September 19, 2018
Focus and listen. It’s what I had to do after my conversation with Stuart. I went back to the beginning of it, listened and learned. He is not only a great storyteller but a teacher too. Stuart is the Founder and CEO of Narrative Science, a company that interprets millions of data sources and transforms it into insightful, natural language narratives. His industry and brand are cutting edge and AI is certainly part of the now and the future. But just as important, I loved his vision of wanting to be “the somebody else,” the client that was being served, which led to an abrupt change in careers (the story is worth listening to). You will also appreciate and respect the business business opportunity he got from a CEO after seeing him (and really only him) on countless Saturdays in the office.
Stuart’s career from Miami
- Accounting major from Miami and started working for PwC.
- Went to Vanderbilt Law School and was a corporate lawyer for three years.
- Frankel got an opportunity with a client to work on a project that excited him.
- After a couple months, Frankel got word that the project was canceled.
- Took some time to figure out exactly what he wanted to do from there.
Coming into the office on a Saturday?
- In office every Saturday 9am-3pm.
- The only other person who would come in was the CEO.
- If you work a little harder than the other person, this can give you a significant advantage over them.
Why Stuart got the promotion
- He was the youngest people there and the CEO thought that younger people would understand and adopt emerging tech and things better.
- He had been bugging him in the past 6 months about implementing new ideas.
- He was there and showed up even on the weekends and the CEO felt he could do this job
Take the risk.
- When the project was canceled, he had the choice to go back and practice law or to discover another area of business he was interested in.
- Frankel didn’t look at what the next three years would be, but he looked at what the next 30 years could be.
Working in AI (Artificial Intelligence), there’s always two sides...
- Creation of technologies: this is where a lot of work is being done by large companies (Google, Microsoft, etc), but also smaller companies.
- Market adoption: this is the harder step because it takes a lot for people to adopt and like the technology.
Always be in a learning mindset.
- Read everything.
- Listen to a lot of podcasts.
- Surround yourself with people of very different backgrounds.
- Learning doesn’t stop at 22.
September 12, 2018
Pulitzer-nominated Wil Haygood has made a career out of telling some of the most interesting, if overlooked, stories in American Life. Most notably, he penned the story "A Butler Well Served by this Election" for The Washington Post which became the basis for the award-winning 2013 film "The Butler" and for Haygood’s New York Times’ best-selling book of the same name. His seventh book, TIGERLAND: 1968-1969, A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing, was just given to all Miami University freshman upon arrival into Oxford this August and thanks to Penguin Random House, weeks in advance of the actual book release. He addressed the incoming students at Miami’s convocation on August 24 and discussed the importance of race relations. The pod examines his writing success but also digs back into his childhood. Wil was the first person from his family to attend college, and he talks joyfully about knowing the moment he came onto campus that it was the only place he wanted to be. I was also fascinated with his description of his book writing process. You can pre-order the book (release date September 18, 2018) via Amazon
“When there’s unity, good things happen”
Where Haygood’s love of writing began.
- A teacher told him he had a writing gift, when no one had said that before.
- Decided to go to Miami with full intention of taking English literature courses.
- Majored in urban planning with minor in English literature.
Why Haygood chose Miami.
- No one in his family had gone to college and he knew it was going to be a tough challenge.
- Went to his high school counselor's office and took a stack of pamphlets about colleges.
- Immediately was attracted to Miami because of the the red brick and loveliness of the school grounds.
- Told his counselor that he wanted to go to Miami and she told him that she didn’t think he could get into Miami.
- He got offended by that which made him try harder to get into Miami.
- Local high school teacher took him to visit the campus, six weeks before classes started.
- Knew once he had seen the campus that he was happy he committed to Miami.
Growing up in Columbus was different than it is today.
- Grew up on the north side of the city.
- On the north side, the grade school and high school were all racially mixed.
- His mother and him moved to the east of Columbus and the schools were segregated there.
