11: Being Santa & Everything Else (w/ Nile Nickel)

In our 1st Holiday Special we have Santa Claus in the studio! We talk to the man behind the beard, Nile Nickel, about the joy of being one of the most beloved icons on the planet, the unique intricacy of working with children, how he juggles his many entrepreneurial endeavors outside of the North Pole, and how he stays merry throughout the year. All that and more in this exciting and heart warming interview with jolly old St. Nick(el)!

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Episode Transcript

Gosh, sounds like Santa Claus. Weird, right? Yeah. What’s up with that? Niall Nicoll, thank you for coming on. It’s always a pleasure to be here.

So you’re a fellow hoosier? Fellow Hoosier. We’re both from Indiana, but we met here in St. Pete. And I couldn’t be happier to know you for real.

It’s been like three and a half years since we met. It’s been a while. It’s been a while.

And, you know, we’re still somewhat talking to each other and staying together. You know, it’s like the start of a good marriage or something. You can’t get away from me and I can’t get away from you, so there’s something there.

My wife says the same thing. So again, we’re down that marriage path. I think we’re off to a great start here.

So, as I’ve gotten to know you over the years, every conversation, first off, is so pleasant and so enjoyable and so authentic. And then I learned something new about you every time. Every time you’re like, oh, and I’m doing this, and, like, on top of all of the other stuff you’re doing.

Uh, so let me just give the breakdown. You’re. You have your own podcast, which I encourage everybody to go listen to.

Tons of episodes that are great. It’s called the social media business Hour. And then you’re the chief technology officer of one of our clients and partners.

Absolute development, which is awesome. And you’re also the CTO of corporate Dynamics. And then you’re an expert witness, which you do a lot of work on.

You’re the general contractor at all american concrete. And last, but certainly not least, you are the St. Pete Santa. So, first off, how.

How do you get to all those houses in one night? How do you get to all this work in a day? Well, you know, Santa’s able to suspend time. So you think it’s a hard, hard task, right? No, it’s just time travel is all it is. So, you know, before all of the science fiction stuff, you know, Star Trek, Star wars and all.

Well, Star wars didn’t have it, but you could time travel, and that’s how Santa does his special deliveries now, by the way, kids listening, that’s a secret. Don’t tell anybody. Note it.

Yeah, we won’t put that in the show notes, that’s for sure. There you go. So do you have a device, or is it in your blood? It’s mind.

It’s mind control. That’s what it is. As a business owner.

I do think juggling all of those balls and keeping them in the air is a mindset thing, because there’s a lot of people who do a lot of stuff, and it’s like how, you know, even people ask me, and I don’t do nearly as much as what you do, they go, how do you juggle it? And it’s like, yeah, well, you know, I was thinking about this very question on my way over here today, because I started doing side hustles before side hustle was a common term. I got married at the age of 16, and guess what? When
you’re married at 16, you’ve got to support a family. You can’t get a 40 hours job.

So I had to plug in a lot of different things to make ends meet. And so way back when, I started what you would call side hustles today, and I looked for all the opportunities and all the ones that were good, I continued to pursue, and all the ones that really didn’t pan out or make much money, I dropped very quickly. Well, along the way, that was ingrained from an early age.

I’ve done the same thing, which means I’ve had my hands in a lot of different things. In fact, some people ask me, what is it you do? And I say, well, just about everything. Elephant mating is not on the list.

Everything else is there. It’s like it’s easier to just list what I don’t do. That’s about it.

Elephant mating, you know, that’s a big job. It’s messy. You just don’t like to go there.

Yeah. Yeah. Snake handling.

Yeah, maybe. I knew I’d learn so much more in this, so I’m really looking forward to that. But it is really inspiring, you know, always running into you.

Our offices were in proximity in the same building, and that’s how we got to know each other. And now I moved to this new office, and, of course, you’re the general contractor for it, and I had no idea. Isn’t this a beautiful office, too? It is.

We’re in a beautiful studio. You’ve done a wonderful job. So yet another plug.

Yeah. Yeah. Anybody that needs that done, just look me up.

Well, we’ll have all your information in the show notes, for sure, links to your podcast and your various businesses. Well, they get to hear my pitch here, though, rather than reading it. Yeah.

Find out how genuine I am and the fantastic work I could do, of course. Was that promotional enough? That was pretty good. Okay, good.

Pretty good. That’s what it’s all about. And so it’s gonna be one more hour of that, everybody.

No. So, I mean, it’s really. I’m not kidding.

It’s inspiring. And it’s a really big pleasure to know you because, I mean, there’s great people in this city, you know, you and I, being from Indiana, there is something special here in St. Pete going on. And I think that people like you give it a lot of great positive energy.

There’s no doubt about that. That this is what this city runs on, is people like you. And so, first off, thank you.

You don’t know it, but, like, all those years that we’ve known each other, when I pass you at the office, I felt inspired, and it was always joyful. You were never in a bad mood. And so you’re very uplifting.

And I think it makes sense. Once I learned. I think it was last year, I learned, no way you’re Santa.

I found Santa, the real Santa. But it makes sense because you’re joyous and jolly. It just was such a good fit.

I do want to start because I’m so curious with some Santa questions, because it is fascinating. This is the holiday special, and we can have fun with it. Absolutely.

Okay. Absolutely. So we’ve already talked about how you visit all the houses in just one night, which has always been a mind boggler for me.

So this is fantastic. Already solving some things that I just. It was a conundrum before.

So, my next one, how do you efficiently keep the naughty and nice list up to date throughout the year? You know, you heard a lot of new age people, right? They talk about auras. Well, you know, I don’t have to keep a list now. My elves keep the list.

They tell me who’s naughty and nice. But I could look at the aura, and I could tell from the aura. So it’s very easy to say who gets what and who’s on the naughty and nice list.

Now, the naughty and nice list is interesting because do you know that it changes over time? No. So I have found being Santa, and I’ve been Santa. I’ve been playing this for about 46 years now.

A long time. Really? Yeah. We could talk about how I got started.

But the flip side is, one of the things that I do is I do today a lot of adult parties, and we’re in St. Petersburg. There’s a lot of older adults here, in addition to a lot of younger people. In fact, this used to be called the community of the newlyweds and nearly deads.

They’re filling in the gaps in between now. So it’s not quite as bad, but when I go to a group that has a number of older women in it, they don’t want to be on the nice list. They want to be on the naughty list.

Oh, boy. But then they want to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. I could write a book about this.

It’s unbelievable. You really should. It’s unbelievable.

Okay. What’s one thing that sticks out where you’re like, this is wild. You know, I like to.

When I do podcasts, I like to keep them family friendly, so we’re going to keep it family friendly. But, you know, women of a certain age lose all of their inhibitions, and they could say whatever they want, right? It’s just a cute little old lady that, you know, nice gray hair and all of that. Well, they do say whatever’s on their mind.

