LeadMD is now Shift Paradigm

Click to see how best of breed organizations are shifting to grow

Episode 9

Nick Lissette and Tim Crown | Black Pearl Mail and Crown Ventures

What Makes a Start-Up Appealing to an Investor?

In this episode of Catalyst, LeadMD CEO, Justin Gray, sits down with Nick Lisette and Tim Crown. Nick is the founder and CTO of start-up Black Pearl Mail and Tim is the chairman of the board and former CEO of Insight and principal of Crown Ventures. During the interview Nick walks us through his journey of raising capital in the U.S. (he’s from New Zealand) and why it’s so important to not just find an investor, but find the right investor. Tim also gives insight into what makes a company appealing to an investor and what makes them run for the hills.

Subscribe to the Podcast to receive alerts as new episodes post fortnightly (every other Tuesday).

3 Key Points:

  1. Be Choosey. When choosing who to do business with, regardless of the purpose, know what you’re looking for before you start looking. Understand what you are willing to move on and what is an absolute deal breaker – and stick to it.
  2. Enjoy the Journey. Think back to the go to quote about things being hard: “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…” Not every journey is hard – but it’s important to enjoy some of it along the way.
  3. Things Rarely Go as Planned.We know it, we believe it, yet when it happens we are still surprised. Being committed to success isn’t the same as being committed to the process. Being open minded and agile is essential for the win.

Looking for more episodes? Check out more of our best practice podcasts!

Full Transcript

Justin: Hey, hello and welcome back. You are again on Catalyst. Special episode this time around. Never done this before but we actually have two guests in one show. I think it’s critical for the story that we’re going to tell today. So I’m joined by first Nick Lissette. Nick is the Founder and CTO of Black Pearl Mail. And then I’m also joined by Tim Crown. Tim is the Chairman Board Member, former CEO of Insight Enterprises. I’m sure you guys have heard of that organization right here local in Tempe. So Nick, Tim, welcome to the show.

Tim Crown: Thank you.

Nick Lissette:  Thanks for having us.

Nick – Tell Us About Yourself

Justin: So there is a reason, as I mentioned, that we’ve got multiple folks here on the podcast today and that really is because I think you both have a really interesting aspect of the story here to tell. We’ll start off with Nick and I’ll try to kind of traffic cop this a bit, but feel free to jump in if you’ve got something that is just burning and you need to get it out. But Nick, tell us a little bit about yourself and probably a little bit about why we’re talking today. A little bit about the backstory of Black Pearl Mail and we’ll primarily be talking about fundraising, which I know is a hot topic. So just a little bit of background there would be great.

Nick: Sure. So I started my first company at 24 and in case people can’t see the gray hair on the side, now I’m not 24.

Justin: It leads to that, doesn’t it.

Nick: Yeah, try to cut it out it keeps growing back. And so majority of my business career has been based around email, which was just kind of where I found myself based off market demand, specifically cloud email. And so sort of, six years ago I was coming … I think I was unchallenged by the company that I had. It was what we call in New Zealand, a triple B, which was it was good enough that you could buy a decent boat. There’s fishing everywhere here in New Zealand, you’d have a BMW, and a batch, which is like your equivalent to the log cabin. That was about the best you could hope for out of the cash or the wealth you could generate out of it.

Nick: And at that point I wanted to challenge myself further and truly sink my teeth into something I felt would be a massive global play. And I felt that the actual premise of Black Pearl, which is to make email smarter and enable people to use it more strategically, was something that every business person in the world uses email to a greater or lesser degree. It’s the number one form of business communication. And so I actually looked at a way based on my email experience of taking the platform, the protocol that’s email and making it more powerful from both a visual and a analytical feedback perspective. I sold my last company to get seed and capital for Black Pearl and use that to get the code and everything underway. That was about six years ago now.

The Decision to Raise Capital

Justin: And so tell me a little bit about the decision to raise capital. I mean, was it something that you knew that was going to be a growth path for this organization or how did that come about?

