Marshall Haas is the co-founder & CEO of Need/Want, a holding company of brands he has started and owns. Over the years Marshall has started a multitude of products and brands, including some that have been acquired and done millions of dollars of revenue.
He is self-taught and has translated his curiosity into Peel, Shepherd, ofHass, and others.
Inc. Magazine ranked Marshall’s company one of the fastest growing private companies in America and in 2018 Need/Want ranked #1 in St. Louis and the state of Missouri
In this interview, Marshall and Aaron discuss the labor market, how to successfully test & iterate a product, and why hiring overseas is such a big opportunity.
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If you liked this interview, check out our interview with Andrew Gazdecki where we discuss buying and selling small businesses.
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Haas: I mean, I had panic attacks throughout like the year of this, like, you know, it's your personal name on the line? I didn't want, you know, I had every intention and good intentions deliver on what I promise people.
Watson: Hey, welcome back to go deeper there. And Watson, really excited to share this the 500th episode of going deep with you. It's an interview with Marshall. Haas Marshall has candidly the type of business and entrepreneurial success that I aspire to before hitting the age of 35, he has built multiple six and seven figures.
E-commerce businesses, a really successful head-hunting business that we talk about in the middle of this interview, that I've actually been a client of and a collection of real estate holdings. He's done this by modeling Andrew Wilkinson a-another prolific business builder and acquire. And in today's interview, we jump around between those different businesses’ lessons.
Marshall has learned and perspective that he is gleaned from all of this entrepreneurial experience. It's all over the place. Just like I like on this show. And if you're a regular listener, I know you like that to hear it.
Watson: Marshall. It's nice to be talking with you, man.
Haas: Yeah. Thanks for Aaron for having me.
Watson: Before we get into your whole story, any connection to the Haas racing team. I know that a formula one's coming down this weekend. Yeah.
Haas: Uh, I love motor sports. Yeah, no, no relation totally wish she was like, you know, my dad or uncle or something, but no,
Watson: Damn. I feel, I mean, I don't know how common of a last name that is. You would know better than me, but I feel like you could pull some like extended cousin stuff. Maybe try to get in there.
Haas: Yeah, maybe. Yeah. Hey, put me in coach.
Watson: um, so I'm going to start off with, um, uh, pretty simple, maybe not simple question. How many companies have you started?
Haas: Oh, um, oh, it's hard to answer because there's so many projects, you know, that in my head was going to be a company that, you know, never, uh, never saw. I would looking back, I wouldn't call a company now. I dunno, man. If I had to guess probably around 10. With only a few of those actually being viable. Um, a lot of like, you know, failures along the way and everything.
Watson: Gotcha. So when I look at your current holding company need one, I see a service route services provider, a shepherd that we're going to talk about in a little bit. I see some things that start to kind of skew into real estate and these other. I guess I wouldn't, I wouldn't even know how to call it services, business, more scalable than a products business, but your origins are really in creating physical products and selling them online.
So can you talk to me specifically about what attracted you in that direction? Was it, you know, someone you were approximate to seeing them do it? . Starting in physical products, the attractive route. When I feel like today, you know, stuff like software is way more glamorized because it feels, you know, you need a laptop and a, uh, education basically.
Haas: Yeah. Uh, so I, early on, when I was just getting started, you know, it was like a fresh-faced entrepreneur, you know, looking up to guys like Steve jobs and, and Facebook and, you know, all, all the software side, I was actually working in software or how to software. Uh, project management, startup that totally crashed and burned.
But during all of that, a couple of years of that, I, uh, I got really interested in, um, physical products. I just thought it'd be really cool to start something that you can touch and hold. Like I would, uh, you know, tell my family about what I'm doing in software and they just like, don't get. And it just seems so fun.
One, like have an idea for something and then like physically be able to hold it. You know, I think I started to feel like it would be easier to sell as well. Like, you know, there's so many free apps at the time and I just thought like, you know that you already, you're not fighting against people, uh, expecting.
Uh, you know, software to be free. Whereas like, if I hand you something like, you know, this is my, my widget, uh, it's physical. Like you're already assuming that like, of course, from a price tag to it, you know, you're not fighting against that. You don't question, you know, Starbucks, uh, you know, there's a course of price on this piece of coffee or this coffee.
