217: Pay attention to the network you already have and light it up - with Brian Weaver
Meet Brian Weaver
Brian serves as CEO of Torch.AI and has more than 20 years of experience leading mission driven high growth technology focused companies. Torch.AI helps leading organizations leverage artificial intelligence in a unique way via proprietary enterprise data management software solution. Today Torch.AI supports clients like H&R Block with fraud detection and mitigation and the US Department of Defense with machine learning enabled background investigations for all federal employees, supporting the determination of an individual's trustworthiness and security credentialing.
So how did you end up starting your first company?
So I was sort of a serial entrepreneur even an employee. I got out of college and I conned to this guy to hire me, no experience, I was the youngest employee that they'd hired a company called the Kansas City Star. I had a normal day job and I've always considered myself someone that really enjoyed working with others and trying to solve problems for others and in a business development or sales capacity as a 21 year old kid, but I always had kind of this curiosity and this bit of a creative spark. And so I then left that job and actually followed the guy that had hired me right out of college. And I was a manager over a whole group of people. But the way my first business started, I actually got in trouble at that job. I NASCAR came to Kansas City. We did a great job on NASCAR’s project. And it went very well. But my employer didn’t like it and I was written up for the project. So I went actually went to the NASCAR guys that had had the project and asked would you guys be willing to hire me? And I'll start my own company, and you can be customer number one, and they agreed.
What has been one of your biggest lessons that you've learned as an entrepreneur?
So in order to grow and actually in order to build a real business that’s financially viable where you can have resources and innovation as a function of the business and actually solve problems for big companies and even maybe make a difference in your community, you have to have a little bit of a different attitude because it's a living, breathing thing. And you ultimately need to figure out very quickly how to put to build teams. And you might be as a business owner or an entrepreneur, you might be like the hero CEO type, where you've got a lot of charisma, you can make a sale and you can kind of keep the thing going. But the real measure of success is can you build an organization that is sort of independent from you and that skill set or character trait?
Can you share it with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I think the way most people network is like a complete waste of time. So I think I'm a good I'm a good candidate to help share some information. I think your relationships and your reputation are everything. I find that the way I do it is maybe a little different. I don't like going to a networking type of events. I've never been wanting to join a chamber of commerce or another organization. I always approach it is that I am looking for opportunity. I have a desperate need to solve a problem. So I'd say number one, I'm self-aware of what I need as a human being. And believe it or not, I think that that's directly applicable to your success. I think the more you know who you are and are comfortable in your own skin, the easier this whole thing will be because you won't be asking yourself to do something that you're just not naturally inclined to do.
If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?
I think it would be don't stress so much. It's easy to say and I just think I'm wired to sort of be hyper motivated and sort of driven by fear. The wisdom that I found doing this for over two decades and having failures and great successes and the whole bit is that actually the journey is super fun if you can just be open and relaxed. The bad times aren't as bad as you think they are. And you don't realize it and you can't even understand it until you're way past it. And you can kind of reflect on it.
I found that meditation is really helpful with that. Have you done any of that?
I totally have. And the problem for me is my brain is always on and it is a curse. I am a frustrated creative type. My brain is on overdrive all the time and that's my challenge with meditation. And I think what I figured out is how I can slow down and be contemplative is to garden.
Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
Just be brave and try and do something big with your life and with your company. We have purpose. Our company has purpose and I can live my life with that purpose. And I think the more you find that whether it's a mission for your customer, whether it's a mission for your family, whether it's whether it's just being deliberate about how you live your life. Whether that's eating, sleeping, exercising, you know, whatever it happens to be how that manifests feel for you. Absolutely try and find it.
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