Nick: Well, we we’re definitely going to have to raise … You can’t take on a global market with the kind of capital I had available anyway. I was always going to need to raise capital to get the little benchmarks along the way that enable you to raise more capital to the point that you have enough to actually achieve your business plan that you want to do.

Justin: Was this your first time raising or had you been down that path before?

Nick: No, I’ve raised before. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert cap raiser in any which way, shape or form, but I knew enough to know a couple of things. One, that I didn’t want to get into bed with Angel Networks, or venture capitalists, or anything like that.

Nick: So I had a very firm vision from day dot that anyone that we were going to bring into Black Pearl needed to be, I say a high net worth individual, not necessarily billionaires or anything, but they had to have some experience. And they had to want to be part of the journey along the way and enjoy it. So we only bring people in that essentially have some business acumen. They understand business and they’re going to enjoy the journey, the ups and downs, the hard, the excitement along the way.

Nick: So that makes cap raising really hard because it shuts off all the traditional avenues for capital. And it means you really have to grind it out and hunt hard to find those people. But when you get them, and Tim being the awesome example of that, they change your company for the better. Your show’s about a catalyst, they become a catalyst to just become part of the team and make your organization greater than it was before.

Tim – Tell Us About Yourself

Justin: So Tim, let’s kind of pivot over to you for a moment and get a little bit of background about yourself and obviously now moving from a big focus on the tech industry to becoming an investor and looking for these types of portfolio companies. What made you get into to capital and investments of this nature? Was that always a personal passion or what drove you there?

Tim Crown: So I was the operator at Insight until basically 2005. I moved to the board at that time. Being an operator of a public company, it’s kind of an all consuming thing. So once I stopped doing that, I found myself with way too much free time. And so at that moment we kind of started shifting over to investing. And at first we invested in, as I love to say, anybody who sat next to me on a plane. Hey, sounds like a good idea. Here’s 20 grand, here’s 50 grand. We stopped doing that so to speak, but we still do what we call milestone investing. So you come to us with an idea concept, whether it’s day one or day 400. Hey, this is where we’re at right now. And then the second thing is okay, if we give you X amount of capital, what are you going to have done in terms of completions, metrics, et cetera, in six months, a year, or whatever. And that’s actually quite frankly what happened at Black Pearl. It was not a single investment, it was a series of investments based upon the performance of the business.

Justin: And does Crown Investments have a certain profile that it goes after or is it always just looking for organizations that are on the verge of that next milestone as you put it?

Tim Crown: Right now we believe that we’re kind of in the next generation of, if you want to call it the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A lot of people have quoted that. Data, machine learning, AI. This is where the world’s going. And Tom Siebold has a great book that he’s talking about this. He calls it an extinction event for companies that don’t actually compete on data. And so we’re looking for companies with machine learning, AI and data, lots of data. If you think of Black Pearl, that’s what Black Pearl has. Right now, is your email getting smarter based upon how you actually operate? I don’t think so. So from the Black Pearl perspective, but all of the other investments that we’re in, we’re really focused on this machine learning data premise. And then, oh by the way, what’s your business model using that as a leverage point.

What Were Your Criteria for Raising Capital?

Justin: So Nick, as you were looking for capital, I understand that you had some rigid requirements that you were looking for. At least some real hot buttons that you were looking to zone in on. Can you tell me a little bit about what those criteria were?

Nick: To get more specific on what I was talking about for us. Firstly, every shareholder in Black Pearl has exactly the same type of share. They’re ordinary shares. They’re fully paid up. It’s a complete vanilla shareholder’s agreement. You’re in the boat on exactly the same kind of class ticket as everyone else. And you get more or less votes based off the amount of money you’ve put in. Really that’s it. And so firstly that discounts a lot of people that have been early stage investors in the past because they’ve put in convertible notes.

Tim: Preferential stocks.

Nick: They want to have preferential stock, they want to have that. And I’m like, see ya, not interested. I’m not even going to entertain the conversation. And the more that you go on and the more that you have to eyeball the people that you’re bringing in as investors and say, Hey look, we’re not selling our soul out.

