Shaping Freedom With Lisane Basquiat : Entrepreneurship the Right Way with Luis Martinez

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This week Lisane sits down with Luis Martinez, MSOL, an Afro-Latino from Honduras and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Luis has an M.B.A. in Organizational Leadership and is an advocate, networker, and ecosystem builder. They discuss entrepreneurship, truth-telling, self-awareness, and community. Make sure to listen to Luis’ top three tips for entrepreneurs! 

A Former Pro Basketball Player and U.S. Navy Veteran, Luis currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence for the Better Business Bureau Southwest (BBB) & the Founder/CEO for We Tha Plug. We Tha Plug works with Early-Stage Pan-African & Latinx founders and startup companies from Ideation to Pre-Seed using Design Thinking Principles. We Tha Plug is a global community of Pan-African, Latinx, and other underrepresented founders, Venture capitalists, and Angel Investors in the Startup, Tech & Innovation space. The overall mission of We Tha Plug' is to provide equal access to tech & innovation in Pan-African and Latinx communities and create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs from grassroots to professional levels. WTP provides a global ecosystem that gives founders access to startup fundamental education, mentorship, programming, resources & access to funding. 

Learn more about Luis and We Tha Plug at:

LinkedIn:  Instagram: luisitothe_entrepreneur  Twitter: @LuisitoBrooklyn  Company: Company Twitter: @WeThaPlug1

Shaping Freedom With Lisane Basquiat
Welcome to Shaping Freedom where we teach you how to create the change you want so you are empowered to author a life story you love to read. I am your host, Lisane Basquiat. Each week I'll speak with inspirational leaders and we'll explore and share practical ways to create extraordinary life experiences!

Episode transcripts

Welcome to the shaping freedom podcast.This is your host, Li Sanbass gap.
One of the things that I reallylove about this moment in time is
the number of opportunities that people arecreating for themselves in there through the arena
of entrepreneurship. I love it becauseit really gives people who are interested in
going that route the opportunity to delveinto their creativity and to express it through
creating a need that other people canthen get on board with, and I
love that. That mutual sharing ofenergy is fantastic and it also helps a
large group of people who simply don'twant to or who have chosen not to
pursue the steps of, you know, going out to get a corporate job
and doing that, you know.So I really love the whole thing what
we're all doing, all of uswho are entrepreneurs. I love that we
are calling ourselves free enough and capableenough to really get out there and live
our dreams. I love that,love that, love that, as you
all know, with that in mind, we the plug, is a global
virtual ecosystem that works with Pan African, Latin X and other under rope underrepresented
founders in helping them from the ideationphase to precede and two series a round.
What they're doing is building a communitythat brings together investors and business professionals
and creatives in order to bridge thatgap between ideation and actually raising capital,
and also bridging the gap that existsso frequently within that population of people who
want to get out there, livetheir dreams, grow their business but may
not know quite how to do that. And so I commend my next guest
and I'm really excited to share himwith you and if you are within those
populations or if you know someone who'swithin those populations, tell them to listen
in, you know, because thefact that we can get together and support
each other to grow is what makesmy heart beat. I love it.
Anyway, here is my conversation withthe founder of the we, the plug
and a fantastic brother, Louis Martinez. Louise, how are you doing?
Great, great, great time tobe alive. Is it really? It
really is a great time to bealive. I'm doing well too. I'm
doing really, really well. Thankyou. That's actually let's just start there
and I want to get into likeI want the audience to know a lot
more about you and what you're upto. You know, you know you're
this phenomenal entrepreneur and a real supporterof people in business, and but you
mentioning this, you know that it'sreally a nice time to be alive.
You also are a man who isincredibly outspoken about things and passionate about things.
So great time to be alive.Why? I mean, Hey,
I mean, you know, everyday well around, is a good day.
So just being thankful for where Icame from. You know where I'm
going. So just you know,opportunities that I'm getting having being able to
help entrepreneurs business folks. Know,it's a great ride. I mean it
can be a stressful ride, buta great ride. It's a little different
than being like a solo preneur where, yeah, like just working on your
company, but your company is actuallydealing with other companies and other found so
it's a different dynamic that you haveto take home. Yeah, I see,
when your Interfer, like me,you're an introvert. Oh, yes,
extreme, wow. So tell me. So, since we started there,
let's go there first, just sothat the audience has a better understanding
of kind of what you're up to, and one of the things that I'm
really excited about in speaking with youis that you're like this beautiful after let
you know man who is originally fromNew York and you can kind of fill
in the store the blanks of yourstory. But I'd love to talk a
little bit about this work that youdo in support of entrepreneurs, because I
think it'll tell a lot about yourstory and who you are. So let's
just start there, if that worksfor you. Yeah, so currently I'm
the founder and see, we theplug. So what we the plug does?
It's like we help and affricate theLatin ext folks in the process of
building a company, primarily high growthof text startup. So you know from
the moment they have an idea towhen you know they're ready to raise their
first round of capital. And sowe do as we use design thinking to
really go through that process. Andso what's happening in the space? A
lot of folks are just building.They have an idea, they'll build that
an MVP, your no prototype,and then they'll go ask for money.
But you cap some type of investmentand what we want to do is we
want to say hey, like,you don't have to give up all at
equity business when you can do isactually make sure that your ideas, product
mark you fit, so you couldslow you build and and actually gave revene.
We need business. So if thatone day venture capitals option, like
you will have the leverage in thosenegotiations, because what happens is will folks.
Many folks don't know is that inventure capital a lot of times for
deals are not in your favorites bound. So it's at the basically you build
a business and then you end upworking for your investors. Basically, that's
a lot of people end up gettingremoved from their companies, their own company.
