In this episode, I discuss the education system, digital business building, and how Ka Sundance has amassed 100000's of followers across YouTube and Facebook.
Ka Sundance is a location independent father of 6, YouTuber, and CEO of a $1 million heart-centered online business. Together with his wife Katie, he works to show aspiring business owners, coaches, and artists how to transform their lives and manifest more purpose, abundance, and freedom.
Today, Ka and Katie have impacted millions of people on social media, and have helped and inspired thousands of people to go from $0 to six figures in revenue by using principles they teach in their flagship program, Online Business School.
Ka’s Challenge; Don’t wait. Take action right now. Do something that makes you happy.
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232 Christian Simmons, Changing the Liquor Landscape in Pennsylvania with PA Libations
Christian Simmons is a hustler and a visionary.
His company, Pennsylvania Libations, connects distillers, small businesses, and individuals, to one another with the intent of growing, experiencing, and preserving Pennsylvania spirits. He operates a one-of-a-kind retail store located in the heart of Pittsburgh.
In this discussion, we cover Christian’s long background in alcohol retail, how he has navigated regulatory hurdles, and his vision for the future. Learn more about the realities of living in an alcoholic beverage control state.
Christian’s Challenge; Wake up at 5am. Stop watching tv. Stop drinking so much. Get to work building something meaningful.
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2103 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
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Watson: So we need to start off by providing some context for people, not everyone in the audience is from Pittsburgh or even from Pennsylvania, kind of all over the place. So when a lot of, I went to Pitt, and a lot of my friends moved here for school and they were actually kind of baffled when they came from out of state at some of the liquor and alcohol laws in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is an alcoholic beverage control state. That means that spirits are sold in a state store, not just anywhere. And there's also wineries and beer distributors, but the hours that they're open is much more restrictive. There's just all sorts of laws in place. And now with Penn Libations, we're sitting here in the store, you've opened it down in the strip in Pittsburgh.
You found a way, I don't know if you want to say circumvent the laws, or find your own space to distribute libations that are distilled here in the state of Pennsylvania. Can you just talk a little bit about how that works just at a kind of 101 level, what you're working with?
Simmons: Right. Well, the 101 I guess on talking about the state, cause that's where everything starts.
So Pennsylvania is a controlled state. There's only, I think one or two other ones in the entire country that are run like this, where there's about 650 of these stores statewide. Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is that it has about 70, 75 state stores. Some of them are some of the biggest actually we have two top five of the top five, possibly the top three.
We have state stores in the state with numbers, the one at East Liberty/ Shadyside area, they do about $20 million in sales, a year, 400,000 transactions at about $50 a piece. And then there's a one just five blocks down the street from my location in the Strip District. That's actually a distribution center now, public, technically, you can't go in there, but they don't have a showroom.
They're not your typical liquor store, state store, anything like that. It's trade up. Bulk. So for that location, they do about 20,000 transactions. But at about average, like $1,100 a transaction. So, they're doing about 20 million. So those two locations, which I'm kind of in the middle of, I looked at those numbers and if we could pull 1% of that, that's pretty good numbers.
So going into why the controlled state is that they're the revenue they do about $3 billion a year in sales. But there's union jobs involved. I think there's like three to 4,000 union jobs. And they're, I think tied in with a little bit with the teacher's union as well. I think that they're pretty well secured as far as making sure that there's a big reason why the it's still privatized.
I mean, there's a lot of pensions out there. There's a lot of families, a lot of people that do deserve the right to be protected. You know, the state started this way for a long time. And just because you've been here for 30 years and the times are changing, doesn't mean you should have to lose the right of being able to have a good retirement or be able to provide for your family.
So trying to evolve into it less archaic ways of the Pennsylvania state store system is. Not an easy move. And a lot of people are like, think it's ridiculous and that people need to get away from it. But there's maybe in time, a lot of people think it's going to happen like overnight. And it's not going to, Harrisburg needs to probably develop an entire new platform, a new group of people to be able to get that transition going.
And when we talk about that, I guess that transition is that were privately owned liquor stores could be evolved, which is most of the country. Where you go to any 7/11 and a gas station and any corner store and they've talked about these things. I've worked with some Republicans, the young Republican committee here in Pittsburgh, which I'm not a part of.
It's just that they saw this as a huge step towards privatization. And it's really not. It's more about supporting local businesses, but I guess with the laws. I guess getting back into the laws with Pennsylvania is that if you're own a distillery in Ohio and you want to sell your products in Pennsylvania, you couldn't just directly ship it to a bar restaurant, or even to a person. You would have to go through the state stores.
And you'd have to go through that taxation. And you're looking, I believe anywhere between like, 10 and 20% just across the border, pretty much the state line. And then going through the actual being put on the shelf, being all those things. I have one distillery that is in Pennsylvania, CJ Spirits out of Cane, PA. It's 32.99 retail in the state store by the end of the day, they, and without any representation, they get about $17 and 80 cents a bottle.
Simmons: So you're looking at almost 50% decrease, after everything's said and done. And I'm completely different. I have a whole nother system set up. And so that kind of gives you an idea what these small manufacturers, cause back in 2006, with Pennsylvania distilleries as one, they allowed PA distilleries to be able to produce product at all, but you could only sell your product through the PA state store system.
So you had that major capital, major volume to be able to take that 40 to 50% hit possibly, and still be able to be productively, like, you know, make money. Right? So, but that all changed at the very end of 2011. Huge part to do with wiggle. They lobbied to be able to let distilleries to be able to sell onsite, to the public and to direct sell to bars and restaurants without going through the state store system. And that's when we went from seven distilleries in Pennsylvania to over 75, within three and a half years. So if people want to see a bubble, this is a bigger bubble than the Pennsylvania craft beer bubble.
My brewery and Latrobe Four Seasons Brewing Company was number 100. And that was about September of 2013 when we opened. We got licensed approved that spring. Prior to that, we were number 100. Now I believe was over 180, 190 breweries in Pennsylvania. And it's growing and growing. I mean, surprised that there's already licensed over 200, we just haven't heard of them yet.
And, so that's growing fast, but I mean, from going from seven to 75, within three, three and a half year benchmark, it's a growing trend. It's making money. But going into what this store is, is that we direct sell. So we stay out of the state sources from 100%. We do provide these products.
The manufacturers do provide some of these products in state stores. It depends on how much volume they can produce because they have to be able to supply to the demand. And a lot of these guys are pretty small, compared to like Jack Daniels or Tito's, or, you know, Hendrix or Grey Goose. So we have to work with that parameter as well.
So the concept with the store that differences you from the state store is that we direct sell for the distillery. This is a satellite location that is pretty much a mirror image of the distillery because of that, we technically can be open from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM, seven days a week for bottle sales, and that we can be open for onsite consumption glass by the glass, which we don't do. We just do retail here. You can see the space. It's like 650 square feet and it's not going to be very tolerable. And it's just more liability that we don't really want to deal with. This is kind of in the sense for us, the face of the next step was, is hopefully distribution, on a bigger scale, where brand equity is built here.
Watson: How, how many Pennsylvania based spirits do you have here in the store?
Simmons: Right now we have Big Spring Spirits is the first. So going through all the paperwork and all the lobbying and all the different stuff, we couldn't dump 10, 20 applications from 10 or 20 different distilleries be like, Hey, all these guys want to be in here. Here's one huge, massive amount of paperwork. Good luck with that because they would have said, screw you, you know, they'd be like, we're not dealing with all this. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. So we had to do one management company agreement and we had to do one distillery, Big Spring Spirits out of bellefonte just North of State College.
I've worked with them for a long time. They had the same liquor attorneys as me, and he's the kind of guy, Kevin Lloyd, he's the kind of guy that if I ask them to do something, he'll do it. You know, if it's in the betterment of his company and he's a very smart guy and he understands that he doesn't want to do what I do.
And so if he wants to continue to not have to do what I do, he needs to work with me and understand that, like, I have the vision I'm in Pittsburgh every day. I know what people want, what people need in a sense of this kind of industry. At least I think I do anyway. So I guess the next brands would be, we have 10 more coming in a number of different products altogether.
We'll have about 75 to 85 different spirits in here. I mean, we'll have 15 different vodkas at least. We'll have 12 different gins will have 30 different whiskeys and bourbons, and a lot of other different things. So, and we will grow, but I'm the main mentality heres to build the perfect portfolio of spirits that we can start brokering to bars and restaurants all over the state.
And it starts here with a brand equity, where people can taste anything they want before they buy it or consider buying it. Whether they buy it here or in a state store, down the road or see at a bar and buy it in a drink. They'll know they like it because they've had it here. And it helps everybody, the distillery, the state stores, the bars, everybody. So this isn't to defy the state or to do anything.
We're an incubator for everybody. And people just need to realize that, especially Harrisburg and they are, and they've been working with me really, really well. And they're open-minded as to this, I think a lot of them understand that we're not going to hurt anybody, not a $3 billion machine.