Nick: The more that you actually really have left yourself no wiggle room to go back or renege on your word, you just have to stick to that profile. And so then the second part of that is then if you’re not going to go for those kind of people as well, we really look for value add. I mean I’ll tell them, “I bought for us …” Here’s a huge value add, gave us a foothold into the States, gave me connections that I would never have had and ever got access to on my own. He put on an awesome board over there. He’s obviously, once again an extreme example of the king of people we look for, but everyone that we’ve bought in has contributed in a way with an idea, with a phrasing. They’re the people I would really like to try and get.

Nick: And people that enjoy the journey. Cause business should be fun. I mean it’s hard, it’s real hard stuff, but if you’re not having fun and you’re not as a team together enjoying it along the way, you should go and do something else.

US Investors vs. Rest of World

Justin: And so you mentioned there, the States. So you were looking for a US investor as well, correct?

Nick:  Oh yeah. I’ve got to phrase this carefully cause I don’t want to get hammered by your border patrol next time I’m in. Those rubber gloves, the scary things, man, I don’t want to be taken to the side rooms. I had to have a US investor. I had to break into the States. I mean as Americans you all probably take for granted what an amazing business environment you have. And it’s not just the economy. It’s your attitude to business and how you respect people in business. It’s just awesome. I spend half of my time in the States and half my time in New Zealand, and every time I come back from America, I’ve got ideas coming out, I’m motivated, I’m manic and my staff are fearful of seeing me because you know …

Nick: You need to be in America if you want things to happen, you can’t go into America if you don’t understand. It’s just a foreign country. If you don’t have someone to show you the ropes and help you out. How do leases work? How do you get a bank account? How does your tax system work? Where do you get talent from? How’s your employment law? You know what I mean? You just don’t know anything and you either have to have millions of dollars behind you to sit up. And even then no guarantee of success or you need the right person.

Nick: So I more or less flew over even though I had a return ticket, I was not … I can stay for three months, 90 days, right. And then I have to get out. But my psychology in going over was I was not leaving without the right investor signed up. I was just not going to come home. Although I had a return ticket, I wasn’t getting on it if I hadn’t fulfilled my goal.

Having Hard Conversations with Your Support System

Justin: Yeah. And I think that’s my favorite part about the story. That was a very real conversation that you had with your wife as well, right? Like, Hey, I’m coming up on this timeline and I’m going to continue to stay until I find what I’m looking for here. I think that’s a really interesting view. I mean, were you really prepared to go the distance in that regard?

Nick: Oh, I say the same thing to everyone and I’m sure they go, yeah right buddy. But like my attitude is win or die. I burn every bridge behind me. I can’t retreat. I will not go back. I will not stop. And the main part for that is that coming from a competitive sports background and what I’ve done in the past, it haunts me, every time I’ve taken a soft option from as early as I can remember. Those things replay in my mind when I look at myself in the mirror. And so I can’t allow myself to fail cause I have to live with myself for the rest of my life. So I make hard decisions and I’m very fortunate.

Nick: So my wife, whose name is Nikki, so Nick and Nikki. It’s not just the name that we’ve got similarity in, it’s I think a certain amount of grit. And so on the flip side, my wife wouldn’t have let me retreat back anyway. My son was four at the time, and she was working and managing him at home and she basically said, “Yeah, you know you have to get that.” And I wouldn’t have been picked up from the airport if I’d come home early, put it that way. I probably would have been sent back on the next plane. Cause we’re totally aligned in our goals. So that makes it easy from my perspective when you’ve got someone having your back along the way.

What Investors Look for in Founders

Justin: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Win or rubber glove. I think that’s the update to that saying now. So Tim, from your perspective, how much does this attitude kind of play into what you’re looking for within an organization that you might invest some money into? Is what Nick’s talking about here, some of that that played into your decision.

