John Corcoran 2:56
Oh, sorry. Had your the name of your company wrong, advanced waste services? Not so yeah. what
Mike Malatesta 3:00
everybody says system. So I should have named it that.
Yeah, I I moved from from the Philadelphia area to Milwaukee in 1992 months after I, my wife and I had been married. So we’re just freshly married, had a job transfer that brought me here to Milwaukee where I still am today. And about 13 or 14 months into that adventure. And I’ve been with the company for three years or so three and a half before I moved, I was terminated. And that was a shock because I thought I was doing a great job. And I didn’t, you know, promoted bunch of times in that short period of time. And finally had a role where I was sort of in charge of a small division. And I thought it was doing well. And
yeah, my boss came up one afternoon and he just said,
yeah, we don’t we don’t we don’t need you here anymore. So you know, so we’re I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. So we considered all kinds of things. My wife and I moving back to Philadelphia area, or she was from front raising Connecticut. So we consider that we look at a different taking different kinds of jobs. But my gut instinct was, I’d never Well, I mean, since I had started working, I never been unemployed. So my mind was telling me I have to get a job. And that’s what I did. I still newspaper ads at that time. But I saw a job in the environmental business, which is what I was in and I, I applied to it and I got an interview and it was the see the CEO, entrepreneur Matney on a Saturday afternoon, and I really got along well with him. And I thought, Oh, my gosh, this is going to be great. If I can get this job well, I ended up getting the job. And he put me under the care and custody of what turned out to be a real
And interesting. Don had didn’t this guy’s right hand, man for a long time plus his wife ran the office. And from the very beginning, I just didn’t fit in with him, or he didn’t want me to fit in with him or anybody. And so after a couple of weeks, I started you know, when I was driving to the job, I had this just just terrible stealing and feeling in my stomach every morning. And he every day, there would be some surprise where he would mess with me, throw my stuff on the floor, throw it outside that moves, an office trailer, we are working out of just whatever, just so I put up with it for a month. And then I said, I just can’t do this, this isn’t right. And I still didn’t know what I was going to do job. But I knew that I wasn’t going, I knew that this was my opportunity to at least look at starting a business, which is something I had had in my mind from the time I was a very small kid, maybe four years old, but it kind of got lost when I went to college and my my mindset change to get a corporate job and keep a corporate job. And so this was sort of my opportunity to get back to my four year old roots and and try something on my own.
John Corcoran 6:37
It’s sometimes it seems like it takes something like a miserable experience to really motivate us to get off, you know, our Duff’s and actually start something like this.
Mike Malatesta 6:48
Yeah, I was, I was, before I got fired, I was very comfortable in that job. In fact, you know, in my mind, I was thinking, Okay, I’ve come this far in this period of time. You know, someday I’m going to run this whole business is a multi billion dollar company. I thought that’s inevitable. It’s just going to happen. And obviously, it that that didn’t, right, right.
John Corcoran 7:08
Now, the business that you started was not a you know, it wasn’t like that easy to put together. You got a loan, you had to you bought trucks. What was the original business plan? And what did you do?
Mike Malatesta 7:23
Yeah, so the original business plan for advanced way services was that we were going to be a trucking company that hauled wastewater out of manufacturing facilities, contaminated wastewater, and we would haul that to treatment facilities around the Midwest, that were equipped to remove the pollutants from the wastewater and make it recyclable into the city sewer system. So it’s this whole sort of industry that no one’s normal people have never heard of.
John Corcoran 7:53
Yeah, and what, you know, how’d you come up with the idea?
Mike Malatesta 7:56
Well, we had been doing a little bit of that at the company that I was with. Okay, so I got, it was a big garbage company that I was with, but they had this little division, that in retrospect, I got fired from, but I was very fortunate that I had gotten the exposure that I did, because I saw that as more of an opportunity than then the trash business for me at the time. And that’s why I ended up going that way.
John Corcoran 8:20
Right? And did you hire people immediately to drive the trucks? Are you out there driving the trucks yourself? In the very beginning?
