The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

4. Overcoming Rough Start Leads to Successful Sales w/ Pete Machelek

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What do you do when everyone says no to your can’t-miss idea?

You change your clothes, have a drink, and quickly reposition.

Peter Machalek, currently the COO at TREC Brands, shared the mogul-filled story of how he started Adbloc Media right out of college.

He couldn’t wait to share his idea for advertising on ski chairlifts at a trade show. He entered in his suit. The attendees were in ripped tee shirts and sandals.

Fortunately, he’d brought some casual clothes.

His pitch was a sure thing. Would you like to make hundreds of thousands of dollars without lifting a finger or spending a dime?

Everyone said no.

Machalek was dumbfounded, perplexed. Who turns down free money?

You're listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast from the Pierre L Morrisset Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivy Business School. In this series, Ivy Entrepreneur and Ivy Faculty member Eric Jansson will anchor the session. Imagine this. You graduate from Business School essentially broke. Sound familiar. All your friends have their perfect jobs lined up right of the school and instead you chose to leverage the last of your student line of Credit and borrow money from your parents to start a new thing, because why not? You fake it till you make it and successfully negotiate a licensing deal against all odds, beating out a much more established competitor. You then invest the last of your savings to attend the industry conference where you plan to release your big idea to the world. And guess what? While you're there, you find out that the idea you thought was so exciting and new has already been done years earlier and failed miserably. This is Peter Mahollock's founding story of Ad Block media, today's leading chairlift advertising solution. Peter successfully translated his passion for snowboarding into a successful business and in this episode we talk about how to get useful feedback and tweak your losing idea into a winning one, which, by the way, he started doing at that exact same conference that he failed at, how to write a business plan that you'll actually use and do it in a single day, how to negotiate as the underdog and get your very first sale. This episode is a master class for first time entrepreneurs. Get Your Notebook, get your pain you don't want to miss a minute of this episode. All Right, today I'm here with Pete Mahalak, previously from Ad Block, was going to tell us the story of getting his first company started and through to acquisition. Excited to have you here. Thanks. Excited to be here. I want to hear a little bit about how and where you grew up and trying to dig a little bit just to see where the entrepreneurial inklings may have started. So where did you grow up? Yeah, yeah, it's a great, I guess, question. Starting point. So I was actually born in Poland. So I grew up for about six years in Europe and immigrated here with my family when I was six and I moved around a lot. I initially grew up in North York and then grew up in Richmond Hill or my family, you know, did the Canadian American dream and bought a house and you know, from there went to School University of Western Ontario, and yeah, that was STU. was kind of the path that I was on. But to dive deeper into the question you just posed, you know, it's interesting because I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. So growing up I always thought that I would become an engineer. I was very creative and I love to build things and I thought that I would follow in the footsteps of my father, who was actually a mechanical engineer. Failing that, it would probably be me going into finance, if it was something business related. I was great with numbers, very gifted in mathematics and financial alysis. Just thought that was my calling, that was my path, and I think over the course of my educational career what I really realized is that I'm a very personal and social guy and I thrive on other people's energies and I love to bring people together, and I think that's when I got the inkling and the thought that perhaps finance and engineering and everything that I thought I was going towards wasn't really meant for me and I was meant to bring people together and bring ideas together and get them to the next stage, the next level. So your dad was an engineer. Was He trained in was he treating Poland to correct? Yep, he was educated in Poland, got it and then what caused them to come here? He knows, the classic pursuit of the American Canadian dream. You know, at the time this was Poland was just getting out of that Soviet era, out of communism. I think unemployment rates were still very, very high. It was a hard it was very difficult for a train engineer to apply his education and kickstart his career and what he studied. My Dad was working like two to three jobs same time. Yeah, it was a tough time. So a bunch of his friends actually did the same thing and they they flew out the king to Canada. They came to Toronto and send back these ideas and notices of hey, it's better here. You know, the the work and employment opportunities a lot better here. So he took a huge risk and packed up and came out and spent a year away from my mother and and the family and shortly after you know, we followed him and we came over and set up our new life. Interesting. It's like, I wouldn't think of my family as entrepreneurial, but when you look back to people who have immigrated, who leave a country that they're comfortable in, who leave their network of people, come over boat, playing whatever and start fresh, that's pretty entrepreneurial. Definitely. And now thinking back to those moments, taking that risk for my father was massive, but leaps a faith. Yeah, absolutely, you know. And and he he didn't know the language. You know, he was coming...

...here with one suitcase which is actually entirely filled with booze for his buddies as a present. But he made a work, he made it work and within a year, you know, we we came and fall too. Cool. Cool, so it was. You went to Western thought you might do the engineering thing, following your dad's footsteps. When did you first realize that there might be entrepreneurial inklings? WAS IT AT IVY? Was it before ivy? It was definitely before Ivy, because all throughout my high school career I would play around a little in these various different businesses. I had like a lawnmowing business, I had a detailing business, you know, these classic things that kids try and experiment with, get their first foot through that entrepreneurial experience. So that was fun. I learned a lot through that. But really, coming into Ivy, I had a big wake up call. I'm still thinking at this point that yeah, I'm going to be a banker, you know, or something to do in finance, and I realized how different I was now, different my personality was and I didn't fit into that specific mold becoming a bank or consultant. And truthfully, I was lost. My colleagues were getting internships with big consulting firms, with big banking firms, and I was like, I don't really want to do that, that's not me. And things really started looking up for me when I partnered up with an entrepreneur that specialize in the real estate sector. In a summer, and this is very late, you know, internships were committed to and I got my job and I got employments probably in July, June, July, so as you're into you're well into summer or well into summer, still haven't figured any out, getting a little nervous. And Yeah, I committed to do an internship with with Peter Kobayashi. It's a great mentor of mine who is actually a partner of mine and a block. Will Get to that story shortly, but he really opened up my eyes into what could be done, I mean on the entrepreneurial scale. How do you find him? Great questions. So through the IVY network. Yeah, he actually recruited from within. He was an MBA Grad. He loved to recruit at Ivy and saw posting and he needed a specific project to be executed and filled. So we connected. So he posted it on his own company website or through? No, through ivy? Yeah, through the Ivy Posting job, job board, Ivy Alumni being loyal to the IVY network. Exactly. Nice. Nice. So he gave you a shot. How is that summer experience? Awesome, you know, he was a one man shot up. You know, it was interesting to see that because up until that point I was really thinking, man, you got to join this big company and learn from all these different people, and yet here was an awesome opportunity to be one on one with somebody, a very brilliant man, and get into his mind and truly, you know, understand the way of business works, business ticks. So I saw this is a great learning experience and good opportunity. Cool. So he gave you your first shot, got a bunch of stuff in your tool get you you go back to do fourth year. Correct. Where the heck did the idea for ad block come from? Because, if I not, you did it right after graduation, right. Correct. Yeah, so interesting that you say that because all throughout, as I said, throughout high school, I kind of had a little bit of that entrepreneurial spirit in me and at this point I wasn't yet committed into starting this business. I was playing around with a number of different courses. Most of the courses in Hba to that I took were marketing, entrepreneurial focused things that I was passionate and interested in. So again, I deviated heavily away from that finance, the typical mathematics, finance accounting direction that I thought I was going ahead and the tanswer your question, the idea for ad block itself, that actually emerged well before, when I was in high school and I was snowboarding in Ontario and it was negative twenty degrees at mount seeing Louis Moonstone and I was sitting there on a chair lit by myself, looking dead straight at what was in front of me, which is a safety bar, spending about mount seeing the way it's a short lift, but spending about four minutes on the chairlift, thinking to myself, wirn they advertising to me right now? Why isn't there an advertising message here? I mean this is the perfect audience to try and capture and you locked in. I'm locked in. There's no off button, I can jump from the lift. I'm inches away from potentially this, this medium that could promote something. To me, here's a missed opportunity that somebody should jump on. This is also two thousand and six. Yes, this is probably two thousand and six, two thousand and seven, somewhere around that time frame. But for people in despite the fact that it's twenty below or going to whip off their gloves and dig through their jacket to find their cell phones. Correct, so long before the you know, social media aspect, Internet of things, you know, this is this is old school, literally nothing to do but stay're cool. So that this you had this idea. Why didn't be sat on it for years? So why didn't you do anything about it back then? Well, sorry, no, this is I got a thing back now I know this is well before because high school was two thousand and three, thousand two, two thousand and three. So that's my mistake. We graduated university in two thousand...

