Technology enables us to work with various people around the globe, but can it also provide a secured interaction and prevent fraud? Alex Martin, our featured Haas alumni this week, specializes in accurate and immediate identification of fraud for diverse organizations in numerous sectors including insurance, government, and many others.
Prior to founding Clearspeed, Alex served in the U.S. Marine Corps leading infantry, reconnaissance, and special operations units over 4 operational deployments. He also spent 2 years as a Team Leader in Nuru International, an organization that aims to end extreme poverty in remote and rural communities.
Alex was inspired by a group of farmer entrepreneurs who bravely combat economic challenges every day through social ventures. He exited from his first venture and became the CEO and co-Founder of Clearspeed, an AI-enabled technology that identifies fraud in voice conversations.
In this episode, we’ll hear about Alex’s journey from the U.S. Marine Corps to entrepreneurship.
What he learned from his first startup venture
[00:12:02] I realize I had a lot of gaps in my own knowledge and understanding and had no clue what a balance sheet was or an income statement. I didn’t know what marketing was, the fundamentals of business we all learned at Haas. Entrepreneurship is really hard. It’s a good thing to teach; it’s really hard to practice. It can be learned. It can be done, but the first element has to be risk appetite and courage, and sometimes stupidity, but that first startup ended with a new beginning to the next thing.
What was the inspiration behind the concept of your company, Clearspeed?
[00:19:58] The genesis of Clearspeed came about by meeting other veterans from the special operations world that were working on technology designed to help filter and clear people, and then taking that technology, working on it, enhancing it, validating it, productizing it, and bringing it to the market as a way for hiring to happen better and faster remotely.
How does Clearspeed provide value to the other businesses?
[00:21:45] Clearspeed is a technology company that identifies fraud and security risks using voice analytics. We have a very sophisticated AI-enabled software that’s able to capture sound and transform energy into a model and understand when fraud is occurring, where that risk is happening, it’s like a check engine light.
(Transcripts may contain a few typographical errors due to audio quality during the podcast recording.)
[00:00:04] Sean Li: Welcome to the OneHaas Alumni Podcast. I’m your host, Sean Li. And today we’re joined by Alex Martin. Alex is an Executive MBA class of 2020, and above all, you are an amazing well-rounded human being, having been a service vendor and now a Co-Founder and CEO of a company. So I would love to dig into this journey, but before we do, we’d love to hear, you know, where you’re from Alex, and welcome to the podcast.
[00:00:31] Alex Martin: Thanks for having me, Sean. This is really exciting. I’m from San Diego, San Diego, California grew up here, went to school back east, but spend my time on the beaches running around in flip-flops and eating breakfast burritos here in the seashore, San Diego.
[00:00:47] Sean Li: What brought you to the Naval Academy? Do you have a family history of service members?
[00:00:53] Alex Martin: We do both sides of the family. And so something I always wanted to do was to join the Navy. And so it’s something I thought about from a really early age, no pressure from my parents, in fact, probably the opposite, but it is something that was kind of in me. I don’t know if it was from the family directly or from the movie Top Gun, but either way, it’s baked into me that something I thought would be cool to do. And later just thought it’d be a great opportunity to lead and be around some great Americans from all over the country.
[00:01:20] Sean Li: That’s awesome. So I do it to say, I think you’re the first Naval Academy graduate that we’ve interviewed have a lot of, you know, obviously army, coast guard, but I am really excited to talk to you because the Naval academy was something that I looked at as well. When I was in high school, I was very excited about one of my good friends, went to the Naval academy. He ended up in the nuclear submarine division and just hearing those words just blows my mind.
[00:01:48] Alex Martin: I never got that phone call to screen for the submarines. So your friend definitely is operating at a different level than me, but it’s a very special place. It was challenging. It was not your average undergraduate experience, but for me, it was a great place. I was on the water every day sailing on the sailing team. I met some incredible people and that the curriculum is challenging and every day is a chance to learn about leadership. So it was pretty special. I think it gets more special as time goes by. I appreciate more things about it than I did probably at the time, but they told us that what happened.