And I could tell you that the libido of older individuals, as. As noted by the villages here in Florida, it does not slow down. I think it accelerates.

So they tell Santa exactly what they want, whether it’s under the tree or anywhere else. We’re exploring nooks and crannies. Let’s not go there.

Oh, man. That happens to be with the larger women crowd there, so. Okay.

Wow. So interesting about the naughty and nice list as far as aura. Do you feel like Jordan and I in this room? Are we on the nice list? Oh, you’re on the nice list, for sure.

Yeah, yeah. No, no fears. Oh, cool.

All right, so I’m gonna get that. Christmas wishes will come true. That’s fantastic.

As long as they’re within the budget, so. Okay, well, hopefully that new microphone’s in the budget, then. There you go.

So you had said that you’ve been doing this for 46 years now. What led you to being Santa? So, one of my oldest friends passed away a few years ago, but she had an older brother that really. Hey, guess what? I grew up from the fifties.

Right? So when you had somebody in the family that had any sort of. I don’t know what you’d say, not trying to be rude or politically incorrect, but, you know, mental disability would be the best way to say it. They tend to hide those individuals, or they tended to hide those individuals, and not many people knew about them.

So I had known her at the time for probably 15 years, and she had an older brother that I knew nothing about because he was kept in the house and didn’t go much outside the house at all. He was about, I think, 1520 years older than her. So I think at the time, he was probably in his forties, but he loved Santa Claus.

They couldn’t get anybody to come into the house and play Santa. I mean, when I’m talking about this individual in his forties, he was also about six foot two and about 190 pounds. He was a.

He was a big kid, a big boy in simple terms. And she’d ask me to come in and play Santa, and I did. And then it translated.

She got married, had kids, and I then became Santa for all of her kids. And then grandkids came along. Guess what? You know, I became Santa for the grandkids.

So I’ve been doing this for a long time, and as you start doing it, word gets out and more people ask for it. And so I have a great time, meet great people. I am a guardian ad litem as well, which means I help take care of kids that are in state placement with a caregiver or something like that.

Usually you’ve got a lot of background checks and security issues and all of that. So that allows me also to play those issues with or play the Santa part in a lot of those situations with kids that, quite frankly, they don’t get a lot. And it’s really amazing when you go into those situations where you’re giving a kid two or three small gifts and you talk about the joy that is on their face.

I mean, we look at it sometimes and we’re going, you know, this is nothing. Well, to them, it’s the world. Not only is it something that they didn’t have, because a lot of times they live out of a suitcase or a pillowcase, and the fact that they have something that’s theirs, that’s unique, that’s different, they get to play with.

They love it. And so while I enjoy doing this and enjoy spreading the joy, as you would say, I’d probably get as much or more out of this than the people that I visit. Gosh, how meaningful is that? I felt similar when I taught for six years at the university level and I’ve never learned so much.

I felt like I was teaching myself during that process. And it was really illuminating that I was like, so all the teachers that I’ve had probably felt something like that. But in your position, you’re in this magical, almost literally figure position, but you actually are kind of making magic happen where you’re taking this moment in time or this day or this holiday time and transforming, at least for a bit, a life.

And then your work outside of that, with the Guardian, how do you say it? Guardian adlitem. Ad litem. I mean, sometimes they’re called casas in different areas of the country.

Okay. Yeah. It’s just.

It’s clear that. I don’t know how to put it, but you’ve clearly had this tug of doing good in the world and spreading joy and positivity. There’s something to you.

So I would imagine when you’re. I missed you at Santa at the event last year, so I’m gonna make sure to see you sometime this year in. In the flesh.

But, you know, I can’t imagine you in that position. You know, there’s no one better that I know who would play that part and actually not play it, but be it. And that’s.

That’s a really cool thing. It’s awesome to hear that. It gives your life so much meaning, and yet it’s a side hustle.

It’s a side hustle. What? A meaningful side hustle. I do one particular gig each year at a german american club, and there, it’s not Santa Claus.

It’s St. Nicholas or St. Nicholas. And it’s rather fascinating because I’ve been doing that for a number of years now, and a lot of the kids that are there recognize me and look forward to seeing me. But I would venture to say I probably see 20 kids there, and two or three of them have gifts that they bring, that they made, they’ve prepared to give to St. Nicholas.

And they’re typically rather small things, but they put their time in it. They put their effort in it. They put their love in it.

I love when they share those little things with me. I get lots of cookies. More cookies than I could eat, truly.

Oh, I can’t imagine we’re gonna get to that. Yeah. I should be a cookie distributor at this point in time.

Well, I was gonna. Well, let’s just jump to it. What is your favorite cookie? And then part two of that question is, what is your preference of milk type? Is it 2%? Is it slim? Is it almond or oat? Ah.

So we’re going deep here. We’re going deep. So you might be surprised.

Let me ask you a question first. I’m gonna turn this around. Oh, boy.

What do you think Santa’s favorite cookie is? Because I know what most people think. Yeah, most people. Chocolate chip.

But now that you’ve. Now that you said that’s what most people think. Maybe like, a cinnamon cookie.

Ooh, you’re good. You’re good. So my favorite cookie is an oatmeal raisin with cinnamon in it.

Now, you might say why oatmeal raisin? Well, you know I’ve got reindeer around, right? What do reindeer like? They like the oats, too. So guess what? If I get lots of cookies, the reindeer gets some of the oatmeal raisin cookies, too. They don’t complain a bit.

Oh, sure. That’s great, because it’s like, how could Santa eat all of those cookies? So you share them with the reindeer. Share them with the reindeer.

That makes sense. Yeah, but you’ve got to make sure it’s the right cookie. So everybody out there, make sure to make oatmeal raisin with a hint of cinnamon.

Hint of cinnamon? Yeah. I was gonna say oatmeal raisin, and I was like, oh, maybe cinnamon. Should have gone with my gut.

Should have gone with you. Cinnamon. Vanilla would be good, but the reindeer just don’t like those as much.

Okay, nice. And then what about the milk? Milk? There’s only one way to go. We’re from Indiana, right? Yeah.

Okay. Just saying. We go whole milk all the way, buddy.

Whole milk. I saw that coming. All right, so now we know, and we know the recipe to leave out for Santa this year.

You know, the American Dairy association would be proud. And, of course, you know, I’m a big indycar fan, too. Do media coverage for IndyCar.

I think you know that. But if you don’t, you learn something new. I didn’t know that.

And so, you know, I always look for the ends at the Indy 500, because that’s. That was right down the street from where I lived, actually. It was less than 2 miles away, and I love going there.

Don’t know if you know this. I’m going to take a little detour here. Let’s do it.

Are you good with that? Yeah. So, I was adopted at birth. Didn’t know anything about my parents and anything like that.

And about five or six years ago, I’d been searching, actually, for my parents, my birth parents, since 1985. Long time. Well, I finally had a breakthrough and found a sister, and reached out to my sister, who lives in Indiana, and found out not only did I have a sister, but I had a brother.