Mike Malatesta 8:26
Yeah. So my partner, Butch and I, we, we were the first two employees. And we both drove and the way that we actually end up we had to kind of a very complementary skill set, john, he was, you know, he could drive of course, but he was an exceptional mechanic and fabricator and just understood that, just how things worked, and how to fix them. And I had had some experience, on the sales side on running a business. Purchasing on income statements, and that kind of thing. Plus, I could drive so accomplished. Yeah, we just yeah, we complemented each other. So the way the business worked is, I went out and tried to get accounts. And he would drive at, you know, first, I would drive second. And then when we were driving, when I was driving, kind of all the time, I’d hire a driver. And then I would start over, I go call, make calls, make calls, make calls, we also add in the salesperson. And we kind of did that for the first five or six years, we just kind of whenever I started working a lot in the truck, that was a signal that we had to get somebody else and then go back and then ramp up and then go back and start and ramp up again.
John Corcoran 9:42
So you’re still driving trucks five or six years into it.
Mike Malatesta 9:46
Oh, yeah, regularly. Well, what point did you stop?
I would say that I didn’t stop fully until
now, eight or nine years? Well, which was probably a mistake on my part, I probably didn’t do that the right way. But that’s the way that’s the way it worked out.
John Corcoran 10:08
Right. Right. And, you know, it doesn’t say this on the about page on your website, but it does on your LinkedIn profile. It says that you acquired 14 companies during this period time while you’re running advanced waste services that right? That’s right. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that. Are they competitors? Were they complimentary? Are they different kinds of businesses? What were they?
Mike Malatesta 10:29
Yeah, they were all the same kinds of businesses job, but some of them were competitors. Some were geographic, you know, we’re done to expand the geography, somewhere, what we call just tuck ins, like they had a couple of trucks and the owner was retiring or something, if something we could integrate into our business. There, there were, they were all different. But the this our strategy after we didn’t have a real strategy, when we started, after five or six years, our strategy was let’s let’s grow the business 50% organically through our own sales efforts. 50% by acquisition, and and it roughly turned out to be that way over, over time.
John Corcoran 11:16
Okay. And you eventually you’re spread out over five states. What’s it like managing a company that spread out over five states?
Mike Malatesta 11:23
Yeah, good. Good question. Well, it? It doesn’t, it doesn’t work. Well, if you’re driving a truck a lot. Yeah. So I had to, I mean, really, for 10 years, john, I, even though we had made a few acquisitions, and we were in a couple states at that time, I was, you know, I was so sort of closed into, I had really constructed a business that was all about me. And I don’t mean from an ego standpoint, or my name was on the Billboard or stuck working in it is, I was stuck working in it. And every decision that needed to be made, it went through made its way made its way up to me all because that’s how I had constructed it. It’s not like they constructed itself, I constructed it that way. So it wasn’t until 10 years in where I was basically, out of time, out of energy, out of desire, doing a bunch of activities that I had to be done, but I but I didn’t like doing and they probably didn’t have to be done by me that I finally joined the first of what became many outside groups, outside executive or outside coaching groups that started to open my mind up to what’s actually possible running a business as opposed to what I had created.
John Corcoran 12:46
Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. Because you list that you were involved in YPO, young presidents organization Vistage a few others, on your bio here. And I’m, I’ve been working on a book on this where I’ve interviewed about 70 or so entrepreneurs who belong to different types of groups like YPO, like EO, asking them about their experience being part of these types of peer to peer groups, and what role that it played. So for you, what was it like when you started to join these groups? And how did they help you with the challenges that you were facing?
Mike Malatesta 13:21
Yeah, well, when I, when I first did it, I did it.
Even though I recognize that I was in this stuck position, I still didn’t, didn’t allow myself to believe that I needed help. So the first group I joined was a was a small business roundtable type group that was sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. And I got put into a group with five or six other folks, all from different industries, all running their business, and I thought, why am I here? This, I’m not going to learn anything from these people are, you know that all they do is complain about their problems, and this and that, and, you know, I just I tried to talk myself out of it, but I, but I stuck with it. And after sticking with it, I began to see that it doesn’t matter. I can learn from leaders in any business, it doesn’t matter that they don’t know nothing, anything about mine, nor that I know much about or anything about theirs. And so once I, once I got used to being around these people, I started to welcome the opportunity to come. And even if I didn’t have anything to share myself, listening to what they were going through or wrestling with, maybe I could provide some value, but maybe I would learn something from their struggle that I could, you know, incorporate or avoid on my on my on my end. So that was my first experience
John Corcoran 14:55
in it. Yeah. And eventually you grow, I imagine join larger groups like YPO, for example. I believe the qualification is 10 million a year in revenue. So what was it like as you started joining groups, where you’ve got peers in these groups that are maybe, you know, far advanced to where were you where you were at the time?