[00:02:23] Sean Li: What did you study at the Naval Academy?
[00:02:26] Alex Martin: So I studied history and the cool thing about that story is I remember they make you choose your major in your freshman year. At the very beginning of the freshman year. You can change maybe by the end of your freshman year, but with all the mandatory classes in engineering and science, and maths, you have to hook up pretty quickly. So my dad gave me the advice. He said, Hey, go to the library where the bookstore is and pick what you want to be doing, what you want to be doing for your interests. You’ve got a job in four years. If you graduate, you’re going to go into the Navy or the Marine Corps. So don’t sweat it. So I did, and I’m really happy. I did. History was it’s not something that gets you immediate employment. If you’re not already tracking to some other kind of higher form of education or what have you. But for me, it was a perfect balance. All the science, math, and engineering we were doing at that school, anyway.
[00:03:12] Sean Li: Can you share with us a little bit about what you did after the Naval Academy?
[00:03:14] Alex Martin: So in the summer of 2004, I was commissioned into the Marine Corps. And if you remember at this time, it was a couple of years after 9/11, which happened when I was just starting my sophomore year there. It was just a year after the invasion of Iraq. We were now in a two-ground wars situation over in the Middle East and South Asia. It was in that landscape that I entered the Marine Corps and went over to Quantico for basic training.
[00:03:42] Sean Li: Do you mind telling us a little bit more details?
[00:03:47] Alex Martin: The decision to become a Marine happened while I was at the Naval academy. Again, I went there wanting to be a Naval officer, Naval aviator, and I think just a combination of the interactions that I had with Marine officers, meeting Marines, being exposed to that tribe. And that culture really spoke to me. So made the decision while there to join the Marine Corps. And when you go in the Marine Corps, every Marine officer goes through the same fundamental training to learn how to lead a rifle platoon. And that’s really the magic of the Marine Corps. And every service has its magic, but the magic of the Marine Corps is that every Marine officer, I mean enlisted, comes together and learns how to fight, learns how to lead and that training starts there. From there, people branch into their specialties, their occupational specialties, aviation or artillery or communications or intelligence, mine was infantry.
And that’s the soul of the Marine Corps. Everyone works to support the infantry and really the infantry Marine enlisted Marine. Who’s more often than not doing the hard fighting. So went into that. It was just compelled to be a part of that element of our tribe. And I mean, it was fantastic. So you go to advanced training for an infantry officer’s course. And then from there, you go to the fleet, you pick up a unit and gosh, it was within six months that we were over in our first deployment to Iraq in 2005.
[00:05:08] Sean Li: And how long did you stay in Iraq?
[00:05:09] Alex Martin: So the first deployment was about seven, maybe seven and a half months came back more advanced schools, a different aspect of the infantry kind of composition in terms of platoon commander, moving to a different element of platoon level command to a second deployment in Iraq.
And we did that during the surge of 2007 from our members that the awakening, the Anbar rising was so interesting to see from oh five and ’06 – ’07, the changes after that deployment, there was a chance to get out or stay in. And I think there was this calling to keep being around Marines and see what else was out there, in the Marine Corps. So I went over to our reconnaissance community and that is a very special place where the Marines they’re specializing in various elements of called preparatory phases of battle to help support the infantry did that to another deployment to Iraq in ’08 and ’09. And then there was a chance to go to another unit, which is called a forced reconnaissance, and it’s a special operations unit within the Marine Corps. And that was something I couldn’t pass up. So stayed on did a couple more years there and did a fourth deployment to the horn of Africa in the Middle East. And it was at that time after those first, basically seven and a half years that I realized it was an opportunity to try other things to lead in other ways. And I jumped into the world of entrepreneurship day one out of the gates of leaving the Marine Corps.