Um, so it was kind of that it was just like frustrated with like, you know, it's going to be hard to like get around everyone assuming something's free, uh, with software. And, uh, I just started kind of jotting down various ideas and frustrations I had, and I felt like, you know, as a, a little one person, two person company, like you're, you could totally make something, you know, like I saw that it was like now possible to like contact factories in China.
And like, if this is now just possible. And so why shouldn't I, you know, make something it's just like, Did I boil it down to just an interest? You know, I was just like, super curious about how that works and started tinkering around.
Watson: And then software is the kind of common trope of the MVP, the minimum viable product, and you write enough lines of code and it's, it's, you know, functional enough to get someone interested in.
Physical price a little bit different, especially, you know, whether you're prototyping or you're going and doing like the smallest run that you possibly can from the manufacturer, seeing what gets delivered and seeing what needs to kind of be altered. So, you know, given your experiences now, you've, you've built a number of brands, uh, bedsheets company, uh, iPhone case company, so on and so forth.
Like what, what do you tell aspiring physical product entrepreneurs about kind of testing what it is that they want to be.
Haas: Yeah. I mean, you kind of hit the nail on the head. It's, it's really hard to, you know, software. You can make it super ugly. As long as it functions, you can plop the price on it, you know?
Err, it rates or like you kind of asked to have branding and, you know, the product needs to be pretty solid. Good. And like, you know, you can't be issuing recalls, uh, day one. So, um, yeah, I mean, it's kind of the pros and cons of software versus physical products. Right? It's uh, I don't know if a word of caution is the right way to put it, but I would tell people like, yeah, you want to do you want to test and get it right.
So you don't have to, uh, to go back and redo a manufacturer on because that's super costly and can burn you. And I've gone through that. Yeah. There's honestly, there's just no way around it. There's no, like, I mean, well, okay. Let me, let me back up. I think you can definitely test things out with. Small runs.
So, you know, okay. Thinking about final product, you want to make definitely needs to fall in what I was just saying. Like it needs to just be pretty solid and, you know, as close to perfect as you can, however, early on, I would work with the manufacturer that will allow you to kind of just source something from them.
That's similar to something you want to make, build a brand, do a super, super low, uh, production run as low as you can just to like you know. Number and a bunch of cash test the idea, see if there's a man from a space you're wanting to be in. And then I would look at like doing it. You know, the final version of the originally had had the idea for the flip side is a Kickstarter, which, you know, I think most people are familiar.
Pitch, you know, final version that you want to do and do a Kickstarter campaign for it. But I think today that's still probably the best way to go if you're off the ground. But when you deliver on that campaign, like you need to have it solid and not have it as a, the MVP product that, you know, you have a lot of issues under the, under the hood.
Watson: Yeah. It seems like a lot of Kickstarter campaigns get bogged down in that phenomena.
Haas: Ah, yeah. In the. It finishes and then actually executing, delivering side. Yeah, for sure. That's uh, that's where all the hard work is. I think.
Watson: Can you talk about one of the times where you did have that run and it didn't go well and you kind of had to, you know, get back up off, off the mat.
Haas: Yeah. Uh, man, it's like a painful story. Um, yeah, so we had this company called smart bedding. And it was a bedsheet company. So we are going to sell a full set of sheets. So the top sheet, duvet cover, uh, pillowcases, you know, that sheet, all of it. And the, the idea was basically, um, Making your bed it's pretty time-consuming it kind of boiled down what goes into making your bed.
And in our opinion, if you suffered the top sheet, stuck out outsides, you had to like tuck it in, but you had to realign your duvet, covering the top sheet. And now that was the gist of making your bed. And so, you know, we, we, weren't going to build like a mechanical bed that like pulls a sheet and makes it for you.
The idea was, well, we'll just solve for those problems. So we had. Snap system along the sides, it kind of kept the top sheet and duvet cover together? And then we cut the top sheet to be about the same size as the duvet cover. So it doesn't stick out. So that was the idea was to, um, make your bed faster, make it a lot, lot simpler.
Did a Kickstarter campaign. I think we raised a little over 50K in pre-orders. You know awesome, Great. Like this is, you know, high-fives, co-founder like people want to stain. We, uh, we have a business here and did a production run, found a manufacturer, vetted them, got samples. You know, they were tested a bunch of manufacturers.
They were the best quality, you know, all the above check boxes as far as we were concerned. And, uh, it was just delay after delay, after delay. Finally, they, uh, fulfilled about half of it, got our hands on material and it was nothing like what we originally approved. So it was kind of being switch model.
