Josh Nelson

From Broke to Breakthrough: An Unconventional Path to Early Retirement at 38

Season  1Episode  12102 MinutesJanuary 31, 2024

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At the young age of 38, Josh Nelson decided to bid farewell to his work boots forever. But his journey to early retirement wasn’t your typical tale. Picture this: from scraping by in Hawaii to skyrocketing to prominence as a key figure in Zoom’s sensational IPO. Josh’s narrative is like a rollercoaster ride of resilience and determination.

Get ready to buckle up because we’re about to dive into a conversation that’s not just enlightening but downright jaw-dropping. Discover how one man’s sheer grit and ability to roll with the punches transformed life’s challenges into a retirement scheme that’s the stuff of dreams.

Join Jeff Hopeck in today’s episode!


Key takeaways from Josh:

  1. Strive for continuous learning and personal growth.
  2. Realize the value of experiences outside of your comfort zone.
  3. Be adaptable in the face of adversity. Always be ready for the next challenge.

 

Tune in to hear more inspiring stories from fascinating individuals.

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Timestamps:

0:00 From living almost broke to Success
10:30 Golfing, Academics, and Life Choices
18:44 Sell Through Challenges in Korea
23:49 Starting Businesses, Losing Patents, Solving
34:48 Workplace Change and Career Transitions
40:26 Career Transitions and Sales in Hawai-Texas
50:29 Financial Retirement at 38
55:22 Being Prepared, Seizing Opportunities
58:09 Career Progression and Personal Support
1:03:21 Salesperson’s Career Journey and Decision-Making Processes
1:12:32 From Startup to Public
1:21:30 Unintended Consequences of Zoom’s Rapid Growth
1:33:33 Real Estate, Flipping, and Life Lessons
1:41:01 Inspiring Story of Overcoming Hurdles


Show Transcript

Speaker 1: 

Got the job moved to Atlanta, had a wonderful time just Getting all that stuff going together. Six months later, close the office pandemic. I think we went from 10 million users a day to 300 million users a day in 24 hours and I was like, if this stock ever hits $100, I don’t know what I was gonna do and I was like I’ll just retire. Like it’s just crazy. And Zoom stock went up to it peaked at 580.

Speaker 2: 

Oh, my goodness, welcome to another episode of Interesting Humans. Today in the studio, I have with me Josh Nelson. Folks, if you gave me these three clues, if you said abandoned by father, not given a free pass in life, and and retire at age 38. I know myself I’m gonna have a lot of questions how did you do that? That just sounds incredibly fascinating, because so many out there might have gotten, like you know, some kind of trust fund or given or. This story is remarkable and I can’t wait to share it with, with, with, with everybody today, with the listeners. So, josh, thanks for coming on today. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 1: 

Happy to be here.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, it’s, it’s. It’s gonna be such a fun interview, so why don’t we start off and let’s focus on your first, like the first 12 years? Tell us where were you born. What did family look like in those tender years?

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, so I was actually born in St George, utah. Hey, I Was the second child my mother had, so my brother was born in Houston. I was born in St George. My younger sister was born in Houston and Ia Rough upbringing when it came to family dynamics. My parents got divorced. When I was around to, my dad just kind of said, hey, I don’t feel like being a dad anymore and walked out of my mom and so she kind of went into some homelessness there for a couple weeks, getting back to Utah, raised by my Grandma, my mom’s mom. When my mom went back to school and she ended up becoming a, she got her A&P license and actually worked on Skywest Jets and fascinating after she graduated from that, we were from Southern Utah to Southern California.

Speaker 1: 

Okay, george was guy West out of Palm Springs. That’s where she met my stepdad Mm-hmm. He had two sons. They ended up getting married and then he was he’s great guy. Take a lot of life lessons and working hard from him. He was a tough man, though, and he essentially became my dad. So I was born Joshua Ordonez and and then, when I was in ninth grade, was adopted by my father. Rick Nelson, became Josh Nelson. Okay, so you know, not a lot of people look at me and think Hispanic, but it’s there half Guatemalan, and, and then they had. In the 91, when we moved to Fayetteville, arkansas, my youngest brother was born, so we had six kids in the family. It was a big Brady Bunch, his mind and ours. Lots of stuff going on, lots of moving, I mean between Utah, texas, california moved to Oklahoma before we moved to Arkansas, and then in Arkansas might have built homes, and so we moved around. You know, if you had a house it didn’t sell for for very long, we’d move in.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah you know, just take advantage of it.

Speaker 2: 

So basically up until 12, you’ve lived in four states.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, five states, for no wait. Four states Utah, texas, california, oklahoma five states.

Speaker 2: 

What did your mom do at that At the airline?

Speaker 1: 

That’s really cool that she well, she, she worked overnight so she was doing the basic engine maintenance like the jets would come in the hangar. She was the only woman working in that hangar and it was. It was very interesting she was just be up all night working. You know, just Getting getting greasy with all those plane parts.

Speaker 2: 

And what were the? What were the kids? What was life like at home? My mom, she was working overnight. You said yeah.

Speaker 1: 

So that was when I was very young, you know. That was we had my strangely enough, my biological father’s sister. So my aunt Moved in with us to basically be our nanny while we were there, so she would watch us during the day and my mom would work all night and sleep all day, and then that was she would do that. And then she met my stepfather. They got married and he was actually it’s funny because they met at a country Western bar and then in Yucca Valley, california, not the best place in the world, but he was a kind of part-time country music singer, but then he painted. He was a house painter, yeah, and so he was in construction, yeah.

Speaker 1: 

And they just realized, hey, southern California, there’s a lot of meth in that area of Southern California, not good for family, and they had a lot of kids and they’re like, hey, we should probably move. And so he had a buddy that was doing who was a framer, and he lived in Salsa, oklahoma. He’s like, hey, this Walmart company is getting big and there’s a boom in housing out here. You guys should move out here, it’s cheap, family is great, you know it’s, it’s a good place to be right. So he literally put us in the back of a pickup truck with a camper shell and all of our possessions, like the Beverly hillbillies.

Speaker 1: 

But in reverse we left California and went to Arkansas and yeah and it was. It was a lot of moving, it was a lot of new schools, it was a lot of you know, getting used to being a blended family of you know there’s a lot of you’re not my dad type arguments going on or you’re not my mom type arguments going on that you have to kind of Navigate and see how those play out. But luckily I had three older brothers.

Speaker 1: 

It would make those mistakes and I got to watch those mistakes happen and not make those mistakes myself.

Speaker 2: 

So there’s, there’s a couple great themes in here. In the first one you touched on already, you mentioned the name Walmart. So let’s sort of unpack that what age were you when that happened? Because that’s a big, pivotal, pivotal.

Speaker 1: 

So we moved. When we moved to Arkansas I was in first grade. Okay, my dad at that time was I was Painting houses and so he would just be a subcontractor coming in and then he’s always been very, very crafty and making money and seeing opportunity. Yeah. So he made the jump from just being a subcontractor to saying, hey, I could build these houses, like I’m working for these guys, like they’re not smarter than I am, they just know a few more people. And he’s like, as he was working on the jobs, he got to know the subs, to got relationships. Then he just became, he got his contractors license, started building houses and then, you know, turns out that his financial partner in that business was my mom’s Brother-in-law, so my uncle on my mom’s side, okay, and he was the financial partner.

Speaker 1: 

And he ended up embezzling a bunch of money Building his own house. And so my dad went to go pay the bills on a big custom bill he had going on and checks bounce, there’s no money. Calls up my, calls up his brother-in-law and is like, hey, what? What happened? He’s like, oh, I don’t know what you do with all the money. And my dad had to go. He had to file for bankruptcy, yeah, and you know, when you have six kids file for bankruptcy it’s not fun. And so what happened was he was going around town and trying to make good on his name, saying hey, listen, yeah, we have a relationship, I’m gonna make sure you get paid. I have to declare bankruptcy just for business reasons, but I’m gonna make sure you get paid.

Speaker 1: 

He was at it. He was at a Sherwin-Williams in Fayetteville and Somebody from Walmart in the construction division heard that conversation and was like you know, this is a stand-up guy. Do you think you could remodel Walmart’s? And he goes. You know I built custom homes. I think you know striping parking lots and laying 250,000 square feet of tiles. I could probably do it sure. So with a loan from a friend of his, he got a $25,000 loan to buy some specialized equipment. He started a large construction company, ended up doing about 15 Walmart stores a year and Adding a lot of money and by that time that had unfolded. That was from first grade to about ninth grade. Okay.

Speaker 2: 

And what kind of student? I’m gonna pause right here. Um what, how would you frame Josh, young Josh, at that time? What would you like? What were you into sports?

Speaker 1: 

school. I love, I love football, I love football. Um, that’s generally what I was into. It was what I gravitated towards, unfortunately, being about at that time.

Speaker 1: 

Growing up I was not a large child, okay, I had a bunch of larger, larger, older brothers that all played offensive line, defensive line, big boys and I was kind of the run of the litter. So I was playing cornerback and was a you know 180 pounds, so can wet, about 510, and my brothers were, like you know, 511, 6 foot, about 260, so it was. It was kind of rough. But playing football I dislocated my right hip, okay, I got tackled from the side, got landed on and it popped my right leg out of the socket. Another time I had gone, I was playing middle linebacker for some reason in eighth grade and and a hole opened up and I went to go hit the running back coming through and I slipped and I slipped and I went head Straight down and you put a shoulder right on the top of my head, gave me a neck stinger off the field and in an ambulance and After that I go you know what, probably not gonna go D1. So I started playing high school tennis and golf.

Speaker 1: 

The transition from the, the contact sports, sure, to things that I could see myself playing, you know, for a long time, and I don’t play tennis much, but definitely playing golf all the time now.

Speaker 2: 

I think so me knowing as the interviewer, knowing the end of your story, I think there’s a great. I can understand the tie now with golf because just recently you played with a mentor that’s mentored you a long time ago, so I think that’s fascinating for anybody listening. They’ll say, like, take up golf as early as you can Okay, fine if you want to go out on tour and pursue that, but golf is something that you’re gonna do. Business deals your whole life Would you agree with that?

Speaker 1: 

Oh yeah, 100%. I mean, I put my son in golf over here at the club and he you know it was part of a homeschool regiment. I said you’re gonna do PE and it’s gonna be golf because I want to go hit balls and you’re gonna come with me, right, and I don’t like golf, I don’t like it, it’s boring. Whatever you know, the coach, chris more at Atlanta athletic club is fantastic and he got them all lined up. My son hits the stripes, this drive like his first thing. It stripes. It looks back at me, this big smile and on the way home he goes. Hey, dad, I think I like. Yeah, just takes a little good shot, that’s it Get you back right.

Speaker 2: 

Oh, that’s awesome. I’ve seen personally deals. It’s not that they don’t happen, but the relationship doesn’t get set properly from the get-go if the person is not golfing. And just for examples, like I’ve been with vendors and we’ll be, we’ll be playing with a client and the vendor who I want to be out there Four hours in a in a relationship you know, making that tight and building that, and they don’t golf, they miss out on that whole day, like just just get some lessons and just be able to hit the ball.

Speaker 1: 

You miss out on a lot and you also learn a lot about people that you might or might not want to do business with. It’s like if they can’t handle their cool playing a game, or like they just lose it or they they spy out a controller like man. This guy’s kind of unhinged, right, like I don’t know, like this is, you know, I seem kind of normal when I met him in the office, but out here he’s a wild animal.