Watson: Yeah. One of the things I love exploring on the show is the small seedlings that eventually blossom into something really big. And, and you're almost kind of in between something that's going to be really big in the future, but even getting to this point, opening up your own storefront in Pittsburgh. Having you talked about the relationship, you talked about having a brewery in the past, I want to cover a little bit of your past that got you to this point.
Before this, you were representing, that's why you have these relationships, representing a lot of these brands. I'm in more of a sales capacity, in a different type of sales capacity. Can you outline what you were doing before and how that either planted the seed for this idea or how that started to build the momentum to eventually be able to open that?
Simmons: So I guess in my late twenties, I worked construction heavy highway road construction. I was union like built roads to destroy bridges. I did it all. And then as I slowly wanted to be home more often, cause I had a son that's now eight, he got me to realize that I can still be local and do things.
So I fell in love with craft beer probably before I was 21. I was one of those kids, that field parties that was drinking, like Killian's red or Yingling or harp or Guinness and everyone else drinking, Keystone light, you know, so nobody would ever drink. And I was like, nobody ever wants to drink my beer.
So I don't have to like give it away. Nobody's trying to steal it. Right? So that was one of my thought processes, but yeah. I worked for Deschutes Brewery, their pub in downtown bend, Oregon when I lived out there when I was 19. I fell in love with that industry. When I got to go to the brewery, I went there like once a week to pick up a free case of beer that I got as being an employee.
And I just fell in love with the whole, the idea of like the blood, sweat, and tears going into making something like beer. 10 years later almost brought into one of my old school buddies. We started brewery that's kind of, I was able to really take what I, who I really am in a sales capacity and the creative capacity, to be able to jump into selling beer.
And that's what I did for my brewery. I was the cells. I was the creative, I was the marketing, the social media, the distribution the communications PR. I was it all. I brewed with him, my business partner, as well. And so I was doing that, doing really good. I mean, everything that we put in a cake, as soon as it went out of the Brite tank into those keg, it was sold.
It was sold before that, everything was pre-sold. Our own mill stout that won a silver and a GABF out in Denver for a, that was pretty much pre-sold for six months in advance. Like we didn't even have to sell it. People wanted it. So created a kind of that that niche, but it was a good problem. And the word problem in anything, it's usually a problem.
So good problems are okay. But I still think it's a problem. But so evolving from that point into the spirits world was forced on me by my business partner at the brewery. When we got incorporated, I made the mistake of being impulsive and signing paperwork through legal zoom that he convinced me that it shouldn't be 50 50, that it should be 51 49, him 51, me 49.
And at the time I trusted him. I did all that, you know, the classic trust your best friend type of thing. And it came back to haunt me because about after my family and I put in half the money, at least, and then, you know, two and a half, three years of my time, if not more, 22 months from the day we decided to open the brewery to the day we opened, and then I was there for another year and like six months. And then I get a letter from the mail from a lawyer saying I'm no longer allowed to be a part of the brewery. I'm not allowed to represent the brewery as an owner anymore. Right. And that came from my business partner.
So because we had no employee handbook, we had no shareholder agreements, we had nothing like that in place. Because when you have a partner business partner, you shouldn't be going through legal zoom. You should be going through a real lawyer. If you're a single entity, yeah, you can use legal zoom until you get bigger and something takes off. But, I made the mistake and I have a very business savvy family background.
We're in a very successful family in the insurance brokerage game. So of course, you know, we get a lawyer, we do all that stuff and there's nothing I can do. So I'm kind of like meltdown mode, you know? Everything I've ever built to be able to be my own boss and to have something and have my five-year-old son at the time, be able to watch this brew and just do all this stuff.
And the kid knew how to brew beer practically when he was five years old. And I was just thinking to myself, I even have a post on my Instagram page saying in 25 years,when he's my age, he's going to 25 years of brewing beer. Experience, you know, and he's just, and if he falls in love with it and he wants to take that on and he's going to have something that he's just embedded into his DNA, you know? And it's going to be really fun to see him grow, to see if that's something that he wants to be a part of, or maybe replace my mentality of a position, you know, being charged to sell it so forth and so on.
So that was one of the hardest parts was that when he did that, but he made his decision and he's still living with it. So that wasn't like October, November of 2014, that next, that winter I was up in Allegheny forest. A friend, family friend is like, Oh dude, he's like, if you're coming up this way, he's like, you need to check out distillery up in Kane, PA, CJ spirits.
And I was like, he's like they need some help with sales. And I was like, All right. So I go talk to them. We talk shop four months later, we have contracts all lined up. Everything's rocking and rolling. These guys are old school, like their handshake deal kind of guys. You know what I mean?
They're mountain men, in my mentality when I say mountain men, that means they're on mountain time, which sometimes means they like, you know, sometimes it takes a while to get some emails back, but you know what? They have some of the best products in the state of Pennsylvania and if not the country.
And, I started with two vodkas and a gin. No whiskey, no bourbon, nothing. Aged. And I quickly realized that it wasn't like selling craft beer. It was next to impossible. But I was able to use a lot of my relationships through the brewing game, and get me off the ground and see if this would develop.
Watson: Can we hit pause real quick. Where were you selling to? Were you selling to restaurants, bars, all the above?
Simmons: Yeah, I was selling I was representing their product to bars, restaurant liquor license holders. And at that time, breweries could not sell PA spirits for onsite consumption or PA wines.
They now can. So. I only really was able to sell the bars and restaurants with liquor licenses. And the problem was there was no brand equity for these guys. So it was all relationships. But eventually those were all ran out because I only had so many relationships built through the beer game. And I only had like two or three relationships in Pittsburgh at all.
So going into this. And, you know, thinking that the Pittsburgh scenes wearing a three-piece suit and selling spirits, I was completely wrong. You know, I didn't wear that stuff whenever I was sold beer, but I felt like that was the Pittsburgh vibe. And then I realized I needed to bring it home and like, kinda like, be like, just be yourself, just go.
Do you. And, eventually I signed my Pittsburgh winery and then calling out sellers, winery and distillery. And then, I started asking questions because everybody was like, we can't buy this stuff cause there's no brand equity and nobody knows about it. It's great products, great price line, but no brand equity.
And so I started being super defiant, being kicked out of high school in 11th grade, for defiance. Literally, they filed on me for deficiency. I never got in trouble for, it was no drugs or guns or fighting or anything like that. It was just, I always went to school. I got pretty good grades, but I just would never, could never be told what to do.
Watson: Did he run away?
Simmons: Yeah. And so that human nature of who I am is that I'm always trying to think like, why can't we do this and tell me why we can't do it. And yeah. I weaved and dived and jumped and hooped and looped and all that stuff and asked the right question in the right sense with the LCB, and Christmas Eve of 2015 I got a response from the LTB saying that this store concept is plausible.
It could be done. They never actually put it in detail how to do it, but I had to figure it out on my own and spend a lot of money with lawyers, lobbying and everything and had to commit. But so as we went through 2016, I knew I needed to build portfolios up and work with a lot more manufacturers to be able to fill a store.
So that's kinda in a sense, like, I guess in a sense where I came from in a sense, so I've been through it all. I've been, I learned the most valuable lesson ever, is that when you're an asset, you don't need anybody else. Eventually you'll need help, but when you're the asset you are moving forward.
And I was the asset for Four Seasons Brewing Company. We quadrupled our capacity in the first year and a half that I was there. Since I've left, they have not grown at all. Since I've come on to doing this, we now do sales that are phenomenal, like where this brand equity for these guys. And that's what it's about.
I've realized that I'm not, I don't want to be a manufacturer and I don't want to own a bar. I want to be the middleman and help guide these guys to become something bigger than they thought they were ever were going to. And that in that amount of time.
Watson: Well, there's two kind of terms that we've touched on through that answer. Middlemen and lobbying, which depending on what camp you're in can have a negative connotation for some.
So a lot of people see someone in the middleman role with someone who's just kind of taken their cut and, you know, rubbing their hands together with a snarling smile. And then from a lobbying standpoint, that's also often attributed with someone who doesn't have the interests of the people or something that they're trying to move forward.
And that really by my interpretation is not the case. You are supporting local business. You know, people talk about eat local, grow local. They don't necessarily think about that when they're having their drink at the end of the day. And then similarly with the middleman, you are bringing these brands to market in a new way that gives them a fighting chance against these massive international brands that we do see in the state store and everyone would know if we named them.
So can you talk a little bit from a lobbying standpoint, you talked about hiring lawyers. That's something that I guess that a lot of our audience isn't really even familiar with how that works or what that entails.
Can you talk about who did that, how it worked, what challenges you faced along the way, and just getting the ball moved forward from a legislative standpoint?
Simmons: So I worked with Flaherty iand O'Hara liquor law firm in Pittsburgh here. Mark Flaherty, he has written a lot of legislation in times with a lot of the laws, new regulations with the PLCB and he still continues to see his whole firm does.
And, they've been quite an asset to me. So when it comes to working with those guys was that it's never cheap, but if you want something done, And not to take years, you need to use lawyers. It's as simple as that, especially those guys and at the it's the same thing in boat is relationships.
