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Capitalist Sage: MARTA and Business, with Eric Christ and Paige Havens



MARTA Referendum How it Works for Business hosts Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini having a conversation with Eric Christ and Paige Havens looking for their Sage advice and perspective.

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Capitalist Sage: Building a Brick n Mortar Retail Business Based on Healthy Living [Podcast]



Press Blend Squeeze

You may not think much of eating your fruits and vegetables, but Matt Scott, CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze and our guest on this episode of the Capitalist Sage has something to say about eating healthy. After prolonging his father’s life through diet and nutrition, he went on to open up his health food business to keep his community healthy too. Join Karl, Rico, and Matt
as they discuss just exactly how he has worked his way into the health food business.

Social Media:
Website: https://www.pressblendsqueeze.com/
Email: Info@PressBlendSqueeze.com

“As much as people know or don’t know you could really change the way that you feel, not only physically, emotionally. And so we changed his diet and instead of the five month diagnosis we had him for over five years through food. So literally from that, I felt a calling to put together a strategic business plan on how can we change and save lives through food. So that’s literally our mission at Press, Blend, Squeeze, that’s to save lives through food.”

Matthew Scott

Podcast Transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:48] Good. Good.

Karl: [00:00:49] Any sponsors today for the podcast?

Rico: [00:00:53] Well, Atlanta Tech Park is a major sponsor. We’re in their podcast studio, so Atlanta Tech Park here in the city of Peachtree Corners in Tech Park. It’s an accelerator just down the block from and right on the road of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. So this is one and a half mile autonomous vehicle track. For those that don’t know, it’s the only one of its kind in the Southeast and to some degree, the only open live living at lab, if you will, in North America or other States in the United States. So lots of things going on, and I’m looking forward to doing this episode.

Karl: [00:01:30] Absolutely. One of the other nice things is it is powered by 5g, Sprint’s 5g system here, so that if you have a company that wants to be on that higher speed internet mobility, internet system, you can work out of Atlanta at their park or others. Do test here. Run that. So just a great hub of technology right here in Peachtree Corners. Today we’d like to introduce our guest Matthew Scott, founder and CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze Cafe and Juice Bar. I guess it’s a, it’s a local juice cafe, juice bar that opened up in the forum. There’s a couple of them here in the Metro Atlanta area, and we’re going to talk about starting and building a retail business focused on the healthy food movement. We know that everyone has been trying to get healthy and we see folks trying different types of diets, trying different types of alternative to the traditional fast food. And we found really interesting your approach and taking a look at this market and being an entrepreneur and trying to build one. So we want to talk a little bit about your journey in doing that. Matt, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Matt: [00:02:50] No, absolutely. And guys, thanks very much for having me. I really appreciate it. You know, before two years ago, I was not in this business. So I was in corporate America for about 15 years, both from significant leadership roles in fortune 500 companies down to startup companies and taking them public all in high growth areas. And I saw an opportunity here and you know, it’s kinda like how most people get brought to changing their diets. It’s when you get punched in the face. And so myself, my dad looked at me and he was given five months to live. From the doctor told me that he had stage four esophageal cancer. And he was my best friend. And I’m sure like I did, like the rest of us would do and say, well, what can we do about that? What, what, you know what, what options do we have? And, you know, so diet is an extremely. Strong portion of influence into everyone’s life. As much as people know or don’t know you could really change the way that you feel, not only physically, emotionally and so we changed his diet and instead of the five month diagnosis we had him for over five years through food. So

literally from that, I felt a calling to put together a strategic business plan on how can we change and save lives through food. So that’s literally our mission at Press, Blend, Squeeze, that’s to save lives through food. And we do that multiple ways and we could get into that a little bit on, on, on that as we go forward. But that’s what we’re trying to do. We had the opportunity, I’m glad that you noted that, It’s just starting out here, down here in Atlanta. We had the opportunity, we were living in Chicago when we started this business, and we could have put this anywhere in the United States that we wanted to put it. Because we moved back to Atlanta to put it here. We saw a significant void in the Atlanta market in comparison to other areas of the country from a quick service, healthy restaurant and juice bar. If you’re driving around Peachtree Corners, there’s not that many options that you’re going to be able to get to. And people thank me each day for opening up and we’re truly seeing the snowball going downhill right now. From people, you know, grabbing on, we actually took over an old juice bar there, but people, it was out and closed for I think almost a year. And so we took it over. And so people are just beginning to realize that we’re back in there and, and they’re very thankful for it.

Karl: [00:05:52] So I can ask the question around you know, your background. Did you have a food background when you started thinking about nutrition background? Tell me a little bit about your background and, and how it helped you, you know, come up with the concept.

Matt: [00:06:07] Yeah, sure. So food background and if you call it this when I was putting myself in high school through college, I had the privilege of going to work for a quick service restaurant. That was the first location of then soon to be broadly franchised restaurant. So I was a hard worker. They brought me in and they allowed me to be one of their lead trainers and opener of new locations. So I got some good experience on how to take a model and replicate it and open it you know in, in a new location and to train the staff. In addition from a food customer service aspect, I worked in restaurants going through college to make Money. So I, I dealt with customers, delivered customer service, was able to take orders attentively and, and give that customer level of customer service in the food industry. But as far as you know being knowledgeable in the space, I was I consider myself a relatively healthy eater. I was always an active in sports physical working out and exercise. And, and so I would eat healthy, but my knowledge increased via doing my due diligence over the web and talking to industry professionals, doctors, nutritionists, et cetera. Once I started looking into it for my dad.

Karl: [00:07:46] So what, what, what most people don’t really understand about the food choices they make and how are you able to, to help modify your dad’s diet. What were some of the changes that you saw really have an impact?

Matt: [00:08:00] Sure. So after my father passed the, I, I was a little bit anxious. I said, doc, you know, my dad was 67. I got two young kids like this, you know, help me out here. And he said, you know, your father’s cancer was not genetic. It was not hereditary. Because there’s three things proven to fight cancer, and that’s eating clean, eating green, and exercise. So, you know, reality is, is that a majority of Americans, I would voucher to say that the majority of people in the world don’t eat enough green vegetables. Green vegetables that basic biology, it has

chlorophyll and photosynthesis, and that’s what gives your cells energy. It also allows your cells to reproduce, gives them the strength to reproduce at a high level. And so cancer feeds on deficient cells. So if you’re in, and this is, this is part of what extent am I, my dad’s life is by having cells that are strong and can defend themselves. Cancer got nowhere to live. I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of people being able to overcome cancer and become cancer free. And some of that’s through killing, you know, radiation and killing all those cancer cells. But that kills all the good with the bad. So if you do some research people have become cancer free through diets. And so greens are that prominent thing.

Karl: [00:09:42] And you know one question along that. Why don’t people eat more green? It’s here, here in the U.S., here in Georgia. What’s, what’s holding us back?

Matt: [00:09:49] Okay. So let’s be real. It is accessibility. It is convenience. Our lives are not going to get any slower. Our lives are not gonna get any less busy. and the food that we have at our disposal. Is a convenience factor. And it’s gotten to the place where the food industry is a business rather than a need. So you know, when we were all, go back 200 years in the United States and we’re farmers and gatherers and everything we ate to survive. Now, people, the food is a business. They’re trying to make it. What do you do in a business? If you’re not going to grow from a volume standpoint, you’re going to try to make it less expensive. And so the majority of food choices at our disposal are from large businesses that are trying to make food cost-effectively.

Karl: [00:10:56] So is this part of the movement that makes like Whole Foods, Sprouts, these types of places? Cause you know, on one hand you see these, these places that are popping up everywhere. So the, there is, for those that they can access it. They’re still not making the choice whether the, you are, you’re in a supermarket, they’re not building diets around fruits and vegetables and increasing the amount of greens in there.

Matt: [00:11:23] Well I would, I would be careful because the fastest growing segment of the supermarket is organic vegetables. If you’re looking at all the areas.

Rico: [00:11:33] I mean, I can see when I go to H Mark, for example, and you go to an Asian supermarket, you will see a big area of vegetables. When you go to a Walmart, only recently have they increased it a little bit and only in those areas where they’re competing with an H Mart or something along those lines. So Americans still are not consuming. You’ll find South Americans use farm communities that are first generation, maybe American. They’re still consuming that. But as they get further away from that generation they’re going back to the processed stuff, they’re going back to the easy stuff.

Karl: [00:12:09] I mean, when you think about it and growing up in New York, how many fruit stands you would go to fresh if you’re in Brooklyn picking avenues. And the city…

Rico: [00:12:23] Tomato, tomato is the big one over there.

Karl: [00:12:23] All of these places that, that had that. And so yeah, accessibility made it easier for people to get fresh, good quality, healthy, healthy food choices. And, and so as part of that, the shifted in parts of the country where, where that tradition wasn’t there and it was more based on supermarkets, they were, where they can control. What people are selecting is, is impacting that.

Matt: [00:12:51] Yeah, I agree. It’s so, it’s accessibility. It’s knowledge. So you know, people say, Oh yeah, I like to eat healthy, but they don’t necessarily know what that means. So like it’s, it’s being able to, to truly understand, you know, even my father, you know, he would even joke to me and be like, Oh, I’m eating an organic banana. And I’m like, well, you don’t have to eat an organic banana. The skin on the banana protects the banana, like so, so like it’s the knowledge of you know how to do it. But it’s also, there is so much of an emotional, psychological, it’s almost reactive because we’re so busy. So all of a sudden instead of it, you know, you being conscious about what you’re eating, your brain goes, Oh, I’m hungry. And. The reality is, is studies show that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. And what you can find is in majority of that quick service food that you have an emotional reaction that says, I’ve waited so long, I’m starving. Now I need to go get something to eat. Let me pull over into this drive through. I’m almost certain than almost any option that you choose there has sugar in it, high fructose corn syrup in it. And, and, and so your body reacts. And there’s, there’s a, an emotional receptiveness that goes off in your brain, that says that.

Rico: [00:14:18] You brought something up that really, and I haven’t seen this, and then it doesn’t make sense to me now that you’re talking about this, is that you have Starbucks, you have Dunkin donuts. The majority of what they sell is true through that drive through. You’ll never see a Starbucks without, without a drive through. But there was one that I remember, there was located somewhere and they asked and they got a rezoning, so then they were able to have a drive through through that one because that was the only way to save that store. And I have yet to see it think a drive through juicing bar. And it doesn’t take long to, to create it. It’s just as long to critical lotta. I think in a, in a Dunkin, not sure. So I haven’t seen that and that we talk about how easy, if that was easy, if I could drive through that, I probably would get that over something else.