It was difficult, but Haygood graduated.
- He knew what was at stake and he knew he had to succeed for himself, his family, and to inspire others.
- School was hard and he struggled, but he loved taking different courses.
- He had some caring professors who he could tell wanted him to succeed and that made him work harder.
- From there, he started to understand what a writing voice was and grew into his writing.
What gives him the inspiration to write each book
- When he walks into bookstores and he wants to see a book about a certain subject matter, if he don’t see the book he says to himself that he’s going to write it.
Haygood’s writing process for Tigerland.
- Started traveling to Columbus to find and talk to the athletes.
- A lot of the athletes got emotional about sharing their story because they thought their stories had been forgotten about.
- Interviewed around 125-150 people to understand more about the story.
Key takeaways from Tigerland.
- Sports and sports figures have always brought the country together.
- With race being a long overdue discussion right now, it’s important to look at where there are triumphs.
- It’s a story that inspires people and exemplifies the best of the human spirit.
What’s next for Haygood.
- Not totally there yet with the idea, but it’s going to have a focus about the world of movies
How “The Butler” came to life onscreen.
- Wrote the story and it appeared on Washington Post.
- That same night, he had eight phones calls from major Hollywood producers telling him they wanted to buy the rights to his book.
- Once he sent the screenplay out, the story interested great actors to be casted in movie.
Wil Haygood’s book, Tigerland, comes out September 18th, you can pre-order Tigerland on Amazon.
September 5, 2018
I have talked to some wonderful people on this podcast, but it is just a bit sweeter when you can reconnect with a friend from your college days. Lisa and I have been friends for more than 20 years (really almost 30), and it’s been incredible to watch her career blossom. And frankly, she has crushed it over the past few decades. And now she provides a unique podcast perspective as she is between jobs – something not many would be open to talk about. You will love her story about being called the wrong name repeatedly at the Miami job fair and years later, her cold call to a CEO. Both ended with jobs. She has a thirst to learn and spends time in the pod discussing inspiration, the need of space to think and how to understand signals of communication.
“Ask for what you want and you might just get it”
Inspiration comes from learning.
- Lisa credits her inspiration to always wanting to learn and being on the learning curve. Lisa believes learning is where real growth comes from and it’s best to learn by doing.
Sometimes cold calling a CEO works...
- Lisa cold called to the CEO of a company after leaving a technology start-up. She gave pitch and the CEO said sure. This lead back to her continuous need to learn and did this through reading, talking and taking in as much she could.
The importance of having a “figure it out” mindset.
- If you have a figure it out spirit, you can get a lot of things done
- Lisa spent a semester at the London School of Economics and wanted to challenge herself to learn French. She did and credits this mindset to how she really grew as a person personally and professionally.
- It is crucial to learn how to have the ability to adapt, change and have the ability understand all signals of communication, especially when traveling abroad.
Understand what’s said and what wasn’t said.
- When you understand the signals of communication, it’s most important to realize what you miss
- You can pick up on this and realize how decisions are still made
- This is important to understand when being leader and role model
- Example: when a leader announces a promotion, all employees read into what is said, but also what is not said. Be careful.
Miami University is full of opportunity.
- Opportunities are there and you just have to recognize it and reach out and grab it
- Miami gave Lisa the confidence that she can ask for what she wants and this ability has helped her succeed in her career
Ask for what you want.
- Ask for what you want
- Example: Lisa was attending the career fair at Millet Hall and walked up to a recruiter, who kept calling her the wrong name. She told the recruiter she wanted to apply for the investment banking internship and the recruiter told her they only hire Ivy League students for that internship, all while calling her the wrong name. Lisa corrected her name to the recruiter and walked away saying she was only interested in the investment banking internship. A month later, the recruiter called her to tell her she was accepted to move forward to phone interviews for the investment banking group. Lisa ended up getting the internship and is a great example of asking for what you want.