So as far as relationships with these guys is that they have the relationships in Harrisburg and with the PLCB, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and then with legislators and with, you know, senators and all those people. So we worked with a state representative, Adam Harris, who is the. PLCB is majority shareholde, for the board. And we worked with him and he's a Republican and he saw this as a huge moving forward towards privatization in that, in that realm. And,I believe he did. He definitely supported me. He reached out to me multiple occasions and said after he saw some publications in the newspapers and stuff like that, all the way you're trying to market the idea that we are Pennsylvania's first privately owned state store.
Well, we were told we're not really allowed to use the word state store in any of our marketing material because everybody associates state stores with Pennsylvania run stores. So we had to pretty much become a craft liquor store. And so, it had a lot to do with those guys. Cause there's people that didn't want me to succeed.
A lot of people didn't want me to succeed because people are like, we've been trying to break the code forever and we haven't been able to figure it out. And it all comes to relationships. Just like with my liquor attorneys, just with my business attorney, Eric Mongi who just actually is one of the investors that acquired Blue Knob Ski Resort.
So he's my contract guy. I've been working with him. He was the first point, man. When I went through all the crap with Four Seasons at my brewery, he was the guy that worked with me. So he built all my contracts with this entire business. And he's been doing really, really great for me. He's also a cystic fibrosis 50 finest from about like 10 years ago or so.
And so it's all full circle here in Pittsburgh, small, small world. But what we ended up having to do was me call be very persistent and call my lawyer like once a week and be like, what's new? What's going on? Who did you talk to? And that conversation would cost me 150 bucks. You know what I mean? But I do it every week and I didn't care.
Cause they knew if I was persistent that they would feel kind of like that push because they knew I had at least signed here. They knew I wasn't bringing any money from this location. And they're the ones who told me, they gave me the green light, go find a location. And I'm like, okay. You know, and six months later I signed a lease.
So I took a lot of guidance from them, took a lot of guidance from my family, which was a huge part of the support system on everything. And they still are a part of it. And my sister is the director of operations, Faith. And so her input her, you know, talking to people, her and her husband being able to have contacts throughout the state talking to the right people.
But at me, I mean, I had meetings with the state representative here in Westmoreland County, talking about different things. And I just kinda feel like one of my biggest things, I've never had a problem ever reaching out to anybody and talking to anybody about anything. And if you don't ask, you know, you won't know.
So as far as like the legislation part in the laws was that like, Getting into how we did what we did. I don't know if that's something that you want to get into right here, but like we had to become a management company. Originally we became a set. We are going to be a sales manager. PA wineries are allowed to have already had management companies set up.
There's a place called Castle Wines up North of Pittsburgh that has, I believe five different Pennsylvania wineries in one location. They have those zero spirits though. But when they made the PA distilleries, the PA limited distilleries rules and regulations, they're supposed to transport everything, imitate everything from the Pennsylvania wineries into the Pennsylvania distilleries game. They didn't do that. They didn't transfer the management company ability. They didn't transfer a lot of other things like how Pennsylvania limited wineries are allowed representatives, brokers, like who I am. They didn't really imitate that to the PA distilleries.
And we were only really working off of the PA winery laws and that mentality. So we were like, well, we don't want to become a management company because there are no management companies for distilleries. We're going to be able to become a sales manager for them. For just PA facilities. And that was where the forms that we use when we originally submitted everything to open this store.
And that came back to haunts. So that was four and a half months of waiting for nothing. but we didn't know. So once we realized, okay, we, you guys are telling us we can't be a sales manager, but there's no management company. There's no regulations for it. Why don't we create those? And that's pretty much what my lawyer, Greg Salazar, that works as the associate of Mark Flaherty, worked on probably for a good six to eight weeks. By saying, Hey, you guys need to understand, like he's not breaking the law, he's this is something that should be legal that you guys didn't necessarily adapt into the PA distilleries. And I'm not pointing fingers at anybody because they worked with us. They understood that, like, this is actually not bad. This is great, they get to support small businesses and that's the whole embodiment of local.
It's like, take the word local out of there and just be like small business owners. You know what I mean? Local farmers, local water sources that when they're used more and more people enjoy those products and they enjoy that town and they enjoy that fresh water. They want to take care of that. You know what I mean?
So if the water to the farmer, to the distiller, And my book, everybody that we get, then we get to support all those people. Just the distilleries alone that will be in the store will be over 200 plus jobs that we're supporting in that sense. So when you think local, you got to think about those local jobs, and that also the good spirits that they produce.
So,the idea with the management company is that we had to do that. I had 29 manufacturers signed up, ready to go with sign and sales manager agreements and lease agreements under this space. And we came back, they said in April that we couldn't have any wineries in here because of the public thoroughfare wasn't from outside directly into the section for the wine.
And then they said the sales manager agreements are not going to work. So you need to redo everything. So I adhered 100%. I was like, okay. They expect, I think, I think most people expected me to fight, and I was just like, no, I just want to get the store open. I don't care if we just have one distillery in here at one winery, we need to get open.
And we knew that 80% of our sales were most likely going to be spirits. We felt that they were. So moving forward, we said, okay, well we need them. We were able to take the management company agreement from the wineries and just pretty much imitate it to distilleries, which literally the only difference between ourselves manager's agreement and our actual management company agreement was one paragraph, number 16.
And pretty much the original sales manager said that we weren't a management company and that we were allowed to do everything that a management company could do, but we weren't actually a licensed management company. So we had to change that back and keep moving forward. So I lost 11 manufacturers, wineries, cider houses, Meads, and wine.
I had to call a level of them, which I was going to be a future their number one asset as more income. And I had to tell every one of them that they were no longer able to come into this location at this time, which sucked because we charge management fees. Right? We have a shelving fee. And that was close to three to $4,000 a month in management fees that we were going to lose.
Yep. And so, I mean, to me, that's an extra full-time employee that I could hire that puts food on the table for their family. I'm like that's, to me, that's what it's about. So we had to move forward with the distilleries and we had close to about, I don't know, 18 to 20 distilleries signed up. We had multiple of ones opt out because it was taking too long and, maybe they just got cold feet.
I don't know. But we got 12 going on 15 brands that are going to be coming in here. And then at that point we'll be maxed out on space. We're already maxed out. We only have one brand in here. But Big Spring Spirits is in here now, but we'll downsize them to a five foot section. I think we have, technically, if we gave everybody five feet, each we'd have like 14, 13/ 14 spaces available.
But, some of these brands only have like three products. There is no reason for them to get, if somebody is paying this much for management fee for say eight products, if somebody is only paying a third of that, they don't get five feet as well. You know what I mean? It's kinda, it's like Walmart. Exept not like Walmart.
Watson: You're exactly like Walmart. Haha.
Simmons: Haha- I like to think I'm more like Bezos or whatever his name is, the Amazon dude, you know? But, I mean, the idea with being a middleman broker, you were not just that the sticky finger guy in the middle. You know, we are like, we actually. Work. We are the face of those distilleries here in Pittsburgh and hopefully eventually the whole state of Pennsylvania.
Watson: Absolutely. And that's the big dream for the future is getting the distribution across the state, finding spots, Erie, Philadelphia, all across this area. Can you talk a little bit before we wrap up just about where this is going? Because once again, we talked about the seeds that got you to here, but this is still just a small seed that's going to blossom down the road to something even bigger.
Simmons: So we're in talks with the Pittsburgh airport. We would be after security, it would be a place where you could try before you consider buying, just like this location here in the Strip. And then, but you'd be able to buy a bottle of putting your carry on or the mini bottles.
And we plan to, hopefully it'd be able to have a nice enough space that we can do a full on cocktail bar there as well. Moving forward, we love, we've been doing talk with people up in Lake Erie, up in the city of Erie. Voodoo Brewing Company has a beautiful location up there. It's their third location.
And, they're doing really, really well. And I do a lot of business with those guys and they got really great beer.
Watson: So we've interviewed Paul. So we'll link the show notes for that episode because they're doing a great job.
Simmons: Absolutely.. I think they've possibly opened up another location in Ohio.
Maybe. I don't know if that's, I don't know. That's a rumor. Yeah so moving forward, the idea would be is that these stores are distribution hubs, like in a sense, we're not a distributor. We don't have a distributor license. We are building brand equity at these different places. So if we had one Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh airport is strictly retail, Erie, then say we did one in like Harrisburg or Scranton or say college, and then one or two in Philly, we can only do five of these.
Simmons: And that's, if the facility has give me all five of their site locations, cause eventually they might be like, Hey Christian, like we want to have our own space in this one town. And I'm going to be like, okay, well, Go ahead. Good luck with that. But what we are is not just a retail space. We are straight up soon to be one of the, hopefully one of the large distribution companies in the state.
And so for me is that we put these different centers of hubs for the Salesforce, hubs for the distribution, hubs for the transportation, all those things. And then hubs for the marketing aspect too, where we get major publications in different parts of the state running pretty much the same story all the time.
And so as a marketing standpoint, that's what we want to do there as well. And then we'll have a different director of operations at each different location. They will all be part owners. They'll all be very invested. And they'll all have a team like we do here in Pittsburgh, and then they'll have a Salesforce team and a sales manager.