Mike Malatesta 15:18
Yeah, so good question. And after that first experience, I actually got very, I started to get very strategic in my mind about groups that I wanted to join, and the reasons I wanted to join them. So the first the, the the most significant group that I joined, that changed the trajectory of my life as an entrepreneur, and my thinking was a program called the Strategic Coach. And I was recommended is all of you in this
John Corcoran 15:47
Mike Malatesta 15:49
I was recommended or induced, or I was Yeah, recommended or encouraged to join Strategic Coach, bye, bye, bye, Todd bar, and another guy named Eric Jorgensen, who runs a very large Peterbilt truck dealership, I was doing a lot of business with, with, with him, anyway. Again, Strategic Coach was like, I was very strategic, because the sales pitch generally was work less, speak more. And that appeal to me. And so I joined Strategic Coach in 2006. And maybe earlier, but anyway, around that time, and again, around the 10 year, part of me being in business, and that program, with all of this concepts and tools that there’s too many to go into now, completely, just opened my eyes to a way of thinking about doing business. And thinking about my, the value I’m supposed to be bringing to the business, and gave me the confidence and the end the actual knowledge, to do things that I would never have thought I would ever do, like, take time off where there’s no work. So for called a free day, for example, I never had a free day ever, and I’m still terrible at it. But a free day is a 24 hour period of no work. Well, that just was never possible. For me.
John Corcoran 17:24
It’s all about himself. He’s a huge advocate of those, I think he makes some really large even though you know, Strategic Coach itself is a really large business, I think he takes off, what is it eight weeks a year or something like that? It’s a large number. It’s it’s 152 or something? Daisy, it’s a lot? Well, it’s four months? Well, I believe.
Mike Malatesta 17:46
So, you know, that was one concept. And then there was there’s a ton, a ton of others that you probably don’t have time for. But that changed. So that changed me dramatically. And then in that program, it’s largely populated with smaller company entrepreneurs. There was no other waste people in that group. Nobody running a plant or a manufacturing facility, or very few, I shouldn’t say no, it’s probably a lot different now because people have understood its power, but
but my desire to get around CEOs who had
excuse me, large numbers of employees, complex operations, plants and manufacturing facilities led me to tech, or this, which I call the tech here now tested. And I deliberately went to Vistage because I wanted to be around CEOs who had 50 hundred million dollar companies, because that’s where I felt like we could go. And this is phenomenal program that not only puts you in the presence of those kinds of folks, nine every month or nine times a year, but also, they bring in experts at nearly every meeting who spent three hours sharing their expertise with with us. And I’ve learned so many things, through their through through what I’ve learned through tech, from the resources that the experts that come in. And then of course, from the members who now I’ve been in that 13 years or so, I mean, these people are super successful, and they’re willing to give everything they have to help one another solve problems or maximize opportunities or whatever. And then YPO I got into because YPO young presidents organization has a blend of everything but but you know that there’s resource specialists that come in, there’s very successful people, of course, YPL is a very much more integrated and engaged membership around the world. And then Vistage Vistage IC is more of a business organization wide PO is a blend between family and business. So it was something that my wife liked, you know, gave her an opportunity to engage in, in, in in with people that we just didn’t have in Strategic Coach or or Vistage, for example. But they’re all wonderful programs. And I encourage everybody to get into some kind of program that takes them out of their business and puts them in the company of other if you’re an entrepreneur, other entrepreneurs.