We want to eliminate that as muchas possible. So, you know,
making sure that we have every inyour business, making sure you know
how to get customer, because ifyou know how to get one customer,
you know how to get ten.How to get ten, you can get
the fifty and a hundred etc.So that's kind of a mile that we
use. We design thinking to reallyhelp founders through that process. I love
that. And so what you're doingis really in service to just looking for
the court. What you're doing isreally in service to entrepreneurs. So what
how did you get there? Likewhat led you to deciding that this is
the thing that you wanted to doand this is the service that you wanted
to provide to entrepreneurs? Well,when I graduated from Grad School, I
really didn't know. I know atsome point in my life I wanted to
start my own as I always youknow, what's into entrepreneurship, and so
kind of make a backtrack story,you know, I was doing things like
in the early two thousands, youknow, such as selling Kirby's and,
you know, being involved in tech, you know, back in two thousand
and one where, you know,all the sudden Internet service and you know
that kind of thing, and itwas a it was I mean it was
M Molm, but I learned alot from that and so from those situations.
So going forward, when I graduatedfrom Grad School and I wanted to
just figure out what I want todo, I knew at some point I
didn't want to just be in anoffice, just have time and just go
home. I didn't really want therefor myself, and so I was just
searching for community groups and you know, in entrepreneurship and you know, I
end up finding organization called startup,saying it and this is start up and
this is start up San Diego.Yes, that's the organization. And so
to their biggest event, which youstart ours and just, you know,
I didn't have any expectations. Ijust was, you know, meeting people
and just, you know taking in, you know, everything that I'm seeing.
And so, make a long storyshort, the last day, because
it was a week long, obviouslystart a week, they had a fair,
so start up fare. So basicallyit would look like a job fair,
but only thing would be companies insteadof you know, startup company,
instead of my Breakat, you know, traditional jobs. And so I end
up connecting that they with the personthat actually started startup, saying Diego,
which I didn't know at the Timesbut in hindsight now, but I had.
He asked me and say hey,how is how are you like you
started week, you know, andyou know that was the way of,
you know, spreading hospitality around.You know. I politely said, yeah,
this is a great experience, butthere's no black people and what's up
with that? And I said itjust like that. And you know,
my professional the prom was a littlesuspect that hit, but I don't think
that that's unprofessionally ways to be honest. I mean, you know some of
my stick probably a little differently,but how would you have said it?
And I'm saying again, I'm sorry. So I'm saying this because, yeah,
so in hindsight, how would youhave said it? I don't know.
Maybe I said think about this fora minute. You know what I
might know, what I might bekept. Might just said I'm out.
Just did the same thing. SoI try. I try. No,
I mean, and I'm saying thatbecause one of the things that I just
put it a little quick pin inyour story. One of the things that
I have learned about you is,and I met you for the first and
we didn't really meet, but Isaw you speaking at one of the Startup
San Diego workshops. I've been Carl'sbed, and what I noticed about you
then, and this is I don'tknow, two years ago, is I
was like that brother is like youjust say it like you're really an authentic
person, and that was the veryfirst thing that I noticed about you that
stuck out for me, is thatyou're a truth teller. You just say
what you got to say and thenwe'll talk about all the rest of it
later. But you know, becausewe've been friends on social media. You
know, since then I'm at thisdude always says what's on his mind,
like he has a thing to say. So I was just curious to see
if you thought that there was someother way to say the thing. I
try to use something, but no, I would have said probably would have
said the same thing, and hekind of looked at me like, you
know, okay, he really saidthat to me last and it took them
a good three seconds to to recover. Once he did, he was like,
well know, you know, that'ssomething that you know, we really
want to do, but you know, we haven't had the opportunity to do
it or we don't know how toget into the community. Essentially, is
what he said, and so,which I understand, because you don't want
to come in as being a sympathizerand you know all that good stuff.
So I was at cool, youknow, I took it for what it
was and I kept in pushing.So maybe an hour after that I met
this gentleman at the there was aparty and the guy was like hey,
like, you know, you reallyshould get involved it. You know,
I'm like didn't want them, butlike hey, like, you know,
it might be an opportunity. Andso this is based on the conversation I
just had that person. I toldhim about it and he was like hey,
you know, come to one ofour meetings. Just need to like
it. So I went to oneof the meetings and you know, at
the time, you know I haveto say this because this is more you
know, I couldn't front a jobafter Grad School, like I was searching
and you know, I had justfinished working with the US Attorney's office and
working in the chain and Development Party, but I had student position. So
after that, you know the joband it'sis so it required me to be,
you know, enrolling school. Soyou know, I was just again
searching, trying to figure my lifeout, and so I went to the
meeting and from there end up like, but even actually how this happened,
but I end up volunteer hearing therefor like maybe a year and a half.
So, okay, well, Itake that back. It was all
it was about it here and rightbefore the cusp of that year, they
asked me said Hey, like,you know, we were looking for new
ideas for startup week, like youknow, bubble plot. So me being
in the space, you know,I did my research I wanted to see
what was, you know, theend thing. And you know, I
saw that there weren't people like merunning around in space like that, and
so I was like hey, likeat one meeting I was like, Hey,
there's not enough, you know,particularly black entrepreneurs, start up,
folks, you know that's running aroundit. You know, I know there
are folks that are around, andso they were like, okay, that's
something you want to do. Youknow, come to the first planning meeting.
So I went to the first planningmeeting and they basically gave me the
keys. It was like hey,like figure it out, and the good
thing about that was the time thatI did have volunteering. I developed Relationshsip,
so I knew where to go,I knew who to talk to,
I knew who's doing what. Soit was easy for me to know put
the curriculum out and get the peoplethat was needed to fill in those spaces
and go sex and sessions. SoStartup Week game writing, you know,
folks, and to speak on panelsor one on one discussions. It was
great. You know, all therules were packed. You know, I
it was it was great. Itaught a session on how to put together
a proper kitsteck. And so whatwhat happened in between? Me finally start
up saying Diego and started we was. I ended up winning a competition which
a startup weekend. So I gota couple of friends and we end up
developing this product where we wanted tomake it easier for posting the greats,
and so at first we called theeasy grant and then, you know,
we kind of like just in thisis a four years for five years.