So we had one, you know, like, I mean, at this point I think he was like a year and it was like, you know, production runs takes 30, 90 days, eight days, depending on what you're doing. And then, you know, week shipping it overseas to your warehouse here to like 30 days back then. We didn't have a Coldwell pandemic going on, uh, at sea freight.
So like, we were obviously blew way past anything reasonable there. And we were basically at the mercy of. This Stackery, like we had, you know, that was all the money that we raised was to produce this thing. I don't think it was a STAM this factory, like, I think they were a real factory and we had someone separate kind of quality control person go out.
And it was real factory, I don't know, to this day or like what happens, but they basically kind of fumbled. And went away. And so, uh, never delivered to anything else. They had the majority of our funds. We didn't have enough money to produce someone else. So a Wallace is all going on. We had me and my buddy had started some other small e-commerce businesses as side projects that, you know, we're super fortunate that we're, we're making a bit of money.
So we. You know, it became to this time, it was always in limbo. You know, it's like, are they going to deliver, you know, are we going to get what we ordered from these guys? They just kept dragging us on. And it, you know, push comes to shove. You finally have to make a call of just, this is not going to happen.
You know? And we need to be honest with backers, you know, Hey, this is what's going on. Or I can just like apologize people easily and shut it down or dig deep. You know, take alone, come up with money and other way and do another production run. So that's what we did. We, uh, we approach a, a, you know, high net worth.
Wasn't a friend. It was kind of like an acquaintance, um, about taking along for about half of what we needed. And we put up the money for the other half with basically all the profits of the other thing we had going and decided to make it better, higher quality. We went with linen this time around somebody cotton the first time, and then anybody that wanted to hang on still at that point, uh, we just, you know, uh, delivered a more superior product.
And the retail price that they paid was about what it costs us to do in the first actually, no, it cost them more to do so they got more than their money's worth. And that was kind of, are they keeper for hanging on relaunch without new products? And that, that went on to do pretty well. Man. It was like, I, uh, I mean, I had panic attacks throughout, like the year of this, like arc, uh, you know, it's your personal name on the line.
I didn't want, you know, I had every intention and, and good intentions to deliver on what I promise people, but you're at the mercy and like, you're limited, you can only do so much, you know? So, yeah, that was a, that was one where we just had. Further dig deep and take a risk and make it again, uh, to, to keep people happy and, you know, see the thing through. So that's kind of the, uh, the quick story of that one.
Watson: So, so in an instance like that, where you're delivering something superior to what people paid and it's because of the weight, it's because of kind of the natural progression that you realized you wanted to take with the product. Does an experience like that make you more of a believer in karma because all these kinds of good things, at least from an external perspective, seem to have come your way professionally?
And, you know, you've got a holding company with a whole bunch of different business successes before the age of 32. Does that make you more of a believer in karma or what's your kind of like, I don't know if belief system is the right phrase necessarily, like what's your framework for thinking about something like that.
Haas: Yeah. You know, anybody who is going to scan people or, or, you know, even be just like a little loose with promises and stuff like that. Like you're not going to be able to be in business for very long. Maybe you could buy for so many years, but like, it's got to catch up to you. So, I mean, that's, I've never works.
Like I'm just practical that at all, you know, like, yeah, I think you should do right by people, but someone that doesn't have a moral compass, I think you should just be wise and like, it's not going to work anyway. You know? Um, so yeah, totally a believer in doing right by people. But yeah, the, I mean, let's be real, like the we're super glad that.
Over-delivered in the end to people, but there was also a good business reason for us to make the product better. You know, we saw some flaws and some things, and, you know, we wanted to like make a better product. So of course it was like, you know, multiple points of motivation, you know, derived by people over deliver, but also for future customers, like we thought this was going to be the better word, telling the products, uh, anyways, so.
Yeah, it goes, hand-in-hand like do right by people and build good products. Like it's just a winning combination. Like the, the, uh, the opposite of it. Like it doesn't work, right. Whether you have morals or not, but hopefully, hopefully.
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Watson: I want to circle back to some of the other product stuff later on, but you, you kind of made this shift now out of the. Being primarily a product entrepreneur and I've actually interfaced with, you know, the, the, the reason I reached out is because I've had a great experience interfacing with one of your service provider companies, shepherd, uh, which assists people with the hiring of international talent explicitly from the Philippines, a completely different price point for labor.
