The Kade Wilcox Podcast with Rod Martin

Posted By Kade Wilcox | June 8, 2021

The Kade Wilcox Podcast with Rod Martin image

Sometimes it takes years.

Years of tinkering with curiosities, revising ideas, and playing with iterations. 

Years of wisdom, knowledge, and real-world experience.

Sometimes entrepreneurship doesn’t manifest itself until the timing is just right. And that’s exactly what happened to lifelong businessman, Rod Martin, as he entered the world of entrepreneurship through the acquisition of a local company, Window World of Lubbock. 

In this episode of The Kade Wilcox Podcast, Kade and Rod chat about bringing past lessons into a new venture, baking culture into your operations, and much more. 

Connect with the folks behind the episode: Rod Martin and Kade Wilcox

Kade Wilcox: Welcome to The Kade Wilcox podcast. I'm Kade Wilcox, your host, and I love small business. I love the leaders who lead small businesses. I love the journey of starting a new company and figuring out how to manage people and culture and vision and operations and finances and sales and marketing. And so on our podcast, we feature local small business owners and we learn from them. What's going well, what's not going well, things they've learned throughout their journey. So thanks for joining the podcast and enjoy learning from others who are in the trenches and doing the work.

Rod Martin: Sometimes I struggle with the term entrepreneur because it feels like it's got a very specific definition and it kind of locks a lot of people out as either — either you're the bold person that goes where no man has gone before, or you're the corporate schlep that just, you know, worked for the man your whole life. I've always felt like I had an entrepreneurial mindset. And so whether it was working for a small agency or a multi-billion dollar company, I was always really looking for opportunities, ways to improve, trying to understand the dynamics of a business or a marketplace or a customer, and then finding out how to, you know, take the ingredients that you have, and maybe add some that you don't or tweak those in, into a new formula that gets a better result. And then iterating over and over and over again, trying new things. So I think I've always had an entrepreneurial mindset but owning my own company wasn't really ever the end goal.

Who is Rod Martin?

Kade Wilcox: Rod, thanks so much for joining my podcast. I really appreciate you. It's been fun getting to know you over the last couple of months. I'm excited for my audience to hear from you. So why don't we start by just giving a little bit of background of who you are, the work you've done in the past, and then maybe speak into the new venture that you just started and what you're doing, and then we'll go from there.

Rod Martin: Yeah, for sure. Thanks for having me. So my past is kind of varied within some sort of narrow, I guess, framework. I am actually originally - went to school in Lubbock, graduated from Monterey, went to Texas Tech. My parents went to Texas Tech. My — I met my wife at Tech. My daughter graduated from Tech. And so I've, you know, I've got pretty deep roots here in the Lubbock community. But I literally — the day after I graduated from college, I moved away and didn't actually come back until this year. So along the way, I worked in Dallas, moved to Corpus Christi then to Austin. And finally back here I spent the better part of years in advertising and marketing with a middle section in there that was heavily into strategy and operations and worked both client side and agency side. So really, it would always be in that vein of building a business and growing business, but in a lot of different sorts of iterations.

Kade Wilcox: Yeah. So did you — so before we get into kind of your new venture, did you ever see yourself owning your own business at some point? I mean, it sounds like you served a lot of businesses of differing sizes, both from a strategy and marketing, and advertising standpoint. But did you ever imagine, you know, kind of owning your own company? Was that something you always wanted to do?

Rod Martin: You know, it's funny to say this, but I kind of ended up here. I never really had an end goal of owning my own company. I always, and I sometimes, I struggle with the term entrepreneur because it feels like it's got a very specific definition and it kind of locks a lot of people out as either — either you're the bold person that goes where no man has gone before, or you're the corporate schlep that just, you know, worked for the man your whole life. I've always felt like I had an entrepreneurial mindset. And so whether it was working for a small agency or a multi-billion dollar company, I was always really looking for opportunities, ways to improve, trying to understand the dynamics of a business or a marketplace or a customer, and then finding how to, you know, take the ingredients that you have and maybe add some that you don't or tweak those into a new formula that gets a better result. And then iterating over and over and over again and trying new things. So I think I've always had an entrepreneurial mindset but owning my own company wasn't really ever the end goal. I wasn't against it. And I've, actually, I've sort of ventured out slightly into that — those areas before. But I think the ending point, where I am right now, was more about a logical next step and an opportunity that fit where I am in my life.