Speaker 2: 

You know I’m playing for a trophy or money or anything else right. That’s awesome, all right, so that’s cool, that’s fascinating. So you start. So your life. Now you, you’re in Arkansas, you got Walmart going, you try football, do well for a little while. Now you’re into golf and tennis. What were your? What were you like academically?

Speaker 1: 

Academically, school came very easy. I just kind of recognized that the tests were just a regurgitation, like if you paid attention in class. I Somehow have the uncanny ability that if I am writing notes I remember it, like if I’m paying attention in class and I write it down.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah.

Speaker 1: 

I can recall what I wrote when I see a test question and so, academically, you know, three, eight, not really trying. Yeah, didn’t do homework. Yeah, sometimes I would do homework the period before it was due, just like get this done to hand it in. You know, always procrastinating the book reports. Sure, cliff notes were a thing kids probably these days Don’t know what cliff notes are because the internet’s better. But just very much like I’m not interested, but I have to get a grade. Let’s, let’s get this done. Like, let’s European history Okay, cool, like, let’s do it. Not interested, let’s, let’s keep it going. I’ll make highlight the basic facts of World War two, because that’s fascinating, but like how many posts were during the schism and all that stuff like that wasn’t interesting to me, so it was mainly just get it done.

Speaker 2: 

What? What was your interest? What was your ultimate passion? Would you love at that?

Speaker 1: 

time I really didn’t like anything other than the social aspect of school. Yeah, I liked, I liked being in student council. Mm-hmm, I got around like a little business there. I designed all this the dance and large football game t-shirts.

Speaker 1: 

That’s awesome. It inherited an artistic ability from my mother. My mom does art on the side and so I was designing these t-shirts and I was getting them designed or getting them made for about 350 and selling them for 15 Bucks and selling them out and raising funds for the, the student council and doing those types of projects were really interested to me, and Meeting lots of people, just kind of just being around, was really what I liked about school. I had lots of friends that were like I need to get really good grades and I need to go to Duke and I need to go to this, and I and I’m like, yeah, cool.

Speaker 1: 

All right Sounds like fun. Yeah, I don’t like. You know, I didn’t like the the, the unknown of. I’m gonna try real hard and then I’m gonna apply to Duke and I, if I get rejected, it’s like what was this for Right? You know it’s like right. So Academically, I knew that I needed to have that as a checkbox. I need to do well, because having that sort of education was you know, you have to have it like. You can’t just Not do well on school and then expect to do you know, even socialize, because you know your parents are gonna punish you, you’re gonna get grounded, you’re not gonna be able to hang. It’s a good point.

Speaker 2: 

That’s a very good point. Did you have any mentors up until now? Anybody?

Speaker 1: 

um in in the high school and in that time period now, yeah, mainly just my dad. Okay, my dad was, you know he had moved out of his house. When he was 15 he got a GED on the streets of Southern California work at the original Marie calendars, got got fired from there because he took a bunch of the pies that were left over and went and vandalized something and they all had the Marie calendar stamp and there was only one, marie calendars and he couldn’t buy them at stores and so you got fired from that.

Speaker 1: 

He was driving a delivery bottle like big glass water bottle truck, ended up hitting an open manhole and flipping the truck and destroyed all the water bottles and he quit that job. And Then he was delivering Frito Lane Compton and got a gun pulled on him. And he pulled a gun on somebody else, went in and said, hey, I’m, this is not for me. Then he rented jet skis and then he got into construction. A buddy of his got the Painting job for the Marine Corps base at Seal Beach. Yeah, and he lied about it. But he’s like, yeah, I can paint these. And he obviously probably put in a really low bid and I was like, yeah, great, like, come, come paint these.

Speaker 1: 

And they got it. So he recruited my dad, like, hey, come help me paint these barracks. And that’s what started his construction career. And so my dad, having five boys, was iron fist. He’s like I can’t let it slip around these five boys, they’ll eat me alive. Oh yeah, so on Saturdays, if you woke up after 9 30, my dad took your car keys away and said you’re committed to being at home. If you can’t wake up for 9 30, if you’re 15, you had to have a job. You have that, didn’t have a job. You can have a car. Yeah, like he would like. Right, he would provide whatever you needed. Mm-hmm, if you were working, if you did what he was like hey, I don’t want lazy kids, I’ve got plenty of means to help you out, but if you do not earn it, you get nothing.

Speaker 2: 

Looking back at that now. Do you agree with it?

Speaker 1: 

Well, having a son of my own, I Don’t want him to be lazy, mm-hmm. I Also have a little bit more of that, you know. Touch of I want you to be late, I want you to earn it. I’m not going to be as hardline as my dad, though I probably should be like there’s that back in your mind like I’m. I feel like I turned out okay with that. If I soften, the message is it is effective and that’s kind of something I I’d deal with every day, because you don’t want your kid to cry because you’re being so hard on them, right? Yeah, I cried sometimes, but you know I look back at those times and I’m like you know I Did cry about it but it actually was probably for the best that I was being put through that. Yeah, because you know I think the earlier you face hardship and tough decisions, it makes it to where future hard decisions are easier to make.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, yeah, and Nobody’s lived that better than what we’re about to get into. So your next, your next decade you talk about ups and downs and sideways and you know, we have this linear concept in our brain that somebody’s born and then all of a sudden, here they are so successful and You’re about to, you’re about to really prove that wrong. Let’s, let’s start up with so you get out of college and and let’s work into like where’d you move to? What was that job? Tells there.

Speaker 1: 

Okay so. So I started college at Arkansas that I transferred because I was like I’ve been in Fayetteville since second grade, like I’m now, you know, a sophomore in college, like my friends are. We’re all doing the same stuff every weekend, like it’s all rinse and repeat. Yeah, so I decided I was actually raised Mormon no longer practicing, but at that time Decided to serve a mission for my church and and was called and sent to South Korea. Never been to South Korea, had a Korean friend who owned all the Japanese restaurants in town and yeah, which I asked him after I got back why do you, why does your Korean family run Japanese restaurants? And he’s like people in Arkansas, I don’t like Korean food. I was like, good, good point, but I went there learn Korean. I mean, I was living off $250 a month.

Speaker 1: 

So going from a dad who had large Walmart contracts and anything he wanted to give you and being in college to live in on 250 bucks a month, sleeping on the floor in Korea and then every day going out from 9 am To 5 pm, just kind of spreading your message and getting rejected 99% of the time. Yeah, like people telling you the worst stuff to your face, insulting your core beliefs and you just hey, thank you, sir. Can have another. Go to the next person. You start talking to you. You’re knocking on doors, your own buses, your own subways, your in taxis. You’re just talking to people every day for two years, every day, and it was. It was wild, it was is. I think that’s that’s where I really learned how to sell. Did you see family at all?

Speaker 2: 

What did that look?

Speaker 1: 

like oh no. So at that time in the church you could only Call home on Mother’s Day and Christmas. So I only talked to my family four times in two years. Why so? Yeah, you could. You could email on Mondays, but on the phone twice a year.

Speaker 2: 

That’s it.

Speaker 1: 

That’s it. Oh my good. So from being from a large family to I Mean I didn’t know anybody when I left right, and so that’s where you really where I look at. You know, when I think about how I’ve been successful is Move somewhere you don’t know anybody and then build a network right, get to know people and In a foreign land.

Speaker 2: 

Like yeah, moving within America is one thing, but you move to a foreign land, so you had to learn a language.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, the the church is. The Positive thing I like about the Mormon Church is it’s very you could pick up and move tomorrow to anywhere in the world and there’ll be people there to help you unpack. Wow, I get it is very tight community. I mean I have some, some disagreements with certain things, but as far as the community aspect of it, wonderful. I mean the most support you could ever get. But it’s different than family.

Speaker 1: 

Right, like, you moved, you go to Korea, you’re learning the language, you’re being rejected in English and Korean and then, but you know, from that I learned how to sell, you learn how to position, you learn how to take what you believe, build a, build a value proposition and I think from there I mean I think probably converted probably 20 something people to the church. And Converting somebody’s religion is an incredibly tough process. There’s a lot of family pressure. There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of psychology that goes into that Mm-hmm. So when it comes, when you come back from that, askin a girl on a dates, nothing you know. Applying for a job and getting rejected is nothing.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, selling a product that has benefits that people pay for and want is nothing, nothing, you know because yours like I just was doing this in Korea broke as a joke and being rejected on a core personal basis. Yeah, I Could probably sell this, sure, and so that’s, that’s, you know, the confidence that comes from that.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah.

Speaker 1: 

I think was really what Helped launch me into a career that was really sales driven. Yeah, so that. So when I got back from that, I was like I don’t want to be in Arkansas anymore. Right, I’ve been international, I’ve been in this town for a very long time. Yeah, so I want to go somewhere. I can keep using Korean because I liked it a lot. I like the culture, love the food. Now, were you fluent? Yeah?

Speaker 2: 

How long?

Speaker 1: 

dreams took me 10 months in country.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, we got him fluent 10 months, and that is that read, write and speak.

Speaker 1: 

Oh yeah, you can. Reading and writing Korean is very easy. It’s comprehension part, because their alphabet is fanatic. Yeah, it’s got 26 characters. You could learn how to read. I could teach you how to read Korean in an hour. Get out, it’s just okay. Now, what did? What did I just read?

Speaker 2: 

I like you. What does this mean? What does a rejection sound like in Korean? You sort of you remember. Oh, you know the spot.

Speaker 1: 

I’m so. It’s one of those things if you don’t use it all the time, you become very rusty because the intonation and the pronunciation that the shape your tongue has to make, and the RL sounds, or I mean, when I go to the Korean restaurants, it’s fun, it’s like it’s like being a magician. Yeah, like all the Ajama’s are just like oh my gosh, crazy white guy speaks Korean. Come over here, look at this guy.

Speaker 2: 

That’s awesome.

Speaker 1: 

So I. So I moved to Hawaii Okay, it was living on the North Shore Got a job as a Korean tour guide Okay, just at the Polynesian Cultural Center. So I was given all these people, all these Korean honeymooners. I was like the side I’m probably in so many honeymoon books back in Korea from the amount number of honeymoon couples I gave tours to that. And then I became a teaching assistant for my entrepreneurship professor, and so Mr Gibson Greg Gibson was my first real mentor and he was a lawyer.

Speaker 1: 

Um, got his lot of great Pepperdine, lived in Southern California. He’d done a lot of different businesses. He started like a boxing, like tried to become like a boxing promoter in Southern California, and he had this guy who’s all hyping up and he hired this guy who’s supposed to be you know Some sort of guy they could just run over to like boost the stats, yeah. And it turns out that guy was an ex fighter who just got out of prison and just absolutely beat their star guy to pieces and like ruin their whole business. And and so I was his TA. I was his TA and he had retired to Hawaii and become a professor after A us oil bought the company where he was the chief legal officer and he was kind of just like hey in his class.

Speaker 1: 

He was like here’s all the businesses I started. Here are the ones that failed. Here’s how they failed. Here’s the ones that were successful. Here’s why they’re successful. Here’s how I became successful. Here’s how you can become successful. And the quote that he told me was If you experience a problem every day, the solution is a business. It’s a successful business.