[00:06:32] Sean Li: It’s amazing. My really good buddy, he’s a Sergeant in the Marine Corps and he’s actually down in San Diego. Now, he is telling the story of them going down this small valley in Iraq and how a grenade was tossed over, and the dogs are trained to jump on the grenades. And it was just such a sad story, but it’s amazing. Yeah. Incredible. How many lives were saved from that training? You know, this terrible segue for me to jump into.
[00:07:02] Alex Martin: It is life, right? Every day is combat. And it’s whether you’re in combat or you’re in life every day in combat. And that’s something that I think is fundamental to entrepreneurship is waking up with an understanding that the day’s going to be hard, but attitude is a weapon. Your best set of body armor is your sense of humor and let’s get after it. And that’s one of the takeaways. Life is very combative, so you can choose how you fight it.
[00:07:29] Sean Li: I’ve never heard that phrase. I love it. Yeah. So, tell us, how’d you get into entrepreneurship?
[00:07:35] Alex Martin: I grew up the son of two entrepreneurs. So always in the house learning about talking about deals, talking about raising money, talking about how they’re going to structure any venture that they were launching, both my mom and dad. So it was really exciting like around the table hearing this stuff, and the idea that risk was something that the family just gravitate towards. And it was exciting. I always knew I wanted to serve didn’t know for how long I would be basically relevant or needed, but knew that at some point I’d want to do something in the world of creating something from a business perspective and always had a high-risk appetite. So that never scared me. I was very used to it. And so it was embedded in me. So it’s a little lad. And then when I was leaving like any entrepreneur, you should have an array of opportunities.
And I had a very limited array. There was an opportunity to create some value in the work that I had seen in my last deployment. And I said you know what, there’s a gap here. And the gap was providing security. That was going to be diminished from NATO and it was going to be privatized. And there was an element of logistics and security and stuff I knew a lot about. And I was a kind of a subject matter expert in this very narrow area of security in the maritime space. And there was a need. And that’s why entrepreneurs create a solution for an area of need and drive value toward people that are in a lot of pain? So literally on day one, I was able to just kind of step out and raise a little money and write a business plan and put something together.
[00:09:06] Alex Martin: And it was just, it was a two-year journey of unbelievable learnings and adventures and misadventures. And it was a lot of fun that first startup.
[00:09:14] Sean Li: Do you mind sharing what that business was?
[00:09:17] Alex Martin: It was called Sky Maritime and it was fundamentally of a maritime security company. So just think of people with weapons on ships, going through the Indian Ocean, where the threat of piracy was challenging, but we wanted to do it differently. I had seen that the existing security solutions were not well-trained and thus basically harming some people that weren’t pirates, they were fishermen. So there was also an angle of providing better trade security at a higher cost to lower insurance premiums from syndicates out of envoys of London. So you’ve had this exchange of better service for lower insurance premiums. So making the zero cost decisions for the shipping companies, insuring companies were obviously would benefit because they’d have less incidents.
And then the kind of the social good was people protected that I saw being harmed by recklessness or lack of professionalism, lack of training. So that the company kind of expanded into doing some logistics services and right as we were gaining momentum as any startup, you have to look at two or three business train features over piracy stopped. The problem we were trying to solve literally stopped. It went away and it didn’t go away because the US Military NATO was so effective at stopping piracy. The problem went away because we made it so risky for the pirates that they ended up just staying onshore and taking contracts with multinational organizations to build roads into schools. And they just like any organized crime, had a legitimate arm of their business, and they just went to the ground. And so right as we were launching it solved the problem.
So we had to like a lot of startups, you have to pivot. And we said, look, we have here a base of operations out of Oman. We have strong ties here. We have capital, we have great people. We know how to move other things around to support. And so the shift became then to be a service or logistics oriented company. And at that time we had the ability to have an exit to sell the company to another service provider and to leave. And what I would say is not a game-changing financial outcome. It was also not a game-changing market impact outcome that we had envisioned two years prior, but it was something and it was the start of something great. We had coalesced around the team. We had learned a lot together and that team that came together four years later would become the nexus of this startup I’m working on now.