And then just like the big guys we'll hopefully have over a hundred employees just selling out there and we'll saturate Pennsylvania. There's 11,000 liquor licenses out there and there's 200 breweries almost now that we can sell to. And they can only buy PA spirits. So 11,000 liquor licenses, I know some of them are not your typical bar, some of our mom and pops real like, you know, diabe or some of them are, you know, VFWs and stuff like that. But we have something that we can sell to anybody in any of those 11,000. And we're actually in the process of teaming up with a local brewery that does major, major, major canning and is already all over the state.
Not gonna say any names, but the concept is that we are going to start sharing reps possibly. Where I pay half the rent. He pays it rent. We get representation. We both get representation. And, we utilize each other's accounts. He has his counts. I have my accounts. If they already have their beer that will lead them. Like, Hey, we represent this brewery. You already carry their beer. Why not some local spirits as well. So that's the big goal here is to sole representation, 10 years from now. I like to think that you won't see, Hey, the big brands on bars anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania, because the local brands will just completely squash them out.
Watson: It's awesome. Well, it's definitely inspiring the story of reinvention, the story of, you know, dusting yourself off and getting off the ground after you got knocked down. I think a lot of people are going to appreciate that and take a lot away from that and want to support and just follow along in all the great stuff you're doing.
So if people want to learn more or check you out, what physical and digital coordinates can we point people towards?
Simmons: Well, our physical location is in the heart of the Strip District 21st and Penn address. It's actually 2103 Penn Avenue, we're really close to some of the more famous places like Wooly's Alaskin grill. We got Smallman Galley right around the corner, which is like the incubator kitchen place and bar, which has great drinks. But then like Penn max right down the street, you know, we, so we're right here, right in the middle. And we've got ice cream next door.
Watson: And then a website, social media, where else can people follow along?
Yeah, so Instagram and Facebook is Pennsylvania Libations. Twitter is Penn Libations. And then our website is PennsylvaniaLibations.com and yeah, and that's good. I mean, you get a pretty good story on our website. What we're doing, we're trying to, we're also on our website, we have calendar blocks that you can pretty much dedicate 20 minutes to you and your friends to get a tasting, which you can come in here and taste anyway.
But if you want to make sure that somebody is here, it will only be working with you and educating you on what we're doing here. We have that availability too. That's awesome. Well, we'll link that in the show notes, going deepwithaaron.com/podcast is the place to find that and the show notes for every episode of the show.
But as we do at the end of each episode, Christian, I want to give you the mic one final time to issue a personal challenge to the audience.
Simmons: Wake up at five in the morning and be up for 18/19 hours. And if you find yourself in front of the TV, get rid of your cable. If you find yourself in front of a book that you're not enjoying, write a book. You know, for me, it's persistence in life, not just in sales, but persistence in being motivated, drink a lot less. Party a lot less, text a lot less, you know, Snapchat a lot less. Like, I mean, for me, it's, I don't have cable TV at my house. I don't have, I have a DVD player and a TV and my eight year old, son's only allowed to watch a movie once a day at the most.
And so for me is that we're outside, we're active. We're always moving. We're always being creative. We're always thinking. And that's a part of who I am. My brain runs, but persistence and what you do and sacrificing and keeping really good health with your body and your mind. And don't be afraid to put yourself out there and really, really let people know that like you mean business and that it might take you a while, but that's how I got to where I was.
I put myself out there, like I couldn't be beat. And I felt like if, if I would've got beaten that I would have been nothing but a big lie. So just if you're not afraid to put the time in, definitely put yourself out there like you are the best because if you don't, somebody else is.
Watson: Yeah, I love it. And the results are obvious, early to bed, early to rise, you know, that's what it's all about. We just went deep with Christian Simmons. Hope everyone out there has a fantastic day.
231 Andy Rachleff, Wealthfront CEO is Revolutionizing Financial Planning with Software
Andy’s Challenge; Stop sitting on the sidelines and start investing in a diversified portfolio of index funds. Get an emergency fund.
Andy Rachleff is Wealthfront's co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer. He serves as a member of the board of trustees and vice chairman of the endowment investment committee for University of Pennsylvania and as a member of the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses on technology entrepreneurship.
Prior to Wealthfront, Andy co-founded and was general partner of Benchmark Capital, where he was responsible for investing in a number of successful companies including Equinix, Juniper Networks, and Opsware. He also spent ten years as a general partner with Merrill, Pickard, Anderson & Eyre (MPAE). Andy earned his BS from University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Innovator’s Dilemna by Clayton Christensen
Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen
A Random Walk down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel
Howard Marks, OakTree Capital Letters
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Get an Additional $5,000 Managed for Free
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230 My Fantasy Education Plan
This post is inspired by Scott Young’s The Essential Education: If You Had Ten Years to Learn Anything, What Would You Do? In his post, Scott outlines his Ideal Ten-Year Self-Education Quest.
The fundamental premise is decoupling education from economic preparedness. If you had 10 years to learn whatever you wanted, purely for the sake of learning what would you study?.
What broad-based education would would excite and challenge you?
Think of this as the educational equivalent to the what-would-you-do-with-a-million-dollars speculation. Let’s go.
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229 Bryce Conway, How to Save $27,000 on International Trips through Travel Hacking
In the fall of 2013, Bryce Conway started a website teaching people how to save money while traveling the world. He learned the ins and outs of the credit card industry and the bonuses that landed him reward points and frequent flyer miles.
During our interview, he shares useful tips like signing up for Starwood and Hyatt hotel’s cards and avoiding Hilton and Delta. We also discuss how he has built his business and served thousands of people through building his site.
1. Google travel hacking.
2. Think about what you do and figure out 2-3 ways to make money off of that.
3. Write down your skill and how to turn it into a business. Put them somewhere you can see it every day.
Book a Trip to Paris for Under $300?
$24k Thailand Trip for $166
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Molly Keyser has created two successful businesses, overcoming a common problem for entrepreneurs along the way. Beginning her entrepreneurial journey at 19 with just $0.81 to her name, Molly Marie first grew her boudoir photography business to six figures and became the envy of startup photographers everywhere.
Not long after you get over the hurdle of bringing in enough business to survive as an entrepreneur, she ran into a new roadblock—how do you scale your business in a way that allows you to work less, not more?
Requests started rolling in from other photographers wanting to know how she’d done it, presenting opportunities for additional revenue streams through digital products where she packaged her knowledge and saw her revenue explode.
Molly’s Challenge; Take a 14 day Email List building challenge. Set a goal and a plan out a method for accomplishing it.
Canon Rebel Ti
50mm 1.8 lens
Email List Building Guide
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Boudoir Marketing Camp
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227 Jack du Rose & Aron Fischer, Rethinking the Future of Work on the Blockchain and Ethereum with Colony.io
Jack du Rose is a former jewelry and diamond artist, current blockchain nerd and cofounder of Colony.io & Ownage.io. He is phenomenally excited by the power shift our decentralised future brings. When not making $100m diamond skulls, or paradigm changing social platforms, Jack enjoys a nice cup of tea and a sit down.
Dr. Aron Fischer received his PhD in mathematics from the City University of New York in 2015. His specialization was in Algebraic Topology and Homotopy theory. Since his graduation he has been studying homotopy type theory in his free time and is interested in how (higher) type theory can help us write safer smart contracts.
He is working for Colony in R&D, developing the governance protocols, and for the Ethereum Foundation's Swarm team where he is working on state and payment channels for the swarm incentive structure.
Jack’s Challenge; Get involved in the Ethereum community and subreddit
Aron’s Challenge; Conduct your own Ethereum transaction.
KanBan - Toyota’s Revolutionary Product System
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Connect with Colony
If you liked this interview, check out episode 221 with Ryan Snowden or 158 with Roger Ver for a discussion of blockchains and crypto.
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Ed Latimore is a man of diverse talents and interests. When he is not training for a fight or challenging your sensibilities on Twitter, he is thinking deeply about culture and philosophy.
Latimore is also a patriot, having served as a radio technician specialist in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and an AmeriCorps volunteer. He is currently working to complete a degree in Physics and Electrical Engineering at Duquesne University.
When he is not strengthening his body for boxing, Latimore exercises his mind to stay sharp inside the ring by playing chess. Additionally, he is also a prolific writer having self-published several books and blogs regularly.
Ed’s Challenge; Do something you’re afraid of.
Not Caring What Other People Think Is A Superpower: Insights From a Heavyweight Boxer by Ed Latimore
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 66 with Zak Slayback where we discuss.
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Aaron Watson: I actually had like a really well-written question to kick things off, but our conversation before we started actually kind of got my wheels spinning in another direction. Which is teaching on a subjective topic like English. You do some tutoring and it's often in hard science and maths, but the real way, I mean, personally that I've found to improve my writing, improve my speaking has been just kind of self-directed reading more or less. You do a lot of writing, some, some really good stuff that we're going to link to in the show notes so people can check out. But I'm curious, given you have this interest in hard science or studying physics, how you've gone about cultivating your writing skills and how you improve that process.