Kade Wilcox: That's really cool. So maybe tell the folks kind of what your business is and what you're doing now.

Rod Martin: Yeah, so I, along with a partner — bought a company here in Lubbock last — this past February. It's Window World of Lubbock. It's been here for 15 years but it's kept a really low profile. And the guy that was the owner was ready to sort of retire and ride off into the sunset. And I had gotten to a point in my career where — and I, and it's always sort of been nascent in the background. I've mostly been in the corporate environment but I've always loved and admired people that make things with their hands, whether that's a designer, a graphic designer, a coder, or a boot maker. Like just people that create something. And at the end of the day, there's something tangible there. I've always admired that. And I've always sort of fed that, you know, in my personal life, because it wasn't really there. You know, most of my business life has been dealing with ideas.

And so I've always been sort of satisfied that I need to build tangible things in my personal life, whether it's woodworking or learning how to work with concrete or landscaping. And I got to the point in my life where I just wanted to dive into that area. And so one of my other passions — I love architecture and I especially love homes. You know, from our very first home that my wife and I bought that we really, over several years, basically remade it. And we just love that. And, you know, windows and doors seemed like a really pedestrian thing at times, but, you know, there's nothing more consequential in a house than light. And, you know, having the ability to help people create a more interesting, more healthy environment with — and especially in a year after COVID where people are working in their homes — more and more the ability to come into a business that does that for a living was just really exciting for me. And the opportunity was there.

Using the Past to Influence Your Future

Kade Wilcox: That's really awesome. What are two or three things that you think you're bringing with you into this new venture that you learned along the way serving larger companies, working in a corporate environment? Are there two or three things that you feel like you've learned over the last 15, 20, 30 years that you're bringing with you that you think is going to help you on this new venture?

Rod Martin: Yeah, yeah. Actually there are. And I can come up with a few examples off the top of my head. I think one of them, and maybe the most important is the — and I, and I learned this along the way. I worked for whatever and, you know, there's nothing a lot of people consider more pedestrian than flipping burgers for living. And we had a lot of — we had a lot of — we had a hard time hiring and retaining people because they were embarrassed of what they did in some cases. But when you dig into it and we understand the role, that brand, and you wonder, like, why do people care about a burger place? Why does — why do people care about any brand? But they're — but if they do, there's some need that's being met. And what we found in this case was that, you know, most people spend most of their life doing what other people want them to do.

And the simple operational realities of the Whataburger business model was we take your order. We — however you want your burger made, we're going to make it that way. We're not gonna, we're not going to treat you like you're an imposition for doing that. We're going to bring your food to the table. We're going to come and offer you napkins. You know, we're going to offer to get a refill for your drink. And that made people's lives actually better. We heard this from customer after customer after customer. It's like, that's the only time during the day that somebody is taking care of me and making me the center of their universe. You can't manufacture a better purpose for somebody than that, right? And so once we were able to sort of capture that and convey to, especially current employees, that what they did mattered and that what they did was making a difference, no matter how small, they were improving somebody else's life, man, like the retention went up. Our service levels went — like every metric went up as soon as we started reframing people's jobs that way.

And so I think that, you know, replacement windows and doors is — it's a similar thing. It's not that — it's not a really glamorous thing to think about, but when you say, you know, when we go into this person's house, we're going to make it more energy efficient. We're going to reduce their heating bills. We're going to bring more beautiful light into their home. You know, you just — dit, dit, dit, dit, dit — go down the line, it's going to be more secure. You know it's going to reduce noise pollution, and as odd as that sounds, that's, you know — I was out talking to a customer a couple of weeks ago and they said, “I can't believe how much road noise we didn't know we had. When we got these windows in here, we can have a conversation now.”