...and eight. I didn't jump on that at the time, truthfully, because I don't think that was my path. I knew that there was an opportunity, I didn't have the confidence to pursue this yet. I think, to your point, I needed a little more experience, little more knowledge, a little more skill set in my tool kit. But then when I was in university, when I graduate sated, Mr Kobayashi called me up and he's like, what are you doing for full time employment? I really enjoyed working with you and Ad Block was obviously at the back of my mind. I was thinking I'd really like to start this business, but financing is going to be tough. I got a lot of bills to pay. I just got out of school, you know. I'm how am I going to cover those the tuition debt and the conversation when something like this, why don't you come work for me in real estate and I'll teach you the trade? But I know you're very entrepreneurial because we've spoken about this at length over many, many beers last summer. If you come up with any ideas, pitch him to me. Perhaps we could start a business together on the side. Now I'm thinking, wait a second, is a nice, gray haired, wise guy that potentially just wrote my check, you know, to do something with him. I got pretty excited. Great an industry that I'm not really particularly interested in, but again, I can learn a thing or two in real estate. And number two, I got this mentor that's potentially want a partner with me on something. So I sign on board, started working with him and within the first two to three weeks of us working together, I told him about a block and he kind of looked at me so, Huh, interesting, and you went back and probably did his soul searching. And then, I think this was on a Friday, and then on the Monday or Tuesday when he walked into the office, he pulled me aside and goes, have you actually map this out, like, do you know what the opportunity looks like? Yeah, a little bit, but not so much. And we sat there at the boardroom table for about six hours and we did what we call the back of the Napkin analysis, and it's brilliant because we did it on on two sheets of white paper. Him and I do in our own analysis back and forth, just identifying, you know, poking hole, seeing what the markets like, seeing whether this is a real opportunity that we can generate some some money from. And after the six hours we looked at each other, I'm like, Yep, this is something that can make us some cash. So this was what was it exactly? Was it like a combination of, you know, who's the customer? What's the pain? What's the problem? Was it? You know, how big the market? Was it? What did you guys talk about for those few hours? Yeah, it's a great question. So we definitely identify that there's a missed opportunity here, for the same reasons that I identify when I was on that chairlift. I mean there's this ability to throw an add here and nobody's doing it. So our assumption as well, let's take advantage of that, and people are selling advertising everywhere. Why can't we do this? The analysis was really centered around what is how big is the market and what would we need to capture in order to make this a viable business, order to generate x amount of millions? And we did it on a very simple basis. And funny thing is I actually did a little bit of research on this very early on that I shared with him. So I had all the stats applicable to the local Skiri I, which is Blue Mountain, and I understood exactly how many carriers they had. I I understood how many units would need to out be outfitted on a chairlift. I also had preliminary conversations with product that I already identify, which was ad block. So identified this to be a good product. Instead of reinventing the wheel making our own, we could license this product from this guy that designed it and owned it out in New Zealand. And, you know, we're trying to come up with what will it cost us to outfit a chairlift and how much revenue can we generate? So we did some quick research online to see, you know, what an average poster board is sold, you know, in a washroom, and we compared the audience and the environment of a washroom to our audience in our environment, thinking that, you know, we could probably sell it for a premium, given that skiers or a lot wealthier. They're much more premium audience than the traditional, you know, bar restaurant washroom patron. Plus you're in a spectacular environment doing something you love. You're not going to the WASHROOM, you know, and doing your business right. So there's that aspect as well. So six hours, I mean that's it's interesting because I feel that sometimes people can get caught up in overdoing it right, like you didn't. It sounds like you had done some homework before. So that's six hours. was in the first time that you sat down the thing through. How big the market was. You done some homework correct at the same time, use didn't let it. You didn't let yourself get buried in like buckets of market research and I need to do more homework and more homework and more homework. It sounds like you guys sat in the room and decided after six hours, like there's something here. Yeah, and and truly the that point, that pivotl point, was when we determined what...