Speaker 2: 

And he’s like you, let me stay on that for a minute. Yeah, that’s, that’s profound. So if you experience a problem, every day every day Insisting problem, anything come to mind for you.

Speaker 1: 

So my first, my first thing was and actually I have a patent on this and it turned. I learned a lot about patents and doing this. Uh, back when the iPhone first came out, the and I was a broke college student and I had an iPhone the little charging block in the cable were $30. Yeah, and so you know, now today’s you just buy like four or five and put them around the house. I was taking this thing with me and I was plugging it in at night and I was sticking my hand behind my bed to get to the outlet and I was scraping my knuckles and doing this stuff, yep. And I was like, if there was some sort of thing that would plug into this wall and come up from behind the furniture, who you could easily access the, the outlet, like I’m scraping my knuckles every day, every day, yep and I’m moving this bed every day right, and so later uh, I actually got a patent for things that you know.

Speaker 1: 

You can take the screw out of the wall plate, put this and screw it in and it has like a goose neck that comes around Like a buffet or a large or that’s awesome, that’s awesome. And that’s because Gibson was like hey, there’s a you you’re scraping your knuckles every day. Yeah, other people are scraping their knuckles every day.

Speaker 1: 

I did right, like I literally feel it as you’re saying, at the annoying you got to reach around and then I learned about, I got the patent issued and I learned that patents are, unless you have the money to enforce them, pretty much, you know, irrelevant. Irrelevant because, uh, what happened was Le Grand is like a big, you know huge company sells billions of dollars when electronics, you know, outlets and all sorts of wild stuff in Home Depot. They’re the first ones that came out with the Way to mount your tv to the wall and have the wire hidden in the wall Like actual construction copper. Than the thing that comes down, yeah, they’re selling it like hotcakes for $99.99. Home Depot sees this Mm-hmm, and the Home Depot goes we’ll start selling for $69.99. Le Grand, this huge mega corporation, says, hey, home Depot, you can’t do that, we have a patent. Home Depot says you want to remove all your products from our store and it’s like or stand in line.

Speaker 1: 

We got a you know a building full of lawyers, so it’s like I’m gonna defend this one product and in turn I’m gonna lose my entire business with Home Depot, everything and so, like you have a patent and then. So I learned real quick in that lesson that like, yeah, this is the solution and it’s a business, but I don’t have billions of dollars and lawyers on staff to fight whoever wants to rip it off. Yeah, and it’s a great idea and it gets ripped off all the time. And now I see kind of the solutions that hint at it that are popping up all over tick talk and things like that.

Speaker 2: 

I’m like, oh yeah, I was there first, but you know I didn’t pursue it, all right, so you so. So you got mr Gibson on your, on your team now. How would you? Let’s flip over to josh now. Who was josh at that time? What were you like as?

Speaker 1: 

a person. At that time I was an absolute workaholic, and that’s one thing. When I look back and I I can’t tell if I regret it, but I should have been living life the fullest in Hawaii as a 20 year old. Yeah, I had five roommates. We lived on the beach. I don’t my front door and look at the ocean. Oh, my goodness. Uh, we would go. We would go Spear fishing for food Like we were broke. That’s incredible. Food prices were insane. This is back. This is back early obama days and like gas at like 550 for regular in oahu and walking and or bike and you know, a bowl of cereal and milk was like 17 bucks.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, you go buy a box of cereal and a gallon of milk with 17 dollars and I was making seven dollars an hour, right. And so this is filet mignon for me that you just go out here and do this. But you know, we go out behind our house and we catch some crabs, have crab legs, spear some fish, have some fresh fish. My neighbor was a commercial fisherman. He’d sell us ahi slabs for 20 bucks and that whole time I had friends that were just surfing every day, hanging out, playing the guitar, doing things, and I was still had that rick nelson inside me of just like you guys Aren’t working, I cannot just sit here and not work. I worked, uh. I worked the Uh tour guide job, I worked the ta job and then I got a job as an intern for wallgreens and their their corporate management internship program. So at one point I had three jobs. What was?

Speaker 2: 

the ta again for entrepreneurship. Yeah, the entrepreneurship Okay.

Speaker 1: 

That was under under greg Gibson.

Speaker 2: 

Okay, that that’s the greg gibbs. Yeah, I want to want to keep them all separate, because the next thing we get into just blows Me away as a business owner. The way you solve this next problem, let’s talk about it. The wallgreens thing, oh yeah.

Speaker 1: 

So the wallgreens and wiki key it’s no longer. They’re still there in that same location but they’ve built this mega Beautiful complex there. We lived in an old or. The wallgreens that I worked at as a summer intern Was an old record store that was made out of stucco in hawaii and stucco in georgia doesn’t do too good, stucco in hawaii does awful. And uh, you know I had 10 parking spaces. You know we get in. There is nothing flashy. It was very. I was used to being around walmarts and things like that from my construction days with my dad. Um, walk in there and I’m like all right, I’m a business major and I got a management internship at a large corporation. I’m feeling it like let’s, let’s get this done. And uh, it’s like all my friends are at the beach but I’m, I’m getting ahead in my career. You know like, so I go down there and they say, hey, we’re, we’re gonna have you Figure out a way to boost our pharmacy sales Like this is your project just that that, look that store, that’s that.

Speaker 2: 

Look, that’s okay, that’s okay, that’s store.

Speaker 1: 

You’re like, if you say, get a bigger parking lot, you’re fired because obviously you know you need a bigger parking lot, like this is. This is why that was off the table.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, they’re like this is why key, key, we got 10 parking spots. We’re not going to buy the 15 million dollar building next door and build more parking spaces like. That’s not going to help us, like, figure out a way to drive More pharmacy sales. And that’s because walgreens was new to the islands, so longs, and in hawaii has a very uh, and for many good reasons, uh, they favor local brands. So if you’re a mainland brand that comes over there, they’re kind of like, okay, I’m not going to support the mainland brand.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, um, so they were having a hard time getting longs, which longs ended up being bought by cvs. But cvs kept the name longs because it had all the goodwill of being a local company. So they were fighting it out with cvs. And so what I noticed was I was working as a pharmacy tech and I noticed that a lot of the people that came in Were tourists and they’re coming from the mainland. They’re trying to get prescriptions filled. Usually it was like the well relative of the sick person and they hated being in a pharmacy. They’re like I didn’t pay to be in wiki key. I mean like this is a trip that maybe they take once in their life and now they’re at a pharmacy.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, and they’re there for a week.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, and so I was like you know what I wonder if they do, if we could do pharmacy delivery. I was like that and that’s gonna be my project.

Speaker 2: 

What year was this?

Speaker 1: 

Roughly, that was 2009, okay, awesome 2009. And so what I did is I just went back to my old door knocking skills and I walked to every hotel. You know my the wall greens outfits were white and blue Hawaiian shirts with my wall greens name tag, and I walked to every luxury hotel, every hotel, boutique hotel, marriott’s, anything and I was like, went to the either the concierge, concierge manager how often are people coming in here asking you for medicine? And they call all the time. All the time. From a liability standpoint, we cannot give them medicine because we’re not going to get sued. No, we don’t know their allergies, we don’t know any of this stuff. We’re not handing out pills.

Speaker 1: 

So I I sent out a survey, monkey, that said, hey, how often is this happening? Gathered all of the data and at the end of the internship, I said, hey, here’s how we’re going to do it, and I laid out these are all the hotels, this is the rate that people are looking for medication and how much do you think we should charge just to deliver? And I think we settled around like five bucks for a delivery fee. Okay, and I was like we should get electric mopeds, because why Kiki strips like two miles long. Yeah, we can just fly out of the warehouse, get down there, drop it off. Yeah, and what we did, what we did, what we did to do in is it got approved and the district manager at the time was like we kind of give this to interns to kind of keep them busy. We never really expected to actually be a good idea that we’re going to do and it ended up getting funding. We got funding for a to hire two heads, two bilingual English Japanese drivers that also worked in the pharmacy and we bought, had bought, an electric moped that we charged in the warehouse and within three months we broke even on the entire program and we were delivering.

Speaker 1: 

Like it expanded from hotels to local, like if you lived in an apartment in Waikiki, we would deliver to you too for five bucks, and so it boosted all that stuff. They offered me a job at that time it was like 18, 15 an hour and I was like from seven to 1850, all right, but I was having to drive from the North Shore to Waikiki for work and that’s like an hour in a. You know, when gas is five and a half you’re like, yeah, okay, should I keep making seven and stay put, or should I make 18 and a half, but it was a, it was a good launch forward and it was actually my first time outside of you know, selling shirts in student council and having a business is looking at a real you know, hey, let’s get this going. And it’s also the first time I thought to myself I’m making this company millions of dollars and they’re paying me 1850.

Speaker 2: 

Right, and it was just like.

Speaker 1: 

what a bargain for them. The wheels started turning, yeah.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, what a great feather in your captive for a large corporation for you to go in there knowing that it’s been unsuccessful year after year. But it’s busy work for the interns and you’re going to solve it. It’s incredible.

Speaker 1: 

And it goes back to Greg Gibson told me it’s the problem. Every day you see these tours in here. Every day there’s a solution and that’s the solutions of business, and it’s kind of just always. Looking through that lens you can really see a lot of things of how to optimize.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, the Josh Nelson that I know now if you had another crack at the at the uh another bite of the apple, so to speak. Back then you would have probably started the delivery business and then like contracted out for the Walgreens.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, probably that would have been way better.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, but that’s awesome. Okay, so, let’s. So let’s move on now. You saw this at Walgreens Do you stay for a period of time or do you go? Are you off to the next job? So I had.

Speaker 1: 

So I had, I graduated. And when I graduated I was, uh, still I was a TA. I stopped doing the the um, the tour guide job, and I transitioned to Walgreens and TA. And then I graduated. So the TA job goes away and I I moved to Waikiki and kept working Um, at Walgreens. And then after a while you’re like where’s this going to go, like how much could I make at Walgreens? And I really at that point graduated business school, wanted to be kind of in a C, c level position at some point. And at Walgreens you have to be a pharmacist to be in the C level. Like it’s, everybody is like, even if you’re not interested, if you want to go up there, you got to go to pharmacy school.

Speaker 2: 

You got to become a pharmacist because you’re part of that community, yeah, and I was like I’m not going to be a pharmacist, Right Like I was like, so what am I going to do?

Speaker 1: 

And at that time, Hawaiian Airlines was expanding service to fly to Korea and they were looking for interpreters and I was like, I’ve been working real hard, my friends, have been enjoying life. I want to go travel the Pacific Rim for free, now that it paid really well. And so I did that and that was really my first, uh, first brush with being part of a union and dealing with all the politics of that. Oh boy, and I was uh. I think there’s good things for unions, but for my experience it was very much um, they don’t want new ideas, right, yeah, like I was more of like a hey, let’s see a problem and fix it.

Speaker 1: 

And they’re like how about you get in line and you keep your mouth shut and stop causing waves? And it’s like so that was. That was fairly short lived, but you know what I did help them do. There was there was a couple being an international business major, understanding the difference between cultures and then launching a new line to a country they didn’t do business with.