And so four years ago and youknow, we it was breaking one.
You know, people love the idea. People are like hey, you know,
keep going with it, and sowe put it down for a while,
but we just now put it backup. So now we have engineers
on the team and, you know, the building out the product, and
so very happy about that. Sothat's going to be coming soon. We're
going to be a nice working onit's a name athetic tell me that again,
but all it's evil grand so it'sevolution of grants. And so now,
you know, we want to modernizethe great process and make it you
know, you go with for brants. You know how that it's just in
a daily old you know, justlooks crazy. It looks like it's from
the s right. So we wantto bring it a fresh face it,
you know, bring New Light towait, new resources, things I need
to so no project working on itfrom that. So I was in depth
and doing my research on star spacein general. So I knew who to
go to, I and who totalk to. People love the content,
and so from there, maybe acouple months after that, I ended up
becoming a director of start up cryingand start up pryme, is basically an
organization where, you know, wedo events and we talk to local entrepreneours
monthly. You know about their journey. You know whether it's through a fireside
chat or to a pound discussion.However, you know what your Sorta pleases
and you know, from the momentI got it, folks who are it
was what I mean like, well, eight people were coming to the events,
right, and so I figured outa hat to wait to where I
can get more people to count,which was all right, we're going to
hold it at your place of businesswhen I do it. So before folks
are just picking out a coworking space, it just doing events there sometimes to
do that. What I want todo is I want to give the attend
me a different experience each time.So having in a different places every month
works. You know, our firstevent we had at Walmart labs and you
know, we had sixty people show. So it was a lot of people.
And then, you know, Ihad probably known less. My lowest
attended was probably thirty, and soit was doing real well. And some
covid hum. Side side note.My last in person event, I had
seventy two people registered for the event. Wo We were going to have a
panel with these secutive director of startedsaying, yeah, Goo, we're going
to have the CEO of the downtownpartnership, also the CEO Connect. So
we it was a Allstar cast andit got rulled my coat because I supposed
to have it that Thursday of Marchnineteen or something, but then that Tuesday
is when they shut everything down.Yeah, March, March thirteen, which
was a Friday, was when day. It was like, okay, we're
getting ready to make the announcement andthen that is yeah, it just yeah
that I had that event on theThursday. Okay, so it was.
I was so upset about that andof course this might last a couple weeks.
No, so, and then whileare we so but so doing that.
And then during that time start upbride. They have a yearly conference
which at least like seven to tenzeroshow up every year the Com valley.
And so me going being the firsttime director. I think I was only
director of maybe remember summer. Sofour months I was only director and I
think I even held him to think. And so I went. I went
there and I was like, okay, I want to talk to black entrepreneurs
and want to talk to you know, like you know entrepreneurs, like I
want to know what they're paying pointsare, remember hell. And so I
end up giving a couple of ticketsto wear to my friends and colleagues and
couple of them came to the conference. So what I did was I I
want to talk to entrepreneurs. Iput an event right, right and I
said, okay, meet me hereat this coffee shop. Black entrepreneur meet
up, blah, blah. Andyou know how every conference has an happened
to win. He can see WHO'scoming. So I send it to every
person that I thought would be interestedin it, right, and my expectation
was, okay, I'm we getlike five to eight people, they're going
to come. You know we're goingto. I'm going to ask some a
couple questions about being a founder,information on linked in or whatever. I
keep a pushing. was my honestexpectation because I did at the same time
as the PUP pral and if youknow anything about conferences the pup cross,
especially in the text pace, youknow that that's what people dream and yeah,
so if you come to Cobie shotwhere I'm at, you really want
to be there. Yeah, andso I get there and let me back
up for a second. So thishappened. When I first did it,
it was on a Sunday night.Put together the event right. So I
put the event right for it Tuesday. So that's really what forty eight hours.
And so that day of the eventI had lunch a friend of mine
and she was like, Yo,how many reading about show this? I'm
just, I'm just, you know, testament water. See what you know.
I'm just we'll see it. Butit was my way of doing in
design thinking called a customer discovering,so basically figuring out what the customer want
of the customer needs. So Idid that and I was amazed at like
eighty people should in the wow andand why is that? Why do you
think so many people shout up?Because a lot of these conferences didn't hold
space, and this is obviously inhighset now, but right they didn't hold
space for black entrepreneurs and NARIO FOSgeneral. So, you know, it
was inadvertently I kind of take advantagebecause that was a hot button topic.
People who naturally want to converse withtheir own see, you know, and
so I didn't think about it likethat at the time. That was,
you know, what happened and itwas a great night. We talked about
access to capital, we talked aboutcreating community, and so out of that
I got a couple of main things. They wanted a sense of community.
They wanted program me that connected totheir lifestyle. So, for example,
you're not going to ask black founderto quit his or her job, you
know, because you got to gowork in your business. Well, I
are you going to? I'm gonnawrite play your Rent Buba bus. So
that and then a cultural aspect.And so a lot of times where you
have white corporations that are trying toin date programing for for us, a
lot of times they missed the benchmarkbecause the culture aspect is not there.
Right, but usually they get peoplelike it. Okay, we're giving you
funding on what? The cultural aspectis not there, right. And so
that's what they wanted, and soI just took that and was like,
okay, what you want, there'ssomething I'm going to put out and create.
