The Founder Formula
The Founder Formula

Episode · 1 year ago

Brian Wheeler, Co-founder Morpheus Data - Already Having your Dream Job Before Launching a Company


Why would you launch a company when you’re already working at your dream job?

If you’re Brian Wheeler, the answer is simple: you can stay a partner at your dream job, while also able to Branch out and launch a new company. It was a win/win.

On this episode of The Founder Formula, we talk to Brian, who is a partner at Bertram Capital, and the cofounder of Morpheus Data, a cloud application management platform company, all about:

  • Why he felt comfortable taking the leap and launching a company while working at his dream job
  • The journey from creating an idea, to making that idea a reality
  • Why you MUST be willing to put your own money into your idea if you’re going to be taken seriously
  • Why there are SO many smart people in Colorado


Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

I would just say what I've learned over the time is the further you can get on your own, the better, and you have to put yourself in somebody's position. If, if they've got a pile of money there, they don't want to gamble it, they want to make sure bet right. So if you wouldn't spend your own money on something, somebody else is to get to spend money on here. The founder Formula Brings you in behind the curtains and inside the minds of today's brave executives at the most future leaning startups. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who's behind the wheel at a fast paced and innovative tech firm. They'll give you an insiders look at how companies are envisioned, created and scaled. We hope you're ready. Let's get into the show. Hey, everybody, welcome back to the founder formula. Were excited to have you here. My name is Todd Galena and with me is Tony Olds at key's the chief technical officer here at Trace. Tony, how's it going? Hey, it's doing great. Good afternoon. So, Tony, big exciting news. We are so a deprived from exciting sports stuff that there was the NFL draft and the Cleveland Browns, your favorite team, look pretty good. Which think of the draft? I loved it. You know, it's I thought Cleveland showed really well on television. It looked great. They did a great job with the event as a total. And then the the moves that the browns may just you couldn't have asked for a better offseason between free agency and then the talent they added in the draft, being able to pick up new some where they did. And then I thought Jokay, the the linebacker they from, Notre Dame, they picked up in the second rounds I swore that was their first round target, and the fact they picked him up in the second round, I mean just we were dancing in happiness over here. Yeah, it's funny. I know that one of the people that actually you recommend to speak at one of our conferences, and we ultimately did. We brought them in, a gentleman, meaning Paul de Podesta, who was basically the book money ball was based on him. He did the whole thing with baseball but then moved over to football and it's now with the browns. And when he spoke at our conference, the Browns were they were pretty bad, pretty dead horrible. Yeah, yeah, so absolutely kind of the beginning of them starting to amass all these draft picks, and take us to just a couple days ago. Here they are kind of taken advantage of those pics and it sounds like you're pretty thrilled with what they've done with them. Well, it's you know, just goes to show when you take an approach to say look, we keep doing what we've always been doing and what everyone else is doing, and it's obviously not working. In Cleveland went through arguably probably the worst stretch of football and history for about three seasons. They're including an Owen sixteen season, and but even prior to that it was just a couple decades of struggle. And how do you try something new? You know, they took a path where they tried to move away from pure, you know, life or football guys, and when a different direction, went for an all Ivy League front office brought in a lot of different kinds of strategic approaches to just asking questions around, disrupting yourself, trying to figure out are there different ways that we should be thinking about this? Are there different ways we should be thinking about our strategy? Different ways that we think about player evaluation and amassing talents, and on and on and on. And you know, Paul actually gave a great talk with how they transformed the Oakland a's and all the things that was in front of them and where they lined up in the end. I feel like you've seen that whole journey happened with the browns as well. And what's crazy is now, on the back side of this strategy at work, they're being talked about as super bowl contenders. It is amazing what they've done and and he was completely copied when he went through this in baseball, as everyone knows, probably that they just relied heavily on analytics.