- Don’t expect your school or employer to just put what you want on the silver platter for you, you need to tell them
It’s good to take a step back and reflect on what you’re doing.
- Lisa left her job because she realized she was starting to plateau and she wasn’t sure it was what she wanted to be on career path wise. Lisa wanted to step away from work in order to really reflect on what she wants to do next. Continuing with always wanting to learn, Lisa wants to challenge herself and immerse herself in a steep learning curve.
So, what’s next for Lisa?
- Lisa is interested in artificial intelligence and how we are applying it to other industries. It is a gamechanger for how we can use data and predictive modeling to make better decisions to help consumers.
It’s important to recharge.
- Step away from work and dedicate time to yourself.
- Lisa decided to make a plan where her kids would go on a new vacation to a new location and try foods and different cultures once a month. It’s invites the space to think, as well as ushering in great adventures.
- When creating the space to think, Lisa exercises more, sleeps better, and relishes the time.
Where can you find the space to recharge?
- So many executives are go, go, go, and multitasking.
- Initially, Lisa didn’t create the space to think in any of last jobs.
- She recognizes this as failure to herself and family and now is working hard on creating deliberate tools to create the space to think. Example: walking to work instead of commuting where you can just think, free from distractions.
Lisa’s advice to young Miami University professionals.
- Don’t be so set on having a game plan that you lose other opportunities that come your way
- Experiment with different careers and roles
- Be a risk taker
- Your first five years of your career will be the most important because this is where you learn what you’re good at and what you think to do. It’s important to get a understanding and a synthesis of that to get a robust view of that
- Try a lot of things and don’t be afraid to do that when you get older
- Always try to keep yourself in change agent mode and risk-taking mode
August 29, 2018
We caught Jeremy Kudon at a pivotal time in his business. As the foremost lobbyist in the gambling/betting industry and client of daily fantasy giant DraftKings and several professional sports Leagues, he has been working 24/7 since the Supreme Court ruling allowing states to decide on their own to have legalized sports betting or not. The Founder of Orrick’s Public Policy group, Jeremy helps influence legislation at the state-wide level for all his clients. Similar to many alumni I talk to, he specifically points out a professor and classs (MKT 301, 401) that helped shape his mind on what he wanted to (and sometimes didn’t want to do) next. For him, it was Don Norris (also one of my favorites). We started off the podcast discussing the moment and then the subsequent hours after the Supreme Court ruling was released.
“I didn’t want to look back 50 years later and say I didn’t pursue something I wanted to pursue”
24 hours in a litigator’s life once a big ruling comes out.
- Currently in Boston, he was meeting with Massachusetts Attorney General with major leagues to talk about sports legislation betting.
- Once the opinions started coming out, he waited to hear what the ruling was. It was a 7-2 for the petitioner (in favor).
- From there, his phone was constantly blowing up with emails from his clients, friends, and co-workers.
- He originally planned his day to consist of a series of meetings with legislators that day, but needed to meet with league clients to New York.
- He flew to New York that same day to meet with his clients.
- Met with clients to start planning the next steps in strategy.
What Jeremy Kudon does...summarized.
- He works with clients that are private companies and sports leagues o try to get the betting legalized.
Jeremy Kudon’s career path to where he is now.
- First, Kudon started as a commercial litigator working on big accounting liability cases.
- His clients at the time were DirectTV and Dish Network and they hired them to be a appellate lawyer to work on helping the companies develop and implement a national state legislative campaign.
- The first years of the work were far from exciting; once he started working on the cases, he started to get a niche in it.
- Kudon then got a call from Uber in 2014 to come in and help them, but after two meetings they realized there was a conflict.
- From there, Kudon started to reach out to other companies and eventually emailed the founder of FanDuel.
- No one ever responds to the cold-emails, but the CEO of FanDuel responded. Three months later, he started representing DraftKings and FanDuel.
What to write in an email to potentially get new business.