So during that whole session I actuallylike I was there, I got
to do something, Sid got toput the paper think you quickly. I
heard a slack channel for everyone thatwas on there. Oh Wow, okay,
and so everyone was on this slackchannel and then two weeks after that
a woman from DC actually got intoa celebrator program because she met the program
director on the platform on slack.And so people were getting invited to that
slack channel and I think that calledit like black technia or something like that,
and it kind of just went fromthere and I went back to a
friend of mine who I actually hiredas a consultant. Mind you, at
this point I didn't have a job, but I still hire a consultant and
pay it was like I'm trying tofigure this out right, and when I
told it this, she was like, y'all, this is dope, like
I can't believe I did this andso she was like, Yo, I
really want to build this with you, like. So that's kind of how
we the plug started, because Ijust took an idea, played idea,
but more of a took a customerdiscovery coach where I signore it. Let
me run an experiment, let mesee what they wanted, get answers,
create that and see if people would, you know, be but follow with
that. And so that's what happenedand then pretty much that's how we plug
started, and he was wont sothat is, and I'm going to put
my entrepreneurial had on for a minute, although this is a shaping freedom thing
that is key to building business.There are so many people who are like
I have this great idea, I'mgoing to do blah, blah blah,
but there's no customer discovery involved orany of that, and so it's so
this is like a great example ofwhat you can do, whether it be
about business or anything, actually toactually go out with curiosity and with an
open mind and just investigating, toobserve what's happening so that you can build
something that's really going to meet theneeds of the people that you're that you're
attempting to serve. So I justwanted to highlight that for a minute because
that's brilliant and it could help otherpeople who are wanting to get into the
entrepreneurial space. So wanting to buildanything, find out anything, you know,
even relationships. You know, figureout what's going on out there and
build to that so that you're notkind of off and isolation, frustrated because
things aren't going the way you wantthem to go. Yeah, and I
just want to add this one thingto this is very important to the conversation.
At the time that that happens,I was probably in the space like
two years. So during that twoyears I develop relationships. You know,
at the time I'm a director ofthe Sun Ego Chapter of start up ride.
So you know, I had cloud, I guess, for lack of
a better term. I don't wantto say it like that, just make
it tell like you know, I'mso big really about that? Not You
had clown. You can be abig wally. That's all. I Hey,
a tiny bit, but it wasenough for me to do that and
to pull it off and I hadthe connections and, you know, knowing
people in relationships, and so itwas a journey and I was ummersed in
the problem, so it was easierfor me to figure out what my niche
was because I was immersed it.Frank many times you have people that you
know they want to do one thingand they want to switch to another,
which is fine. There's nothing wrongwith that. Switching career is but do
your research. We immersed to meunderstand what the problem is, because most
entrepreneurs and most startups come from problemsolving. I have to solve this problem
down. This is why venture capitalistinvestiments, because it's a model that hasn't
been proven yet, that's be improven, because there's people that want to buy
your product service. Right. It'svery important to be in a day with
the knowledge and understanding of in yourskill set. You know, it's what
you're what I hear you saying iswhat happens when you put your heart into
something, whatever the thing is,and in your case it's about, you
know, entrepreneurs and the experience ofblacks and Latinos in in business. You
have to have your heart in it, and I haven't asked you this question,
but what I'm getting is that yourheart is in it and because you're
passionate about it and because your heartis in it, your results are in
kind. You know, the attractionto the mission, the attraction to the
sense of community that you're creating andthe knowledge that you're sharing comes from having
your heart in it at the core. Yeah, I mean definitely something that
you know, I get the samefeeling. I used to play basketball,
you know, playing the summer tournaments, you know, back corner your like
it's that same feeling I get.I want to do this or I need
to connect with this person, thatperson. So I get the same exact
fil. So, no, it'sno such thing as half to cut.
So you're going to do it,you gotta be all in. Yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, andso that is, you know, getting
to, if you don't mind,a little bit of the personal side or
personality side. You know, that'sone of the things that I'm not surprised
to know the story and I'm notsurprised to hear it because that is the
person that I see, you know, when I, you know, heard
you speak at start up San Diegoa couple of years ago, or when
I see you on social media.That is the person that I see.
This man who speaks is truth,just like you saying hey, you don't
have black people in this thing.You may want to get some big black
people in this thing, you know, and it's out of that that you've
been able to build this community.It's that you're building in the service that
you're providing and this education for folksaround the experience of, you know,
being supported through venture capitalism or anythingelse, venture capitalists, excuse me,
or anything else. There's this.That is what I see and what really
resonates, and that is you speakthe thing. You speak the thing,
and so often people are afraid todo that. And when you're afraid to
do that, or when you choosewhether you're afraid or not, when you
choose not to do that, youmiss the boat. And there's so much
change that can happen when people arespeaking the truth. And so I commend
you for that. I commend youfor being a black man, a black
Latino man, who has chosen towalk a path of telling the truth and
speaking your truth. You know,there's something to that and it's you know,
it takes incredible courage and confidence andand all of that. Appreciate that.
You know, there's it's funny because, like space on it, believe
in a God there's plenty of likeguys like me that's in space, but
let let me rephrase that. There'splenty of black men in space, but
a lot of them, don't say, don't share the same experiences I've.
So you know, I wasn't.I didn't that, you kid. I
didn't go to you know, anex presidu or no, come from that
side of the fence, like Ijust I just did. So you know,
the way I talked, the wayI carry myself, like you know,
it's different than my colleagues. Sothat allowed me to stand out just
off of merit alone and, youknow, saying the things that I've said.
I've said hum sometimes it can beit can be it's challenge, which
I understand because, you know,people are not used to hearing certain things.