They had no budget and so they just took players and composed a a team, everyone having a certain job, and statistics showed that the people that they had on their team were the best of that job, and so they did great. And now they've done this with the browns and it's kind of seems like they're the first team that has assembled the front office that is, I don't know, based on statistics, and it just seems like, you know, once they, like you said, get to the get to the Super Bowl, you know maybe others will adopt it, but I just I haven't quite seen anybody in the NFL adjust their front office the way the browns have. Well, you know, what people are struggling with is the same thing that we see in enterprises every day, which is there can be a reaction where you become to data driven and you lose the human element of what's what's really going on. Right and just the same way as in football, we see it in client struggles on a daily basis, which is if you become to data driven without the within the absence of the Human Lens that also must be put over top of us, especially when you have expertise in a space. Finding the right balance of being data driven but also augmenting with, you know, all the things that a human brings to the equation is where you'll start to see the success. And you can see that even with the Browns, when they try to go really heavy on the analytics driven side, they still went I think three and they only one like three games over over three seasons, with one of those seasons winning none, and there were amassing tons of draft picks and kind of transforming the organization. But it wasn't until they found a perfect balance and alignment across all their front office team, like all the senior executives from ownership ball down. Alignment, their alignment on the strategy, alignment with how they would use data to help with decisionmaking and create the strategy, that you saw this thing really begin to flourish. And you know, we see that in every day just in the future of how we think about data all in in enterprises as well. We'll need to find that balance. Like data is incredibly valuable but on its own can be dangerous if interpreted in the wrong ways or not augmented in ways to where you've got that human element to really help you figure out what do you really trying to do here and what should you do with that set of insights? Well said, way to take, you know, an NFL conversation and bring it right into the enterprise. Tony, I love it. Well, I want to make sure the browns make our show. So you just created the connective tissue. No, but it is funny because the baseball seems like it is a sport that you can just say these statistics over the last three years are going to be the same statistics over the next year. You can grab a player, no matter what shape or size, and leverage that, and I think you can do it successfully, whereas in football, what you're talking about absolutely size, speed, intelligence. You know intelligence. How do you create data around intelligence? You know heard football is a super demanding, brutal sport. You get hit constantly. How many times is that guy going to get up? Do you know what I mean? So I think there is much more of a balance, as you described, in that sport and, Gosh Darning, hopefully the browns will be the poster child for this. Well, sometimes you have to roll the dice, no matter what the stats say. You know, there is that gut reaction, and then there's also what's happening even that we sing in baseball, which is it became so driven by by statistics that now, if you understand what assistants are telling the opposition to do, you can blatantly go against whatever they're about to try and when that way as well, we're seeing the padres are actually having a lot of success right now. Bring this Holloway, back around to another conversation that we had. The padres won the game the next night against the dodgers, arguably because they were battling the shift and understood what the dodgers were trying to do, and then we're able to go against it because they understand the stats just as well as dodgers do. Yes, I hate the shift, Tony. We should play all... of five infielders, all shifted to the right. Why don't dudes? But I don't Um. Sorry, okay, perfect, all right, so great. We covered a lot of things here. You ready to bring on our guests? I am ready. Let's do this. Okay, everybody. Our guest is an entrepreneur of engineer with over twenty years of coding experience. He's a cofounder of Morpheus data, a cloud application management platform company based in San Mateo, California. In addition to overseeing the technology team at Morpheus, he's a partner private equity firm Bertram capital. Prior to Morpheus, he found it a software development consulting firm which designed and develop solutions for a variety of industries, including power grid management, tiketing system online trading, social networking and gaming, socks compliance and e commerce. And if that wasn't enough, our guests graduated from Promona college with a degree in both chemistry and math. Oh my gosh, hey help me. Welcome to the show, Brian Wheeler. Welcome Brian. Hi. Well, thanks, thanks for having me, Bryan. Everybody, everybody needs a good height man, and todd as the best love. I loved hearing about all the awesome things that you've done. Todd to just follow me around all the time making feel good about myself. He loves carrying around those little those boom boxes on your shoulder like back in the S, and folly around with your theme music playing, the whole deal. I'm a childhood the s. So height men as everything. Oh my gosh, so so Brian Again, thanks so much for for hopping on with Tony and myself. Can you tell us a little bit about Morpheus and why you started it? Sure, yeah, I think you know, morpheus really grew out of my day job, so to say, hits. You know, we got a group of guys at Bertram that that are working on technology projects all the time, where you run in workloads and e commerce sites and and whatnot, and when you deal with a diverse set of companies you end up with the very diverse set of technology and we have a very small, lean team and you know, our goal was to build a Plat form that let us move with the pace we needed to move to keep up with the times and to grow these companies inside their investment horizon and, you know, kind of break away from traditional it paradigms, you know. So it was focused around self service and developers being able to build and deploy and run and and operate applications, you know, on premise in the clouds, past and and agile as they can, and get rid of all the bottlenecks in the silos between groups and and really it grew out of that and one day we look down and said that, you know, this actually kind of makes sense as a product for everybody, not just ourselves. So we kind of spun it out of Kert Room at that time and it's been, you know, growing ever since. Yeah, it's great. We've watched you guys grow up. We've been tracking you for four years. Think we were, you know, one of the early stage exposure to you guys as you exited Bertram and we're starting to get exposure across the country and it's been really excited to see your guys a journey. Oh Yeah, you guys have been there since the start. Definitely Great Partnership learned a lot from all of your people and they continue to help us make the private better every day. Well, you know, so you know what's unique really. So what you just describe, you know, slightly different than some of the other guests we've had. You know, you guys working inside a private equity company seeking to do something unique that did you actually have to pitch this idea or how does that work like? How did you guys actually we decide to begin this body of work and that it was something actually worth while? You know, in a way, if you I guess you can imagine, you have twenty thirty people working on technology projects...