Ed Latimore: You know, it's funny. One of, I don't know if it's our common link, but definitely a common link between me and Zach is a woman named Beth Phillips and she asks a similar question and he goes, "I'm really surprised that you're writing because you're a hard science person in generally speaking, those don't overlap." Which I wasn't aware of because maybe it's the other sciences, but physics to discuss it properly, to answer questions and to teach slash learn involves a lot of precise language.
Like we don't think about the difference between speed and velocity, but you better believe when it comes to a physical problem, even though they measure the same thing, one has the direction component, the other simply a scaler. So are them just using that as an example, but I'm using that as, as an example, to make the point that to describe the water around you in a way that other people can, you have to come up with a language and you have to learn that language. And then you have to communicate clearly in that language. And on top of that, and this was, I really hated lab science for a long time. In fact, it was probably one of the things that kept me from pursuing my degree that I was like, man, I really just don't want to do these labs. Like, can I take a test?
But one of the benefits of the lab is you get to explain your process for a scientific event. A thing that had an objective outcome that you could measure. That you, more or less, knew it was going to happen. You get to talk through and describe what went on. So another person can look at it. The whole goal of any lab is for a person to pick it up, look at it and go, I will do this experiment the way you wrote it. And that requires communication. So I'm in a lot of ways to do well in science. And even in mathematics, writing proofs, for example, you need to have a very strong, not so much vocabulary, but you need to be able to put things together in a way that communicates an idea clearly. If you cannot do that, you will not succeed in science or life. And that's all it really is, is taking your thoughts, having a point that you want to make with those thoughts, organizing them in a way that people go, "I see what you're saying. I may or may not disagree." But if a person can't come away with your argument, or at least the, you know, the crux are the, just of your argument and this by, by reading and writing, then you haven't organized your thoughts well enough.
So that is where that comes from. The science training forced you to be a good writer. And in general, I like, just one, I'm always writing. It's very natural for me to think. Okay. Here's the point I want to make. Here's the idea I want to express. Here's what I want to get across. Let me put this clearly for people to read and understand.
Aaron Watson: Gotcha. You, you mentioned not liking the labs and you kind of use the past tense is it sounds like that's changed or just in general, where did that interest start to stir and become something that you deemed worthy of study?
Ed Latimore: When I, when I became a physics student. Because my, like my background briefly to make, you know, give this answer some context is. I went to school originally, like everyone outside of the time was supposed to, right out of high school. Wasn't ready, dropped out to a long time before I went back. Finally went back. When I originally went back, I thought I was going to go from mathematics. And then some training in the military, I was like, oh, I'm going to go for electrical engineering.
And then I took the first physics class you have to take for, for all engineer - all engineers have to take two sequences of physics and I'm like, no, this is what I want to do. Right. And the thing that drew me to it. I remember the day, clearly we were doing a lab. There we go. We're doing a lab about projectile motion and using the kinematic equations to predict where a projectile would land.
And when the projectile landed exactly where my formula set at what I was like, wow, I just use magic. This is what I want to study. So. What - what change really for me, and maybe it was a maturity thing, or maybe it was finally like seeing a real example of something that like I could use is seeing that you can't learn by a book.
I mean, you can, you can put facts, you can put facts in your head, by a book, but as not to do a thing, can you learn a thing. And that was my first experience, really going, I really get how this works, but I get it because I seen it work. And I was, I linked the equations and the light bulb went off and I was like, "I don't mind labs at all." Now I look forward to them because this will help me understand and from that point on in the chemistries and the physics labs, I really looked forward to doing the lab work because it helped me understand things.
Aaron Watson: I see. With making that type of decision, or just in general, the writing that you do, you, you talked about, you know, being able to use this precise language and really select the right, the right words and communicate that effectively.
What I think, maybe doesn't always get acknowledged. It goes unsaid with that and something, I don't know if you take this for granted or not, is self-confidence. The, the willingness to put your name next to an idea, or to really put your viewpoint out there? I'm I'm, going to speculate here for a second and you can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but that interlude between the first time you were in school and the second time, you were doing boxing and you were serving in the military. I associate both of those experiences with confidence building primarily, especially for men in a security around being able to handle yourself.
Ed Latimore: All right.
Aaron Watson: In a wide variety of high stress situations. How much of the confidence that you bring to your writing and other endeavors do you attribute to those experiences?
Ed Latimore: You said something really, really key. High stress environments. I always tell people, right. They, they ask there's. I don't know if it's an urban legend. There's some truth to it. I guess. That a boxer can't have a fight with a regular person on the street cause they would kill him and then be charged with assault, with a deadly. Who knows? I don't know if that's true or not. What I do know is that the one advantage you really have? I mean, it's not, not punching is not being in better shape than we're talking about street fights. The one advantage you really have is the ability to manage your adrenaline and get a thing done under duress.
I learned that. In boxing and I had been boxing before I joined the military. So it made getting through training even easier. Like I remember I had a direct plan. I'm like, I'm on a list and I know exactly what I'm going to get out from basic training. I'm going to start class. And everything was going fine until week four basic training. When we had qualification for shooting. I am an awful, I'm not an awful shot, but I needed four tries to pass. You're only supposed to get three, right. But I got a fourth one cause we had a few really good shots and it was leftover ammo and time. And being able to stay calm and not panic in the face of that stressful situation allowed me to not get recycled. Because when you get recycled, they, they say you can't shoot. Time to start basic training all over again. A sovereign one, the basic turning from the beginning that throws my whole timeline off.
So where does that tie into writing. At some point, when you put your name on things, when you put what you think, what you feel, how you see the water out there. It doesn't matter how well you articulate it, how well you explain it, how much logic, reasoning, or even what kind of person you are, someone will disagree. And a lot of people want to disagree, really. When you think about it, even if only 1% of the people read it who have 1% of a, of your following disagrees, for me, I mean, that's 150 people, right?
That's that's not us and that's, and then they're going to share it and talk about how they don't like it. And then it's going to, it's going to grow and you're going to get a lot of feedback and a lot of hate that doesn't - that a lot of people aren't ready for, aren't interested in. And even though it's only digital, a person can tell the difference between that- that's the same way that the simulations where people would talk about, oh, it's just digital.
Right. You should realize that intellectually. Emotionally, your body still kind of responds to the same. And. Once you can manage your, your stress under a situation of duress in reality. We can port that skill to just the, the horrible abuse. You get sometimes from people who don't like your writing at all, what you tweet or don't like a picture or whatever. Yeah, you'll be fine, but that's where I take that from that I wouldn't even call it confidence. Cause a lot of, I mean, not a lot, most times I really do finish a piece of writing. I go, all right, well, I edited it. I feel good about the argument, but there is no way people are gonna dig this. And you know, and they do some don't.
The point is still going through with it. I'm not going through with the thinking that I'm going to make it, any more than I enter a fight, and I think I'm going to come out of this unscathed. I just know that I've worked on controlling my stress and keeping my mind cool and collected so I can get through and solve the problem or deal with the abuse and come out on the other side in a position to learn from it.
Aaron Watson: When was the first time you really felt like you started to have a handle on that management of your adrenaline reactions? Was it, I mean, you've had 14 fights now is it? I'm sure it wasn't the first one.
Ed Latimore: 15 profiles plus in the amateurs? My answer is what I have 50 something fights, maybe 50, 60, a few MMA fights. Well, two MMA fights and some jujitsu matches. So, but I remember very clearly the first time I was like, "huh. I behave differently in distress." I was in a movie, and I cannot remember the movie and I cannot remember where I was with it, but this is when I remember. And it was a one of those surprise BOO scenes and, and I just sat there and everyone else jumped and it's not, it's not like I was ready for it. I just went. And that's when I realized somebody described this once. And I can't remember. I know it was a fighter. He described it as turning the noise down because the noise and the stress of a fight is so high and so loud, their regular, everyday normal stuff is his kind of muted in a relative to what you experienced on a daily basis, training, sparring and fighting. And, and I remember that everyone was jumping around. I went, I was like, huh. Wow. There's that? So some of our ability to be startled is ruined and it's not ruined. I mean, I can still be startled, but, but it takes significantly more.
And it allows me to think. Way more calmly under annoying situation. And I don't remember any specific time for this, but a person may be says or does something that untrained me. I can't speak for every other human, but untrained me perhaps has a reaction to escalate the situation, trained me hears it, and kind of steps outside of himself and looks at it and goes, "Okay. Well he said this, he thought this, well, we can do this and this will go this way. Or we can go to this and this. Okay. This way we want a more favorable outcome. Plus, we got tickets to a movie later. We're just going to ignore this." I do remember this, this incident, this clearly wasn't the first one, but, but this, this whole thought process, I'll never forget.
It was, I think it was last summer. Near the end. I was going into Lowe's or Best Buy. I was in The Waterfront and I walked by some, some black kid with his girl and he went - and the girl was dressed kind of scandalously and I guess he thought I was looking, maybe I was maybe I wasn't. And he responded, "Yo the -- f*** you looking at!" And I thought about it.