You know, it's kind of likethe going on, get along crew,
I'm just gonna just not rubble thefeathers and up, you know,
shake the fence. I'm just goingto I'm not necessarily like that. It's
just not my person. So everyoneis different. So it is we the
go along, get along crew.And again, like you said, you
know, no no shade there,and nothing changes. You know, when
you go along to get along.In my opinion, if you know something
different, if you see, it'slike that whole like if you see something,
say something thing, it's the city. You know, it's the same
thing in all aspects of life.If you go along to get along,
you are essentially contributing to a problem. You know, if you go along
to get along, you are partof you're making the you know, you
could, let me change that.You could have incredible impact in life if
you choose to have the courage tospeak and to say the truth about what's
going on. And that's true inbusiness, as you've just described, it's
true in relationships with people you know, and it's true in families and any
situation. You know, speaking thetruth is the way things change, you
know, and again, that's oneof the things that I have watched you
do and have also admired about you, because you get it out there and
you're just like, listen, ifyou're not working, don't complain. You
know, you like get out thereand do the thing, and people need
to hear, you know, theheart truth sometimes. You know, it's
one thing to you know, totell a person you know, you're fantastic
and everything you do is great andpop up our I don't want to like
ruffle feathers, so I'm not goingto say anything. That's cool, but
you know, there's nothing to that. There's nothing to that. So,
you know, choosing to not justrun with the pack but to really stand
in, you know, the magnificenceof the kingdom that you own, whatever
that is is. You know,there's your role model, and I can
know you can't take that point,but you can't. That's not something that
can be like faith, because youknow, that's something that you have to
make to me twenty four of it. It has to be. I see
you. You. Yes, youknow, I was raised in that fashion.
You know I have a family thatyou got thing skin, a good
luck, good and that. Youknow. My mother is opinionated, my
father's opinionate, my all glue's opinioning, my sister's arm being in headed like
you will have a rough life.And on top of that, you know,
we grew up Brooklyn Right, soyou better not like, you know,
complain about certain things or you know, we didn't stay right. It's
Goin. HMM. You know,it's funny. So I'm actually from Brooklyn
also, and and that was againone of the things I was like,
I know, like a New Yorkvoice and I hear one right and and
I think that that I didn't realizeat the time that because sometimes, you
know, one of the things aboutthe northeastis that people just say what they
have to say and you know,in other parts of the country people would
cringe at it because it's like,why are you saying? You know,
what are you doing? But thereis something to speaking the difference between speaking
truth and just being nasty for thesake of being nasty or not owning your
own shit, you know, andthrowing your shit on somebody else. You
know. So there's something there isthere's love in that, you know,
when you can sit down and havea conversation with someone from your heart and
tell them the truth without tearing themdown to nothing. You know, I
think that's important. So I thinkkeep row but you know, there's a
lot of people that been right toabout of course, you know, the
world doesn't owe you. I understoodthat's rights. That may be, and
you know why if is what itis. And so, you know,
I just had a conversation with somebodyget the day about up standards. You
know, someone said Oh, it'sokay, you know, for guys who
wear through rags but not waving towear bonnets. And it's the same thing.
And I'm reply with us. Whilethere's upstair, there's and both men
and women. What do you say? You know, and if I said,
Oh, you know what, yeah, for the rest of my life,
I want my woman to take careof me, like, if I
post that right now here, likeI will get killed. HMM, you
don't saying so doubles for everyone.So, I mean, it is what
it is. So so you talkingjust because you mentioned that. Bonnets and
do rags, inside or outside?What are we talking about? Outside,
Awesod, okay, okay, outside, in public, like go to the
store something. Okay, I mean, I don't do that. Now let
me refers anymore. I don't know. You're a former drag holder. Oh,
yeah, all day, every day. I'm not going to see him
about. I just don't do that. Yeah, you know, I'll put
on a hat that. Yeah,yeah, I think there's the die.
I agree with you in on amore serious note, about the double standard
thing. You know, I thinksometimes people like create these groups and create
different rules for people within those groups, and that is perpetuating a problem,
you know, and you know I'mnot going to get into the you know,
the I'll take care of you forever. I don't I don't really know
what you mean by that. Iwon't go too deeply into that unless you
want to talk about it, butI will say that, no, I'm
just saying like, if I wasto say that, I don't read that,
but I've always to say that andlike need it. But it's it's
going to be a five stor's gonnabe what, like gross? What are
you talking yeah, yeah, Iget so I get that. And one
of whom say, well, youknow, you get to do it and
it's socially acceptable that. I don'twant to hear that. Nobody is going
to get that at all. Yeah, exactly. So, okay, I
think we all ultimately have to figureout how we're going to contribute to the
world's that we live in, andI think that there is, you know,
there is some not getting too deepinto like male roles, female worlds,
that kind of thing. What Ido absurd is that you can't take
a sense of entitlement and toss itinto any situation, because it's never going
to work. You know, soif you're living your life as an adults
person, believing that other people needto be responsible for you, for your
happiness, for your whatever, thething is, it's unrealistic. It's completely
unrealistic. Now, everything doesn't comedown to a financial transaction. Right,
it's not about, like the takingcare, because the truth of the matter
is is that a lot of timeswe get into relationships because we want to
be taken care of in some way. Right, if I'm in a relationship,
I want my man to take careof me and I'm going to take
care of him, you know.So it's not all about dollars and sense.
It comes down to how people areshowing up to the situations that they're
in. You know, are youshowing up one hundred percent and leaving room
for the other person to show upone hundred percent so that you can wind
up with more than you had before, whether it be, you know,
in a romantic relationship, whether itbeing a friendship or in your family?
When people get allow themselves to bewhen people marginalize the the commodity of our
interaction, our emotional interactions, thenyou wind up with less of everything and
nobody benefits. So, if you'rewalking through life, like I just need
to find somebody, whether you're adude or a woman, if you're if
you're a man or a woman,and you're walking around looking for somebody to
save you from doing the work thatyou need to do for yourself, you're
screwed in Mo always than want togetting all work and then, on top.
That's all I'm saying. That entitlement. It's actually transihoting over to the
space armon, like because now,and I'm just and I'm just talking about
our own people, like being atitled and it's like I hear things such
as we deserve to get from beingbecause, like, we obviously suffered over
Ford. Like I get that part. I'm that that is reserved for fundamental
human basic rights. All Day.I am Lit. You called that we
we can out. I'm behind you. You're talking about business, and you
see, that's something that's has tobe earned, like you got to put
in the work, you got toprove yourself from the market. And we
get these folks that all didn't wantto give us money because we're my aculs,
like no, that I give memoney, because you known't with your
customers, like you write. Whatare you doing, like, what are
you doing? Right? So peoplewant to see that. So its title.