...our net revenue would be on a per chairlift basis, and based on the numbers that I've collected from the Blue Mountain example, it was sixty grand. So a year we could generate sixty grand off one chair lift. We were to outfit it with our product, everything paid for. So product covered commissions paid in all sorts of other analysis that we factored into it. Sixty grandnette. And when you extrapolate that, based on some research that we did, across x amount of hundreds of chairlifts just in Canada, you know you had a pretty viable business. So that point we looked at and we said wow, okay, well, there's something definitely here. Yeah, so I think we'll get in this little bit more later. But again, back to effectuation. What you know? Who you are, who you know? HMM, you worked with this guy that you already had a previous relationship with, so he knew that you weren't. You knew that you were somebody who's going to work hard because he worked with them the summer before. So you had somebody willing to help you out fund it actually, if you brought them good enough idea skiing or snowboarding. Did you just randomly decide that you want to do something into it in the industry? Yeah, now, and it's a very good point. A skiing and snowbaring has always been a huge passion of mine. I mean it's the reason why I took a serious stab at this opportunity and identified it in the first place. I mean I was sitting on a chairlift and I looked around. That made a missed opportunity. I understood that industry well. I understood the market. I've skied and many parts of Canada and the states of the time a little bit in Europe, so I understood the way that scary is operate. Understood the audience extremely well. You were the I was the audience. I knew what made the audience tick, what brands would be attracted to that audience, you know, and it's such a diverse audience set right. I mean you have you could hyper target in so many different segments. Young guys, you know, the the old boomers that are very wealthy and affluent families, mothers with their kids. So you know, is a diverse audience set. But yet, to your point, I had a good understand of the market. I mean it was a passion of mine. I loved it. I wanted to get involved in this business and pursue it because I was so fired up and excited about the market in the industry. Yeah, I don't know if you're public, but I mean checking out your instagram. We've been friends for a while, but we're looking through your instagram. It's like, I don't know, a third of immerse ski picks right, of course, at POW Pete Pound netsaid. You know, that's my alias. That was coined many, many years ago, and my friends are you are POW pete. I try and chase the powder in the big mountains every winter. So surprise, Pete starts a business in the snowboarding skiing space. Okay, cool. So it's and as we talk about founders of companies having called a hypothesis or like a strong opinion about things that they know to be true or things that will be true, was that? was there anything like that for ad block things, where you were like, you know, we know that in the future there's this trend that we just like so strongly believe to be true. was there anything that like had a gut level you just like new? Yeah, so one of the things we felt as if, you know, we had good grounds to believe in this and just to take a step back. The the business model that we were working off of and then we are going to develop was without a chair, left without scary as. There was no business. We had a product that we've identified was potentially a really, really good fit. We didn't have the product yet. There's a whole story around that and securing the distribution rights for for North America for that. But we had an idea of a product that we wanted to bring to market here in Canada and the US and we need it. Scary us. And the business model that we were working off of was that we were going to install the product on safety bars for free. We were going to cover the full cap x, the the installation, the investment. That will be entirely on us, but as a result, we'll be able to sell advertising space and essentially license the safety bars from the SCARIA, sell the ad space and give a small kick back back to the SCARRIA. So our whole business model was based on the notion that I'm going to use your safety bars, J nerate revenue and give you a rep share, give you a kickback. Now, in our eyes and in our opinion and that moment, who the hell wouldn't go for that? No brainer, no brainer. That was, as we say, that was plan a. That was planet no brainer. It's sitting there. I'd all right, now, you're making no money from it. Why not? Exactly? Why not monetize that asset? We have a fantastic product, we're going to get it installed, we're going to go sell a ton of advertising, we're going to give you a kick back. Makes Sense. So our initial pitch, in our initial approach, you know what we actually coin? This was make hundreds of thousands of dollars without lifting a finger or spending a dime. And think about that. That would resonate with anyone. Yeah, reminds me of the new couple of buddies who are in sales at these new restaurant delivery companies. Like I think about in decent Toronto there's there's a bunch of them now huber eats, but ritual as one. That's really growing quickly and God to be a salesperson...

...for some of those early days. Like literally, you do nothing. We have this network, we're going to get people to order, they just pick it up. You literally set up a shelf and do nothing. To be fair, there's probably a lot more to it than that, but yes, sounds beautiful. Sounds easy. Yeah, sounds easy, sounds like a great pitch. Sounds like a great pitch. I'm in. So talk about, to use our terms, analogs and antilogs. So analogs, things that so you've got this couple pieces of paper business plan, you've done your homework, you know the market, you've got a guy willing to support you, you've actually had preliminary conversations, you've got your pitch nailed down. was there anything out there that you saw that you liked that you wanted to sort of mirror some of it after and it could be an adjacent totally different industries you had already mentioned, like bathroom advertisements and inversely, or the other hand, is there anything that you saw that you didn't like? You know, other again, could be similar businesses in that industry, someone that had done in a different place that really screwed it up, or other things that you picked up in the advertising world that you were like never going to do that. So good things you wanted to copy, bad things you want to stay away from. Yeah, yeah, great questions. So the bad things that we want to stay away from? I mean a big part of it really rested on the product. The product was everything to us, and you got to remember that. Me Walking into this idea, I'm like going to design my own dad's an engineer. Let's put together this product building have scratch, build it from scratch. Now the reality was, you know, you go and consult your good old uncle Google and Google spits out some good feedback, and some of the feedback I got was wow, there's some products out there that already exist. The really two products that I found during my research. One of them was a company called ski lift media that was based out of bamp in Canada, and they had a very rudimentary tube like structure that they were wrap around the safety bar. I don't know how I got my hands on one, but I convinced the guy to send me a sample and he did, and when I saw this thing, I was not impressed. Pause for second because typically I was a student entrepreneur to and that first time. Then when you Google something and you find the thing, often people are like, that's it, that's it, someone's already done it. It's a Canadian company WHO's literally doing the thing that you wanted to map out. You didn't drop it there. Yeah, great question now and at the time and again, we'll get to this later, but at the time my focus, and this is a narrow focus and narrow way of thinking through this business, but I believe that I wanted to be the guy for Ontario. I only cared about if you skiers in Ontario. I thought mine, Howes, would be like yeah, I could probably make you half a million dollars off this business just in Ontario. It's a good little business, got it. So these you weren't deterred because no one was doing in Ontario. Correct the fact that someone was doing it seemingly okay, with a bad product out west, than that was an opportunity actually. Yeah, and truthfully, at the time I was like, well, let me take a look at this product because if it's good and perhaps I could just use an Ontario and this could be something that I could replicate in this market and away we go. All right, I got a business. Cool. So You keep going. You saw there was a little the one product that. Yeah, so the one product that was sent over to me as a sample horrible, really very bad. I mean it's I was not impressed at all. But you know, continue doing the research and there was a product that seemed really really sharp. It was it was very sexy, seemed like it had a sleek design, you know, website, collateral, anything that it could find on it seemed really, really good. It was product out in New Zealand other side of the world, you know, called Ad Block, horrible name, but regardless it was called a block and I reached out to the owner and at the time, the the company that essentially owned the license or owned the distributorship for the product. It's called Alpine Media Limited. Good old grant medicine, we still call them to this day. That mad scientists who came up with the product and with the design, and we had a number of discussions back and forth. So you're calling New Zealand at this point. Correct that I mean first emailing, you know. So this is my first you know, take and I'm still in school and I'm gathering some research, trying to see whether this is viable and say, yeah, I'm punching out emails, I'm trying to work with us, you know, much older, much more experienced gentleman on the other side of the world and trying to see, you know, whether he'll sell me his product. So it was an interesting learning experience and exercise. Funny enough, at the time there's actually another Canadian company based out of Toronto that was already chatting with him. Yeah, it's a media company that was trying to do the exact same thing as him. And all this happened within six days. Me Finding out that use happened within six days of US meet Peter and I my partner in the business, doing that at back of the Napkin analysis in that board room. So I've said that company in Toronto. Just to clarify, they they were talking to add block to license the tech. They weren't doing it independently. They were like talking to him at the same time.