That's huge, right? So I think bringing the recognition that every job can have serious, actual, not manufactured, not fabricated meaning. And I think meaning is something that everybody needs, right? But sometimes people don't see that; they don't see the meaning of what they're doing. And so I think that's one of the biggest things. 

Another thing — this is way more tactical, is just the value of advertising. You know, I've done advertising and marketing my whole career. I've seen how that can impact a business. And so coming in with a belief in the long term value of marketing at every level, from the very top of the funnel for, you know, awareness all the way driven down to after the sale — service and follow up — that's something that people oftentimes in small businesses see as a "nice to have."

And I've always believed that it's a "have to have." Like, it's it in many ways, it's like the gas in the engine, right? And so I think that was helpful for me to have that background to come in and say, "Okay, I know I'm going to have to make this investment. I know it seems like a lot of money, but I, also, have the confidence that it's the right thing to do in order to build the business." And it sort of cushions me from trying to pull back, which is where most companies make their first cut is the marketing budget, right? And so I think that brought a perspective that will ultimately make me and make my company more successful over time.

Difficulties and Surprises

Kade Wilcox: Yeah, that's really cool. So you guys are only a few months in, so I wonder what's surprised you — both what surprised you in terms of being maybe more difficult than you anticipated, but also what's been really exciting and engaging and fun in a way that maybe you didn't anticipate?

Rod Martin: You know, that — the hardest part has been just dealing and — you know, poor me coming in at the end of COVID and dealing with this — but just the interruptions in the supply chain have really been hard for us to really keep our promises to our customers. And, you know, we started off and just said, you know, we're — one of our sort of pillars under our operating principles is to always tell the customer the truth, whether that's what they want to hear or not. And so we want to make bold promises to customers and then keep them. And with manufacturing interruptions, it's — that's been really hard to do in a compelling way. As far as the most fun, surprisingly, fun piece — and I don't know if it's surprising — but just being in such a small organization is a ball.

I mean, you can get the whole company together around one table. And so the ability to — you know, we have a sales agreement. It's a very — it's a complicated document. There's a lot of math that goes into that in order to make it simple for the customer, and the ability to get the installer, the design consultant, and the back office person around the table and make decisions in 10-minutes about what we need to change or what we need to address. I, to me, that's, I just love it. It's fun. It's dynamic. And it's just — there's nothing boring about it.

Kade Wilcox: Hm that's awesome. That's really cool. So I'm excited to ask you some questions about just, you know, what you and your partner, kind of how you're approaching the business, and certain key, you know, what I believe to be really key elements of any kind of good business framework. So tell me a little bit about kind of where your mindset's at and how you're approaching vision and goal setting. You know, you're a couple of months into this thing. What's your approach, you know, coming into it and moving forward as it relates to really a vision and what you want to accomplish with your team?

Having a Partnership with One Vision From the Start

Rod Martin: So I am really, really blessed with my business partner. He and I have known each other for a decade and a half, and we started from a place of shared values and I would say a common approach to business. And so — and I can't — you know, I've seen over the years so many times where discord at the very top of a company can just drive it into the ground. You know, it makes it — it just makes everything harder. And so for Tim and I to come into this with the same goals in mind, which is to grow over time and to, you know, to have the patience to invest where we need investment and to really build the business in a healthy way, that was huge from the outset. So that's just, that's at a partnership level, right?

And so we're spending money in areas that we might not otherwise, or other people might not spend it because we're on the same page and we're working towards the same goals. So that's the first thing when it gets down to sort of the vision for the operation of the company and what we aspire to be. We sat down and I worked with the folks in the office. I worked with Tim, got a couple of other inputs, and we articulated what we call our operating principles. And that's basically the highest level objectives for the company. And then we - and that's what some organizations might call the vision, or the mission, level. We're calling it operating principles for two reasons. One is it's the, it's principles, and it's meant to be guiding. And then it's operating.