It's just it's rampant today society.So it is, and if a
lot of people about a lot ofthings. You know, and I think,
and I again, that's what oneof the things that I noticed,
you know, perusing you, know, your your handles and kind of observing
you over these last couple of years. I love that you speak to that.
I love that you say and youtell the truth, which is you
want to be an entrepreneur. You'vemade that decision. Don't just sit in
a corporate environment looking out at thegrass being green around the other side without
taking and kind of have this kindof wishful thinking about having a life where
you have the flexibility or the financesor whatever the thing is, without understanding
the work that goes into that.Right, there's something, there's a work
ethic that's involved, there there's athere are sacrifices that are made. You
know, it's not you don't justlike just because someone smiling, you know,
on a selfdoing the Selfie on Instagram, does not mean that they are
successful at what they're doing. Youknow, pay it. You know there's
a lot that's going into that smallthere's a lot that's going into that ability
to go to the beach in themiddle of the day or whatever the heck
it is that that person is doing, and I think that one of the
fallacies that is perpetuated, you know, is Oh, I just I'm going
to become an entrepreneur and I'm goingto like make it in six months,
I'm going to be making a milliondollars, and that's bullshit. That just
is not the truth. It isnot, it is not. Definitely that's
true. Yeah, and you canhave great things happen. Like you know,
there is there are things that arekey, like having your heart in
it, you know, and reallyimmersing yourself in discovering what's happening around you
so that you can build something.And it doesn't have to be hard,
right, but it's simple, butit doesn't have to be hard. And
there is going to take some work. That's going to take, you know,
some effort on your part and action, because with that action it's just
like you sitting around, you know, talking. Yeah, three tips for
any new entrepreneur. Three tips tothe more understand. has about to say
self. Understand, no, haveselfwards. Okay, so where is key.
Going you are, as you know, you're the most likely. You
know what you're skills are skills are? They know what you can be?
Kick do so. Sof awardess.If all of them them in things.
But that's kind of the main thing. So selfaware. It is always be
the student, HM, HM,and and always, if I'm always,
always, always, oh, kid'sdress, this enough. Always do your
audience. Do Your what audits?Your audience? Explain that. So Audit
Yourself, audit from me, auditwhat you want to do, because they
change, life change, and soif your heart is not in it,
then you're no use dad. Sonow. So by audits, you're saying,
by check yourself as you're going inthe process, like how are you
feeling? Is Your heart stilling it? Is this something you want to be
doing? Is this the right workfor yours? Is something that someone else
has told you you should be doing? Like, are you in it or
not? Exactly, because what happensis that, especially nowadays, everyone is
in love with the fact that theycan run their home business right. It's
a it's a specially she that youknow, we get to go to pb
if we get the like sit Mormimosas every day and you know, living
a life is not like that.I don't know who put that together,
but that is not for the fainthearted here. That no, and what
the paradelic action show was who wasreally who was not, because they were.
It was very, very easy forpeople to just say, you know
what, effic like, I've gota lost stuff going on. I'm trying
to figure this out. But therewere people that would consistent, persistent in
what they were doing in their business, even if they did use employees,
even they did lose money, theyfound a way to bounce back and,
you know, couldtribute to their businessan even possible. So that's one of
thing. The paint that show so, but that falls under all so okay.
And then a tip, even ifit's just one, for an entrepreneur
who's in it, who's doing allthe things that you just mentioned, but
it is tired. What do yousuggest for them? Take take take breaks,
as simple as that. I don'tcare if it's thirty minutes, I
don't care if it's an oowerday.Have a day. was just like no,
I'm going to just be a coshmetator. You know something, now,
me personally, like I struggle.I'm like, that sounds great. I
try, I try really, buthow I mask it right? It's because,
you know, now I fitness goalson Johnny's weight. So now goes
to the gym in the morning everyday. Sometimes I'll do twice a day
and then I'll go on Saturday morningand play little basketball and they that'll kind
of get on mine off for thingsand then I'm like to you know,
don't want, I need to dotake breaks. For you, kid.
It might be half a day,like the hour, might be thirty minutes,
but take breaks much as you canso that way you have the energy
to push forward. said it foryou to just you know, if you're,
let's say today in a gatting meetingslike from like nine to one,
okay, and your next one isat thirty, as it's at one o'clock,
instead of just taking els ten minutes. You know, if you're in
the house, Hey, going toroom and close your eyes for thirty minutes,
or you know, if you dosomething else or play around on youtube
or something, right time to takethat need you like yourself, you're allowed
that. So Bo that's what Igive your brain and rest, because if
you you can't you know, youwant to kind of open and expand,
and that's really you know, beingan entrepreneur is also a very creative process
endeavor, and so you really wantto give your brain and all of you
a moment to just kind of stopso that you can expand your capacity to
receive new downloads and new information andnew strategic thinking and that kind of thing.
I have another question for you abouttruth telling. So it seems.
It seems that you bet your thingright, that's your jam and it comes
very naturally to you. There aresome people who, going back to what
we were talking about before, youknow people who kind of go along to
get along. What is your tipfor a person who, for whom that
isn't, you know, something thatcomes natural, like the person who's not
comfortable speaking the truth? Do youhave any tips for that person? No,
well, I really don't know right, but because he is the thing.
A lot of people here like thewhat they're supposed to do right,
and one of the things that Itry to do is like what you're doing
with the with the businesses that you'rein and with we the plug. It's
all about showing how right and sosometimes we do things because it just comes
naturally to us, right, andthe folks who want to be in that
space and who want to levery toyou as a role model are helped sometimes
by knowing, like, okay,let's kind of let's break down the strategy
that you use for speaking the truth. Well, that's easier said that done,
and I'm going to tell you whyI'm going to cast down. Yeah,
so it's about a mindset, right, and it's when you're dealing with.
