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April 24, 2023

EXPERIENCE 112 | Seth Coonrod - Timberline Audio Video - The Highs and Lows of an Entrepreneurial Journey

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Seth Coonrod is the Founder and Owner/Operator of Timberline Audio Video in Loveland, Colorado, and also a LoCo Think Tank member.  He worked as a key employee of a similar company in North Carolina in his earlier years, and founded the company immediately after moving to Colorado.  

In this episode, we get into the nerdy stuff of luxury home audio video systems, talking tech trends and smart homes and more, and also get a bit nerdy on business - creating quality estimates, sourcing sometimes many hundreds of individual components, and then making it all work - with margin!  And , we get deep into relationships and philosophy and the way of the world - it’s a very candid conversation with a guest I know you’ll enjoy getting to know!

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Music By: A Brother's Fountain


Seth Coonrod is the founder and owner operator of Timberline Audio video in Loveland, Colorado, and also a Loco Think tank member. He worked as a key employee of a similar company in North Carolina in his earlier years and founded this company immediately after moving to Colorado. His boss had been in a peer advisory organization in North Carolina, and when he learned about Loco Think tank, he jumped right in. In this episode, we get into the nerdy stuff of luxury home audio and video systems, talking tech trends and smart homes and more, and also get a bit nerdy on business, creating quality estimates, sourcing sometimes many hundreds of individual components, and then making it all work with. And we get deep into relationships and philosophy and the way of the world. It's a very candid conversation with a guest I know you'll enjoy getting to know. So please welcome Seth Konrad. Welcome back to the Loco Experience Podcast. I'm pleased today to be joined by Seth Coonrod. And Seth is the owner operator of Timberline Audio video, and he's a loco think tank member. And I'm just really, uh, excited to learn more about his business journey. We are fairly well acquainted, but I think less than myself and many of our members. And so Seth, why don't you just start by describing Timberline audio video. Yeah, absolutely. So Timberline audio video, uh, we launched about six years ago, um, saw a need in the market for, um, for our services. We specialize in, uh, design and build out of smart home systems and smart home entertainment systems. Um, so that is a very, very broad term these days. If you were to walk into a Home Depot, every device is labeled as a smart device. Um, yeah, I was wondering to myself, is that thermostats? Is it security systems? Yeah. Is it right? And and the answer is all of the above. Okay. So, um, it can be security systems, uh, home theaters, whole house audio systems, windows, shades, um, installation of televisions, smart lighting controls. Mm-hmm. Um, H V A C controls smart garage doors teach you how to use one remote to run it all properly. Yeah. Basically we're just really good at Googling things for others, figuring out how to make them up. Right. Well, you know, that's the millennial way. And so I imagine some of your employees, uh, have that, have brought that up through the organization. Yes, absolutely. Um, it's a skill you can't teach very well, however, though some people have it just innately. Yes, fair enough. Fair enough. No, it's, uh, one of the beautiful things about Alma who just helped us get set up here is that like she, she's only not even just gonna turn 20 in a few months. So she hasn't seen that much, but she knows that she can figure anything out just about with, uh, a little patience and some Google Yeah. Right. Exactly. You know, some YouTube videos. Exactly. You know, and I, and I think, you know, part of that is what makes our business successful, right? I mean, we don't all have the time, nor do we want to dive into these things, right? Um, and so we found a special place in the market where we can help people, um, design solutions for that tailored to their home and their lifestyle, right? Um, every individual is different. Everybody lives in their home differently. Um, and so it's really fun to be able to, um, you know, engineer these systems for, for individuals and not just a, you know, say, Hey, this is what we're gonna do for you. We sell this thing. Yeah. And you're stuck with it. Yeah. So, yeah. Well, and what I was thinking is you kind of like how, like even before local think tank, I became a, a bank, I was a banker that was just absorbing different best practices from different customers and then sharing them between the rest and stuff. And that was, you can be kind of a concentration of knowledge of that space and ask better questions, design better systems, avoid. The mistakes of others. Yeah. And I think that's, you know, you have to be in, in, in our industry, um, to be successful. You can't ignore, uh, the rings that are own that, you know, the ring video doorbells that are owned by Amazon mm-hmm. Or the Nest home, you know, voice control, uh, platform that they have. Those things can't be ignored. Ignored. And you have to, there was a time in our industry where if you go back 20 years ago, um, these technologies didn't exist. And so we led the conversation with what we could do for a customer. Mm-hmm. And nowadays we have to lead a conversation with what do we, what do you want in your home, and how can we guide you and ma help make better decisions? Yeah. Um, yeah. So it's a lot of fun. You guys have been growing, I think. Mm-hmm. Seems like from afar or a little ways afar. Tell me about your team today and, uh, and then from there I want to learn about kind of the, the client journey. What's that experience look like too? Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, our team is super strong right now. Um, seven people including myself. Mm-hmm. Um, so I've got myself. Um, and then my, uh, first employee that I hired is still with me today. Awesome. So that's a lot of fun. Yeah. Uh, he's been with me for, for a little over four years now. Okay. We've been in business for six. You wanna shut him out and say, Hey. Yeah. Austin, I know you're out there somewhere probably doing all the things that I should be doing right now, so Thank you. I'm drinking bourbon with Kurt. That's right. Um, so, you know, Austin's my, it has now evolved into my project manager, kind of my right hand man. Mm-hmm. Um, we've got, uh, we've got an office manager, um, uh, somebody who supports me with, uh, engineering of, of design and systems. Mm-hmm. Uh, helps build proposals and helps me with sales. And then we have, um, two, uh, full-time, uh, technicians on staff. Now, I imagine there actually is some engineering associated with it, like how much load these different things can handle and how do the different. Talk to each other. It's not engineering in the traditional sense. Sure. But, but there is a lot of design that goes into it based on the specs and the abilities. Yeah, no, that's, you know, and, um, I always give the example, somebody I was asked this question about six months ago and started to make me think, well, how many pieces and parts do go into a project? Yeah. And if we're talking about a, a new construction residential project, let's say it's a $2 million home and we're doing, you know, $60,000 worth of revenue, you know, $60 solution in that, in that home. Uh, we figured it out one day and it was well over a thousand parts and pieces that we are installing into that house. Yeah. And some of that may be as simple as cable, but a lot of it is connectors and, and things that need programmed. And, and it, uh, when you start to, when you pull that number out, it's like, wow, maybe we do know what we're doing. We only charge $60 a piece. Yeah, that's right. That's right. So, um, so yeah, it, it, uh, and you don't go to school to do what we do, so, yeah. You know, you, you learn the hard way. I, there wasn't, there was some truth to me saying, we know how to Google things successfully. Yeah. So tell me about the rest of my, your team before I get you two sidetracked here. Yeah. So, so that's it. We're running lean and strong right now. Okay. Um, and I'm just super stoked about it. So. Well, you said seven. I heard seven. So you got the design. Kelly, Larry. Yeah, we're at six now. Okay. We're six strong. Okay. All good. All good. Well, as long as it's a strong team. I mean, it was, it was three of you I think, or four, I think you had just moved to four when we first met, which. I guess just not too long pre covid. Is that true? Yeah, I think that sounds about right. Maybe even during Covid. Oh, really? Um, when we met, um, yeah. We, uh, started it by myself six years ago and then, uh, yeah, we, we've just seen significant growth ever since, ever since then. So just trying to do our best to accommodate Yeah. Figure out which piece goes next and, and who, what's the next position that you will hire? Is there? That's a great question. Um, you know, I, I, uh, right now I'm strategically kind of just settling into the size that we are. Yeah. Uh, there's a reason for that. You know, number one is we grew very quickly. Um, we're trying to get our processes dialed in. Mm-hmm. I think we lost control of, um, you know, of profitability and ma running as effectively as we can. Yeah. And right now we're just at a sweet spot and a lot of demand. Yes. You know, how much things cost better now. Yes. Um, I think we've figured out, you know, where, where we need to be to be profitable and comfortable, and that's a very humble place to be as an entrepreneur. I think we're always trying to push for what's next, how do we grow? How do we get bigger? Yeah. How do we increase revenue? Um, you know, how do we make more money? And it's easy to get lost in that and kind of lose track of what's important. Well, and revenues don't always solve all your problems, correct? Correct. Correct. Yeah. Sometimes there's a sweet spot where it just works better. Yes. You know, and then, and then usually as you continue to grow, you get to a place where you have to invest a bunch and then go, maybe even through a period. Not so profitable on your way to capture that new, larger scale. Yes, absolutely. And so, yeah, so again, it's just been really nice to kind of settle in where we're at now and, and quality control is very high. Um, we are able to, you know, breathe. Yeah, I can sleep at night sometimes. Yeah. That's really pleasant. So, well I wanna delve more into the kind of like the things that are available, the cutting edge of home entertainment and systems and things a little bit like Sure. Tell me about the system. But I wanna, before we get there, I want to kind of bring us back to the pasture. Sure. And, uh, I'm remembering that you moved here, uh, from somewhere East North Carolina or something is in my mind. Yes. But, uh, um, but let's talk about like, where were you in first grade? Where was I In first grade? Yeah. Uh, in first grade I was in, uh, the big town of Longmont, Colorado. Oh, you were? Okay. Yeah. So you came back to here. Yes. Um, so I've, uh, kind of jumped all over the place. Um, but when I was in Longmont, uh, my mother was actually in medical school to become a physician Oh. At University of Colorado Boulder. Sure. So she was commuting to Denver every day and uh, and I was going to school and that's where we, that's where we lived. And were you born in Colorado too? I was born in Longmont. Okay. Um, lived in Boulder when I was born, cuz my mom was doing undergrad at, uh, university of Colorado. Okay, wow. Um, and then the next Oh, that's interesting. Yeah. Born while she was in college. So fun fact born while she was exiting high school. Oh, wow. Um, and then went on to become a doctor. Uh, my, uh, my sister who has become a very successful person in the healthcare field as well. Mm-hmm. Her first year of college, she got pregnant like three months in. Right. And it was like, oh my gosh, what's going on here? And who's this guy? And yeah. But. You know, in, in her case, she's made a great career out of it and went through college and Sure. All, all the good things. And so, yeah. Well, you'll probably find out as you talk to me that my entire, uh, you know, livelihood has been predicated by the female physicians that are in my life, um, up until today. So, fair enough. Um, you know, a lot of questions will, uh, will, will be answered with, oh, it's because of this. So tell me about little, little six year old Seth, uh, in first or five year old Seth with whatever that may be. What kind of a kid were you? Sure. And what kind of a family dynamic? Do you have brother or sisters? Uh, so I was a single child for 10 years, you know. Wow. Danielle, you're out there somewhere. I love you. Um, but I was an only child for 10 years. Danielle's my sister. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so, uh, and then, so my sister's 10 years younger than I am. Brother is 14 years younger than I am. Wow. So, wow. You know, my parents waited a little bit after they had me and, and made sense. Right. Um, going to school, they had a lot going on. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, you know, I lived at home with mom and dad. We lived in Longmont. My dad worked at a, uh, at a paint store, um, an automotive paint store, and, uh, and, and my mom was, you know, pursuing her dreams and, and pursuing her education. So, yeah. Yeah. Um, so probably fairly lean in those years because your mom was incurring a lot of bills and not earning much yet. Yes, yes. I've spent a lot of my life as a poor college student, so even a child of a poor college student or a child of a or Yeah. Or a child of a poor college student. Um, uh, so yeah, I, you know, I think, uh, but I think there's some beauty in that. Oh, totally. You know, well, a. Dreams and hopes for the future. And, and, you know, she wasn't just killing time. Yes. She was filling her brain full of useful stuff for the future. Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. And what a, what a cool environment to be, to be raised in Right. With a family that's working so hard towards something. Yeah. Um, and then to, you know, if you were to fast forward 20 some years to, to be able to see that come to fruition. Yeah. It's just, it's so fun. I think that's pretty cool. Yeah. So tell me about, uh, maybe, uh, middle school, Seth. Sure. So that's the next jump in my life. So my mom was going to residency training in Greeley. Okay. Uh, to become a family practice doctor. Um, so I was going to middle school in Greeley, uh, living with mom and dad and still living pretty lean. And, um, you know, they did a great job of supporting me. I was playing the violin and, and, uh, in orchestra and, uh, playing soccer. And so those were kind of their two reasons for chasing me, you know, all over Colorado. Yeah. And there still wasn't even, uh, Danielle wasn't around yet, so she, no, she was introduced in Greeley. So I, I actually remember they told me in the parking lot of, I believe it was Kmart over by the mall in Greeley, that I was going to have a sister and I started crying. Those were not tears of joy. Yeah. So, like, if you. Think back, like, were, were you jealous that there was gonna be somebody to share their attention with or, uh, gosh. Wow. We're getting deep. Um, you know, so my mo my mother was one of seven children, and she was the oldest of seven children. Um, and I, she had me at a very young age. Right, right. So I grew up with six. She started raising you right after she raised the rest of her younger siblings. Exactly. So I had six aunts and uncles that were relatively close in age to me. Right. Um, and were very, very involved in our lives. And, and, uh, I was the youngest while I was the only grandkid at the time. Right. The only niece, the, or excuse me, the only nephew. Um, so, so yeah. I, you know, I think it's fair to say that I probably got a lot of attention and I was afraid of some of that going away. Yeah. And I'm probably still that way. It's normal. Totally. Totally. And so, um, I guess, you know, talk to me about your, like, education. Were you a good student? Were you, you said soccer was a, was a big thing for you and violin. I, I didn't not know that about you. Yeah. I don't play anymore. Okay. Um, so, uh, yeah. I, I could you, could you I probably couldn't. No. Really. I struggle through the guitar. Um, but it is a dream of mine to pick up the violin again someday. And I will. So I will be 60 some years old on a bluegrass stage playing the violin. Awesome. But for now, we're just gonna settle in where we're Yes. Career number three or four or whatever. Exactly. Exactly. When you don't actually need to work for money anymore. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that'll be the. So, um, and, and far as studies go and things like that. Yeah. You know, I think, uh, I always did well in school, but I, I definitely probably held myself back. You know, I just, I I'm a floater, you know, for somebody that didn't try very hard, you get pretty good grades. Yeah. I'm a floater. Um, you know, massive a d d that, uh, isn't harnessed in some beautiful ways, I think. Um, but yeah, you know, school, I just never found it. It, it never felt as important to me, I think, as it does to others. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Um, it wasn't, I didn't make it a priority. I remember discussing my philosophy around school and I, I was a high school of 50 kids or 60 kids or something, but I was like, well, if I can pretty much coast, you know, and not take homework home and stuff, Either A's or B's. Like, I'm not gonna work really hard for an A if I can get a B without doing anything. Right? Yeah. And I think my only concern was just like, you know, staying, keeping my head high enough above water that it didn't get chopped off. Yeah, no attention. Yes. No negative attention to speak of. Yeah, exactly. Fair enough. And then did you go to college or tech school? What was next for you? Wells, and where were you? So you skipped a very, very important step. Yeah, let's hear it. Um, so. Senior year of high school, I found out I was having a child. Oh. So, um, yeah, so I, my mom took her family tradition. Yes, that's right. Really carrying it on, aren't we? Um, yeah. So we, um, my, my mother had moved, our family, mother and father had moved us to, uh, Paonia Colorado. Oh. Which is where she had gotten a, a. Dr. Ring job. Yep. So that was our first job as a, as a physician in a very small town. Mm-hmm. And, um, my world turned upside down. There was no, uh, there was no orchestra to play violin linen. There was no soccer team to play soccer on. Um, the BMW motorcycle rally is there every year. That's really fun. Yeah. And Jerry Seinfeld comes through once a year for a car show and Oh, no. Yeah. And that's about all that, uh, it's about all that we have to say. Um, but, uh, you know, it was a, it was a really influential time in my life. Uh, I loved living in a small town, you know, even without the things that I had grown up with. Um, yeah. So, you know, just kind of plugged away with school and, and got the surprise of a lifetime when I found out I was gonna be a dad at and 17 years old. Was this like a fresh relationship or has, was it a high school, long time girlfriend? Fresh, fresh relationship. Interesting. So, um, you know, six months, six months in. So it, uh, it was a. Yeah. Um, like, can you talk to me about the, the environment? I mean, this is a small town, right? Mm-hmm. Like what was her parents' response? What was your parents' response? Sure. Yeah. We can go there. Um, I wasn't expecting to, but yeah. It makes a great story. Um, no, I, you know, I already alluded to my, my mom and dad had me when they were young, right? And so, um, I, I think the best way to describe is just to describe it, is just challenging for all parties involved. Mm-hmm. Um, you know, my, my father, I think they knew how much harder it had been Yeah. In their journey, kind of having little Seth tugging along. Exactly. And I think, you know, from my dad, it was just, you know, I, I know, you know, that he, he just didn't want me to make the same mistake, you know? And I did. And well, but that's calling you a mistake. Well, you know, yeah. Even if you would've come along 10 years later, seven years later, sure. You wouldn't have been the same mix of chromosomes and this and that. Yeah. No, that's a very good point. Um, and, and, and my mom, mom, I love you. Um, but she, uh, she, at the age of 15, when she found out that I was dating, she did what any responsible physician mother would do. And she went to the grocery store and she got a card that said, congratulations, you're a father. And she put it on my pillow with, uh, with some condoms inside of it. And then the card, it said, don't let this be you. Make sure that you use protection well, Clearly I didn't listen. Right, fair enough. Um, you know, so she was, she was instrumental in, in helping me sort through all of it. Um, yeah. And, and as far as, um, as far as my, my kid's mother. Yeah. And do you wanna name her? Is it easier? Yeah, so Ellie, um, yeah, so Ellie and I were together for 17 years. Wow. And she went on to become a doctor. You know, I, I was with her through, through med school and we kept our family together and, um, so, so yeah. Very, a very just, you know, challenging time for all parties involved. Um, but you just, everybody would always say to us, cuz we, you know, we did undergrad in Grand Junction and then Right. And then we moved to West Virginia for her to go to medical school. We moved the whole thing. Yeah. Didn't have the normal college experience. No, not at all. At all. And people would always say, well, how do you do it? And it's like, well, we don't know any different. Right. We went, we went from being kids to being adults in overnight. Yeah. I don't, I don't know if you wanna face this question, but like, like there was abortions and stuff. Did you guys ponder that? Was that not a, not an option for your families or is your thoughts, or where was your heart at? Yeah, I think, um, and I'm anti-abortion for what it's worth, but it certainly is an option, you know. Sure. You know, it was discussed as an option. You know, I'm a pretty firm believer and it's, it's a woman's choice. Um, that's, that's how I feel even to this day. Um, I can tell you at the time I was not ready to have a child. Yeah. Um, and I think, and you didn't feel like. Y your call. Really n no, it definitely not. Um, certainly not my call. Um, but at the same time, you know, even at that age, even at 16, 17 years old, like, I just had a lot of respect for the decision that the mother made would make. Yeah. Um, yeah. And had you put that decision in my shoes, it would've been extremely challenging. Yeah. Um, is that a hard thing to think about when you've got these? It is a hard thing to think about, right? I mean, Tessa, my, my oldest is now 21 years old. Wow. And, you know, my kids are everything to me. Yeah. And so, so yeah. It, it's very difficult to think about now, but, you know, I, the, you can, you can look at statistics for teen and parents Right. And see their success rate. Yeah. And it's not good. Right. Well, and that's one of the things I, I think is amazing about having you on here even and, and six employees and growing steadily and, and building what I think will be one of the. The dominant organizations in your industry in northern Colorado for a long time. Sure. You know, and so that's cool. Like good job. It is. Thank you. Uh, you know, and, and it's, uh, again, I think it just goes back to, and I think entrepreneurship is much the same way. Like people say, how do you do it? And you just, you just do it. You figure it out. Right. It doesn't mean you do it well. Yeah. Not all the time. So, to get back to it, so you guys went to college at Grand Junction there, just whatever, 60, 40 miles away from Paonia. Yep. Yep. Exactly. So undergrad and in Grand Junction, a lot of support from the parents and child watching and stuff, probably, or not so much, surprisingly, no. Oh. You know, you have to, we're doing this thing. Yeah. We're talking about Danielle and cj, my siblings. Right. I mean, my parents were still raising them. Right. You know, and I, my poor mom, I made her a grandma when she was 35 years old. Um, right. And so we're like, Hey mom, you wanna watch the kids? And she's like, reluctantly saying, I mean, I guess, but no, I don't really want to. Well, well, and there's that kind of establishing your, your family as your identity, right? Yes, exactly. Um, and listen, uh, Ellie and I were both hardheaded, you know, we were out to prove that we could be successful. Yeah. I mean, I think we can all, um, envision what. Living in a small town, there were 47 people in my graduating class. Yeah. Um, once they find out that two of those students in high school are pregnant, and I'm sure you can imagine, you know what a lot of perceptions, public perception is. Sure. Yeah. Um, and we were out to prove something and Yeah. That's cool. I like that. Yeah. That, that binding together, that came from that hard thing. Yeah. A challenging time. Exactly. And, and, and, you know, I, I gotta say, it's, it's, it's interesting especially when, you know, at this point in time, my mom is a, is a established physician in making a good income and, and we, we started from nothing. Right. You know, we lived in low income housing and, um, we, we lived off of food stamps for a while, for a short period of time. And, uh, you know, we leaned on Medicare heavily and or Medicaid heavily. Yes. Um, and, you know, but that's, to me, that's what those programs were designed for Right. Is to help people get a leg up. Yeah. And, uh, it's just a cool success story. Yeah. Agreed. Yeah. Um, and so, uh, you started to take me to. I think the next step in education mm-hmm. For Ellie. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so we both com Well, she completed her undergrad in Grand Junction. Um, I became an expert at going to the library and taking naps in college. So, um, you know, because you weren't getting enough sleep when didn't watch that kids. Yeah. Well, you Yeah. And you're a kid, right? So I, I was still a kid. Right. So I was still playing up late, staying up late and playing video games while raising a kid and going to school and working. Yeah. Um, so, so, uh, your college wasn't a super success story. No. And I was, it's funny now because I, I was going to school for business, um, and I remember just being really discouraged when I found out that, you know, you couldn't get a job as a CEO right out of college. Well, damnit Yeah. Can you believe that? It's so crazy. Yeah. And it made zero sense to, that's the job I want. Like I'm the boss of everybody and I make $250,000 a year or more. Yeah. And if I'm going to school, like why wouldn't I start at the top? So, um, you know, ultimately, uh, my heart wasn't in it for school. Yeah. Um, and so I got all my general education credits done out of the way, and then I just went and waited tables. Yeah. You know, and, and paid the bills and, you know, worked my favorite job and, and, uh, and, and yeah, a super fun job. I, I worked, I waited tables through college, but I was working 20 plus hours, 25 hours a week. Mm-hmm. You know, and, uh, As far as dollar per hour, you know, now it's a little different. Some places are winners and some places are losers. A lot of places are still not nearly as busy as they were. Right. You know, pre covid. But there isn't a more, you know, it's physically demanding. It is. When you're getting into your upper, into your thirties or your forties, you're like, eh, this is a pretty hard job. But when you're 20 you're like, this is so fun. People gimme tips and I make a bunch of money and could drink. And it's funny you say that cuz like I, I still to this day, like I would love to take apart chime job and I may very well at some point in time, like waiting tables. Mm-hmm. Um, you know, because there's some beauty in it. Like you just show up, your shift starts most of the days. It just, you know, it's, it's over before you, you can even think about it. Well, I'm thinking to a certain extent, like most of the employees at restaurants and bars and things like that are young, non-significant responsibility people. And so you could finally have peers that were Yes. Like that way. And you, you couldn't be that person necessarily, right? Because you had to wake the baby up the next morning or whatever. Right. Or well, yeah. No, that's a very good point. That's a very, very good point. So, so where did, uh, where did LA go off to next stage? Or where did you guys move somewhere? Yeah. Yeah. So we, we applied, uh, she applied to, um, medical schools all over the country. And we got accepted to, um, we got, we got an interview in West Virginia, in Louisburg, West Virginia. And we flew out there and it was a very quick trip. Um, you know, cause we had kids back home, right? And so we flew into dc we drove to Louisburg, West Virginia, which is about 15 miles in the, in the West Virginia border. Okay. Um, went to sleep, woke up, she did an interview, a cop in the. Went and went back to dc, hopped on their airplane, flew home. That was the only place you got accepted to. So that's where we ended up. Boom. Um, so yeah, so we, we packed up the whole family and, and all three of our, so we had three kids by the time we were 21. Oh, wow. Yeah. So we didn't stop. Right. Um, you know, there's things you can do well, so, you know, the running joke is now she's Ellie's an ob gyn. Right, right. So we had to, uh, we sent her to school to become an ob g yn so we could figure out why we stopped, why we kept having so many kids. Right. So, so what are the next two littles then? Uh, so, um, I have, so Tessa's my oldest. Yep. Um, she's now 21. Um, and then I have, uh, I've got Lauren, she's my middle child. She's 18, and then Ryland is 17. Wow. So my son is 17. That's awesome. Um, so yeah, so West Virginia was the next stop on our journey. Yeah. And tell me about West Virginia. Like how, how far away is it from dc So DC it was about a three, three and a half hour drive. Okay. If I remember correctly. It's been a while. Um, And, uh, you know, West Virginia is, is a beautiful state. I will, I will say that. And, you know, we made some beautiful, we made some amazing friends in the process. Um, but it is a little tough to go from, uh, a state, the state of Colorado, which I was born and raised in, and it's kind of striving, uh, economically and, um, there just isn't that culture of trying to succeed and strive there. Yeah, right. And, uh, the town that we were in was very, very, very small. Um, and, uh, you know, while I can appreciate a, a small town, um, yeah, it, it was a challenge. Well, small and sad is a lot different than small and striving. Right, right. And, and I'll tell you the worst, um, the worst part about it was, and it's something I never would've taken into consideration, was a. In Colorado, we have so much sunshine. Yeah. And in West Virginia, especially in the winters, it is just gloomy all the time. And you know, we're, we're outdoors people and so we would say, well, let's go for a hike. And so we want to, we wanna see above the trees and we'd go for a hike and we'd get to the top of the mountain and we still couldn't see shit. We couldn't see any farther than we could from the bottom. And that's not something we're used to in Colorado. Right. Yeah, no, I, I like to describe North Dakota by saying, you know, the sun sets one day in November and it comes back out one day in March. Yeah. Right. And you know, that's just the way it is. And it's cold as crap in the meantime. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. At least you're not super cold in West Virginia, but Sure. But is it kind of like right around that freeze point a lot? Sometimes you get snow, sometimes you don't. Yeah. Sometimes it's rainy and sleety. Yeah. I would say that, that, that, that's accurate. And the funny part is, is they just don't have the infrastructure to support snow. Right. And so, right. You know, here we are. I, at the time, you know, Ellie was in, in medical school, that's just such a huge commitment. Um, and, and I had actually started going back to school as well. Oh. So I was commuting, um, a few days a week, an hour away to go to college while my kids were in school. Yeah. And we got the first snowstorm after being there, and, uh, it was maybe two inches. And we get, we get a call from a friend and the friend says, Hey, are you, what are you guys doing with your kids today? What do you mean? What are you doing with our kids today? Like, well, it's closed, it's a snow day. And El Ellie and I just looked at each other and laughed. It's like, there's two inches of snow. Right, right. And also, what the hell are we gonna do with our kids? Right. You take, um, so, so yeah. So yeah, I think weather, yeah, weather is, is a lot, you know, it's a pretty, it's pretty moderate climate. Um, but uh, yeah, they certainly weren't prepared to deal with the snow like we are here in Colorado. Yeah, for sure. So, and so, uh, uh, so did you just go to school and she was able now to financially kind of cover the family? Or did you just wait tables a little bit and do mishmash? Yeah, so I, um, I did a few different things while we lived there. Um, you know, when it, when we first moved back there or moved to West Virginia, um, I had helped out my grandmother-in-law back in Colorado with, uh, her window shades business. Oh. So I had sold, um, and sold window shades and installed window shades in a very limited capacity. Yeah. But when he moved to West Virginia, I thought, well, shoot, here's something I can do. Right, right. I can start a business. Um, that's what I always wanted to do. There's that CEO role I was waiting for. Right, right. Um, I just buy some sample books and go sell window shades. Right. Um, and I hated every second of it. Oh, really? Yes. Why? Um, Yeah, I've, I've learned a lot. Not hard enough maybe. Um, but to me, like I learned that, you know, I think you have to be, in my opinion, you have to enjoy doing what you do. Yeah. You know, in order to find success. Makes it a lot easier for sure. Especially as an entrepreneur. Exactly. Um, and, and as much as, as easy as it was, um, it, uh, I I'm not an interior designer. I don't want to tell you what color of shades you should pick. I don't want to be ha be the one to, to choose. Right. What color? The $30,000 order of shade. I'm serious. I'm about to, price is going to be. Right. Um, and, and if I'm being perfect, I can't believe you made me pick the brown. Yes. I totally knew I should have picked the white. But you told me Yes. And I had a situation like that and I'm like, oh my Lord. So, so, yeah. So, so I did that for a while. Um, and, uh, and ultimately just, just wasn't happy doing it. And, and admittedly the market wasn't great either, right. Um, it was a small town, you know, window shades that I was used to selling in Colorado were very expensive. Um, and, and that didn't have much of an economy to support. Right. And there weren't that many people building houses. Correct. Not that much was happening. Correct. And that's just me, you know, being young and naive. Um, but the one thing that did come out of that is I, I somehow, and to this day, I, I couldn't tell you how I managed to do it, but I sat in a boardroom with a bunch of very successful people and sold a $40,000 shades project that was gonna tie into the home automation, the smart home system. Nice. Right. Um, and as that project progressed, I thought to myself, well, shoot, that's what I want to do. Oh. Like, that's, that's cool. Um, and I just saw so much potential in it. Um, but I, but I wasn't there yet. Um, and so I did want to finish out to my degree. That was always really important to me. Um, and a school about an hour away had a bachelor's, uh, program in culinary arts. Oh. I had cooked, I had worked in restaurants, waited tables. Always really enjoyed that environment and that atmosphere. Um, And so, so I, I decided to go for it. And the great part about it was I had already had all my general education credits done before I started taking naps in the library. And, uh, and so all I had to do was go to school for two years and take the cooking classes. Yeah. And they gave me bachelor's degree. Oh. So, yeah. That's cool. At this time, I felt, and, and you know, a bachelor's in culinary arts, bachelor's degree in culinary