We didn't want anything — this is a really straightforward business, and the last thing we wanted to do was make it more complex by taking it, you know, to some ethereal plane. So it's operating principles, and it's basically, this is how we are going to work and what we're going to work for. And then we — so we created four buckets. We articulated pillars under that to really say, specifically, this is what we mean by that. And then we've flowed those principles into every job description in the company. So that any person that is interviewing when we post for a position, when we hire a position, when we hand somebody that position description, when we measure them on the back end, those all tie directly back to who we're trying to be as a company. So we've really tried to operationalize that level as much as we can.

You Can Never Have Too Many Ideas, But...

Kade Wilcox: That's really cool. It's really good. Any practical things that you feel like have made a huge impact for you guys in developing those? You mentioned really sitting down with your team and getting their feedback. Did you, do — you know, this may sound really pragmatic, but what — was there something that influenced the way you're approaching that? Whether it be a book or a podcast, or, you know, where do — I really like, just kind of the way you lay that out. So where – what's the origin of that?

Rod Martin: So probably two things. When I was sort of learning the trade of strategic planning or strategy management, you know, I went to a national workshop where all the biggest companies that were using this methodology were there. And the single biggest — the scariest stat is that something along the magnitude of 70% of strategic initiatives fail. Doesn't matter company size, it's just — they fail. And that's because people don't — they can't execute around their ideas. But the biggest — the bigger, scarier thought or reality was that the vast majority of what many people consider the most important initiatives never make it onto the table because people don't know what to say "no" to. And so the biggest issue in these organizations is not a lack of good ideas. It's a flood of good ideas and the inability to narrow down to which are the right ideas to actually pursue.

And so — and I've lived in that world, right? I've seen, I've actually seen that and seen the impacts of it. And then when you're able to narrow down and filter out and really challenge and pull on people's assumptions and say, "Is this really the most important thing we could be doing?" And, "What's it going to cost?" And, "What are we not going to be able to do if we do that?" Right? That exercise will really focus an organization. And I think that's the biggest thing that I see a need for is just everybody needs to know what the main — what's the goal? What are we aiming at? And then how do we define that in ways that everybody knows what their role is and attaining that goal?

Kade Wilcox: Yeah. That's really... 

Rod Martin: I don't know if that answered your question or not, but...

Kade Wilcox: Yeah, no, you did. Yeah, no, it's really good. I really resonate with what you said about, you know, having a lot of ideas is not the challenge. Any really anyone can have ideas; things they want to accomplish, goals, visions, you know, whatever. But the ability to prioritize them, which is something you said, and then execute on them is really what differentiates you. So I appreciate that. I think that's really good.

Having Culture Baked Into Your Operating Principles

What about culture? You mentioned you have a small team right now. You love, you know, the size of the team, you know, the gathering together. So as you thought about your people, your culture and what you want to grow into over time, what's your approach to culture going to be as you build out your company?

Rod Martin: So there's a fair amount of that baked into our operating principles, right? And so we've staked out some territories that we want to be excellent at. One is being honest with each other. So one of our — you know, we have — one of our operating principles is stellar reputation. And one of the, you know, the pillars under that are build trust in every interaction. Do what you say you're going to do, and then give and receive feedback as a gift. Like those are the things that we want to do as a company with each other, but also with our customers, right? And the wording of those is really specific and intentional to say. You know, it's self-evident that you can destroy trust way faster than you can build it, right? And so the idea that every time you interact with somebody, you need to be building trust, that's a high bar, right?

To do it in every interaction. But that's our goal. And so we’re — you know, we can put metrics and measures in place to see how we are doing on that? Are we, or are people, trusting what we're saying? Are we acting in a trustworthy manner? Are we keeping our word with customers? You know, are we telling them hard truths when they need to hear it? Are we telling ourselves hard truths? And are we receiving those truths in a spirit of love, right? If I don't care about whether you're successful or not, I'm just going to let you fail. I'm not going to tell you, "Hey, I think you could have handled that conversation better." Or “When you, you know, when you promise that to the customer, you created a gap that I can't fill.”