How cool. And my brother, as I found out, we’ve become. We’ve become close.

It’s fascinating. But my brother does all of the teleprompting. He also does some of the media interviews for the indie network.

We’ve known each other all this time. He’s into audio, into video, into technical stuff. We have conversations about that.

Wow. But he does all this stuff at the Indianapolis 500. And so it’s been fascinating because I’ll show up in some of the news conferences, and he’s actually running the technical part of the conference.

How special. But completely separated, literally at birth. And here we find each other over 50 years later and were running in a lot of the same circles.

Wow. How neat is it that you did that work? I mean, it makes sense because of your investigation, kind of your research work that you do, but you didn’t stop. And then here you are with a breakthrough like that.

I mean, what’s cooler than that? I can’t imagine the feeling. Oh, it’s really awesome, because we could do a whole podcast on adoption. But, you know, when you’re adopted, you never feel like you’re really connected.

You can’t explain it, but you have a family that might love you to death. My family did love me. There was no question there.

But you feel different. I asked myself growing up, how did I come from these people? Now, I knew I was adopted, but I just didn’t quite fit. And when I met both my brother and my sister, there was an instant connection.

These were my people. It’s amazing. I don’t even know how you explain that.

Yeah, I mean, it’s evolution or in your blood, literally. So there’s something extra there to that connection because we see air. You were talking about auras earlier, and I’m pretty science based and got logic and reasoning, but it’s logical that this air that you and I are sharing is physical.

And there’s something to that. That physicality is going in and out of me, through me, through you, through Jordan here. I can’t imagine if you could somehow monitor the levels of blood and different things in your first interaction with him, what spikes you might have gotten both of you.

Yeah, it’s rather interesting. I mean, you know, and a lot of people relationally, you know, they. They just connect.

They click. Yeah. They call it chemistry.

Well, what is that that we’re talking about here? It’s sort of fascinating. It is. But.

But it’s off topic. But it was. It was a fun little rabbit hole to go.

Oh, no. I assumed that this episode will be full of those because of all that you do. And, yeah, there’s.

There’s a lot under that skin, if you will, or behind that beard. Hey, there’s a lot less. I’ve lost a lot of weight lately.

I now have to put a fake stomach on because I’m not big enough. I was wondering that. I literally was just talking to Scott downstairs.

He owns this building that we’re in. And he was like, have you seen Niall lately? He’s just looking great. And I go, I think he must have to put on a suit or something to make him plump up now.

Yeah, I do, so. You do? Yes. Yeah.

The fascinating thing is, you know, being Santa in Florida, it doesn’t get cold enough here, and even the lightweight Santa suits are incredibly hot. So, by the way, if you hire a Santa, a lot of times they want a fan blowing on them, it’s because it is so hot. Sure.

I could lose, and I’m not exaggerating. If I’m in that suit for 2 hours, I could lose six pounds. And, you know, I’ll wear a t shirt or two underneath because it will be soaked with sweat.

I mean, wow, you are hot. And so this year, I did something different. I’m very anxious to try it.

I have a cold vest that goes on under the suit, and I’m hoping that it will extend my range just a bit, because it’s very, very difficult to be in that suit for a couple hours. Absolutely. Also, you have, if you have children sitting on your lap and they’re transferring that little bit of body heat you’re performing, and so there’s energy expelled in that way on top of the suit.

You know, we were talking about racing before, and also something that I had learned recently or just thought about, you know, with f one drivers and Indycars is how hot they get during those races and how to manage all of that. It’s just, it’s a fascinating factor, you know, that nobody thinks about when you stumble upon Santa and wherever you are at a holiday party or the mall or whatever it may be. Yeah.

And the last thing you want to do is sweating all over everybody. So, you know, it’s hard to control that and manage it, but you figure out all the ways, you’re like, all right, what do you want, kid? What do you want, kid? Well, I’m really happy, and I don’t know why. As you get older, obviously, heat is a bigger thing to manage.

Yeah, I’ve been able to manage that well. And, you know, even though I’m very happy to take the suit off after being in it for a few hours. And when I have to perform, like, you know, I work with a local group.

It’s called the second winds that does a great, fantastic holiday performance at the Palladium Theater here in St. Petersburg. I think it’s December 4 this year. Get tickets.

They’re available, but I actually end up dancing down the aisle, directing the crowd to sing Christmas carols and all of that. And then when you’re done, you’d be surprised how many people want pictures. So you gotta be around for that.

But you do a lot of singing and dancing when you’re in that big, heavy suit. It’s hot. Wow, it’s hot.

Yeah. I mean, it’s actually. It’s quite impressive when you start to break this stuff down.

What kind of a, you know, a job that is? What a. What a role. Also, you know, your interaction with children.

You’ve gotta. You do have to be sharp, I would imagine, you know, because you don’t know what a child’s gonna say to you or, you know, what condition they’re going to be in, or a crying baby. Last year, our daughter saw Santa for the first time.

I wish it would have been you, but she was asleep the whole time. Even when we put her on Santa, our picture on our holiday card is her asleep, passed out on Santa’s lap. She was having Santa dreams.

Now, the thing that’s interesting is, is learning how to work with kids that are terrified of Santa. And truly, it’s a skill you have to develop, because when you get kids that are probably somewhere between, I don’t know, two and a half to three, three and a half, maybe even up to five. They’re scared of Santa, you know, what’s this guy in this weird suit? Yeah.

Why is that? Is it just because it’s a big guy, probably a bigger beard than they normally see? And it’s something. I mean, who’s in this red velvet suit with big, fluffy white stuff on it? Why is he so friendly, and why does he want to interact with me? So you learn a lot of things to get the kids to interact more. What’s your number one method that works to calm a kid down or to be more approachable? I try to find if both parents are there.

Typically, moms bring kids to see Santa, but if both parents are there, which parent is the child most comfortable and secure with? And then I try to interact with that parent a lot. I mean, almost in an exaggerated fashion, like, can we share cookies? You know, can I feed you a cookie? You feed me whatever it is. But all of a sudden, when you’re interacting with the parent that they feel most secure with, or even both parents, they tend to get a little bit more comfortable.

But you have to be patient and spend the time to do that. It might take two minutes. It might take 15 minutes, and you can’t devote 15 minutes just to a kid doing that.

But what you do is you just clue the parents in and then you work with it over the next 15 minutes as you’ve got other kids coming in and all of that. You don’t pressure it. You don’t pressure the kid.

You just let it happen organically. And it generally does. Doesn’t always, but I’d say 90% of the time.

Yeah, no, it makes sense. Again, yet another interesting dynamic. Speaking of, like, the kids interacting with you, I wanted to ask what’s, like, the wildest thing a kid has asked for or said to you while they’re on your lap talking to you? I don’t know about the wildest.

