31:38 - Advice for veterans considering pursuing a PhD
    • Service 2 School was a huge resource for Jared
    • Grad school / PhD program are going to seem like a lot. He found so much by calling the universities he was applying to and professors he would work with... it provided incredible insight (as well as an inside track to admission)
    • Many school website are not updated as frequently as you'd expect, so it's important to get the info first hand or from sites like TheGradCafe.com
    • Think 2-5 steps ahead so you can stay ahead of where you want to go
  • 35:48 - Resources
  • 40:26 - Final Words of Wisdom
    • A lot of time we don't talk to each other about our successes and failure, and our time in the military can feel like high school rather than getting to know people on a deeper level
    • Talk to each other about the highs and lows. Whether it is professional or educational or otherwise
    • In doing this you will come across people who tell you something cannot be done... be your own myth busters.  Whether this is learning a new skill, or reducing dependencies on others
    • Veterans have a lot of qualifications and this can make things scary and ambiguous - we don't know how to tell our story or brand ourselves. get out there, talk to people, get out of your current circle to figure out what you want to do and how to talk about your past.
    • Celebrate the small things in your life. When you're a young military member it may be about going out drinking. as you get older, intentionally celebrating the small wins - redo your resume, get into a program, meet new friends, etc - intentionally take time to reflect on the positive things in your life
May 10, 2017

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

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

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May 10, 2017

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

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May 8, 2017

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

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Show Notes

  • Cal Newport - #86
    • Secret to finding deeply fulfilling work is NOT about following your passion
    • Instead about getting really, really good at whatever it is you do
    • And that developing a craft - honing a specific skill set, will lead to the three ingredients of a fulfilling career, which is:
      • Autonomy
      • Competency
      • Relatedness (connection to others)
  • Deep Work
  • Special thanks to Ryan Guina - BTU #61 - cash money life & the military wallet
  • I’m just going to skim the surface
  • Talk about the 3-5 tips that have been most helpful to me these last few weeks
  • The book is FULL of other ideas - some that may resonate more for you.
  • So check it out.
  • Audio Book or Digital Book - do order through BTU helps offset the $120 it costs to keep this showing going every month. Full disclosure if you do a free trial of Audible, BTU makes z$15, if you buy a book through our link we get about $0.15… clearly we are crushing it financially Not really, but if you do either of those things, it means I lose less money on this show.
  • LOVED this book
  • HUGE impact on my productivity
  • Very excited to share this with you and hope it helps you in whatever you’re doing
  • Structure
    • Background and Deep Work for context
    • Tips
      • Email
      • Scheduling
      • Daily shutdown procedure
      • Sprints
      • Work-centric meditations
      • Free time
  • Focus on Deep work
  • What is deep work
    • How long would it take (in months) to train a smart recent college graduate with no specialized training in my field to complete this task?
    • If answer is less than a year… probably not incredibly deep work
    • May keep you busy, may make you feel momentum and feel like you’re making progress
    • Not the deeply skilled work that will set you apart and make you fulfilled
  • Balance of Deep and Shallow Work
    • Will always have shallow work
    • Writers, intellectuals may be able to detach for months to focus on their work
    • Most of us can’t do that
    • What is important though is maintaining an awareness of when you’re doing shallow work
    • "It’s difficult to prevent the trivial from creeping into every corner of your schedule if you don’t face, without flinching, your current balance between deep and shallow work, and then adopt the habit of pausing before action and asking, “What makes the most sense right now?”
    • Focusing on highest leverage item
    • "If you give your mind something meaningful to do throughout all your waking hours, you’ll end the day more fulfilled, and begin the next one more relaxed, than if you instead allow your mind to bathe for hours in semiconscious and unstructured Web surfing"
    • Might think this would be exhausting
    • Always pushing your mind to focus on the highest leverage & most strenuous activity
    • "One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change—not rest, except in sleep.”
    • If you’re like me - some of the things that typically distract
      • Apps
      • facebook
      • Reddit
      • Email
    • I often find myself reaching for these things instincitlvely before i even realize it
    • Effort to keep from getting bored
    • Cal is a HUGE advocate of boredom
    • It’s restorative
    • It allows you mind to recoup
    • and allows your subconscious to solve problems in the background
    • Great idea in the shower or on a drive
    • But these things like Facebook, email, apps - they have a way of creeping into our lives
    • "Addictive websites of the type mentioned previously thrive in a vacuum: If you haven’t given yourself something to do in a given moment, they’ll always beckon as an appealing option."
    • One way to help when it comes to these apps that often pose themselves as productivity boosting or necessary is a message Cal has:
    • "These services aren’t necessarily, as advertised, the lifeblood of our modern connected world. They’re just products, developed by private companies, funded lavishly, marketed carefully, and designed ultimately to capture then sellyour personal information and attention to advertisers”
    • Cal talk about how there is no way to increase your ability to conduct deep work unless you start to ween yourself off of these distractions
    • And so to help with this Cal advises to really be deliberate about which tools you let into your life.
    • Are they really helping you?
    • "The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.”
  • EMAIL
    • "Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside these times. I suggest that you keep a notepad near your computer at work. On this pad, record the next time you’re allowed to use the Internet. Until you arrive at that time, absolutely no network connectivity is allowed—no matter how tempting.”
    • I’ve done this the last couple of weeks and been amazed
    • Cal talks about how even looking at your email distracts you for minutes and tens of minutes afterwards
    • this CONSTANT distraction takes a toll little of us realize in our daily work
  • SCHEDULE
  • Scheduling day before in 30 minute blocks
    • Schedule work day - each line 30 min, draw line down center. Block out all activities; provide overflow time. Assign task block and to right detail what tasks. Haveoverflow time allotted for email or something else. Ok to reschedule as many times as necessary throughout day
      • If you stumble on insight, pursue as long as necessary regardless of schedule. Point is to build habit of asking what is most important to work on
      • Evaluate depth by # of mos it would take a college grad to learn. Assign % of time for deep work and plan accordingly
  • SHUTDOWN
  • Fixed schedule productivity: don't work past 5:30. Don't offer excuses when declining opportunities and don't offer consolation prizes
  • It's essential to shutdown from work at the end of the day and give subconscious time to rejuvenate and work on problems. NO intrusion of work email or work website ready. Unaccomplished tasks will dominate attention. Daily shutdown ritual:
    • Check email - anything urgent?
    • Review to do list - anything urgent outstanding? (Ensuring plan in place will relax mind)
    • Review next 3 days of calendar - anything I'm missing
    • Set plan for tomorrow
    • Say "shutdown complete" - give mind permission to disengage
  • Schedule when I will be online (e.g. Every 15 min for 5 min) If I absolutely cannot work on offline activity without access to internet, impose 5 min wait and then reschedule internet time (don't do it immediately)
    • Schedule online blocks in evening too. Need periods of boredom
  • SPRINTS
    • Roosevelt dash - once per week, set aside time and give self less time for deep work than you need. FORCE self to work more productively. Can expand frequency after a few weeks
  • MEDITATION
    • Productively meditate - 3x / week, take a walk and think about one specific problem. Keep coming back to it. Avoid distraction and beware of looping back over same points continuously.
  • FREE TIME
    • Need to plan free time with structured activities that exercise mind and truly rejuvenate - social networks and web shouldn't be used for decompression and will fill any time left vacant
May 3, 2017