And that’s, I guess the learning for anyone out there, who’s thinking about their first startup or where their next startup is going to be is the journey. It’s more of a river with tributaries and estuaries, and you’re kind of moving along the river and you might float up and you might reach Nirvana in the promised land, or you might get a lot of learnings and collect insights and people and network that lead to the next phase. And so for me, it was a wonderful way to exit the military and transition to becoming an entrepreneur. Incredible learnings. Realized I also personally had a lot of gaps in my own knowledge and understanding. I had no clue what a balance sheet was or an income statement. I didn’t know what marketing was, the fundamentals of business we all learned at Haas, but it’s kind of in your DNA or it’s not right. Entrepreneurship is really hard. It’s a good thing to teach. It’s really hard to practice. It can be learned. It can be done, but the first element has to be risk appetite and courage, and sometimes stupidity that first startup ended with as a new beginning to the next thing. And the next thing was a social venture that our brothers and sisters at Stanford formed out of there by one of my great friends from the Marine Corps, this was all about social ventures. That was my next startup experience.
[00:12:51] Sean Li: And that was Nuru International.
[00:12:53] Alex Martin: Yeah. So Nuru International is founded by a Marine who grew up poor kid from West Virginia, who realized he was oftentimes shooting at other poor kids from Western Iraq. And the idea that there are bad people that need to be dealt with by the military. There are people in need that USAID and others can help, but there’s this middle in the middle who are at risk for being co-opted into an insurgency or terrorist activity. And they can’t be reached by aid. So his thesis was how might we use people with our backgrounds to lead teams of other professionals in areas of agriculture, microfinance, healthcare, to come into at-risk regions in the world in particular, in Africa, and provide leadership access to capital connection to markets and be able to allow them to lead, to enable their communities to grow and support, to make them more resilient and have better choices, be empowered against the ability to need to join, take money for actions they wouldn’t want otherwise want to do. So that was an incredible foray into a social venture. Yeah.
[00:13:58] Sean Li: That’s incredible because it’s exactly what you experienced, right? It was getting deeper to the root of the problem of say piracy, for example, right? Is that people lack opportunity. And then how can you provide stability and opportunity for people? So they don’t have to resort to crime and violence.
[00:14:18] Alex Martin: Yeah. We fought pirates off Somalia and Yemen. And first of all, these are not the people making the money. Believe me, the people boarding the ships with the guns, committing the act are not to say that this excuses anything, but it does build healthy empathy for the difference between a fundamentalist who thinks that Cola, suicide vest in a church full of, or a mosque or region full of civilians. And this is a different person than the person that is trying to feed their kids, you’re a father, what would you do to put food in your, in your child’s? So you just have this empathy and you think, how did they get here? How do you make a choice? Very brave people, to get on this boat. One out of two of the boats don’t even make it to the ship quarter of those, never even make it back.
We’re talking about a 75% – 80% chance of coming home for a week of food. I mean, this is not great organized crime. These are people being exploited. And so we have a job to do too. We have to protect the ship of the people on the ship, the crew, these people are from all over the world. They have families too. So there’s, there’s a line and there are rules, but you face it differently. And then the experience coming out of, you know, seven years of being in the Middle East and Africa, you’re behind body armor and weapons and you have helicopters and it’s a different way. You’re engaging with the local population. They’re seeing a different face of America. And there was a lot of good that was done. And there’s a lot of bad that was done. But I think spending two years, no body armor, no weapons, living in the village with the bravest entrepreneurs in the world, which are small shareholders, rain-fed water, agriculture farmers.
These are the bravest entrepreneurs and they’re in combat every day to feed themselves. And they’re brave and courageous and remarkable. So it was really humbling how incredibly smart and nimble and entrepreneurial these farmers were. And they just needed a couple of things that all entrepreneurs need: time, a little bit of capital, maybe a little education to seed what is a natural kind of fanatical approach to driving into the next season. It’s really incredible to see and be a part of, I learned so much out there and that really rounded out the kind of the years of war, which really was a different front line of war, which is people facing extreme poverty every day. And I grew up, as I said, led off flip-flops breakfast burrito, San Diego. I really didn’t meet America until I joined the Marine Corps, the face of America, the really diverse, amazingly rich group of people that are our country, men and women. But I didn’t meet, even though I’ve been to 63 countries around the world. I didn’t really meet my fellow human beings until I saw them at that very, very incredibly vulnerable, but powerful point in their lives, just waking up every day to fight on their farms against poverty.