I was like, "Okay, I'm a lot bigger than this guy. But if he's crazy enough to say that to me, he might have a gun," and it really just felt like it slowed down in time for me. And what do I get really, if I respond to him? Well, you know, I can say I did this and I maybe talk about it on social media, but if he has a gun, it doesn't matter because I'm probably going to get shot. Okay. We'll just let this one slide. I just walked on and that's what it's like. It's like everything slowed and then it just, it just kept going. All right after, but then that's how I respond to a lot of of duress or stressful situations.
Aaron Watson: I think that a lot of people desire that they want that coolness, but maybe there, so there's obviously one area where there's not even a self-awareness of, I'm a short fuse I just blow. Some, some people don't even reach that point, but I feel like there's an, I actually quite frankly think I might be a little bit in that area where I, I can get temporary. I can get riled up, even though I know after the fact, like why, why did that, why did I let that get so under my skin. So let's say hypothetically, I don't, I don't think I'm going to go into boxing, or maybe necessarily serve in the military. What other avenues can people pursue to maybe better handle their emotions or kind of find that comparability to turn the noise down?
Ed Latimore: Well, right now, I can't think of anything off the top of my head. Or rather anything specific. What I can say are a list of criteria. Okay. I just thought of one or two, right. A list of criteria that it should meet if you want to learn to deal with. Your emotions that you got to remember some, all that your emotions, they are not, it's not the same realm of a rational thought.
Rational thought is deliberate. And a lot of cases proactive you plan for the future, right? This is why we have crimes of passion as a thing, because a person is reactive to the moment with their emotions. So what you want to do, you're not going to be able to change how that works. Anyone who says they can, they're lying to you.
What you can do is use your ability to, to proactively plan and put yourself in moderately stressful situations intentionally. You know, this is, this is exactly how, how vaccines and the whole inoculation process works. And public speaking for example is a great way to do this. You think deliberately, I'm going to put myself in this uncomfortable situation.
And even if the audience is polite, you're going to, you're creating most of the stress in your mind. So you're going to be learning to deal with it, man, is these little subtle things you never even thought about that contribute to why your emotions might be off the handle. For, for example, you know, a lot of the slight that people feel like they're responding to is nothing more than how they hear a thing filtered through their own insecure voice. Right?
So if you can learn how to listen to that voice and go, "We're in charge here and not you," you gain a level. And a great way to gain that level is public speaking. Right? Another thing you have to be able to do is you have to, you got to kind of take a detached look at things. I don't want to say you shouldn't care that you'll die or get hurt, but at the same time, you have to realize that ultimately that's the end result.
I mean, one day we are going to be none of our memories. And if you remember that, and you can carry that with you more often than not kind of put it closer to your conscious thought process, and your subconscious driving over your, over your actions, right? Then you're, then you're going to be a little more detached from the moment.
And I think a great way to do that is any kind of meditation. Anything that makes you sit and still your mind, separate from the things going around, you makes you appreciate your, your, the finiteness of your body, right? Because as long as you're always being distracted and pulled in different directions by life, you never really get a chance to sit and think about yourself.
And that's why I say sicknesses is really good for you. Sometimes it's like an old, like an old joke or a sickness it great for you. Cause it forces you to stop moving. Force you to stop force you to sit and contemplate and think about your body and how weak it really is. A lot of people don't do that.
And then they're shocked when they're sick and they're like, oh, I can't do a thing. Well, obviously you can't, but if you can put yourself in that position, then you realize the frailty of your mind, the frailty of your body, or the very least you realize that you can step away from everything going on and listen to it.
So those are the, those are the two specific things I thought of public speaking and meditation and the criteria you can think of anything else to fit those criteria that force you to encounter your inner voice, force you to listen to yourself, forces you to think and plan - roller coasters are great!
Actually, I just thought about that.
Aaron Watson: I hate roller coasters.
Ed Latimore: You know, I, it's funny, man. I found really the perfect person for me. Like, I mean, I'm sure there's like other people out there who I would work just as well with, but I don't have time to find them and I don't want to live like I'm with their 50 years, I got like maybe 10 where I look like this thing ain't going to happen again.
And it's so funny because we're very similar up here about how we approach things in this deliberate, emotionally controlled type of response to life. And I don't mind roller coasters. I'm not like a roller coaster junkie, but I don't mind them. That's the, she's one in blood. She was, she won't touch anything. Risk, risk taking-ish.
I'm gonna cut. Cause I won't either. I argue with you. You're not gonna see me bungee jumping or no on the back of the motorcycles. Shy diving. High hang-gliding. I might zip line. I'm still not sure about it. I haven't heard anything crazy going on with zip lines and I can see how it works.
It's not that very, there are fewer elements of chance in a zip line then I feel like there are in a sky dive. Maybe I'm wrong, but hey, people fear flying. So, so who knows, but back that you hate roller coasters, right? That's almost certainly why. But you can use that to your advantage. You can go.
Okay. I really don't like this feeling. What don't you like about it? Do you not like the feeling, do you not like, are you anxious about the fact that you might die? Who knows, but either way you get to encounter something very uncomfortable and deliberately put yourself there. You actually get to do one better, depending on when you go.
You get to be confronted with the dread by standing in line, because I find it, you know, how I got up over my favorite roller coasters. I remember this clearly, oddly enough, I was six at Geauga Lake and there was a roller coaster that went, did the whole, like 360 loop. And before then I remember when I was a kid, I was afraid of them, but there was no line for this roller coaster.
So I didn't have a chance to wait and let my fear bail me out. I just went. Hopped on. Only one of us going up the thing that I was like, "Oh my goodness, what did I get myself into?" And I remember this clearly when I was only six, a lot of people there in the line for the thing. And we're like, huh? And then as the line moves along next to the coast, you could see it going up and you hear people yelling at you like, honey, your imagination starts going, "Wow. This thing ain't broke down all summer or the summer before that, but why just going to go off the tracks when I get on. I just know it." So you really get a chance to play with that, that fear element, how your mind immediately goes through worst case scenario and you get to kind of control it and bring it back.
Aaron Watson: I guess, some of my insecurity or doubt. It's not always like the design, like the physics, the intellectual side of, you know, this is well built and tested and they have all these safety precautions in place. Mine is more in the mind of like human error at the end of the day. There's a human operating this machine or I'm sure you heard about that -
Ed Latimore: And a human that is not well-paid either. So -
Aaron Watson: Exactly. It's not some, you know, top flight engineer or something. It's some kid work in their summer job. And then there's also the one, I don't know if you heard about the, the person who like lost their hats, they climbed over like three different fences. And then someone came by and like kicked them in the head.
And, you know, I guess I feel bad for the person who not really like following the person went and got their hat. That's just kind of Darwin's rules taking care of themselves, but the person who like broke their leg because some idiot went after that. Like, I want to be that person.
Ed Latimore: There was a video, there was a story floating around. Some, some guy at Cedar Point, I mean, it was flown around cause it happened. It's not like it was a myth. It was, it was trying to take a selfie and went over the edge. You know, the Darwinism man, now you got to go chase Darwinism. Before, that's how easy life is before Darwinism found you. Now, now, now you got to go find it. And people, people were still, you know, Hey.
Aaron Watson: So I think that's why people get so into the bungee jumping and all this other stuff. It's it's people are bored. They don't have that sense of like, I have to figure out a way to survive. So they're going in and seeking it out because everything's so easy.
Ed Latimore: Man, forget that. Everything is not, and maybe that's like part of my upbringing. I don't know, but my girl was raised differently and I'd imagine you're raised differently than me. And we got the same kind of mentality about this. But at least for me, Life is already scary enough, man. Like I grew up in the projects.
You ever come home at night and the projects I guarantee you do that a few times. You'll never need to jump bungee jump again. You know that that's real, that's a real, real fear. You can grow up next to crack dealers and hear gunshots popping off who needs throw, who needs to whitewater raft after that, right?
Aaron Watson: Yeah.
Ed Latimore: Just stay up long enough to hear people wake up and you'll hear you see stuff that's life. But I, the throw seeking behavior, but you're right. I mean, people, I feel like people don't feel alive when it comes down to. I read this somewhere and I wish I could find the exact wording so I would not have find it again.
I suppose that we all have different levels of dopamine sensitivity. And those of us who are. Very sensitive to dopamine, we don't, we don't need to go rush and jump off things because, you know, life is already rewarding enough. Those of us who are dopamine resistant, however, we don't, they don't, they don't get the same reward from living that the rest of us do. So they got to push the envelope because the dopamine resistance. Now obviously, if anyone was listening to this who is a neurochemist or neurobiologists, feel free to, to write me and correct me on this theory, or point me in the direction of this research, because I have seen this enough, and enough, you know, quoting enough different ways to know it has to be based on something.
Apparently it's like in the same regard, I can't do gambling. Like I remember the last time I gambled, I will just living in LA. It was when the Giants made it, this is how clear it is in my memory. I don't even watch football that much anymore. It was on the Giants were in the second round of the NFC divisional playoffs against the Falcons, not the Falcons, the 49ers and the game was going back and forth.
And I bet $20, $20 on the Falcons. That's it? I mean, on the Falcons, the 49ers $20. And I broke, I mean, and it wasn't, it was 20 I could lose. It was nothing. And I really had a heart attack watching a game. I'm not built for these things like that. They make - they bring a rush to you that you can't control.