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

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Operations - Andrew started his civilian career in Operations, since he had experience with Operations in the Navy... but he found out that there's considerable differences between the two. He talks about Operations at Proctor & Gamble (and in the civilian sector in general) and the differences from what one might expect coming from the military.
  2. Proctor & Gamble - P&G is a company with a fantastic reputation, and also has a reputation for loving military veterans. Andrew talks about how, after only hist first week at P&G, he started to receive recruiting calls trying to lure him away. He talks about the interview process, how to prepare, and what life at P&G was like.
  3. Side projects - Andrew wrote his first two books while working full time at P&G. For any veteran wanting to pursue their own company or idea, he has great advice about how to make progress towards that goal before jumping off into the unknown.
  4. Writing - after publishing his first two books, Andrew took the plunge to become a full-time writer. He talks about this in a way that made me realize that it's akin to running a company entirely by yourself - marketing, publishing, getting cover artwork done... and doing it entirely by yourself. For any aspiring veteran writers, it's a great look at this creative lifestyle and the world of self-publishing.

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Show Notes

  • 3:18 - Andrew's background
  • 3:54 - How Andrew would explain what he does for a living as a full-time author
  • 4:40 - For aspiring veteran authors, how important it is to have sustainable income prior to launching a career as a full-time author
  • 6:00 - How Andrew decided to leave the Navy
  • 7:45 - How Andrew used the Service Academy Career Conference to find his way to P&G
  • 9:12 - What Operations in the civilian sector and at P&G, and how it differs from Operations in the military
  • 13:13 - How P&G boosted Andrew's credibility within the business world and lead to head hunters calling him only one week after starting there
  • 15:36 - An overview of the hiring & interview process at P&G
  • 18:55 - What Andrew would have done differently when negotiating his first contract at P&G
  • 20:06 - How Andrew would explain his roles at P&G as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader
  • 24:26 - What Andrew's life looked like while working at P&G
  • 30:24 - How Andrew was able to write two novels while working full-time at P&G, and advice to veterans seeking to start a side project while working full-time
  • 36:42 - An overview of Andrew's work as an author and the incredible traction he's received so far
  • 37:57 - How long it took Andrew to write his first book while working full-time, and then his second book
  • 41:14- Advice to veterans debating between self-publishing vs. using a publisher
  • 43:45 - When Andrew first thought of writing, and how writing on a deployment lead to his though of becoming an author
  • 46:30 - Resources Andrew would recommend to any veteran aspiring author
  • 48:27 - How Andrew structures his day when he has an open landscape for his own work and advice on how to stay on task

 