Speaker 1: 

Uh, hawaii and Japan are very tight and like there’s a lot of Japanese tourists, there’s a lot of people of Japanese descent in Hawaii, there’s a lot of Koreans there too, but the culture is more, if it’s more Asian influences, more Japanese. So they launched the Korea service Japanese style food, japanese magazines in the backs of the seats. The Korean movies they picked were like tragedy movies about the war and family separation, like not the vibe you’re really putting people into come on vacation or to go home, right? So my contacts from the tour guide days were like Josh, we’re having to take people to the pharmacy because they’re sick, because they’re not. This food’s not agreeing with them on the 12 hour flight here. These movies are sad. People are getting upset.

Speaker 1: 

Like you got to talk to somebody, like we got to change some things around, and so I went to the in-flight leadership and was like hey guys, and at that point I was the second um, I was the second Korean, second level or second ranked Korean interpreter in the in the company. So I had some seniority amongst interpreters and the rest of them were Korean. And in the Asian culture you don’t really go talk to the VP on your own gumption to tell them they’re doing something wrong and that they need to fix that’s that is not what you do there.

Speaker 1: 

So I talked to a bunch of my coworkers and was like, hey, man, like I’m going to go talk to the VP of in-flight and say, hey, this isn’t working for us and they’re like you would do that. I was like, yeah, like our customers are miserable and the tour guides that suggest for people to come on Hawaiian Airlines are unhappy with us, right.

Speaker 2: 

And they look like fools.

Speaker 1: 

Right, like hey, I suggested you to come on this misery flight to Hawaii and then some spend time with me. You know, not a good business. So I went and talked to them and said hey, we need to change this and that and this and that. And I got labeled as a cocky Howley by some people. What age were you? I was definitely cocky Howley age, I think I was 20. Was that 24?

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, perfect, perfect, age for that.

Speaker 1: 

Perfect age to just walk up to the VP and say, hey, you guys are a huge company and you’re making some big missteps. I look back at that and I think that it had to be done. They did change a lot of things. It turned out great, I think. Why? No, it’s a fantastic airline, but it came at the cost of the union being like we don’t need some guy that goes and talks to management.

Speaker 1: 

And that was the first time I’d ever gotten like we don’t want you here. And I was like you don’t want somebody who’s working hard and coming up with ideas that would do better. And looking back, it was a, it was a mutual feeling, like if you don’t want this, I don’t want to be here. But at the same time, hawaiian Airlines is one of the best jobs going if you live in Hawaii, and so from going from that, I was like what am I going to do next? I still want to be in Hawaii. This is a fantastic opportunity. I was there for six months because that’s how long the probation period is before they let you into the union, and on that day they’re just like we don’t want nothing to do with Josh Nelson.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah.

Speaker 1: 

And the funny because the VP of inflight, he was just like Josh you’re very brash, he goes you’re very brash and that’s going to serve you well in something else, but not being in inflight, yeah.

Speaker 2: 

But but the theme of your life. There’s another feather in your cap and who knows, maybe the airline three years later no, like Josh Nelson leaves three years later. If nobody went up to that VP, who knows where they’d be? They might be, maybe nobody would have told them those things.

Speaker 1: 

That’s. We hear that in corporations right, Right, Everybody’s afraid to go to that box. It’s like, no, they’re afraid to.

Speaker 2: 

Right. So you get people sick watching the wrong movies in the wrong mood, landing in Hawaii. How long is the insanity going to continue? Okay, makes sense. So you have the. But there the budding. Ahead six months comes, you don’t get your career status or whatever they refer to it as. Then what happens? You’re done that day.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, okay, you’re done, I’m gone. So I enjoyed unemployment. Unemployment was like it was wild. It was like 1600 bucks, like every two weeks, for doing nothing, and I was like you know, I’ll take time off, think about what I want to do next. I really don’t have any idea. I left. I could always go back to Walgreens they love me there but I don’t know, that’s not long term for me.

Speaker 1: 

What I did notice at the time was that the solar industry was blown up in Hawaii. You had a 30% federal tax credit and a 35% state tax credit for the cost of your system. So with the, I think it was 54 cents a kilowatt hour, and so what you would do is you’d finance a system that would offset your home electric 100% and instead of paying the electric company, you just paid a loan on your solar system. Then, after three to four years, you broke even and you paid nothing for electricity from then on. So people were hopping on that train. So I knew a guy that got me a job at the number one solar company in Hawaii is Revolution, and they would. It was 100% commission and they would hire as many sales people that wanted to join, because their strategy was let’s hire a bunch of people. These people will sell their family and immediate friends, and if they can’t sell after that, who cares? They’re not on the payroll. Get rid of them get somebody else.

Speaker 1: 

So I joined and I didn’t have any family friends in the islands that own houses. I had lots of friends, but you know, I went to Greg Gibson and was like, hey, by the cynicism it’s like no, I’m not going to do that, but anyway. So I was being successful because I would go into a neighborhood and look at a house and say they don’t have solar panels. I’m sure they’ve thought about it. Knock, knock, knock. Hey, do you want a presentation on how much would be to get solar panels? Oh, of course we would. We’ve been meaning to reach out and so I was successful in just going back to knocking doors, just not afraid to get rejected. I’m selling solar panels. You want solar panels? I got solar panels, let’s talk, and so anyway. So then, after you know three, four months of being successful doing that, they came to me and said, hey, are you really just knocking doors and talking to people Like, yeah, do you want to set up a division of door knocking where you just go, knock doors and we’ll pay you for every appointment that signs? And I was like, yeah, I know a bunch of poor college students that would like about a $500 referral for knocking on doors, and so I hired a bunch of my friends. We, you know, got all matching outfits and matching Nike zoom, you know shoes and we’re out there on the streets you know a bunch of mid twenties and just knocking doors. And so that was my first foray into management outside of Walgreens, of managing my friends, which is even harder because your friends will tell you to go pound sand.

Speaker 1: 

And we did really well. We got millions of dollars in sales generated from leads that we’re knocking on doors. And we had our top reps. We had a protocol for distributing to who the head of sales said we needed to send our leads to, and it was fantastic. But I was. I think my salary was $24,000 a year, plus like set appointment pay and stuff like that, and the owner of the company deemed 24,000 a little too rich for his blood. So I came in one day and he said, hey, josh, this is Travis. And I was like, hey, what’s up, travis? And he goes yeah, we mean to talk to you, we want you to go back to sales, right, and Travis is going to take over the lead generation. And I was like the whole division I just set up with all of my friends.

Speaker 2: 

Right.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, yeah, travis is going to you. You were good at selling. Just go back and do that, just hand this over to him. And at that point I think there was an interaction where some of my friends from the University of Arkansas they were working at McAfee when I Presidents Club in Hawaii and I was hanging out with them and I met their worldwide head of sales, craig Parrish, and you know he was in great mood. He’s Presidents Club, you know, it’s a little tipsy and he’s just like, oh, you’re just knocking doors and talking to people, like yeah, you’re hell of a salesman. Like if you ever want a job, just give me a call. And I was like I don’t really feel like moving to Texas. I like the Hawaii thing. And when they said that at that point they’re like we’re going to replace you with this guy after all that work of setting this up, right, I immediately was like I’m going to make a phone call to Texas and I’m going to. Maybe I’ll take him up on that offer. And and that’s what happened and it was very tough.

Speaker 1: 

I had a serious girlfriend of two years at the time she still worked at Hawaiian Airlines. I talked to her about like hey, you know, I think that one day we could be married the next step in my life. Like all my friends back home in Arkansas own houses, they have cars, they have careers. I’m out here slinging on the streets of Honolulu. I don’t own anything. I share an apartment with three other dudes. Like maybe it’s time for me to grow up. I need to go back to the mainland. Like this has been a fun seven years. I want you to come with me. She’s like that’s great. Go, I’ll be behind you. Well, yeah, I get the job with McAfee. I moved to Texas. She starts dating my roommate.

Speaker 2: 

Oh, no, this is like. Oh well, another reject like another, another reject, but you don’t stop.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, I mean, it’s what I knew that I had to do and it was very tough. And that’s where I think that when I, you know younger college kids ask me for advice when I meet them, they’re like, what do you do? And I’m like, well, kind of hanging out on my farm, not really doing much of anything in your day. Anytime you go, well, what’s, what’s some advice you’d give me? And I’m like, man, you can be trapped by tough decisions when you go. I know I need to move if I’m going to be providing for a family later, but I’m going to stay here because of my girlfriend. I’m not going to try to make it work, but I knew that the number one priority was I need to be able to provide for a family. At this point. I wasn’t on a track to be able to do so. My girlfriend at the time was like I don’t care if you work in the mall and just do whatever. I was like I care if I work in the mall. I know you don’t and I know you love me and you don’t care if I make any money. That’s now Right. That’s right now. Not being able to afford a house that’s probably going to be an issue later down the line. That’s what brought me to Texas working for McPhee. That’s really what got me kicked off in corporate tech sales was just that relationship with my friends from Arkansas, their worldwide head of sales being impressed with my sales ability.

Speaker 1: 

Then I went to McPhee and it was in Plano. I moved to Texas from Hawaii. After being in Hawaii for seven years. I was like man, everything is free here. Yeah, drinks on me. Yeah, everybody, I’m buying lunch today. Well, look at this, the cereal and milk is like $3 here, holy cow, you know like. So it was great.

Speaker 1: 

I think the time at McPhee was incredible. It was an absolute boiler room. Our boss was like push your chairs to the middle of the room. You can’t sit down until you get somebody on the phone and you have a demo. We do that in the morning and we just start hammering phone calls, just hammering. It was selling the McPhee Secure Trust logo. That goes on like e-commerce websites. Sure, you’d call and it was Wild West. They’d go hey, josh, who you calling? Today? I was like I’m going to call every online mountain bike company. Why not? Right, you get on their website, you call their about. You say, hey, I want to talk to the person in charge of the website and they’re like you hang up the phone or you send you to them and you talk to them and they go oh yeah, let’s test this out and then they would read their credit card number to you on the phone and I’m like, I just want like $20,000, $30,000. What, yeah, wild.

Speaker 2: 

Oh, my God.

Speaker 1: 

And I mean you got about 10, 12, 20-something year old kids, yeah, scouring the internet, calling people Right and literally just brow-beating people to just give you their credit card. And then you get them set up and they get the thing on their website and everything’s hunky-dory. But looking back, I’m just like man. We were just absolutely just animals. Yeah, just getting out there and just getting through objections, getting through gatekeepers, getting through all of that, and that was really after that, tech sales. It was all cushy after that. I mean, that was day to day. You have somebody there Just like you. Better not be sitting down. I didn’t hear you on a demo. Push that chair back in there.

Speaker 2: 

Right.

Speaker 1: 

And then that was a good. I think I finished Rookie of the Year that year. I got signed up. I called a buddy of mine who had a online supplements business who had like 15, 20 websites. I think our average sale was $3,000, $4,000. And he signed for a $55,000 deal With you With me oh my goodness and you know, craig, who had talked to me, talked me into wanting to come over there to McAfee was just like oh, where’d it go? Yeah, that’s awesome.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, I knew you’d work out like you, knock the door and now you’re closing these big deals and it was great, it was fun, it was. You know, some of my best friends that I have today. Unfortunately, one of my friends passed at 36 a few months ago. The entire McAfee group came out to the funeral. I mean, I’m talking that floor of like 100 something people. Everyone was there, everyone, because everybody’s like. It’s like that communal suffering of like that’s the the vibe everybody was putting out and having to grind and we all suffered together and we’re all successful together.