They were a media company. They're we're doing all sorts of things media related. I've already got all the profit, all the brands. Yeah, yeah, they got they are relationships with brands. They got a lot of things going on. Yeah, so talk, talk about, you know, kicking the plan, but still persevered. I was really, really driven to try and win this guy's trust and try and license this product from him. So I came back into the office with Peter and we sat down. I told him, Pete, we got to jump on this right now. There are other people talking to this guy. This is the product that I want to use here. The reasons. We need to put a plan in front of him, we need to get on the phone, we need to bring him down here, we need to fly down there, whatever it is, but we need to be the guys that do it for Ontario and maybe even Quebec. And that was kind of my position. And obviously we analyze the whole skilliff, media opportunity and we said, well, these guys are doing it in ours. Why don't we stick to the eastern industry or market or ski skiery market? As a side note, skiing in Canada's own only really happens in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, NBC. It's no scars and you're else. So that was our focus, east coast, Ontario and Quebec. Then, sure enough, you know, we act it quickly and we put a plan together and fast forward, you know, several weeks and we want the exclusive distributor short ship rights for all in North America, not only Ontario and Quebec, but all the Canada and all of you us. Some kid still in school. You're you're still in school at the at the time. YEA, no, no, that's when I graduate. You graduate is our graduate. So you it's fresh out of school, three days or three weeks or three months or whatever. How did you do that? Like, how did you? I don't know whether this guy was just using it for leverage and telling you that he had somebody but didn't. But like, how did you and another dude from a real estate company convinced these guys to go with you over the company who already had the brands signed up, presumably? Yeah, so great question, and it wasn't smoking Maris. We actually met with that company and they try and collaborate with us. You met with the Toronto correctly. Yeah, so we actually met with them. We wanted to see whether there was some way of us being able to partner together and do this properly. So we explored all avenues, which is why I was actually dragged on, and we took some time to finalize this deal with grant out in New Zealand. You know, it's a great question. I mean a bit of it is, I mean a big part of it is hustle, but the reality is what really want US grants trust, is the proper plan. And over those next weeks and months we put together what we felt was a stellar plan and to get to that stellar plan we consulted a lot of experts. So we great point. Peter and I had no clue about the media industry. We didn't how to sell advertising. We didn't have experience in that space. You know, he had some good business knowledge based on all the businesses he ran in his real estate business. I was a rush Ivy gry like we're both very well educated. We have a good understanding of business models, but we don't know how to sell advertising. So the very first thing we did, and I this is a key lesson that I will still repeat to this day, you can't do it all on your own. Surround yourself with people I can help take your business further. And one of our very first partners, it's a guy by the name of Steve Pulver, which his claim to fame as he started echo advertising and he was the first boutique creative shop. That one a massive account, which was Budweiser, and and there their entire business at the time. So he was a guy that knew and understood advertising and media, and Peter Actually knew him because they gulfed at the same golf club. So you kind of you know what I think. I know a guy that knows a thing or two about this space. Let me give him a call. gave him a call. We took him out for Beers. At this time we already had a sample in her hands. We gave him the short Spiel, just showed him the product. He wasn't even the skier. We just told them about what it was and some of the features that we felt we should highlight to a media guy that I would be beneficial and that we felt would be able to award US media business. And he just said, and this is amazing, I'll never forget this. He goes, guys, I know exactly what this is. I don't need to hear more, how could I be your partner? We instantly made him a partner. He invested a bit of money with us, so he hit some equity in the business and he was the guy. He was our third pillar that understood the media industry, that would help us open some doors and would essentially be, you know, a de facto mentor, you know, advisor on that side of things. So going back and building our plan, when you look at management team again, this guy fresh out of school, you know, not a lot to say, not a lot to write. I v Grad though, Ivy grab though, very important, but not recognizing New Zealand right. But all of a sudden we're building our executive team, we're building our management team and we got Peter Kobayashi, has ran a few businesses,...

...understand business really well. Steve Pulver, you know, very impressive resume as it relates to the media and advertising industry. It's part of our team. So I think that helped a lot, bringing the right people in, you know, from an advisor partner perspective. We also had another guy that joined that in a similar capacity. and was that part of the pitch that you put in front of Ad Block of the time? Correct, got it. So, so you had you had the media company side covered with this new partner. You got it. Absolutely, we did. Yeah, yeah, did you put in money? Did you personally put them on? Ye, Peter and I both put in a bit of money. When I say I put in money, the Bank of Mom and Dad, yeah, it's I owe a lot of my success to them, a lot of the the proceeds and the dividends that are coming out of the sale of that business since we sold have, of course come back to them. But but yeah, the Bank of Mom and Dad Support and finance that nice of wondering how common that story is because, like you, I paid for my own school and then with my remaining line of credit. Like days before the line of credit was up, I had I don't know, thirty grand in room. Took it all out and use it as a down payment to buy my first rental property and on. It was like, however, you can get it. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Cool. Okay, so you now get the exclusive license to the North American product. You must ad a bunch of help negotiating that deal. That's a pretty big deal. Yeah, so, I mean the heavy lifting was Peter and myself. I mean we both worked on that. The entire relationship, though, was driven by me and the way all communication was done through me. I had the relationship. I mean this is all phone, skype, you know, emails. I establish a warship with this Guy Peter. Let me, you know, really champion it. But really, what's sold grant on us was our big picture approach. So we were fighting for initially Ontario and Quebec. And what we fail to appreciate and understand about the media industry is no big brands are going to come and buy your media if you only have little select peace markets. Nobody really cares about just Toronto. It really cares about just Montreal. If I'm allocating budgets for my media spend as a big advertise. Like if you're rodgers, Coker Pepsi, you want a national program and you want to spend a ton of money and one soup. You don't want to, you know, spend a lot of time buying these little media properties. So again, this is something that we learned from Steve Paulver and doing some research in this space and in the media industry. But, as a result, what we really need to create was a national network of SCIRIOS. No longer was this in Ontario, Quebec Endeavor as is like we need all of Canada in order to attract the big brands. So we went back to grand and we said, look, we're not we're not thinking small scale, we're thinking all of Canada. And then we're going to walk into the US and roll this out across North America, where your North American guys got it, got it. So now you've got you've got a product, you've got maybe not brands signed up, but you've got access to brands. Do you just graduated now? Well, what? Yeah, where do you go from here? Yeah, so, you know, the product piece is most important, because without a product, house the media. Well, shew concept. You can't just put a sticker on safety bars. So it was important to get the right product. You got to get scariest. How are you going to get those chairlifts right? How are you going to be able to license those this chairlift? So we sorry, I'm before we get to the sale part, talk the product for a second. So you remember you talking about there was you might be getting there with your sales. But so, yeah, okay, I'm I'm jumping ahead, because the product is a really important piece. It is, it was, it actually is a big differentiator. But you're to come back to it when you talk about absolutely. Yeah, a Quil, you're on the right train of thought, but I think it's important to tell the story of how we walked in and how we had those meetings and then how we differentiated our positioning. I was jumping ahead. Yeah, I'm embarrassed. No, no, no, it's good because you're thinking on the right path. I love it. So we took those meetings and sorry, and take a step back. We again did some research. Go old uncle Google told us that the best way to talk to as many scary as as possible. facetoface. Let's go to a scary a trade show. Makes Sense, right. I mean they're all all there. Get them all at once, get them all. I once so perfect timing because there was one that was happening at mount snow and Vermont. This is at the times, about January. So we've secured the exclusive distribution rights for a product in Canada and the US. Now, keep in mind this was two thousand and eight and we are now in two thousand and nine and we're just having conversations with scars and their winter season. Okay, so this busy time for them. This is busy time for them. Now we weren't anticipating getting this product on that winner. We're thinking the...