Apr 26, 2017

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

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Resilience - Phil's first career was in the NFL, where he caught a pass for the winning team in the Super Bowl; he went on to start his own investment bank of which he is now president. He talks about being cut from the NFL multiple times and fighting his way back, about having the tenacity to pursue one's dream no matter what that is.
  2. Finance - Phil's company, Academy Securities, employs many veterans through

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  • Resources
    • Veterans on Wall Street - Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) is an initiative dedicated to honoring former military personnel and employees currently in the National Guard and Reserve
    • 100,000 Jobs Mission - https://www.veteranjobsmission.com/
    • Man in the Arena - A speech that Phil kept with him at the NFL and has encouraged him to remain resilient through all adversities

Show Notes

  • 2:35 - Phil’s background
  • 3:40 - How Phil approached his decision to leave the military
  • 15:10 - How Phil transitioned from the Navy to the NFL
  • 19:45 - Phil’s advice to those pursuing professional sports or anything that seems like a farfetched dream
  • 23:08 - How Phil started his second civilian career in the world of finance
  • 25:52 - Phil’s advice to veterans seeking a career in finance
  • 28:50 - Advice for veterans seeking to start their own company
  • 37:45 - What life is like as President of Academy Securities
  • 40:48 - Recommended resources
  • 42:52 - What it’s like for a new veteran hire at Academy Securities
  • 44:42 - Final words of wisdom
Apr 19, 2017

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

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Sports Writing - Matt set out to be a writer, and has worked his way up to a role where he now produced YouTube videos about sports. His story is inspiring, and is an example how through repetition and hard work, veterans can achieve any role.
  2. New Media - when Matt started out, Twitter didn't even exist. Now his role is all about YouTube. He talks about how the Sports and Media environment is rapidly changing, and what it's like to work in this constantly evolving space
  3. Perspective - I love the gratitude and perspective that Matt holds. He talks about how, compared to his military service, his job is stress free, and the gratitude he feels each day to be alive.

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Show Notes

  • 3:32 - Matt's background
  • 4:00 - How Matt approached his decision to leave the Marine Corps
  • 7:07 - What Matt does right now at SB Nation
  • 8:25 - What Matt's day-to-day life looks like covering sports at SB Nation
  • 10:23 - How Matt brings his videos to life on YouTube
  • 17:34 - Matt's journey from the Marine Corps to a career in sports media
  • 22:42 - How Matt started his own blog, which lead to his current career
  • 27:54 - Recommended resources
  • 33:42 - Final words of wisdom
Apr 12, 2017

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

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

  1. Education - Justine has spent over 6 years helping veterans find the right school (undergraduate or graduate) and program to accelerate their career. She's got extremely helpful advice about how to maximize your educational experience
  2. Entrepreneurship - Seth talks about starting a business, a brewery, and a foundation all at the same time
  3. Mentors - Seth does a great job of talking about how to find and learn from mentors as veterans pursue their civilian career

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  • Related Episodes - if you liked this episode, I would recommend you check out the following episodes:
    • Tim Hsia - Founder of Service to School
    • David Lee - used Service to School to go from the Marines to the Stanford Graduate School of Business
    • Alex Chivers - Army Ranger NCO to Dartmouth
  • Service 2 School
  • Veterati - Veterati is a free mentorship platform. Our mentors are professionals volunteering to serve those who have served our country.
  • Student Veterans of America (SVA) - Student Veterans of America presents groundbreaking research about student veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
  • American Corporate Partners - Founded in 2008, ACP aims to ease the transition from the military to the civilian workforce.
  • LinkedIn - essential for networking and very underutilized by veterans

Show Notes

  • 2:39 - Justine’s background
  • 3:47 - How Justine found herself unexpectedly facing a career transition far earlier than she expected
  • 8:00 - Justine’s road from the Navy, through higher education, to Service to School
  • 10:40 - Why Justine advocates education after military service instead of going directly into industry
  • 13:50 - An overview of Service to School
  • 21:30 - Some common mistakes that veterans make when applying to attending higher education after military service
  • 29:20 - How to start to uncover - while on active duty - what you may want to do afterwards
  • 35:10 - How to find the right school for you
  • 41:45 - Advice on pursuing education after the military vs. while on active duty
  • 46:00 - Recommended resources
  • 48:08 - Final words of wisdom

 

Apr 5, 2017

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

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

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Support - Seth established a Brewery where all of the profits go to supporting veteran families and the causes they believe in. It's a great example of using one's career for a purpose greater than oneself
  2. Entrepreneurship - Seth talks about starting a business, a brewery, and a foundation all at the same time
  3. Mentors - Seth does a great job of talking about how to find and learn from mentors as veterans pursue their civilian career

Our Sponsor:

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Show Notes

  • 3:45 - Seth's Background
  • 4:30 - Seth's decision to join the Military from the civilian sector
  • 5:22 - Seth's decision to leave the Marine Corps
  • 6:28 - When Seth first started to think about starting his own brewery
  • 8:04 - Seth's decision to donate all profits he makes to help veteran causes
  • 12:27 - What it was like to start a brewery and advice to other veterans seeking to start their own company
  • 16:52 - Advice for veterans seeking a mentor - how to find them and evaluate when to bring them on in a more formal capacity
  • 22:00 - How often Seth meets with this mentors and advisors
  • 24:16 - What Seth's day-to-day life looks like
  • 27:16 - Advice on finding work-life balance
  • 31:24 - The most valuable skill Seth took away from the Marine Corps that has helped him at Dog Tag Brewing
  • 32:12 - One skill that Seth had to develop since leaving the Marine Corps
  • 33:50 - What advice Seth would have given to himself when he first left the Marine Corps
  • 39:37 - Resources Seth recommends to all veterans
  • 44:00 - Final words of wisdom
  • 47:50 - Where you can find out more about Dog Tag Brewing and how you can support Seth and his mission
Mar 29, 2017

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

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Job Search - Dan has worked with some of the best companies in the world, and has some great advice on common pitfalls veterans can avoid in their job search and interview process
  2. LinkedIn Advice - Dan leverages LinkedIn quite a bit in his job, and has some tactical advice for how veterans can best utilize LinkedIn in advancing their civilian career
  3. Recruiting - for veterans interested in Recruiting as a possible career, Dan provides an overview of what this job looks like. He also talks about how his involvement in recruiting within the military helped prepare him for and inform his decision to pursue this as a civilian. 

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Show Notes

  • 2:07 - Dan's background
  • 2:44 - Dan's decision to leave the military and how he approached this decision
  • 3:48 - Dan's first job search and what he learned from this
  • 8:20 - Based on Dan's experience and having worked with many different veterans, some common mistakes he sees veterans make in their job search
  • 20:35 - What Dan does as a recruiter, and what his job looks like on a typical day
  • 26:40 - Advice for how veterans can best utilize LinkedIn
  • 31:14 - Other resources Dan would recommend for veterans
  • 34:27 - One piece of advice Dan would give to someone on Active Duty on how to prepare for their career transition
  • 38:43 - Final words of wisdom
Mar 22, 2017

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

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

  1. Determination - Mike didn't get into Google until his third time;  he is a case study in persistence and he talks about how boxing and the military prepared him for this.
  2. Sales & Account Management - Mike provides a great depiction of an Account Executive role, what the sales aspects of this actually look like. Mike had no experience in this role, and has a great description of what life is like and why other veterans may like this
  3. Google & LinkedIn - Mike has worked at both of these iconic companies and provides a good overview of what life is like here

Our Sponsor:

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Show Notes

  • 2:16 - Mike's Background
  • 3:00 - How Boxing helped Mike prepare for his civilian career
  • 5:38 - When Mike decided to leave the military
  • 7:00 - Mike's first job search
  • 9:20 - An overview of Mike's experience at UCLA's Anderson School of Business getting his MBA
  • 10:40 - What lead Mike to LinkedIn
  • 13:38 - What Mike's role as an Enterprise Account Executive Role looked like
  • 15:40 - Signs that veterans may enjoy an Account Executive Role and indications you might not enjoy it
  • 18:34 - What led Mike to Google
  • 20:22 - What Mike's day-to-day life looks like at Google
  • 22:00 - Advice for veterans seeking to work at LinkedIn, Google, or a highly-desired company like them
  • 27:00 - A mistake Mike made sense the military and what he learned from it
  • 29:29 - What habits Mike has had to break from the military to be successful in his civilian career
  • 31:49 - Final words of wisdom
Mar 15, 2017

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

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Founding - how he did a simple step to help one veteran, and how that led incrementally to founding an incredible organization. Joe's story is one of obsession - of taking massive action to make a difference in the world.
  2. How to find your dream job - Joe talks about a very prescriptive process that has helped countless members of speical forces though the transition process
  3. Learning - this is a theme of Joe's story - reading everything he can each year, studying happines (in the workplace and in life), studying unhappiness, artificul intelligence, and writing a white paper at the end of the year about he's learned.

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Show Notes

  • 3:21 - Joe's background
  • 3:55 - Joe's unexpected departure from the Navy and how he started The Honor Foundation
  • 15:43 - One of Joe's biggest mistakes in starting The Honor Foundation
  • 18:20 - What it looks like to be involved with The Honor Foundation as a participant
  • 21:30 - Joe's advice for other veterans thinking of starting their own organization
  • 24:45 - Common mistakes that Joe has seen veterans make in their career transition
  • 29:55 - What Joe's day-to-day life looks like
  • 34:30 - How Joe has used interactions with world-class thinkers, leaders and doers to catapult his own learning and The Honor Foundation's growth
  • 36:48 - Joe's involvement with the NEXT Series and the SOF Garage
  • 41:05 - Books, podcasts, and resources Joe would recommend to listeners
  • 46:34 - Things that Joe had to unlearn (and has seen other veterans have to unlearn) from their military experience
  • 50:40 - Final words of wisdom
Mar 8, 2017

“I’m so passionate about entrepreneurship, I think everyone should have their own business on the side. If you’re a career person and you like your day job, I would still encourage you to start a business on the side. It’s really liberating, you learn a lot about customers and about marketing and I think the same rule applies to those who are still in the military."
– Drew Sanocki