Like those are hard conversations, but they need to be had. And if I'm gonna risk myself enough to tell you the truth, you need to risk yourself enough to hear it for what it is and accept it. And then give that back. You need to be as honest with me as I'm being — as I am with you. And that's how we build a relationship over time. And that's how you build your reputation over time. So yeah, that — I mean, it's that kind of thing that we're trying to put in place to build our culture and to hold ourselves accountable to. 

Kade Wilcox: Yeah, I love how you baked in really what's going to define your culture and the type of people you're going to build your team with within your vision document or, you know, your operating principles. I think that's really smart. Because it serves as a litmus test of, you know, whether someone's a right fit or whether someone's living up to the ideals that you've all established collectively. So it's really interesting and seems — it seems to be really wise. What about finances? Oh, go ahead. 

Rod Martin: Well, I was going to say _ and the reason for that — the reason it's intended to be so specific is because, you know, like you talked about fit and I think that's, it's critical, but so many places they talk about, well, you're not in a right culture fit.

Well, what does that mean? Well, I don't really know. I just don't have a good feeling about you, right? I just didn't have a good impression. Well, articulating those and operationalizing those and making them very finite and definable holds us accountable, right? Because now we can't just put that blanket out there and go, well, that person just wasn't a culture fit. We're moving on. And maybe there was a problem with us. Maybe they were having a reaction to us because of the way we were behaving. But it also allows people to either buy into it or not buy into it, right? Because we can't say we have a caring culture. Well, what does that mean? "You know, when I interviewed with you, you said you had a caring culture, but now you're telling me that I'm not doing something right. That doesn't feel very caring to me." Well, no, the culture is actually — it's not about — caring is such a big term. This is about, I'm going to build trust with you by being honest with you and it really makes it — it makes everybody more accountable to it.

A “Worst Case Scenario Plus” Approach to Finances

Kade Wilcox: Yeah. Yeah. That's really good. What about finances? This one's always weird for me to ask because it's like, you know, finances seems to be like a really boring thing. And, you know, one would think almost really simple. It's like you make money, you save money, you spend money, you know? But I think most of the time I ask because it's something we didn't take seriously soon enough in our journey. And so I'm always curious if — what people's approaches are to their finances, you know? Whether they do it themselves, whether they use a bookkeeper — you know, I've heard a lot recently of a book called Profit First, which is an entire methodology for managing your finances at a small business. You know, you have the Dave Ramsey's of the world. So I'm just really curious, like as you and Tim have bought this company and you're growing it, what kind of approach have you taken to really take your finances seriously and maintain healthy finances?

Rod Martin: So the first thing is we're very fiscally conservative. All of our projections — we're almost ultimately conservative meaning we put very conservative projections of what we thought we could do, and then we took a worst case scenario and said, “Even if we didn't do that, what are the ramifications?” How many months of cash flow - like cash flow is critical, right? You can be very profitable and go out of business. So we took a no debt approach. We put enough money in there to start with, right? To float us three times as long as we thought we would have to be floated because you just don't know what's going to happen. You know, we took this very seriously. This is not something where either one of us said, “Well we'll just go do this, and if it doesn't work, we'll go do something else.”

It was like, if we're going to go in and — we're going to make sure that we're doing everything in our power to make sure the thing is viable even as we learn this new industry, because we are learning it from scratch, right? And so you never — you kinda — you don't even know what you have. You know, there was a person in our office that came with the company and I told her two weeks in, I said, "I had no idea what I had. You came in with this job title, but you're functioning up here and I could never have guessed that it could have been the opposite." Right. You don't know what you're getting when you buy a company. I got very, very lucky with the folks that I inherited with this company.

So we allowed ourselves to be wrong about a lot of things, to a degree. And then from the other perspective, I said, you know, it sounds like we don't — we try not to spend anything we didn't have to. But the flip side to that is that we committed to investing for the long term and putting systems and technologies in place, and pay structures, and things like that would make us more successful long term knowing that we didn't necessarily have to make money year one. It was not, you know, let's go in and try to make this thing gangbusters year one. Let's look at year three, year five, year 10, and what are we going to — what should we invest in now so we don't have to come back and try to retrofit it later? And so I think just being really thoughtful about where to invest and where to save, as obvious as that sounds, and then just planning for the worst case scenario plus and going from there.