...for low techno tech companies. You know, we own bunch of plastic companies in Wisconsin and I tell the joke that we bought a company called Webex. That is not the Webex that we all know because a hundred years ago or whenever they they didn't ever think to buy a domain name. Otherwise this is good product might not be called Webbs. Oh my God, you could have made with the money just from the domain name. That's right. No, they made plastic extrusion die heads that make, you know, Scotch tape and s ran wrap, but you know, when you're doing that kind of work you're doing, we're doing a lot of the commerce RP digital marketing, you kind of see repetitive trends and neat. So we shifted. You know, we I've been doing this for about ten years, and the kind of Dawne on us that we could think of a lot of these things that we're doing for these companies more from a product perspective, and so we did make a push to start productizing some of the things we do and treating it as maybe a SASS platform that we've run for the companies where it makes sense, and so more pheous. Yeah, it was one of those. And to pitch it though, yeah, I mean we definitely internally pitched it similar to maybe a traditional money raise in terms of all the partners agreeen is this something we want to pursue and are we going to spend the money on it? Maybe for the listeners, we could, you know, back up for a second, because you work in a lab team inside a private equity firm. How would you describe the difference between private equity and venture capital? Well, I think you know, they're similar in nature for the most part. You know, their investment firms that are raising money, be at their own money or institutional money or private investors, but they're, you know, they're going out and securing a big pile of money and then investing it. I think typically VC's, you know, are much earlier stage with the much higher risk reward profile, and private equity typically is, you know, later stage or midstage, depending on the firm and their investment focus. You know, VC's deal and startups and we are look at that companies that are, you know, established, you know, viable companies that are looking to grow. Yeah, that's thanks for that. I think it's really interesting the angle that you guys have taken as well, which is that you've got basically a labs team that is looking to bring digital transformation or digital solutions to the companies that you're investing in to help them, you know, propel themselves towards that the next air growth. I mean, what's the day in a life like for someone working in a lab where you're just being presented with these opportunities to go create things? Yeah, it's evolved over time, but I feel like we've gotten really good at what we do. When I started, it was myself and and added a couple software engineers and we're really looking at where we can make it impact in terms of solidifying technology. We also had some early investments that we're very tech heavy and, as you can imagine, when you buy companies and stuff, sometimes the people that invented the technology are on a beach tip in a my tie somewhere now. So, you know, a lot of times we're inheriting things that not a lot of people inside the company knew how it worked or how to maintain it or how they enhance it. So but over time we realized, you know, that we can make a big impact with digital marketing. You know south where e Rp, automation, etc. And so. And I think you know our lab, Bertram labs, became a real part of our differentiation in our story. So over time it's kind of shifted to a bunch of us are constantly working with our investment teams to figure out, you know, the potential of growth for a company by applying, you know, our skill sets and and then after that, day to day we usually have, you know, anywhere from ten to twenty projects going at various companies with we run really lean with the small it and small project management group and it really kind of falls the model of a consulting firm, if you will. We look at ourselves like an embedded internal consulting from that's got a whole lot of projects going on and and you know, we treat the...