Tim: Absolutely. So it’s interesting because I’ve been in over a hundred deals and no deal from, originally Insight 35 years ago, all the way to the most recent deal. They’ve never gone the way the business plan is set, ever. There’s always a pivot. There’s always a … I call it either the pot of gold or the wall scenario. There’s an enormous wall you can’t get over, or why are we going two miles away when there’s a pot of gold right next to us. Let’s pivot the company. Let’s do something different. And a lot of that is attitude, openness, but it’s also a desire to win and a desire to not have a fixed mindset. And so when I see a guy like Nick and I see that passion for winning, we’ve got to balance that a little bit sometimes with, Hey, you want to win, but you’ve also got to really think your steps ahead.

Tim: And that’s where I think boards of directors, management team, they put that whole group together. But if you can go out there and get that passion from the leader, then everybody won’t have that fear of uncertainty and doubt. The terrible example I would give just off the top of my head is if you remembered in 2009, the US economy is going absolutely in a tank. And President Obama has to come on and say, “Oh, things are great. Everything’s wonderful. Don’t worry.” Because that’s his job. Right? And whether he believes it or not is not relevant. It’s the same thing with an entrepreneurial venture. If the leader doesn’t believe and have absolute conviction, not only in the process, the management, the idea, but “Hey, we’re going to go win.” Why the hell should the rest of the companies say, “Yeah, let’s go do that.”

Tim: You cannot show weakness in this particular area. And it’s a leadership training thing that we talk about constantly. It doesn’t mean you’re not realistic, but you have to have confidence in yourself and confidence in your team that, “Hey, we’re going to go figure this out. I don’t care if we end up pivoting to a whole new business.” It’s like Slack. Slack didn’t start out as what it is, but they became that. Why? Because they had conviction. The investors had conviction. The CEO had conviction. And so with a guy like Nick, that’s what you want to see is somebody that’s going to go over there and he’s not going to give up until he wins.

How Do You Find Investors

Justin: That grit is so incredibly important. So Nick, tell me a little bit about … You find Tim, you find Crown Investments I assume, while you’re trolling around the US, you take this first meeting with Tim and his crew. How did that meeting go? Did you know immediately like, “Hey, these are the guys that are going to do it for us.” Give me some insight there.

Nick: Obviously burning through cash and getting super sick at Taco Bell over this period of time. And I landed in San Francisco, I had two meetings booked. That’s all the connections I had. I met them and then asked them for more connections and went from San Francisco, LA, back to San Francisco, Boulder, Denver, Austin. A fried contacted me, Mark Osborne, or as I call him Bull cause he’s a big burly guy, massive bench press on him. And he said, “What are you doing in America for so long?” I said, “Look I’m raising capital and trying to find a value add shareholder.” He said, “Oh, I worked for this guy. I know him, he’s fantastic.” And I said, “Great, where does he live?” He said, “Phoenix.” I said, “Great, I’ve never been to Phoenix.” Where is Phoenix? Oh look, it’s the next state down our walk. It can’t be far. So I said, “Look, great, I’ll meet him tomorrow.” And he said, “Well hold your horses. You know, he’s a busy guy.”

Nick: And so I patiently waited a day and Tim very graciously took the meeting, and at this point I would take a meeting with anyone at any time and I was excited to see what Phoenix was like. So I didn’t, I’m embarrassed to say. And the first time in my life I’d done no due diligence. I didn’t look up, I didn’t know who he was. He could have owned the local 7-Eleven and I would have taken that meeting. And so I turned up and as you can see probably with Tim’s attire, if you’re watching this on a YouTube or wherever. He just wears … There’s no giveaway Rolex. There is no Armani suit. It’s just a guy in a Polo shirt and slacks or shorts depending on what day of the week it is.

Nick: And so he’s super low key and you start talking with Tim and then you realize this guy is next level and there’s questions he asks and his attitude. I was like, “Wow, this guy’s great.” The story goes, he says, “Where are you staying?” I tell him where I’m staying. He’s mortified because I’ve sort of stayed on the main drugged in area of wherever it was.

Justin: Hey, it’s your first time to Phoenix.