Matt: [00:15:06] I’m sure. People ask for it all the time. It’s, it’s absolutely on the radar as far as like convenience. Now what I would say is that it because a lot of times you’re making it to order. It’s not going to be necessarily the speed of others. But you know.

Rico: [00:15:28] I’d wait there for a minute. I mean, it doesn’t take long for, depends on the process.

Matt: [00:15:33] Yeah, no, it’s, it’s absolutely on the radar. We’ve, we’ve discussed it. We’ve looked at locations. We’re not there yet as far as, you know, but it is on the radar. And I’ve had a lot of people bring up the convenience factor. So it goes back to three things. It goes back to

convenience. It goes back to knowledge, and it goes back to emotional, kind of reactions and, and, and addictions to sugar. And, and I even go to people, the, the, the misunderstanding that healthy can’t taste good. So a lot of people kind of coined. I used to have people come into our Dunwoody location and the, the wife and the kids would order something and the husband was there and I said, Hey, you know, can I get you something? He goes, I don’t eat healthy. And I said, well, hold on. Like, what? What, what does that mean? I was like I was like, you don’t like guacamole? No, no. I like guacamole. And I go, well, hold on. Can we get you some, a Turkey wrap with some, some hummus and some roasted peppers and some, you know balsamic glaze on it, man, it sounds really good. And then, you know, I’d say, well how about PB and J smoothie tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but doesn’t have any sugar in it, but it’s really good. Oh, I like PB and Js. Avocado toast, soup. Like they’re like, Oh man. And then they eat it and then they go, man, this is really good. I go, I guess you eat healthy. Like, so it’s that coined a misconception of it’s true, healthy can taste good.

Rico: [00:17:14] And you also have food though, right?

Matt: [00:17:15] Oh, we do. Yeah.

Rico: [00:17:16] See now that didn’t, and I know that vaguely you have food there, I haven’t been into the store yet. But I would not realize that. I think if I was passing by would think juice point. I wouldn’t think food just that. But you do have a menu though?

Matt: [00:17:30] Absolutely. We do about 50% of our business in food, we do a ton of catering. One of our biggest growth pillars is in corporate catering. You know, when I was in corporate America eating the same, we would cater probably three to four times a week for lunch. And it was kind of from a rotation. And, you know, I’d get a pizza. I could tell you I’m probably going to get pizza. I can tell you, I might get a fried chicken sandwich for breakfast. And you know, I might get Mexican or some type of Southwestern and majority of those after I ate them I was ready for my couch. And corporations are realizing this and, and they’re actually like. You know, some of the large corporations and the reasons why we chose these locations are strategically positioned to align with those corporations. So like Newell Rubbermaid further snack attack on a quarterly basis caters 600 as eyeballs from us IHG regularly for their executives. I’m actually in February, I’m going down and meeting with the CEO’s executive assistant, and she has 14 people that report up to her, that schedule for hundreds of people, but we’re giving them a tasting of our lunch. I mean, so we have these large corporations that are not only providing lunch for their employees, but they’re being more conscious of what they’re providing because it’s actually leading to productivity. Like they, they, you know, they’re, they’re going back and not trying to, you know, relax at their desk.

Karl: [00:19:19] No, I was going to say, I remember doing meetings and corporate training around the world for, for years, and we’d have four or five days of, you know, catered and meals and so on. And we would always, I would actually ask for certain menus on certain days because what happens right after lunch and they come back in and that energy drop.

So we would actually specifically pick activities and exercise right after lunch, which had movement. Kind of wake people up because those heavy lunches, they’d come in with pasta and folks would be ready to go to snooze town and, but, but even having options that gave energy boost you. The afternoon snack break would have muffins and donuts and cakes and cookies. And we started shifting to nuts and try and start a team that shift. But that was my two choices there. There wasn’t a menu of stuff that people could do on that break time. that helps boost that productivity that, that you were mentioning. So, so, so I think that’s, that’s, that’s something that’s seeing, that’s happening in the market.

Rico: [00:20:27] Also, we were talking a little bit before the show before you showed up, and we were talking about how it’s Amazon proof almost. You can’t ship, you can’t ship certain things. You still gotta eat, you still can’t go out that way. But how, how do you find the challenge of doing, you opened a brick and mortar store? You didn’t have to build it, obviously it was built out and you’re there.

Matt: [00:20:49] We build out our last one, our first one. Yeah.

Rico: [00:20:51] So how do you find that? How do you in a world where people are shifting away to Amazon ordering, like I said, over Amazon proof. Or Uber, Ubereats, Dash, Door Dash and stuff like that. How do you find that? How did you find it opening up a place like that? That’s not a franchise essentially.

Karl: [00:21:12] You chose brick and mortar and retail location to deliver this concept. What were you thinking? How do you, how do you, how do you make that decision?

Matt: [00:21:22] So when I experienced the benefits of what we provided, like, and I would encourage anybody that listens to this podcast, I’d encourage you guys go in and grab a juice, go grab a roots and fruits, which is a juice that has some beets in it and has a little bit of orange and ginger. Tell me how you feel in 30 minutes. Dynamically different than anything that you’ve ever eaten or drinking or drank from any other place. So, you know, the reason or how I did that is said, man, this is amazing, you know?

Rico: [00:22:07] But, but how did you find, how did you develop the idea into a business? I mean, how you, you had to open a brick and mortar. What did you fit. You know, buying equipment, the ingredients. How, what’s the actionable side of that?

Karl: [00:22:22] The rest of their business. Often the products, the product and the need is clear and you’re matching those two up, but you’re running a business, right. And it takes, it takes a bunch of things coming together.

Rico: [00:22:33] And this is the second location, right? That you have. So you’re working towards either a chain of them or franchising at some point? How is that working? Doing that?

Matt: [00:22:41] So, so again, I go back to my experience. I was part of a startup. When, when, when we’re, when I was at a startup, we wear many hats. I got recruited actually I should say when I was part of Rubbermaid and my initial job was for a division that started around 30 million. And I got put into at a young age, I’m blessed. And, and believed in by a president and a mentor that gave me significant responsibility to take that 30 million of vision, gave me a significant amount of budget. The ability to strategically put the Strat plan together and grow that business within four years to 150 million globally. I got tapped out of Rubbermaid and recruited out of Rubbermaid to go be part of the largest office products company in the world. And then they brought me in with a pipeline funnel of zero, and they said, we brought you in here because your skillset is different and in the need of nothing that we have internally. And they tap me. And within two years we had a sales funnel of over 150 million in the pipeline. And I had a team of eight, you know, rolling up to me. And so I wrote those trap plans. I built those trap lines. So the way that I did this was I treated this, I said, Hey, there’s an opportunity. Let me, let me develop this business as I would develop any other business. So I went and sourced out partners. I went and did my research on how other competitors were running. I identified machinery that we needed. I put together the menu. I oversaw all the marketing. And I mean, like we, we’ve had wildly success in two years. That, that I like feel so good about, I mean, and blessed honestly, we get like almost 9,000 unique people that have come into our store and given us their telephone number and said, Hey, we are okay with you contacting us, here’s our telephone number. We want to be part of your membership program. Like, I don’t see businesses that are like national brands even, you know, doing that in, in single locations and stuff. So, so we’ve been putting the right strategy around the business to, to have a performance or whether I have experience or not, I treated it like any other business or any other product line and I was about to grow and, and put the…

Rico: [00:25:26] Any challenges that you’d like to share that you’ve overcome?

Matt: [00:25:28] Yeah, I mean, we all got challenges. But I would say, you folks that are entrepreneurs is, be careful of your blind spots. We all have, we all, we all have things that we overlook. You know, one of the biggest hurdles is going from one to two. So as an entrepreneur, you’re at that location. You’re there, you’re, you’re, you’re a part of that location. Yeah, you can’t cut yourself in half. So you know, I would say you know, put the process in place, you know, and just because, you know, the process, operational efficiency and, and that’s something that we had to build out. And, and it’s, you know, a continuous work in progress.

Karl: [00:26:29] So I, I would, I think, I think what you’re describing though is. You know, a theme across big corporations or small business, and it’s the question of scaling. I’m doing it once. It could have been lucky. Right time, right place. Stars align. A thousand reasons why you’re able to achieve success. And sometimes it’s brilliance and hard work. But to replicate it in another location. What are some of the things that would, you know, knowing what you know now, you would, you would advise someone going, thinking of doing, you know, multiple, like what would be things they can put in place that would ease that transition, right? To grow?

Matt: [00:27:13] I probably, we say to people to create a network, right? Because we’re all good at something and we’re all not good at everything. So by having a network of, a sounding board or afforded a trusted board of advisors, it allows you to be stronger in areas that you’re weak. So it allows individuals that might be able to be stronger in certain areas to help you strengthen, sharpen, or have a visible blind spot.

Karl: [00:27:54] I think, I think you’re hitting on something. If you’ve seen many successful people and they talk about this success, there’s usually a network of advisors they have. Even if you look at a large corporation, they’ve got a board of directors, nonprofit governing boards. There are these folks that serve multiple functions. One is to hold a mirror up to you and say, Hey, you know, I know what you’re saying and seeing, but here’s what I’m seeing and here’s things you may not notice. May, may help with the blind spot. They have wisdom and advice to give in the area that you may have the expertise to be able to do that. Third, they can help hold you accountable if you said you were going to do something, if you’re the boss who’s gonna, who’s gonna challenge you, if you decide, ah, we’ll do that next month. But, but, but if you have that advisory group, they, they can be in a position to hold, hold you accountable for them. And the last one is some of the networks that that affords you. they know people that might help you be more successful. And it’s one of the things we often see entrepreneurs struggling with. They eventually build it. We were talking earlier about these groups that do that. But they may have got 15 years of pain in before they realize, man, if I only knew someone that knew about payroll and what can happen if I mess that up.

Rico: [00:29:15] It’s like anything else in life. If you’re a writer or you’re a sports person. Everyone thinks you’re an overnight success, but it took you those years of pain to be able to get there. And most people don’t want that. They want to be able to see success. And maybe you get that advice from that successful person or that team of people to help you get there.

Karl: [00:29:35] Absolutely.

Matt: [00:29:35] Yeah. I’ve been, I’ve been really fortunate and blessed for the people in that have come into my life and, and you know what? A lot of times people have the desire to help people, you know? Sometimes you just have to ask for it. Other times you just, you have to go look for it. But, but people want to help people. And, and so you know, entrepreneurs often like to think they have to do everything themselves. And, and that’s something that an additional piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs is, you’re no good to anyone if you’re burnt out. So give yourself some space and give your team some trust.