Aaron Watson: Yeah. I mean, I get kind of a similar notion of going into casinos and that feeling of artificiality. And you're like, I know that there's stuff in here that is like working on my brain, that I'm not even aware of.
Ed Latimore: Right
Aaron Watson: That they're purely playing on my subconscious.
Ed Latimore: Ain't no natural light. They pump oxygen in. There's always sound. I mean, these are all because I'm trying to think, I'm trying to think. Of my, all my pro fights. I think only two of them haven't been in casinos of some sort or maybe three. So some intimately familiar with casinos, and, and I'm really and the psychology of a casino fascinates me because here's the thing set up to keep you entertained and take your money, take money from you.
And I always wonder how could someone be so bored that they sit there and press a button, press a button, press a button. Cause it was really all it is. I mean, listen, now we're not talking about car games. That's a different story. I enjoy poker and to for a purely mathematical reason blackjack. But, but the rest of the games, press the button, press the button, press the button.
And you realize that, yeah, you may have had like you may have had a leaning towards the gambler once you get in there, man, the whole system set up to just keep you there and keep sucking your money, right from you. Now they let you take money directly off your card as it's really a monster.
Aaron Watson: Yeah. I love that you shared that a little bit about having to walk home late in the projects, and there's a good friend of mine and a former guest, Adam Harrington. We talk about the idea that there's a kind of, extended childhood for many. And culturally, if you look at kind of the history of humans and small tribes in different ways, society has been arranged. There was often a rite of passage or a coming-of-age that, you know, you see that ceremonially in like a bar or bat mitzvah or these other things, but there's less of the actual maybe real ripping or, or, or extreme movement from one phase of your life to another.
And I'm curious, cause, cause you do talk sometimes about masculinity and these other topics, whether that's on Twitter and elsewhere first, what your, if you feel like there was a specific experience or maybe just growing up that you were pushed in that direction more quickly and if you agree with that notion that in that same way that people are kind of looking to feel alive and looking to chase those thrills, if there's also a similar idea going on with people struggling with that transition from childhood to adulthood.
Ed Latimore: Well, well, for me personally. I remember, I remember clearly when I realized that when I at least realized, okay, "I'm the most mature human being in this household." And it's going to be up to me, to fend for myself and figure this out because if I leave my development up to, cause I lived with my mom, I didn't live with my dad. My dad lived in Philadelphia. And my mom lives here in Pittsburgh, but I remember clearly. I was like, "This is not going to go well for me, if I don't make decisions for myself."
I was 11 years old. My mom got drunk and got into a fight with some lady in the street and okay, I get it. Like, even as an adult, like you drink, you go do dumb stuff. Whatever. What well, why the incident stands out to me is when I remember holding her back and trying to keep it from going and to, you know, she went and did it anyway.
And so in my mind I'm like, "Wow, this is where we're at." Like, I - and looking back into, you know, I have clarity now at 32, that I didn't have it 11. By 11 I would definitely be like, yeah, we're not. And from that point, I mean, I'm pretty sure, like when I got, when I got to high school, I spent. So much time away with my friends and I didn't, I didn't, I think I woke, I think I spent maybe 2 holidays fully at home, but most times I either wake up at a friend's house or I'd go over there man. I just wasn't interested in being home. I didn't feel like that was going to nurture and develop me. I felt like where I was where other things where. They were developing me a a different structure, a better structure for family. So, for me, I mean, I think that's a little early, like, and not just literally, I mean, it's way early.
But there was definitely a transition from you cause it's a naivety that was gone, right? You, we, we need to grow up thinking that our parents take care of us and that the world is kind of a nice place. Even if it isn't. We gotta, we have to believe that so we don't transition too early before we have the emotional maturity to cope with some of the things that we see and what have to do to protect ourselves.
While I was not afforded that luxury, and so, there, was a quick shift over. And I think I handled it all right. I'm certainly okay now, but this is like years. I mean, this is this 20 years ago, 20 years, and certainly many, many mistakes along the way in terms of how I dealt with myself and the world around me. But it has to start somewhere. As far as other people and relating this, relating other people and they're like lack of some type of rich war, or event to make them transition compared to mine and how I feel. I think what most people are missing back to that Darwin as a modern day, society is really too easy. It's too easy, and because there is not a difficult external challenge, there is no reason to move from this stage completely. When you're a child to when you are a fully functional, capable adult.
Somebody asked a question on, on Twitter. I are chomping and gave my two cents. Like "When is a boy considered a man?" And I thought about it and I thought about it. And I was like, "I know when. A boy's considered a man, when he has his first major catastrophe, whether it's financial, physical, motional, whatever. And he recovers from it without his parents, even knowing that it had happened in the first place. At that point, he has embraced the world and has embraced the ugliness that is the world. And has survived and come back from it and didn't rely on his parents for any type of support," because that's what they're there for.
I mean, none of us, none of us wrote a letter, and when, you know, "Dear - dear mom and dad, it would be great if you guys, you know, fertilize and had me. P.S. Nine months, right?" No. They made a decision and you're here as a result. So it's, I think it's the parent's job to rear you up to a certain point. But at some point you gotta, you gotta bounce, right?
Aaron Watson: Yeah.
Ed Latimore: And what we lack is a bouncing event because societies, it's just too easy. It's just too easy. What a lot of, you know, and let society can change all at once too. This is where people get upset about. Really, you know, this is kinda like what, what I take it a different way. Cause I see it a different way.
But generally speaking, right? This is what a lot of, red pilling red pill ideas are when it comes down to society is too easy. Our society thinks a certain way. Human biology drives you another way. And all our problems we have is when we have the class, but don't consider how to best mitigate it or direct people to a certain course of behavior.
What - I saying that because the issue of men, right. If we say there's an issue. When men mature in development. Human nature is going to want us to chill out and seek pleasure or minimize discomfort. Okay. That's - that's acceptable. Human nature is also going to want us to have an attractive woman around and have means to have great things.
But, society. Has nothing to force us to develop anymore. We're not going to develop on our own. We want to avoid the pain, remember that. But society has taken away all the things that make people grow and develop. You know, what they called the, the generation after world war II, the greatest generation ever. And what did you have to survive? The Great Depression, World War Two, right? And these are just regular people. We're not, we're not talking about anyone that survived the Reconstruction of the South. The - these are hard events and a hard life, that make hard, harder human beings that really value our process and really value life.
And it's not, it's not that it well, it wasn't the Netflix and Chill generation. It wasn't the Tinder generation. It wasn't the selfie go - people were just happy to have a job and make things happen. And, you know, I saw things side by side and it really summed it up. It, it was, it was some, some girl in a signup that goes "I have. I have my, my, my degree in gender studies. Hire me." And it was a sign from my guy during the depression. And he goes, "I speak three languages and served in a war and I can't find a job. Will work for anything." And it was like, this is the thing. There's nothing to force people to develop. That's why people can get away with a major and stuff like gender studies, because I can tell you 'till I'm blue in the face, go be an electrical engineer.
You're going to look at your surroundings and go, "What the hell should I do that for? That's very, very difficult. I don't want to do that, difficulty. Everyone around me is drinking and partying at school. I really want to do that. That seems easier." and then you got, you got people who came from that generation. It's not that their advice is bad. It just no longer applause, which is it doesn't matter what you major in and just get a degree. Right. They tell you that. And so they support a lot of dumb decisions. So you get this whole generation of people who do not have anything, forcing them to embrace pain. So they move away from it.
And I always say, if you, you can, you're going to be in pain, no matter what. Or you're going to be in pain because you were going after something, or you're going to be in pain because you're running away from something. Either way, it's going to burn your legs. Right? What are you going to hurt for?
And no one's hurting to get better. Everyone is - everyone's trying to, trying to stay a certain way. And then all of a sudden they're 35 and they're like, "What the hell happened?" Right? And, but, but what I think is there's going to be a whole generation like man babies. I got, I got no other word for like - I mean - a whole generation of people who, who are freaking... I remember when I worked at Starbucks, I was 21. When, when this, when the internet first started, and that'll be even worse I think. But Bunch of people. I think I was the only one. There was one other girl, but everyone else there had bachelor's and master's degrees. And I was like, "What the hell happened?" Like what, how many wrong choices do you have to make to take out they master's degree and ended up working at - as a barista for like what were you making? Like nine an hour, maybe, plus tips?
How many bad choices do you have to make? Well, a better question is how many hard choices did you get to avoid? And when you look at, when you start looking at things like that, then it all makes sense. I'm a lot more things will make sense instead of looking at what you did wrong, look at the hard things you had to avoid.
Aaron Watson: Yeah, one of the, I've just picked this up really recently. It's I love that you said that because it's coming back to me, but every morning I'm trying to say, "I'm going to do the simple things that are hard." Because all these choices, whether that's, you know, you did your deadlifts and rose this morning, I did my pushups.