Nick: Yeah, I was in the wrong area of town, put it that way. And he said, “What are you doing for dinner?” And I said, “Nothing. Taco Bell.” He said, “Let’s catch up for dinner.” I go home, go back to bolt the door, and look up Tim Crown founder of Fortune 500 company Insight Enterprises. I know who owns Insight Enterprises. My minds going nineteen to the dozen. I look at his other portfolio companies, you see all the other investments. I see Crown has an investment in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m like, “Whoa, the guy that owns Ninja Turtles, that’s crazy.” Although I think that’s more Eric, but anyway, so at this point I’ve realized I’m super glad I didn’t know that beforehand because I would have been a little more nervous.

Nick: So Tim on the other hand goes back and he calls up a friend of his, and this is the cool part of the story. He calls up a friend of his, John Scott Dixon, who he thought was a great technologist and said, “Hey, I’m looking at this company Black Pearl. I’m looking at investing in them. Can you go to their website, let me know what you think. Or if you can even sign up.” And John Scott’s you know, “I don’t need to do that. I already use the product and I love it and I recommend it to my clients.” And at that point I think we had 70 or 80 clients in the world globally, anywhere and probably 10 of them were in America. And the first phone call Tim made was to one of them. And whether you believe in a higher power, or Einstein’s Theory of Energy, or whatever your belief system is. I dare someone, I’d love someone to tell me calculate the statistical probability of that happening cause I’ve tried and it is beyond where my maths can take me.

Justin: And so Tim, from your perspective, the story sounds pretty low key, right? Like I wouldn’t have thought that someone could like call up and get a meeting with you a day down the road and so on. Do all the deals kind of happen with the same amount of a relaxed air or is this uncommon?

Tim: No, our mutual friend, Mark Osborne is a guy I’ve known. He worked with me at Insight in the UK. I had spent a lot of time, maybe 2002 2003, with him. We had a lot of personal relationship. And so when he recommended Nick, it wasn’t a casual recommendation. It was, “No, no, you need to meet this guy.” Relationships are super important to me. And so if somebody that I know says that, I’m going to go meet with them. Doesn’t mean I’m going to do something with them, but I’ll definitely go spend time to go meet with them.

After the Initial Call, How Does the Deal Proceed?

Justin: And so after Nick got this glaring review, this glowing review of his solution and so on, did you spend a lot more time in diligence or kind of how did things proceed at this point?

Tim: This is kind of the beauty of the milestone process. I don’t remember the exact initial investment, might’ve been 50 or 100 thousand. And so from our perspective, we’re kind of dipping our toe in the water. Hey, I like the concept. We’ve done some due diligence, we figured the basic stuff out. We didn’t do a formal tech review. We weren’t really worried about that. And so in that scenario, here’s 50, 100 grand, what are you going to do next? And then if you can get to that next place, that next milestone, then we’ll give you some more money or maybe go raise money from other folks. And so it’s not really always a super sophisticated process because we’re not making a huge bulk investment at once. But also I just know that the business that you think you’re in and the business you’re going to be in are two different things. It may not be 80% different, but it’s going to be 30 or 40% different no matter what. So we’re not as worried about what’s that upfront context of it.

Justin: And so Nick, from your perspective, once you get this deal done and you start moving forward and as Tim mentioned, there’s a milestone to hit. Was this enough to get you to kind of go back to New Zealand and buckle down at this point and, if so, what was that next milestone that you were aiming at?

Nick: So the interesting thing on Tim’s investment mentality, especially for a guy like me, is that he actually did it so the paperwork came after the investment funds came through. And I’m sure that’s not the way Tim does for everyone, but this is the way it happened for us. And he gave me an office, he gave me some staff, he lent me a car, I had an apartment. Right. He didn’t charge for any of that. Right. And he did that by backing me. And so I thought to myself, well, I’m really stuff now. I mean, look at how much this guy’s put his faith in me, in our handshake. I mean I was honored that point. Absolutely I knew I couldn’t fail and dah, dah, dah, and this guy’s done this and the other shareholders. So I mean, did it strengthen my resolve? I would say yes. Not that it was wavering in any way, but it’s a big deal when someone does stuff like that.