- Introduce yourself
- Make fun of the fact that you don’t normally send emails
- Make the point of emailing
- Example: Kudon was basing his email from feedback of legislators saying FanDuel could face issues if they didn’t hire him and start focusing on state legislators
Why Jeremy Kudon chose Miami.
- Kudon swam in high school and was recruited by the swim coach.
- He also loved the campus when he got there.
- He was a big fan of the “Public Ivy” book and learned that the guy went to Miami.
- His mom had dated a hockey player at Miami and said she had fond memories at Miami.
- Six other people from high school went to Miami.
- He was excited to leave the DC area and try out the midwest because of Miami’s great academic reputation.
Make sure you thank your professors.
- Two great professors influenced his career: Augustus Jones (political science) and Donald Norris (marketing).
- Keep in touch with your professors, especially if they made a big impact on you
- Example: Kudon didn’t keep in touch with his professors and he advises to try more often to let professors know how they made an impact on your life.
The law school decision.
- Didn’t go to law school after college until 3 years after.
- Kudon worked in marketing and was doing well.
- He still loved law and wanted to practice it; he didn’t want to look back 50 years later and say he didn’t pursue something he wanted to pursue
Advice for before you jump into law school.
- You need to learn the ropes of the law because it’s so big and it’s not what what it looks like on TV
- Law school is a way to approach life. You’re supposed to look at the world as grey, not black and white.
- You have to look at the argument and understand both sides of the argument.
What’s next in sports betting.
- Each state taking on the issue and opening up the markets.
- 10-12 states are going to follow
- 6 states have legislation on the books
- 3-4 are actually operational
- New Jersey has a true mobile prodiver (SportsKings)
- This will revolutionize sports betting in the US and once other states see the markets flourish, more states will adapt.
August 22, 2018
Interesting few pods ahead with the upcoming start of the NFL Season. Our guest this week Matt Golis is working on helping leverage the excitement around fantasy for social good (and next week, Jeremy Kudon, a betting/gaming lobbyist working on behalf of Leagues and brands to legalize at the state leaves). Matt’s start-up company DraftMates lets users play fantasy sports with proceeds directly benefitting a charity of choice. A true entrepreneurial mind as he has created a fundraising platform taking advantage of the enormous affinity of fantasy. He has spent his career finding digital solutions for users, and has some really great perspective on the unique challenges found there. I really enjoyed the dialogue about his move from the Bay Area to the Midwest and which Miami class has helped him throughout his career.
August 15, 2018
Rich is a nothing short of a go-getter. 200+ days on the road a year and has navigated 40 countries in his business travels. No wonder why he has grown and sold businesses and is hot on the next one (Enrich Media). Wait until you hear about his first stock buy of $500 …. At the age of 14. Similar to some recent pods, each of these successful Miami alums have figured out a personal unique proposition that make them indispensable for businesses. For Rich, it is scaling companies, and scaling companies well. It shouldn’t get lost that he acknowledges his parents as his business mentors and advisors along the way (you don’t have to look so far for guidance, keep that in mind!). I was intrigued with how someone who travels so frequently manages their work stream. Rich shares his personal methods of daily exercises and mimicking Jack Dorsey by breaking his day into 30-minute increments each focused on a specific subject matter. Hope you enjoy.
“Anyone can learn a business when it’s good, if you want to make it--you have to find a carved out niche”
“You’re going to have times where things are going to be awful, but it always gets better and you have the ability to determine that yourself”
“Sometimes your big opportunity in life is at times is going to come when you're not the most prepared for”
Managing Across Different Time Zones.
- Try to manage and schedule your days in 30-minute increments.
- Everyone has different times on when they work best- find what time works best for you.
- Finds that doing the heavy work in the morning is best and allows you to work before the day and distractions get started.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body.
- Exercise is the very important to incorporate in your routine.
- It’s a great way to let off steam.
The Three Essentials for Constant Travel.