Speaker 1: 

Still say pretty tight knit to this day yeah, um, but yeah, then that came to an end. Yeah, they came in and said, hey, we sold this product to another company because we got to work that day and we tried logging in. We couldn’t get into our computers. We’re all locked out. Like, are you locked out of your computer? It’s like, yeah, I’m locked out of my computer. I’m like, oh, let’s try this again. Craig walked around the corner with HR. So, hey, guys, sorry, we sold this business. Today’s your last day.

Speaker 2: 

Today’s the last day.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, and I was at that time. I had, I had just I don’t know what was it. No, I’d just gotten married.

Speaker 2: 

Just married.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, just got married and and uh, but at this time I’d been let go and had had bad news so many times that I always kind of kept a little back pocket job and so, with LinkedIn’s amazing I had, I got fired that morning and, um, it’s, it’s funny enough, this is actually a kind of a second I wouldn’t say mentor, but kind of like a fairy godfather, I guess. Yeah, my buddy Kaelin, you know, he’s the one that was in Hawaii that really recruited me and got me to go there, and he’s a good friend of mine. I went, I was his chaperone on his senior spring break because I went to architecture school with his older brother and we’re good friends. We went back to his house and his father-in-law was Buster Corley from Dave and Buster’s, and we walk in all distraught. We just got fired and he was the number one salesperson in the company and they let him go and we were all just, you know, downtrodden and he’s like, hey, what’s up guys? I’m like, oh, we just got fired, thanks, buster. And he’s just like that’s the best things ever going to happen to you guys. And we’re like we don’t want to hear this Right, like we don’t hear this from Buster, from Dave and Buster. It’s like you don’t worry about it, Like I’m going to be broke, like I just got fired and he goes well, getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. Yeah, you know he was a restaurant trainer and he got fired.

Speaker 1: 

I think it was TJ Friday. I’m sorry, kate, if I got that wrong, but he got fired and he started Dave’s and he started Dave’s right next to Buster’s in Little Rock, arkansas. That’s awesome. And if he didn’t get fired, he wouldn’t have started that restaurant. He would have never started, they would have never gotten together, they would have never thought, because what they did is they did a similar thing. They saw that their patrons are going from one, going to the other one and coming back, going from the restaurant to the pool hall and game billiard room and then back to the restaurant, the bar, back and forth.

Speaker 1: 

Wow. And they’re like, hey, what if we just put them together? Put them together and the rest is history, you know so. So he was like you know you guys will be fine. He’s like this is the best thing that’s ever happened to you. And so later that afternoon I had another job that paid more, but it was a step back from direct sales. It was into back into lead being a BDR lead generator, okay, and it was up Palo Alto Networks Okay.

Speaker 2: 

So another move is on the horizon.

Speaker 1: 

Well, that was yeah, it was a cross town. Fortunately I didn’t have to move cities and that’s where I met kind of a second mentor, kelly Tolos. She was my boss there. She was the first person that I ever met. That was just like she would push back on senior leadership on behalf of her people. Like that’s not right. Like I’d never had a sales leader in at McPhee. They were just like you do what you’re told. Yeah, push the chair in, get the dial.

Speaker 2: 

We’re like, hey, this is kind of I don’t care. She supported the team, she loved the team.

Speaker 1: 

She was just like you guys are my family. We spend so much time together.

Speaker 1: 

I want to make sure that we’re all getting paid, let’s get after it. And so she was just absolutely just so nice and just really looking out for career advancement, really helping you want to grow. And after four months there she’s like hey, josh, I’m getting out of here. She’s like it’s miserable, they don’t care about you, guys, I’m fighting and getting nowhere. She’s like I’m going to Citrix, go to meet. I’ll pay you double what you make here to go with me over there. Oh, wow. And I was like I’m in, I’m in, thank you, I’ll go with you, kelly.

Speaker 2: 

So, before we go to this pivotal point in your life that really sets up, you know how you’re able to financially retire at age 38, I want to.

Speaker 2: 

I want to share something with you that I’m hearing a theme and it’s this cliche out there that people go oh, you’re in the right place at the right time, and then you sort of unpack that, and what a lot of people think that means is I wake up every day, I sit on my couch and then one day somebody knocked on my door and like, gave me this incredible opportunity. And they translate the right place in the right time is like this major coincidence that happened in life. But I want to point out like to me right now I’m really hearing your right place in right time. It is. It’s you in the trenches with your sleeves rolled up, pound in every day, right, persevering every day, getting rejected. Then all of a sudden, right, after all these years that nobody wants to look back at. Something happens that we’re going to get into shortly. But I’m just curious how do you feel? How does that cliche ring to you? How does that sound to you?

Speaker 2: 

Right place right time Josh.

Speaker 1: 

Oh, I think that there is something to the right place, right time, but you have to be prepared when that right time comes, because there’s been a bingo, like my roommate after college, 2010,. Hey, I think we should buy this Bitcoin. And I’m like dude, I’m broke, I can afford Bitcoin. How much is the Bitcoin? $100. Man, I don’t have $100. It cost me $80 to get two bags of groceries at Safeway. I can’t get $100 at Bitcoin. And he bought, like a miner, he was mining one Bitcoin a week in 2010. Wow, one Bitcoin a week. I mean, right place, right time. I was not prepared Before. I did have the foresight. I was focused on where I was at. I mean, there’s a lot, I think there’s a lot of right places, right times that come along. Yeah, we’re just not prepared for it. We’re not or we don’t see them.

Speaker 2: 

We can’t see them because we’re not prepared Right, or we’re not prepared Right.

Speaker 1: 

And I think that in this case, with sales, I think once you’re prepared and once you know, you know where you want to go, when that time presents itself and the opportunity presents itself, you have to take it, yeah, Like you have to capitalize, yeah, or it’ll pass you by and then you go. Oh man, had I only listened to Kelly.

Speaker 2: 

Right.

Speaker 1: 

Right. And at this point I knew Kelly had my best interest in mind. I knew that she was going to. She was. If she took me to this new company, she was going to have my back. I didn’t know anybody there. She was the only person I knew and I brought Kailin with me, because Kailin got me into McAfee, got you to McAfee. So I went back to him and said, hey, I got this great gig lined up at GoToMeeting. She’d come with me to GoToMeeting because Kelly’s here, she’s fantastic, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it was. But yeah, like you said, I mean right place, right time. Sounds like oh, wow, you just fell into these opportunities. And, and it’s funny cause, like you know, when you think about you know your kids and your kids look at where you’re at. They don’t know everything you’ve been through. They just think like, oh, yeah, dad did something or whatever. He didn’t work hard. Dad goes golfing and does this and does that. It’s like.

Speaker 2: 

It’s like well, you’re eight, oh, when you get working age, we’ll explain some things to you and one of the first things you’ll be doing when you do get working ages listening to this episode with dad on it to hear the stories and struggles, because this will live forever. So, all right, before we get into Palo Alto, networks Mr Gibson, who was a major theme in your life. Was he anywhere to be seen or heard from right now, in this part of your life?

Speaker 1: 

I’d gone. So when I got to GoToMeeting is when I really I’d been married for a couple of years. At that point we had Redmond when I was at GoToMeeting and we went back to Hawaii and I tried meeting up with them and his wife was ill or something like that. We were unable to link up and I’m not one of those people that really tries to track people down. I try to reach out to you and I’m like, hey, I want to meet up and they’re like, oh hey, my wife’s sick. This blah, blah, blah, blah.

Speaker 1: 

He was always kind of a, he was very helpful and I mean I house set his house when he would go back to the mainland. But he was kind of like my dad. He wasn’t really like overly affectionate, he was more educational than he was like, oh yeah, you’re like a son to me. He was like John, I like you, you’re a sharp kid. And so my last conversation with him was just more like oh man, I really wish I could meet up. It’s been a long time, but to this day I haven’t talked to him, probably since 2015. Got it, but I mean the mark that he left on me. I mean I’m sure if he hears this or went back. He’d be like, yep, and he really liked it. When former students would pop by and they were successful, I’m like, hey, mr Gibson, this is you know.

Speaker 2: 

What’s his first name? Again Greg. We’re going to make a point to tag him in this show and try to. Who knows, maybe this episode will land in his hands, yeah.

Speaker 1: 

That’s a great idea. Yeah, yeah, okay.

Speaker 2: 

Awesome. So Palo, let’s. Let’s get to Palo down the road. You’re still in Plano. Plano, texas. What age, roughly and what year.

Speaker 1: 

See, I was married, so I was when I left, when I left Palo. So I was Palo for four months. Okay, Didn’t do anything notable there other than getting to know Kelly and having some good friends there and went to go to meeting. I was about 29. And so and this is for all those in sales, it’s some say the golden age of software sales is over. But you got to put it in perspective. The McAfee job paid 55,000 a year at 100% quota attainment. The Palo Alto job paid 75,000 a year at 100% attainment, and then the Citrix job paid 125,000 at full quota. And that was all within a year. A year, yeah.

Speaker 1: 

Of like being let go, and being here and so you know what Buster said of like getting fired is the best thing that’s ever happened to you. It’s like it was on its way to be to be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And so that was just something where, you know, I was very blessed to have Rachel as a wife. She’s been very supportive. Our conversations as a married couple has been, you know, when we have children. We wanted her to stay home and kind of just raise our kids, you know, and at the time we thought we were going to have multiple kids but do some complications. We all have one. We love Redmond to death, but she’s very supportive and she, after seeing me work and seeing like okay, josh is locked in on a decision, he’s making a pretty good decision so far Like let’s, let’s let him cook, you know, like let’s, let him get out there. And so I got to Citrix, go to meeting, and this was video conferencing was viewed as a nice to have. The majority of corporate communication was still conference calls. It was like 70% was like let’s hop on a bridge, let me give you my bridge number. Dial in the code, can’t see anybody, you just talk. And so usually like 30% of an organization would have video capability and they’d have video capability only for screen sharing. Nobody wanted to be on camera. Like you joined a meeting people with cameras off or not even have a camera or not even have a right, just cause they wanted to see a slide. And and WebEx was founded Big competitor at the time WebEx was founded just for being able to do slide shows. And when you think about how important WebEx was as a tool of founding that to do sales presentations, before WebEx was invented you had to show up at the office of the person you’re trying to sell to with slides before that whole thing was invented. So the advent of WebEx allowed for the economy we have today, where you can sell things remotely and have offices only in a few places, versus have offices and sales people everywhere. And so at that point it was just screen sharing and audio conferencing. We were selling go to meeting for $39, a license for 25 people to join and you could only have six people on video and if you had more than six people, somebody had to turn their camera off and other person had to turn their camera on to rotate. And try organizing that during a meeting with those people. So we were doing pretty successful.

Speaker 1: 

I met a buddy of mine there. His name is Brian Macley and he’s the one that really got me. He kind of already had it figured out of like there’s problems that I can solve. Our biggest competitor was WebEx. Their biggest tell of whether a customer had WebEx was they’d have a custom URL They’d have like JeffHopekWebexcom. So he outsourced to Eastern Germany or somewhere over there people to scan all these websites and test their domains with WebEx and he would come back with his entire list says here are all the people that use WebEx. I click on the link. It works. I verified they have this platform. This is a competitor. I know the talk track now I know who to ask for doing all this stuff. He was always the most successful because he was getting these large WebEx takeaways and I was like tell, me how you’re doing this.