Karl: [00:30:24] No, I agree. I said, the one thing you can’t manufacture and create more is time. And so there’s only so much time that an individual has, and as you grow a business, it actually requires more time very often. And if you don’t build a team to support, it supports you to be able to do that. It makes that a, a challenge. So tell me a little bit about what you got going on next. What’s next for the company and for you?

Matt: [00:30:50] So for a, happy new year to you guys, 2020, it’s going to be a great year. We are gangbusters into new year’s cleanse programs. So it is the best way to reset your palate, control your addiction to sugar, get you jump started into your nutritional needs. It’s amazing the results that we see. We’ve been doing this for over two years. People come back re-energized, they sleep better, their skin’s better. And this is in three days. They, last time I did a cleanse, I lost eight pounds. I hear that over and over again. But you’re refreshed, you’re rejuvenated, and then crazy enough you might think, Oh yeah, I’m you know, after three days I’ll be ready to eat a cheeseburger. You know what? You’re not like, you’re ready to go down the road of, you know having that healthy palate, that healthy diet, and it’s, it’s crazy what it does for you. So that’s, that’s number one. Number two, I would ask any business within this kind of Metro Atlanta area to give us a chance at catering. Everybody has a need one time or another, probably in the next couple of weeks. I’m sure every single business has one lunch that they’re going to be looking to serve to multiple people. Give us a chance, put us in there. And, and, and I think you’re going to love it. I think you’re gonna enjoy it. And I want to be talking to you about your second order. So give us a catering opportunity because it’s a, it’s, it’s totally an awesome experience. And we got resoundingly reviews and feedback from it. So we’d love to work with people.

Karl: [00:32:34] Awesome. I’m glad. Well, located in the Forum your first location is where…

Matt: [00:32:41] It’s in Dunwoody Village. So where the Fresh Market is, or if you know where Village Burger is, or if you know where the post office is down there, so it’s in Dunwoody village, which is getting rejuvenated as well. So that’s kind of exciting.

Karl: [00:32:55] How can folks reach, you learn more online. social media.

Matt: [00:32:59] So we got thousands of followers on Instagram and which is @PressBlendSqueeze. The location here has Press, Blend, Squeeze at Peachtree Corners. Facebook Press, Blend Squeeze. If anybody wants to shoot me an email, if they have questions about a cleanse Info@PressBlendSqueeze.com comes directly to me. I see them all. I’d love to do a group cleanse. We’re doing it with a lot of gyms. So we had, last week, we had like 70 days of cleanses go out. And, and so this next week we’re partnering with another gym here in this area. And, and we have a couple more on the radars. So it’s, it’s time. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your energy, but do it to feel better. So it’s, it’s pretty cool.

Karl: [00:33:56] Well, I want to thank you very much for being our guest today. Our guest, Matt Scott, CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze, for your time today and sharing part of your journey and, and inspiring others that may be thinking about making a change in their career and their life. And finding ways to do it in a way that’s aligned to something that you’re passionate about. Being healthy and how to, how to solve this problem where folks can’t find it as convenient to get nutritional greens into their, into their bodies that they can. So we really appreciate your joining us for that. We also wanna thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting us every time we have one of our episodes here to Capitalist Sage Podcast. If you’re starting a business and looking

for a great environment to come and work and be around people that are going on this entrepreneurial journey along the way with you, it’s a great way to build network. Entrepreneurs sometimes can be a very lonely endeavor. So having other founders and makers and, and business leaders to collaborate with is, is really, is really powerful. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult on your business, whether you’re looking to improve or grow the business, or you’re looking to exit or start a business. You can contact any one of our agents to be able to help you with that are available at ​www.TransworldBusinessAdvisors.com/AtlantaPeachtree​. And Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on and going to the next couple of weeks.

Rico: [00:35:32] Sure, so I run Mighty Rockets. We’re a social media online company. We provide content branding and whether it’s on LinkedIn or Instagram and soon to be Tick-Tock, cause there is a market out there and believe it or not, in the United States, it’s like 24 million users and tick tock and 40% of them are between 18 and 24. So that age. Voter age, if they felt maybe so, I do that. That’s MightyRockets.com. But I also published Peachtree Corners Magazine and you could find, you could go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and find our website. We talked about what’s going on in the city. We’re doing several podcasts upcoming in with Peter Coin, his life with some interesting guests. Also Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager is coming up Thursday. After the fourth Tuesday, we’ll be discussing what’s going on in the city of this month and let’s what the city is planning over the next few months. A lot of new stuff happening out there and we’re working on the next issue of Peachtree Corners Magazine and the cover story, I believe that comes the story we’re working on right now, and it should be, the cover is innovative and innovative companies and organizations in Peachtree Corners. I will be doing some podcasts as well for that to complement that. So this is just a lot of stuff going on. So if you’re looking for any either trends to reach the audience here on Peachtree Corners through the family podcast, or you need someone to work with you online or branding, that’s what I do.

Karl: [00:37:03] Oh, fabulous. Well, you know, I really look forward to the next edition of the magazine and folks, if you go around and take a look and read through it, just knowing what’s going on here in the local community, whether it’s business, whether it’s what’s happening in the political team, what’s happening with, with, with various organizations. It’s just a good way to keep up with events and activities and in the area. So one of the thank you for that. That’s all we have for today. Look forward to talking to you some more and having some more great guests like Matt Scott that came to visit us today. Thank you everyone.

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Best Business Tools and Tips Gathered from 12 Capitalist Sage Episodes [Podcast]



Capitalist Sage

2019 is over and 2020 is coming fast! Join Rico Figliolini and Karl Barham as they sum up all of the greatest hits from this last year of the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Gather all of the tools you need to make 2020 the best year in business.

“If there’s one thing that we tried to do in 2019 with the Capitalist Sage was bringing you people that are in the trenches doing this every day. We learned from people’s failures. We’ve learned from people’s success. But our goal is to share this information with as many people as we can and just get you thinking there’s plenty of people out there that can help you with your business.”

Karl Barham

Time Stamp:

Lines are linked to the individual episodes

[00:00:30] Intro
[00:04:21] Social Media Branding for Lead Generation with Bonnie Mauldin
[00:07:29] Wendy Kinney talking shop on effective networking
[00:10:53] What Comes After Becoming a Franchise Owner, with guest Gary Birnberg
[00:14:20] How Business Mentorship Empowers Entrepreneurs, with Erin Igleheart
[00:17:49] Cliff Bramble on How to Thrive in the Restaurant Business
[00:20:38] Top Three Mistakes People Make When Starting Their Business
[00:24:13] Going into 2020
[00:26:38] The Legal Pitfalls of Buying and Selling a Business
[00:27:28] Preparing Your Business for Exit
[00:29:26] Entrepreneurs Creating Mobile Food Events
[00:29:53] The Business Of Organic Farming
[00:30:40] Laron Walker Scaling iOT Technology from Education to Commercial
[00:31:22] Beth B Moore discussing entertainment law, emerging trends, the film and music industry

Podcast Transcript

Karl [00:00:30]: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors. My co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing today?

Rico [00:00:47]: Good Karl.

Karl [00:00:49]: Well today, we’re having a bonus episode where we’re getting to talk about some of the sage advice we learned over the 20, 26 plus episodes in 2019. All the guests that came by and shared some of their knowledge that’s helping business owners. So we just wanted to give, just discuss some of those that we thought were particularly impactful and talk a little bit about how they impacted our businesses and how they can impact your business in 2020. Before we get started, why don’t we talk about our sponsors for today.

Rico [00:01:29]: Right. We are here at Atlanta Tech Park in the City of Peachtree Corners. It’s an accelerator. It’s a huge place. It’s where you, because where you start off at after you’re at an incubator. Small businesses, think we-work-share hits Silicon Valley. It’s that type of atmosphere where you can meet Venture capitalists, learn from others, network, the variety of things going on here. And we’re on this road in Technology Park that’s called Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, which is the autonomous vehicle track, the only one of its kind really in the United States. That I can say to us about where you can come as a company. That’s either an IOT or the does anything with autonomous vehicles that need to 5G with Sprint 5G is in this whole area of technology park, right? So anything that you want to test out on the mobile track or within the environment of Curiosity Lab so it doesn’t have to be necessary in a vehicle to be on a light post to be on someone walking to be a bicycle riding can do anything where technology needs to talk to each other to everything. It’s an atmosphere where the city of History Corners is providing it essentially free to companies that meet certain requirements to be able to come here and do business and check out there to work their real projects.

Karl [00:02:55]: It’s one of the great things about the Investments that are being made in Gwinnett County. In Peachtree Corners in particular and the whole general Southwest Gwinnett that’s bringing companies, technologies, to make this vibrant environment where businesses can thrive. And that’s a little bit why we thought it’d be great to talk about some of the guests at help shared some of their expertise and insight and experiences on how they created small businesses and how they help support small businesses being successful. So Rico and l will talk about a couple of episodes and what we learned about them and share that with you and you can of course go and check out any of these episodes on any one of our streaming platforms.

Rico [00:03:43]: Whether it’s iTunes or iHeart Radio, just look up Capitalist Sage on any of those and you should be able to find us.

Karl [00:3:49]: And if you want to keep up with some of the great episodes we’re going to do in 2020, definitely follow them, subscribe to them and please leave a comment and then we’d love to hear back from what people are thinking and give us an idea of the future guests.

Rico [00:04:03]: And if you want to watch the Facebook live stream or tell your friends, you could just like our Peachtree Corners Life page and it will be notified when we go live. In this year, one of the goals is to be able to put us on to do some limited LinkedIn live feeds and also to be on YouTube live as well.

Karl [00:04:21]: Fabulous. So we’re going to start off, when we started one of our first guests we had was Bonnie Mauldin from The Mauldin Group who talked to us about how small business owners can use social media marketing as part of their overall marketing and sales strategy in their in their business. And she shared a lot of great tips. One in particular that I know that I found interesting was the different platforms whether you’re on LinkedIn or Facebook or YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others all serve different functions. They target a different audience and they have different features about them and knowing and understanding the right platform for your business is one of the key things.

Rico [00:05:10]: If you’re doing business to business, obviously at that one of her things were was LinkedIn with was the place to be. And if you doing consumer, Facebook, Instagram. I think we talked a little bit even about, maybe not Tick Tock, but some of the other software online social platforms out there. But every business has a demographic and market.