[00:17:06] Sean Li: It’s something that I have, I was born in China, moved to Michigan when I was seven, and grew up there. And I feel like I’ve been pretty fortunate to have had the opportunity to see a lot of things and get those perspectives. And especially, coming from the Midwest to the west coast, quite different lifestyles and perspectives on a lot of things, but you’re absolutely right there are even more perspectives for us to see and understand to really gain empathy for what people are dealing with around the world. Because I think it’s really easy for us to just sit where we are and say, well, the rest of the world probably looks like this. Right? And it’s absolutely no, absolutely not. And so it’s really glad to hear these stories, but this basic question, how did you get from Kenya to Clearspeed?
[00:17:55] Alex Martin: It’s a kaleidoscope. And it was started in the time in the military with all of the good learnings that happened there and the amazing exposure to opportunities of challenge. It’s not the easy stuff that makes us who we are. Characters built, forged through challenge. So it was that which then led to that first startup, which led to meeting the core team, seeing other needs in the market. If you’re hiring in North Africa, Northeast Africa, and the Middle East, how do you conduct background checks to hire people? You don’t, you can’t, right? And so there’s no FICO scores. So how do you hire in a fair and equitable fashion, right? How do you get to trust faster, read people into an NGO, allow them to work, pay the money, give them access to bank accounts, and all this stuff you have to trust. You have to hire. And then, the natural default is for everyone to go with people that look like them or talk like them.
And in Kenya, I’d say they’re from our tribe. I trust them. Well, we’re now in this area. What about that tribe? Now we’ll work with them, but we’re not going to hire them. So they’re needed, there needs to be a way to hire without bias. The only solution is to leverage technology where you can have an agnostic data point of trust-building. And so between, so was building, it’s like the stuff in the military, how do we work partner forces? How do we protect against insider threats? So we don’t harm ourselves. We have to work with people, but there’s, so you’re not running background checks and FICO scores when you’re doing that. And then you’re doing your first startup, you’re hiring overseas. And then you’re in your second one. You’re on the edge of civilization. Where any by civilization, I mean, modern-day plugged into downtown infrastructure, et cetera, you are in a very, this is just, I don’t know the best way to describe it.
It’s just like free of technology for better and worse and fairly remote. You’re in a very remote setting. How are you hiring there? And now you have this kind of lead-up to on that journey, asking why is anyone out here doing this? Is there anyone out here that’s looking at security risk from the other direction, not as something that’s threatening, but it’s something that’s clearing? So the Genesis of Clearspeed came about by meeting other veterans from the special operations world that were working on technology designed to help filter and clear people. And then taking that technology, working on it, enhancing it, validating it, productizing it, and bringing it to the market as a way for hiring to happen better and faster remotely. And in the learnings of hiring, you learn that everything is tied to risk and everything that maps back to risk maps to insurance, which is how we underwrite risk.
And so nothing is zero risk, right? Everything will be written underwritten for a price. So then we say, well, how do we make the cost of underwriting risk, go down to make it more accessible for the many, and the only way to do that is to change the risk equation. And so that’s the Genesis of Clearspeed. It was a bunch of people sitting around remote areas going, we need to work with other people faster. We need to get to trust faster. This is not a lie detector problem. This is not a, we got to find the bad people problem. This is how do we allow people to self-select into a process to clear who we wouldn’t find otherwise. And that’s what Clearspeed is. And that’s the Genesis. And that’s what I think is need is. And it’s why being at Berkeley during the early times of going to market for us was so powerful because it’s, how do you take these unique experiences in the military, in the first startup overseas and the social venture in Africa? How do you bring these learnings together and say, we can build a company that is going to disrupt how hiring is done and how fraud risk is found for insurers worldwide. And that’s what we’re doing,
[00:21:35] Sean Li: Right. Well, we definitely have to take a step back here and hear from you, what is Clearspeed?