Speaker 1: 

I need to know how to do this. And so he showed me what he was doing and I said this is a fantastic. This is going to streamline our efforts. Because when you call somebody, you go oh, what are you guys using? And they don’t want to tell you You’re a salesperson. They don’t talk to you, right. But if you say, hey, who runs the WebEx account at your company? Oh, jeff, jeff does. Well, can I talk to Jeff real quick, because they already think you know something, or you are, maybe you’re associated with WebEx, who knows?

Speaker 1: 

But like the guard comes, down and you get right in and so I mean he was scraping, indeed, for like they wanted familiarity with you know, whatever, and he’d be like they use these tools, they. I mean he was pulling data from everywhere and he really made it to where I he called it defining the universe. He’s like you can’t just go explore the unknown. He’s like if the define what’s known, then go explore. And so I went to Kelly and was like hey, kelly, brian’s kind of the guy in the office, it’s kind of the odd duck.

Speaker 2: 

Right.

Speaker 1: 

I like him though. He’s fantastic, he’s awesome. I was like he’s doing this a way that if we rolled it out, we would be way more successful as a company. And so she looked at it and she’s like this is great. So we rolled that out to the entire company and they ran these big national campaigns and we had they actually kind of had us run the data for the entire company and then split it up into everybody’s books, and I catapulted that into my first corporate management job, where they’re like hey, this guy, josh, he’s got some hamster wheels running up there, Like we need to get him up here.

Speaker 1: 

And so at that point Kelly hired me as a rep. I became Kelly’s peer, so we were both the two managers in the office and I was 29. I was in leadership at Citrix, a big company. I was like man. By the time I’m 39, I’m going to be a VP when I have like I’m on their road to glory.

Speaker 1: 

And then I got bumped from. This was two years from being fired, at 55. I was making 175. And I was like this is I just had Redmond. Two months before I got hired as a manager, they gave me a week off. I look at now they get like four months off the day I’m like.

Speaker 1: 

I got a week off and I got hell for three, three months and three weeks after that and then Citrix decided they didn’t want to do go to meeting anymore. I’d been a manager for six months and Citrix. What happened is some activists, investors, came on and they said we’re a virtualization company, this whole video conferencing thing, that’s not our core business. We need to get rid of it. We need to spin it off. We were a leased office. The main offices were in Santa Barbara and Raleigh and they’re like get rid of the leased offices, let’s clean up the balance sheet, let’s get this tight to sell. And we were doing big money. I mean there’s like five companies that could have bought GoToMeeting. They ended up merging with LogMe and later. But they basically came to me and they said hey, you can go back to sales as a remote sales rep, or you can take three months severance, or you can move to North Carolina and reapply for your management job. Oh boy, and I was like reapply for the management job I got six months ago that I interviewed with you for you know, and Citrix was.

Speaker 1: 

I learned a lot at Citrix. My boss had asked us to do some. The boss of me and Kelly had asked us to do some pretty immoral things as far as revenue recognition. Basically, we would renew contracts where there was no new money in the contract, the company’s not making any more money, but they would pay us commission Like because there was a glitch in the billing system that he found out about. So all the teams that were not mine were in these crazy numbers of attainment and I was like at 75% tracking to get to 100% and he’s like Josh, you guys aren’t doing these right, You’re not doing this right, You’re not doing that right, and I’m like writing contracts for no money and getting paid is stealing, like I’m not doing it.

Speaker 1: 

And the operations team was in Dallas and I went and asked them and they’re like we’re putting together basically a sting operation on this. They’re like, don’t be part of it. Every deal that gets logged and every payout gets done. We know about it and you don’t need to be part of this. And I was like okay. So when they offered me the severance, I’m like getting the hell out of here so.

Speaker 1: 

I was on severance for, oh, they wanted me to finish the quarter, so I had a month and a half left in the quarter. So there you go, we’ll let you work for a month and a half. Then we’ll start three months of benefits at the end of the quarter, as well as three months. So I had four and a half months kind of lead time on getting out of there, and so I was like, oh, what am I going to do next? This is another job. It was going fantastic, splendid.

Speaker 1: 

I had this goal of what I was going to do, and then it comes out of nowhere that that train’s coming to its stop and what had happened was Kelly had come to me and she said hey, one of my friends reached out to me about a job. I already got a job as a director over at this other company. I’m taking that, but it’s a sales job. They’re looking for a salesperson for the Southeast. I gave them your number because you’ve only been a manager for six months. You can go back to sales. I’m like sure who’s it for? He’s like oh, it’s for how many called Zoom and I was like Zoom in 2015.

Speaker 1: 

I was like Zoom and I pulled up the website and it was broken English and it did not look good and they’d come across in a couple of our sales cycles and we’d kind of trash talk to them as, like, look at their website. They got broken English and they got like it’s a really cheap solution. They were doing 50 people on video, 50 people on a meeting for $9.99. And we were selling for $39.99, 25 with six people on video and I was like this is some sort of ankle biter. There’s always ankle biters out there doing stuff. So I was like you know what? I have no other options at the moment. So yeah, I’ll hear them out, why not? So then I get on. They organized the thing I get on the meeting that’s organized with the head of sales at Zoom, greg Holmes. What year are we in? We are in 2015. And at this point I’m 30. And he goes. You know I’m clicking and I’m used to clicking on it and I’m checking my audio to see if I’m connected and he goes.

Speaker 2: 

I can hear you.

Speaker 1: 

I was like oh, like, I just clicked on the link and it works.

Speaker 2: 

He’s like yeah.

Speaker 1: 

And I was like dude, your video looks great and I’m like this product is light years ahead of what we’re selling and we’re selling this like hotcakes. And I, you know, I went through kind of my background and typical interview stuff and I looked at it and I said listen, you’re better and cheaper. I’m in, I want in, like I want it. Like let’s, let’s go.

Speaker 1: 

And at that point it was, it was 2015, july 2015. I started at Zoom and you know, I got in the first day and, like you’re in charge of seven states Corporations, over a thousand employees. And I’m like cool, so I log in, and I log in and in Salesforce, there’s just no data in there. And I call up Greg and I’m like hey, greg, I logged in, but I don’t see any of my accounts and he goes yeah, you got to add them. I was like you mean there’s nothing in Salesforce? Like no, nothing, wait.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, he’s not a customer.

Speaker 1: 

Not a customer in.

Speaker 1: 

Salesforce. And I’m like, oh my gosh. And so I go to Rachel and Rachel’s actually the one who told me I had a competing job offer from Qualtrics and the management path there. When I asked him about it was like the best sales reps go into management. And I’m like that’s not how management should work. The best sales reps are generally very selfish and not interested in helping other people. Like I can’t guarantee that I’m going to be there. We have 96%. We have 96% of the Fortune 500.

Speaker 1: 

I’m like, well, who are you going to sell to then? Right, and so she was like Josh, you’re in video conferencing, you need to stay in video conferencing. And I was like, okay, babe, let’s do. It Turns out to be Sage advice from Rachel to get in there. So, yeah, so I got in and I literally that first weekend was like hey, I joined this company, I don’t have any customers in Salesforce. I put on headphones, put on some playlist and for four days, researched every company, over a thousand employees in seven states, added them to Salesforce with three contacts of who was more than likely going to be the person to be, the person to prospect to and just start calling.

Speaker 2: 

Which states did you have Just?

Speaker 1: 

curious. I had Texas, oklahoma, louisiana, arkansas, tennessee, mississippi and Alabama Okay, cool Tola, plus a few Yep, and I’d contact it like Walmart and Tyson and like that. But we were way too early for those accounts and we at that point we were way too early for companies over a thousand employees. But you just got it in ground and just grinding, grinding I think I was the 90th employee in the United States. We had quite a few employees, but a lot of them were engineers over in China and it was funny because I mean, the people at zoom had just become just absolute lifelong like family friends. Luckily, when I joined they gave me a significant amount of stock. And at that time, when they gave me stock and they just matched my pay at Citrix, they’re like, hey, listen, you’re kind of on the high end for a rep in Texas. You’re going to be making what we pay people in the Bay. So like we’re just going to match your pay that you were making at Citrix, but we’ll give you stock. And I was like, oh, you know, we bought a house for like $350,000. And I was like, well, maybe one day this stock will be worth enough to pay this house off and just kind of have a nice easy life and kind of hang out.

Speaker 1: 

And for the next few years, I mean, I was showing people demos and go into their offices. Because we had a conference room solution called zoom rooms and it used off the shelf hardware versus $100,000 proprietary codecs and things like that that people are used to spending. And so it was very revolutionary of like we can do your online meetings and we can outfit your conference rooms and kind of everybody on the same platform, because at that time you could do WebEx, but WebEx meetings couldn’t join conference room meetings like very easily at all. And so we had a lot of customers were getting traction with that and I was like, hey, I need to get some of this hardware to show people this. And they’re like I mean, we’re not going to buy you a kit to go around. So I went to the Apple store and I bought everything about the iPads, bought the Mac minis and did all that stuff and I was going around Dallas setting these up and I would set this conference room up in 10 minutes and it would work better than what it took them weeks to set up. And these companies were just like this is it? I mean, I’m loaning people hardware on the back of my trunk. Yeah, like this is like startup, startups, sure, sure. And I was getting customers and I mean in the first six months it was so slow going in the enterprise space that Greg called me and I missed his call. And I got a voicemail where he’s like this Josh, I don’t know if this is working out. And I was like, oh my gosh, I need a deal, like I need a big deal, Like I’m not here grinding. All of our marketing was in the Bay. We had no marketing.

Speaker 1: 

I would call people and say I was with Zoom and they thought it was the Mazda commercial, like the Zoom Zoom. Oh, no idea what Zoom was. And I’d be like, oh, it’s like, go to meeting. It’s like WebEx, it’s like Skype. Now we already have that thing, click, you know.

Speaker 1: 

And so I went to the streets, kind of back to that knock and door hey, let me come show you this conference room. This will blow your socks off. And finally got a huge deal in. And they’re like oh, josh, we’re not going to fire you, that’s a good deal, you know, like fake, goodness, right. But a lot of people don’t understand is in software sales, being at a place for seven years in software sales, of going back to zero every three months and being regraded on whether you should be able to keep your job every three months and every six months. I had to tell people that how I was working at Zoom. I was like, well, I was about 40 pounds lighter and I had a full head of hair when I started and it was very taxing but very rewarding at the same time.

Speaker 1: 

But yeah, I mean we just we started there. We hired Dave Berman as our president a couple months after I started and he was a big wig. He took his worldwide head of sales at Webex, took Webex public, left there, went to Ring Central, took Ring Central public. Then he came to us and he was one of those people where the lessons he was teaching were no one cares about our company until we get big logos. He’s like we can’t go public with mom and pop little things. Wall Street doesn’t understand that. We need to go after the biggest companies out there. We have the best solution and we’re going to do it. And he would. He would, I, we did, we would entertain customers. He was just an amazing, charismatic sales leader. He was a salesperson, salesperson. He’s like if sales needs it, get it to him. Like oh, you guys need to get a box for this football game, done. Oh, you want to go to this, done. Oh, we need to do that, done. And what I learned from him was he was like if you’re producing for me, I’m hooking you up. So you know, if you made Presidents Club, you get more stock on your anniversary. If you were successful that year, you’d get more stock. Yeah, like he was. Just like I’m giving it. You earned it. Here’s more.