So, first off, let mejust say this because I think it
is important. Obviously I'M NOT FORLA team. So there's a lot of
things that even myself, even nogrowing up and the new are Brooklyn lending
projects. There's some things that I'mnot pretty too, because I'm technically not
African American, you know, andyou know, as the number saying,
you know, almost eighty percent ofblack folks that are born America or to
say apparent household. You know,I'm not in that percent time, you
know. And so there's a lotof things that even to this day,
I'm not pretty to h and somy parents took me a certain way.
I only knew like go hard,go home, like that kind of stuff.
Like, yeah, I'm very asan adult now. It's funny because
I was a rebel could younger,but now I'm I'm very, you know,
old school kind of guy, likeme in many ways. And so
taking that, you know, thatunderstanding that the keys of the community.
A lot of times, if thechurch right, and you know, and
that's one of the things that Istruggle with it, you know, living
year like its ego where it's like, okay, that's nice, but let's
put some actual like conversations to whatwe're doing. And so I would go
on. He sprints about I don'tunderstand and it took me a while too,
and you know, other people arelike put subside. It was like
Hey, we like let me,let me put out the whole picture feedom
and once I understood the whole picture, I was like, Oh, I
get it. I still don't agree, but I get it. I got
have a much more understanding of howthe community works. So I would joke.
I will joke and say hey,you know, if I want to
do good community work, like,I'm not going to go get commission from
Folks Baby Church to do that,like and so people laugh, but the
running jokers, that's what people willdo their work church, actually biship for
community to ask mineze. I'm leavingthat like just go and do it,
do the work and if it's good, you know, people will eventually recognize
you to show over each so alot of that I had to understand.
And so I would run into GoldBo and so, since I didn't know
how to be and like not aroundBush, just to say straightforward, you
know, I try to get involvedwith the local organizations, etcetera, etcetera,
and I was hitting a wall.So not understanding that. So I
know it's a lot of people.They like the I guess they indirect conversations
and that's I'm not used to that. I'm used to just tell me what
it is, whether it's good,bad or different. I can do once
I understand it, that I knowhow to move right. So I'm I
work much better that way then workingat mystery. Just, yeah, answer
the question, but I think we'regetting there. I don't know if I
really don't know how to answer thatquestion, because that's the only way I
know how to be. And youknow, people that are they're not,
I guess, privy to really thetruth for I don't I don't know.
I just I don't. I don'tknow, Simon, you can, maybe
you can help me out. Idon't know. Okay, because you see,
you actually raise another point that Iwant to get back to. All
right, so how about this?So you're sitting in the room right and
you are noticing that there are nota lot of people of color in the
room. So you get up,you have this conversation with this gentleman and
the person asks you something about yourperspective on the event. I think is
what you said. And then whathappened next? So, like, what
did you was there anything that happenedin that moment that led you to just
speak the truth about the fact thatwhy did you say that there's not a
lot of black representation in the room, like what happened inside? Because I
wanted them to know. I guessthat the worn enough black folks in there
for whatever reason. Does he askme my thoughts? You know, I
give him my thoughts that I waskind of point when it was that he's
a my boughs. This is great. However, there's not enough black people
trying to figuret what's up with thath and you know see where we went
after that. But he could havewalked away could be like, I don't
know, but uh, okay,but you know, it was just what
I was thinking at the time andI think nothing of it. I think
that's the how. The how isyou could have had a whole conversation with
yourself, right. So that's adifference between having a conversation from your heart
and not having a conversation from yourheart. So option to could have been
that you decided, like you knewwhat your truth was, you knew what
your thoughts were about what was happeningin the room, and you could have
either spoken the truth about it andsaid, well, this is what's going
on, or you could have secondguessed yourself, talked yourself out of speaking
the truth, edited it and saidand gone along to get along and said,
hey, it's all good, itwas great, great, you know,
I love the croissants, you know, and kept it moving right and
then right, you could have.And then that other person would walk away
having received a lie, you know, and or not getting something that he
was thinking validated, which could havebeen like, I don't know, what
is this black man think about?You know what's happening here? Right,
I'm gonna tell you the real deal. It was the manner which he asked
okay, and that running along likehe's not saying that just to have a
conversation. So she was somebody.I don't know what that somebody was.
I thought eventually, well, okay, matter which he asked me. So
automatically was like, oh, he'ssomebody. I don't know what what it's
doing, somebody. So since he'ssomebody, I don't put this in you.
There you go. Okay, okay. So the lesson in this,
you know, just thinking about thepeople who are listening in the lesson in
this is speak you truth. Speakyour truth and don't spend so much time
over editing yourself that you miss anopportunity to speak your truth and affect change
in a positive direction. And sothat doesn't necessarily mean to use that time
to say, you know, Yo, I hate your blah, blah,
blah. You know, you know, you want to kind of like,
you know, have some you know, read the room and when you have
an opportunity to speak the truth,speak your truth. When you're in a
relationship with someone and they say,how are you feeling of what's going on,
speak your truth, because that isthe way you may not get the
result that you're looking for necessarily,but you can't fall to situation when you
haven't shown up one hundred percent withyour truth. So you have zero chance
of changing it. Had you walkedaway and said everything's cool, thank you,
piece out, you would have hadzero chance of changing you chose to
speak it, which gave you atleast a shot. Yeah, yeah,
you know, that's that's the lessonright there. Yeah, by it,
I was telling with you want those, you don't ask me. Don't ask
me. HMM, just leave meout of it, because you ask,
I'm going to answer your question.Yeah, you may not like it.
And Yeah, you know, moretimes than not, people you know,
for example, actually, this isa it's a great example. So I
a situation where something so I havea friend, right, and she owned
the company just fish back and shewas in talks with a nonprofit about the
services, okay, transporting kids inthat no profit, and so the deal
felt. It felt through. Aweek later that no profit was one of
the news. Okay, because theyso they they were partnered with the Police
Department of open and you might haveremembered the story. I don't. You
might have not, but this iswhat right, two years ago, okay,
they partnered with like think the countysheriff's Department or the local police department.