The thing that always tugs at my heart and quite honestly, I have trouble keeping it together sometimes, is when the kid genuinely comes and the kid is not asking for anything for them, they’re asking something for mom or dad or grandma or grandpa or aunt or uncle. And a lot of times, you know, it might be that there’s an illness or something like that in the family. It might be that they just, you know, they’ve been struggling.

There’s a lot of food struggles, for example, and they see the struggle that their parents go through. Or unfortunately, today there’s so many single moms that go through that, and they just want to see their parents happy, their mom happy. They want to see the joy that they see in a lot of other people that they don’t see at home.

Wow, I can imagine. That’s really hard to keep it. Yeah.

And you find that even in what you would say is the best of families, when the kids are there, you know, you have to slow everything down and you have to now, you know, be empathetic, but also keep it together and. And give them hope, you know, quite frankly, that, you know, it’s going to be better that. Do you? Because I was wondering how you handle that, because, I mean, you there, you, I would imagine, have to be careful.

Like, someone’s like, can you make my grandpa healthy again? You know, cure his cancer or whatever? It’s like you can’t say, yep, putting it on the list. Putting it on the list. A good little boy, right.

That’s going to be under the tree. No, you just have to talk about, you know, some of those larger things, except you’ve got to put it down into languages that they could understand. Right.

It’s like, you know, there’s a place that, that Grandpa is going to go to and it’s going to be a better place because right now, you see Grandpa’s pain, you see his agony, suffering. And Grandpa is going to be able to get rid of all of that, so it’ll be okay. You’re giving them hope for a positive.

You know what? You’re going to miss Grandpa a whole lot. It’s going to be harder on you than it is on Grandpa, and Grandpa is going to miss seeing you as well. But grandpa’s going to be in a much better place, and he’s not going to feel pain.

And so I understand the question, but sometimes there are things that are bigger than. Than what we could see, and you just have to know that grandpa’s gonna be better. Yeah.

Gosh. I mean, that’s so heavy. And then, you know, before that, someone was asking for an Xbox.

Exactly. So you just switched gears, like 100, 8180 with a smile on your face the whole time. Right.

Except, you know, obviously, trying to connect with a child that’s highly emotional like that. You have to bring it down. Have you.

Have you broken down? Um, I do pretty good most of the time. If. If I’m ready to break down, I’ll.

I’ll take a short break. Yeah. Yeah, I would imagine.

Because it is amazing. You know, all of a sudden, one of the things that’s interesting, interesting about being Santa is there’s no barriers. So if they connect with you, you know, we talked about some kids are afraid of Santa, but once you get past that age, and it’s a very small age, that kids are maybe two or three years, they’re afraid of Santa.

But other than that, Santa’s, like, the best person in the world, and you could say anything to Santa. And by the way, adults feel the same way. It truly is fascinating.

Good and bad, right? They tell you anything. It’s like you put on that suit, you go out there, and all of a sudden, it’s like all of the veil is lifted, and people are just able to talk to Santa. It’s amazing.

You could write a book with all this. I mean, it is truly amazing. I mean, again, we’re, like, peeling the onion of, like, what it actually is.

How often does anybody out there think about what is actually like to be Santa Claus? It’s a really interesting thing. That’s why I’m so excited about this. It’s just incredible.

I have a couple more Santa questions. Okay. And then I want to get on to the.

I mean, Santa is real life, but, you know, real life, but. So can you tell us what your favorite part about being Santa is? And maybe we’ve already kind of touched on it and then also and maybe we’ve already touched on this as well. What the most difficult part about being Santa is, if you can define those two.

My favorite part is actually when I arrive in a room because everybody is so excited. You know how you always hear this story of herding cats, right? And when you’ve got a lot of kids around, it’s like herding cats, but when Santa comes in, it’s like they all gather. In fact, the challenge is trying to handle the kids, and I hate to say handle, but to be able to deal with them one at a time, individually, because they, you know, it’s just a pile on, so.

Yeah. And also, maybe when you leave, I bet that’s hard. Like, don’t go.

It depends on how long the visit’s been. Yeah, true. If I have a long visit at a, at a party, for example, after 30, 45 minutes, they’re, they’re ready to get back to everything.

They had their Santa time. They might come over and share some things, but it’s good to go. Then the most difficult part is when the kids come up with what we talked about with, with some requests.

That one, you know, that there’s no way to fulfill the requester or wish. But the second part of that is to genuinely see, and it surprises me. It really does.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but it surprises me how many kids care far more about the people that are in their lives than they do about themselves. That’s not the way a lot of us think about kids. You know, if we get into the psychology and the development of the personality, you know, kids are all about me.

It’s, it’s the end thing. Correct. But when you see kids that it’s not all about them.

In fact, I also get a lot of requests from kids where they’re asking for something for their sibling. Wow. Their little brother or their little sister, whatever.

And to me, that’s one of the neatest parts. Yeah. And the hardest parts we’ve talked about.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, switching gears from the hardest parts, I. And maybe it is hard.

I’m kind of curious how Santa stays cheerful and jolly throughout the year, you know, aside from the holiday season. And do you have any tips for spreading joy continually? I’ve never really quite honestly thought about it because I do think it’s a mindset issue. One of the things that I guess I discovered early on, and I don’t want to get into the depressing parts of my early years, but one of the things that I figured out early on was there’s only one person in life that’s going to be your
cheerleader through life and support you all the way through your life and that’s you.

And you could decide that you want to be miserable and you want to be grumpy and you want to be whatever. You know, I was a keen observationalist very young. In fact, I used to drive my parents crazy because I was the why kid.

Well, how come we do this? Well, they’d give me an answer. The answer wasn’t good enough. And what would I say? Well, why? And you know the answer that I got after about four or five whys? Just because.

Yeah, yeah, right. Just because they’d get sick of the whys. But I’ve always been that way.

And one of the things I observed was people that were grumpy, that were depressed. Yeah. And some people are going to dispute this, but for a lot of people in that condition, it is a choice.

It’s a choice that they make. I mean, do I have bad things that happen? Do I have things that scare the heck out of me at times? Yeah, absolutely. But it’s not so much the things that happen to us and you’ve heard this a thousand times, but it’s the way we react to them.

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In fact, I’m going way back in time, before credit cards were very popular. How did you pay for things? You typically didn’t carry cash around. You paid for it by check.

You wrote a check wherever you went, to the hardware store, to the grocery store, to whatever. And everybody that wrote checks at the time, the standard policy was you had to have two forms of id and, you know, the check and all of that, and then they’d probably take the check notice. I said probably.

So I decided I wanted to find out the psychology of this. I went shopping and I picked three different stores and I went out in jeans and a t shirt and I took my checkbook out to buy some things and I didn’t carry any id, just the checkbook. And nobody took my check.

They refused to, to honor the check. And, yeah, I had to go away. And plus, I was young at the time, but way back when, you could get a checking account when you were 1011 years old, I did.