Um, so can you take us through the kind of origin story of a company like that? Because honestly, as, as a, as a client of yours, It seems like I've almost kind of uncovered a secret. Like there's a little bit of like, This is really working. Um, and you know, I'm happy to share that obviously in a domain like this, but can you just talk about like the origins of this idea?
Cause you probably had that same perception of I've got the secret figured out however long in the past before you launch it. But if it's been around for like 17 months or something.
Haas: Yeah. Well you, uh, the, your, your stuff there. Um, okay. So, so those that don't know, uh, I'm talking about an agency called shepherd that I started with a co-founder.
We're basically at hunter agency for outsource talents, uh, right now focus on Philippines, but, uh, may expand to some other areas. So simple model, we just, uh, hire a full-time hires for our clients of someone's looking for part-time like, we don't do that. And then we, uh, we don't mark up, you know, their time.
Since paid. Five bucks an hour. We're not billing it out for 10 it's. It's the other way. It's you know, you guys needed the video editor. We go out and try to find the best view editor we can for you. And. Present, you know, a bunch of good candidates. If you guys like one or a company likes one and they're hired, we take a fee of the presumed first year salary.
I know the relationship, you know, hands off to you guys. And that's how you're your contractor employee. So, yeah, so the, the Genesis of that one, I started with this guy named drummer he's based in the Philippines. He's Filipino Austin Guy. He's he worked for me or worked for me for like three or four years.
Uh, came on. As, just like a customer support agent helping with a little bit of operations stuff, uh, appeal. So just like, uh, you know, part of the team super friendly, we got to know each other. We were basically chatting like every day and, um, my wife and I were traveling for awhile and I wanted to go to the Philippines and hanging out with him and another employee of ours over there.
So we finally get to like, hang out. This is in 2019. And. I think John Moore has always had the itch to start something. And, uh, you know, he’s talking about BPO companies, which are like business process, uh, were frigging this price, I was probably just business process outsourcing, but it's, you know, it's companies that go over there and hire staff in the Philippines.
And most of them are run in what I touched on earlier, which is. Great. And you need a customer support rep, uh, costs us five bucks. We're going to give it to you for 15 an hour and they just mark people's time up. There's a lot of that. And we, uh, we just started riffing on ideas and ways you could build a company like that today and kind of finding your niche into that world.
Um, and we, we eventually kind of settled on the head-hunter model. Um, and we, we chose them all for different reasons. Um, yeah, Joe and I “partnerds”, uh, he's the general manager, so he's kind of running the day to day and. Uh, he, you know, has been the one leading a team. Um, and it's, it's been awesome, man. It's been a really fun business.
It's hit a chord with a lot of entrepreneurs and they're growing well.
Watson: How did you find Joe Murray and the other Filipino team member before shepherd?
Haas: Yeah. Uh, that's actually kind of a long story. Uh, I'll try to give me the quick one. So we bought an e-commerce company, uh, probably in 2016. That is a long story for another day, uh, eventually failed.
Like went down zero? Uh, it was a pretty painful experience and the silver lining, at least for, for our side was. We got drummer that acquisition of that business. So he was doing support for that company that we hired and when it kind of went bust and it wasn't working, we brought on several of the team members and appeal instead.
So yeah, without getting into the long story there of that big bunk failure, um, yeah, it was part of that team and that's how we got to know. And then the other team member, um, she’s, our bookkeeper. And I think, uh, I think she was doing bookkeeping contract for a friend and, uh, we, we wanted to bring our bookkeeping stuff in house and that's how we found her and brought her on full-time.
Watson: So in terms of scaling, where does this stand in the context of other businesses that you've done? Cause I saw a tweet. I'm just gonna back into it. Uh, it was at 15 months, you'd gone from one to 32 employees and it's now been another two months. So I have to imagine that unless, you know, you've hit some road bumps it's, it's gotta be even further beyond that.
Haas: Yeah, I think we're at like 40 something employees now, something like that. And that's the internal shepherd team that's going out and sourcing project managers, you know, content person, um, all that. Um, yeah, it's been a, it's been a wild ride. Like all, all the other stuff I've ever done. Max has been like, you know, five to 10 people.
I think it was. Uh, at Peel's peak as far as head count and that we had 10 people. So it's, it's been wild to like, grow that fast, far as head count. And, you know, there's always company culture things you gotta run into and, you know, people running different teams like previously for me, we ran a really flat organization.