...following winner. So that was built into your plan exactly. Two Thousand and nine, two thousand and ten. This is still preliminary research, getting things off the ground. I mean we knew it was going to take a while, especially due to the seasonality of the nature. So we walk in into that trade show and again, pitch is a no brainer, right. Funny enough, we actually walked in there looking all suited in Buddha and think about, you know, a bank or can salt and ties suits dressed to them just came from IV. You got to look the part exactly right. That's what I figured. Everybody does business that way. Of course you're doing business. You got to look business now side lesson here. Know your audience. So you got to appreciate that the scary industry. They're like Khaki's, ripped t shirts, if that. Some of them were golf shirts, you know, like sandals if it's the summer like it. They're just super casual and it's filled like excus heavily to old white male like five thousand and sixty plus. So just an old boys club. They all know one another. They're all very, very casual, super nice guys, but it's essentially ski bums that started working as lift he's a scary as and then slowly migrate into management positions that are now running the skier is. So that's the story. So new guys roll in, you guys roll in suited and booted. Yeah, I gotta Tell You, I don't think I've ever turned around so quickly from the doors. Thank God I brought in some spare change of clothes, but we shot straight up to our to our hotel rooms, left the blazers behind, you know, put on put on some golf shirts and went back down. You know, we didn't want to look like the silly guys that had no idea about anything of in the industry. So we came back. We're dress a little more appropriately for the audience and we used our pitch. Do you get a booth? There's use. No, no, we were briefcase. That's what they called it. We're just walking around. We didn't get boothspas at this time, again trying to limit our financing or limit our our cash outlays and spending. So we started walking around and you know, one thing that I was good at that point was sales and really reeling people in, full of confidence. Young twenty two year old Ivy Grad right walk up to anybody and start a conversation. It was fantastic and it proved to be a great acid in these scenarios, because we ended up chatting with about fifteen to twenty pretty important senior managers at a variety of scarios all over North America, and we use our pitch. Hey John, let me talk to you about something. You know. How would you like to make hundreds of thousands of dollars without lifting a finger, spending a time it's funny what the right motivation will do to to go talk to strangers. Because I wouldn't say that I some people are totally comfortable doing it, right, being at the conference and just randomly walking up to people. I'm not. If I'm honest, I don't love to do it. But when it's your own business, when like deals are on the line, you got line of credit or parents money or your own money in this, Oh yeah, you better believe you can turn it on for what, however long you need, like you just become a different it's a different gear when it's your bud on the line. Yeah, and and to to add to that, I think there was a great deal of excitement. So you got to appreciate that. We thought were selling the best thing since slice bread. All right, like we're you're going to be so fired up about hearing about this. So our first so again, as I was mentioning our first three conversations, here's the response. Ah, Peter, don't even talk to me. No, no, sorry, I don't have time for this. We were dumbfounded, perplexed. Free Money, what do you mean? Know, what do you mean? Know, what are you talking about? A couple of Nice guys from Canada finally told us, guys, what are you doing walking in the gauntlet like stuff has been done before and has miserably failed. Peter and I both look at each other like yeah, we just we just get this license for Ad Block and now we're screwed. You know, I turn white, like a great end of our business, you know, even the the expense of this trip. What a waste. Okay, tell me more if you don't mind. Good Sir. Wow, there was there's this product in the S and that product in the S, and what's wrong with them? Well, a few things. Number one, they all fell apart. They were shit. They did not work properly. You got appreciate this skier has negative twenty out in the elements, thermo cycling, aspects of the environment. It's raining one second, it's snowing the next. I mean, these things are there to stay right high sun, hi U V exposure. These things need to be designed really, really well to go through all those elements. Number two, you're not the first ski bumps to identify a great opportunity and try and make money out of this. Yeah, Pete, a lot of people stared at that safety bar...

...and thought I can make money off this. Let me do it. Well, guess what? They came to us. They promised US ton of cash and they never delivered. Huh, wonder why that is. It seems like a great idea that advertise would actually buy. Our partner Steve Pulver, who knows advertising and media, claim that this is amazing. There must be something wrong in the model, in the previous model of how they approached this. And number three is we don't want to make this an intrusive media for our audience. They spend a ton of money to come to the spectacular environment and get away from ads. Now we're just we're opposed to advertising and I don't want some local pizza shop of real estate agent to showcase. You know his brand now like we're that's not the nature in the brand of our resort, of our ski area, right. They're thinking like cheesy local one off pizza shop, exactly. Well, that's what they were used to, right, that's what they got from these previous entrepreneurs. Right. So how did you we push a lot, get outside the building and talk to people. You said that you talked to them before at Ski Hills. How did this not come up before? Like was Peter at this point, looking at you like yeah, so, so we talked to a very small market, right, because I don't have the ability to go out and travel, you know, all over different market. So we spoke to local scary as blue mountain and mount seeing, Louis Moonstone, local to Toronto. They've never experienced these sort of products. Nobody's ever targeted them with a sort of opportunity. So they were outliers, I would say. But a lot of businesses in two states. As an American Scari a trait shill. So there was a lot of representation from the states, sum representation from from Canada, but in general, yeah, they they saw a lot more of this down there. Got It. Okay, so ideas dead. Everybody packed up and went home. But yes, spoke to a lot more people just to get their feedback. You know, documented all this. How what did you act like? How do those conversations go? Get into the like, if you can recall, because these my students now are going to have to do but part of the courses to do customer interviews, like do you need to go out and have a conversation with customers? What questions did you ask when someone says, stupid idea. been there, done that, like turning your back and walking away, isn't it's not helpful. So how did you get to something that you could like? Oh, that was the thing that was wrong with it. How do you get there? Dig Deep, you know, ask a lot of why, a lot of how. How was it done? Why was it done that way? What didn't you like about it? What's important to you? It's also interesting to note that the responses that we received varied based on the role and the title of the person we spoke with. So marketing managers, for example, were very aware of messaging and we're very reluctant to showcase cheesy advertising, whereas operations managers didn't really care about the money or the marketing opportunities that were coming. They cared more about the operational integrity of their chair left. If a chairlift shuts down because one of these products falls apart, I mean that that is the livelihood of the skier. So they can't have that. That's way more important to them. Right. Interesting. So how did YOU DUC? Would you put it all notes after speaking every single person, title, name. Yeah, we got business cards, obviously. I mean luck everybody in the ski industry is Super Friendly, right, so they would chat with us. They just didn't want to chat with us about our product. Right. But if you're nice about it and you ask some good questions and if you want some feedback and they recognize that you're an entrepreneur, they were generally pretty good about it and they gave us there, you know, three, four, five minutes. It's also a case from a sales perspective. It is a case of reaching them and speaking to them at the right time. Right. So, obviously, if they're engaged in something else or another conversation, you're not reeling them in and try to have a conversation about a product they don't care about. You know, catch him at lunch, catch when they're getting a coffee. Hey, could I chat with you about something casually? You know, we took a very casual approach to it. After a while, after a few of those negative initial interviews or conversations, regroup. Regroup. What do you think of this product? Here's what we're thinking of doing. We think we could generate a ton of money for you guys. You're not going to have to spend anything. What do you think? Yeah, did you play the young entrepreneur card at all. The as, I find it's a balance right. Some Times people want to send emails like almost like a sympathy email, like I'm a I'm a student entrepreneur, I'm just doing some research, I don't really know if I'm going to start this. We call it the the reluctant hero. Yeah, versus I'm an entrepreneur, you know, this is my this is my venture that I'm working on. It's interesting that you say that because, perhaps to my detriment, I had I never did. I actually took on the approach on the other side of the spectrum, where I try to appear older, more experienced. I carried myself with a lot of confidence and I tried to prove to all my prospects and everybody that I chatter with that I was designed and meant for this, this role on this job and, you know, this idea and that was going to bring them a lot of money, and I was...