Nick: So I only checked in home briefly because I had what I needed to do to start off the next phase of things in America. And I’m wasting no time. Time is money. And there wasn’t any great celebration for that coming through. It was just an opportunity to get to the next stepping stone. And I wasn’t going to mess around a day if I could. So I think I kind of chipped home for maybe a week as I joke to make sure Nikki hadn’t left with the milk man and my son remembered what I looked like. And after I’d checked those two things off, I was back over.

The Benefit of the Right Partner

Justin: Yeah. And so I think the stories that we really try and get to the bottom of on this podcast are essentially what you’re describing there, which is, it’s great to have the money. And that was the big milestone that you were trying to check off to grow the business and to get to that next step. But also you’ve got someone’s faith in the business at this point. And as you mentioned it, there’s resources that come with that. There’s also expectations that come with that as well. So it sounds like this was a pretty big inflection point for Black Pearl at that point. And then based on Tim’s investment pieces, it sounds like there were more to come as well, correct?

Nick: Yeah. Well I mean you couldn’t have got … Like if I raised $1 million elsewhere I wouldn’t have got as much traction as what Tim’s initial investment and just assistance could’ve got. I wouldn’t have even got half. That’s how hard it is as an outsider to break it into your market. You need the cash or you need the connections. We’ve had some really good follow on. I think we’ve had some great milestones along the way. I mean the thing that Tim probably did that’s been maybe … Well, no maybe about it. The biggest catalyst out of all the sort of sub things that he did is he assembled this absolutely phenomenal board for 4 million. They all took the board unpaid because of Tim’s, as you would say in New Zealand, mana. I don’t know if there is a direct translation, just the sheer-

Justin: Gravitas.

Nick: Yes. The guy who he is as the sum total, not just his business success but because he is such an awesome guy, people naturally want to be around him all the time. And so we’ve got this board and it had like Cherryl Pressley-

Tim: You’ve got to tell my wife that, by the way.

Justin: Remind some people of that. Well I’m sorry, what was the word that you used again?

Tim: Mana, M A N A. So if you ever look up the, Maori, which is New Zealand native language, to English dictionary, I think … Maybe don’t look. I’ll send it to Heidi to add. It’s like the best sort of thing you could hope for. It’s everything, every good word put in the air and just condensed down.

Tim: So anyway, we were really lucky with the board. The board was a catalyst. So Cherryl Pressley, who was a 14 year Senior Director at Microsoft, she finished her career as Worldwide Head of Partnerships and Distribution from Microsoft. Mike Guggemos, who’s been a Fortune 500 CIO twice over. I think CIO of Motorola. Bill Andrew who is, you know, just an amazing guy. Andrew Corporation being the family company he’d come from. And once again their wisdom comes into it. And actually the funny part of that whole thing as you talk about catalysts is now Cherryl Pressley is our CEO. So Cherryl finished up at Microsoft and then I wasted about 30 seconds starting to try and recruit her. I demoted myself. It’s the first time I’ve had a boss since I’ve been 24, absolutely amazing. Cherryl is a phenomenon.

Tim: I went to the Microsoft Inspire at Las Vegas. I’ve never been to Las Vegas before and I didn’t think that I would spend my first time in Las Vegas exhausted trailing four days behind a five foot six woman. That was my first experience with Las Vegas. I’ve never slept so well as I did on the plane on the way home. And Mike Guggemos is now our CIO as well. So fortunately there’s some sales roles coming up and I think I can bring Tim over soon as well.

Influences That Lead to Success

Justin: That’s awesome. So, as we kind of wrap up here, I want to get both of your takes on folks that have been really instrumental and just influential over your life. Maybe the top individual that comes to mind when we talk about that. Tim, it’s evident through the participation here, not only from a financial standpoint, but I think it’s clear that the more impactful elements have been the relationships and kind of the doors that have opened there. I assume that you’ve had those types of relationships or those types of doors be opened in your life as a result of influential people, catalysts that kind of have taken you under their wing. Is there an individual that comes to mind when we talk about that type of influential mentor?