Karl [00:05:34]: Absolutely. And the other thing we took away from it where in the past you might have think it was an option for your small business. It’s no longer an option. If you know of anyone that has a mobile device, they’re probably communicating and getting information from their social media platform. And so it becomes really important to have really compelling stories being told through those platforms. So instead of advertising and promoting a product, we talked a lot about storytelling on information you’re sharing about problems or things that your customers want to know that would lead them to your site. They’re going to know it’s you when they come and visit it but really telling them about the problems and the choices they’re making and being more educational and teaching them is a key attribute of really good successful social media strategies.

Rico [00:06:30]: Right. Whether you’re using it as a behind-the-scenes tool where you showing what’s going on in your office or something. Or whether you’re giving tips on how to use a certain product, those were the things.

Karl [00:06:43]: Absolutely. And the last thing to note on that is definitely include a call to action. Once you get those people looking at your site and following you and you’re sharing information. They want to know what to do next. How to get more information. How to reach you, even how to make a purchase. So including a call to action on all your social media. Now some of you may be able to do this yourselves if you have the time, but if you don’t its really important that
you have a discussion with someone and seek out professionals that can help you with your social media strategy in your business and it’s really imperative for people that are looking to grow their business in 2020 to develop some strategy and invested social media,

Rico [00:07:23]: And be consistent in it and make sure you’re there. because if you’re not there your competition will be there.

Karl: [00:07:28] Absolutely.

Rico: [00:07:29] The next one in line was Wendy Kinney she talked about how referrals are different from sales.

Karl [00:07:36]: Absolutely. Effective networking, many people probably have the experience, I know I have, of going to networking meeting. It could be a local chamber. It could be a non-profit group, an industry group and passing out a lot of business cards in wondering why you’re not getting more business and referrals from them. And what was really great that Wendy was able to share, she’s a relationship marketing expert, she told us about the differences between a sales approach and how referrals are generated. And one of those differences is started with the timelines between the two being different. A sale is typically between someone selling and someone buying and it’s a direct line of communication and pretty often the impact of that is immediate either; Yes, they’re going to buy what you’re selling or no, they’re not. Referrals have a different timeline. They happen through a third person. So the sale that typically happen doesn’t happen until first a connection is made between the person that’s selling and the person that’s referring and you do that’s built around credibility that’s established getting to know the person and trusting with the person and really understanding what they’re doing. But that second person, the person that’s making referral, then is approaching their contact base. And when they give a referral to how you can help them by you educating that individual on what you do and how you do it and how you’re doing it differently. They have the ability to identify that need in other people and therefore pass on a referral that’s extremely credible because they know you and therefore would lead back to business for the originator.

Rico [00:09:21]: You know know what I liked out of that conversation was really clear to me that you don’t have to be going to BNI necessarily or any of the other networking groups, but you should be going to somewhere. To some organization whether it’s a Business Association, a chamber, a professional association. The whole idea is we go back to consistency like social media you have to be consistent same thing with that right, you have to be at those meetings on a regular basis.

Karl [00:09:48]: We recommend three types of associations. There’s over 21 different from anywhere from alumni groups from your colleges. It could be team sport. But in any one of the things that’s being consistent and establishing and getting to learn about the people that you’re referring so that you can refer them with confidence and understand what it is that they do that can help your clients. And the last thing that she mentioned that I thought was extremely
insightful that changes the way you think about it, is the first one that speaks about price wins. In most traditional sales approaches, you’re taught to talk about value first and price later. But in referral It’s important that the person the intermediary the person that’s, that you’re talking to that’s generating referral. We call them gate openers that they have to understand what your cost structure is. They have to understand the price so they could set the expectation with the client. So lots of great, great insights from Wendy and talking about effective relationship marketing through networking.

Rico [00:10:52]: Excellent Episode.

Karl [00:10:53]: The third one was Gary Birnberg and Gary had an interesting journey in this career from working in Corporate America to franchise ownership, so he told us a little bit about how he got into franchising and was able to develop that.

Rico [00:11:10]: He went to, he originally thought well while he was in college, he thought he could do this right. He thought he went to Subway has he thought that was great. It was great franchise. He needed an investment. He and everyone told him you were going to college. What are you going to do? And he thought no, no I can handle it. Don’t worry about it, but Subways was what he thought he wanted to do essentially a franchise of that nature systematic the process was what he was interested in. So then he ended up as he got older and did some other things he ended up going back to that idea.

Karl [00:11:44]: Absolutely. And later on he invested in another sandwich franchise Which Wich and what was interesting in his story is how he started with just one and he was able to build and acquire up to seven of them at a time. And most of that time he was actually working.

Rico [00:12:01] Actually eight stores.

Karl [00:12:02] Eight stores. He was actually working for the first four before he left Corporate America and went full time into that.

Rico [00:12:11]: Right so working, he was actually working in Corporate America for, till they got the fourth store because that was the agreement he made with his wife who was his partner also I understand. Because they want to make sure that health insurance and what they’re also be risk averse. Yeah, so imagine working for corporate America and owning four of these stores now by the time we got to that fourth one, he was like I think we’re ready.

Karl [00:12:37]: Yep and be able to jump off and he followed the full journey till it’s, till its end where he successfully was able to exit all eight of the stores.

Rico [00:12:48]: Yeah, and he ended up actually when he when they got to the end of the fourth store, they opened the other four stores within seven to nine months after.

Karl [00:13:00]: And we learned when you’re looking into any business especially ones that are franchise, driving processes was really the key of the way he was able to scale so quickly so quickly. Learning how to acquire stores, learning how to run stores, learning how to manage personnel, staff, budgets, payroll. He learned all of that, that help them be very successful.

Rico [00:13:21]: Yeah, and the process allowed him a cash flow and he expanded those extra four stores at the Talon out of the eight through cash flow.

Karl [00:13:28]: Yeah he did not have to take additional loans to do that.

Rico [00:13:31]: Now and he paid off his loans also as he went because the other ones were spare loans for those stores and it was a process.

Karl [00:13:37]: Absolutely. So it shows that it can be done with a really good plan and being able to drive and follow a process. If you’re going down that path of Entrepreneurship, you don’t have to start from scratch. There’s franchises out there that can help people be their own boss, but have a support of a network. Of the business model that it’s already been proven to work.

Rico [00:14:02]: The fun part for me was when I first met him was with his first store at The Forum here in Peachtree Corners. It was the only store he had and his plan was to open one a year until he had like 10 almost and he worked his plan. I mean that was he was systematic and he worked it.

Karl [00:14:20]: Absolutely. We also had the pleasure to talk to some folks that work in the nonprofit sector over the past year. And one of our guests that we’re so thankful for was Erin Igleheart who is a program manager with the Start Me Program Atlanta associated with Emory University and several other partners whose goal and focus was bringing entrepreneurship to underserved areas of Metro Atlanta. And the being associated with the university, they had some very smart people investigating what are some of the challenges a small micro business has faced to start and be successful. And they summed it into three main components of their finding which they’ve addressed through a startup bootcamp that the program does. The first one is access to Capital. That may seem obvious, getting Capital to start a business is really important but being prepared to get that Capital whether it’s through developing a sound business plan, which they also address through delivering knowledge to these entrepreneurs. Helping them with the business plan, who to talk to, how to understand the financials of their business, is a key knowledge area that they found was a challenge. But the thing that I thought that might have been under appreciated for a lot of small business owners was the aspect of networking. The mentors that they bring to bear with the entrepreneurs creates this powerful networks. It’s not only each cohort that comes through the program. They’ve had over 200 entrepreneurs launch through the program. They’ve established a huge network between them and the mentors that continually help them grow and improve their business over time. They can boast over 75% success rate with businesses that have gone through the program, which is much higher than the average for most small businesses.

Rico [00:16:27 ]: Oh my god yeah, most small businesses failed during the first three, four years and then the majority of them do that.

Karl [00:16:34]: And when you look back as to why they probably didn’t get the right mentorship. They didn’t have people that have gone down the path and made the mistakes that they’re making to help advise them. But also those mentors help hold them accountable if they say they’re going to do something, having a sit-down with somebody who has your best interest at heart and check in on you is a powerful tool that they use as part of this Start Me Program.

Rico [00:16:58]: And you know what I like, before we got on we were reviewing what we were going to be discussing and I remembered you saying it was a bit like Shark Tank. Right because you have networking available as well. You know, and in Shark Tank, you know, all of them had money it wasn’t the money. It was really the network, the people they had, the contacts.

Karl [00:17:19]: The knowledge and the connections that they could make to the community. So a really good reminder of finding mentors that you can work with that help guide you when you’re starting up and growing your business.

Rico [00:17:34]: I say shark tank, but it really is a much more friendlier route.

Karl [00:17:40]: Yeah, absolutely and we were blessed to have some of those entrepreneurs on other episodes as well. So that was great.

Rico [00:17:49]: So the next one that we had, a guest from the restaurant industry, food industry Cliff Bramble owner of Noble Fin and Hungry Hospitality. Which is a consulting company for restaurants. And I don’t know, to me you know, there were several things. I learned quite a few things actually. Cliff is very much into the food industry, but he always he through the conversations we had over that hour we discussed how it is a business regardless. Forget about the food part of it, business is a business is a business. And what drives business what’s the biggest thing in business is labor. Is those surprises that you get so labor was a big part that he discussed on how we handle the front and the back of the house.

Karl [00:18:37]: Understanding the numbers in the business, understanding sales and marketing and how that integrates to build your Revenue stream for the business is extremely important. But a lot of people want to go into the restaurant business it’s probably the number one request that we see from buyers. They want to do restaurant. But really it’s a tough business tough industry. You can be wildly successful, but you have to be able to run it like a business know your numbers know your input costs and really know how to Market, figure out who your customer is and how to how to do a good job satisfying them.

Rico [00:19:16]: Right and he even talked about like down to the nitty-gritty, the weeds of if you’re going to buy a restaurant. You know, what’s the important part? Well to him the important
part was the amount of covers how many people actually come in. Not necessarily the sales but how much turnover of those tables. That and also discussed a little bit about retention. How do you retain employees in that environment?

Karl [00:19:39]: Absolutely. High turnover industry, but driving a culture and training and having really good systems in place to train and develop people is one of the success factors that he identify for anybody out there that’s in the restaurant or thinking of being in the restaurant industry.

Rico [00:19:55]: And even more than when it comes to you know, if you’re a manufacturer of product if the products bad you can return it right? Food, if food is bad, you can’t quite return it the same way. You either get sick maybe. And so, you know, we discussed a little bit about the romaine lettuce callbacks ever happened through all of last year.