The Big Marketing Temptation to Avoid

Kade Wilcox: Yeah, that's really good. Thanks for sharing that. I'm really excited to hear your, kind of — what your plan is for sales and marketing with your background in marketing. And the fact that you're really inheriting, you know, a blank slate — like it's yours, and you can kind of do what you want. You don't have a client, you know, telling you, "Hey, this is what I want," you know, whether you agree with their strategy or not. And so what's your vision right now for that? You know, how are you working into it? What are some of the things you're excited to do, you know, to experiment with? What are you doing now? You know, just kind of speak into how you're going to approach sales and marketing.

Rod Martin: Yeah. So, you know, first off, we're trying to invest in the entire funnel right. Heavily at the top, and then all the way through. We're not trying to pick just a — there's a temptation that a lot of clients come — that they fall into, which is just focus on conversion, focus on conversion, focus on conversion. And that can work for a while, right? But if you're not filling the top of the funnel, then pretty soon you've converted everybody you're going to convert. And then you're, you know, you're kind of left scratching your head about what to do next. And so we're really looking at the entire consumer journey. We don't have a lot of research done yet in Lubbock. So we're, you know, relying on third-party information. We were really lucky to get some partners, some strategic partners, on board early that have a lot of industry experience.

So we're able to bring benchmarks from other similar type businesses, in similar types markets, to sort of set that baseline that we can measure ourselves against until we have enough of our own data to really see trends and make adjustments based on that. And then the other thing is that — and this is probably the most exciting to me personally because I love the creative side of the business — which is, you know, the Window World brand has very specific attributes, but they're national attributes, right? And so they're sort of definitionally generic in some sense. And West Texas just has a very specific ethos about it. And so figuring out how to translate those characteristics or attributes into something that's relevant in Lubbock and in West Texas is really exciting to me. And it's fun to me to be on the client side of this equation in the sense that I have the approval power. Like what you said, like, you know, there's nothing — when you're on the agency side, there's nothing more disheartening than pouring your heart into an idea that, you know, is the right idea just to get told, "No that's too risky," or "I don't think that's right."

And so I've tried to put the shoe on the other foot, and I've told the agency that I'm working with. "You know, I'm going to be your hardest client for the first nine months, but my hope is if everything goes like we think it is in 12 months, I'm going to be your favorite client, because I'm going to challenge you to do stuff that nobody else is asking you to do. I'm going to, like — my goal for you is to follow me out of the water with something that I wouldn't have thought of. And if you do that, I promise you I'm going to go for it. Like, if it's sound and it's logical, I'm going to go for that because I know that you can't win by not standing out." Right?

And that doesn't mean being crazy. It just means you have to find some sort of resonance with people to where they actually want to do business with you. Because you're — these are big, important decisions that people are making when they're talking about a replacement window that will potentially be in there as long as they own that house. You know, we've got a lifetime warranty, so it's literally forever that they're going to be dealing with that. So they've got a big, big decision to make, and it's not always going to come down to dollars and cents. At some point, it's going to come down to, "Do I want to do business with people? Do I believe that they're trustworthy and they're going to do what they say?" And then, you know, "Are they going to be around in five years if something happens and are they going to remember me, or are they not?"

You know, we had a comment on our Facebook page over the weekend from a lady that said, "Hey, you guys put windows in my house. And they didn't finish the job." And we looked it up. It was from 2014, and the lady had just been dealing with this. She had never been really happy with the job. Well, that's our — like, we get to go make that good now, right? We get to go stand behind that. And so you want to let people know, in a meaningful way, that's who you are as a company. And so I'm really excited about sort of unlocking that.

Kade Wilcox: Yeah, that's good. You talk about really investing in the entire funnel. So if you broke down a funnel and enforced simple phases, you know, attract, convert — so attract leads, convert leads, close them, and delight them — what are some of the things you're excited to test? Because you're, you know, direct to consumer products. So what are some of the things you're excited about from a marketing perspective, in the funnel, that you think is going to be really effective for y'all's, kind of, B2C strategy?