Tim: Well, let me get on my soapbox just for a second before that. So one of my personal beliefs is that nothing great is ever done by an individual. It’s always by a team, by a group, by partnerships, by folks that get together and have a common vision, common purpose. This group together is going to go do something great. And I think one of the mistakes we make in society is this idea of the lone ranger, the lone wolf that’s going to go out there and change the world. Elon Musk, for all of his brilliance, he’s one of 20 thousand people at Tesla. It’s him as the leader, but it’s how do you get all those other people to go with you and what you’re talking about is a smaller group partnership. All great businesses start from just a handful of folks.

Tim: And so to that end, I think I’ve been very blessed my whole life of having so many people that have helped me. I don’t believe I’ve created anything by myself ever. What I think I can do is I can get people to trust me, to believe in me and vice versa, and then together we can go out and create something great. I didn’t realize that. I’d probably say one of my high school coaches if I’m going to have to go out and do it, whether it’s wrestling or football or whatever, something to where they believed in me and said you could do this. Let me show you the path to get there. And so I think this is so much where I … The thing I keep telling entrepreneurs over and over, you’re not alone. In fact, if you’re alone, you’re making a mistake, you’ve got to go lean on others. No person is world-class in everything. Figure out what your weaknesses are. Partner, hire, contract with folks are going to supplement those things because you’re not going to go world-class by yourself. Period. Okay. My soapbox is over.

Justin: That’s all right. Yeah, I mean that’s such a critical concept. So Nick, same question to you. I mean, have there been other mentors that have really helped you in these types of manners that we’ve talked about and just propelled you forward? I mean, you’re obviously a guy that takes things by the horns and runs to success there. So I’m sure there have been a couple influences along the way.

Nick: Without a doubt the primary influence for me has been my father. So I was very lucky to have a dad that instilled backbone into me, and not in a bad way, but in a … he put disciplines in me that have been invaluable as times get tough. Put it this way, I didn’t have too many bad games at rugby, which is an our national sport here because the price of failure was running up the firebreaks here in New Zealand, which are basically near vertical slopes up hills. He had a strong business career as well and wasn’t so much the tactics or anything that he’s particularly been a catalyst. Boy, that backbone and just how hard business can be and how much you just have to persist that is the thing that I think for me as a person, I just wouldn’t have a hope of being here without that.

Wrapping It Up

Justin: Yeah. I mean the kind of backbone that will make you go to another country and refuse leave until you’ve achieved your goal, right? I love the story. I love the incorporation of all of these traits and elements that we know are critical, which is, relationships truly are the currency of success. I think this is a great illustration of batting practice here. So guys, I appreciate both of you guys joining here today. Nick Lissette, Tim Crown. If you want to check out Black Pearl Mail and what Nick is doing over there, I know that you can go to their site, I think you can sign up for a free trial on there as well, Nick, is that correct?

Nick: There’s all sorts of magic, head on down.

Justin: All sorts of stuff and I know that Tim is available on LinkedIn and obviously through his site and so on and is looking for great investments like this moving forward. Again guys, thanks for joining me here today. I really appreciate you sharing the story with us and just inspiring other folks out there that might be in the same situation.

Nick: Thank you so much, Justin.

Tim: Thanks, Justin.

Justin: And of course, if you guys are just tuning in today, please give us a liking a review. on iTunes. You can always check out past episodes here. And remember, never miss an opportunity to be inspired.

Looking for more episodes? Check out more of our best practice podcasts!


An interview with Carilu Dietrich on the state of B2B in 2021

If predicting the future were as easy as looking into a crystal ball, we'd all...

How COVID-19 inspired an entrepreneur to build Helping Hands Community: Interview with Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller spent the last 10 years of his career at the intersection of technology...

How to Shift Ahead Through Change: Interview with Allen Adamson

A noted industry expert in all disciplines of branding, Allen Adamson has worked with consumer...