Karl [00:20:14]: And how do you react and how do you adapt to that to the menu items and really understand your supply base to support your business?

Rico [00:20:22]: And then the last thing I think also was for competition. Different from other places because restaurants, you would think it would be other restaurants competing into somebody. But he was also saying No, no, no, I compete against also Netflix, people want to stay home.

Karl [00:20:38]: You know gaming anything that draws entertainment time away and disposable income is a competitor to you know, a restaurant especially in the fine dining space. Our next guest or episode we wanted to talk about was the Small Business Development Center SBDC associated with University of Georgia and Glenn Kruse who came by and was sharing a valuable resource to the business community that exists here. The Small Business Development Center has offices all over Georgia. They’re affiliated with the university. So Georgia State University of Georgia, Kennesaw University and many others and they provide guidance and coaching to people looking to start business inclusive of developing a plan it. So really quickly some of the lessons that we shared, the first one being around having a plan. And the number one thing that he found that people that struggled with being successful in business was a failure to plan. They did not take the time to develop one a business plan that’s inclusive of a financial plan, a sales plan. And you would think why do I need this piece of paper what I’m going out there to run a business, but it’s really the process of planning that helps you identify some of the gaps. When are you going to need cash? How much cash are you going to need to be able to run the business successfully. Also there’s a lot that goes into understanding your competitors and the SBDC has tools available to them to help you understand your demographics of an area, the market, the competition so you can build a robust plan for not only the lenders that you might need to start your business, but also potential investors.

Rico [00:22:30]: Or even involving the idea that you had because now with those armed with that information I realized wow, maybe this isn’t quite where I need to be you may be able to adjust.

Karl [00:22:40]: Absolutely. Pivoting and knowing when to pivot in your business is another critical factor of success. But if you’re not constantly scanning the environment and understanding the threats, you may miss the opportunity to make a change before it’s too late for your business. But the last point that he mentioned was all about people. Hiring the right people onboarding them and developing them. Many businesses struggle and fail when they’re not able to find and keep and retain really good, especially if you’re in a service business, if you don’t understand if you’re in a service business, it’s about the people that you probably can’t be successful in it. And really exploring in your plans how are you going to attract and retain people from a compensation standpoint, from recruiting the right people, how do you identify what those people are? But all of those things are things that anybody in business start thinking about starting a business can get help with with the SBDC that’s located. You can go online and look up the Small Business Development Center in your area and schedule a time with any one of the Consultants. The number one thing you should know about them free service for people here. It’s paid by your tax dollars and the SBA grants from the SBA the Small Business Association for a part of the US government to help provide this to drive economic developments in communities. So free service to reach out to them and get that Consulting help if you need it.

Rico [00:24:13]: So where we’re at, close to the end of our time together, but I think we wanted to hit on certainly going into 2020 what we’ve learned.

Karl [00:24:23]: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Rico [00:24:25]: So I know what I’ve learned, but do you want to start?

Karl [00:24:28]: Sure thing. One of the things that I know that I took from last year was this emergence of social media and social media marketing and incorporating into your business. And I work in a traditional industry that helps business owners exit their business and a lot of the traditional marketing methods were, you know, meeting people face-to-face and people marketing and so on. But integrating Social media into that, posting on the right platform, forming relationships with your clients and prospects. I found to be really really effective way and I can say that throughout the year seen really great success and return on that investment in time and money into building out a social media strategy. For anyone that’s thinking about dabbling in it. You can absolutely do it yourself. You could get courses on it and learn and educate yourself, but if you don’t feel you have time to do that reach out to some of the many experts in that, that’s out there including Rico who can help many people with that and just have a conversation about how they could be more effective in bringing social media into their marketing mix.

Rico [00:25:44]: So even I’ve learned a bit from our guests because you always pick up these tidbits about social media, but because I’m in that business, I’d rather skew to something else I learned that I really, you know, I sort of knew but, you know getting to know Karl better, through the show, through this past year and doing these shows and offline. I learned a little bit more about what you want to do with your business? And that everyone, you know, you start a business is you’re passionate about you want to do it. Where are you going to go with it? How you going to expand it? Those are all good things to think about but then no one really thinks about the end result. Let’s not call it the end. But where do you want to take it at some point? What’s your exit plan? Do you want to retire? Do you want to get out of it do you want to downsize a little bit from what you’re doing? And I learned from Karl quite a bit about what I should be thinking about ahead of time and also from a recent guest that we had on as well. We had Corrie Thrasher that taught us a bit about the pitfalls of selling and buying a business. So what I learned from that was pretty much, you know positioning your company because different companies that do handle differently, right? And if you’re a small business like own a family restaurant or you have a small business of consulting and you’re the person that’s running it. It’s a different value and that value extend further when you sell it if you have a magazine like I do that magazine has it that with this an asset that but if you’re doing freelance work, which is also what I do. How’s that freelance work, that gig economy if you will, how is that value as a business? If I’m gone does that mean that business goes? So I Learned a lot between you and Corrie and a few other guests.

Karl [00:27:28]: Absolutely. David Wood came in and talked about financing and how to get your financial statements in there. And if there’s one thing going into 2020 that everyone should treat themselves to is to just think about their, take a step back, get an advisor or coach or someone that’s not working for you ideally, because you want someone that can give you honest feedback. And take a critical look at your business. Look at the financials see what other people would think about. Get evaluation done for your business and find out those gaps and weaknesses sooner than later when you are planning to exit the business or when you have time to do something and make those corrections and fixes sooner on.

Rico [00:28:14]: Like anything else in life, if you don’t plan ahead you’re going to get hurt later. So selling a business does not come, oh I want to sell it in a month. It doesn’t work that way. You need to plan this out a year or two years ahead to make sure that what your business is showing. And the way it’s budgeted and all that increases the value of your business. And that’s the value I find in when I speak to Karl about things like this. He points things out that I haven’t thought about now because my mind’s not there and certainly I may not have thought about even if my mind ended up there. But you do need to clean these things out and it’s more than a month or two. We really need to look at it forever.

Karl [00:28:52]: If there’s one thing that we tried to do in 2019 with the Capitalist Sage was bringing you people that are in the trenches doing this every day. We learned from people’s failures. We’ve learned from people’s success. But our goal is to share this information with as many people as we can and just get you thinking there’s plenty of people out there that can help
you with your business. But we want to make sure you at least get some information to help you think differently about your business so you can drive those improvements in 2020.

Rico [00:29:26]: You know, and you should also look at go back to our episodes and look forward to 2020 because we have really interesting guests that we didn’t cover here necessarily. Like Lentz Pean of Food Trucks Unlimited, just talking to him and just knowing about how other businesses operate to me is exciting because you sort of pick up little things that might help you in your business. And Micole and Musa, organic farming.

Karl [00:29:53]: The organic farming, zero chemical organic farming right here in the Metro, Atlanta. How scientists, two science educated individuals built the business using proven techniques to produce higher yields of organic vegetables using non, without using chemicals or any additives to their foods and they’re building a business for the family from that.

Rico [00:30:23]: So you think of organic farming but we were able to get into the weeds, so to speak, and to the Entomology and bug aspect of it and learned quite a bit about it. Which you know, I think went beyond just knowing about organic farming also understanding people’s passions in business.

Karl [00:30:40]: And how they were able to merge that. We’ve seen that in quite a few people, Laron Walker and technology and stem education, merging that with building IOT Technologies and teaching the high schooler’s how to code and program this stuff to fill the pipeline of technical talent we’re going to need over the next 20-30 years to do this. And so many great talented people here in the community that we were able to talk to. But in 2020 we’re going to continue our journey and we’re going to continue to find and bring you more great guests that come in and talk. One of the areas that I know I’m excited to get more into is the entertainment business. We had Beth Moore an entertainment attorney attorney that came and talked to us about protecting your creative content that you create. Whether it’s music, it could be stuff that you do on YouTube, even those crazy cat videos is content that you can have copyrighted and you can get paid if you join the right association with that. And as Georgia continues to explode with film, music, even advertising industry is becoming really large here. Lots of opportunity for business people, creative people to become smarter business people and build a business around it.

Rico [00:32:02]: All the peripheral businesses that come I mean, that’s why Walking Dead that’s when we became the Hollywood East of the industry. Because you have electricians, woodworkers, prop makers.

Karl [00:32:15]: Costume designers, artists that are there. But it’s really important to figure out how to protect your content so that you can you can monetize it. So 2020 one of the things that I want to explore more and going to find more business owners that are in this entertainment. I hear I know gaming is on my list of finding some folks that are in Esport businesses that are
growing in popularity. Everything from artistic, music, creative producers. All of these businesses are just absolutely fascinating to understand the business side of that industry.

Rico [00:32:54]: So that’s one and that’s a big part of a thing I’m interested totally in that and learning a bit more about the entertainment industry. But also I think we’re going to be looking at makers as well. That’s a word phrase that’s being used for people that create, Artisans that create product within their own backyard if you will or garage or basement as it might be. And they’re creating products that are being sold on places like Etsy, online e-commerce sites, Amazon, a variety of places. It’s taking the gig economy on Acceleration because you could be making quite a bit of money and being a neighborhood that no one’s even aware that you’re there.

Karl [00:33:36]: Absolutely. I love how things come full circle from mass production assembly line and things are now becoming popular where people are building and using their talents to build things as home based businesses, but with the immersion of e-commerce and shipping and logistics, someone could make a business from their home and be quite profitable and successful. It’s one of the most popular businesses we get requests for people looking to buy business are home base e-commerce businesses. And if your maker and you’re able to make things, find creative ways to make things extremely great industry to be in and in the future. So we’re going to look to talk to some more people that are doing that as well.

Rico [00:34:21]: And if you have any suggestions, you know, feel free to first off if you’re listening to this on iTunes or any of the podcast sites, leave a review give us whatever that review might be two stars, five stars any review is a good review because this way people will be more easily find out. But feel free to suggest topics or companies or individuals that might be interesting that we could get good sage advice and be able to share that with our listeners and viewers.