Rod Martin: You know, I'm excited by the whole thing. Because we're really this — the company didn't have much presence in the marketplace before. The previous owner had kind of kept it under the radar, intentionally kept it pretty scaled back. And so there's really — there's ground to be tilled at every one of those levels. And I'm excited about all of those. I think the thing that probably excites me the most is really that you wouldn't call it an unboxing, but it's like that experience when the day that windows go in, right? To make that something that's really exciting and special for the customer. To me, that's like, that's the magic, right? That's where their trust in you hopefully pays off. And so finding ways to make that as special as we can, it doesn't have to be anything grand, but something that really reinforces to them that they made the right call.

Tools Rod Can’t Live Without

Kade Wilcox: That's awesome. That's really good. So a couple more questions for you. So as a new business owner and leader, what are some of the tools, whether they're apps or, you know CRMs or whatever it is, what are some of the tools you just can't live without?

Rod Martin: Well, so that's kind of funny. It's kind of a funny question from the perspective that my answer is gonna be very random to you. But probably the biggest one, the biggest tool for me personally, is podcasts. Because there is so much content out there and so many great thinkers in all aspects of thinking and doing and in life; there are so many perspectives out there and it's really easy to get micro-focused on your business when you're, you know — and I think that I personally am somebody that gets kind of — I can get too unidimensional in my thinking, right? I just — I'm mission first and I'm going down that path and I need to look up. And so for me, podcasts do that for me. They make me think about different things and even things that I don't even know that I'm interested in until I hear it, right? So that's probably the biggest personal tool.

Kade Wilcox: Are there any recently that have really helped shape the way you approach running and leading your business?

Rod Martin: Yeah, actually. So, randomly, Joe Rogan — he brings in such great thinkers. And I think the thing that I've learned more than anything listening to that podcast is I've actually gotten to observe a truly open mind. Like he just lets you go wherever you're going to go. And he asks questions. So often you think you know the answer to something so you ask the question in a way that you're going to get that answer, and then you're just waiting for them to say that thing. And the thing that I love about listening to his podcast is he just lets it go wherever it's going to go. And he rarely challenges. He might challenge you. Like, if you're going off the rails, he's going to try to push you back a little bit on the rails, but he truly is curious about everything.

And so, like I said, topics I didn't know that I cared about at all, I've come to really enjoy. I listen a lot to Jordan Peterson. I think you know, listening to his biblical lectures that have brought an entirely new level of thinking to, you know, the Bible stories that you learn as a kid, that you take for granted, that you just don't think about. And just the level of meaning in those things and the practicality and the applicability of those things to things that you're doing every day, have been really great for me. They've grown me a lot in that regard. And then just the value of those things, right? Just the intrinsic value of those stories, whether you're Christian or not, those stories — or whether you're Jewish or not — those stories are so packed with meaning that is powerful. That once you start thinking about those things in that way, you realize that you miss a lot of other things. And then, yeah, those are probably the two biggest. I love listening to Mike Rowe. I love what he's done as a human being in terms of highlighting the importance of jobs that a lot of people take for granted, or don't want to do. The idea that, you know, a four-year degree is not the only path forward for people to have a fruitful, productive life. And then just the way that he interacts with people at a very honest, respectful level with humor. You know, all of those things — I'm a big admirer and I really enjoy listening to him.

Kade Wilcox: That's really cool. No, that's really good. Well, man, thanks for being on the podcast. I'm really, really excited for you. I know, for me personally, starting businesses, running them, building teams, doing all these things we're talking about, it's really rich and rewarding. And so it'd be fun to have you back on in a year or so and say, “Okay, here's all the things you said, you know, when you're two or three months into it — how do you feel now? What have you learned? What are you doing now?” So I'm excited for your journey and I'm really confident you're going to do a great job.

Rod Martin: Well, I appreciate it. And I enjoy our conversations. I always learn whenever we get together for lunch or have a conversation. I look forward to many more.

Kade Wilcox: Thanks, man. Have a great day.

Rod Martin: Okay. You too.

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