In the Urban Engine podcast, we discuss entrepreneurship and success. We interview local entrepreneurs in Alabama and the South, discuss how to succeed, and how to propel your idea forward.
28 - Personal Progress, Self Awareness, and Accountability Partners
Description- Matt McLellan talks with Kodi Lovelace the Team Lead at Absolute Nutrition and Matt Miller of Matt Miller Coaching, about Personal Progress, Self Awareness, and Accountability Partners.
(2:30) Matt Miller draws a great comparison between the benefits of coaching in sports and business.
(4:00) Matt Miller talks about the benefits of clearly defining what it is you want, as a means to evaluate progress over time.
(6:10) Matt Miller discusses the fundamental differences between coaches and consultants, and gives a few tips on what to look for. He also discusses how his technical training in the social sciences has aided him in developing accurate empathy, which he considers a key skill for his career.
(10:50) Matt McLellan asks Kodi why he began to work with Matt Miller. Kodi tells an interesting story relating his past education/fitness journey, and discusses how we can often do things that aren't aligned with our real goal.
(16:00) Kodi discusses his method for identifying and hiring a personal performance coach.
(19:38) Matt McLellan admits it can be difficult as a human to open up and expose ourselves, he then ask Matt Miller how he pulls back the layers. Matt Miller talks about how being an addiction treatment specialist aids him in getting people to conduct an emotional intelligence analysis. Specifically evaluate 5 things: Self Awareness, Self Manage, Self Motivation, Social Awareness, Manage Relationships.
(26:00) Matt Miller discusses cognitive behavior, and the Bike Shed Effect.
(30:15) Matt Miller discusses the effects of self pity on personal performance.
(46:00) Matt Miller talks about setting healthy boundaries in coaching and business.
Matt, Kodi, and Matt Miller discuss the value of allowing an independent non-biased person namely a Coach, help point out blind spots in your life, whether that be in business, fitness, or life skills. This is vital, because what we know in life is far less than what we need to know, and often times our personal connection to the events occurring in our life and business lead us make poor choices. Blind spots are a natural aspect of every car you see driving down the road, technology now aids the driver avoid hazards as they head towards their destination. Maybe a Coach could do the same for you?
Rogers, Carl: A Way of Being
Rogers, Carl: On Becoming a Person
27 - Great Expectations: Managing Expectations for Yourself and Your Team
Matt McLellan and Toni Eberhart talk about managing expectations
(02:50) Matt talks about his propensity to set very high goals (like a lot of us tend to do), specifically high
goal in high school at one time to want to break the 4 minute mile in track and field.
(6:30) Matt tells about his experience with his first salaried manager hire. It was a very expensive lesson
since Matt made assumptions for how his manager would operate and that did not play out in day-to-
day operations. When things don’t go well in your business, it is not the person’s fault but yours for not
(24:20) Matt explains the differences in how he sets and manages sales goals today at Absolute
Nutrition versus how he used to do so (which often fell short).
(26:30) Toni talks about how she won’t set goals for other people like she does for herself because she is
too aggressive on her own goals.
(39:20) Matt discusses how constantly calibrating and communicating goals and expectations with your
team works so well.
Matt and Toni discuss the importance and challenges of managing expectations. Audacious goals,
desires and expectations are typical for entrepreneurs and is often why they launch a startup in the first
place (entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic). This is essential in getting over the hump in any new
business venture as the challenge to do so can be exhausting and nonlinear (highs are high, lows are
low). As a startup scales up and employees are hired, it is important to set realistic goals and
expectations with your team and to continually communicate to make necessary tweaks in real-time.
You get better results, you foster a happier and more productive work environment, and you’ll retain
your staff over the long-term as they are fully invested in the mission of the organization that they have
had a significant impact in shaping.
(Book) The Algebra of Happiness
High school runner Alan Webb (broke Jim Ryun’s mile record in 2001):
Carl F. Braun on communicating like a grown-up (the Five W’s):
The Psychology of Expectations
26 - Megan Nivens-Tannett with Flourish Consulting talks Marketing & PR
Megan Nivens-Tannett talks about her experiences in the marketing industry that led to her launching
her boutique marketing firm Flourish
(03:10) Megan talks about her motivation for launching Flourish after her experience working
with local HSV engineering firms who often did not understanding basic marketing concepts
(much less having any long-term strategy).
(07:00) Toni asks Megan about her journey that led to her working for herself. Megan was laid
off from a tech company that grew way too fast and had to downscale and is now happy to say
it was the best thing to ever happen to her. Her passion and competitive nature gave her the
drive do the hard work of starting a new business.
(15:30) Megan talks about the significant unique capabilities of marketing experts like herself.
When having discovery meetings with clients (where senior leadership is often narrow-minded
because daily operations require them to do so), marketing experts lay out a long-term
strategic vision and plan and define every advertising avenue that needs to be implemented for
(25:40) Megan and Toni talk about how you can't assume that people know about your
company what you know about your company. This is a very common mistake startup founders
make all the time.
(27:20) Megan recommends creating an advisory board that represents your customer base
and constantly engage with them. Are you even asking your customers important questions
about how the perceive/understand your product? (also see: UE #22 w/ Brandon Kruse)
25 - Scott Gillaspie discusses his Startup: Incentive Financial
Scott Gillaspie talks about how his life experience has led him to launch his startup Incentive Financial
(02:25) Scott points out a great idea from 12 Rules for Life – a rational mind can be trap because you
over-rationalize every possible outcome. You can’t know every possible outcome so you’re better off
taking a leap of faith at some point.
(13:00) Scott tells his story about how he was being asked to do things that weren't always best for the
client in corporate banking.