Karl [00:34:53]: So as 2020 is starting off this year. We just want to thank all of our guests that have joined us on this journey and shared their wisdom. There’s more to come in 2020. We’re really excited to be able to host a podcast here at Atlanta Tech Park, a great location for not only just podcasting but just interacting with the economic engine for this part of the county Peachtree Corners from technology, to Beauty, to food all of these different types of businesses is what form this community. And so we’re just blessed to have the support of the local business Community here. All the Chamber of the Southwest Chamber of Commerce the Peachtree Corners Business Association and many others have been great partners and guests on our podcast. And we want to make sure that we are responsive to the business Community that’s here and that they have information that’s targeted for them and that can help them improve their business. So with that I’m Karl Barham with TransWorld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult with you on your business, help you figure out strategies to grow, increase the value of the business. And at this time of year when you start making goals and so on, it’s a great time to chat with someone about what your plan is for your business, your exit plan, how you want to increase the value. We consult with our
business owners in the community and help them with that and if they’re ready to sell the business or ready to buy we can help them with that as well. So I can be reached at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree or you can email me at KBarham@T world.com if we could ever help.

Rico [00:36:49]: And my name is Rico Figliolini, I do several things. I’m the publisher of Peachtree Corners magazine. Feel free to find that publication in print anywhere in the City and if you live in the city you should be getting it in your mailbox. We hit every household. Otherwise, feel free to go online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you can find our digital Edition there along with weekly postings, daily postings of things going on in this city. You’ll also find our podcast listings there, both for Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Life and Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, along with the Ed Hour which is an educational podcast that we do. And you can go MightyRockets.com, I do video projects, social media content work, anything along the digital and online area that needs to be done in a consistent fashion. I can help you there.

Karl [00:37:43]: Okay, well, I just want to thank everybody again and have a Happy New Year for everybody and thank you for joining us on this bonus episode. Thank you, of the Capitalist Sage.

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Around Atlanta

Capitalist Sage: Brennen Dicker on the Business of Film Festivals [Podcast]



Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

In this episode of the Capitalist Sage podcast, Brennen Dicker, board member of the upcoming Atlanta Jewish Film Festival shares with hosts Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini all the ins and outs of how this fantastic film fest got started and details about the exciting events to come in 2020.  


Website: AJFF.org

“…What I really enjoy about this festival is that it is a time to get people together and converse and talk about issues that a lot of times people don’t… want to talk about, or they just haven’t had the time to actually sit down and talk to each other. You find so many more similarities through a cinematic experience… or you learn something new about an individual or a particular community.”

Brennen Dicker
Atlanta jewish film festival, Board Member

Podcast Transcript

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, Digital Marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:47] Hey, Karl. Excellent. Thank you.

Karl: [00:00:49] Why don’t we introduce our sponsor for today?

Rico: [00:00:51] Sure. Atlanta Tech Park here in the city of Peachtree Corners, actually in Tech Park Atlanta. Kind of fun of the way that wraps that one, but we’re in this place they let, the Tech Park is an accelerator different from an incubator. But it’s a great place to think of. We work in an acute, better environment, so lots of tech companies here. This podcast studio that we’re working out of as well as, as events that they put on here, like big technology showcases, film festivals, all sorts of different activities. The Asian film festival kickoff here, launches in the Southeast. They had the FinTech event that happens here. So just, you know, and more and more. Lots more to come. So a great place to network, meet entrepreneurs, people. And the local business community, and if you go outside, you can flash your phone and get a ride on Ollie, the driverless shuttle that takes you up right now in Peachtree Parkway. So just, it’s a great place to stop by and visit, especially if you want to get into the entrepreneurial business community in Peachtree Corners.

Karl: [00:01:55] Right. Absolutely.

Karl: [00:01:57] Well, today we are excited, to, to talk about film festivals (and) the business of film festivals and what that’s like. And we’re honored to have our guest today, Brennan Dicker, who was a board member of the Atlanta Jewish film festival, which is coming up in early January, or May actually.

Brennen: [00:02:17] Start is February 10th. Tickets go on sale January 27

Karl: [00:02:22] And so we’re going to talk a little bit about what it’s like to put on a film festival. How it helps the community, some of the business of that. But why don’t we start off by you telling us a little bit about yourself.

Brennen: [00:02:33] Sure. My name is Brennan Dicker. I, my day job is the executive director of Creative Media Industries Institute for Georgia State University. And that’s where I teach approximately 900 students. Media entrepreneurship in game design in four year programs there. And I’ve been very fortunate just to be a member of the film intelligent community here in Atlanta for the last 15 years. I started in film and television 30 years ago at 16 as a running in as an intern, getting coffee for producers and I was fortunate enough to make a career out of that. And I spent some of my time in Chicago creating my own production company and doing a lot of
work there in sports and Commercial work as well as a PBS documentaries. And then was fortunate enough to come down here to Atlanta and get tied into more of the post production world of the business and production. And then, you know, just all of what I was doing on various boards. I sat on the board of Savannah College of Art and Design, the advisory board for them, and shared their advisory board as well as Georgia Production Partnership, which does a lot of work shared with them. And then I got a call one day to join a JFF 10 years ago, and it was just a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful community to work with.

Karl: [00:03:52] Fabulous. I noticed, you know, you’ve been along the ride as in Georgia, the film industry has exploded. How does that help the Atlanta Jewish film festival, you know, gain people and improve over the years?

Brennen: [00:04:11] Well, I think, you know, from my perspective and with the Film Intelligence Senate that happened in 2008 that brought in a lot of people from Hollywood and New York and all around basically all around the country to come in. And so people are looking for things to do. And you know, in the film community, a lot of people that are, you know, directors of photography, various crew members, you know, it gives them an opportunity to actually go and see some of their friends films. And I’ll be at an AA, JFF or one of the other film festivals in the state as well. But it’s just a wonderful opportunity to bring those people into our community and show them, you know, really find works and that we’ve got great, a great film festival here, and via one of the largest film festivals, Jewish film festivals in the world. Also the largest largest film festival in Atlanta.

Karl: [00:04:58] Oh, wow. So why don’t we tell people a little bit about the history of the film festival so people get a kind of context.

Brennen: [00:05:07] You know, this was, this is 20 years in the making now. This is our 20th year. I can’t imagine, you know, when, when they started, it was a little less than, I think 800 people that showed up to do a Jewish film festival for a couple of days. It was nothing like it is now at 18 days. Festivals started, that in itself was, you know, as it grew through the years. It was you know, a very slow growth process. But I will tell you that Kenny Blank is the executive director. Kenny had a goal of wanting to make JFF, one of the largest film festivals, not only in the state in Georgia, but also the largest Jewish film festival in the world. And he told me this 10 years ago, and, you know, I thought, you know, this guy has a plan. And he had a plan with this committee. A steering committee to make it work. And so he moved in that direction and we were able to, a couple of years ago, say that we were the largest Jewish film festival in the world. Now we compete with the San Francisco Jewish film festival, and it’s always seems to be going back and forth on numbers. But just to have that growth, that phenomenal growth and also a community that backs it is so important. And you know, we just, we were able to get the right people involved. And I think the right people have been involved from the beginning. Of you know, making, creating a foundation for the festival and creating awareness about the festival because really the half is really a cinematic exploration of the Jewish experience. And I, you know, first and foremost, and I think that, you know, with a strong Jewish community that we
have in Atlanta, that’s one thing. But then what we’ve tried to do, especially in the last decade, is branch out into other communities because it’s all about storytelling. You know, whether it’s a comedy, a drama, and people can associate with the films. And I think that’s why it’s been so successful because over we, I think we have 25% now that are non-Jewish and they’ve come to the film festival. They see something there and they, they see stories and they see good storytelling. You had films and so there are so many people drawn into this film festival every night.

Rico: [00:07:11] Absolutely. One of the things that, that I know has been a positive experience for me. I’ve enjoyed film festivals for years. I grew up in New York and they had a lot of film festivals, but it was one of the great ways to explore other cultures and stories and see it in a creative way. Here in the Metro Atlanta area, I don’t know, if plenty of people realize that they have this access to storytelling and art. That’s, that’s here. What would you say for folks that have never visited there, what would that experience be like when they come and visit the film fest?

Brennen: [00:07:46] Well, I think that it’s one of, you know, obviously a traditional film festival. We have the speakers that come, we usually have a producer, director tied to a lot of the films that are coming, or an actor or an actress. And so that in itself is, is great to have a Q&A when you actually have a personal experience going on. But one of the things that we’ve prided ourselves, especially in the last couple of years, is making it an experience at the theater. So you may have a, you may have a film, like we did last year called Judaism, which was a taste of Montreal where a documentary on these two Jewish guys that went around talking about various places to eat in Montreal. And then after the screening, we all had bagels. We all had, you know, various foods that they were talking about, which was a fantastic way to tie it together. But you have to make in many respects now. We don’t do that with every film, obviously, but there are many things that we try to tie in with the, with the festival, be it music, food, culture, great speakers, just people that come in because you have to really make this an experience for your audience now because your audience has many choices as to where they, where they, where they can get their entertainment. And so it’s not like, let’s say in the 90s. When in the Indies were so big and festivals were so big where you would go out because you couldn’t see these films on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon because there were no Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. So you had an experience where you knew people were going to come out, but now you really have to really be savvy with your audience and make sure that you’re targeting the right people for this and making it an experience.

Rico: [00:09:24] How does, Netflix has the streaming work with that because, I mean, are all the films not online or some films online, but then they’re at the festival also?

Brennen: [00:09:33] Yeah, I, you know, it depends year to year, but you know, obviously we’ve had, I think over 30 world premiers. I think that that was it as far as what we were looking at. And so with that, there’s going to be some films that are better that are already streaming, but for the most part, we’re trying to get films that are, you know, first run, or at least that year that
this their first run. But there are films out there that will stream and you know, people could go see them. Obviously, we’d like to have them come to the festival and have that experience like with the food or people talking to those. You know, you’d like to hear how the director got to that story. That’s one of the beauties of, you know, coming to the festival is, you know, after the, after the film is done and to have an app, a Q&A with the, with the producer or the director, or the actor, that actor or actress that was a part of that. That’s a huge, huge deal for us.

Rico: [00:10:23] I think some people don’t even understand that the Jewish film festivals that, you know, they might think Jewish Israel. Films come from all over the world, all different languages.

Brennen: [00:10:33] Exactly. And it’s amazing, all different themes. I mean, we have films that are, you know, from South America, from Africa, from Asia. It runs the gamut and, and that, and I think that what I pride myself in on specifically with the festival is. We’ve had such a good job of film selection over the last couple of years, and it gets stronger each year. That you just, you’re blown away by all of the films that are there. I mean, it’s not, you’re not just talking about two or three films out of 60 or 70 that are good. You’re talking about all of them have been selected out of, I think we had, I think 700 films last year that out of 70. So you only a 10% that were actually submitted. It was, it was a ridiculous amount of films that actually gets submitted. But that that has really given us a quality that we just have never seen.