...very confident in my ability to do so. So it was never down to Oh, you know, I'm a young entrepreneur, please help me out, that's what you're getting at. Yeah, but it now I was all no, no, no, I'm going fulled your professional you amount professional, not just a student trying to figure this out like this is legitimate. Exactly. Yeah, okay, so you got a bunch of feedback, you recorded it, you've got a little written down. Peter's not going to leave you as a partner. He still invested in this. So we're you got this feedback. World. You go from there. We went back to our hotel room and drank a lot of beer, of course, of course, at the Bar, and we really needed to retool. We needed to figure this out because, to your earlier point, we know that this concept works. It's worked in New Zealand for seven years at all the Scarrias, I mean much smaller market. There's only seven or eight of them, but it's been working for advertising, for scarious there there were Eighteenzero of these units deployed in Japan. Chili bought product, you know, like this product was working. For is a way, there is a way, is a way, there is a way. We just needed to figure out how to position this properly and sell it well to the Scarrius. That's where really that's what it really came down to. So did we give up? Hell, no, you know, I'm not giving up on this is my passion, you know. I got to keep going. I want to be that ski bum that makes money off selling a space on chairliffe safety bars. So somebody borrows money from his parents, gets on his first flight, goes to his first conference. Where's this new polyester suit? Yeah, looks the part, gets rejected a hundred times and decides no, Classic Tale of an entrepreneur. I like it. Yeah, like it. Yeah, so you got to have thick skin, you gotta have the Grit. But we we came back to Toronto and we hit that same board room. We said, what do we really have here? And, based on all those interviews and all those conversations we had, what is the most important thing to all these different decisionmakers that would make the call in something like this? So we looked at what we had. We have an incredible product that is extremely well designed, like extremely Sixteenzero of these have been deployed since two thousand and one without ever coming off with near zero failure rate. Best product in the market, best product in the Mare, exclusive access to it North America. Exactly right. Start with what you have. This is what we have. This is what we have. So then we started looking at why did other entrepreneurs fail because the products there, the Anti Lug, if you will. Why did they? Why didn't? What do they do? That didn't work out exactly. So one of the biggest issues that we face, which actually spoke to a few of the pain points, are the concerns that these decision makers had. One of them was it was Joe Schmo, local ski bum at in Bamp that would drive around BAMF and try and sign up the three ski areas that were in the vicinity and sell his rudimentary product to them. that a the design was shit and was going to fall apart. But be more importantly, he didn't have national scale. So my previous point, and what we learned from the media advertising world is if you don't have that national scale in the national network to offer Rogers Coke and Pepsi and Budweiser, they're not going to care, they're going to take you seriously. It's got to be the the brands that look better on a chairlift versus Joe's pizza. But that's that's a totally separate piece. Yes, you're absolutely right. What I'm talking about right now is it's the money aspect. I got it so Joe Schmo's pizza. It's not going to spend. They got three grant to spend a season on on their total advertising budget. Right, Rogers at mill millions and millions of dollars to for Media Biz, and I could probably dedicate to ourn a grand to an at block program whereas local real estate engine not so much. The other aspect, well, you just touched on and you absolutely nailed it from a creative perspective. Owners and marketing managers, they don't want Josh most pizza on there. They don't want the local real estate agent average. This isn't this is why, as a tangent, as a Sidebar, this is why I truly believe that shelter advertising, but shelter advertising and bus benches never took off because from an early start they cater to those real estate agents. That's really all that they could attract. Nobody really thought that that was a great media for national, you know, brands. All right, so I didn't think of this. We didn't get to it earlier, but you really you're building a market place here right like you needed. You needed the ski areas to sign up to give you the inventory. You also needed the advertisers to agree to have their ads on the inventory. So why did you start with ski areas versus advertisers? Great question, and you're right. There are two sets of customers in this business. Without a network, you got nothing. And the overwhelming response and advice that we received from Steve Boulver and all the other advisors that we've spoken...

...to that we've accumulated over this process in the media industry have told us if you walk into any major meeting with any major brand and say yeah, will in theory, we got this network, they're gonna have the first question is great, what skiers are you on? Well, we're talking with SOANDSO and so andso. Get Out of my office right those the meetings with the ski people are probably a little more, quote unquote, easier, maybe a little more casual. You're right. If you get a meeting with coke or BMW and you don't yet have those properties secured, you're not going to get a second meeting. You gotta you got to be serious. You gotta be able to walk into those doors and say this is a physical network in place, our blocks are installed, we're ready to sell this toea. Otherwise you may not get a second chance right, got it, got it, okay, yeah, so on. On that last point, attracting the big national brands to care of that concern, that pain point that marketing managers and owners had. My guests are coming to my skiera to enjoy their time here. They don't want to see Josh most pizza. Yeah, however, coke, Rogers, budwise or corona, they could come up with pretty creative, tailored content that specific to the ski industry that will be well received and potentially even enjoyed when you're so bored on the chair lift for seven minutes. That's exactly the way we needed to frame this and that's exactly how grand had so much success in New Zealand. He went after the national brands that had the big budgets that were able to tailor really really sharp, creative specifically to the ski market. So not, you know, just a logo and, you know, in a simple tagline, really really cool stuff that's spoke to the environment that the guests weren't you're there seven minutes on average on the chair lift inches away. It's not an at a home ad, it's like a magazine Ad. Get tons of depth of sale. You can literally read through it. Some of the most successful campaigns were riddles or, just to put this into perspective, multiple ad blocks would exist on a safety bar. So if it's a quad chair servicing for people, they're actually be four ad blocks. Very successful campaign was a storyboard. Wines like building off the other. So you know, John and Susie and Eric and Pete would sit on the chairlift and they say hey, what's on that? One interacting with one interacting with one another. And how great is that to an advertiser when somebody actually, when the audience comes together and communicates and and enjoys the experiences? You got nothing else to do? Right? Okay, so I see this unfolding now. So how do you? How do you get your ski? He'll sign up. Yeah, so we understood what needed to happen and that was really repositioning our messaging and repositioning our pitch. And this wasn't a case of make hundreds of thousands of dollars all lifting a finger spending a dime. That was implied. Yeah, if you want a partner with us, you're going to give us money, and great. Well, we really needed to do is communicate the true benefits of our product and our different approach to this concept that has failed in the past. So we came up with another tagline and our pit which was this is not the same old, same old. This is chair lift media done right nice. So you've seen this before, but this is this is different than the way that you've seen it before exactly. And let me tell you about the first time we went back, which there was actually a trade show a month and a half later. We acted quickly. Secondary Trade Show in Febrary. That one was in January. The first thing we went to. Secondary One was in February. We went back and the approach that we took was we're going to walk up to every single person and nip this in the button immediately. And some of those conversations were the same people that we saw, you know, a month and a half earlier. And I'll never I'll never forget the experience with these two with an owner and director of operations or VP of operations at a Skyria. Walked up to them and we said we started the conversation by forget the name of let's call m John John, I'm going to talk to you about something today you definitely don't want to hear about, as soon as you say that they're kind of intrigue. Don't think about pink elephants. Don't think about pink elephants, thinking about pink elephants. So immediately curiosity, okay, and any whip out a block. This is a chairlift advertising device. Oh, immediately, right, man, like, I don't want to talk about this, like I know. I know you don't and I recognize that you had really bad experiences with past failed attempts and I recognize that these are the pain points that you've experienced. Reiterate them, because we've had multiple discussions and we understand what they went through and and then we tell them what a block. Here's why I block's Great. It's been it's been designed in New Zealand. It's existed on chails for the last nine years, whatever was at the time. Thirty six thousand of these are deployed all over the world, including Japan, Chili and New Zealand and Australia. We have testimonials and best practices. This thick stick has a one tho page book how to do this properly. In North America we have a great product partner. Best part about it is we have a national approach. We're...