Uh, whereas now with about size, it's just kinda hard to do so.
Watson: So in terms of. That type of growth, usually that comes with some form of financing challenges, given your background in physical products, I have to imagine that you're more comfortable with debt financing than the average entrepreneur, because that's usually a part of like the big inventory runs, uh, to some yeah.
Haas: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, we can get into that. So we design the business, uh, a few different ways to help solve for kind of the issue that you're touching on, which is just cashflow and bootstrapping. So, um, one of the things that we've done from the start is. So our model, we only get paid when we, uh, close the projects.
Like you could come hire us. And it's basically risk-free until we deliver a higher, um, and people only pay when they actually hire someone from us so easier to sell, you know, a lot, uh, less upfront. However, the one thing we asked for is, is a deposit of $500 of your clients, which basically just shows us they're serious and not just like tire pickers. Right.
So that helps with work in capital. Uh, for the business that's been going really good. And then it's been good. It's just not like, you know, that client serious. Uh, the other thing was making it a headhunter model where the relationship, once we find someone. Um, the client likes, we hand them over and the relationship is now between, uh, that higher and our client.
And, you know, we get paid and we move on to the next client. Uh, that gives us more cashflow. We're probably leaving money on the table. Long-term, uh, doing some sort of subscription model, you know, marketing up someone's hours. There's there's other companies that do that. Um, but we did this way, so we could bootstrap, uh, get paid, you know, basically percentage of that presumed salary.
Uh, upfront once we hire for someone, instead of getting a much smaller amount monthly, but you know, recurring indefinitely. Um, so yeah, those two were definitely by design because I wanted a bootstrap this thing so we haven't needed to, uh, take any loans or anything like that. Or even put funds on a credit card for this one.
It's. Uh, totally bootstrap, positive cashflow, you know, all that from, from day one.
Watson: So it sounds super optimistic, but you, you were talking about like the culture and team building challenges of just something with so many team members, like where do you fall? Cause cause you have real estate holdings.
You've had all these product companies, you have background in software. This is, this is classic client services. So that also right. It comes with headaches. How do you, how do you just in terms of, you know, feeling like, like, like what, what draws your energy versus what's sucking your energy in the context of those four different business types?
Haas: Yeah. So very recently I've been able to start putting general managers in place. This company is, whereas the model before, I mean, need, want, when we were doing only e-commerce at one time we had. I think for e-commerce businesses active and like, it was the same core team, you know, running at them all.
And we like do a sprint on this one and then, you know, do a sprint on another one. And then this one's been neglected, you know, for six months when you get back to it, you know, or worse. Whereas now, you know, some of these have grown enough where there's enough cash flow and profits to actually motivate someone as a general manager.
Um, where, you know, day to day, you know, the buck stops with them and it's on them to, uh, to run, run the day to day with shepherd. You know, it's just, it's uncharted territory for me. Right? Like previously the biggest we ever were appealed was, was 10. So it's, it's new problems, you know, we have to navigate, whereas, you know, we are doing another e-commerce business.
I know what to expect at different stages and cashflow issues and all that. So it's been fun, you know, it's like, it's a new challenge. It's like, I worked with Joe Mer, like I said, he's GM. So day-to-day is on things, but we of course are talking a few times a week, you know, about, should we hire more staff?
You know, what are the levers that you used to, uh, to look at, to hire more people. But, you know, it's just like at that level, you want to keep your employees happy. You want to make sure. Yeah, we're being efficient. We're not getting slower, uh, with delivering our services as we grow, like, how do you do that?
You know, do we break out smaller teams? Like all of these questions that we're having navigate. And then yeah, just culture, like, you know, team retreats and having a fun thing for everyone to do on Fridays. Like that kind of stuff, um, with the smaller team just happened organically. Like, Hey, you guys want to go out for drinks, you know, kind of thing where, when it's that size, like you can't leave it up to that or something's going to get locked out.
You know what I mean? So, yeah. Like I said, it's just uncharted territory. It's all new to me. And it's, uh, it's, it makes it fun and interesting. Okay.
Watson: Last question on that front, just in terms of advice for someone that might be considering this, are there specific roles where you think it makes more sense to do this type of international hiring places where you see people consistently trip up, you know, developers, designers, editors, writers, like what? What's fair gain?