Whether that's, you know, I'm going to eat vegetables and not processed foods -
Ed Latimore: Right
Aaron Watson: or all these things are simple. The, the idea that we don't know what we're supposed to be doing, or that we don't know what the things that lead to success are, is a fallacy, but making the hard decision to not just do it once, but do it over and over and over and over again is hard.
That, that, that is not an easy thing to do for most people. So really trying to hone in on what simple things that are hard. Can I do every single day? That that to me is the number one kind of idea I'm trying to latch onto.
Ed Latimore: Right. Because man, I really, over the past year, I really old past six months, half the years past, I really started to learn how to make money online. And then put it out in general, is this understanding money, right?
And it's not complicated. You don't need a finance degree. You know what? You, you, you know, the simplest thing you have to understand, this is what money, right? And I think many things in life involve money, the simplest thing you have to understand is, if you give people something valuable, they'll pay you for it.
That's it. Right. You get rid of that joke. Like, oh man, if I can get it, if I can get a million people to give me $1, I'd have a million dollars. What would you - it probably be a lot easier if you created something that people were like, "Ah! $15 is a steal, I'm going to buy that and then go learn, you know, the nuts and bolts of marketing, whatever.
But the, the... I wish you could have seen my first website when I first started out online with anything, it was just an, I mean, it was ugly. There was no other word for it. Now it's beautiful. It's beautiful and it's SEO optimized and I have a lot of people that support and like to read and like the writing. But you just got to start.
And I wrote, I don't, I don't write as much then. I don't worry as much now as I did then, but that's only because I'm working on other projects to build and, and continue to increase value. Because you can do any, you can do a lot of things wrong. Believe me, I've done a lot of things wrong. They probably left some dollars on the table, whatever.
Right. But the one thing I have not done wrong, which is why I, I think I continue to attract opportunities and meet cool people is I give value. And it's just a simple idea, super simple. You know, if you get that, you didn't mess up anything else. I, you literally can mess up anything else. I mean, here's how much we're saying you can mess up. For a long time, I didn't know my mailing link was broken. Traffic was cool, right. Didn't know that I was broke. What else was wrong? Oh, man. I, I, you know, you put out some bad articles, whatever, and people go, that's not gonna fly, but you, you put out value. But when we take that, I did anything else. Same with dieting, right?
Eating right and health. Man, people will put together a whole books and go for them because it looks valuable and it is valued. But the, the super easiest way to be healthy. I tell people three things for, if you want to be optional and live like me, but three things avoid sugar. Cook your own meals and don't consume calories.
You do those three things when you live forever, we're not living you'll at the very least you'll you'll eliminate most of what's going to break you down. And then the fourth optional thing, I don't drink alcohol, but like, you know, that's neither here nor there, but, but, but the three things, for sure, it's so super simple, Ain't no counting calories. Ain't no macro or micronutrients. Don't worry about cutting or fasting. Just do those 3 things.You'll be all good. You ain't even really got to go to the gym for real. I mean, but you can.
Aaron Watson: Yeah, I just feel like when I work out or go to the gym, it makes it easier for me to make that decision to eat well. Cause like I did this workout, like I'm a little sore. I'm not gonna ruin that by throwing Cheetos in my mouth.
Ed Latimore: Stacking good habits. Start with one habit. It's easier to stack another one on another one. And before you know, it. Before, you know, it, you got no tolerance for people with bad habits, you know, and then you get to that. And all of a sudden you're the bad guy, but...
Aaron Watson: I did it. We're gonna start wrapping up here before asked the last two questions. I have to ask you when you might find a little bit annoying,Mayweather - McGregor. I don't know anything about boxing.
Ed Latimore: And you certainly aren't going to learn anything from this. The Mayweather - McGregor thing, man. Look. I really are applaud and I looked at it from all angles. So first let me say the positives. I think it is a great business move because I can only imagine like, like when you hear something like that, you would like to think, man, that's a great idea. Maybe I would have done the same thing. I'm not going to lie and I don't think anyone else will lie. There is no way. If we weren't, if I was in the room and I was part of Mayweather's team and somebody said, yo, man, you know what sounds like a good idea. We should have him fight Connor McGregor.I'd be like, "Man, sit your ass down."
Like this. There's no way anyone thought that. I would think that's a good idea, but, but someone raised their hand in a meeting in real life and said, you know what? I think will be a good idea. And they went, oh, we'll run with it. And I really think. Somehow he'll make more money probably from that fight when he fought Pacquiao. Oh, we'll se the the numbers. Businesses - great. Let's talk about the bad now. Here's a guy who toats himself as the best ever. Whatever, right. And this is just a boxing pet peeve. Toats himself as the best ever, you know, wants to put himself in that conversation. Has enough money. So it doesn't need to do it for money.
So when I go fight, there are any number of gods that you can fight that, that, you know, the people would care about. And we're not just talking about the Les fan. I mean, people will care about names that are up and coming. But maybe they beat you. Maybe they don't. But the point is we, you do this and I don't think it's, it's the bet already said.
The best thing that I already said, one of the worst things that happened to boxing was when they finally decided to fight Pacquiao. Past Pacqiao's prime, and the fight just wasn't and then it was doubled, you know, price and it wasn't a good fight. I think this is probably even worse for boxing. But this is just how I feel about it.
There was boxing too, right? Let's put this in perspective. Here's a guy that won a gold medal. That means he probably had about 200 amateur fights, maybe 3. 49 professional fights. I've been doing this his whole life. Yeah. How many boxing matches has Conor McGregor had?
Aaron Watson: You say?
Ed Latimore: None man. None. I'd be, you know, now, now they had a clause, don't worry. Mayweather goes to the cage. I would be interested in that. Like I would actually watch the boxing match and then like, they, they had a clause, six months later, it goes to the cage. I'd be interested in that. Right. But I'm not interested in this. I mean, I don't even know date is I apparently it's signed or whatever, but we got, we got Triple G versus Alvarez.
We got It's another good fight coming up. I can't even remember. They were just talking about awhile. Oh, Ward and Kovalev. Possibly a unification battle. A heavyweight with Joshua and Walter, or we get Joseph Parker to fight one of those, and there's just, there's just too many good fights. And somehow this is what people care about.
So. Good, good, great, great business move in terms of, for the sport. Not interested. I remember I don't even want to care to fight. I know the caliber of the opponents he's fought. This fight should not last very long.
Aaron Watson: Yeah. It's going to be interesting. And they are doing an amazing job of marketing it and getting eyeballs and people to care about it.
Ed Latimore: Way better than I thought they was. Put like that.
Man, somebody is really, somebody deserves a gold star because that that's a great idea. It's going to be great. I mean, it's going to be huge. I'm not going to. Yeah.
Aaron Watson: Well, if, if people have liked all this perspective that you've shared in today's interview, I really want to encourage them to connect with you and the digital world. You are, I I'd say like in a select tier must follows in my opinion on Twitter.
Ed Latimore: Oh, thanks man.
Aaron Watson: But if people want to connect with you in the digital world you're on Twitter at EdLatimore, where else can people check out your writing and the other stuff you're working on?
Ed Latimore: EdLatimore Twitter, right? And the website is www.edlatimore.com. Every now and then I put little snippets on Facebook. On my, on my fan page is EdLatimoreBoxer, but also send those to my mailing list as well. Do a lot of writings, keep the mind sharp man writing, writing, writing. So, so you had a main page though, Twitter and Facebook. To or, Twitter or my website and Facebook.
Aaron Watson: Awesome. Well, we'll be sure to link to that in the show notes at goingdeepwithaaron.com/podcast.
This will be episode 226. Once again, you can check that out at goingdeepthereand.com/podcast. But ed, as we do at the end of every episode, I like it when my guests can issue an actionable personal challenge to leave them at the end of the interview with some to go do. So I gonna give you the mic one final time to challenge the audience.
Ed Latimore: Do something you're afraid of.
There's not going to, you know, obviously don't go jump off a building or something stupid like that. Do something that you're afraid of to get your blood pumping. You think people care about the outcome, but they don't really care. Man. Go talk to some girl you've been, been worried about or whatever or go apply to some job, or tell, or apologize to a friend, give forgiven, do something that's going to make you uncomfortable as heck.
And then realize you're fine afterwards and that's where it starts. You realize the world doesn't end the world doesn't care, and then you really get power.
Aaron Watson: And it translates across all those different areas. You do it in one area and those other consecutive areas are going to get easier.
Ed Latimore: Absolutely.
Aaron Watson: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming here and sharing your time with us and your perspective. We just went deep with ed Latimore. Hope you've been out there has a fantastic day.
Thomas Mulliez is the visionary entrepreneur behind iTREKKERS. Tom founded the company in 2014 after realizing that bringing together vetted professional captains and guides on one platform would help guarantee everyone a better experience in the outdoors.
iTREKKERS is a combination of Tom’s desires to share his love of nature and to simplify the process of booking guided outdoor activities. His mission is threefold: to get people to experience the outdoors through iTREKKERS; to help people get outdoors, period, by providing useful tips and referrals; and to educate people about the outdoors and ways to be mindful.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 97 with Adam Haritan where we discuss mushroom foraging, nutrition, and the great outdoors.
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