Arts. Hmm. So, and at the time, I, I, and I, I actually still think this is true to this day. I think 10, 15 years ago, the bachelor's degree held a lot more weight than it does now. Yeah. And so in my mind I was like, well, you know, it's a bachelor, it's a bachelor of science. Technically in culinary arts, it shows your willingness to, to work hard and finish something. Right. And, and I could see myself in that, in that field. Right. If it was a food and beverage director or, you know, if it was something, or maybe just waiting tables, that's where I was happy. But then I shouldn't have taken on the student loan debt, but whatever. Um, so yeah. So I ended up completing that degree, um, and, uh, interned at a small little Italian restaurant in West Virginia part-time. Um, and, uh, and then eventually took a, uh, took a position cooking full-time for a therapeutic boarding school for teenaged girls. Oh. Where tuition was $80,000 a year. Oh my. So rich people's messed up kids. Yeah. Girls. Yeah. That sounds dangerous for a handsome young man. Three babies at home. Just kidding. That's inappropriate to even speculate, but it. Chaotic and a little bit intense. Yeah. But, uh, God, I loved it. Yeah. I loved it. Oh, cool. Um, you know, I, the thing is, is yeah. You've got these, these girls in there whose sense of reality is so skewed from, from what I grew up with. Right. They were never own food stamps. Correct. Um, and they have been placed at the sporting school in genuinely the middle of nowhere in West Virginia. Right. Where they live full-time where they can't get in trouble. Yes. Cause well, they can get in trouble. They just have to find creative ways of getting in trouble. Right. But, you know, in so many ways, it reminded me of, uh, you know, almost me being young. Yeah. You know, it's like, was it a positive environment? I like, it seems like most of the girls would come in like kind of bitter and angry and stuff for being sent away. But yeah. If I can turn that. Yeah. I think, uh, it was a tricky environment. Right? Yeah. Um, you know, it was, it was a very challenging environment for all of those that worked on staff, but I, I think at the end of the day, everybody had the best interest of the kids in mind. Yeah. Um, and I was really proud to be a part of it. Cool. Um, it was really, really fun to be a part of. And le it turned out to be much less. The food that I was preparing and more about how I could be a part of the organization. Yeah. Um, the girls had chores that they were assigned to daily, so they had to help me wash dishes after every meal. Mm-hmm. Um, and I would have helpers assigned to me to, to help me cook or prep and, um, there's life lessons and all of that. Yeah. And, and well, learning how to take responsibility for something and do it well. Yeah. Right. Like most of these girls probably hadn't ever even taken the trash out Right. Once. Right, exactly. And, and I felt like I brought a uni unique perspective to them because I said, because, so sidetrack, Ellie, I'm sorry if this offends you, if you're out there, but she went to a boarding school Oh. She, for a short period of time when she was young. Um, and we had another, uh, family member who had went to a boarding school, um, when we were young and for, for to be married to somebody who had came out of those challenges Yeah. And was pursuing her dreams. Yeah. Pursuing her passion. Yeah. Um, to say, Hey, like, life's gonna throw you curve ball. Curve balls. There are going to be setbacks. This is just a part of your story. Yep. And don't let. Moment in your time, define Yeah. Who you are or who you want to be. Yeah. And it was really fun, even that firsthand story of, by the way, my wife had a baby when we were in high school and now she's a doctor in Yeah. Your town. Right. Or whatever. Right. Yeah. No, exactly. So, so yeah, so, so it was, it was a lot of fun. Um, and I, and I finished out my, my time there, uh, before we moved on to Ellie's next chapter. Okay. Which was, uh, which was Wilmington, North Carolina. Okay. And Wilmington's, like, it feels like it's set in from the coast ways. That's kind of where they, like the financial sector is pretty strong there and stuff isn't, well, you're picking up Wilmington, Delaware. Oh, yes. And where's as a ox says it was Raleigh, North Carolina, or Romi, North Carolina. Yeah. So Raleigh, um, is on the eastern side of North Carolina. Yep. Um, in from the coast. Yep. So if you were to drive southeast from Raleigh to the coast, you'd run into Wilmington. Oh, okay. And it's about, if I remember correctly, 30 to 60 minutes from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Okay. Yeah. Now I know where it's atish generally. Yeah. So for a Colorado kid, you know, uh, we grew up in a landlock state, like living 15 minutes from the beach was kind of cool. And still lots of forests and hills and hiking trails and way better than West Virginia. Yeah. Well, but the irony behind the West Virginia, uh, trail systems and parks is that we would go there and they have a ton of them. They're absolutely stunning and beautiful, and there's nobody there. Right. I'm not surprised. Yeah. Yeah. It just is culturally, like there was, when I moved to Minnesota, um, right after college, I got my first banking job there. Mm-hmm. And I had just gotten a DUI, like literally the night before I got my job offered. Right. Joined this credit training trail. No. And I confessed it. I was like, uh, just so you know, I got my second DUI last night and I'm gonna lose my driver's license for a year. Sure. So if you want to offer it to somebody else, that's cool. Right. And she's like, eh, we'll figure it out. Oh. So anyway, I moved to this town, Worthington, Minnesota. Mm-hmm. Um, an hour east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota to give you kind of, it's so it's in the corner. Okay. Yeah. The armpit of Minnesota many. Anyway, say I'm going to Minnesota on Friday and they had this amazing lake in the town with a path around it. Okay. And I brought my mountain bike down there cuz that was my method of transportation, basically. Sure. And I would ride my bike around the lake, you know, pretty regularly and stuff. And I think I, in the, in the year, 11 months I was there, I saw like seven other people using that trailer around the lake. It was amazing. Yeah. There was probably more than that, but hardly. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway. Well, I was used to, you know, I, I always draw the, um, draw the comparison for people and I say, well, when we lived in West Virginia, we were in the most obese state. I mean literally statistically the 50th most open state. And we would fly back to Colorado and we would land at DIA and get outta the airport. What the hell happened? What's wrong with all these? Yeah. How do these people lose weight? Yeah. It really, so culture shock. The upper Midwest, you know, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, they're sure they're right up there in the top 10 too. Sure. Yeah. So it, you know, it's, it's, it was just a, it was a big culture shock, but Yeah. So nor North Carolina was very, very different. Yeah. Um, and so you're, uh, Ellie was just onto the next kind of phase in her career journey, I guess. Yeah. Or whatever. Yeah. And the, and honestly, probably the most challenging, like, the most challenging part of our journey. Mm-hmm. Um, you know, when you're, uh, a resident, uh, to become an obgyn, you work 80 hours a week. Mm-hmm. And that is not an exaggeration. I mean, it is 80 hours a week for four years in a row. Um, wow. It's miserable. I've, I've had a few 80 hour weeks mostly farming. Yeah. You know, my, my dad started a farm when I was in school and Right. You know, there were some of those weeks, right. Like I've had. 20 Yes. 80 hour weeks of my life. Right. You know, and that's about it. Yeah. But for four years in a row Wow. To be, to be put through that. Um, and, and it was at that time that I, uh, when we moved there, I thought, well, I'm gonna go cook somewhere, you know, that's what I want to do. Mm-hmm. And this is the career path I want to pursue. Yeah. So, you know, I applied for food and beverage director positions and probably didn't have enough experience at that point in time. Sure. Um, I would apply to places like grocery stores that I knew had daytime hours, because the reality of our situation was we had three kids. Right. You know, in elementary and you could only really work when they were in school Yeah. To elementary and or middle school. And we had to have, we had to have some consistency for them at home. And, you know, Ellie's 80 hour work week wasn't going to, wasn't going to, and it was kind of sporadic and whatever. Yeah. And it was nights couldn't planned for nights, weekends. Right. And, and she had no, um, decision making power over her schedule. So, you know, I, sorry, I shouldn't laugh at that, but No, it's just the circumstances. You're kind of a, what do they call it? Like an indentured servant of sorts still during that time for many, many, many years. Yeah. Um, so, so, you know, ultimately I was, I, I had two different places telling me, Hey, uh, we would love to bring you on board, but we're gonna need you to work a weekend or we're gonna need you to work a night. And I'm like, but I would go into these interviews saying, this is my availability and this is why. And, and I think I just realized in that moment that. I, I realized in that moment that it wasn't gonna work. Yeah. Um, and so then if you go back to, um, you know, I've always been a hobbyist with electronics. I've always loved computers. I've always been around them. Um, and the feeling that working alongside that home automation, the smart home project Yeah. In West Virginia that I had, it was like, maybe that's what I should do. Hmm. And it's, you know, eight to five Monday through Friday. Yeah. At least from what I could tell. Um, so I applied to all of the, the audio video companies in, in North Carolina where I was living. And I, I genuinely said, here's my resume. And then in my letter, um, I said, uh, in my cover letter, it was, I have no relevant working experience. Right. Um, I'm willing to start wherever and I'm just looking for an opportunity to, to grow in this industry. Yeah. You know, that cues me up for a piece of advice. I've given a lot of people that are looking for a job. Mm-hmm. Or, or looking for a change. Usually they, like, they have a job, but they don't like it and they wanna do something different. Sure. And people have the idea that even kids these days, less so maybe, but even that you, you, you need to apply for the jobs that are posted and open. Yeah. And the best jobs are never posted and open. Exactly. You know, and so what I always say is, Find the 20 companies that you really admire in the region that you think you might wanna work for. Study 'em, learn about 'em a little bit and apply even if they don't have any jobs. Right. They will think of you and be flat. They'd be flattered. Right. You know, and, and, and you may just, well find your way in the door and, and from there, who knows where it goes. Yeah. No, I think you're exactly right. And I think, uh, you know, listen, I have, I have teenagers and early 20 year old kids right now. Right. Um, I have a lot of people in my life that are out there doing the job search thing. Yeah. And same thing applies to you guys, Tessa and Laura and Ry. Yes, absolutely. Um, I, but I, I'm a firm believer in that as well. I think everybody's default now is to go to Indeed and, you know, search through thousands of pages of Right. Of jobs that may or may not have been fulfilled. Right. And you have to do something to set yourself apart. And I understand it's a product of the society that we live in right now for, for that to be the standard. But what's to say, you can't deviate. Right. You know what's to say? You can't go walk, walk into somewhere. They'd probably be so astonished. I mean, that happened to us. We had a, we had a prospective employee. Yeah. Walk into our shop. Beginning of the summer when I, the thought of hiring somebody was nowhere near on top of my mind. Right. And you're still absorbing the growth you'd done and stuff. Yeah. But he was dressed like one of my employees would dress every single day, and he had all of the experience that we were looking for and he said, Hey, you know, I'm just, I'm in town and I, uh, my wife and I are thinking about moving here. And so I looked up all the companies around here that had a good reputation and, and I wanted to just swing by and introduce myself. Um, love it. I didn't write down his last name. Oh, shit. So Joel from Wyoming, if you're out there somewhere, I will hire you. That's, uh, yeah. That's an interesting, uh, well, lesson learned. You will, uh, you will figure that out next time you get it. Yeah. You're not all about the audio video stuff. So you apply to all these av mm-hmm. Companies out there. Sure. And, uh, one of 'em calls you one of 'em bites and, uh, and, uh, so, uh, I ended up working for a, a company in North Col, North Carolina called Acoustic Creations. Okay. Went to my first interview, uh, walked in, uh, they had a beautiful office space, um, and a very nice person at the front desk and a great conference room. And I sat down and interviewed with two individuals. Okay. Interview, I thought went well, although I did get a flat tire on my way. That's not a joke. Um, and, uh, you know what, and you were on time. I was not on time. Okay. But I was close. Right. Um, so that's impressive. Yeah. I mean, listen, I, you just, not everybody can change a flat tire in less than 10 minutes. That's right. Um, it was an exercise in preparation, which I'm not usually good at. Um, but yeah, they, they ended up hiring me. Um, so fast forward to day one of my new job. Okay. And when I walk into this nice office with a nice receptionist, and then I start to put some pieces together, right? So the sign on the on the walls says cloud wise, it doesn't say acoustic creations. And then I start meeting a bunch of people in the office and none of them seem to be associated with acoustic creations, and so I'm trying to understand what's going on. Well, it turns out that Sean, the owner of Cloud Wise and Acoustic Creations, um, had had a lot of success with acoustic creations prior to the recession. Okay. Um, when the recession hit, he kind of shifted gears and he, um, put focused his efforts on his sister company, cloud wise. Cloud wise is more like a computing company or some sort, or cloud wise was a, um, was a. Kind of a computer services provider. Right. Okay. Um, and then they also did, uh, wireless, um, wireless internet service offerings that we would do the installs for. Long story short. Yeah. Um, but yeah, not the same company. Right. And Steven, who whom I met, uh, turns out was the only person working at Acoustic Creations at the time. Okay. And, and it was just, it was funny as I started to put the pieces together. Right. Because their website was great. Um, a little dated, but, but good. Um, and they had good reviews online and, and they appeared to be a very successful company and Right. Um, but then, you know, then I'm like going out to lunch on day one and I'm looking at the van, and the van has like this faded picture of a woman wearing headphones on the side of it, and it says, building your dreams into your mortgage. And I'm like, God, if that's not a 2009 statement, I don't know what is. Right. Right. Um, so, so yeah. So it was a little, um, little surprising, um, week two of that job. Uh, Steven, the one person that worked there, his wife had a very complicated delivery, um, of a child. And so I was left on my own to the wolves for. No, you'd had a week of two weeks experience already. Yeah, I was, I was well trained. Um, and, uh, but you know, what is, so what I love about this story is that, um, in the four years that I was there, I got to learn everything about our industry. Hmm. Um, I got to do installs, you know, I got to pull wire in new construction houses. I got to program systems to be functional. Um, we had to do marketing. We had to do sales. Did the business grow? Business grow a lot? Okay. Yeah. So when I, uh, you know, when I started there, um, you know, numbers wouldn't have meant much to me then, but they do now. Right. Um, when I started there, I found out shortly after that they were doing a hundred thousand dollars in revenue annually. Oh gosh. Um, and which is enough to pay the one existing play, like 30,000. Yes. And then that's about it. Yes. At best. So, um, it was a real speculation when they hired you. Yes. Um, you know, and, and, uh, and, and, yeah. So when I left, they were, they were approaching a million dollars in revenue. Okay. We had five or six employees. Nice. Um, and, and had kind of just brought. Fresh air and, and was that you, like, did Todd return his focus at all to acoustic things or he found you and you kind of grew that business for him or So yeah, so good question. So it was Sean, but Sean. Sean. Sean. Yeah. Yeah. No worries. Sean was the owner of both businesses. Steven, who I worked alongside was his brother-in-law. Okay. Um, which I found out later. Um, but Steven to this day is one of my best friends. Oh, that's cool. I genuinely talked to him at least. So the two of you really built it? The two of us built it. Yeah. You know, he taught me everything that I knew in the industry. Yeah. Sean was our voice of reason. Yeah. Um, or not. Um, Sean, I love you to death, but Sean was the person who, when you went into his office for answers to these questions that you've just been arguing and trying to figure out for weeks, you would walk out with more questions. Right. It'd be like whatever you guys think. No, it wasn't whatever about this. Yeah. It wasn't Whatever you guys think it was. Here's what I think and here's what you should be thinking about. Interesting. But actually it was an amazing person to have as a leader. Well, I think it shows the, like there's a difference between leaders and managers. Yes. There's a, there's, there's creators and there's most all of us have terrible gap areas. Yeah. You know, and so did, so did Sean. Yeah. So did Steven. So do you, so do I, you know. Right. And which I'm remembering from our fir first conversation actually that one of, I'm guessing it was Sean, maybe was a member. Tab or a similar organization to local thinking. Yep. Yep. Sean was in tab Okay. For a while. And did that make a difference for him? Like were you there when he started with that? And I was there while he was doing tab. Okay. Um, you know, and, and I just, I have so much respect for, for working with, you know, alongside Sean and under Sean, um, because he just was like, he, um, in Wilmington, he teaches at the school of business, or at least he sits in and, and, and helps out with the school of business. And, and so it was very, you know, I think to that point it was very inspirational to see like, Hey, you're the top of these two organizations. Yeah. But you're still challenging yourself. Yeah. You know, you're still, um, you know, educating yourself and always wanting to sharpen those tools. And it was, it was really cool to watch. And in some ways he. Like, even by the circumstances of your hiring and stuff, he confessed to being a, a human with fallibilities and, and things like that. Right. Here's your new job. I I told you about Steven. Right. He's your partner now. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Um, so yeah, so it was, it was just such a cool time, um, and, uh, and, and just gave me so much confidence, you know, moving out here in, in what I could do and what I was capable of in this industry. Yeah. And I could have just as easily been hired by a company of similar size to pull wire, you know, and be in new construction houses and Right. Do that for four years before you had the chance to hook a wire up to anything. Right. And just be the wire pulling guy. Right. Um, and, and I didn't, and I wasn't, and I'm so thankful that it, that I wasn't right. Because I, I learned, you know, that, that I was capable of so much more. Um, it was fun. That's pretty cool. Yeah. And how cool to grow a business and not have to have any of the risk. Right, right. Yeah. I want to go back to that. I hear ya. I hear ya. Tell me about the rest of the dynamic in your life at that time. You've got kids now that are mm-hmm. What, like upper elementary school, some of 'em. Mm-hmm. Okay. I mean, there's no other way to describe it. Chaos. So, you know, kids are kids and kids get sick and kids have, um, kids have obligations, friend problems and school problems and friend problems and school problem problems. Great problems and teacher problems, all the things. Right. And so, um, it was, it was chaos. It was managed chaos. Yeah. But it was tough. But probably Ellie was still, uh, seventies and eighties hours a week kind of gal. And so yes, it's, it's challenging and, and frankly, not to make stereotypes, but boys aren't as good at managing a family dynamic sometimes. Sure. They're not as nurturing. They don't Sure. They're not as aware sometimes about the things that are going on that haven't been said yet. Yeah. No, I, you're like, if you need help, just tell me. I'll help you. Right. And they're like, no. You know, their actions say that they need help, but they don't say it. Right. No, I, I, I would agree with that. And especially when you're, you know, those pre-teen years are tough. Right. You know, and I was in the thick of it with those, with the girls. Right. And girls are easy when they're young. Yes. And hard when they're later. And boys are hard when they're young and easy later. Yeah. As long as I don't get anybody pregnant. Yeah, exactly. Um, so yeah, so it was, it was chaos. Um, you know, I coached Lauren and Ryland's soccer teams Cool. In spring and fall, and so my days were like, you. Get up early, make sure the kids get out the door on the bus. I should say hour, days, you know, when Ellie was available. Mm-hmm. You know, we were a great team. So our days consisted of, um, you know, getting kids on the bus in the morning, making sure that they're get ready, get to school, then immediately going to work, then coming home, you know, rushing home, making sure that I pick them up from wherever they're out of their afterschool program Yeah. Than rushing them to soccer practice, than getting them home and trying to find time to feed, you know, everybody, and then get them to bed and somehow raise them into being, you know, somewhat, um, successful adults. Yeah. So, um, chaos is really just the best way to describe it. It was such a crazy time from chaos is born creation. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Ultimately, yeah. No, I, I think so. So, yeah. I mean, it was, it was certainly a fun time and, and looking back on it now, God, I miss it so much. Hmm. Like, I miss, I miss taking the kids to soccer practices. There's a, a, a phrase I'm fond of repeating, which is like, there's the fun that's fun when it's happening and you know, you're riding a rollercoaster or you're on the beach in Mexico mm-hmm. Or whatever. And then there's the. It seemed like misery at the time and it mm-hmm. But now when you look back at it, God, do I miss those? Yeah. Days and hours and whatever, right? Yeah. And like, you know, my kids now are kind of just all off doing their own thing. Yeah. And, uh, you know, we, we started doing family dinners every Sunday, so we have an excuse to get everybody in the same room. That's cool. But, uh, but God, I miss those days. Yeah. I miss him being that small. So tell me, I guess if there's other major chapters in Wil Wilmington, I'd love to hear 'em. Otherwise, like, let's hear about that move back to Colorado. Yeah. So we finally got to pick where we wanted to move for the first time, maybe in my life. Because, because Ellie had established enough credibility and experience and stuff. Yes, yes. Yeah. So I mean, with med school, right? You go in where you, without, with college you go in where you get accepted. Yeah. With med school, you go where you get accepted with, uh, residency you go or you get accepted. Right. Um, and so this was the first time as adults that we got to decide where we were gonna be. And, and for me, especially Colorado was always home. Yeah. You know, I, I'll never forget the first time Was Ellie not from here? She was from here originally. Okay. Yep. Um, she ended up loving Wilmington. Um, so she, she probably could have stayed there, but it certainly was not something that I wanted to do necessarily. And, um, and yeah, so we, we made the choice to, to move back here and Ellie took a job in Loveland and, uh, and, and, and lot being, boom, we started establishing life here and. I, I guess it wasn't too long later where you guys started having like marital challenge, cuz you're, you're divorced now, right? We are divorced now, yep. So, and how long has that been or it's, that was 2019. Okay. So there's a couple more, a couple more, a few more happy years here in Colorado. Yeah, I guess. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So, and how did the girls or the, the two girls and the boy rather, uh, take this transition? Were they excited about going to Colorado? Had you been? At all, somewhat little bit. Yeah. We've been, we're very fortunate. Um, you know, my parents, their Christmas present to us was to fly us back every year for Christmas. Right. Oh, that's cool. And so, um, thank you mom. Right. All those years of grad school and whatever. Yeah, exactly. The 80 hour weeks when you were doing it. Yeah. So all of our extended family was in Colorado. Yeah. Um, and so it's tough for kids to move at any age, in any place. Um, but, uh, ultimately, you know, I think that they, they were excited, um, for, for kind of a new chapter. And, and admittedly North Carolina was such a challenge for the family. I think we were all ready for a fresh start. Seemed like a fresh start. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Fair enough. So, and so did you move to Loveland then? Yep, we moved, well we moved to, we moved in with my mom for Love You again, mom, for a short period of time. Oh. And she had moved down here to the front range I gathered. Yeah. So she had moved back to Greeley by that time. Okay. Um, so we were waiting for our house, uh, sale to go through. So we moved back with mom shortly and, uh, maybe two months and then, uh, and then yeah, uh, moved to Loveland, bought a nice house in Loveland, and, uh, settled into our new community. Cool. And how old were the kids at this time? They would've been. I bet Tessa was probably 16, 15. 16. Okay. So they're all teenager ish. They're teenager Queens and teens. Yeah. They're absolutely middle school and high school. Yeah. Yeah. Yep. So, and, uh, did Ellie like her new role here in Loveland? Or was she disappointed with the change? Uh, yes and no. Um, you know, she, she, you, you just don't know what you don't know. Yeah. She was getting into a very volatile, um, setting where she, she came into a practice of, of, you know, I think seven or eight other docs, and we found out shortly after we got there that they were all disgruntled. Oh. Within a year. That practice had completely blown up. Oh my. And she had to find another place to go. Oh my, which was Fort Collins. Um, but obviously not, you know, you think, you think everything's gonna be sunshine and rainbows after you go through all those trials and tribulations. Right. When they're not, it kind of takes the wind outta your sails. So, um, but yeah, and, and it was at that same time that, uh, that I just started to decided to start Timberline. Yeah. And is that you came back and started Timberline boom, boom? I did. Or did you work a little bit in food service or cover, or? No, not at all. Um, when I, before we came out here, you know, I did my best to kind of figure out what my next move was. Yeah. Uh, I got hired by a company out of Windsor that, uh, to be their lead technician. And I had mixed feelings about it, to be honest. You know, I, I you kind of wanted to have your own thing, but maybe weren't completely in a place that's just like, boom. Yeah. And I, you know, I, I realized that most companies, most companies like mine, you know, in, in the audio video and the home automation industry, a, a vast majority of them are. Very small. Right. You know, really the smile, the size that we are now. Right, right. Is the size that we are now is, is decent, but a lot of 'em, like you said, yeah, they're two to four people. Right. And for somebody who's a jack of all trades, you know, who has experience in everything, how do you fit in those puzzles? Yeah. And I started to see that and realize that. And, and so I got hired to be a lead technician for one of my now competitors and, uh, signed the contract and I think probably a week before we moved back here, got an email and said, uh, we're no longer gonna carry the product that you were going to be a lead technician for, and we don't have a job for you. So back to the drawing board. Sweet. Yeah. Thank you. Appreciate that. But didn't complicate the mortgage process too much. No, not at all. Thankfully. Made enough so you That's right, that's right. Um, so yes, but it complicated your life plan a lot. It, it really did. Um, and so from there I went to, you know, kind of hastily apply at all the other AV companies, audio video companies, and, um, didn't end up getting any callbacks. And, and then I thought, well, shoot, why not? You know? And, and part of that I think stems from, I was in the support role for a long time mm-hmm. To, to Ellie's career. Yeah. Um, that I was just ready to go. Like I wanted to go, I wanted to take a risk. Right. Well, and your kids are largely kind of self-sufficient by now. Yeah, exactly. She's frankly at that time got the financial capacity to not depend on a lot of income from you for a while. Right, exactly. So in my mind, that all made perfect sense. Sure. But a big but boom. Um, uh, but, but yeah. And, and you just decided, hey, we're gonna do this. Um, so tell me about that launch. Like, did you like write a business plan? Did you No. Do some stuff. You just basically registered an L L C. Yes. Or maybe not even that. That's exactly what I did. Um, found somebody for 500 bucks to build your website. Yes. Well, or no, you could do that. I got really lucky with that. Um, no, I, so yeah, I, um, I said, Hey, this is what we're gonna do. And so, um, you know, uh, started an llc, a friend of mine from West Virginia Medical School actually lives here now in Fort Collins. Cool. Uh, he does web design on the side. Also a stay-at-home dad, cuz he is been supporting his, his wife, medical wife too. Yeah. His medical wife for a long time and he built me the best website. Um, so I Cool. For next to nothing. Do you wanna give? Yeah. So it'll cost you more, by the way, if you're listening, that's fine. But, but Wes with Next Door Tech. Okay. Um, next door techy is the shout out to the way he goes by. But, uh, it's so cool because from the beginning when it was just me in a basement Yeah. Somebody would always say, God, your website's awesome. That's cool. You look like a big company. I'm like, that's fantastic because I am not a big company, but I do know that people hire bigger companies. Yes. Easier. Yeah, exactly. Um, so yeah, so I just started in the basement by myself. Yeah. Um, and uh, you know, I certainly wasn't ready to throw a bunch of money at it at that time. Yeah. Um, you know, our family had taken so much risk. Yeah. You had debt to income ratio or whatever, but you didn't necessarily have a lot of savings. You didn't have no reserves, nothing. You know, we had nothing. I mean, we had been scraping by for 20 years. Yeah. But that was okay. It allowed me to just kind of like ease into it. Yeah. Um, you know, and, and the, the main vendor that we, we carry their smart home products is, is called Control four. Okay. Um, and you have to jump through some hoops to be a dealer for them. You have have to have a big opening order and you have to have two certified technicians on staff and Oh wow. You have to have a showroom and you have to have this, and you have to have that. But that was what I knew. And so I was like, oh, shit, what am I gonna do? Um, but I had kind of formulated an idea in my mind, and that was, if I have a purchase order in my hand, how can they tell me no? Right, right. Like if I come to somebody and say, I got a $20,000 job, it's got your products on it. Your your move. Right, right. Um, and so, and they were like, no. Well, it was, it was actually a combination. Okay. Um, we, at first it was a, a pretty, it was gonna be No. Yeah. Um, and then I met with our regional sales rep, the regional sales rep for this area Yeah. At Starbucks off of 34 and I 25. And, um, got an advocate, you know, got to found yourself an advocate. Yeah. Got to sit down and talk with him, and, uh, he took a chance. Yeah. You know, it was really the best way to describe it. Well, in your experience at that other organization, growing it and building it was obviously part of that story. Yeah. And I, you know, I had a referral from the, from the regional manager, the sales manager from, from that region. And, and so they, they were able to take a chance on me. But at the time, I mean, it was funny, it's funny looking back on it now, because it was a $7,000 opening order, and to me that was just the most money in the world. Right. Like, who the f how the fuck am I gonna get $7,000? Like, I can't just, I can pull that outta nowhere. My mom doesn't love me that much. Right. Um, but, uh, but you know, I figured it out. Yeah. And, uh, good on you. And that was the basis for starting and, and, uh, it's impressive. Very few businesses that are successful, honestly don't have at least a $50,000 pile of money. Right. Or, you know, I sold my house in California and didn't need all that cash. Right. So I had a hundred and thousand, 200,000. Sure. It's hard to just boots. With the bootstraps only. It is, it is. And I was very fortunate because I at least had something to fall back on. Right. Right. Like our family had income, so it allowed me to take that risk. Right. Um, yeah. You could not make money for a while, but you didn't really have anything to invest. Correct. And I didn't not wanna make money for a while. Right. I mean, I'm, I'm a driven person. Right. So, um, and, and that's the other side of the coin. It's that, you know, to not contribute is tough. Yeah. You know? Yeah. Yeah. So, um, so you get it, you, you, you smooth your way into a contract with a, a manufacturer, a provider, and you start going and, and then you said about two years in, was that first employee outside of you? Or what, what did that those first years look like? Yeah, it was about a year and a half in, um, you know, we, we got to a point, um, that, uh, that I just couldn't do it on my own anymore. Yeah. Right. Um, and you can't, you can't do wear all the hats once you get to a certain, certain size. And, uh, my, uh, my, the person who cuts my hair, um, told me, Hey, if you ever need, uh, electrical outlets installed for your jobs, let me know. My boyfriend's an electrician. Okay. Well, thank you. Yeah. So, lo and behold, you know, couple month or two later, I need an outlet installed. So I get Austin's number. Oh. And, uh, and he, uh, we, we were at this really nice house in. And I, I drive up and, and Austin drives up in this shitty little Ford ranger with like tinted windshield, you know, tinted, tinted windows. So dark you can't even see inside of it. You know, one of the wheels is black, the rest of 'em are silver. And he gets out of this, this Ford Ranger with his big smile on his face and he's like, Hey, I'm here to help you install an outlet. I'm Austin. I was like, cool, nice to meet you Austin. Here's the outlet, you know, go do your thing. Yeah, yeah. And, uh, he does it in very quick manner and comes back out and bullshitting with me and he goes, Hey, you know, who knows, maybe someday I'll end up working for you. And my, my thought at that moment was, who the fuck would wanna work with me? Like right. Look at this, like, this is a one man show, right. And I'm frantic. Yeah. Like, are you, are you that dumb? Um, and, uh, sure as shit, you know, within a few weeks, Austin was showing up to my garage door every morning at my house. Um, and uh, and literally as we're like getting the kids ready for breakfast Right. Or getting ready for school, my grouchy ass teenagers in the morning and we're all trying to run out the door and Austin's showing up in my garage to work. That's like such a reflection