Speaker 1: 

And you know we went through some ups and downs and you know, growing pains and went from a small company and then the pandemic hit. Well, we went public in April of 2019. Okay, absolutely life-changing. What was the stock price? So the stock price was supposed to be 36, opened up at 62. Okay, me and Rachel were in New York. We weren’t in the building, but there’s a contingency of Zoom employees outside, yeah, so we got to see them. You know, go live on NASDAQ out there in, you know, times Square. It was a wonderful celebration Went to the dinners, met a lot of the board members, a lot of the investors. You know, after four years of just starting from nothing nobody knew who we were we have a picture where every board in Times Square has the Zoom logo on it from us going public. Oh, that’s awesome. You know, it was one of those things where there was a couple of moments where I look back of, just like, you know, sleeping on the floor in Korea. You know, getting fired from McAfee. You know, getting fired from Hawaiian Airlines. You know, get. You know all these different things and it was just like man, wow, like $62, like that’s crazy. And then the pandemic happens shortly after that.

Speaker 1: 

But before that, what brought me to Atlanta was I always wanted to be back in leadership. I’d been four years of sales rep after making that jump into leadership and I’d done a number of trainings and done some things like the Zoom room demo and like helping people understand how to present that in person and contributing. And in a startup, everybody’s doing these crazy roles where you’re doing way more than you’re just doing your job, like you’ve got to be doing a little bit of marketing, a lot of sales, a lot of training, a lot of new employees, a lot of this. And so my boss at the time was his name is Mike Lassaroni fantastic guy. He said Josh, if you want to be in leadership, we don’t do remote managers, we like manage on the floor, we like hype people up. We need that. We’re opening an Atlanta office. If you want to be in leadership, you need to move to Atlanta. I had a kid. We’d just bought a house Two years earlier.

Speaker 1: 

And I go to Rachel and I say, hey, listen, you want to move to Atlanta. And she’s from Dallas. She’d lived in, like she’d gone and seen like some friends, and lived in Utah for like four months but never had lived anywhere substantially outside of Dallas. And her parents lived there and all this stuff her sister and brother and I was like, if I’m going to take this step, we have to move to Atlanta. And there were some bumps along the road as far as the, the politics of getting into management at a large tech company, but she ultimately was very supportive. She’s like hey, listen, I’m a stay at home mom, You’re the one who’s making the money. If this is what’s good for your career, I’ll move there, but it’s going to be a two year deal. Like if I don’t like it in two years, we have to come back for sure.

Speaker 2: 

And I was like fair, let’s do it.

Speaker 1: 

So got the job moved to Atlanta. Had a wonderful time just getting all that stuff going together. Six months later, close the office pandemic, turns out I we do have remote managers now.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, a whole lot of them, and you had no idea, or, at that time, right there, did you know that a pandemic was going to force this stock into the I mean stratosphere.

Speaker 1: 

So when I first got the stock, we looked at what WebEx had done previously, like historically, when they went public before they were bought by Cisco, and I was like, if this stock ever hits $100, I don’t know what I was going to do and I was like I’ll just retire. It’s just crazy. And so when it went to 62, I was like holy cow, like this is more money than I ever thought I would have in my life and and I was I was just floored. And then I knew we still had room to grow Like we were. We were not the dominant player in the space by far. I mean WebEx was head and shoulders and then Microsoft too. I mean you get teams for free just grabbing Microsoft. So I was like there’s room to grow, and I mean we, we I think our profit margin was like 81%. I mean just, absolutely, just such a healthy company. When we the pivotal thing for zoom is we got an investment from Sequoia capital of like a hundred million dollars and we were already in the black like a lot of startups you see there and we need capital, otherwise we don’t. Under our, our founder was like hey, I don’t need your money. And they’re like new, don’t understand. Like you need our money. He’s like, no, I don’t. We have 45 million dollars in the bank. Like I don’t need your money. And they’re like you need our connections, like we need in. And it took them a lot of long time and they had to take them to dinner with three or four different founders that they’d invested in and right after they invested in us Walmart, you know, procter and Gamble, like just the big companies where they just make a phone call and they’re like, hey, you got to check, zoom out. And then that’s where the dominoes start falling. They let up dose, going public. And then we still had just I think we had 10% market share when we went public, just like, hey, we’re up there, we’re fighting the big guys and now we’re doing our thing.

Speaker 1: 

And then, when the pandemic happened, what the thing that really launched us was we had our free license was 45 minutes high quality video for 50 people. I think it ended up being a hundred people all on camera for free. So when people are like, hey, what’s the best free option to communicate with my family and stuff, and and and then also when your business goes down, you have an inferior solution to communicate. You can’t have that solution anymore. Even if you’re under contract, you can’t pay for it anymore. You’re like this is costing us money, not being able to communicate effectively, not being able to have keep tabs on our remote employees, and so what happened was an unintentional consequences.

Speaker 1: 

We were a business to business solution and it become a business to consumer solution, Like it was. We were not supposed to be right, cause when I sell you as a business, you have all the security protocols in place. You make sure passwords are like you do all that stuff. When a consumer uses a business product and they don’t put passwords on things and they just like don’t know how to safeguard their meetings, that’s when you end up with zoom bombing and people coming in and saying inappropriate things. And schools go and start using zoom to teach in the kids that are troublemakers, post the meeting link and Twitter and say hey, come, mess up my class and like there was a lot of learning bumps and like just really high, like just bad press from just unintentional exponential growth. Cause I think we went from 10 million users a day to 300 million users a day and 24 hours, and so it was. We went from 1200 employees that year to by the end of the end of 2020, I think we had 7,000 employees. What was the more.

Speaker 2: 

That’s incredible. What? What was the morning when the stock just like went from 60 to? It went over night, right?

Speaker 1: 

Oh, so it kept on going up and it got up to like a hundred. Yeah, and you know, I’d seen my, my, my dad had no financial education. I mean, he is one of the most successful people I’ve seen that you know didn’t have a formal education. I saw, I saw his home business go under from the embezzlement his Walmart business during the 2008 financial crisis. That went under and that was very profitable. I was like I need to lock this level of success, like I’m not going to say I know we’re going to keep going up, I’m just going to hold all my stock and not sell anything. Yeah, because our founder could have got hit by bus, sure, and then stock goes to nothing.

Speaker 1: 

So that time we actually a funny story I told Rachel two years in Atlanta before we moved back. I was a member of country over the South, the golf course and a house came on for sale and it’d been on market for like 300 something days and I was like she at this time she was missing Dallas quite a bit. So she was back on like a girl’s trip back in Dallas with her friends and she was at a sauna and I texted her to the Zill links like hey, look at this house. And she put sold and so I met with the real estate agent, put an offer in. They accepted the offer and five, six hours later I texted Rachel. Hey, they accepted her offer. She calls me. She’s like what are you talking about? And I was like that house that you said sold on, she was. I was joking. I was like well, I tried calling you. She’s like my phone’s been in the locker room. My phone’s been in the locker at the sauna for the last six hours.

Speaker 1: 

So you tell me you bought a house without me seeing it. And I was like, well, we got like 10 days to back out, so you get back here in three days, we’ll walk through it. And so this is the first mistake I made is, you know, she walked into the house and she goes all right, you pick the house, I get it be in charge of the renovation budget. And I was like, well, you know, the kitchen looks kind of nice, like they did it in like 2010, and the other bathroom and she’s like it’s all gone.

Speaker 2: 

It’s all gone. And I was like, oh, I just blank checked my wife, uh.

Speaker 1: 

But I mean that’s the. You know, with all this growth and you know there’s a lot of things that could be done. I mean because Zoom stock went up to it peaked at 580. Yeah, I was selling on the way up. I mean I could have had way more money, but I wasn’t willing, based on the experience I had seeing my parents lose businesses, to risk it. I was like this level is great for me, I love it. Paid my house off. I was like this house is paid off. You’re going to have to drag me out of here, right, like I’m not going to. No, I’m not losing this.

Speaker 1: 

And so you know, and I had some, some employees of Zoom sold everything right after we went public, like this is enough for me, I’m out. And then they just kept working. They’re like oh man, should I hold on to it? Whoops. And then some employees were just like hey, I’m going to start leveraging, I’m going to buy this on a five one arm, I’m going to buy this Ferrari, I’m going to buy these watches, because stocks always going up, it’s never coming down. And then, after you sell everybody in the world Zoom and you can’t sell anymore than Wall Street’s like what’s your growth next year? It’s like well, we sold everybody on the planet last year, unless there’s another planet to sell to. I think our growth can be kind of flat.

Speaker 2: 

And that stock goes way back down Down to 100.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, it’s like now down to the 70s, but but there was people that held until it went back down. And so I, based on you, know a lot of the things I do. I never overextend myself to where I can lose it all because I’ve lost. I’ve lost jobs, I’ve been. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I’ve seen my parents in the similar situations. I was not going to let that happen to me and my family. And so you know, I get people like hey, josh, like can you help me out with this? And when you invest in that, can you do that? And I’m like listen, if I think it’s going to put my family in a bad spot, no, yeah, not going to happen.

Speaker 1: 

And so zoom days were great. It was there for a long time. I learned, I mean, the the big secret to zoom was they cared about the customer. That’s what said said us apart. You would call me up and you say, hey, listen, I would really like if zoom could do Um, oh, it’s one of my biggest customers discovery channel. They said you’re saving us so much money because we do shark week.

Speaker 1: 

It’s down in Australia to edit it. We’d have to fly from Australia with the tapes to New York city, cut it on the floor, make changes, go back to Australia, re-film some stuff and then come back. We can do it all remotely now. But, josh, whenever there’s an explosion or something like that, your, your microphones are meant for just talking, so that there’s noise in the background and cancels it out, but when there’s an explosion we’re trying to show it, it mutes the explosion, like, if you can change that, that will help everybody that does video editing in the entire world be able to do raw audio and hear what exactly it is without the voice stuff taking over and zoom goes. Oh, wow. Yeah, two weeks later, that was a feature. Oh, get out. Yeah, it’s. It was just because they had the entire code. They didn’t buy companies Zooms. Engineers could be like oh, that’s what you want us to do. Yeah, I know the code forwards and backwards. Yeah, we’ll change it.

Speaker 2: 

Incredible.

Speaker 1: 

And like, and so they would listen to customer feedback. The quickest feedback I had was 24 hours. They said hey, we want to be able to click this and have this work. And they talked to our founder, eric, who’s an engineer CEO, and he goes well, I’m going to have to look at this and look at that. And the guy who was talking to was very smart and he goes no, all you have to do is take the dashes out and it works. And he goes that’s it Next day. It worked.

Speaker 2: 

Like the entire code was changed.

Speaker 1: 

The next day, so they truly cared about that.