Haas: Yeah, to be fair. A lot of these hires are, you know, what I think in the US we'd call a junior or, or, you know, kind of mid-level, they're not senior. Developers senior, you know, of any role. So I wouldn't recommend people go out and try to hire, you know, a COO or a VP of finance, the US, you know, build out a booking team, not a, you know, VP of financers or, uh, you know, your CFO or anything from us, uh, roles where it works really well.
Um, I mean the, uh, anything customer support is awesome. Uh, can get just amazing staff. Really well-spoken English, well-written English, um, creative on the kind of graphic and video podcast side of things. There's a lot of really great people, um, that were able to source for our clients development design, like specifically, you know, app design, UI, UX, that kind of stuff.
That's hard to source anywhere in the world right now, you know? So like it's hard for us as well. Um, we definitely do it, but it's. A harder project for us, same with development possible, but, but definitely harder. So operations supports creative with the asterix specifically like graphic in video and an audio creative, uh, and then just like general operations, you know, like that was kind of our first hire or there was just helping move and coordinate shipments and inventory and keeping an eye on.
Make sure. Or some fall through the cracks. Um, those kinds of roles are really well suited for us.
Watson: Gotcha. So that kind of leads me to a larger conversation that, you know, as I'm going through this, I'm just thinking about different types of labor competing in different markets. So let's talk about some of the ones you referenced, customer service ops, these creative roles.
I think about, you know, whether it's a younger version of myself coming out of school or just all, all the young people, regardless of their education, trying to break in, usually at an entry level role, which is something similar to these junior roles that you're talking about and finding themselves not only competing in their local geography with other folks with similar educational backgrounds, but also now.
An easier than ever experience at competing at a global level. So that's kind of very, that's a very broad kind of prompt to bat across the net to you, but, you know, w-what, what are your thoughts generally about, you know, young people that may be just, just from, uh, from the geography that they happen to be living.
Have economic realities where they cannot compete with talent, that's in a, in a completely different economy and geographic region.
Haas: Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, right, obviously right off the bat, like let's not sugar coat it, you are competing now with, uh, someone who's willing and hungry to work, you know, what would be 40 to $60,000?
Position the US for for much less like 70 or 80% less. But the flip side of that is because we're in this global economy. Now you're open for yourself, opportunities around the world. It's not just your backyard and your local city, uh, companies that are willing to hire you. So I think that's, let's not focus on just the negative with it, but it also positive of like you admire that company that is in San Francisco and you live in Boise, Idaho.
You don't necessarily have to, to move out, you know, in San Francisco or to, to potentially get a role in that company. And I think that's really awesome. Like super powerful. That's the most exciting thing about solo remote work thing is just like the world is open to everyone and it kind of flattens everything there.
So, yeah, I mean, I don't want, I don't think people should be discouraged by the existence. Um, you know, if you're a recent college grad or something, uh, by, by what we're doing, um, I would look at it as, Hey, like I could, there's a lot of opportunity out there for me. Um, what I would recommend, like, uh, you know, college grad in the US or whatever that is case against, you know, talented, hungry, uh, smart people overseas is, um, go shadow, uh, you know, a lot of different companies that, that you admire.
Like, I there's ways I, you know, don't want everyone to have to work a free intern. But just like volunteer a little bit outside of your day job somewhere. I think being a generalist today is, is really, really powerful. You know, so many people go through college or whatever and are trained for one thing and that's, there's nothing wrong with that, but, um, you're, uh, much more, I think, let me back up.
I think the, uh, What is needed is someone who understands a little bit about a lot of different stuff. And a lot of companies, you know, if you're in project management, you need to know a little bit about development, a little bit about your excellent, about design, a little bit about, um, you know, just psychology people.
And so the more you can expose yourself to a lot of stuff like that. I think in 2021, like it's better to be a generalist and a specialist that goes super deep. Um, in one thing, at least that's my opinion. And that's what that's, what's worked for me. Right? Like I'm not a designer, I'm not a programmer. Um, not like a hardcore sales guy, I just know a little bit and enough about each of those, you know, kind of got to that like 80% with, uh, with a few of them.
I think that's what makes you dangerous. Um, and, and really, uh, valuable to another company. Yeah. That's uh, yeah that’s us.
Watson: I think the, the specialty skill set, if it's not really deep, is it huge risk because it's a commodity and someone's going to go find a cheaper market place to go buy it. So I agree with either the well-rounded little bit of everything model, or like go be the fricking best and like just.
Haas: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, for sure.