on you with the previous company that you went to work with. It kind of is. Right, right. Just a eager beaver that wanted to be a part of this thing. Uh, you know, and we joke because for the first like six months that he was employed with me, I think he washed my truck like three times a week because I didn't have anything else for him to do. But I needed him to have 40 hours because I told him I'd give him 40 hours. Wow. Um, you know, and, and, and, uh, yeah. And now he, now he's my right hand man. So, um, yeah. So hired him and uh, and just kept on plugging away. Right. On. You know, um, if you were like, gonna give advice to somebody that's maybe a solopreneur mm-hmm. And they're, they're at that kind of crux point where either I have to hire somebody or I have to intentionally suppress demand a little bit kind of thing. Sure. Um, like what are the, what are the pluses and minuses because there's a, there's a lot of people that have created a job but haven't yet created an enterprise. Yeah. And so, like, what's the, a lot of, and there's a lot of jaded people too that are like, I don't want to create an enterprise cuz people are annoying. And so what, what are the pluses of minuses from your perspective? And, and why do it? Why grow it? Sure. I, you know, I think especially knowing what I know now, right? Mm-hmm. Like, you really need to, and maybe this is best to apply to myself, right? Like, what if I could go back to that time, what would, how would I do things differently? Mm-hmm. Um, and. You, you get to a point where you feel the stress and you feel the strain. But I think the most important thing in entrepreneurship, and, and I can say this because I'm also terrible at it, is taking care of you. Hmm. If that makes sense. Yeah. Um, and so you can't take these decisions lightly. Um, I think it's easy to say. It's easy to get in that growth mindset and just be like, well, you know, the business needs this. Right. You know, in order for me to look successful, I need employees. Right. Right. You know, I'm not a planner, so this advice is gonna come great for me. But I, I would just, I think that you, you have to have a plan for these things. You know, you have to have a contingency, you have to be thinking about what happens if I don't sell that next job and I have to let somebody go. Yeah. Because those are the realities. Um, at the same time, if you want to grow, you can't do it by yourself. Yeah, totally. There's only, there's an old phrase, uh, a quote I guess from Helen Keller. I think it is, uh, alone. We can do so little together. We can do so much. Right. And, and it even goes to the notion of that specialization and stuff. Mm-hmm. Right. Like the person that's really good at hooking it all up and pulling the wire and this and that might not be the best one at sourcing it all and Correct. Making sure you get a good bid and estimate correct. And interacting with the customer. All those different things. Like a lot of times they require different personalities. Yeah. And I think you find out through, I mean, just through life, but especially through entrepreneur entrepreneurship, you find out where your strengths and your weaknesses reside. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. You know, and, and for me, like I'm the dreamer. I'm not the detail guy. I'm not, you know, I'm not the follow through guy like I had to be when it was just me. Right. Right. And it was hard. But now, like Austen's joke with me is like, yes, Seth's gonna start something and then he is gonna walk away from it and then we're gonna finish it for him. Right, right. And, but that's, you know, that's just kind of, to a certain extent that's true too. Yeah. And that's why I hired you's. Why you hire hired, like you're still the rainmaker, I assume in large part. Like I don't, maybe somebody else gives estimates a lot of time and stuff, but you still make a lot of the connections. Yeah. I mean, sales is solely on me. Right. Like from a sales perspective. Yeah. I have, I have Larry who supports me with sales, he builds proposals. He'll go to appointments for me when I'm not available. But at the end of the day, like I'm bringing in revenue. Yeah. And if I can't focus on that right now Yeah. Then I can't pay people. Are you really good at that? Is that a sweet spot for you? If you would've asked me last year and prior to then if I was good at it, I would've told you no. Okay. Reason being, I'm not a, I call it, so to me, and there's a, there's couple different approaches to this, but I look at it versus inside and outside sales. Mm-hmm. And when I, what I define inside and outside sales as maybe incorrect, but outside sales, to me, Cold calls. Right? Cold hunt. Hunt. You gotta go find even you kill. Yep. You gotta go find it. Um, and inside sales to me is warm leads. It's phone calls that come in. It's referrals. People that visit your website, people that visit your whatever website, like they, you know, and I am extremely good at that. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Um, But I don't ever want to pick up a phone call. A phone for a cold call. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. And you know, I beat myself up for on for that for a long time. Do people sell your kinds of systems by that kind of approach? Or is it mostly when people are ready to buy, they're already kind of snooping? Exactly. And I think you hit the nail on the head and, and in my industry, the answer to your question is not typically Right. Yeah. If you're, we, we deal with, um, luxury homes with affluent homeowners typically. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and that is very, very relationship based. Yeah. If we're talking about home builders, like our bread and butter is a custom home builder. Sure. And a custom home builder is very, very relationship based. I'm not gonna go to a custom home builder, uh, you know, let's call him Joe Dirt. Right. Right. That I don't know. Right. And say, Hey, I am the best AV guy in Northern Col. Like, our team is the best in Northern Colorado. And they'll say, thank you. That's awesome. But I've been working with John for 20 years. Right. Why? I have literally no reason to switch. Right. He takes care of my, so it's a super slow sale process there. Yeah. So it's a real slow sales and it could be great over time. A it's, it can be amazing over time. Oh, I have an introduction for you, by the way, one of these days. Perfect. Uh, Jennifer Johnson at the Delight Center is one of my long time. And so they do custom lighting for all kinds of custom homes. I bet she knows a lot of those kind of people that you wanna meet. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, and that is the best way to grow a business in this industry, right? Is just building relationships and doing a good job standing behind what you do. You know, especially in our industry, there's so much support that comes on the back end of installing these systems, and you have to be good at it. Mm-hmm. Um, and if you're not, you'll fizzle out quickly or you'll gain a bad reputation. Um, so, so yeah, to go back to your original question, am I good at it? Yeah. I think I'm pretty dang good at it. Yeah, right. Um, but that's just because I, I have a lot of expertise in my field. Would you consider like an outside salesperson as a potential employee? Number 7, 8, 9, 10, somewhere in there? I think if we want to grow, we have to. Yeah. You know, I, in every hire, you know, every growth stage is scary to me. Right. I hope it is. To others, it's a, it's a new as well out of obligation, right? Yeah. Um, but it's tough because when we're the size that we are now, like we control the process. Yeah. Um, and we have processes in place and they're always evolving, they're always being defined. Right. Um, but the, the thought of even the thought of somebody representing Timberline and going in cold calling people is weird to me. Yeah. Fair. You know? Yeah. But at the same time, I mean, this market, this, the construction industry and the residential homes industry in northern Colorado Yeah. Is so strong. Well, and you're not big enough. Be able to even touch all the different, no potential, no way. Outlets and customers and right spaces and whatever. Right. And I, and I, I'm the first one to admit like, hey, we have probably three to five new construction custom home builders that we work with regularly. Yeah. There are dozens Right. If not hundreds in northern Colorado. So. Right. And if you drift around, go up to red feathers, there's seven more building log cabins up there that really could use your stuff. Exactly. And then if you're willing to dip your toe in the Denver market, like, well then, you know, now the world's your oyster. Right. So, so yeah. I think, I think it's in the cards. Yeah. Um, it's just, it's just figuring out what, well, they'll probably show up one day and be like, can I work here? Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully they show up. They look like a salesman. They gimme their first and last name and I write it down. I was just, uh, I was just musing on the difference between our businesses in a way. We never get any internet leads really? Nobody's ever looking for a peer advisory. That makes sense. Occasionally. Sure. But for the most part, it's, it's all outside sales. And you meet somebody the first time and you're like, this is what we do. And they're like, I've never heard of anything like that. You know? Yeah. You were a special case, frankly, because that you took notice of, of Sean's involvement with the peer advisory organization. And so when we met on the golf course, sure. You're like, oh, that's pretty cool. But, but see, you do draw an interesting perspective because. Had you not been outgoing when I met you mm-hmm. On the golf course, we wouldn't be sitting here now. True. You know, that's, and I was enthusiastic about what I sell. Absolutely. You know, you know, and, and you started asking good, leading questions about who I am, what my business is, you know, and I loco think Tank may have been on my radar prior to then, but I don't think really, I mean, I might've heard of you wouldn't have acted on it. I wouldn't have acted on it. Um, so yeah. I mean, and, and, and that's the tough part, right? It's like, I know if I could push myself to get out there and be that person, I may get more sales. However, it's so far outside of my comfort zone that like, I don't really want to be there. Well, and maybe you need to kind of develop that process a little bit more mm-hmm. And a little bit more, um, behind the, behind the scenes kind of support. Yeah. Before you can open that up too much. Right? Yeah. And you have to, you always have to put checks and balances on yourself, right? Yeah. Um, so when I was in North Carolina, we were very, um, active participants in the, um, In the Home Builders Association. Oh, sure. And the Home Builders Association is the National Association. They have regional chapters. I been, yep. Yeah. So when I came to Colorado, I was really excited to join the Northern Colorado Home Builders Association, and I went and I was instantly turned off by it. Oh. And it was very strange to me because I was like, well, shoot, this is like the one way that I was comfortable networking. Right Now I'm trying to build a business. What do I do? Right. Um, but I think that in regards to the checks and balances that you have to put on yourself, you know, you realize that in my industry, ESP especially, and in, you know, the custom and custom homes and dealing with affluent homeowners, uh, and custom home builders, it's all relationship based. Yeah. And so you can't go to one meeting and expect to have a sale out of it. Totally. You build relationships, you, uh, provide value, whether that be to a, as a service to your community, as a service to an organization. Mm-hmm. Um, and then, and then you make you create those relationships. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, that's my favorite part. I like it. Um, I feel like I, we should take a short break here. Sure. Um, anything else you wanna say about kind of that journey to this point? No. All right. Well, let's do it then. Cool. Local experience, podcast history happening right here. I've had that joint sitting in the, in the dinosaur, uh, ashtray. Oh, we should drag that closer too, by the way. Um, yeah, it's pretty amazing for like five weeks and nobody has taken me up on, uh, smoking a joint on air. But you are brave, young man. Are you concerned that your affluent customers would see you and be concerned about It's Colorado? Yeah. Whatever. Get over it. That's right. So when I was, uh, when I was a banker, um, so I was a banker for 15 years. You probably remember at least part of that story. Uh, yeah. It's pretty dried out probably. Yeah. Hopefully. But, and it's been sitting there for five weeks. Puff, puff pass. That's our rule around here, by the way. Um, anyway, I, uh, I was already getting kind of shaggy like maybe a little more than now even. And, uh, So I ended up becoming the acting president of this bank. Okay. During the great recession, my boss got let go. Sure. Our staff went from 12 to six. Oh gosh. And, uh, you know, it was busy, hectic, annoying. And they didn't, and they also didn't have a CEO for this three bank organization. Got it. So I basically went on a haircut straight and I joined the Rotary Club in the meantime. And they had just had a visitor from Locks of Love. And so we had all these old guys with Ponytails cuz they were growing it out to be able to donate it to Locks of Love. Right. I was like, this is such a cool rotary club. What I joined, I was already halfway to my ponytail. And anyway, I got a new boss a year later and my new boss was like, you know, I'm not the kind of guy that would ever tell you to cut your hair, but you know, you should recognize that about half of the, the best customers in our community wouldn't sign up with a guy that looks like you to be their banker. Sure. And I was like, well, I can't be everybody's banker and I wouldn't want to be their banker if they're gonna be that way Anyway, so we had a great relationship, me and Doug. He was definitely a lot more stayed than I was, but Sure. I, I loved him. He was my best boss. Really. So That's great. I love it. It's a cool story. Um, so anyway, I digress. Um, You said that you were gonna, um, describe kind of a complete system. Like if I said, Hey, I just sold loco think tank, I got all the money. Sure. I, I don't wanna pull out any stops. I've got a 6,000 square foot McMansion and I want you to deck it out. Sure. And assuming that I kind of want all the stuff, right? Yeah. Because I know you go through a big process of what do you really want? Yeah. Do you want the blinds, do you want the shades? Do you want the security, the cameras, like what's available out there in the marketplace? Like right now? What would make a great house in your world? Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I, I said in the beginning, like, it's very rare that we do all of the things that we do in one house. Um, but it's really fun when we get to do all of the things that we do in one house. Um, so, you know, we, we open up those conversations with, uh, what rooms do you want speakers in? You know, what rooms do you want TVs in? Uh, do you want surround sound? Do you just want, do you want a theater experience? You know, do you wanna be able to sit at home and not have to go to the theater? Um, the, there is a lot of it is convenience, so, You know, lighting controls, this is the one that we talk about all the time. Smart light switches. Mm. You know, the number one thing that somebody says is, I mean, I can walk over to a switch and turn it on. It's like, well, yes you can. Right? Yeah. But we all pay conf for convenience. Think about that BMW that you drive around in. Right. Well, and my wife is not capable of leaving a room and turning the life off at light off at the same time. It's not in her place. Yeah. And kids sure is healthy though. Right. So I've become conditioned kind of somehow, you know, it is a long, it took me a long time to build that habit, but I do it now. Right. And so it's sometimes it's hard to see the convenience that, that these solutions will bring to you. Um, but this happened to me recently with a client where I, um, you know, we, we had these discussions and we had the, you know, we're gonna have surround sound in two rooms and we're gonna have eight rooms of speakers, and we're gonna have TVs, you know, frame TVs that show artwork when they're off. Oh, cool. And, um, and we are, we want good wifi and we want a, a door lock, smart door lock. So, you know, we can't assign user codes. I'm good. Thank you. Um, and so we pulled together a proposal for him and we met with him and he looked at, we went through it and I was nervous. I was really nervous to go through this proposal. It was like $90,000. Yeah. Um, And those are hard sales sometimes. And, and oftentimes people look at us like we're absolutely insane when we put numbers in front of them like that if they haven't given me a budget prior. Right? And, uh, he looked at me and he goes, let me ask you a question when we move into this house, because he said, you're, you're, you're doing other houses on this block, right? And I said, yes, I am. He said, when we move into this house, are we gonna have the coolest house on the block? And I said, no, you're gonna have to try harder. And uh, homeowner looked right at me and goes, well, tell me what I'm missing out on. Um, and so we have these discussions a lot in the office. Um, we provide, I think we provide entertainment, we provide convenience, um, through, through great sound systems, um, smart lighting control systems, uh, H V A C control. But what's our wow factor? Yeah. Right. That's what we're always looking for. I mean, anybody if they, Ooh, I'm thinking Lampoon's Christmas light options. Tell me like the big national Lampoon's Christmas vacation where the whole light houses lit up and so that crazy shit. So you're going somewhere. It's part of your future. Maybe It is. Absolutely. So, you know where Phillips Hugh came onto the market like 10 years ago Now, these cool color changing bulbs, right? Mm-hmm. Well, those are cool. I can make one light bulb in my house. Green. But what if you took every light in your house, you know, the lights in the ceiling, the sconces, the um, the under cabinet lighting. The toe kick lighting. Yeah. Your landscaping. Just little lighting a little tone on everything when you do it right? Yeah. Or whatever. Yeah. Or what color you want. Yeah. Or use voice control and tell 'em that the nuggets are playing tonight. You know, Denver nuggets are playing tonight. Yeah. And it changes your whole house into that theme. Right. The Vikings are playing, it's purple and, and, and gold. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so you know, that's the stuff to me that like, that's a lot of the wow factor. Right? Um, and the one thing to me that's really, really cool in our market, um, I think it's cutting edge. I think it's the future, but I think people are really hesitant about it. And rightfully so is voice control. You know, Alexa, like Amazon is, Amazon and Google are both very, very happy to give you $10 devices that go into your house that can listen to everything that you say. Right? Uh, uh, shout out to Trojan Insurance on Mulberry Street. Yeah. You're just a, a little ways down the road that always has funny quotes and right now it says Alexa rate the leaves. That's amazing. Um, but, but yeah. I mean, reasonably so. Right. We know that they, like, I forget, I just had a case today where something I was randomly interested in looking up. Like now all of a sudden isn't all my searches, you know? Yeah. Right. And so it's a major privacy concern. Yeah. Um, and, and technically they don't start listening until they hear their wake word. Um, you know, but at the end of the day Yeah, they can whatever. Yeah, exactly. And they, they, you know, they'll tell you that what, uh, that until that wake where happens, like that's when they start, you know, recording data. Well, at the end of the day, they're still using that data. Right? Right. So any request that you make, anything that it accidentally hears after you thought after it thinks you said Alexa, you know, that's all that is. All data that is invasive to your privacy. So yeah, it's a tough one for our industry right now. I mean, just a little bit of Googling of Molotov cocktail recipes and all of a sudden I got a bunch of attention, you know, that the fbi Right. I haven't been, just to be clear, I was a joke. Um, I know how to make 'em already. Right. Um, but anyway, but no voice control to me is really, really cool. Yeah. Um, and, and we sell a platform that has come out within the past five, six years called Josh ai. Mm-hmm. It is heavily privacy focused, so. You're speaking to it the same way, but they don't share or record your data at all. Interesting. Um, and I love the premise of it. It's just like an internal AI just meant for like deciphering, what do you want me to do for you in your home? That's it. That was fucking awesome. Yeah. No offense. And sorry for the explicit warning. Um, I think we were good up until there. No, I don't think so. No. Okay. Whatever. Um, but so, so now what that leverages you to do within your own home to me is so cool. And it's so hard to sell until you can experience it. But every day when we walk out the door to our house, we say, okay, Josh, we, his name Josh. Okay. Josh. Good. Goodbye. Yeah. Well that puts all of the shades to the levels we want for my girlfriend's plants. That turns all of the lights off in the house. It locks the front door, it turns off the TVs, it turns off the speakers, it sets the temperature. Um, and does it put the chickens up? It could probably put the chickens up right. Timber line audio video can help you with that little chicken gate. Yeah. A little chicken gate, a little automated chicken gate. You wanna know what this is From Chicken gate. No, I, uh, got bit by a raccoon this morning early that was in my backyard. It's probably something you should tell people before you sit in an enclosed room with them. Yeah, I don't have, the rabies isn't spread yet. Buts funny. I need to go get it outta my trash actually, and go get it tested. Yeah, you should, should have. Yeah, that's what I'm told. Get that tested. Yeah. Well, I won't tell you that story right here, right now, but anyway, uh, this is the perfect time for a raccoon story, you think? Yes. Okay, well, we'll transition. Um, perfect. So raccoon story from just this morning. Yes. Uh, 4:30 AM Tucker's going ape shit. We've had raccoon attacks killed like three chickens in the last six weeks or so. Okay. Got two left. Okay. Um, I killed one of them, caught it in the chicken yard, chicken coop and, and, you know, locked it in there and then went back with shoes on and a headlamp and a baseball bat. Right. Uh, and anyway, so this morning I'm like, fuck, Jill probably forgot to lock up the chickens last night. And I came home late and, and so I'm like, the chickens are under attack. And so I turn off the alarm and go out there and, uh, tried to keep Tucker in, but he, like, he was desperate to get out and Tucker's my 22 pound snooker. Mm-hmm. Uh, miniature schnauzer cocker spaniel. Mm-hmm. And he's a rodent dog and a, and a stud. And so it's dark as night, right? It's four 30 in the morning, maybe almost five. And, uh, I see a blur go up into the. And another blur goes up onto the fence and I see Tucker, the coon's on the top of the fence, and I see Tucker jump up there and grab it by the leg and pull it off the side of the fence. Oh no. And now they're on and they're wrestling and, and the coon's 30 pounds ish. Um, and I don't know what's going on. And I tried to kick him apart and I, I don't want to hit, and I don't have my bat at this time. Actually, I didn't even have my bat. And so I like tried to separate him. I tried to grab the coon, like by the back of the body, kind of by the tail so it can't turn around. Bite me. Yes. And I pull it away from Tucker and Coon turned around and bit me. And so soy, I kick it in my, in my moccasin and then they get a part. And then Tucker's actually taking care of. Uh, cuz I got, I'm like, fuck a bit. And I, and so Tucker's holding his own and so I rode over to the fence where I know my baseball bat is at. Yeah. And so I come back over there and, uh, then was able to, to give it a kick again, get separation, push Tucker away and whack him and got a enough of a shot to wound him and then, you know, blow to the head from there. It's all over. So that's number five. I've killed five raccoons in my backyard, um, with either a baseball bat or a two by three. Wow. Two by three is a really a superior weapon, but I don't always have one. And so, well, if loco think tank doesn't work out, I could be, I'll kill raccoons. If you got a raccoon, I'll kill it. 250 bucks a piece. I'll kill you raccoons. If you want me to, I'll post up in. That's a flat fee. Flat. Well, not for, I've seen some big, like 50 pound that was worth 500, 250 bucks for under 30 pounds. Okay. And a thousand bucks for. Over 40 pounds. It won't, it's negotiable between Perfect. Depends on how tough they are. That's loco raccoons.com. Yeah. For all you, all you listening. Um, in the future I'll probably just get cages and like drown them fuckers, you know? Well, so I'm not gonna make a lot of friends with that commentary necessarily, but, well, it was pretty fun. When's Ruth? You know, I feel like, you know, but they eat my chickens. They kill 'em, they eat their eggs, they steal 'em. It just, they just make my life miserable. Yeah. And so fuck you raccoons. That's right. Trash pandas. You can go away. That's right. If we've learned anything today, it's Oh, and the other one, I fuck you raccoons. I shot with a, uh, my pellet rifle. I shot it like four times. I can't kill it, you know, but I was like, at least, you know, you don't really want to be around here anymore. Yeah. Well, don't come back. You're doing, doing work. Yeah. Anyway. Yeah. That reminds me. I gotta go take that raccoon back outta the trash so I can get tested for rabies. So I see if I got a good shit done. Okay. There's a lo experience for an example, like that's our final segment, but we're not there yet. Got it. So, so now we go into the faith family politics segment. Okay. And we've talked a lot of family already. Sure. Um, but I think there's probably an opportunity for you to, to give your mom and dad at least, and maybe even your siblings some. Some love. Sure. And, uh, describe them a little bit and, uh, whatever, whatever you feel. Right. Did your dad stay, didn't stay at the paint store, I assume? No, he didn't. So, um, dad was, uh, dad was stay at home, dad, you know. Oh, cool. So I have a lot to owe to him for that. Yeah. Um, you know, he gave you some skills in that department. Yeah. And he taught, coached my soccer teams. I've been telling you it's kind of creepy how much, uh, it our lives, you know, kind of coincide, but, um, no, dad, dad was awesome. Um, dad act, what's his name? Ron. Okay. So, Hey Ron. I'm sure you'll listen. He won't. Oh. So, um, oh, Ron, uh, passed away. Sorry. So That's okay. My voice mom passed away last two years ago. Yeah. Last weekend. And it was so hard. Yeah. So, I'm sorry. Yeah, it's tough. He was living with, uh, multiple sclerosis. Mm-hmm. Um, which is just a terrible disease. Yeah. So, um, it's, it's amazing, you know, and it really makes you count your blessings, uh, when you're here. You're healthy Yeah. Surrounded by people that you love. Yeah. You can do anything you want to. You can do anything you want. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and gosh, what a tough disease to watch somebody that, you know, you hold so dearly to your heart, just get worse. When was this? Uh, he passed away in 2018. Okay. 18. Yep. So, um, yeah. Tough time. Yeah. But, uh, talk to me a little bit about like who you became. In the meantime, uh, like he was a stay-at-home dad, but like soccer team, like what did he teach you specifically and like describe him a little bit? Help us to Yeah. No, I think it's funny you call the, the segment, you know, faith, family and politics. Yeah. I mean, what do parents teach us? You know, I would argue that that's what they spent a fair time doing sometimes. Right, right. Um, you know, and, and I think my dad and, and my mom, but just raised us to be good people. Yeah. You know, and, uh, dad was tough when he needed to be tough and he was compassionate when he needed to be compassionate. And, um, you know, wasn't always easy, but at the same time, like just the amount of love that, that he was able to, to showcase. And it's pretty amazing, you know? And I certainly wouldn't be who I am today without that. Right. And it's really a great example of frankly, the modern world here, where, you know, even though I stereotyped us earlier Yeah. And said that men can't be nurturing. Sure. You know, I can when I try. Yeah, right. You know, and, and, and there's a lot of that out in the world. My grandfather cooked dinners and. My mom's dad and was really the, the, the matriarchal figure in the household as well as the patriarch. Sure. He was just kind of, but she was kind of the, the irony cranky lady Yeah. That he just cared for and loved. Yeah. Regardless, you know, nurtured Well, if I learned anything from, you know, my time as a stay-at-home dad and kind of being primary caretaker and then from my, my dad as well. It, it, it's that I don't care who you are, like raising kids and being a stay-at-home parent or being the primary caretaker, that is the hardest job in the world. Yeah. I really, for sure. I really think it is. I mean, for sure. I love my kids. They're giant pain in my ass. Dude. I wanna give a shout out to my mother because Yeah. Uh, because my dad Right. He was, he was, he was your mom. He, well, he was a motorcycle mechanic that got a, a gal pregnant when he was 20. Sure. You know, got married right away and never got a college education or anything, but he started a farm evenings and weekends when I was in first grade. Gotcha. You know, and figured out how to do that and, and worked his ass off. Yeah. He came to four of my basketball games. My mom came to 174. Yes. You know? Right. And she launched the, the little league baseball team in our little town Yeah. And taught all the kids how to throw because she was a little league softball player. Yeah. Or, or, or, or a women's fast pitched softball player. Sure. Rather. Sure. And, uh, you know, and so like, it's funny how mirrored our. Own experiences are in some of those ways. Yeah, no, definitely. And then I think it's cool too, like what sticks with you, like even after you losing a loved one is so, so, so fucking hard. But, you know, there's so many things that stick with you and I think the pain hurts so much in the pain and we all die. Yeah. Like in that legacy that you leave behind is, is a lot of what you do. It is. Absolutely. And when the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup last spring, like dad was there with us. Right. And my brother, sister and I would not have been as excited, you know, about the whole thing. Had dad not been a huge avalanche fan, you know, part of his legacy is just that little element of your life. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, to this day, like one of my biggest hobbies is riding bicycles. Yeah. And, and that was taught to me by my dad. You know, he was a big road biker, you know, he had me going to Moab when I was, you know, wow. In middle school. Wow. Um, and uh, you know, the little sidetrack about my dad Got it. Um, when he, you know, with, with multiple sclerosis, you start to lose your mobility. Mm-hmm. And it, it always depends on when it hits. Right. But for him it was about 35. 35. Whoa. 35 to 40. That's so young. Yeah. He started to lose his mobility. Wow. And that, that starts to show up in your. So he had a motorcycle, he had to sell it, he had bikes, he had to get rid of 'em, or he had to hang 'em up in the garage cause he couldn't ride 'em anymore. Mm-hmm. Um, and he had to encourage you in these things, sounds like. Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. Um, and that era for us was a lot of when I was trying to raise my family. So it was, it was difficult. But, you know, bicycles were always such a huge influence and, and his last bicycle that he built and it was in the best shape of his life when he was riding it, it was just super, super fucking cool. Road bike, titanium frame, like bear titanium. Uh, my uncle built it for him, just very, very high end bike 20 years ago when he passed a kid, kid came down to, to us, to the, to the kids. And um, it's been hanging in my garage. Yeah. And it's a race bike and I'm not a road rider. I like love to ride my mountain bike. Um, I love to ride downtown to a brewery, but I'm not gonna put on spandex and go ride for two hours by myself. It's just not something that I am passionate about. Not right now. Yeah. Um, so, um, it just hung in my garage and it hung in my garage. And finally this summer I looked at that bike and I was like, you know what, that thing needs to be ridden. Like that bike needs to be ridden. Stop holding it onto, onto it as this memory. Right, right. And so I get this hair branded idea. I'm like, I'm gonna turn this bike into this Cool. Sh like Brewery Cruiser. Right, right. Like, I'm going to make it less race bike and more let's go to the brewery and have a beer bike. Yeah. But still it's got a titanium frame. Yeah, exactly right. Yeah. It's, and, and it's gorgeous, right? So I'm like, God, I, I think this is sacrilege. Like, I'm, I'm really struggling with this decision. So I, I load up the bike and I drive it down to, uh, down to the bike shop in Loveland. And I walk it in there and I was like, all right guys, like I have this idea, but I need you to tell me that it's a terrible idea. I want to take this bike in my dad's, you know, and I want to turn it into like a brewery cruising Oh, actually is. And uh, and this is at the extra mile in Loveland. Okay. And they look at me, shout out to the extra mile. Yes. He looks at me and he goes, That's badass. I love doing this. And so he just obey you. Yeah. And so we, we just start picking through parts in the back of like, what's gonna fit on the bike, right? Yeah. Um, and I take it home and I'm, I'm not the most mechanically inclined person. Like I just don't have the patience for it. The computer plugs are easy, but the Yeah. Computer plugs, like greasy things. Yeah. I could spend an hour behind an, like an audio video or eight hours behind an audio video equipment rack, like crimping, little connectors together. But somehow if you put me in front of a car or a bike, I just freeze up. I don't freeze up. I get angry. So, me too actually. Yeah. So I'm like, does it just work? Yes. Anyway, right. So I'm like, oh, let's see what I can do. And I ended up putting it back together by myself with all my new parts. I'm so stoked with the way it turned out. Oh, that's so cool. The smile on my face when I got to ride it around the block was just so awesome. You know, and, and tour to Fat for those of you in Northern Colorado, um, is such a, just a cool experience. Yeah. You know, my girlfriend and I have done that for few years now, and I got to, I finished it like a week before tour to fell. So Did you make it a single speed or didn't make it a, like five speed maybe or something? Didn't make it a single speed? No, just use the same gearing. So it's like a 10 speed or two. Yeah. Yep. Same gearing, but then I just put flat bars on it. Yeah. You know, just something more comfortable. It doesn't have me leaned over all the time. Wider seat, wider seat, comfy grips, you know, a bell. You know, all the things that are really important to get into brewery safely. Yeah. Yeah. So I like it. We'll have to go for a ride sometime because, uh, I'm, I'm rolling on a, like a 65 Schwinn. That's awesome. Uh, single speed and it's like, like a one speed race is what my friend said. It's like the highest gear. Yeah. Virtually. That's funny. And, uh, but yeah, it's, it's, it's cool, like the trails around here are such a great way to, to transport. Yes. And just to, to be, you know, like in Japan you're paying big money to be in nature. Yeah. Right. And we have all these trails that take us off through these natural areas and stuff, so shout out to like, let's use 'em more. Yes. Let's not be Minnesota or Right. West Virginia and have all these wonderful amenities. So