...customers, we treat the companies like our customers and hope to do good things and grow the value and hopefully the P firm wants to keep us around keep inventing things like Morph Yus. I'm sure it'll be kind up there. My ties on the way. Yeah, Tony and I were talking before we got you on the on the phone here and we think that a lot of people would would end be your job. It sounds pretty cool. I mean you're basically leading a incubator lab for the most part. I mean, do you you ever say to yourself like wow, it's pretty cool. I do. I mean I did software for a long time before that. Started at startup shortly after school and it got bought and just kind of started doing outsource. Have Work for startups and you know, I've seen a lot along the way and then when I got the call I thought, you know, worstcase I'll go back to doing when I was doing. But I figured I'd learn a lot about business and maybe be able to apply that to, you know, what I was doing, and I guess I haven't left yet because it kind of ended up working out to, you know, the best that I could have imagined. I mean it's like I still I get to build stuff all the time. We get to dream of how we can, you know, create and grow companies. We get to see new stuff all the time. I think as a software guy, a lot of times getting stuck at a company just maintain something gets gets a little old. So new challenges, new industries. I know way more about the plastics industry than than anyone probably ever wanted to. I know way more about really weird things, but medical building and whatnot. But anyway, no, I think it's turned into a dream job and honestly I feel like I have perfect job, best job in the world. It's sure sounds like it sounds super cool. So, Brian, it's one thing to incubate, you know, a technology that becomes a company like morpheus. It's completely something different to manage, you know, a mature and a prize technology team. You tell us a little bit about that? Yeah, sure, I think you had it on the head. and not just different, but I mean it's it's really hard, you know, to go from an idea to an actual viable business and that's probably why a lot of startups fail. So thinking of something, creating something, binding use of something and delivering on that, but then taking it and marketing it and finding customers and working through, you know, the growing pains and support and just turning something into a real company. It's a battle. You learn a lot on the way. Yes, how did that work once you guys decided to take this idea, turn it into a real company and then, you know, go to market? Did Bertram just a symbol, a business team around you, like an executive team, or what happened next? You know, I think I mean a lot of credit to, you know, Bertram's managing partner, Jeff. He is my partner Morpheus, and he spent twenty two years as a VC before founding Bertram capital private equity, and his working knowledge of startups and DC's over the years was just invaluable. I mean it's like a cheek code, right, you know, said from from day one like you can go raise a bunch of money, but but really the industry kind of lives off the fact that it takes a lot of money to find your way and you know, the leaner and the more efficient that you can do at the better off you end up. And so we've really run it like a success base model. We we got the product to a point where we had engineers trying to get somebody to agree to bate our software. We had we hired one salesperson to try and prove out if we could sell it. We hired one support person after we made our first sale and then we've constantly...