Watson: And in any form, anything we're talking about here involves some form of free work, because if you're going to go be the absolute best at it, you're spending your off hours developing the skills and the trades and deepening that expertise you referenced, you know, internships or working for free for someone.
The other form of that is making yourself really legible to. Those those markets outside of your close proximity. So from my perspective, you've done that very much with writing and putting your thoughts out on the internet in a, in an itemized, you know, uh, easily digestible way that says, okay, if I needed to.
You know, hire a consultant to help launch my e-com brand. Not that you're necessarily offering that explicitly, but like I would at least kick the tires on having a conversation with you or, you know, ask you to point me in the right direction, because it's very clear that you've, you've documented the successes that you had.
You've outlined your perspective on how to go do that thing. And it makes you really legible to someone who's never met you before. Hence, my ability to kind of do my research before an interview like this, that's the other part where that that could be free work. But it's building your brand and your reputation and making yourself legible.
Haas: Yeah, no, totally. I agree. I think, uh, you know, media is. Super powerful, whether it's starting podcasts, uh, you know, blogging. I mean, today, I think I've seen so many people blow up last year, just on Twitter, you know, in like business circles. Um, I think the way you found us, like, uh, NICU over he's a self-storage, uh, uh, acquire is a real estate guy.
And blew up with a hundred thousand Twitter followers over like one to two years on Twitter, by just sharing and documenting his thought process around deals and all that. And so, you know, if you're just getting started, okay, I'm not a investor or whatever, but like you have opinions and thoughts on how you approach different things.
I think being transparent with that, whether Twitter or what or pot, whether a podcasts, whether it's YouTube, um, It is. Yeah, super powerful, really interesting things happen when you share your work with the world. Like I met so many cool people, uh, doing that, you know, just kind of documenting, being transparent, putting little projects on the internet and you, uh, you meet some really cool people that way.
Watson: Last question, then we'll kind of aim towards wrapping up Stan, uh, asking the kind of standard stuff. So by most conventional measures, you've had a ton of professional success. And if you're going to live, you know, uh, a long life, it's relatively early in the kind of professional career trajectory, I know that you spent some time at MetaLab.
Um, so Andrew Wilkinson has also kind of done this collection of companies model, put GMs in place and figure out ways to scale that way. Who else are you? Uh, I always think about it as comparing yourself to, because I'm a big believer in like the medic theory, Rene, Girard, all that kind of, um, thinking on this stuff, but, but who are you modeling as you build out this portfolio of multiple companies with need one?
Haas: Yeah. Yeah. I honestly, I don't have another, uh, person as an example outside of, of Andrew that, uh, you know, he's different mine. Uh, I worked under him. He's been an investor in some of our stuff. And really, you know, I've seen close up like, you know, his life and lifestyle matches what he puts out there.
Like it's, it, it lines up. He has a pretty well-balanced life as a good dad. Like that's, uh, that's kind of the model of the closest that I near us off of and, you know, props to him for, uh, pioneering that, I mean, I think he's heavily inspired by Warren buffet and. Um, and we're doing that at tiny, tiny scale compared to, to what they are.
I mean, they're like a billion-dollar organization, I think, at this point. Um, and so it looks a bit different in our scale and, um, I've kind of had to navigate that, but yeah, I mean, for those that don't know, we're talking about, um, Skylar runs a holding company called tiny, tinycapital.com Andrew and his partner, Chris Barling, uh, they're like a Charlie Munger and, uh, and Warren buffet, little deal of the internet and they buy companies and, uh, have this small office and a few people.
And the rest is already separate entities run by a CEO. And they're totally separate. There is no. Uh, synergies, you know, it's not like this massive company with a courtine. Uh, really, really inspiring. And so his time is, is, uh, pretty freed up to, you know, what's, what's the next thing. He's not operating those businesses.
And so that's, that's kind of the dream is to plug people in, uh, once, uh, these companies get to good scale, um, and have them run by smart people and can motivate them. You know, salary, uh, sharp profits, equity, you know, whatever is important to them and, uh, and be free to start the next thing or, or invest in the next thing or by the next day.
So that's, yeah, that's kind of the model that I, uh, aspire to follow.