So I waited three weeks. Three weeks later, I went out. I was in a dress shirt, I was in a tie, I was in suit pants, and I went to the same three stores now, you know, long enough period of time, they’re not going to remember me or anything like that.

I wrote a check, and all three stores accepted the check. Wow. And I said, wow.

Isn’t it interesting that the appearance that you give out changes the way people interact with you? If I’m grumpy, what am I going to get back? Right, exactly. If I’m happy, if I’m cheerful, even when maybe I’m not, what am I going to get back? And I’ve done that, tested it in a thousand other ways over time, but it’s literally a choice. Nobody typically wants to hear about your problems and your woes and all of that, but they’re excited to hear an interesting quip, a funny story or whatever, and
it changes the interaction.

Yeah, I mean, I started this podcast by saying how nice and pleasant all of our interactions was. And that’s not an understatement. Every single one, there’s not one that stands out and is like, yeah, that was not great, or that was negative in any way and makes a lot of sense now that we dig in.

I subscribe to that myself, at least that mindset as much as I can. Where just put that positivity out there and be what you want to feel and feel what you want to be, and you do. I feel like I get that back most of the time.

Also, like, on my runs, I talked about this with Jacqueline Lindsay, who was in our building of kindness.org, comma, episode five. Plug for her there.

But, you know, when I’m on a run and when I smile and wave at the person who’s coming the other direction, if they’re, like, straight faced and then they see me smile, they usually smile back, and then we both feel good about it. It’s like tiny little thing, you know? But if we both passed each other and looked away, it’s not as great of a run, you know? And actually, there was. There was, like, several weeks where I was monitoring and keeping track of my, uh, wave back ratio, where how many
people wave back at this run, you know, compared to yesterday? And what time if I go in the morning versus the night? Do more people wave in the morning versus the night and yes, morning.

People are in a better mood. It seems I have more energy. It was an interesting little experiment that I did.

But, you know, what you give, you get back for sure. In psychology, there’s the thing that’s called the mirror response. We use it in sales, we use it in marketing, we use it in a lot of things.

But that’s a mirror response. What you give is what you get. You give a smile, you get a smile.

You give a wave. You get a wave. Now, that’s not universally true.

In fact, sometimes it’s funny when it goes completely off the rails. I was in New York City, I don’t know how long ago, and you’re right, I do give a lot of positive comments out in smiles. And there was a beautiful older lady, and she was going through the park, and clearly she was struggling with some issues.

And I had made a positive comment about it, and she came back so snarky and so negative. And I sort of just smiled, didn’t react, and went on. And my kids were both there, and they said, wow, that was really rude of her.

I said, well, you don’t know really what she’s going through. I said, but I found it fascinating that I’m trying to give her a bright spot, a moment of joy, and she can’t accept it. Now, they were more concerned and offended about the way she reacted to me.

And, you know, it was a good opportunity to have a chat with them about, it’s my decision how I then respond to that, because, quite frankly, I was laughing about it because of the response. But by the same token, I was empathetic with the fact that she’s going through something that she can’t even recognize and accept, something that’s positive and joyful. It’s interesting, the thread of joy being woven through this conversation.

There’s something there. Should I say ho, ho, ho? I was saving that for the end. So when it’s not the holiday season, what’s some of your favorite work? Obviously, I listed a lot of stuff that you do.

What’s some of your most favorite work that you do throughout the year? You know, it really, it depends. I do a lot of expert witness work. It’s probably my primary job, which means I do data analytics in the telecom space.

I do fraud investigations. I got into expert witness work with construction stuff. So, you know, I love doing the investigations.

I love getting to the bottom of something and finding out what root causes are. So I really enjoy that. I hate the report writing that goes into being an expert witness because there’s always a report that’s filed.

Do you use AI at all to help you or can you? You can, but you’ve got to be very careful about it. You use it as a tool because AI could be wrong totally. More times than it’s right.

Right. And you end up spending more time correcting it than if you just wrote it. Exactly.

Yeah. That kind of writing is very specific, so I haven’t found it useful for that. But, you know, the writing part’s the part I hate.

The other part that I’ve learned to enjoy a whole lot more is the general contracting. I like taking a property, a building, and transforming it like the one we’re in now. Like the one we’re in now.

It’s beautiful. I can’t tell you the amount of compliments I get. Every person that comes to our office is like, this place is awesome.

Yeah, there’s, there’s just a lot of little unique things about it. Totally. And, you know, you can’t always do that.

As a matter of fact, there’s a lot of real estate investors that are flippers now. They want to come in and do everything fast and cheap and just turn it. I really hate those projects.

In fact, I try to avoid them, but I do like the projects where somebody wants something that’s special or interestingly enough, the majority of the projects I take on are projects that go sideways. They’ve got code compliance issues. They got caught.

Working without permits has to be fixed. How do you do that? And it turns out that that’s a little bit more complicated, but because it follows sort of what I love about being an expert witness, I love going down that path and dealing with those issues. Oh, that’s very cool.

That makes a lot of sense, too. Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, you know, as with everybody’s, there’s, you know, ups, there’s downs. Always curious, what’s a pivotal moment where you hit? I mean, I would imagine it’s several from your laundry list of activities, but, you know, is there something that jumps out at you that was a pivotal moment that kind of shifted your perspective or took you to this new place? I don’t know that there’s some pivotal moments.

I mean, there’s been a lot of hard lessons. Believe it or not, I developed a product and I’m going to leave the, the product in general out and the company in general out, because. Can you tell me after? I’ll be happy to tell you afterwards, but I don’t want to give bad and negative publicity to somebody but I had developed a particular product because all of the products in the marketplace just didn’t work real well.

And this particular product that I developed required three or four major components. And the problem with this product was everybody that sort of offered this product into the marketplace bought all of the different components from different vendors, and it required the right chemical mix to work properly. The only problem was, as people would change formulas on one of the subproducts, nobody would know until the product failed, you know, the final product.

Yeah. And so I found one particular company that had all of the products that were required to put this system together. They manufactured all of them.

So that meant that we could control the quality. And if there were changes made, we’d know that a change needed to be made, and we could test it for reliability and suitability. And it took probably 18 months to.

To get a deal firmed up with this company to take the product, to work with their engineers and chemists to properly develop it, because there were some adjustments that had to be made, and we put it out into the marketplace. And, yeah, I’m trying. I guess I could throw the dollars out because it won’t matter.

So they sold a lot of products, and the largest single product line that they’d sold, new product Line, in a year was about $54 million. Whoa. So this particular product line that we came out with, our product first year sales, was $364 million.

Oh, my gosh. It just. Almost a million dollars a day.

It exploded. And I can’t wait to. I’m trying to think about what this product is.

I don’t know if you’re racking your brain over there, too, but in any case, I had a deal that they didn’t want to pay me for the development of it, but they would pay me a royalty. A royalty was supposed to be a 5% royalty on the product sales, gross product sales. After the first 45 days of the orders coming in, they decided that they had to renegotiate.