...set a set a success base budget and and grown and added and really we kind of run break even hiring as we sell and I think you know, we're not a point where we have much more mature sales staff and marketing staff and support and product and and he's right, we probably spent a whole lot less money along the way than if we would have just taken a bunch of money, got a big office and hired a bunch of people and give it a go. So it's pretty cool. Yeah, I mean like being able to go out there and not have to burn through cash because you guys had already proven an idea. Now was more of you know, would people actually pay for it. Continuer of the market. I mean it's great approach. If if you can make it work, and especially with the kind of team you guys are able to sumble with the business experience that you had, for sure. So what's the next beyond that then? So you guys are, you know, reaching? Are you reaching like a critical point to where you think that you will have to raise like, how do you guys think about scale next? When, if you've been operating in a more lean model, there's it? Does there come a time to where you really put your foot on the gas, or do you feel like the market will, will tell you on their own and you know, kind of facilitate what comes next? I think, yeah, it's really good questions. You're constantly figuring out, what if we had this bunch of money, what will we do with it? What would returns be? I think a big part is getting the right metrics and data and your business so that things and decisions, business decisions, are less of a guess. You know, is a huge part. So we are right in that phase where, you know, we get knocked on the doors, knocked on quite for eulently with with poppers of money and you know, if the right deal came along and we solve the path to accelerate growth, we definitely be interested. Right now we're focused a lot on expanding the market that our product fits in. I think where we started we were perhaps a little early for multicloud hybrid cloud management and the market has been kind of heading our ways. But at the same time, you know, Cougar Eddi's and I feel like we're in a we're in a once in a generation type shift. You know that, maybe I live through you at the start of my career, from you know, servers to virtualization and now it's it's kind of a format and the location change, but you know, on premise to cloud and hybrid and virtual machines to containers and and function based applications and and so it's a really unique, exciting time with a lot of different market opportunities that are being stirred up by the by the shift. Yeah, so true. I mean we're saying that it just everywhere and with the pandemic lasters explosion of cloud adoption, I got imagine you guys are in a great position right now because you know what comes next is everyone moves so quickly. They created so much technical dead and risk that that how do you know, optimize it? Start figuring out how to operate differently. I think that's the thing is, I guess, thermodynamics, the chaos. You know, we get better at stuff, but the chaos still exists. Like you know, we're just shifting problems from place to place and we we still all have an explosion of data and explosion of applications. They're getting more complex, not less, and you know, harder to find your stuff and harder to operate your stuff. And there's tons of great tooling out there to make parts of it easy, but but overall we're still making big messes everywhere that are hard to get your head around. Yeah, I mean it's a misquote, Jeff Goldbloom. Technology will find a way. There you go. Yep, entropy. It's true. So how does this work now? So you guys have you work in Bertram labs. You guys have spun off this idea. This company is growing and still doing a sting. You know, does there come a point... where you have to like which? Which one becomes Your Day job? Or how does your role evolve over Tom Yeah, I don't know. I I mean I love both jobs. I spent. I look at it like, you know, when in our P from our partners have areas of focus and they're looking for companies of buying them and working with management until they're, you know, preparing for an exit. And you know, I look at it like more pieces, kind of like my company, even though we didn't buy it, we just, you know, founded it. So, I mean I still doing a lot of work on Bertram, but I treat more fious, like my day to day portfolio company, if you will, and I don't know what'll happen when we reach a point where we you know, I don't know. I think we've always chugged along with the thought of, you know, you got to always be building and growing a sustainable real business and not building something preparing it for, you know, acquisition or or IPO or whatever. But usually if you have a good, good, solid foundational business that sells to stating and growing, that put you in the best position. Always. Do you feel like you've got a different angle on what an exit means and as far as you're planning around that being at a private equity firm versus a VC back company? I think probably. I mean I think the decisions you know, entirely in our hands, which is unique. You know. I mean we obviously talk and plan about about things and I think, I think the decision probably comes to a point where we all love this technology. We all want to see it grow and live on and if that means that we, you know, get to the size where we go public and we are one of those, means mainstay, you know, five hundred pound girl companies out there, great. If it means that we need to, you know, be acquired by one of the big players so that we can grow faster with their scale and and customer base, you know that's a possibility, but we're just focused on the business, but, you know, paying attention to what's out there. Yeah, Hey, Brian, let me ask you a little bit about the business and and you know your primary role, which is leading technology over at at Morpheus, the company you started your company. You know, we're all in this business to help customers, help technology leaders, trace three we solve business problems with technology. Can you share maybe a gratifying moment with you and related to Morpheus, like have you had a chance to really kind of connect with customers, you know, putt yeah, absolutely, I think along the way. I doan't name names, but I have the opportunity to have breakfast with with somebody that we probably all know and joking, we asked him what the secret of success was and figured I get a cheesy answer right, but said you really want to know my filost view is always that every morning at seven am, we had a meeting with all of our department heads and the meeting was to list out all onhappy customers, what was wrong and what we were going to do to fix that was every day for, you know, twenty plus years. And he said you take care of the customers and the rest takes care of itself, and so that just really hit home and is struck with me ever since and I feel like, you know, obviously we want to make a sale so that we have money so we can keep doing what we're doing, but you know, the right path is to be providing a product, in a service and an experience to the customer that makes them want to be a part of what you're doing. Right. So our focus is a hundred percent around that, and so we all stay very close to the customers we care very much about. You know, the survey results we send out and our net promoter scores and and whatnot, and if we get deemed by somebody, I really want to know why and what we can do to fix it so that it doesn't happen again. So very close to the customers. I'm kind of forgetting what your original question was. So, yeah, you know want it sounds like you.