Yeah. So even the bikes get back out there because I've been noticing, I've been riding a little bit more. And it's not as busy as it was a couple years ago. Really? No, not in the early mornings. Used to ago was Covid, we could only ride our bikes. No. Before Covid Got it. It was pretty busy. Like it was getting pretty busy on the trails where I was riding. Mm-hmm. Now it's been slower. Yeah. I, I think people are getting lazy again. Maybe. I don't know what, anyway. Yeah, we'll talk about something else. Let's talk more about your mom. Sure. Um, so, gosh, I already talked about mom, but we can't give her 15 minutes. Right? Like, if you were gonna give her like a, Hey, shout out, you're awesome. Especially because of these things. Yeah. No, uh, she, she's, she is awesome, you know, and she raised three awesome kids and, you know, she's always just showing us a commitment to hard work and dedication and being a good person and being kind and being, she's just, she, she taught us all of that and she's still, like, even as an adult, just provides that level of support. And would Kevin, I'm gonna ask you this, but would you like to observe her major shortcomings? Would I like to observe my mom's major shortcomings? Yes. Oh, I'd love that. Really? Yeah. Let's, let's unpack that. She's gonna listen to this. Yeah, that's fine. Uh, I can say that because I get 'em from her. Okay. Right. So they're my own short. I just wanna observe that not everybody, nobody's ever perfect. Right? Yeah. No, absolutely. She's massive. A d d like I am. Right. She's a master of starting projects and not always finishing 'em, you know, she's a dreamer. Yeah. All of those things can be looked at as negatives or positives. Right. For sure. And so, I love it. Good. Good job. Yeah, that's right. Navigated that one well. So I like to, uh, I like to get one word descriptions of the children. Mm-hmm. Are you up for that task? I am. Uh, have you, did you think about it in advance? I did. I tried, but you know, this is like, I like to overthink things sometimes. Yeah. And then I start going to thesaurus and, and so we're just gonna wing it. Yeah. So do you wanna, let's usually I start with the oldest, but we're gonna reverse it just in case you practice too much. So Rylan, how do you spell Rylan? R y l a n. That's just what I wrote now. Um, and so this young man has got two older sisters. Mm-hmm. Uh, and a very strong-willed mother and father. Sure. Uh, what, what's, what, what would you, what would you say about him? What if it was one word? It'd probably be, I think it'd be strength. And that, that seems so like stereotypical for a guy who only has one boy, right? Yeah. But Ryland's ability to adapt and, um, be, just be really strong in tough environments. Um, and is pretty remarkable to me. He lights up. When you, when when Ryland walks into a room, he lights it up. Yeah. And it's just, he has a very infectious smile. But, you know, along with that, because it just becomes resilience and strength, I think. Right? Yeah. Because when everybody else is struggling, he's the person to, to pick things up or maybe just distract or pretend like something's not happening. And Interesting. Um, yeah, he's just, he's a good kid. That's awesome. Um, who, who Lauren's notes. Lauren? Yes. Yeah, I had to check my notes. Uh, Lauren driven. Hmm. Um, I, you know, I think Lauren's always flown under the radar a little bit. Actually, that's not true. She was the biggest whir when she was a kid. She intentionally didn't fly under the radar, the biggest winer as a kid. God. Um, but, but she's turned it around and your dad loves you very much. You know, she, she's driven in the sense, like, she's not driven in the sense like, Hey, I'm gonna go to, like, I'm gonna get straight A's. I'm gonna get, go to med school. I'm gonna be a doctor someday. Yeah. Right. The, that's my mom. And, and Ellie, um, she's driven in the sense that, like, I think she's very true to herself and she, she, she will achieve what she's working towards. Hmm. Right. Um, and, and that's just, to me, it's really admirable. It's really admirable at her age to be able to be honest with yourself and kinda, uh, look at yourself from a short distance. And to say, Hey, you know, this isn't working for me. What are my options? Yeah. You know, or I'm gonna go this route and here's why I have concerns about it. It might not work out okay. Yeah. You know, I like it, but it, but if you, if you, well, you don't poke around a little bit. Right. You know, you're gonna have the life you deserve, really. Yeah, exactly. You know, and, and it's, it's as your kids when they're, you know, not old enough to let them go, I think that that's very hard to harness. Yeah. Um, but then once you let them go and you learn to trust them, it's like, okay, yeah. You got this. I think that's cool. I don't agree with it, but you got this. Yeah. Yeah. I was raised in a largely free range capacity. Sure. Like, as long as you weren. Becoming a mess and, and thankfully myself and none of the siblings to follow really did Right. You, you kinda raise yourself. Yeah. And do a good job, you know? And I'm here for you. Yeah. But, um, and then Tessa, Tessa, we've heard her name quite a few times. Strong-willed. Hmm. Strong-willed. So, um, she's, she's the challenger, right? Like she's, she wants on the Enneagram thing you mean on what? Enneagram? Engram. That's like one of the personality profile kind of things. Oh, really? I'm not familiar. Yeah, I'm a, I'm a, the challenger is the eight, the promoter is a seven. Okay. I'm, I'm a half and half. Okay. Which is considered the Maverick. Gotcha. Yeah. And there's like the helper and the achiever and the peacemaker and I don't know what else. Sure. Anyway, sure. At digress. Yeah. No, she, um, you know, she's stubborn as hell and she's gonna do things her own way. And, uh, that's kind of beautiful, right? So as a parent it's a challenge because you're like, stop, let me help you. Um, but you know, she, I've always said, like, as a kid when, you know, she was a little bit of a challenge. I had said, if I could just get her 18, I don't have to worry about it. What, uh, what is she doing with herself right now? Uh, she loves working with kids. Okay. So, um, which is, which is just so fun to watch, you know, because she just lights up when she's around them. She's always liked being around kids. So, um, she's currently just, uh, teaching at a, a childcare facility. So working with little preschool-aged kids that's Saints work. I think it's amazing. Like, I, I've done business with a couple of those kind of organizations and like, there's a few groups of people that everybody like. Uh, like people that are woodworkers Yeah. Is one group. Right. Um, people that own their own little sailboat. Right. You know, and then people that work in daycare facilities is another one. Like, none of those people are ever not awesome to be around. Yeah. I would, I would agree with that a hundred percent. So, uh, you know, it's, and, and it's fun to watch them kind of, you know, she said, told me a couple weeks ago, she said, I just, I love my job. I don't like the money I make, but I love my job. Right. And I'm like, awesome. Well, maybe she needs to own a daycare facility. Yeah. Let's find a way to do what you like it and make money. Yeah. I think it's possible. Yeah. And so, um, we haven't talked really about the, the breakup of your marriage with, with Ellie, who you obviously admire a lot. Sure. Yeah. Uh, and have a lot of respect for it seems, and based on our conversation. Yeah. Um, What was it that really drew the two of you together? Mm-hmm. And then, and then ultimately, how would you describe like the conditions under which you decided to, to not be together? Yeah. So, you know, I think, um, you know, there wasn't any doubt that we liked each other, you know? Um, but we were young, you know, and we just did what we were supposed to do. We were almost forced together. Yeah. In, in a way, you know, and, and both of us were adults and we could have made decisions at any point in time to alter our courses. Yeah. Um, but we just chose to stick it out, you know? And, and I think that we were a great team at raising kids, you know, and I think we're a great team just, just in general, you know, especially in working towards her goals and my goals. And, um, but the best way for me to describe it, cuz it's never as easy as, as can be described, but, you know, I think we were so focused on achieving a goal and we were good at that, but then when life finally slowed down a lot, a little bit Yeah. We weren't Yeah. You know, seen it before for sure. Um, and I always say, you know, if you're, when you finally get to a place in life, you can go stay at the Four Seasons when you're on vacation and you don't enjoy it, you should probably start questioning your decisions. Hm. Interesting. Yeah. And so, um, this was a few years ago now. Yeah. Is that right? You were, I think maybe freshly, freshly divorced when we first went, or maybe, probably a year in. Probably that was 2019. Um, okay. So we're several, several years outside of that. Yeah. Um, you know, and, and I met your, you met Kelly. Kelly. Yep. So Kelly, um, is just amazing. So she, um, she, she compliments me, compliments me in all the, all the ways that I, that I need her to. And, um, she's just an amazing human being. Yeah. Like, it's fun. Do you guys like, think about Whoa, whoa, whoa. Um, not my place. Yeah. No. Great, great place to bring this up. Um, you know, I think when you, I I have found currently in my life that a lot of the decisions that I am making are, are impacted differently by the how I've lived my last 20 years. Yeah. If that makes sense. Yeah. Right. Well, allow me to speculate if I may please. So, like with our chapter memberships, we've always been like months to month because it's like if you, if you love somebody, hold 'em loosely. Yeah. It's kind of the notion. Sure. And to some extent, you and Ellie were, were forced to gather by circumstances and you made an amazing team. Right. And so the thought of so quickly. Like becoming binded and obligated and I don't know Kelly's background circumstance. Sure. But it could be, well, the same based on age, demographics and stuff. Yeah. Right. And it's like, no, we want to just want to be together. Right. And not have to make it like something that we have to do, uh, at least for a season. Yeah. And I think especially probably more so for me because I sacrificed so much of myself Yeah. For, for my family, right. For my kids, for, you know, my marriage, um, because that's what I needed to do at that time. Yeah. Um, and so where I'm at with my life right now is like, let's just make sure that what I'm doing at the end of the day is gonna result in my happiness and my satisfaction. So when you bring that perspective into a relationship that I've been in for now, you know, almost four years, that has been near perfectly smooth. You know, Kelly actually is now our office manager at Timberline Audio. Yeah. Yeah. So I remember she was like helping out with a side hustle when you and I first met, I think. Yeah, I think so. Um, so, you know, it, uh, when I, when I think about that, um, I'm just happy just being, you know, like, it's just so cool and it's so nice. And do I want to get married again someday? Yeah. Yeah. I definitely. You know, and even so far as to say, I hope it's Kelly. Yeah. And I genuinely do hope that it's that. Right? Yeah. Like if my, if my life now looks like if my life in 30 years looks like what it is today, I'll be a very, very happy person. Well, your back will hurt more and you know. Yeah. Well there's that, there'll be some things, but, but generally, yeah. When you're kind of, and I will talk about faith maybe even next, but Sure. Like the, the, if you're in the flow of what God has in store for you, it does just keep getting better, even though maybe your body doesn't get stronger. Sure. Um, but anyway. Uh, anything more you wanna say about family, um, while we're here? No. Politics or faith politic? Do I have to choose one? Either? We have to choose both to go first. Right? Exactly. I gotta talk about 'em all. Well, let's go with faith. Um, we haven't talked about faith much Sure. So far. Sure. Um, what was the family dynamic when you were a little guy? Was there any of that? Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So my mom was raised in a very Catholic family. Okay. So, um, I was, uh, went through first community Irish Coonrod. Is that a No, Coonrod is German. Okay. It was Conrad before they came over. Okay. And then Ellis Island screwed it up like they do with everything else. And now we're coonrod. You can just change it forever after that. Like, it's surprising to me in a way, like, because the, the, like the state has names as kind of like, we want to know where everybody is and stuff. Yeah. It's surprising to me that as easy as this probably to change a name that people don't do it more. I could just be like, uh, by the way, sorry. No offense, man, on the, the family dynamic here, raccoon. Um, but like you could just be like, I just listened to the podcast. Uh, Kanye West was on Lex Friedman. Right. And, uh, so he is just, yay. Right. Yeah. Anyway, I digress. But you could be whatever you wanted to in today's world if you wanted. Yeah, absolutely. Anyway, digress. It's kind too much trouble. I just needed a better Twitter handle after all. That's right. Anyway, so. Please. Where were we? We were talking about uh, Catholic Faiths. Yeah, so raised up Catholic. Um, went through first communion was, you know, in the Catholic church till probably 10 12. Okay. Ish. Um, and then as we moved away from my grandmother who was in matriarch of the family. Right, right. You know, the church became less and less and, and life was busy in West Virginia and whatever. Yeah. And I, we actually got married in the Catholic church. Okay. Um, and that was important to me. Okay. Um, you know, at the time and mostly cuz I didn't wanna let my grandma down. Yeah. But it's funny when you look back on these things in my life, right. Like, I had already let everybody down in my mind, so I was doing damage control everywhere. Um, isn't that an interesting perspective to have, like once you, have you given yourself grace for that seems like, uh, no. Really? Mm-hmm. See, I think you should forgive yourself for like, your story is inspiring. You married the woman that you ended up having many children with you. Right. Lived and loved her for 20 years Nearly sure. Um, and so, you know, I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of. Well, thank you. And so give yourself some grace, it'll be useful to you. Got it. Got it. Anyway, let's talk more about faith. Uh, so you just haven't really thought about it much in 20 years, is kind of what I'm hearing or something? No, to be honest, like my dad, my dad always said, and I, I laugh about it to this day cause I think I'm becoming him. He's like, yeah, whenever I pass, I'm just gonna take a big dirt nap. Yeah. And uh, you know, I think my mom's definitely different. Yeah. You know, I think, um, my mom has faith that she holds onto and, um, you know, I'm probably somewhere in the middle. Yeah. Um, you know, I, I certainly, uh, don't necessarily believe in a higher power. Um, not at all. Not a creator. No. Okay. Not just, see, that's stuff for me. I could, I can go for the not Jesus Sure thing. Sure. But God, something created the thing. Yeah. But the, the no creation, that's hard for, hard for me to figure out. Yeah. I just don't really have that button for me. And I, I probably have the exact opposite feeling towards you. Yeah. But I also don't really know how to like, define Well, my reasonings why it's faith or spirituality, like Exactly. You can't defend it that it's just that. Yeah. I, I would say, if anything with faith, I'm intrigued by it. Yeah. Um, you know, I think there's so many different, uh, walks of life and so many different religions and so many different perspectives and I think they're all unique. I think they're all special, you know? Yeah. I don't think any one person is wrong. Um, you know, some may say that's just the blanket approach to, to squashing the fire, but yeah, that's truly how I believe. So if, if I may, I share a quick, almost testimony, but not quite, but more my story. Yeah. Uh, cuz I, I wasn't raised real. We went to church, but not really sure. And I didn't know what the good news was really. Right. Even though I memorized the books of the Bible. Right. But a and I carried kind of this guilty conscience around Pardon? Um, because I, you know, even though I was like a shorty growing up, I ended up tall, always had good grades, had good friends, we were broke, but it didn't matter. Sure. And so I, but I, but I felt guilty. Right. Because I still was kind of a bad, I had unfulfilled expectations in so many areas. Like that thing that you were just talking about. Sure. And then when you realize and understand that everybody has that, and for me at least it was, you know, acknowledging that and then what mm-hmm. You know, and then what do you do about it? Right. Well, for me it's been like, you know, try to bless others with those gifts that I've been bestowed and, and Sure. Be a blessing. And, and you're doing the same thing in a lot of ways. Right. And so, giving myself that grace from. All those unfulfilled expectations, I guess, in a way. Sure. And not excusing, cuz I don't see you excusing any factors of your lifestyle. You know, you weren't, you know, you could have got hooked on math easily in Grand Junction. There was plenty of it back there at the time. Yeah. Yes. There, yes, there probably was. You know, and so anyway that's, I just would share that as a reflection point for you. Yeah, no, I like that. Yeah. So, um, politics. Politics. Yeah. Where you lead, you lead, I'll follow. Well, so we did, we meet in Covid. Yeah. And did you have a mask policy at work? Yeah. Um, officially, or not officially when we're in people's homes. We did. Yeah. For sure. It was appropriate. Um, yeah. Um, you know, we have, you have to Right. You know, that's the livelihood of your business. Yeah. And I don't want to get political about the Covid, but there's some crazy stuff coming out right now. Like we never said it would stop transmission. Right. And the New