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Everyone is an entrepreneur - Drew's advice for veterans is very practical and tactical. He talks about how he got an MBA and took his first job to boost his confidence, but neither of these are necessary for a veteran to start their own company
  2. Lifestyle - Drew has an awesome perspective on lifestyle (and a blog post about it here). He also talks about how e-commerce is great for vets, as they can start these companies without a technical co-founder. He talks about looking at the skill set you have that people would pay for, and how to productize as much as possible
  3. Functional SkillDrew has really grown his expertise in eCommerce of over a decade. He's a great example of one potential route for veterans, and it echoes what Steve Reinemund advised about a Hip Pocket Skill for veterans

Our Sponsor:

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

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  • Another great interviews that talk about starting a company while on active duty: http://beyondtheuniform.io/btu-20-ian-folau-tactical-advice-for-starting-a-company-even-while-on-active-duty/
  • Drew wrote an EXCEPTIONAL blog post that I speak about in the interview. You can read it here: http://www.nerdmarketing.com/lifestyle-goals-2017/
  • Drew’s site: http://www.nerdmarketing.com
  • Drew recommends Ramitz Seffy - http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/ . It’s really solid training that spans from getting started to make $1k on the side all the way to building, sourcing, and delivering your own product online

Show Notes

  • 3:55 - Drew’s background
  • 4:55 - The point at which Drew knew he was going to leave the military and how he approached this decision
  • 5:33 - How a lack of confidence lead Drew to graduate school, and advice he has for other vets about how to consider graduate school
  • 7:18 - Advice for steps veterans may take while on active duty to better identify their next move
  • 9:40 - Drew’s experience at CommerceTV in Business Development and Drew’s thoughts on gaining experience prior to starting one’s own company
  • 12:40 - The Genesis of Drew’s company, Design Public
  • 15:09 - One of the most difficult points of growing Design Public
  • 19:33 - “I don’t want to be a billion dollar company, here’s what I want instead” - an exceptional article Drew wrote, and how his thoughts on running his own company has evolved over the years
  • 23:30 - Advice for veterans of thinking of starting their own company
  • 25:58 - Resources that Drew would recommend to aspiring veteran entrepreneurs
  • 28:46 - What lead Drew to start NerdMarketing and what his life looks like on a day-to-day basis
  • 32:20 - Drew’s other venture, the Empire Growth Group
  • 33:30 - How Drew determines how and where to spend his time while he is working on multiple projects simultaneously
  • 36:16 - How Drew has built up Career Capital around e-commerce marketing, and his advice to veterans on doing the same
  • 41:36 - Drew’s final words of wisdom
Mar 1, 2017

 

“Master something and suddenly you’re going to start noticing very compelling opportunities. Start from scratch, and it’s like you’re at the kiddie table - you’re not really going to come up with something the world cares about."
– Cal Newport

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

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

Our Sponsor:

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Show Notes

  • 2:20 - backstory on this interview and a brief background on Cal Newport
  • 4:08 - the context around which Cal wrote So Good They Can’t Ignore You
  • 5:38 - the central premise of So Good They Can’t Ignore Your - follow your passion is not just bad advice, it is potentially harmful advice
  • 8:15 - how we often focus on “the match” of finding the right job places more pressure on one in their job search
  • 12:30 - the Craftsman Mindset and how this is a more compelling approach than a Passion Mindset
  • 17:55 - Career Capital and how veterans can think about their initial transition from the military, and every career transition thereafter
  • 32:00 - Finding a Mission, and how operating at the cutting edge makes this more achievable
  • 35:35 - Deliberate Practice vs. Hard Work, and how the former is essential for developing expertise
  • 43:44 - Control, and how if it is acquired without career capital it will not be sustainable in a career
Feb 22, 2017

“It’s been amazing and often sometimes very depressing. I mean, it’s not a logical transition to go from Intelligence to Special Operations to Men’s Grooming"
– Nicholas Karnaze

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Startups - Nick started hist first company directly out of the Marines, and talks about how important it is to pick the right co-founder, and have difficult conversation upfront.  And he talks about starting and growing his second company, Stubble & Stache, without any business school experience, but instead using books, free resources and programs like the Stanford Ignite program to help him scale his business
  2. For profit vs. non-profit - Stubble & Stache is a for profit venture that donates a portion of their revenue to help veterans. He talks about how he made the decision to be for profit rather than a non profit and the big difference that can make in the impact a startup has

Our Sponsor:

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  • Nick talks about his company's philanthropic effort to combat PTSD. A few interviews relevant to this are
    • Tim Avery - Tim provides a TON of great resources for vets in this regard
    • Duane France - Duane focuses on veterans mental health and provide a lot of great advice and resources
    • Anthony Garcia - Anthony discusses his own battle with depression in a way that is very powerful
    • David Smith - David speaks about his own experience with PTSD and struggle with suicide
  • SBA Website - started here, and found it to be a GREAT source of information about starting your own company
  • SCORE - provide mentorship and classes for entrepreneurs. They have offices in every major city
  •  Books
  • Podcasts