And because obviously, you could tell from the size of the dollars, we’re talking about rather substantial company. Well, ultimately, they ended up wanting to pay a flat fee and just get out of the agreement, which was not right, not proper. But you know what? I couldn’t find a single attorney that would take on this big multinational corporation because of the dollars they have.

I didn’t understand it so much at the time. I understand it now, but it made. It soured me on a lot of things, but it also caused me to be a lot more cautious in those negotiations.

And those deals, because as much as you want to make a contract good and hard and solid, and I deal with this all the time, one of the things that I tell a lot of people when we go into litigation issues, because I deal with that so much, is, it almost doesn’t matter. Now, I’m going to sound very cynical, who’s right or who’s wrong? It almost matters who has the most time and who has the most money. And I’ve seen that over and over and over.

So that’s one of the things that I look at that side of humanity and people and realize how much sometimes money drives things, that it shouldn’t. Contrast that with our Santa conversations, for example. That’s hard to take sometimes.

Now, I’ve come to accept that I’ve learned to be a lot more careful about those things. But it’s really amazing to see how sometimes those big, and it’s not even necessarily big corporations, but how much dollars and cents could sour relationships and ventures and everything else. And it surprises me how much that happens, and it surprises me sometimes how little the dollars are before people go sideways on that stuff.

Man, life’s just too short. No kidding. Now, by the way, that would have been a nice gig for me.

That was a retirement gig, clearly. But what do you do? I could sulk about it. Or you pick yourself up and you go on.

Yeah. And you become Santa. And you become Santa.

There you go. Yeah. So you made it out on top on that.

I can’t wait to hear what that product is. It’s interesting. Episode two, we had our lawyer on.

I don’t know if you know Doug Jackson, but he’s a great guy. He’s calling himself, like, the St. Pete lawyer, I think, now. So it’s got to go.

St. Pete lawyer. St. Pete. We need to get together.

Of course, the St. Pete crew. I’ll be the St. Pete creative producer, something like that. I don’t know.

But he said that he consistently says that contracts save friendships and relationships, you know, because, you know, you think like, oh, I’m going to do business with my friend or family member. I don’t need a contract, especially maybe in that engagement you should, because you’re, you’re just all, both agreeing on that and you can save your friendship. Well, you know, I would like, if I had my desires, I’d get rid of the word contract.

What would you accomplish? I would just call it a memorialization of our agreement. But we want to memorialize all of the what ifs. You know, one of the things that nobody ever considers when they’re starting out a venture, and I’m not going to say nobody, but I’ll say 98, 99% of the people is.

What happens when this comes to an end, what happens if I won out? What happens if you want out? And it’s not necessarily even important for me and you because we’re good friends, way you sell it, we’re good friends, so we know what we would do. But what happens if, for example, I die and all of a sudden you’re dealing with my wife now instead of me? And my wife is going to take a very different view on things than I would. How do you get out of that situation? So if you catch it properly and you
say, listen, we’re good, but what happens if, you know, let’s just make it clean so we’ve got that what if covered.

If we want to go our separate ways, if something happens to one or the other of us, and, you know, quite frankly, listen, I love your wife. I don’t want to be in business with her because you two are different people. She thinks different than you.

I went in business with you, not your wife. So let’s figure out what happens, you know, and that’s one of the best things to do. But when you start thinking about all those what ifs, when you start thinking about exit plans, how you value the business, you know, how many people put those in agreements now, by the way, I don’t care what type of agreement is.

You start thinking about all of those things with the type of agreements and you just memorialize it. Right. Just saying, what are we thinking now as we’re getting into this and you’re asking the hard questions now, you do that, you’re less likely to have problems down the road.

But in the event that you do, you know what your options are. You don’t have to wonder. Absolutely.

Yeah. So should we start calling our contracts? Can you please sign this memorial? No, I just like to memorialize our understanding. Yeah, I like that.

In fact, what do they call a lot of pre contract negotiations? They call it a memorize memorandum. I could talk memorandum of understanding, right? Yeah. Yeah.

I knew there was, it was ringing a bell as far as that. Yeah. Interesting.

I like your take on that last question before a fun segment. You do a lot, right? Day to day, you’re running, you’re sprinting, running and gunning, as they say. Running and gunning.

How do you maintain the work life balance? My wife would say probably not very well. You know, I laugh when people talk about balance and work life balance, because I think it’s the biggest fallacy of all. Tough one.

You know, one of the things that I make clear to not only my wife, but my kids is, first off, you’re the most important thing in my life. And what I do, I’m going to go off and, yeah, I’m working a lot, but I don’t care. You don’t need to feel put out or anything else.

If you need me or even want me for something, let me know, you know, I shouldn’t have to say, just ask. But guess what? I may miss some of those things and you have to know, and I’ll tell you a thousand times, and, oh, by the way, that’s just today. I’ll tell you a thousand times tomorrow.

You’re the most important person in the world to me. So whatever it is, even if you’re just having a bad moment, just pick up the phone and give me a call or say, hey, you know, honey, or dad, or whatever the case may be, can, can we just talk for a few minutes? And I’m going to be there. I’m going to drop virtually anything that I could drop.

The only thing I typically can’t drop are court dates and court hearings and things like that. Judges are not very sympathetic with that. But just about anything else, you know, I’ll drop, reschedule, push, do whatever.

But, you know, then it’s also making sure that we put on the schedule. My schedule is shared with my entire family, for example, when there’s something that they want to do, it’s important to them put it on the schedule and then nothing else is going to get in the way. And then making sure that we plan times just to be together, just to do stuff.

Absolutely. Yeah. We don’t even need an agenda, but what we’re doing.

In fact, I love to go on vacation and I could. I know where the starting point is and I know where the ending point is. Don’t know where I’m going to be any given day in between.

And my wife found that really bizarre when we first got together, got married. She has since adopted that because you’re just able to go with what you feel like, what the flow is, you don’t have an agenda or schedule. There are certain things that I put on what I’d like to do and what I’d like to see.

But are we going to get there? I don’t know. It’s enjoying the cliche, enjoying that journey. It’s not necessarily the destination.

Yep. Enjoying the moment, too. Absolutely.

I think that keeps you present and doing that with your whole family being on the same page, that’s even more meaningful. It’s not like, oh, we got to get through this car ride or this flight or getting there. It’s like, no, we’re going to have fun getting there.

I always laugh because I think I told you I just went down to Key west. And I do that typically once a year. Well, if you just drive down there, it’s probably a six, seven hour drive, something like that.

I never make it from here to Key west in less than probably 12 hours because there’s going to be so many different stops on the way where my wife will see something or the kids will see something and we end up stopping somewhere and, you know, hey, it might not always excite me, but it always creates a moment, a memory, an adventure. So absolutely, that’s what it’s all about. That’s wonderful.