[00:21:41] Alex Martin: Yeah. What is it, state of mind? Clearspeed is a technology company that identifies fraud and security risks using voice analytics. We have very sophisticated AI-enabled software. That’s able to capture sound and transform what is really energy into a model and understand when fraud is occurring, where that risk is happening. It’s a check engine light, right? It’s a metal detector in the airport. If someone is making a decision to commit fraud telephonically, which is my most fraud is conducted for insurance and for hiring, we have an automated service that is essentially providing questionnaires for people to fast track through processes so that if you’re in an insurance claim and you’re going to take six weeks or four weeks to get through something that can be done in within a six-minute phone call and your next day, your process through if fraud risk is alerted to that’s okay, you’re going to be going through a normal process. So it’s no harm, only an accelerator tool to check engine light where fraud might be, but to clear people if there’s no fraud happening. And that happens as a function of what’s going on, which affects the vocal cord and signature of sound. And that’s our magic we’re able to detect and identify and score those changes in the voice.
[00:22:56] Sean Li: I believe it’s amazing. So you had started the company as a co-founder in 2016 and you joined the MBA, the executive MBA in 2019. What brought you to the MBA, into the Bay Area of all places?
[00:23:11] Alex Martin: I always wanted to go back to school. It’s always like one of our foundations of Haas, right? Like students always, always knew. I wanted to go back. Remember I told you from the very beginning, I had a gap you benefit from being in an institution to learn. So I always wanted to go back and learn. The second thing is you have to want to be able to self-select into a network of people who are trying to change the world and are working on stuff that matters. So business school for the learning part, I think great professors are everywhere. But when you have great professors that also tie into a network of people because they themselves want to enable and coach and train and mentor people that also want to make a ding in the universe, then that’s magic.
And then there’s this element of that network of wheat. If we’re going to spend all this time and money to go into a program, to an MBA, who do I want to be with? Who do I want to be in my network for the next 40 years? For me, when I looked at the spread of business schools out there, Haas was the one that had this element of hard-charging, very sophisticated, financially literate students who, by the way, also wanted to do things, to help out their fellow human beings. And that is unique to the Haas experience, I think. And so you’re not going to get that at Wharton, and you’re not going to get that at some of these other places, no disrespect to them. They’re just not in the richness that Haas provides. So it was this moment where, and I knew that at some point we’re going to be having children and it was like an hour, never had pushed it off for start-up then.
Okay, could I go back to school? I could have, now I’m in Africa, then next startup bootstrap. So this was a moment and I just knew I had to go. And I said, there’s an opportunity cost here to start up. You want to be focused and this is going to do, and it’s not. I said, this will bring richness to, as we’re building out this plan for the next two to five years, can I leverage my professors in the classes and the schools every day as a first-time CEO? Cause really the first time for the company, I’m not counting that as CEO time, that was just crazy. Everyone’s flat, no names, titles, we’re just building something. The second was learning at a different level. It’s my first time CEO, how can I bring all this to the plate? And will I be a better CEO from the people that I serve in the company? And that was the calculus that went in. It was that combination of stuff and said, timing is needed, I need to grow. The company needs a better me to lead us if you don’t have the honor to keep doing it. So that was how it came together. Perfect storm, jump in and get it done. There’s never a right time. It’s like having kids, there’s never a right time to do it, but there’s definitely bad times.
[00:25:39] Sean Li: Maybe a tough question because the MBA program is so rich, but what would you say was your most valuable takeaway from the MBA?