Show Notes

  • 1:57 - Nick’s background
  • 2:33 - Nick’s decision to leave the Army and how he approached this decision
  • 4:33 - Starting Nick’s first company directly out of the Army
  • 5:22 - Finding a Co-Founder, mistakes Nick made the first time he did this, and advice for veterans on finding the right co-founder
  • 10:58 - What lead Nick to Praescient Analytics
  • 12:48 - How the loss of one Nick’s good friends in combat lead to the genesis of Stubble & Stache
  • 14:58 - When Stubble & Stache turned from a project into a full-time venture
  • 17:22 - An overview of Stubble & Stache
  • 21:02 - How long until Nick was able to pay himself a salary when starting his own company
  • 23:18 - What the journey has been like for Nick, starting his own company
  • 27:53 - Starting a company directly out the Army, what skills Nick would recommend to someone on active duty thinking of starting their own company
  • 30:20 - Resources about finance and startups that Nick would recommend to other veterans
  • 34:12 - Stanford Ignite and why this is an incredible asset for all veterans
  • 36:33 - Having had experience with a startup before Stanford Ignite, Nick’s thoughts on how veterans can best approach and prepare for Stanford Ignite
  • 39:05 - Advice for veterans thinking of starting their own company
  • 44:33 - Habits that Nick had to break when he transitioned from the military to civilian life
  • 46:50 - Nick’s final words of wisdom
Feb 17, 2017

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

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

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Courage - David is such an awesome example of courage; the courage he showed when he moved to Norway, where he eventually joined a startup as their Chief Marketing Officer. The courage David showed in taking a year to travel to over 12 countries doing humanitarian work and also doing person development work; the courage he has to talk about his struggle with PTSD and very personal experiences he’s had with suicide; and the courage he demonstrates in constantly pushing himself to apply for things just out of his reach… and very often achieving them. I find David to be a passionate and inspiring person, and know you will too.

Our Sponsor:

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Show Notes

  • 1:52 - David’s background
  • 2:30 - David’s decision to leave the Marines Corps and how he approached this decision
  • 3:40 - David’s first job search and what led him to Andrew’s International
  • 4:29 - David’s experience at Berkeley and his advice for veterans considering education after their military service
  • 11:50 - David’s work with Team Rubicon and the George W. Bush Presidential Center
  • 15:12 - International work, touring the world, and David’s work prior to joining Dogu
  • 20:58 - How David moved to Norway after one year of humanitarian work
  • 23:33 - How David found his first job at Dogu when he moved to Norway
  • 27:11 - An overview of Dogu
  • 29:22 - An overview of David’s role as Chief Marketing Officer at a startup
  • 32:14 - Resources that David would recommend to other veterans considering startups
  • 36:32 - How David struggled with PTSD and thought of suicide, and what he learned from this
  • 49:33 - David’s final words of wisdom
Feb 15, 2017

“Always do the best job that you can possibly do, even if it’s not something that you want to do. And always keep relationships open."
– Chris Dattaro

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

The top three reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program - Chris started his civilian career in this 3 month program, and provides a great overview of why veterans should consider applying
  2. Startups - Chris talks about using angel list and other tools to find the right startup for you
  3. Career Advice - Chris has mentored hundreds of veterans, and I really, really liked the advice he gives throughout our conversation. Things like recognizing how priorities change throughout your life, so there is no single dream job - it changes over time. And how many times our military experiences is a series of sprints from one 2-3 year assignment to another, which is in contrast to the marathon of a civilian career. He’s got some incredible advice any vet would benefit from hearing.

Our Sponsor:

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

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Show Notes

  • 1:51 - Chris’ background
  • 2:37 - How Chris’ decided to leave the military
  • 3:25 - Chris’ first job search and what drew him to the Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program
  • 4:36 - An overview of the Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program and advice for veterans considering applying to it
  • 6:18 - The types of work Chris did as part of the Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program
  • 7:06 - What lead Chris to FBR, and overview of FBR
  • 9:08 - Chris’ first role in Institutional Equity Sales
  • 13:28 - What brought Chris to Trustify and what this experience was like
  • 15:18 - How Chris found the opportunity at Lyft
  • 19:12 - What it’s like to be part of an extremely high growth company, and an overview of the Operations Manager role
  • 21:25 - Chris’ advice for veterans seeking to work at Lyft or a technology company similar to Lyft
  • 23:35 - Some common mistakes that veterans make, based on Chris’ work helping hundreds of veterans in their career development
  • 33:35 - Resources that Chris would recommend to other veterans
  • 36:00 - Habits that Chris needed to break in order to be successful in his civilian career
  • 40:00 - A failure that Chris faced in his civilian career and how he learned from it
  • 47:37 - Final words of wisdom
Feb 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

Sponsor:

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

Selected Links

  • Doug's book, where 100% or royalties go towards charity: The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement
  • Doug's website about financial independence: http://the-military-guide.com
  • A podcast where Doug discusses writing, blogging, philanthropy, and angel investing  - http://jlcollinsnh.com/2016/12/13/angel-investing-or-angel-philanthropy/
  • Recruiting group mentioned: The Lucas Group
  • Book Recommendations
    • Your money or your life - whether your spending is aligned with what you value in your life
    • The Millionaire nextdoor
  • Website Recommendations
    • Early Retirement - Doug found a lot of great and helpful information here
    • The Military Guide - Doug's website where he writes daily and answers every user question
    • FinCon - a network of bloggers for people who want to write, or teach financial independence

Show Notes

  • 2:02 - Doug's background as an early retiree
  • 2:52 - At what point Doug knew he was going to leave the military and how he approached this decision
  • 3:31 - Doug was slow to realize that he and his wife had achieved financial independence. Doug shares actual numbers about what financial independence looks like
  • 6:02 - The 4% withdrawal rate, and why this is critical for financial independence
  • 10:00 - How retiring in the military is a choice... it's not crucial for financial independence. But if you're enjoying it, it's a great option
  • 11:40 - How Doug chose a life pursuing what energizes him, rather than letting a single number - salary - define his life
  • 13:45 - A look at Doug's life, where he is able to pursue whatever fulfills him and makes him happy
  • 16:25 - How completely attainable financial independence is, and how it is something anyone could achieve. It centers around mental shifts rather than monumental changes in your lifestyle
  • 18:26 - Chronic fatigue and "The Fog of Work" and how it can hinder us from reaching fulfillment. We can get caught up racing from one thing to the next, without thinking about what we really want, or what our ultimate destination is
  • 24:37 - Doug's book and website about financial independence, and what started this path
  • 28:00 - What guided Doug to donate 100% of the royalties he receives from his book, and why this was an enormous advantage in the writing process
  • 32:00 - Other resources Doug would recommend to listeners
  • 34:27 - A few of the most common questions Doug has seen over his last 14 years of financial independence
  • 39:23 - Doug's advice for those on active duty who will transition under ten years of service
  • 43:55 - Doug's advice for those on active duty who are past ten years of service or plan to get out after at least ten years of service
  • 46:09 - Final words of wisdom
Feb 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Co-Founder: if you’re thinking of starting your own company, one of the first things you’ll need to decide on is whether to go solo or with co-founders. And if you get this wrong, it’s the fastest way to destroy your company. Zach and Drew are both Navy vets who co-founded a successful SV startup, and talk about how they vetted each other and focused on difficult questions up front to make sure they would have a lasting working relationship.
  2. Tactics: Zach & Drew have a wealth of advice on everything from running a company, maximizing your efficiency through scheduling, managing work life balance for the long haul, and committing to continued personal growth as your company grows.

Our Sponsor:

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Show Notes

  • 2:14 - Zach and Drew's backgrounds
  • 3:43 - How Zach and Drew each decided to leave the Navy and how they decided on Business School after they left
  • 5:33 - Advice for veterans thinking about applying to business school (or Stanford in particular)
  • 7:12 - The genesis of Rhumbix
  • 10:05 - Advice on finding - and vetting - the ideal co-founder
  • 13:05 - How they thought about pairing with someone with a similar background, given that they both had served in the Navy
  • 14:55 - An overview of Rhumbix
  • 15:45 - How Zach and Drew decided who would be CEO, and how they delineate their responsibilities
  • 17:40 - How they think about growing together as co-founders, building on the level of trust they established early on (Zach uses a great phrase of, "you're in my swim lane")
  • 20:30 - Advice for veterans about the fundraising process
  • 23:03 - Mistakes they made along the way and what they learned from them
  • 24:30 - Having hired so many employees, advice they have for how to evaluate if someone is a good fit for your team
  • 27:15 - A look at the day-to-day life in an early stage startup
  • 31:50 - Advice for veterans thinking of starting their own company
  • 34:32 - Resources that have been helpful for Zach and Drew that they would recommend to other veterans
  • 38:10 - Habits that they had to break in order to be successful in their civilian career
  • 39:33 - In what ways their roles have changed since starting their company
  • 40:46 - Final words of wisdom
Feb 8, 2017

“I would say that Medical Schools is probably the single most challenging work environment, period, that I've ever been a part of. It's - for the first year and a half to two years - nothing but lectures. You're literally just being talked at for hours and hours and hours. And it is an unbelievable amount of information. It's so much stuff that they tell you right off the bat that you're never going to know everything, because that's just impossible - you're never going to know everything."
– Camilla Maybee

Camilla Maybee is currently in her second year of Medical School at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She started out at West Point, after which she served as a Medical Supply Officer in the Army for four years. After separation from the Army, she worked at the UVA Health System as Administrative Assistant. She holds a Masters of Science in Health Care Administration from the University of Maryland.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Determination - Camilla is a case study in resolve. Her military career didn’t pan out as expected - she had an unexpected medical discharge. But that didn’t stop her. She wanted to go to Medical School, but was an English Major with no med school prerequisites - that didn’t stop her either. I found her tenacity inspiring.
  2. Med School - Camilla went from an unexpected medical discharge to being accepted into what US News reports is one of the top 10 most competitive medical schools in the country. Camilla is very transparent about the mistakes she made in this process, and how other veterans can learn from her mistakes in their medical school process. She is attending Med School on an 100% scholarship - that is a $250k program, for free. And she started out when she was 28 years old, while the overwhelming majority of her classmates were just 23. If you’re interested in Med School or the Health Services industry, this episode is for you.