Watson: Gotcha. So, yeah, I don't see many folks. I mean, that's why after having such a great experience with a shepherd digging a little bit deeper, um, that's why I wanted to reach out to you because it is. Uh, even further behind you in terms of kind of aspiring in that direction, but the concept of finding competent people, putting your trust in them, creating great economic outcomes for them in addition to yourself, um, and, and kind of living in Perpetual. I see it as a state of perpetual creativity, because your ability to think up the next idea, go execute on it. That the freedom to, to have that creativity in this form of business building, um, is one that I just have a huge appetite for. So it's cool to find, um, other like-minded folks.
Haas: Awesome. Yeah For sure. And good dads. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's to me, it's uh, you know, you see. Early on. I looked up to guys like Steve jobs and Zuckerberg and everything. And then you read Steve jobs biography, and you realize like, man, this guy did a lot of really cool stuff and built some amazing products and of course, amazing business, but like his personal life, you know, he was not great.
Like, and same with, uh, Elon Musk. Like the dude, the workaholic, uh, has been through a ton of divorces, you know, Uh, I mean, I don't know, you know, I'm not friends with any of those guys, but like outside looking in, it looks like they're kinda miserable. I mean, if you asked me, there's not a lot of time for anything, but this like core mission and you know, if that's what I feel like is their calling.
That's great. I'm not here to say that's a bad thing, but it's not for me. And I want to be able to be a well-rounded person and not be all consuming. You know, running my business. You want to have a life outside of that, whether it's family hobbies, you know, I'll be above
Watson: Amen to that. What a beautiful note to wrap up on.
If you want to add another person to that list, if you ever do in that ranting. Jack Welch from GE same thing. Number of divorces and his calling card was that he has literally fired like tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people like put them out of work. So that's, you know, not necessarily, um, the aspiration despite that kind of deity status in the business world.
But, uh, that's a, that's a, maybe that's just a rant for another day. Um, Marshall has been fantastic. Where can we send people if they want to learn more about you need one, all the stuff you’re up to.
Haas: Yeah, a need. One is just needwant.com to spell like need and want a I'm probably hanging out in Twitter the most. Um, so I'm just, uh, at Marshall with one L on Twitter.
My real name is spelled a two, but Hey, I can get that one. So I went with one “L”, uh, and then my personal website, you know, that's where I put, uh, any articles I write, uh, just my full name. Marshall Haas.com.
Watson: Beautiful. We're going to link that in the show notes, going deeper there and.com/podcast for every episode or in the app.
We're probably listening to this right now, but Marshall, before I let you go, I'd like to give you the mic one final time to issue an actionable personal challenge to the audience.
Haas: Yeah. Yeah. You know, thinking about the shepherd side of things, um, One thing that kind of led me there is, is to always thinking about, you know, what can either be eliminated from my business or my life or delegated.
Um, I think, you know, everyone, myself included does a ton of stuff that just doesn't matter, you know, in like delivering whatever you're trying to do. Um, a lot of, a lot of what businesses do, like just. Isn’t useful and can be just, you can literally stop doing a lot of them things and the stuff that's left. Um, at least, you know, people trying to scale up, uh, we'll look at, you know, in small ways, um, what you, you could delegate.
I think that's kind of the, literally the only path to, to scaling up, uh, anything is automating or delegating or eliminating things. So, um, kind of always having that lens as you operate in your career in business, I think is helpful to it's like a muscle, right? Uh, to, to kind of flex that and always be looking at that in what you're doing.
Watson: And I think that that's, you know, it does require kind of sharp sharpening the mind that way, because otherwise you can get just kind of transfixed on this part of my day socks or this thing sucks and it kind of permeates other elements of it. But, you know, if you, you can find the ways to. Actually cut it out.
And once you get a couple of times like, oh snap, I I'm going to do this all sorts of stuff.
Haas: Exactly. Yeah, no. Well said
Watson: right on, uh, well we just went deep with Marshall Hoss. Who've been out there has a fantastic.
Haas: Awesome. Thanks man.
Watson: Hey, thank you so much for listening to the end of my interview with Marshall. If you enjoyed this, I think you'll also like my interview with Andrew Andrew has built a platform that is. Gangbusters where people can buy small businesses, small online businesses. And it is perfect. If you were thinking of acquiring your own portfolio of companies like Marshall, his platform is a fantastic place to start, or at least get smarter.
I'm going to link that in the show notes to this episode and encourage you to hit subscribe if you've not already done. So because we have some great interviews coming down the pipe, including with a cat company. Stay tuned.
Thanks for listening connect with Aaron on Twitter and Instagram at Aaron Watson, 59.