[00:25:47] Alex Martin: Yeah, that’s a great question. It always comes back to the people that I was with there in the cohort. So my classmates became my friends and having those experiences with those professors upfront guiding you through an orchestrated session of learning. If you pull the thread on that throughout, when I walk away, it was the studying or the reflections over beer after class, around what we had just learned and then getting to know them throughout that as the context, I mean, it was a masterclass in how to become an executive, how to bring yourself to the next level. And so singularly, it was a series of moments that singularly brought that finding, which is the learning augmented by the professor and the curated experience around these people that you came to know, love, and trust as both colleagues and friends, that experience is what made Haas so unique.
[00:26:40] Sean Li: Did you have a favorite class?
[00:26:42] Alex Martin: I had a few, but I think Mauro Neal’s new venture finance was probably at the top, but I can name five, seven professors, but I loved. And, but more O’Neil was the best.
[00:26:53] Sean Li: Yeah. We had her on the podcast last year.
[00:26:56] Alex Martin: She’s the best, so brilliant and humble, but amazing and fun. And you learn so much. It’s challenging. So she was my favorite for sure.
[00:27:06] Sean Li: She, you know, I think as a fellow Haasie too, she makes me want to go back and teach someday.
[00:27:12] Alex Martin: It’s just really unique. I gotta tell you, I’ve talked to other people at other business schools. I’ve looked at the business, sat in classes. I think I had taken the GMAT over 10 times over 10 years. So I was ready, but Haas is a place.
[00:27:24] Sean Li: My last question is around, what are you looking forward to for Clearspeed?
[00:27:28] Alex Martin: The most exciting thing that we have going on in Clearspeed is the fact that we’re going to be entering a growth phase. We were a small flat team working on an invention, and then the invention was tied into innovation. And then productizing that and saying, does anyone want to buy this? Is this entrepreneur someone that creates something? So here we are, as entrepreneurs creating something, then someone gives you payment for service that they feel was really valuable. And then you have started having an impact, putting that together into a thesis that you can drive and say, measurably, this is how we’re going to grow and create impact yeah. Revenue-wise, for sure, but also impact-wise. That’s what I’m most excited about because we are really at a moment when we’re taking on another round of growth capital to do just that. And so it’s going to be something that I think does a lot of good, we’re going to create jobs. We’re going to help a lot of people, newer, that I used to work for. One of our customers using the product overseas, for example, we’re going to grow and it’s going to be something that you know, is going to be around in one way or another after I die. And I think that the ability of this team here to create something that can have a good impact on people is really exciting.
[00:28:42] Sean Li: That is, I would say the one thing that I love about entrepreneurship and being a business owner is just the idea of creating jobs, creating opportunities.
[00:28:54] Alex Martin: No just to take in creating jobs where people are back home with their families saying, I love my job. They love working for you with you, that scales right. That enthusiasm. And that’s what, at the end of the day in our analysis, when we’re all in our later years, reflecting on what we did, it’s going to be that, who did we help? Who did, whose life did we impact? How much fun did we have? What good did we do? How do we survive hardship? And he goes, Sean, my favorite leadership quote. I want to share with the two here if I can, because, it’s a really meaningful one to me. And it kind of gets at what you were just saying. And to me, this is the best quote on leadership in the world. And believe me from the Naval Academy to the Marine Corps, to being at Haas, right, who gets leadership.
I got to say, I’ve never seen a better quote than this. So this is my favorite quote from a guy named Haim Ginott use, you wrote a book called Teacher and Child a book for and teachers. The quote is this, “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It Is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal in all situations. It is my response that decides whether a crisis has escalated or deescalated and a person is humanized or dehumanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” And to me, that is leadership.
[00:30:27] Sean Li: I love it. I love it. It reminds me of one of the things that I had heard in the word responsibility. And that responsibility means that you have the ability to respond.
[00:30:39] Alex Martin: Both said.
[00:30:40] Sean Li: That, you know, as simple as that, absolutely. And you know, you always have a choice. You always have a decision that you’re making, whether you’re actively making it or not. And I think that is an amazing message to end this episode on. So thank you so much, Alex, for coming on the podcast. It was a sincere pleasure having you and thank you so much for your service.
[00:31:00] Alex Martin: Hey Sean, my pleasure. Go bears.