So, by the way, back to the first point, there is no life work balance, but there are ways to let everybody in your life that’s important to you know that they are and respect it and make sure that you’re giving them the time that they need. A memorial of understanding, a memorandum of understanding. There you go.

All right, we’ve reached a special time in the episode. This is the rapid fire rain screening. So I’m running and gunning again.

If you need more time, take it. Uh, but, you know, if you can be quick. That’s kind of the fun of this portion, but have fun with it.

But you will lose points depending on how long you go. And we’ll tally the points at the end. But don’t worry, you always win.

Well, just remember, Santa grants points, so. Hey. Oh, man, I forgot who I’m up against here.

Okay, so to begin, I always ask everybody this, and most of these questions are common, but you get some extra special ones. What is your biggest source of inspiration? Music. Love it.

I love the storytellers. My two favorite artists no longer with us, Jim Crochet and Harry Chapin, because both of them were storytellers. Both of them were a little bit different.

Love their music. From a christian perspective, Don Francisco hasn’t been producing music for a long, long time, but he could weave a story with the music and that music and the story could lift you and drop you down. He could take you where he wants to.

I love that kind of music. But quite frankly, all music, if I ever do get feeling down blue, depressed or whatever, music’s my go to. That’s wonderful.

You already answered. You’re the first guest in history of the naming creative show to answer two rapid fire questions in one answer. So we have a medal at the door for you for that.

That was awesome. Is it a gold medal? It’s, well, silver and gold. Okay.

Okay. I could deal with it. Do you have a favorite book besides the night before Christmas? I do.

I do. And it really is one of my favorites. It’s illusions by Richard Bach.

I love the book. A lot of people think it’s sacrilegious. I don’t feel that way.

But I love Richard Bach’s writing. He also wrote Jonathan Lemmingsen’s seagull. In fact, I would read Jonathan lemmings and seagull to my kids as a bedtime story.

They loved it. What’s it about? It’s about a seagull. That’s a different type of seagull.

What are seagulls interested in? If you go to the beach here, you know what they’re interested in. Yeah. My chips.

Your food. That’s it. So a seagull’s life is making sure that it gets fed and sleeps.

Jonathan. That was very secondary to Jonathan. Jonathan was more concerned about learning how to fly and be the best flyer and the fastest flyer in the world in the history of gulls.

It’s a rather fascinating story, but those are the illusions is my favorite. Jonathan Livington Seagull is my second favorite. Cool.

And they’re both fast, easy reads. So, by the way, put them on your Christmas list if you haven’t read them, because you will love them. I love that fun fact about seagulls.

My wife literally has the best seagull impersonation in the world. I’ll, maybe I’ll get her to record it and insert it right here because it’s, it is uncanny. It’s wild.

Maybe she knows Jonathan. Well, I think we’ll have to get that book for our daughter. So it is fantastic.

What’s your favorite holiday song? You know, that’s a tougher one because this isn’t a cop out. It depends on my mood. Do I like something that’s, that’s jingly and bouncy? Do I like something that’s a little bit more deep and low? It’s hard to say.

Yeah. Just to pick out one. You know, if I had to pick out one, maybe Mary did, you know, okay, when I wrote that question, I was like, asking anybody for their favorite song is a tough one.

So sorry about that. Well, holiday song. Yeah.

At least it’s more specific. But people would think as a drummer. Mine’s the little drummer boy, but I don’t think it is.

It’s kind of annoying to me. There’s some better ones out there, but really just put on a holiday playlist, and I’m feeling good. I don’t know.

There’s something special about the season, you know? Well, I like Mannheim steamroller stuff, too. You know, it’s just their stuff’s phenomenal. Their holiday stuff, especially.

What about trans siberian orchestra? Same thing. Yeah, same thing. My grandfather used to put on Trans siberian orchestra.

And, you know, if you saw him, you would just not think that was coming out of him. But he loved it. It was fantastic.

So our Christmas days was a little more upbeat. It was cool. Oh, well, we already talked about your favorite cookie and milk, so we’re really in a good spot.

See, look at how fast I’m getting through these. Just saying. You are literally the winner of rapid fire.

This is true. So we are going to have to get him a shirt or something like that. Can you get on that? Okay, great.

How do you define success? Happiness. Love it. I think that was Jordan’s answer, if I’m not mistaken, when he was on the show with his band.

Yeah, you could have anything you want, but if you’re not happy, it’s not successful. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite answers so far.

What is one of your favorite business tools or resources? Gosh, picking out one there is so difficult. You could have two. I’ll allow it.

I would say today my answer is different than it would have been a year ago using AI tools. Today, I’ve spent a lot of time better understanding, developing, training, AI systems, and, you know, everybody knows the AI chat, CPT and all that right now. Do you know that you could train it specifically, giving it specific information that you want to query it about? Now, that is something I use AI for a lot in all my stuff.

In the contracting, for example, I do a lot of stuff with planning, zoning and development. And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a comprehensive plan for a city or a county, but it looks like you remember phone books. Are you.

Yeah. Yes. You’re old enough to remember phone books.

So these big, thick books. Well, that’s about how thick some of the planning and zoning and development books are. So if you go to ask a question to understand what you need to do and how you need to do something, you could spend hours ferreting through those books to get an answer.

Or I could insert, literally the whole document thousands of pages into one of the AI instances, train the AI on it, and then I could query the AI tool to get exact answers that I need. Now, by the way, I’m going to go verify those answers, but it ferreted out all the answers, where they are and everything else. That is a fantastic tool.

It saves me a lot of time these days. So if I would go back a few years ago because it didn’t exist when I started out, was just what you could do with the Internet and the search capabilities. You have to find things, the things that you could find now.

Today’s generation really doesn’t understand what it was like to have to go into a library, look in a card catalog, comb through sometimes hundreds of books to sort of get an idea of what the answer to your question, you know, now you could do some of those things literally in a matter of minutes. Yeah. So those are probably my two favorite tools.

I do a lot of excel stuff. I do a lot of database stuff with SQL and, you know, do some programming. All of those are great tools.

Love them. But ones used most often today are the AI tools, and there’s different ones for different issues. Second part of that’s the Internet search capabilities.

I mean, those two answers, those two resources, in my opinion, and maybe it’s not as much of an opinion. I think it’s close to maybe. Fact is, like, the Internet was an absolute game changer for the entire world, changed the world and has changed the world now with this AI revolution, I think it’s the next wave of change coming in this ongoing technical revolution.

So the both of those are monumental. It makes sense that you’d lean on them. They are.

The big challenge is with both of those is the amount of disinformation on the Internet. Sure. Everybody says it.

Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Yeah, Abraham Lincoln, I think. Yeah, exactly.

But you know, how do you do the validity checking? How do you back up the sources? There’s a really good book I’m going to recommend related to this. Don’t think you’ve probably heard about it. The book is by a gentleman by the name of Ryan Holiday.