Our Sponsor

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

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 2:29 - Camilla's background
  • 2:58 - How Camilla found herself unexpectedly leaving the Army much earlier than she expected and how that affected her initial job search
  • 4:50 - At what point Camilla realized she wanted to be a doctor 
  • 7:10 - How Camilla went to Goucher College to study pre-medicine as a "delightful accident"
  • 12:17 - Camilla was very proactive in volunteer work; a look at what she learned and how it prepared her for Medical School
  • 14:39 - A look at the Medical School application process and advice to veterans considering this route
  • 17:44 - Camilla's advice for veterans about how to prepare for the MCAT exam
  • 19:21 - Resources that Camilla would recommend to veterans to prepare for the MCAT and Medical School in general
  • 21:13 - Camilla is on a full scholarship to Medical School; she shares more about how she found this scholarship program
  • 25:23 - How Camilla and her husband negotiate where they will work, given the rigidity of placements after Medical School
  • 28:56 - What day-to-day life looks like for Camilla at Medical School
  • 33:02 - What the hours look like for Camilla
  • 38:28 - What it's like being at Medical School, where most people are 23 (while Camilla started at age 28)
  • 44:05 - What the road ahead looks like for Camilla
  • 46:40 - Camilla's final words of wisdom
Feb 6, 2017

“ Stop worrying about the beta, and just get the product out. If you are not embarrased by your first product, then you're doing it wrong. It should be ugly, it should be clunky, it should be what you think it should be... but less. And once you get it in the hands of the customer, the customer is going to tell you what they like and what they don't like. And that's what we realized - we were trying to be perfectionists. You want your product to be perfect, but you make these assumptions that it's going to be valuable. And the best way to do that is get it in the hands of the customer who will tell you if they find value in it."
– Josh Carter

Josh Carter is the Co-Founder & CEO of Brightwork, a microservices platform that enables developers to build faster on a reliable and scalable solution. Since their founding they’ve raised over $300K in funding and have gone through Techstars in Chicago. Josh started out in the Navy, where he served for about 3 years. Since his time in the Navy he’s held multiple engineering roles in the Telecom industry and eventually a Senior Support Engineer at the startup, Twilio, a communication startup that went public earlier this year. Josh founded his own digital marketing agency - Plunk - and is also a former founding board member of Operation Code.

The top reason to listen to today’s show is:

  • Support - Josh has been living in the startup world for a while, and has a great overview of different resources available for other veteran entrepreneurs. In particular, he talks about TechStars, and gives a fantastic overview of this 3 month program, as well as Patriot Bootcamp and other great resources.
    In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

Selected Links

  • Twilio
  • Brightwork.io
  • Plunk
  • TechStars - this was a great help for Josh in starting a venture backed company. It is a 3-month program offered all over the United States. They take 6% of the company in exchange for $120,000 in funding.
  • FounderCon - all TechStar founders get together for one year
  • Patriot Bootcamp - offshoot of the TechStars core program. It's a one weekend program that is very intense, but very targeted in preparing veterans for entrepreneurship
  • Operation Code - Chris was a founding board member; they help transitioning veterans get into coding - finding mentors and sharing advice for becoming a programmer
  • Resources
    • Meetup.com - Coffee with CoFounders - lowkey get togethers are rotating coffee shops for founders to connect with each other and talk about what they're struggling with

Show Notes

  • 1:45 - Josh's background
  • 2:30 - When Josh knew he would leave the military and how he approached this decision
  • 3:20 - What Josh's first job search looked like and how he found the Art Academy to be different than he expected. He talks about how he found his way to the Telecom industry
  • 4:23 - An overview on the Telecom industry and the sorts of jobs Josh held
  • 5:16 - An overview of Josh's work at Brightwork, as well as the engagements he held before then
  • 7:57 - What it was like for Josh to be actively employed at Twilio while running his own digital agency
  • 9:15 - The moment when Josh first had the idea of Brightwork
  • 11:55 - An overview of TechStars and how Josh ended up in Chicago
  • 15:28 - How TechStars provides an investment of $125k for 6% of the company
  • 17:38 - An overview of Patriot Bootcamp and Josh's experience
  • 19:46 - What Josh's founding team looks like and advice to veterans for finding initial team members
  • 25:48 - What Josh's life looks like on a day-to-day basis as part of an early stage startup
  • 28:50 - Josh's advice to other veterans considering starting their own company
  • 35:10 - Other resources Josh would encourage other veterans to check out
  • 39:32 - An overview of Operation Code and how Veterans might engage with them
  • 41:00 - One of the biggest mistakes Josh made in his entrepreneurial journey and what he learned from it
  • 44:00 - Josh's final words of wisdom 
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