Let's say you have a customer that's best read and dumb. You reach out to them to make sure that problem solved. You know, afterwards, no reconnecting with them. Hey, did we get it right? Have you had any gratifying feedback on started? Oh, definitely, I think. You know, I'd say one in terms of, you know, really gratifying on the product is we had a customer that you know was was doing on premise cloud. They kind of bought us as a as a Bandaid, as they envisioned shifting entirely to one of them, you know, public clouds, and felt like, you know, the tooling is probably not needed if you get to the public clock because they solve everything right, which we all know they're still holes to solve. But they made one last hardware purchase to tied them over for their two year transition and once we got our product implemented. About three months later they had consumed all of their hardware that they bought for, you know, their final push, and they needed more hardware because the you know, the internal development team loved using our product on their hardware better than the cloud, and so it just completely shifted. There they're thinking to maybe we should say I'm premise because if if given the choice, the the users are choosing morpheus on our, you know, Cisco Gear, then why should we waste all the time, to spend all the time, you know, transitioning to somewhere where further, you know, less happy? so that was really satisfying. That's a good one. Way. So, Tony, before we ask the next question, Brian mentioned he had breakfast with with somebody who's super famous that we would know. And so, Brian, I'M gonna listen. If you can indulge us, Tony and I are each going to take a guess, a wild guess, at who the person was, and if we get it right, will you give us a thumbs up? I don't think you're gonna know, but go ahead. Okay, I'm going to my guests. Is Elon Musk, nope. Jeff BEASOS, nope. No, yeah, see him. I'm aging myself. You guys are probably younger than you're. Bill Gates. No, no, now we do know Steve. Wasn't he a key? Was that our evolved conference? When you're it's definitely someone that you would say like Oh, yeah, but it's not a it's not a famous like modern social media platform persons. An older guy will continue to will continue to put some guesses together and more and those two after the podcast. So I'll tell you on the side. I just didn't want to want to like name drop it end up and yeah, a search somewhere and yeah, no, Worr, exact. I'm sure I'm going to get a call from the compliance department after this. First Man, Bertram capital. The best podcast episodes always end with a call from compliance. So that's a yes, yes, yeah, obviously this space is changing very quickly. And to your point, you just describe the client who you decided that, after using your products, that they are your solution, that they were having a great experience and it maybe cloud wasn't the answer. Who Do you actually think of as competition for you guys today, and do you guys track them at all it? Is that a concern at all? Or are you pretty much just heads down, you know, trying to make the best platform possible? It's both. I mean, it'd be probably silly not to pay attention to the competition. But that said, I mean you can't, you cannot pery out of fear of the competition. I do feel like we've got an amazing team and amazing culture on the you know, on the engineering side. I've got, you know, teammates I've been building with for twenty years and some, I think one of them, we were talking to day. It's it's our twenty five anniversary of coding together. Wow, and you guys get a guys...