- Noise-canceling earphones
- Lots of different snacks (because airplane food is boring and unhealthy)
The Skill Needed For Success.
- The skill of compartmentally: being able to do two different things.
- Model your schedule in 30 minutes increments like after Jack Dorsey.
- Don’t take a lot of meetings because they can be a big waste of time.
- Make sure your make time to get your actual work done.
Miami University and its Professors Change Your Life.
- Never forget your great professors and keep in contact
- Miami really prepares you, especially the business school for the real world and the challenges that come with it
- You have to go through the hard things to appreciate success
You Might Have Hard Times... It Gets Better.
- Sometimes your big opportunity in life is at times is going to come when you're not the most prepared for
- Say yes and taking the chance to new opportunities
- Anyone who has gone through hard times know that it’s going to get better and things do change
- You’re going to have times where things are going to be awful, but it always gets better and you have the ability to determine that yourself
- Surround yourself with the right people: find an executive you admire and listen to them 90% of the time.
- Financial Freedom Explained by Kizzi Nkwocha
Next Steps for Rich.
- Working with a seed school (a school for intercity kids)
- In order to change the future, you have the change the foundation
- Want to focus more on golfing
After Seeing 40+ Countries, See This Country.
Rich’s Go-To, High-Street Meal.
- Chicken gyro with waffle fries
August 8, 2018
Seller of burial plots and a franchise owner of an insurance agency. Did I get your attention yet? That of course isn't what Summer is doing now but each were stops on her business path. A path that has always had the focus on awareness, storytelling, demand generation and thinking about the customer experience. She has used those traits throughout her career to now where she is the COO, CMO and Co-Founder of tilr, a HR-tech company. She has an incredible appetite to learn, and she focuses on subject areas where she doesn't feel up to par. Something brave to admit, and something smart to share. I always appreciate her efforts in getting brands to hire based on skill versus simply a job title. Students should take note and use that in their interviewing conversations too.
August 1, 2018
One thing that is clear from my conversation is that Matt is an absolute grinder. Even before Oxford, he was an entrepreneur. Working on a farm making money at the age of 10 and being active in the stock market as a high schooler. He then continued to find new business opportunities, each time using the success of his previous business as the foundation. Matt has used all of this experience to start his current business Arrive Logistics, a modern freight broker and overall logistic solutions company. It was 10 employees in 2014 and now has 500+ and growing). I think you will also enjoy hearing about Matt’s business of selling supplements out of his dorm at Miami. He never stops. Keep thriving Matt!
July 25, 2018
Simply put, Jim is a pro’s pro. A simple search of his professional background would show a career filled with experience and success. But maybe more importantly, and what comes through in a phone call, is that he is caring, dedicated, and willing to help others get better. Our conversation spanned from his very limited use of technology in the late 1970’s in Oxford to walking the campus just months ago as his youngest of two graduated Miami (his older son is a Miami grad too). His principles to success are clear: 1) work hard and be dedicated, 2) learn how to work within a team and 3) personal integrity is everything. We dabbled into how he learns, even today, and how her exposes himself to the ‘unfamiliar’ to expand his own thinking. We even touched on the need of mentorship….who knows, maybe I added a new one today.
July 18, 2018
This is a great story! We start the conversation talking about Michael’s Astronaut Scholarship. Wait, have you not heard of an Astronaut Scholarship? Don’t worry, neither had I. A light bulb went off in Michael’s head as a young Miamian while climbing a mountain – how do we make better insulated jackets that are not ridiculously bulky? So he and his fellow Miami buddy and co-founder Rithvik Venna went to work. They created and demoed product as students uptown in their apartments and created OROS Apparel. OROS is an ancient greek work for Mountain and to Michael, this is all about the climb, the journey, and giving 110% effort every day. They are crushing it year-over-year and the sky is the limit for them. Especially for two guys who raised 3x the ask on a kickstarter campaign. Nobody does that….well, except for OROS.