John Corcoran 20:34
Yeah, I was gonna ask you that. So you know, as you’ve gotten into today, and I don’t want to jump ahead quite yet. But as you’ve gotten into being an investor, and on the member, you know, a member of board of directors and things like that kind of in a mentorship role with other entrepreneurs beneath you, have you? Is that something that you’ve been encouraging them or getting them to participate in?
Mike Malatesta 20:58
Yeah, I, I do.
So there’s a couple things I do one, I share
everything that I learned with them, whether they take it up or not, that’s on them, but I share everything that I think is good. And then I’ve used with that, so tools, networks, contacts, whatever the case may be. And then yes, I encourage so it depends on you know, I consider myself an entrepreneur. So it kind of depends on whether you are an entrepreneur or not, which which direction, I’m going to steer you. I think tech is a con attack, Vistage is a phenomenal program for business leaders, and regardless of whether you work for an organization, or whether you’re an entrepreneur, in my opinion, so that’s where I would steer. Everybody, and then I would get more strategic with folks that were entrepreneurs.
John Corcoran 22:02
Right. And talk to me a little bit about the difference in in how the culture change, you went from 250 people, how do you manage that kind of change and, and try and keep the culture? Somewhat? Whoa, intentional?
Mike Malatesta 22:19
Yeah. And that. So in the beginning, through
the first 10 years, we probably had 70 people by that time, it was, it was essentially just sheer, will on my part two, engage with everybody on a regular basis, keep them positive, keep them thinking about why why the work we’re doing is important. And just do my best. We had no formal anything. No goals, no vision, no mission, mean it, we kind of had all of those things sorta kinda, but they weren’t documented and they weren’t. There wasn’t a process around any of them. When the next 12 years or 13 years, we, and largely again, because of Strategic Coach, and some of the other programs that I was in, we began to actually figure out who we were and who we wanted to be, why we why you know, who our target client of market is, and why why it’s important, how, how do we how we, how we challenge everybody to come into our company at one level. And as they, as they are their give them the tools and the confidence to move up to another level. And all of that basically, ended up in US developing a purpose statement. And that was kind of our first step in trying to define who we were and how we wanted to be. And then after that, we surrounded that with really all kinds of, of messaging, goal setting programs, coaching, reinforcement, reinforcement reinforcement, to the, to the point where, you know, everybody had a look at the business every quarter. So every quarter, we gave everybody a look at the business. And then that was an opportunity to reinforce why we’re doing what we’re doing, why everybody’s important to the mission, where we’re going, how we need everybody’s help, that kind of thing. So hope that answers your question.
John Corcoran 24:31
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So talk a little bit about shifting roles. Well, first of all, why did you decide to sell? Was it just time to sell did an opportunity come along? Was that an intentional choice, where you were planning for it, and you, it was the finally finally the combination?
Mike Malatesta 24:49
No, it was not, it was not an intentional choice. We weren’t running a process or anything. And it was actually the timing was kind of interesting, because I, two years ago, before that, before we sold, or about two years, before we sold, I had purchased the shares from my last two partners who had been with me from the beginning. And we had an excellent partnership for a long, long time. They were they were both a good deal older than I was in their estate planning and other goals, were finally at the point where they they wanted to get, you know, get get them get a return on their investment. And so I had, we had negotiated that and put the funding in place for that. And all john and i was just content, I thought I was content, just paying that off and continuing to run the business and, and grow it a little bit because we were a little cash constrained due to the due to the buyout and just keep it going. And we were doing very well. And out of the blue, I got a call, which was followed by a visit from a company that I never expected in the world for a call from certainly not a call to potentially acquire the business. And I was not interested at first. But after over the Christmas holiday and I went to a dinner party at a friend of ours. And the table was there was five or six couples at the table. And I think at least four of them had had had sold businesses, and they all look so happy to
work, they just have are having a great time. And I’ll so happy like this, I said to my wife, maybe we should think about this. Again. And so I revisited it, we drew up,
we created a plan that said, Hey, if we can get to this number, it probably makes sense to do this. And so we started negotiation to see if we could get to that number. Turns out we we we are were able to actually exceed that a little bit. And once that was once once that was determined john, I never looked back again. Because I figured, you know, this, we came up with this in our own minds, we hit it. So we should do it. And and in that was like the for me part for everybody else. I felt like the company was new to our industry that told me that they were in a, they were in an adjacent part of the industry. So new to what we were doing. They wanted to make our our company a platform, a base for the for the the entire West, what they call the West region. So I felt, well, that’s great, nobody’s going to lose their job. In fact, everybody who wants to move up by may have an opportunity to move up faster than they could have if it was just me.