...gonna go out and do something special celebrate? Well, he's in California and I'm in Colorado, so we'll get there some day. We're both for both GEEKS. We don't know travel. So I think it's just, you know, our team is a group of just some of the brightest, best people that I've encountered over twenty years that I beg to do a project with me or something and ended up, you know, sticking and we've had essentially no turnover on our on our labs team since we started ten years ago. And and so a lot of really great people heads down, knowing exactly what their mission is. I like our odds, you know, against anybody that said. We definitely keep track of competition. We have got competition and some ways we've got competition. I think one of the issues is are eat our products pretty broad. So a lot of companies say they do what we do or a lot of, you know, larger enter price competitors say they have what we have. So we're really you know, we're not trying to battle against a lot of these companies. We feel like what we are doing is gluing together and enhancing a lot of what's out there, you know, but we are definitely a threat to some people and and they treat us that way. So keeping an eye on that and and some of the other startups and where they're taking funding and where we're seeing him in the market. You know, we certainly track that and and I think the best we can do is pay attention to him and and if we lose a deal, lose a customer to a competitors to, you know, find out why and what we could have done better. That's great. So, Brian, a lot of people when they create a technology and they're trying to get it in the hands of customers. They look for some outside validation and sometimes that comes through, you know, Gardner or another analyst firm, four hundred and fifty one, or maybe the press, like like Forbes. Can you tell us the importance of outside validation and, if you have engaged with the research firm, what that's like? Yeah, I think outside validation, even if it's, you know, research firm like gardener or just you know Pere, peer to peer. I mean a lot of tech guys changing job shifting you you see the same faces over and over making the same decisions. So word of mouth is huge and your reputations huge. The analysts, though, I think you know it's it's really important part of the ecosystem. I'd say having those trusted sources spend the time with you to understand what you're doing and why and where you're going and to give their feedback has been invaluable and we do work with Gardner and forester four hundred and fifty one. That said, I think you know they're very expensive and it's and so it's very hard for startups to get that kind of relationship and exposure. We definitely had to start small and try and find the free ways to play and get into to the thoughts and mindsets. But now we have some great relationships and, you know, dialogs quarterlier or annually with different ones that, you know, have provided invaluable feedback on what we're doing. Yeah, and we we've seen them track you guys, as well as our own research firms, and you seeing you guys grew up and probably helps that everybody has such a great viewpoint on how capable and how much they believe in your Guy's vision. Yeah, I'm not. I mean, honestly, the fact that Gardner put us into a magic quadrant and put us, you know, in the top right. We had, you know, thirty employees and and you know put us ahead of some of you know, perceived competition like that. That was game changer for us, right. Yeah, I almost want to like put it on a t shirt and print it for everybody. I can only imagine like when you get that release and then you see where you guys are place and you get the phone call and see like that,...