Nonetheless, it took kids from southin San Diego and took them out
on the beach there out something.I think it was either cause bad or
was one of the beach out there. Okay, and it's riding on the
yellow school bus like warm kids.They was smart enough to take the shutters
bus, you know, the busthat transports inmates from one prison to another.
So I decided to use that raresmart, smart. So you're going
to put a bunch of black andthe span of kids in there and you're
going to drop them off right infront of the beach, you know,
where these white kids and these parentsand they're just thinking, you know,
these are criminals off of recess.Wow, it's just a it was a
bad look all round. I missed. I did not hear that story.
Yeah, you look it up inyour I'm sure I'll come up. And
so the community got mad at thepolice for doing so. They were like
how could you do this? Youand I was in the camp. Well,
why Y'all? Looking at them,which I need to look that is
these parents that allowed that and theorganization that you that you keep sending your
kids to, about looking at them, you know, for account a bit
because of somebody that is leading thatorganization had the sign that off sign,
right, right. So you're worryingabout non, forget the police. No,
because it was free. You thoughtit was a good idea. Right.
So when I said this is whatI mean and community has losing mentality,
I did you like people, Ican say, because I'm sorry,
I forgot one point. Forgive me, I miss one part of story.
The woman that they're my colleague,that they were negotiating with, that deal
fell through. She had a cowfunding campaign for her company to Rand's money,
and nobody. She went to thosesame individuals and they did not get
you one buying to a cow fundingcampaign. But then this happens. So
then I'm that's why I said whatI said, because you're talking about supporting
black businesses and all this good stuff. You didn't do it and as a
result, this is what happened.This is on you, and of course
people didn't see it that and I'mjust like, and this is why,
you know, we're going to bein last place because of things like this.
Yeah, but I get out ofthat is again it's more of the
discovery, like life is about discovery, and so don't just take things you
know and go to the easy place. You know and I have spoken about
and have issues with. I don'twant to get too deep into, you
know, what's happening with the policeand black people in this country or people
of Color. What I will sayis that they are like the easy targets.
And then there's the personal accountability andresponsibility that we need to take for
our lives, for our children,for the experience that we're having, for
the ways that we approach things,and to go to that first forward facing
organization and not take a couple ofsteps back to say I made the decision
to just let this organization randomly takemy kids and put them on an inmate
bus or whatever you call that thing. And you know, there's some accountability
there. And so sometimes when we'retrying to like run away from that,
we try to point fingers at otherpeople. But you got to own your
own shit, you got to ownyour own life, you got to own
your own tribe and you got tomanage your own kingdom and Queendom, and
the way to do that is tomake yourself is to be willing to be
one hundred percent accountable for what's happeningin your world. Right, you can't
have your hands in every single thing, but be accountable and responsible, accountable
for what's happening in your world,even when things are screwed up, because
until we're willing to do that,we're all just going to go along to
get along. You got a question? Yeah, and I'm believe it or
not, that's the beauty of entrepreneurshipbecause, guess what, there's nobody else
to turn to. Write. Youcan't. Yeah, I miss you.
Can't blame that. It's all onyou. You're yeah. So there are
days where I'm like I'm so freakingtired, blah, blah, blah,
and I'm like yeah, I gottatalk to that person. I report to
that person's me. You know,this isn't working or whatever. It's me,
it's nobody else, and so that'swhat is, like you said,
you know, so wonderful about entrepreneurship, and I believe, and I believe
eventually that's why people don't because it'sthat it's me. I can't. That's
too much. It's easier, damto say hey, like such as such,
I mean reports to this person,and it's very easy to do that,
as opposed to just look at embarrassthat I didn't do this. So
this is why this didn't happen rightright. And here's the thing at you
know, as I worked in corporatefor a long time before becoming an entrepreneur,
like fifteen years ago, and thereis I've worked really hard as an
entrepreneur and I worked really hard workingfor other people, you know. And
so when and you it's a there'sa mindset that tells you that you can
work hard for yourself and have goodresults. You know, and and what
I'm sorry, my words are likeI'll jumbled up in my head right now.
What I'm saying is is that halffaith and confidence in yourself. Have
Faith and confidence that what you docan turn out in the right way,
in the same way that you blindlytake on the projects, the you know,
the things that working for other peopleput you into. The lack of
resources, all of that, thepolitics, all those things. A lot
of people work within those really challengingenvironments, but then in support of other
people's agenda and then they're unwilling todo it for themselves. So do the
work for yourself. Yeah, youknow to do that. Yeah, and
that's why I get so cool agitatedwhen there's people that speak upon the actions
of someone else and they're not they'renot doing their part or play any role
in the solution. Right, youtell you problem. That's great, but
what's solution? What are we goingto do? Yeah, and people to
play the sidelines and not commenting,and it's just like look, silence,
there's no sweat on your brow.Stay over there least. So, Louise,
thank you. I know you're reallybusy and I thank you. Thank
you for walking the journey of thisconversation with me. I really appreciate it
and I really appreciate you for beinga brother, showing up and doing this
thing and speaking the truth and helpingother people, you know, and helping
your own journey. So I Ireally want to thank you for that.
I appreciate it. This has beena fantastic conversation like wise as well.
Yeah, one of the things thatI really love about this podcast project is
that it gives me the opportunity tospeak with seemingly ordinary people about the extraordinary
things that they're up to on thisplanet. And what I really love is
that, while you all know Iam an entrepreneur, I'm in that space
and I'm all about that. There'sa human being beneath all of the things
that we're doing, being in theway that they're choosing to be, and
so that, for me, isthe real joy in having these conversations.
I hope that you enjoyed this discussionthat I had with Louis Martinez and I
look forward to sharing with you againnext week.