you know, the combination of those things just made me think, Okay, well, this is, this is the right time plus, it was the first time and I’d say 10 years, where I didn’t have some type of significant problem. And whether, you know, whether it was you know, having a lawsuit from an accident or something hanging over our heads or having some type of neighbor issue due to just the nature of the work that that we do.
John Corcoran 28:26
So you knew you had to strike while the iron is hot?
Mike Malatesta 28:28
Well, I just thought when is that? It’s been a long time since that’s the case. When How long do you think it’ll be if you have another so. So the opportunity presented was like a convergence, the opportunity presented itself, it met the goals, the the goal that we had for our for, for evaluation, it provided at least the potential for opportunity for the rest of the folks on the team. And was it was I didn’t have to, you know, take stock or anything I we just got paid. Right. So,
John Corcoran 29:02
and what, um, what was it like immediately after you sold? Did you have any regrets? Did you feel at ease? What was it like?
Mike Malatesta 29:12
Yeah, that’s that’s a good question. Because I know a lot of people struggle with that. Yeah,
John Corcoran 29:16
sometimes you you know, people have like, you know, major regrets.
Mike Malatesta 29:20
Yeah. I don’t have any regrets. And I think it’s because of what I said earlier, as soon as we had made the determination of, you know, what valuation would work for us. And that was Matt, I said, Look, if we to myself and say this, I said to myself, look, if we end up getting this done, I have to be very, very clear, in my mind, that whatever they think is best for the business going forward, is their decision. they own it, I don’t own it. And my job now is to make sure to the extent that I can do everything possible for them to achieve the goals that they’ve set for the business. And I think a lot of times, people have a hard time wrapping their heads around that kind of change. When they sell a business. And they, they, they they confuse themselves by thinking that they sold the business and got the money, but they didn’t actually give up the control of the business. And they get frustrated when that becomes a reality, which happens fast. I mean, somebody pays the kind of money they pay. For a business like ours, they’re they’re going to want to run it the way they think it should be run. The i. So I just think it was I, I just I just determined that I wasn’t going to be that that person. Now, you know, some things, they asked my opinion on a lot of things, they were very nice to me. And some things, they took my opinion on some things they didn’t. And whether I agreed or disagreed it didn’t i didn’t fight I just know, they made a good decision. At least they asked my input, they considered it. If they didn’t agree with it, that’s fine.
John Corcoran 31:07
Now, let’s talk a little bit about the switch. Now you have got the podcast, I want to ask about what you’ve gotten out of that and why you’ve enjoyed it. And then after that, I want to ask about your approach to investing and what you’ve learned from becoming an active investor, you’ve got a number of different seed investments. So we’ll talk about that. But But first, why start a podcast?