...going to attract big national brands that are going to be able to spend good money and create and deliver really good creative content to your to your guests. We package it all up really, really nicely and over the course of the conversation, as we were pitching, you could see their expressions change. You could see they were buying into this. It was it was amazing. A like talk about a one hundred and eighty you like. We practically had people give me a call when you guys are back in Toronto. I'm really interested in this. What really helped, and this is just a side peace side side, know, but we, for the for the operations managers that were mainly interested in its durability and performance, we actually created this device where we'd put the a block on a fake safety bar and, you know, we brought it out and set it up and anybody that would come by, we called it the a block challenge. We'd give him a hammer and we'd let him go at it in the trade show and try and break the thing and nobody could. It was really that well designed. Nobody could break it. So I mean talk about, you know, a way to get through to them like after they did that, like, okay, yeah, I believe in it. Saw for themselves firsthand. Yeah, cool, cool, so that was the beginning of getting them. Yeah, are repositioning really worked. We knew that we had the right message. From then on it was it was a big, you know, follow up initiative with the people that we've already met, that we chattered with, that we knew we wanted to work with, and it was a case of good salesmanship. So we don't have the budget of fly around everywhere and, you know, try and take meetings. I'm a big believer of being novel and doing shipping things to people like a ladder, physicals letter, old school thing, new physical old school things. So this wasn't like you read a lot about growth of books, like predictable revenue, talk about the different functions in sales. So your first thought wasn't okay, now I need to go hire a junior person too cold call thirty ski resorts. You didn't do that. You didn't take the shotgun approach. You went pretty targeted. Truthfully, I would have been that guy. Yeah, probably, yeah, and yeah, and it's a very good point. One of the other strategies that we've identified very early on was we did not need. So the Canadian market, which we started with. We didn't have plans to go into the states immediately. We wanted to roll this out in Canada and have a proven model that we could replicate in the states. That was our strategy. They were two hundred scariest total, actually to the exact, one hundred and eighty eight in Canada that could technically do business with us, but we didn't need all of them. You know, man's field or the local single scary. A chair lift that only attracts fifteenzero skier visits a year probably doesn't make sense for a rodgers or Pepsi, but Blue Mountain, mount seeing, Louis TROMBLAC, whistler. So those profiles you know, that are that are the big players, the big hubs that are tract audiences from the major urban centers where big brands want to target and want to spend money on. Those were in our target audience and there's only really thirty of them got it. So you went using more modern terms, super ABM style. You identified with laser focus the thirty that you needed. What did you do then? Like you had fine names, emails, addresses would you do? Yeah, so in this day and age, it's actually really easy to get contact information. Yeah, I do a search on Google. or we are part of these associations now. We paid membership do so. We had directories of all these people. Wait, touly talked to a bunch of them. Are talked to a bunch of them already. So we've identified the ones that we need to speak with. This was a multi contact approach, so it wasn't just speaking to the marketing guy, wasn't just speaking of the operations guy. Everybody was an enterprise space cell. Everybody within the organization, you know, needed needed some sort of buy in. This wasn't one guy making the decision. So we yeah, it's it's we didn't coal call them, we did an email them. We decided to kind of go old school. We sent them these pretty impressed we call him pizza boxes. We delivered and shipped out our product as a sample. There's actually three samples include in the package. One of them was a fix to kind of a fake bar that was supposed to resemble a safety bar, and the other one was completely broken apart, like the pieces, the individual pieces of it. So somebody could see exactly how it's put together and some lenses that had the actual ads printed on them. And in the lenses. There are two strategies. One of them was display a Selfpromo message. So, Hey, marketing guy, look how exciting this is. Now you could promote your ski school, your restaurants on site, you know, all the vertically integrated services that you're responsible for. And then the other strategy was, yeah, look at this, BMW add we are going to attract the big players. So it's very and, of course, pensive. You know what? Every package after all set and none probably cost us with shipping, sixty seventy bucks. Okay, so,...

...but one prospect. That's expensive. It was. Yeah, it's not cheat, not a junior person hitting the phones. It's that's expensive. But we had thirty targets. Right, super focused. Guess what our response right on that was. What's a response? Right on email? First email, I mean, is a general response, right, if you're going to cold call somebody, response or on an email is what nowadays? Fifteen percent. Maybe, maybe, if it's incredible and super focused and you'd maybe bend the ski resort and like have a connection, maybe exactly. Sub Six percent, subflash side shure. Yeah, so we are response rate. I mean if they wouldn't call us, let's just say we reach one hundred percent of those targets. Well, in some fashions, you had a conversation, qualified conversation, with them. Correct. So part of it was as soon as we called, it's people took our call and said, first of all, thank you, that was one of the most impressive direct marketing pieces I've ever received. And number two, because of our messaging, in the way we framed it and what we presented them. The product was exciting, look great, and then the way that we position things, they took our call and said this is great, worth a conversation, worth a conversation. So of those skierrias you know, the ones that were interested, you know, great discussions, great discussions and phone. Did you go see him a person? Would you do all? Phone them. We had to keep the budgets down, lean start up. Sure, so first season. Then of the thirty or so that you targeted, how many signed up? So we sign. It's interesting. We use a few different metrics, but we had it. We had about three to four months to get this off the ground because by the time we got everything together, and it was now summertime. We needed to get this in time, get these get these agreements in place with the SKIERRIAS, to go out to market, sell the advertising for that first season and install this stuff. I got. That was an endeavor in and of itself. So so we call it. This was like March, April or we began the process. We're at a detail end of the most ski areas, end of their season and we needed to get everything bought it up by called August, September. We signed sixteen of the top twenty five scurious within those three to four months. Crazy. That's ridiculous and that's just to put this into perspective. That's sixteen. Maybe not all of them. We didn't have those conversations at those trade shows, but in general, from our initial outreach and discussion, the research that we gather, that's I'm never going to work with you too. I've now signed a contract and my partner wow through literally listening feedback, iterating, changing the messaging, emphasizing, like the product that you showed them from day one was the same product. You just need to change the message, change the rapper, change the positioning. That's incredible. That's awesome. Thank you. That's awesome, man. CONGRATS. So we'll fast forward a little bit because I want to start wrapping up. Have a couple questions. I want to finished off with Chum. But so where is it now? I mean great early traction, good story to get the first couple fast forward. You know, even today. Where's that block today? So add block about two to three years ago now and I'm kind of losing track of time. But we decided to sell the business for a number of reasons. I'll just touch on them quickly right now. We were always a one media company and we can not compete in the market place. We found a really great suitor that played in the similar spaces us in the out of home sector, that could take our media, bundle it with their basket of goods and basically absorb our business and take it to the next level. And I think the key lesson here is in an entrepreneur's life there there always comes a time when somebody could take the business in the concept to the next level and that really wasn't me. I was the guy with the idea. I was the brains and hustles and putting all the pieces together and get it and off the ground, but to take it to that next level really required in new skill set and a new company. That's when we decided to sell kind but you end up selling the company? Yeah, we ended up selling the company. It's still I mean the product still exists. It's under a business now known as wreck media, recreation media. Interestingly enough, we kind of parceled the business, and this is is a separate podcast, but we grant medicine our product partner. Three years into the business, we were so successful with ad block that we did a reverse takeover of his business and completely acquired the global distribution rights for the product itself. We then sold the product on a license basis to other markets, mainly in Europe, and we parceled that business and we made a completely separate so there was ad block media, which was responsible for media sales and the media network selling to advertisers, and the Global Ad Block Globo, which is the product business, selling product to entrepreneurs like us, another markets, to Skierias, to whoever buy it. That's awesome. That's awesome. And which one? Which one to do sell? So we sold the media portion to wreck media and now this is a very interesting structure of owner it, but wreck is a minority partner in the global business as well, so we've retained an equity stake in the global business. They...