Rico: [00:11:27] Are there film fees that people have to, that are paid for the submission for entries? Or, no, it’s not, it’s not an entry like. It’s not, there’s no awards at the end. There’s no fan awards or anything.

Brennen: [00:11:38] We’re trying to get to that. I think that’s one of the things we’re trying to do. We do have, and we do have an award as far as the audience award, and we have a jury prize award for that. So there is, as far as entry fees on the films themselves, I’ll have to look into that to see what that, what that is. If there is any it would be, it would be minimal at most if we were to do that, but it is something that we’re now looking at, you know, getting a jury. We had a jury together last year and a student jury as well. So that, that in itself again, and to see who the audience award winner is, we usually try to replay that film later on after the festival.

Karl: [00:12:14] That’s what’s great about film festival. So, new and young filmmakers have an opportunity to get their work shown by more than the traditional Hollywood machine that would dictate. So I could see young people that are interested in film and interested in entertainment being a really strong, big demographic to go after they get there. What are some of the things you do to outreach to younger folks and the families to get them to come to the festival?

Brennen: [00:12:42] We are a JFF. Obviously we have the film festival, which is, you know, our brand there, but we’re really trying to make a year long, you know, experience out of that. And one of the things that we offer as a JFF on campus, and specifically we’ve been working with Emory university the last couple of years to premiere some films on campus at Emory. Now
again, we’re going to branch out to other institutions or colleges and universities around the state to make that even more accessible. But we’ve found it very successful to get, you know, a younger generation of coming into. Just to experience it as some of the, you know, lineup that we’ve had. So that’s one of the areas. And we have a specific group within our steering committee that are really focused on the younger generation, you know, the millennials of getting them and getting them to come out specifically to either one or a couple of our films during the festival, but then have parties during the year that make it an annual all around experience. Because one way that a festival, film festival will survive is to create your own programming. And that’s something that we, along with other festivals that are, you know, that are larger, are seeing that you need to keep it, you need to keep the brand out there and a presence out there. And so how you do that can be through the on campus, what we were talking about. We have Seanna bash, which is more of an art and music exploration in Jewish culture and history with that and where we’re doing art and showing in that way, which is a phenomenal event that we’re looking at continuing this year. And there’s a number of other events through the year that we’re looking at. The just will, it’s touchpoint, so people see what we’re doing throughout the year on its head.

Karl: [00:14:34] So we’ve got a couple of questions around, kind of the process. So you mentioned selection committee. How did that work and how do, what criteria it used? Who are the people that select? How did that part work?

Brennen: [00:14:46] There’s a committee on the steering, the steering committee that’s a selection committee of three or four folks that get together and they will then branch out. There’s a whole group of people who have been doing this now for 20 years now. Again, we’re talking about hundreds of volunteers that come in to this space. And they’re the age, the age ranges, you know on the thirties to seventies, eighties of people that will take the time to actually watch these films. So you have got a broad age range, a broad diversity of people that will take the time to do it. It’s, it is a commitment. You know, they’re watching films on the weekends and they have some, they break it down to where it’s manageable. But even, I think my mother was a part of this and she had to watch 20 or 30 films I think, you know, during this time. Which she loves. But I, you know, having the time to do that is a challenge. But we do have committed volunteers in a community that really is active in narrowing down, you know, the films. But it had, but they have to be watched.

Rico: [00:15:50] That’s similar to the Atlanta film festival, but that’s a side thing. You could actually volunteer to be part of that group that watches, but you have to commit to a certain amount of time.

Brennen: [00:15:59] Yeah. That’s how, that’s how it works. Unfortunately, we’ve just had a lot of people that enjoy the experience and also just getting a chance to see the first run.

Karl: [00:16:08] Can someone volunteer to get the shirt?

Brennen: [00:16:10] Sure. Yes. They can go to AJFF.org and volunteer. Definitely.

Karl: [00:16:15] And then the criteria that would be for next year.

Brennen: [00:16:17] Next year, of course. Yeah.

Karl: [00:16:21] Why? What are some of the things you look at for films that might help influence?

Brennen: [00:16:26] Well, obviously it’s films that are seen through a Jewish lens. And so there’s a, you know, an aspect of having that incorporated within the film is the most important. And it can be, I mean, we’ve done the storyline, but obviously that’s something that has to be a part of who we are. Aside from that, we take every kind of film. We had a horror genre last year, which is a horror film there. That was, you know, just, it was great. But made in Israel, I mean, obviously there are certain films that are coming to us, with different, the different themes. But, it’s a very wide range of films that we would, you know, look at selecting. And we have one from Georgia this year. It was selected as well, a short. Our shorts, by the way, we get, we’ve had a lot of ’em. Really dynamic shorts from younger people as well, just people that are, that are going to come in. And so the short film category, at least from last year, was fantastic. And I look forward to seeing what we have on docket for this year.

Karl: [00:17:24] It may seem obvious, but describe the difference between a short and a feature film.

Brennen: [00:17:29] You know, if you think of a short film you’re looking at probably no more than 20 minutes long. You know, shorter narrative or shorter documentary. Feature films, we always kind of look at them. You know, between, I would say 75 to 90 minutes or over 70 over 75 minutes could, could be a length of a feature. You know, there are exceptions to that rule, but I would say that really kind of tells, that tells the tale as far as what it is. It’s all storytelling. But obviously feature films are a longer, longer length.

Karl: [00:17:59] So a lot of film festivals, there’s a lot of distributors come to find films to distribute. Do that, how does that process work? How do they get involved in that?

Brennen: [00:18:11] Well, we have a number of, obviously we have a number of relationships with distributors worldwide, and that’s how we get the selection of films that we do. You know, I think that in the future with all of the films that are being shot here, you know, the methodology or we’re hoping that we can see more distributors actually be, you’re coming to Atlanta to recognize some of the filmmakers that we have locally here. So it, it’s not, we really have, we reach out to a lot of district distributors worldwide, but I personally would love to have them come to the festival and find films that are, that are being looked at as well.

Rico: [00:18:47] This is less than like, the film festival on the one in Denver. I mean, Sunday, or Sundance rather. Yeah, so you’re not going to find a film where someone’s going to buy 2 million, paid 10 million for.

Brennen: [00:18:58] It’s really the audiences really for the Atlanta and Georgia community, Atlantic community in general. And so that, that’s kind of, I mean, our focus. I mean, when you think of Tribeca, and when you think of Sundance or South by Southwest, there are few, or even Toronto with TIFF, Toronto International Film Festival. Those specific festivals are really for the distribution side of things. And, and quite frankly, a lot of the, you know, the first run films are trying to get in there so they can get distribution. But it’s really, you know, that model is changed quite a bit, you know, with Netflix, with Amazon, with just streaming services in general. So you don’t have a, I mean, we’re seeing a transformation as to how films are being distributed and on various platforms that we don’t even know exist yet. So it’s, indie film is going through a transition right now with distribution, and I think that they’re, not as reliant on Hollywood per se. I mean they are going to these, they are going to the Amazons, the Apples, and trying to see if they can get distribution deals separate from that. I think that we’re seeing that happen right now.

Rico: [00:20:03] There’s so many streaming services with Apple coming out. Then you have Amazon Prime and Netflix. And the smaller ones that do like horror movies only

Brennen: [00:20:10] That’s right.

Rico: [00:20:11] And the streaming that way.

Brennen: [00:20:13] I want to understand that they’re all looking for content. I mean, that’s there. They’re all trying to vibe for that, those eyes. And so it’s important for them to try it. Find that content anywhere they can and if it’s cheaper for them in some respects than actually producing their own content.

Rico: [00:20:26] And what’s interesting, what time was on video at one point, and they don’t just show other people’s like major releases. You can be a producer of your own small little indie film if you are a high school kid even, and you can actually put it up. And people will pay. There’s a process to be able to pay for that viewing of that video inside.

Brennen: [00:20:44] We see that with Georgia state students and students that are going on YouTube, creating their own content, and if they’re getting so many eyes, then eventually they, you know, YouTube will pay them for that. Now again, that you have to be in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of views. But that’s the, these are the models that we’re seeing coming out of this. And it’s a quite, it’s quite a disruptor.

Karl: [00:21:06] What did the impact on the community that you’ve seen the film festival have?

Brennen: [00:21:11] You know, I have seen in the last 10 years, obviously it’s a, you come together with the Jewish community and I, and it’s so well supported, like I said before. But what I’ve also seen is conversations with other organs, with other groups, organizations would be at, we’ve had specific talks with the Muslim community that have come out and shared it in films that we’ve done. And we also have the Hispanic community has been strong as well. So there’s, there’s all these, what I really enjoy about this festival is that it is a time to get people together and converse and talk about issues that a lot of times that people don’t, either want to talk about, or they just, they just haven’t had the time to actually sit down and talk to each other. And there’s a, you know, you find so many more similarities through a cinematic experience, you know, that I think some, or you learn something new about an individual or a, you know, particular community.

Karl: [00:22:20] Do you get a sense of the economic impact? And some of the theaters. Can you tell us a little bit about the theaters in the area that, that host this and the impact that that has meaning?

Brennen: [00:22:30] Yeah, it’s well, obviously we have over, you know, close to 40,000 that come to see the festival in an 18 day period. So that alone, as far as the economic impact of them coming out to the theaters, we currently in 2020, we have five different theaters that we’re going to be showing, and we try to be as strategic as possible with that. Having so many theaters inside the perimeter and outside the perimeter. We are currently, this year we’ll have Landmark Midtown, which is a great, great spot for us. The Plaza theater, what another wonderful theater to have in the lineup, a perimeter point outside. And then Tara cinema, which has been a stable for us for years as far as showing and Sandy Springs performing arts center. Who came on last year, and that’s been a great home for us, for the larger films that we want to bring in because it just, you can bring in so many hundreds of people in that, in that venue. It’s a beautiful venue to be at. So we’re excited about all of those theaters. We do our opening February, February 10th at the Cobb Performing Arts Center, and that’s always a huge draw. I’d say we had, I think we had over 2,000 last year. It was, it was between, I think 1,500 to 2,000 alone, just for the opening night. Which is very exciting and it really kicks off everything. And then we close on the 27th at the Sandy Springs performing arts center.

Rico: [00:23:56] I got my two tickets.

Brennen: [00:23:59] So that, to me, I think the opening is always the most exciting time for me because of all the people that are there, the energy that’s there. And if there’s an opportunity for you to come to the, we have a gala or something before and there’s a tasting of different restaurants and they bring in chefs from not only here in Atlanta, but also from Israel that come in and it’s just, it’s, it’s…

Rico: [00:24:22] I’m looking forward to that. That’s wonderful. I got that pass.