Mike Malatesta 31:34
Well, I, so part of the reason that I sold the business was and this goes back to Strategic Coach when I in early in the program, we there’s a there’s a goal setting thing that we go through that where we plan, we map out what we think our goals are going to be for the next 10 years of our lives. And then for the next 10 years. It’s a very long term thing. And I looked at my sheet, and I was like, well, I’ve accomplished some of these. So so it was 43 to 53. And I was 49 at the time, so So I say go accomplish some of these, I need to get to work accomplishing more of them. And this is an opportunity for me to do that. Right sell the business, I can work on what the goals that I set for myself. So that was that was one thing that that I now had more time to do. But I started listening, but I wanted to get creative to which is I’d always fancied myself a writer. I was an English major in college. And the only thing I’ve ever had ever written really was memos. So I thought, Okay, this would give me an opportunity to explore whatever creative ability I might have. So I started a website, I started blogging, and then I got into podcasts listening to podcasts. And I have never even heard of a podcast until 2016 maybe. And I started listening to him, and I loved him. And I thought to myself, what’s what they’re doing really interests me because well, they’re all different, I should say, but, but talking to people one on one talking to interesting people, one on one, particularly people who have had some success in their life and when they’re willing to share their story about how it happened for them would be something that would give me a lot of energy. And so I decided I wanted to start a podcast, I drug my feet, drug my feet, drug my feet, this was a goal I had, I had to have done by the end of 2018. And, and in August or so I hadn’t done anything. And actually visited speaker came to speak to in our office, my office at the time. And at the break, I was talking to him at Dave massive, which is his name. He’s got a podcast called the no BS marketing podcast out of Pittsburgh. And it came up that he that he had a podcast, I didn’t know that. And I said, Oh, I’m, you know, I want to start a podcast. And he’s like, well, when are you going to start it? And I’m like, wow, you know, I have a goal to start it by the end of the year. He’s like, how can I help? And I said, Well, can you? First of all had me on your podcast, because I’d never been on a podcast and then second, can you help me hold me accountable to getting started? And he’s like, yeah, I can do both of those things. And so we set a deadline to have the podcast, I think it was my first podcast, I think it was 60 days or 45 from that day. And I did. And then once I did it, I was I just, I’m a bottom line. I like it because it gives me energy, I’m a horrible, I consider myself to be a horrible networking type person. And so when I’m at a YPL event, or a Vistage event, or, you know, I know all the people there, but I just I just if I’m uncomfortable in big groups having just approaching people,
John Corcoran 35:14
right, whereas with the podcast is more of a one on one thing,
Mike Malatesta 35:17
right? It’s like right up my alley, right? So So I’ve had these wonderful conversations I’ve done 53 or So, so far. I’ve had these wonderful conversations with various successful people who, who I’ve learned a ton from and like, every time I do one, I come out of it not not only having learned something for myself and having energy after it, like it doesn’t take any energy out of me, it gives me energy. But also, you know, I’m in a position now for other people to listen to, to what we’ve recorded, and maybe, you know, inspire them to do something that that they need inspiration to do or make them comfortable doing something that they don’t feel comfortable doing. Or just understanding that just because someone’s successful in your eyes now doesn’t mean that they are any different than you. They’re the same as you. They just had things happen to them, or they chose to do things that created something that maybe you haven’t yet, but you can, right.
John Corcoran 36:19
Yeah, that’s great. I love that philosophy. And I totally agree with you. It’s part of the reason I love doing it as well, I get energy from it as well. It’s one of the things I look forward to the most. So let’s talk a little bit about investing because you a lot of your investments actually had been in kind of more tech startup in the kind of the tech startup space. I know you’re a big fan of Jason Calacanis, who is a podcaster investor has been credited with investing in a number of the big unicorns in recent years. What has been like shifting from what you’re doing before to investing and particularly in a new industry?
Mike Malatesta 36:59
Yeah, so I started sort of diversifying, you know, investing to diversify, I 10 years before I sold my business, but it was, you know, in private equity funds, mostly, maybe a few, a few direct company investments, that kind of thing. And I have been in one early stage fund as well. But after I sold the business, I didn’t, and I don’t know exactly how it happened. But it probably happened because of a podcast that I was listening to, I became aware of Jason Calacanis. And his he calls this thing launch. And, and after, and after that, I became aware of something called Angel list, which is both of both Jason and Angel list are online platforms that allow you to invest in startups in a very easy way. So and most of the startups that they invest in our technology based, you know, they’re Silicon Valley based companies, and a lot of them. And what got me interested in it was relevancy. So you know, we, we live in the Midwest, which is a fantastic place to live. Quality of Life is great. The business community is fantastic. But we’re not very high on the startup. On the startup list, in fact, we’re lucky is very low. Even though we have a lot of startup activity for here, quote, unquote, we don’t have any compared to Silicon Valley. So stuff gets to us late. So I don’t hear about things until, you know, they’re well developed, john, yeah, this gave me an opportunity to learn about companies and learn about technologies and learn about ideas, that it makes me feel like I’m ahead of the curve instead of being behind the curve. And because they made it so easy to invest. I just said, Well, if it’s, you know, it’s and Jason says, you know, you got, you know, and film a Dallas, another one that I’m in, but they both say you, if you’re in this, if you’re in, you know, startups, you got to invest in a lot of them, because you can’t just invest in four or five, and hope that one of those five makes it, you know, you gotta, you gotta really spread it out. So, because they make it so easy, because the investment is my choice. It can be, you know, very modest. And it gives me, you know, exposure into all these new things, I just feel relevant doing it. I feel like I can help a little bit. And I learn from every one of them, even though I can’t, you know, the reality is some of them, I can’t tell you exactly what they do.