...that amount of excitement that you guys have and that, I mean just to shoot like the validation of like yes, you, we see you guys. Doing the right things. You're doing amazing work and we put you in the far up or right quadrant. Yeah, you hit it. It was awesome. It still remains awesome and weren't you know. Now we put a lot of effort into to making sure that they you know, if there's a firm looking at an area that we might fit into that we definitely want to, you know, get into their their thoughts around that so that we could be included. I'm sure, as somebody who is constantly tinkering and you're being presented with different problems and you know, you kind of have like the dual roles that you're ful filling right now. Anything out there in the world or in technology or problem spaces that you find really interesting right now? Well, I think you can find interesting stuff all over. I think you always look for, I mean, anything that bothers you probably bothers other people and probably is an opportunity to make something less annoying and help out. But on the tech side, I mean securities, always been really interesting to me. I feel like it's a, you know, never ending battle. So you know, I think we talked a lot about where do we fit into the security landscape and if you're do something after morpheust. You know that. That's something I'm very interested in. Always joke the this world and our jobs would be so much easier without bad people, right. Oh, yeah, you know what's interesting about that too, is so we have have conversations with people all time on the security front. And you know, we just obviously everyone saw the news with the the oil pipeline and, you know, all the systems being taken down. What's astounding those like people. You get the news outlets and people are talking about this like this is such a shocker. But I think all of us who are in technology and we see what's happening in security, like it's surprising actually that that doesn't happen more often with how you know, poor things are out there. It's true, it really is, and it's really scary as but I don't know about about you guys, but you know we've had to start, you know, doing security training every month and and whatnot, and it's just it just makes you realize like things are so vulnerable. And you're right, it's gonna happen when all the power lines are out for a month and you know, yeah, so if you're if you're out there listening right now, and your dream is also start a security company. You know, go pitch, Brian, do it. Or if there's something out there that you know annoys everybody, you know, put it on paper. Your solution. Yeah, or if you're a bad person hacking people, please stop. Hey, Brian, this has been great. I think I mentioned this has been one of my favorite conversations that we've had on the show. You've been a blast. Is there anything that we didn't cover that you'd like to share with the potential entrepreneurs? Yeah, I'd say it's talking about it a little bit before, but I've had, you know, so many friends here. You're you're in a BEC fore O, a p firm, and they're like, I have this idea, like what do you think? And I've had people take me out to lunch just to tell me and their idea and then like what do you think? Let's start a company, and it's like, you know, I would just say what I've learned over the time is the further you can get on your own, the better. And you know, you have to put yourself in somebody's position. If if they've got a pile of money there, they don't want to gamble it. They want to make sure bet right. So if you wouldn't spend your own money on something, somebody else is to get to spend money on it. Right. Yeah, so I think I just give everybody save advice like go start your company, go do whatever you can, scraunge up whatever you can... something. You know you're going to come out and way better shape the further you get on your own. That said, you know there is definitely a place for money and and you know BC and be. They serve their purpose and they you know, you can miss out on opportunities if you don't, if you don't put the foot on the pedal at the right time, like you said before. But you know, entrepreneurs and startups and DC's, it's it's not a lottery ticket, magical thing where you just come up with something good and poof you're rich a year later. Great, it's it's hard work. So, yes, great advice. You know it's we frequently find situations where, and I'm sure you've seen this, where you have someone has an idea and everyone in your network will tell you that it's a good idea, but the second you go to actually get them to open their wallet, you find out just how good of an idea it is. It's not. Yep, when they pull out the change purse. You know where you said Yeah. And I think the other thing too, is you know, even if you take money like it's it's essentially coming out of your pocket because you're you're giving up ownership of your stuff, you know, a proportional you're giving up little bits of ownership along the way to get that money. So it's really your own money coming out of your own pockets. So the more efficient and better you are with capital, you know, the more you're going to own and the end, and that's memorial, control your own destiny. Right. Yeah, I have a bonus question. I don't know if I was okay, I'm just going to throw all my bones question. Don't leave us in suspense, tod okay. So, so, what is the deal with Colorado? Like, I know so many smart people that were in California there. Two of them are on the phone right now and they now live in Colorado. What. What is this? Becoming the new smart person hub? I mean what I maybe it's my fault. I know I was born and raised and live my entire life here. I actually went to moved out the San Frand for a year on the you know, to work on Berchraman, and quickly realize that I spend most of my time out with the companies we work with and with with our laps team. So I moved back to Colorado because it's it's where I'm from, him where I grew up, where I love. And maybe I've been telling people how awesome it is too much and they're all coming here, but I think, you know, it's growing. Bolder is a great city and there's a lot of investment and start up activity there. But really I think a big part is just, you know, people can, can live and work a lot more where they want to now then, you know, especially after the pandemic. So I know a couple of people from our firm moved, you know, to Colorado or to Florida or or you know, they have tons of money. They're probably moving to Florida or Texas so they don't have to pay to axes. But all right, has a good spot. Obviously got our good hockey here. So yeah, I was right. Yep, avalanche middle of a good playoff run. So that's where I'll be for the next month. Nice. Brian. It's been great to have you. Amazing Gas. It's a sodds point, one of the best conversations that we've had thus far. Really appreciate you taking its time to come and share story with us all. Thanks, Tony. That was really fun. I had no idea what to expect and it was Super Fun. Trace three is hyper focused on helping it leaders deliver business outcomes by providing a wide variety of data center solutions and consulting services. If you're looking for emerging technology to solve tried and true business problems, trace three is here to help. We believe all possibilities live in technology. You can learn more at trace threecom podcast. That's trace, the number threecom podcast. You've been...

...listening to the founder formula, the podcast for all things start up, from Silicon Valley to innovators across the country. If you want to know what it takes to lead tomorrow's tech companies, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time,.

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