...are a partner of ours in the global business, but we are technically doing that together. Got It. Got It. What a cool story at something I didn't I didn't get to that I think is important just to touch on quickly and then I want to wrap up here. How did you get to setting the culture that you wanted? I asked that because you're we've known each other for a while. You're student type of guy that I get along with really well. How did you go about attracting types of people that would get along with you and how were you or not, maybe intentional about the culture that you created there? Yeah, yeah, it's a great question. Be Yourself, you know, and believe and resonate the values that are true and that are important to you. You know, when when we started building up our company and attracting employees, I wanted to show everyone I don't want to put on a front. So my employees knew exactly the type of guy. was very passionate about skiing and snowboarding, love to have a good time. There wasn't there's no bullshit. You know, are everything out in the office if you need it to. We're very open. We were at small, tight team. We had five employees Max at a certain point. So, you know, it's not like there was several layers, you know, of organization. But yeah, just just do the things that you wanted to do. And you know, I just recall to the story that we share before we got on here. The huge fan of soccer and World Cup and one year, and this is a bit of an entertainment strategy that we adopted. Naturally, in the sales industry you have to entertain, you know, anybody and everybody, and media personnel are very used to this. So what we wanted to do when? When was this, I think, is in Brazil, all the games were being played, the World Cup games were being played during, you know, our worktime zone. So we organize what we call the traveling office and we grabbed all our employees at the time and brought him to a bar and we create a cool story around, like CTV interviewed us about, because I thought it was clever. A lot of people, you know, in offices are sneaking out of the there. You know, there their workplace to try and catch the Games. Not Us. We brought all our stuff to the office. Wi Fi was stable and we actually invited all our customers to do the same, like hey, if you need to work and you want to catch the game, do so the same way that we are and was awesome. That's awesome. That's awesome. Being authentic and bringing that self to work is just so, so important. Cool. I want to wrap up with a couple that I ask all of our guests here. So where do you do your best thinking? Probably on the chair lift. It's chairles. Still I do, especially when I skier snowboard alone. It's incredible. We can chew on the on the chair lift. I'm just zen mode, you know, alone with my thoughts. You know, it's fantastic. I also do really, really good thinking in the pool. I do a lot of swimming. Meant to try off on so I do a lot of training during the week and it's very therapeutic for me. No music peddling in the pool, trying to get laps in. Some great thinking and metation goes in there. No phone. You can't like sneak out to Ject your phone. Exactly. That's great. What advice would you give your twenty year old self? So, if you could look back to Pete Mahullik in HBA, to fourth year university, you're just about to embark on Ad Block, what advices would you give yourself? Yeah, it's a great question. Wow, there's so many we need another hour. The big one is trust your instinct. There was a point in ad blocks life where we were on top of the world and we secured some really, really good clients and I thought, is it too early to sell? This is like a really good opportunity. We've driven so much value. It's been exponential and I thought to myself, now it's the right time to sell. And it kind of hurt us in the end because we saw a bit of a dipping sales and company took a different direction and I would have really liked to sell that point. You know, I obviously stretched it out and had a great ride with the business, but I think that we would have been able to achieve a greater return for us and our investors if we were to sell that point. That's a trust your gut, trust your God for sure. Is there anything you wish you would have learned sooner either? When you're in school or something that you wish you would have learned before you started? Yeah, entrepreneurial journey. So my my approach to sales, and I think sales is such a crucial skill set for any entrepreneur to have with your selling yourself, your idea is just so important and establishing developing a business. And my approach to say, and I'm lucky, I'm a personal of our social guy like gets along with almost everyone, and my proach historically of sales has always been it's an art, you know, I'm just going to go and get along with everyone and sell my stubbing. It's worked out pretty well for me. But what I didn't have an appreciation for until probably the last three years was the science behind sale, selling and sales in general, and I think there's a great deal of science that goes into selling and knowing that, I think, would have taken our business a lot further earlier on. Cool and then, finally, if there's one thing that you are best at or your superpower, what would that be? Getting Shit done. I gotta see S D GSDST. It's actually...

...a term that you coined, but you know it's the classic persona and and the the characteristics of an entrepreneur. If something needs to be done, I don't wait around or delegate if I can get it done myself, whether it's a marketing video that needs to be put together for a prospect or client, you know, or installing tenzero AD blocks in get it done, you know, and that's kind of my approach to everything. Potentially to my detriment, some of the things I do should be outsourced, but again, I'm a very hands on operator and more often than not it puts me in a really good position. Yeah, I've seen that and working with you for we work together for three years, three years, three or four years, and I think summarizing, you'd say like done is better than perfect, you know, like could it be done meticulously? Maybe, but like, would it have ever even gotten done, or would it be done now? No, so screw it, I'm going to do it, I'm going to get it done to a point where I'm happy with it and we're going to ship it. And you've been really you've been really good at that. Thanks. Yeah, this has been great. I'm glad we were able to finally get the story of bad blocked down recorded for history. This is like your time castle for I love it. I'm now. It's I really enjoyed this. It's also a great walk down Memory Lane for me, you know, such good times, such a great experience and great part of my life. So I really appreciate you bringing me out here and at a good time. This started when we were we were in if we flew. So, was IT DENVER? Yeah, we flew somewhere. We were in the back of an Uber together and you were started telling me the story and I knew I knew it roughly, but didn't know the full thing. And when we got into the details, it was like, Oh, this would make a good story. One back of a cab. That go we get stories. Come on back of a cap. Cool a man. I appreciate having you here. Thanks for making the trip in and it's love one. Thank you. Thank you. You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV dot Ca, a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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