John Corcoran 40:00
Do you feel like that you have something to offer these founders? Maybe they’re inexperienced in ways that you know, your experience? Obviously, you have deep experience might not be in tech, but you built a massive enterprise.
Mike Malatesta 40:14
Right? Yeah, I I feel like I do, although I don’t, I haven’t.
Don’t believe that outside of a handful. And I mean, on one hand, of times have I done that yet, but and and there’s two reasons for this one, I’m a little intimidated, because they all sound like they know exactly what they’re doing. And I’m thinking to myself, maybe I did it wrong all these years, you know, I know that’s not the case, I know, all of them think they’re going to cross the world. And that’s an easy thought to have until you have, you know, 20 people you have to take care of instead of two, for example, and their whole world kind of changes, and you have to grow up fast. And being smart is not enough. You know, you can’t smart your way into building a you know, a great team. Most people can’t. So, what I want to do is start a how’d it happen startup Podcast, where I do take the opportunity to talk with the CEOs and the founders of all the companies that I’m invested in, which is like 50, maybe, to start and get into some of that. So, you know, share a story, and then get into some of what you know, what they need help with? And like, do it like a just a podcast? I think
John Corcoran 41:35
I think you should do it. I think it sounds like a great idea. I think that should be the next thing on your agenda. Well, well, Mike, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, I want to wrap things up with the question that I was asked, which is, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars at the Emmys and you’re receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point. And what we all want to know is, who do you think in addition to your family and friends, of course, but who are the mentors? Or their friends? Who are the investors? Who are the peers, or the colleagues, key employees or the people that you would acknowledge who you would think for everything you’ve done up until this point?
Mike Malatesta 42:09
Yeah, so first person, I would think is that guy, Don, the guy that quit that job,
John Corcoran 42:15
the guy who threw your papers on the ground?
Mike Malatesta 42:16
Yeah, he was a just a jerk of a guy who, who did me the greatest favor that anyone’s ever done in my life. Second, would be my wife, who, you know, moved out here with me and with faith that I would be gainfully employed. And, and, and it didn’t take me very long to screw that up. And then started a business, which really took a ton of my time for many, many, many years. And she always, always super supportive Jamie is her name, always super supportive. And I wouldn’t be here without without her. And then in addition to her, my partners, Butch, Larry, Chuck, and Jeff. Boy, you know, though, that those guys stuck with me through thick and thin and, and always let me run the show, which probably wasn’t easy for them. And sometimes, because I probably didn’t make the best choices all the time. And I’d say Lastly, my, my assistant, Robin, and everybody should, in addition to getting into a group, like Vistage or something, if you’re an entrepreneur, especially, you should have to really consider getting an assistant at the earliest time possible because I waited way too long. And because I was always thinking one plus one is maybe two, maybe it’s one and a half. But a great assistant leverages your power as an entrepreneur by a factor of many. And if I had if I had not gotten her to work with me, I we never would have been able to get the company where where it was or the positioned for anybody to be interested in it at the level they were. That’s great.
John Corcoran 44:05
That’s great. Mike mallet test.com MALATSTA. com is the website. How’d it happen? Is the podcast anywhere else that people should go to learn more about you, Mike?
Mike Malatesta 44:18
Yeah, and the only other thing I’m on regularly is LinkedIn. So you could just search me Mike ma testa on LinkedIn and you’ll get me. I’m not a I’m not not heavy on the social social platform. Perfect.
John Corcoran 44:31
I love LinkedIn as well. So go check him out there. And Mike, it’s been a pleasure, john, thanks for having me on the show.