Speaker 1: 

I mean, yeah, they listened to feedback and they they would be like, okay, it’s on the roadmap and what the cus like customers like Walmart love that stuff. Yeah, like huge corporations are just like yeah, whereas if you go to like something like WebEx, you end up with like the innovators dilemma hey, we really want this feature. It’s like, well, this product’s made up of like six companies that we bought and it’s all different code and like if we change this code, it’s we don’t know what the ripple effects going to be by the time of the output and maybe eventually we’ll do this or do that. And so zoom was very against buying and acquiring companies to boost the product. They were really building in house, so they knew how to change it and make it better, which was a fantastic way to do. It’s very forward thinking of like we, we’re going to build the product that people want, not the product they’re making work Right and and that’s difference.

Speaker 1: 

So after a while I was I mean, my time at zoom was fantastic Lots of family there now, lots of friends, lots of people were, you know, once the original leadership was like hey, listen, I’ve got like a billion dollars, I’m going to go spend time with my family. We had all new leadership come in and you know they started being like, hey, now we’re a public company, we’re a huge company. It’s back to the red tape and kind of doing the thing. That the thrill of the hunt was really gone. It was more like you’re sitting on a farm now. Yeah, I was like you know I could do this one more time I could.

Speaker 1: 

from what I’ve seen, I went from a small startup to a medium startup, to a large startup, to a public company, to a small public company to a large public company. I was like I could do this again. I’ve got enough.

Speaker 1: 

Left in the tank. I’m young enough, let me do it. I went to another company, the company I’m not going to name them because I would do wish them well. Um, they just had a different philosophy. That you know. They have a fantastic product in the solar space Makes a lot of people’s jobs easier A lot of people.

Speaker 1: 

It’s very accurate. It’s kind of a gold standard, like public utilities are like. Oh, you know, you use this rubber stamp, you know, just fantastic. But the way they did it was based on like a per job rate, versus where they zoom was like pay for one month, use it as much as possible. This was like a per job quote.

Speaker 1: 

And so companies would go, hey, we’re going to, we’re going to do quotes on 150,000 homes this year. And then what happens is rates go up. People go, hey, I’m not going to buy solar panels. And so these companies say, hey, our demand is way low, we paid you for 150,000 jobs, but it looks like we’re only going to do about 75. Can we roll these jobs on our next contract? No, absolutely not. Nope, and I’m from a construction company and I’m from a construction family.

Speaker 1: 

Right, if you told my dad you’re giving him, he had to give away a quarter million dollars just because you didn’t want to give it to him.

Speaker 1: 

He will hate you the rest of his days. And so my job turned into a lot of customer satisfaction issues where they’re like, hey, I love your product, we’re going to go do an inferior product because we hate you. And so you know, I go back and I say, hey guys, we could change this completely and we could be amazing if we just would help these people out. And they were more concerned with their valuation than they were helping the customer. And I was like at this point I was like, listen, if you just hired me to babysit, I got my own kit. Like, if you hired me because of all my experience at zoom and you know all the experience I bring to the table we can change this and we can make it better. But if you just want me to babysit reps like it was a high paying job, it was, you know, 24 year old me would think I was crazy, walking away Like it was a lot of money and a lot of stock.

Speaker 1: 

But I looked at it and said there’s no way this stock’s going to be worth anything if every one of your customers hates you, right? And so at that point I was like you know, I’d been there for 10 months and you know, if you’re there for a year, you get your first quarter of the stock. I was like I don’t even want to be here for two more months, it’s. And they were public. No, they’re pre-opio.

Speaker 1: 

Okay, yeah, they’re private company, so I was like I don’t even want to be here for two more months because it is absolutely miserable and my customers are miserable, like it’s not good. And so I kind of just talked to my, talked to my boss and was like, hey, listen, it’s not working for me. And so that’s when I decided that, you know, I’d spend a lot of time away from family, building zoom to what it was, with all the people at zoom. Red was born and he was eight and that was like the first eight years of zoom and I was, you know, I was like you know what. I looked at it and there’s 10 summers left before he’s out of the house forever. Only kid, I’ve got enough. I could chase the golden ring, I could get more money, but for what, you know, he’s going to be gone in 10 years and I’ll wish I had the time back. And so I’ve retired and last February, so I’m going on a year almost, and kind of just got into real estate, I guess kind of hanging out.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, Tell us about that. So I heard a little theme throughout the story.

Speaker 2: 

You’re flipping, or you buying and selling Brent, and it’s an unintentional business Right.

Speaker 1: 

So I wanted to slow down and obviously whenever you have it’s natural for everybody when you start making money you get lifestyle creep winded up with a house here in country. Go to the south house on Lake linear and then an opportunity to get by 40 acres popped up on Lake linear and I had my house paid off here. I had a you know like a two, five mortgage on the lake house and it was half paid off and that was the first time I ever made like a risky. I’m going to put it all on the line to try to get this 40 acres. And I took a HELOC out on my main house use that as the down payment on the 40 acres. And I had three mortgages at the same time and I was like if the economy were to go down now Josh Nelson’s going down with it, yeah.

Speaker 1: 

But you know, getting into real estate flipping was very interesting because it’s kind of the back to the problem and solution. I noticed there was a lot of houses that just weren’t very attractive but they’re in desirable areas and not like the chip and Joanna gains. You know, white and black with the chip lap like putting really unique my personal touches into it Cause I went to architecture school before I went into business and so had that going. You know, I was like I need a downsize, I need to sell. I knew we were going to sell one of the lake houses to get the 40 acres. But I asked Rachel. It was like I want to stop working, I want to be around family more. We can’t have two houses because I just don’t want to pay for it. It’s too much out, I don’t feel comfortable. Which one do you want to move to? She goes, I want to move to the lake. I was like, okay, cool. So somebody came and luckily we bought in 2019 and 2020.

Speaker 1: 

And so, and then we’re not from here, so we have no time. It’s not like my family’s house or this is the neighborhood I grew up in. You know somebody wants to give me 700,000 more than I paid for it. It’s sold. You know, like, like there’s nothing I love, possession wise, that I will not sell and make a profit on, and that’s kind of the thing. We have our 40 acres. That is just beautiful and my wife loves it now, and 40 acres and Lake Lanier is worth way more money than I want to hold on to. So I think in the near future we’ll probably end up flipping that and my wife’s like no more flips. She’s like, if you like, we’re going to get a permanent house and then you can flip houses on the side. But I’m not moving again Like this is too much moving and so I think the ultimate thing is I’m going to have to design and build a house, and I’m going to have to build a house.

Speaker 1: 

I’m going to have to design and build a house back to kind of my architecture passion, for sure where it’s exactly how I want it, Because when it’s not exactly how I want it, somebody offers me enough money. I’m Bob Barker man, I’m playing the prices. Right now Everything’s for sale, so so that’s, you know, that’s kind of what we’re doing and you know, making wise and that’s kind of a timing thing as well.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah.

Speaker 1: 

Like buying in 2019, 2020. Right, you know a lot of people wish they could have done it or should have done it. But being in a position where I had to because I was moving Sure and so and and then downsizing, yeah, I think a lot of people have a problem with hey, I have all this stuff. Can I do without it to live a more free life? And you know, the more stuff you have, the more the stuff owns you, kind of philosophy yeah, just get rid of the stuff and then spend time with the family, and that’s kind of the where I’m at now.

Speaker 2: 

That’s awesome. Any any interest in publicly traded companies like stock stock investing, stock market, any of that? Are you sure it’s done?

Speaker 1: 

You know, pattern recognition, I think, is one of my strengths. Um, back when the the wild Robin Hood days of 2020 and the stock market and oils negative, I’m like, oh yeah, oil’s never going to continue to be negative, let’s start buying oil stock. Yeah, made a pretty nice penny on that. You know day trading, but you know I tend to stay more conservative. Just, mutual funds I have, um, you know I use creative planning for you know financial planning and I just like make sure I don’t lose any money. Like like we can have down years, but like I’m not Josh Nelson knows the entire market Like I’m going to, you know, roll dice on anything I I I’m very conservative with my approach to careers, with businesses, with investments. Very like, minimize the loss, try to maximize the gain, but hey, right down the middle, that’s okay with me.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah.

Speaker 1: 

If I could just get a 5% return, I’m okay, that’s awesome.

Speaker 2: 

All right, I’m going to bring us to a close here with one, one question. I think is going to just be remarkable advice and insights for the listener. So I want to ask you as you look back through all this, the ups, the downs, the non-linear, all the movements, the failure, the successes, the triumphs, so on. Where, would you say, is the single most pivotal?

Speaker 1: 

point in your life.

Speaker 2: 

What, what was it? How did you respond to it? And then tie it into like, how did that really shape and define who you are sitting in this chair right now?

Speaker 1: 

So for me, I would have to say it would be serve an ambition when I was 20. I mean, even though I’m no longer active in the Mormon church. If you can get comfortable moving away from your safety net of social people family, friends really get uncomfortable being away from people. And I mean, you know that’s funny. I run into kids and they’re like, what should I do for college? I was like move away, like don’t go to school in Georgia, go to school in Washington. Like I don’t know what to be a Washington Perfect, even move move yeah.

Speaker 1: 

Because what that did for me is it taught me how to sell and you can be successful. I mean, whether you’re a doctor, a lawyer, sandwich shop owner, tech sales like everything sales. You have to do everything. You have to do X amount of something to get money and you have to be efficient at it. That understanding people, talking to that many people every day, reading people’s body language, understanding those cues, building your own support structure, being being comfortable, moving on after rejection, yeah, like just just the, the resilience of that time where you can’t be like, oh, I’m crying, I’m going to go to mom, I can’t talk to mom. I got my friends I made here, yeah.

Speaker 1: 

And then I just kind of rinsed and repeated that when I moved to Hawaii, didn’t have any friends except for one, had a huge going away party when I moved. You know, like you just build, yeah, and I think, if you look at it, if you just stay in your hometown or you stay in your state, you stay close to where you can always fall back. Um, you tend to want to fall back to safety, whereas if you have no way but going forward, that’s it. You have to go forward and I think that that would be. You know, and I think the only way to replicate that is if you’re not Mormon is literally just moving away when you’re young. Yeah, because the thing is, you can always move home. You can always move back home. You know what I found when I came back from my mission? I thought I was gone for two years in college. I thought I’m going to miss all these fun experiences and you know all this stuff when I came back from two years they’re doing the exact same thing they were doing on my left.

Speaker 2: 

Right Nothing.

Speaker 1: 

I like I got like six or seven key stories. I was caught up. Yeah, I was back in it, you know, and that, that ultimate realization that you know if you’re real comfortable at home, you’ll always be comfortable at home. It’s always there for you, right? It’s always there for you to come back to your family. We’ll always love you. Your friends from childhood will always be there. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and I think that’s what will form you in the long term.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, that’s awesome, all right. Well, I can’t say thanks enough for stopping by our studio here. Uh, what an incredible story. I’m, I’m inspired sitting here, um, as I look to your next, you know, your next 10 years, 20 years, and, and, and I’m excited that he’ll get to hear this story. That brings me great joy, um, cause a lot of people they look at you and they go, oh, he’s, he made it. He was one of those guys who was in the right place at the right time. But listening to your story just I mean, how you carved your way through life is is remarkable. So, folks, thanks for joining us here today, um, and, as always, if, if this show was inspiring, it’s great, it’s inspiring engaging Um, if it brought you any kind of nugget, we just we encourage you If you can leave us a rating and helps us here at the podcast and certainly, like, share um across social media with your friends. So thanks again for joining us for another episode of interesting humans.

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