You know Ryan Holiday at all? Why is it ringing a bell? I’m waiting to see. You should know Ryan Holiday. Yeah.

He wrote I hope they serve beer in hell, along with a few other interesting books. But he wrote a book that’s called trust me, I’m lying. And it’s about people that manipulate the media and know how to do it.

Fantastic. Book. In fact, I don’t want to give away all the wonderful jewels that are in that book, but it is absolutely worth the read.

It’s probably a book that was published 15 years ago. Oh, okay. It’s not a new book, but what I have found is when you find a particular answer to a question on the Internet, you’re going to find out that it probably exists in 2030 or 40 sources.

What’s the original source? Try to find that sometimes. And so because there’s so much repetition from sources, how do you figure out what’s valid and what’s not? A lot of people take it at face value because it’s everywhere. Right.

That must be the truth. That’s not always the case. So disinformation is the biggest issue that we fight with there.

Yeah. Wow. It affects AI, it affects the Internet searches.

Wow. Well, we’re going to add all these books to the show notes. Just a quick side note, I believe.

I mean, I’ve known about AI for quite some time. It’s actually been our lives much, much sooner than chat, GPT and such. I mean, there’s many a eyes that have been around a long time, just not like that.

So, question for you. Okay, what’s sort of the first documented testing, discussion of AI? How far back in history? Oh, boy. I mean, maybe a calculator.

I mean, it depends on how you define AI. You know, like an artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence.

I’m asking a question like a calculator, maybe. Well, a calculator is a very specific, formulaic thing. Yeah.

That’s not AI. I’ll give you the answer. 1956.

Wow. So was it anywhere near what it is today? No, I remember playing with in the late seventies, early eighties, and I don’t know if this was the one or if this one came in later, like in the nineties, but it was something called Eliza, and you’d have a conversation with it and it was easy to trick, it was easy to fool. It became repetitive quickly, but you could have a conversation with it, and there was a lot of discussion about that way back when.

So you look at the early carnations that became popular. But, you know, a lot of data scientists, computer scientists, started talking about the concept and testing the concept actually in the late fifties. Wow.

I mean, it makes sense. It’s just like, I would imagine. How early were people working on the Internet before it actually came a thing? I think CERn was a big part of the Internet that came much later, actually.

Really? Yeah. But it was part of it. There you go.

But to finish my thoughts, you and Jesse from absolute development were in the room. You and him told me or encouraged me, like, hey, if you haven’t heard of chat GPT, you need to get on this, Josh. And so I did.

So thank you. Absolutely. You’re welcome.

You jump started that because I felt like, first off, when I joined him, I feel behind, I always feel behind on technology, but I was like, oh, thank you for telling me because now it’s like, I need to adopt this. And then I saw the, I experienced the power of it. I go, oh, my gosh, this is a game changer.

So let me ask you a question and a challenge. If you haven’t done this or to the audience, have you personalized your instance of chat GPT in one of them? Yeah. Not over, not overall, because I use it for maybe different clients, because I know you can do an overall setting, but I do different chats.

So like one of the chats I trained at about who Naaman creative is, what is our mission? What is our goals? So, yeah, like giving it this is this personality or this is the lens to give me the answers through. Yep, it’s huge, hugely valuable. And you know how many people don’t know about that and don’t know how easy it is to do.

I also use another product. It’s not as good generally as chat GPT, but it’s easier to ingest information in, which is what the call it when you’re putting a lot of data into it. It’s called chat Base Co.

You could look up chat base AI, too, but it allows you to develop different chatbot models that are AI driven, and you could put up to 6 million characters in each model, which is a lot. Wow. And it then focuses on the training that you’ve given it, and it’s really pretty phenomenal.

It’s a paid for product, but you get a lifetime subscription for $150 or something like that and gives you 25 or 35 or 45 chat bots. And so like you said, you set it up for a particular issue, particular customer, whatever it may be, because now all of a sudden, the AI tools become a lot more useful. Absolutely.

Yeah. Oh, that’s huge. I mean, you can also take that to the personality.

Write this paragraph describing my company, but in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger or something like that. Yeah. So you can have fun with it too.

Oh, absolutely. Make this funnier, make this more funny, or write this with a very sensitive tone or paint the picture. I’m writing this to somebody that just lost somebody in their family.

I need to express this issue, but I have to be sensitive to it. And they do it. One big thing that I learned, the power of it through observing and researching how other people were using it, and go, oh, that’s a way, just like you’re explaining now.

And that fueled a lot where it’s like, oh, I didn’t know that. And then you can apply it in different ways. It’s enormous.

But I will say we were doing so good on rapid fire, and that last question was just super long. So let’s, like, minus ten points. But since he’s Santa Claus, he gets infinite points.

So you win or still good. Well done. So to conclude here, although I’d love to keep talking, but I wanted to know what some of your future goals are.

What does Santa look like in five to ten years? That’s a good question. At my particular age, I don’t necessarily think that far out. I have fun every day.

I don’t see anything slowing down or stopping. I’m looking at a whole bunch of new stuff. I’m looking at starting a brand new construction business in addition to what I already do, looking at doing some real estate investing.

So my wife is calling me Colonel Sanders because, of course, he didn’t start his empire until he was 67. Oh, really? I have a few years to. To get there.

Not many, but a few. Well, why am I not surprised that you’re still coming up with new, new things and new aspirations? That’s amazing. As soon as you stop and you retire, as far as I’m concerned, you die.

And I don’t have any plans on that anytime soon. Absolutely. Yeah.

It’s hard to think of a time where I wouldn’t want to make things, whether it be visual or audio and music. It’s just like, then what do I do? You know, dissolve. So that’s great to hear.

Almost done here, but I wanted to, I always try to see what people say when they’re on the show here of a great piece of advice, that you could leave anyone listening to this that maybe you would have liked to hear, you know, at some point in your life, or that you feel that could be powerful to the listener, whether it be business or life. Not short answer, unfortunately. But one of the things that I’ve learned is I am a very trusting individual, and you get burned many times just going with the
trust.

So one of the things that I’ve learned, and I have to remind myself of constantly is trust, but verify. I never want to become so jaded that I don’t look at people as look at the good side of people. But unfortunately, there’s been enough situations that I approach a lot of the issues that I deal with every day a lot more cautiously.

Trust and verify. That’s great. We’ll throw that on one of the inspirational quotes that we put out on Fridays.

I think that’s a good one. Well, we’ve talked about all your businesses. We’ve talked about being Santa Claus and everything.

It’s been fascinating. I would love if you could leave us with maybe a ho, ho, ho. And a merry Christmas to all and to all, good night.

Can you give us a solid one to wring out our episode? Let me see. What’s the date? We’re close enough, right? We’re close enough. Oh, merry Christmas to all.

And make sure you leave those oatmeal raisin cookies and whole milk now. By the way, if the kids aren’t watching, maybe a little bit of bourbon would work, too. But merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all.

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