Brennen: [00:24:26] There you go. There you go. Exactly.

Karl: [00:24:27] What do you do if local businesses wanted to get involved with this in some way? Are there ways for them to do that?

Brennen: [00:24:33] Yeah, I think, you know, from my perspective. And now being off the steering committee, I would say that the best thing is to go to a AJFF.org and look into the point of contact. But we certainly have a number of contacts that you can reach out to there on the development side and on this, on the sponsorship and Dillon side, but also just inquiring about a JFF. And what we’re all about is to, as to see more of the history and also seeing the lineup. I know we have six films that are lined up right now that just came out, but clearly we’ll have a number of more coming out in the next couple of weeks and it would give people a better idea as to where to go.

Karl: [00:25:13] What, when would that website, well, one of the things that, film festival allow is for people to continue to learn and come outside and get out of home. When you see this, this trend around Netflix and staying at home on one end. And you have blockbusters like Avengers and Marvel. I’ve noticed this trend of these movies that used to come out that would get these followings, but they don’t seem to have a space. I don’t know if you remember years ago, a movie like the featured in with that do what it did back then when that came out with Harrison Ford, it was a big movie. No special effects per se, just the story that was told but now you see, you see a lot of the big blockbuster and in between, I don’t know that you can name five or six movies. It’s the biggest blockbusters.

Rico: [00:26:01] It’s like Frozen two, right? Let me see, next week. You have young girls that will want to go see that. And my daughter, who’s 22 wants to.

Karl: [00:26:12] But it seems to me that every time the film industry talks about how, or, you know, they talk about no one’s coming to the theaters and I look at it and sign it. There’s no movies to come to the theaters to see.

Brennen: [00:26:29] Right. And the challenge with that and the challenge that the theater industry has with that is because they rely on those blockbusters now entirely. But what’s happened and what’s changed is that you have, again, you have the Netflix, you have the Amazon, you have HBO, you have these various networks and streaming platforms that are putting billions of dollars into content and they’re doing a great job of telling the stories. And so really, if you go back to the Sopranos, as one of the first series that really started looking at creating a series that would be feature like in each episode, and now think about all of the shows that we can stream that have that type of caliber of talent and storytelling ability. There are, there are so many. I mean, I’m always being inundated to see certain things or when I was working in the industry to watch certain shows that I was associated with all the time, but there’s so many out there. So yes, there is a challenge with that as to how do you draw people in when they can see those particular shows on their, in their theater at home.

Karl: [00:27:43] So what do seeing films alive in theaters with a community of folks, what does that really offer people that’s different?

Brennen: [00:27:54] So you have to educate people to that. And what I mean by that, I think from my age, which I, I’ll date myself now, but someone that’s in their mid forties to mid fifties and up. You know, we went to the theater. That’s where we, that’s where you would go to see the latest movie that, there was a community there. And I think that we’re, our demographic is fine. We get it, and we’re the ones that are actually going out and participating. Not only I’m going to the theater on a regular basis, but also just going to film festivals, going to JFF. That’s a, that’s a crowd that we, we know that we’ve got them there to come out to see that. But with millennials, with the younger generation, again, the choices, and I see this with my daughters, they’re on an iPad cause they’re, and they don’t need to watch a movie on a large screen right now. The experience I’ve seen Frozen two, they want to see that at the theater. So there are, there are exceptions to that rule, but I think that you have to, again, you have to emphasize, you have to show that there’s an experience with that to get people out. And to have the shared community as I think all of us that have been to festivals see the benefit of that. Because at home, they’re not going to be able to ask a question to the producer, director or get a backstory and they may not be able to experience all there is with seeing friends and just getting to meet new people. But it has to be something where it’s community driven and it’s something that makes sense for them to get out and go to a theater.

Karl: [00:29:27] And especially making it into an event where people, we get excited going out to see. And even when you used to go to a movie before you knew if it was good or bad or, you knew how many tomatoes go in, you’d roll the dice. And you’d be surprised when it was better and sometimes you’d like, you’d wish you had that two hours back.

Brennen: [00:29:49] That’s right.

Rico: [00:29:49] But wasn’t that a great experience? You’re out with your family and your friends. I remember him leaving the Avengers, it was the first one, I think it was the first one. Where, you know, everyone, half the world disappears. Is that the first sentence from the first world war and we’re walking at the theater and it’s like thinning their hurt. They did. And it was a lottery. It wasn’t like, ah, we’re just going to choose people to, and my kids are listening to them talking. One of them says, that’s not a bad idea. Maybe the resources of the world would be saved, you know? So you get into those conversations, those conversations after you see the movie.

Brennen: [00:30:22] Exactly. And it’s something that’s, it’s great. It’s great a thought. It’s just, it’s a great opportunity just to talk to your family, you know, to have an end. We still do that with our kids going out. But again, it’s also a question of, you know, resources and going, okay, staying home at night. You’re working all week. You know, the last thing you think about doing is going to the theater. But again, if you can create an experience with it, one that’s positive and one that
makes sense and can lead to these discussions, then it’s something that we’re trying to do at JFF was get them out.

Karl: [00:30:59] There would be a time when you’d go and see a Woody Allen movie and it would lead to a series of conversations at dinner, at the word. Then it would extend, evening beyond, and so people went to movies to make them think more and to have that conversation where, you could still watch it at home on a streaming service. Sure. But do you have that same conversation with yourself after you watch it on your iPad? And that might be why film festivals like the Atlanta Jewish Film festival is, is really needed.

Brennen: [00:31:29] Oh yeah, definitely. And I, it’s one that, and I think that as long as you can, and again, we kind of own that space in February so people know it’s coming. I mean, it’s now, now we have 20 years of history. It’s a, it’s a time where you can then, you know, generate even we have phenomenal sponsors of the festival that had been with us for years, but they see that and they see the 40,000 people that are coming to it, and we’re you know, it’s just remarkable to see all the various groups of people in the community that it affects during that.

Karl: [00:32:03] Well, I’d love to, for you to remind us on how can folks get some more information about the festival and some of the key dates.

Brennen: [00:32:09] Of course, of course. And I would say that again, the festival starts February 10th. That runs 18 days, and ends February 27th or 28th, I believe. 27th of February of 2020. We will start selling tickets to the public January 27th online at AJFF.org. And you know, we just hope to have, we’re looking forward to having another great year and especially being the 20th, you know, that’s such a marquee year to have. So I, I know that we’re going to have a lot of various parties going on during the festival and there is, it’d be a quite a celebration for us.

Karl: [00:32:49] I love that. That’s around Valentine date. So it’s really great, a night out with the significant other.

Brennen: [00:32:57] And I’m sure we’ll program, you know, a Valentine’s day, you know, movie to go with that we’ll be thinking about.

Karl: [00:33:02] That’d be fabulous. And for the business owners out there to sponsorship opportunity, if you go on there and look for volunteering opportunities as well. And if you really love films for next year’s cycle, you could. You could be a volunteer at watching some, we’d love to have you. So we’d like to thank our guests, Brennan Dicker, the chair of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, one of the board members of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival for his time. And just telling us a little bit about the film industry and what some of the great things that are going on here in the local Atlanta community and all the different ways that people get could explore different cultures and connect. And if you want to give yourself a treat or a, probably even a great Christmas gift for somebody, inviting them out to a movie where they could explore
something different, might be a wonderful gift that gives them an experience more than just something that they can enjoy at home by themselves.

Brennen: [00:33:58] No doubt. And I do that every year with friends and family and new people that I meet just to get them out to show them what we’re doing or they JFF and, you know, and that it runs the gamut as far as the community and the family that I have in friends that participated. And they all come away with something positive from this family.

Karl: [00:34:19] Well, I want to, I’d like to thank Atlanta tech park for hosting our capitalist Sage podcast. If you’re looking to start a business or just want to network with like minded folks that are being entrepreneurial, as you see here, we talk film, we talk technology, we talk business, we talk finance. We bring all of these different aspects of the community together and just create an environment that supports entrepreneurs, business owners, here. So Atlanta Tech Park in Peachtree corners is, we’re just grateful to have this room and space to be able to do this. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, in Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult on how they can grow their business. Or when they’re ready to exit their business. So if they’re looking to start a new venture and get into a business, we have a team of folks that are dedicated to support that business community here in the local area. And Rico, thank you. Tell me a little bit about what you’ve got coming up

Rico: [00:35:17] Quite a few things. I think we were working on the next issue of Peachtree Corners Magazine. There’ll be on February, March, the end of January, but it’s the February, March issue. It’s about technology companies. So that I believe is the cover story on that one. We’re also a sponsor of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which is exciting. That’s how I got the passes. So that, that’s cool. Can’t wait to see them. I know there’s at least six movies I probably want to see. But even knowing, well, no, without even knowing which ones they are. I mean, last year there was a dozen, I’d like some good stuff there. If you go to living in PeachtreeCorners.com we just did our 20 under 20 in the city and it’s gone really well. I mean, we had a photo shoot here in Atlanta tech park that we shared with everyone. We did many interviews with the kids. 20 kids that are, have lots going on.

Karl: [00:36:11] Fabulous. Great.

Rico: [00:36:12] It’s got a lot of play on that. So the kids are wonderful. It was tough to pick. Those two were almost as tough when you pick those movies, more submissions. And just to pick 20 of them was, was kinda tough. But, so we have that going. And of course, if you’re looking to do product videos and stuff, I had a chance to do a stop motion animation for a product video. Yeah, the first time I did it though. So it was kind of interesting when we have to pull it off. It was, it was cool. So check out MightyRockets.com. That’s my website for that type of work. And I used to be a film production major. That’s why when I was in college and in Brooklyn college. So that’s why I love this festival. Mary’s food and, and in a film, so, my locks and my Jewish. I was up in New Jersey and we had great bagels up there.

Karl: [00:37:05] Yeah.

Rico: [00:37:06] Yeah, absolutely. That’s what we have going on, but, I’m sure I missed something on there.

Karl: [00:37:10] Oh, no, nope. Yeah, he did a great job. So, stay tuned. We’re coming to the end of the year, and we’ll continue to bring you great episodes talking to folks in the community about businesses, about our organizations that are doing great things like the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. And so we look forward to continuing to give you great episodes. Thank you everyone.

Brennen: [00:37:33] I want to thank both of you for your time. It’s great. I appreciate it.

Karl: [00:37:36] Thank you very much as well for being a guest today.

Rico: [00:37:40] Thank you guys.

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