(17:00) Scott talks about his experience after resigning from corporate banking when he started talking
to potential investors with his new startup. One of his investors said “I don't really care what your idea
is.... I'm investing in you, not your company”.
(19:00) If someone says "Hey, go start your own company… everybody is going to support you. It’s going
to be great”, then they are lying to you.
(27:15) 20% of Alabamians go to “buy here, pay here” car dealerships making subprime auto loans. Buy
here, pay here car dealerships are not reporting positive payment history (they are not legally obligated
to report positive pay history), which prevents many from improving their credit scores and escaping the
high costs of having bad credit.
(35:15) Matt asks Scott the question “what is good capitalism?”
Scott Gillaspie is a young man on a mission. With a double major in finance and economics and after
working in the corporate banking world, Scott is completely focused on building his startup Incentive
Financial to address what he calls a mispricing of risk with some subprime borrowers starting in the
subprime auto industry. He wants to build a business where everybody wins (his company, the
borrowers, the dealers selling the vehicles) after growing increasingly frustrated with doing things that
didn’t always align with the best interests of his customers in the corporate world. He wants to
demystify the complexity of the financial system (which is designed that way on purpose) and do
everything he can to improve the lives of his customers for the long-term.
- Scott’s bio
- John Oliver – the horrors of subprime auto lending
- 12 Rules for Life
- The Richest Man in Babylon
24 - Mergers & Acquisitions w/ Marshall Schreeder
Cole Rickles talks with Marshall Schreeder, Jr. about his experiences and his role as EVP of Corporate
Development at Discovery Life Sciences
(03:53) Marshall describes what Discovery Life Sciences does. They support medical research (drug
development + diagnostic development).
(11:00) Marshall talks about how finding a process that is inefficient and making it more efficient can be
enough reason to start a business around it. Like nearly every entrepreneur, their initial launch seemed
like it would be easy (and it never is).
(19:20) Marshall explains why he partnered with his friend Luke and started their own business in
Huntsville in 2005-2007 (after them both working all over the country at different companies).
(26:30) Marshall talks about their initial desire to raise “a million dollars” when they were starting their
business (a common theme in the entrepreneur community). With the hope of raising that initial 10% of
the million, they met with the late famed entrepreneur Lonnie McMillian who pulled out a checkbook in
their first hour of the pitch and he offered to cut a check for the entire amount (and said his attorney
would figure out the terms with them later).
(49:35) Marshall breaks down the importance of a great team. As long as you are pointed in the right
direction, the impact of your team members can be as much as 80% of the reason for your success.
Marshall Schreeder talks about his experiences in investment banking and how it eventually led to him
partnering with his friend Luke and moving back to Huntsville in 2005 (Marshall is a rare Huntsville
native). Coming from a medical family (his dad is a doctor in town), there was a bit of pressure to follow
in his father’s footsteps but found his own way working in private equity and then focusing on the
biomdedical science industry. Marshall talks about their start in Huntsville launching their own business
and that common story we all hear (and many of us know) about thinking a new business will be “a
layup” where in reality it’s always at least 2X as hard (and cost 2X as much) and is more like throwing a
medicine ball from half court over and over again. When they were starting their Huntsville business,
they had a desire to raise a million dollars to get things rolling. They were rather shocked when they met
with Lonnie McMillian and watched him pull out a checkbook in their first offer willing to write the full
amount on the spot. Fast forward the last dozen years or so and Discovery Life Sciences (the entity after
they were acquired last year) is on a roll with a half dozen M&A activities in just the last 15 months.
Marshall talks about how his prior experience in private equity has been so valuable as of late in doing
due diligence and strong work ethic in managing teams all over the world working toward a single
- Marshall Schreeder bio
- Discovery Life Sciences
- Hudson Alpha
- What is private equity?
- Lonnie McMillian (founder of ADTRAN and HudsonAlpha)
- The Private Equity Playbook
23 - The Difference Between a Boss and a Leader
Matt and Toni talk with Jorge Lima about founding and operating Civil Axe Throwing with his wife Erin.
(04:45) Jorge discusses the difference between a boss and a leader. A leader moves with his team to do
the hard work to be successful. A boss may watch from a distance.
(8:30) Jorge talks about how he has used his experience in counseling and psychology techniques to lead
(9:45) Toni talks about her evolution since childhood on wanting to be the boss when she was younger
(desire to climb the corporate ladder) to being a leader today of the Urban Engine team.
(19:35) Matt talks about the importance of alternative experiences (over books) have been so important
for him, especially what he learned when he went thru an AltMBA program last year.
(25:00) Jorge talks about how true leaders fosters a work environment that is purposeful, influential and
Jorge Lima founded Civil Axe Throwing with his wife Erin. Coming from a counseling background and
desire to some day be a pastor (Jorge has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Evangel University
in Missouri before moving to Huntsville), he has been very mindful about his role as a leader and
fostering the right environment in his businesses (he also founded Huntsville Escape Rooms before
getting into axes). Jorge talks about the importance of moving with your team and doing the hard work
side-by-side instead of sitting back barking orders like a boss from the sidelines. He talks about how his
education in psychology has led him to implement various techniques that are impactful to his team. He
discusses how true leaders foster an environment that is 3 things… purposeful, influential and positive.
With 7 Civil Axe Throwing locations now open in the southeast and glowing reviews from customers,
Jorge and Erin have been able to leverage their backgrounds into a rapidly growing fun business and are
mastering the customer experience.
- Story on when they launched Civil Axe Throwing in Huntsville
- 5 year trend of the popularity of axe throwing
- altMBA information
- Civil Axe Throwing website
- Good to Great (emphasizes the importance of humble, hardworking leaders)
- The Psychology of Persuasion (the book Charlie Munger gives college graduates he knows)