York State Supreme Court just ruled that they have to pay back wages and restore the jobs of all the state employees that they've fired over vaccination. Wow. Just today. Wow. Reflections. Yeah. That's a big deal. It's gonna be like a 2 trillion fucking deal. Yeah. And I think that's, that's the hard part, right? Because they're, they're, they've over in, in my opinion, they overstretched during covid with regulation. People's livelihood was affected by that. Yeah. And now they're using that same arm to pull back on the decisions that they made. Right. Right, right. And, and I, I feel this same way about, um, student loan forgiveness. Right. You know, that's a really hot topic right now. Yeah. Have a bunch of people that didn't go to college, pay off the student loans for a bunch of people that have college degrees. Right, right. Fuck that. Yeah. Right. But at the same time, I have student loans for sure. I would love it. So my, my dad, some years, he makes a million dollars on his farm and he gets a half million dollars from the government, from like crop insurance things or different things like that. And it's like, Fuck that, but he is not gonna not take the money. Exactly. You know? Yeah. And so, so that's why the gravy tastes good, but it isn't healthy for you. You know, I tend to get lost in politics because, you know, to that same point, um, you know, I had a, a friend of mine posted on social, a really, really good friend of mine posted on social media about how the student loan forgiveness thing was just the worst possible thing that the United States government could ever do. And it, it undermined so many different things. And, and my perspective on that was, okay, well, he doesn't have student loans, and I do. Yeah. So I have to understand that, you know, but then at the same time, how many small business owners took E I D L loans? Right. Right. During covid Well, but to defend against the lockdowns, the shutdowns that the government caused. Yes, yes, yes. So, just don't do so much stuff. It's kind of my politics. Yeah. I, yeah. And I kind of think, right. I'm kind of drawing the same conclusion. It's like, well, do we have to do so much? Maybe if we did do less Yeah. That should be the United States of America Do less. Yes. Better not perfect. Is kind of a new tagline for the Libertarian party. Yeah. Because we're not gonna make it perfect. No, I think, I think there's, there's a lot of truth to that. I like to say the, the fixtures always fucks it up. Yeah. I'll let They make the problem that you're trying like price caps on the oil markets now and Yeah. You know, I I, I, I might share in my, my blog coming out this month, a 1982 cartoon mm-hmm. Where Germany and. Are like, why this fuss over a simple pipeline and it's like a pipeline and it says Russia on it and it's actually the, the, the barrel of a tank in 1982. That's funny. Right? And, and so anyway, I digress. Um, and I love markets and I think markets are useful and all that. Mm-hmm. So that would be your encouragement generally on the political side is try to do less, it'll probably be better for everybody. I, yeah, absolutely. You know, I think that what bothers me most about the state of politics in the United States is just the polarization. Yeah. So I, you know, pretty much centered, you know, as far as politics are concerned, we're closet libertarian, just like two-thirds of my guests closet libertarian. Yeah. Like do less and let everybody do what the fuck they want. Yeah. Well there you go. And, and I think that, um, that's, but there's no big money in libertarianism because that's what, you know, they don't get any political contributions cuz who the fuck wants the government to do less if they got influence and power and money? They wanna do more, but more for them. Right. Not more. And leave the outsiders out. Yeah, exactly. And, and I do, I think, I think the polarization to me is the biggest concern. I think the polarization is fueled by, um, targeted ads, by targeted, you know, promotions by social media. And I think it's really just created this huge polarization in, in our communities. And it's, well, I think they really think differently too, right? They do, but then you just take it to the extreme. Right. And that's what I have an issue with. Yeah. Right. Like if we can have a rational conversation and have differences Yeah, fine. Right? But yeah, or like bind with the freaking Darth Vader scene, like saying mega people are threats to society. Or something like, yes, it's so terribly stupid. Yes it is. But even if he believes that, which. I hope he doesn't. Right. But don't say it like they keep that as the inside voice. Well, yeah. I think a lot of people need to keep things with their inside voices and, and, and Yeah. I think that's like, that's my biggest issue. Everybody can believe whatever the fuck they want to think. Yeah. Well, but to the extent, but people are pretty stupid these days. Like that was one of the things I observed when I was getting into Facebook fights and stuff back in the BLM days. Oh, so you're the guy. Got it. Different things like that. I, I just came back on to start promoting the podcast this summer. I was like, fuck it, I'm gonna, but I haven't, I put it, it's not on my phone. Sure. Anyway, I realized, cuz I've, I've, you know, I've devoured like every Wall Street Journal, every popular science, new US news and World Report, Newsweek, all throughout my high school years, I got economics degrees and just been a student of it. Yeah. And people are not right. Like, they don't know how shit works at all, but they pretend they do. For sure. Yeah. And so that's, well, they know what's supposed to be Right. Based on the narrative. Yes. But there's no grounding. There's no backing, there's no what what about all the democratic candidates across the nation, like refusing to debate. Right. Right. Come on. Yeah, no, I, I, I totally agree with you. That is not a foundation for, uh, future thriving. Right. You have to be able to talk things out. Right. So, all right. Um, but yeah, I think when you, sorry I could of got outta my soapbox today. No, I drank more whiskey than you did. Sorry about that. I don't think he did. Maybe you did. Where was I? I was, I wanted to close that out. We're wrapping up the politics thing. Yeah. I So just be nice and talk about things, I guess would be your encouragement. Yeah. And I, I'm the first one to admit, like, I'm a headline reader, right? Like, I don't do research on topics that are very interesting to me, but I look at those headlines objectively, and that doesn't pro make me an expert. I'll cut that out. That's fine. Just kidding. Um, you know, I, I, I, I, I'm always scanning, right? I'm always scanning my surroundings and I'm paying attention. Yeah. And I'm, I'm, I'm putting those against my own thought processes. I'm putting them in, um, them against my own beliefs. Yeah. And if it's something that's really important to me, yes, of course I'll dive into it. But there's so much information. We are busy. Sure. We all are Right. There's so much information out there. Right. And that's, that is my frustration is that you get all these headline readers and all of those headlines have been fed to them Well, and like it used to be, you had newspapers that Sure. You've really tried hard to be kind of nonpartisan and stuff like that. Right. Now, not only do we not have that, but we've got, like, if you want the the real truth, you ain't going to MSNBC or CNN anymore either. Sure. So now you have to have all these different disparate feeds of who knows what and from where. Yes. There's no centralized authority at all. No. Which is. Chaos and beautiful. Yeah. And terrible and tragic. Right. It's so hard to navigate. Yeah. Like I'm the guy that, during elections I go to Fox News and then I go to CNN and then I go to msnbc. Right. And out of those things I try and make my own decisions. Well, and then go to Drudge Report or something, you know, or What's the Onion? Or, or the Babylon Bee. Yeah. That's where the real news is. Yeah. There you go. That's so, um, the Loco experience, have you thought about the story that you would like to share? Wrap this up. Um, yeah, I have actually. Okay. Um, you know, I think that, uh, with Loco Think tank, you know, entrepreneurship, my best way to describe it is it's a lonely world, right? Entrepreneurship is a lonely world. Oh, by the way, I'm not asking you to give a local think tank commercial. It's really your crazy experience that you wanna share. My crazy experience. You can give a local think tank commercial here while we're here. No, that's okay. But, but the intention is a crazy experience like, But, but let's actually while we're there Yeah. Let's get the local tank. Like how was your, you've been two years in about a year. About a year as well. About a year. Okay. Sorry, my bad. No, so seems like longer. Yeah. Uh, so tell me about that 12 months, you know, you've been in the, the fantastic. Yeah. So, um, my group's awesome. Um, and, and entrepreneurship is a really lonely world, as I was saying before. And so as a solopreneur, you know, I don't have people to bounce ideas off of, you know, even Kelly, who's my best friend and my partner in life, you know, she, she's not feeling bef especially before she started working with me. Like, she's not feeling the pains that I'm feeling. She's not really even honestly able to celebrate the successes that I'm celebrating because you're not living in that day-to-day. Well, she's not, I am probably wired in the same way. Right, exactly. And so with lo that's okay. With loco think tank, I mean, the beauty of it is you get people in a room are, are very similar to, to me, um, same size businesses and allow us to process information and to celebrate successes and to deal with the hardships and a place to share, and a place to ask questions and a place to grow. And that's not something that we're given as entrepreneurs when we're fighting in the day-to-day with Yeah. Employees and customers. So people ask me what the, if, if there's an ROI all the time. Sure. Um, and it's whatever, a few hundred dollars a month, uh, for your membership. Do you think that you've made decisions from local think tank in this first 12 months that have paid. Yep. Absolutely. Cool. Like, like hands down. Good. Um, because you don't know what you don't know. Yeah. And especially in my group, which is, you know, all of our businesses are the same size, which is roughly what, one to 3 million probably in revenue in a year. Yep, yep. Um, all of those people have the exact same challenges. Right. We're in different industries. Yeah. We all have employee challenges. Some people have 15 employees instead of six, but it's a different enterprise industry, whatever. Right. We all have hr, we all have sales, we all have marketing, you know, um, we all go through the same things. Y'all need to know that the new Family medical leave act impact is gonna be X. Right. And how to comply with that and who can help you figure that out. Right. Or whatever. Right. And even just to sit in the same room with those people for, you know, one day a month for half a day, it's, it's inspiring. Yeah. Um, yeah. Super, like 100% return on investment. So the, the actual loco experience is the, the craziest day, moment, week, month, year in the life that you're willing to share to a public audience. Got it. How's, yeah. Your local, like the raccoon experience, that's like number 11 probably. Or maybe 23, something like that. You're asking me for the crazy experience my whole life. Yeah. Your whole life has been kind of crazy, but like one crazy experience that you're willing to share. I mean, do you. Whatever. You were like such a responsible guy raising these littles and stuff. Did you ever like go on a three day bender, uh, with cousin Charlie and you ended up at a Rolling Stones concert? Oh man, that is so with a head full of acid, that is amazing. Gosh, I didn't, I didn't read the question wrong, so, or I didn't read, read the question. Right. Well, we'll still snip that local think tank commercial. Thanks. All right, perfect. You betcha. Um, well I'll just share my own, uh, raccoon story. Okay, that's great. Yeah, let's just keep it together. Let's do it. Yeah. So this is the raccoon episode. Okay. Uh, sadly mine's not a raccoon, but it's a possum. Okay, so similar. Similar, yes. Similar statue. Are they related? I hope they're related. The same. Both. They would be because they're both hideous. Right. And I would argue the possums are worse cuz they have little rat tails that come off the bottom. So raccoons actually have very adorable tales. I kind of wanted to keep it anyway, keep going. So, um, you know, I'm sure anybody who's been listening this long could probably guess where the story happened, but it was in West Virginia, so we, uh, you know, got three kids, got the trampoline in the yard, got a little shed. Kids always jump on the trampoline, but my house starts to really smell like shit outside. Okay. So, um, I figured that out happens for a few days and, uh, then I said, decide, well, it's a skunk. We, we've got a skunk. So my grandpa comes to. He's an old rancher. Right, right. And I'm kind of a city boy. I'm not afraid to admit it. Right. So, um, so he's an old rancher and he walks out on the deck and, and Bob is a man of few words. And Bob says, Seth, you got a skunk. Thanks, Bob. Yeah, I'm, I'm very well aware that I've got a skunk. He's like, we're gonna get rid of it. I'm like, oh shit. I don't know what that means. Right, right. So we go to the hardware store, uh, walk through the aisles of the hardware store until we find a trap, because that's what you do. What, what kind of trap? It was, uh, like a, like a, we had musk crab traps and like, well, you know, I was kind of hoping for something, you know, didn't kill the animal, because again, I'm a city boy, but instead we get the trap, the snaps shut. Yeah, right. So like a big rat trap basically. Or bigger. Exactly. Like, almost like a bear trap. Right. Like, you think of them as like big, like a full circle. And then when they's shut, it's a half circle with teeth. Yep. I know. Exactly. It kills up. Yeah. So, um, well otherwise they sit there and struggle for a long time and then they die. Who would want that? Right? The teeth are, the teeth are humanitarian. That's right. That's a humanitarian feature. That's a humanitarian feature. Feature. Or not humanitarian, like rodent. Rodent. Um, so yeah, so we, we go to the hardware store, we get the trap, uh, set it underneath the, uh, the shed, uh, set the trap bait. It waited a few days. Grandpa. Now it's my problem. Right? So one morning kids come running inside, they're like, dad, there's something in the trap. And I'm like, oh cool. This is great. So how fun is this gonna be? Yeah, hopefully it's a skunk that's gonna spray me exactly what I try to, exactly. So I walk out there, I get gloves on, um, walk out, walk out to the little shed, and there's a little chain that you pull on and the trap comes with it and it's a possum. And this possum like, I don't know what's worse, right? The skunk that did spray me. Or the possum. Or the possum. That looks like a gigantic rat that now I have to dispose of. Is it dead? It's dead. Oh, not, not a big deal. It's not gonna be as exciting as my story. Yeah, no, it's definitely not. Sorry. But there's a good ending. Okay, let's hear it. So anyway, I take the trap at arms length, you know, possum inside, lift up the lid. I'm very, you know, got my mouth covered up. I don't wanna smell it. I'm like arms leak, arms length, dropping it in the trash can, shutting the can quickly, hoping the trash comes before it doesn't stink. Problem solved. Next day. My mom was visiting in town, walking around the neighborhood with the kids and the dogs just taking a nice tour around the neighborhood in West Virginia. Oh shit. And the neighbor boy is got a possum hung from the tree and he's skinning the possum in preparation. Your possum for dinner? Not my possum. Oh. Actually, I never considered. It could have been, you might have been a garbage can and possum thief. Yeah. But if anything, it's like a, it's just a nice display of like the balance of life, right? Correct. Like here I am. You thought it was trash at one man's trash. Man's trash. That's right. So I'm, I'm glad we went the rodent path because we had a rodent episode. Yeah. Um, I don't know what to do to like, make the ending more exciting than the rest of it. Okay. Well, oh, let's tell people how to find Timberline audio video. Do you have a, a LinkedIn or anything like that? All that? Yeah, absolutely commercial. You can find us on LinkedIn, just Timberline audio video, Facebook Timberline audio video. Um, do a lot of, a lot of, um, fun things on there. Um, our website that West Built told you about earlier, timberline audio video.com. Um, find more information about us and, uh, yeah, we just, uh, specialize in kind of tailored solutions. And it doesn't matter if we're just mountain a TV on a, on a house that you just moved into or, or designing a full fledged smart home system for your next multimillion dollar property. We do it all. Why Timberland? Uh, you know, it, so I, I think I alluded earlier to living in West Virginia and getting to the top of the mountain and never seeing the trees. Yeah. Well, when I decided I was gonna start my own business, the first name that I came with up with was Twin Peaks audio video. But I was living in North Carolina at the time. Didn't really realize that there's a Twin Peaks restaurant that specializes in showing women's boobs in Colorado. Oh. So turns out Twin Peaks audio video probably wasn't you, you didn't start there. I didn't start there. That's good. Save yourself a lot. A lot of peas changes. Yeah. Um, but no, when we moved here, you know, I was just racking my brain trying to figure out and, and you were glad to be back in the mountains kind of in stuff. Picking a name is the hardest thing in the world. Yeah. I still don't know if I picked a good one, but, you know, Timberline Road in Fort Collins is, is something that has local connotation. Timber line and mountains is something that's special to me not being able to see Timberline in West Virginia. Yeah. Now we have Timberline audio video. Okay. Thank you. You bet. It's a been fun. Thank you.