Bouncing Back and Rebuilding Stronger with Brad Pedersen, Lomi

May 8, 2024

Failures might knock you down, but the real test is how you rise. In this episode, Brad Pedersen, founder of Lomi, shares the crucial lessons of his entrepreneurial journey and explains how learning from failure can lead to building a more robust business model.

About Brad Pedersen

Brad Pedersen is an entrepreneur with a knack for innovation and sustainability. In 2008, he founded a leading toy company in Canada and later merged it to co-found Basic Fun. Brad also co-founded Pela, where he introduced sustainable phone cases, creating a new market category valued at $100M. 

His latest success is launching the Lomi, the world’s first smart waste kitchen composter, through a $9.8M crowd-sourced campaign. Brad lives in British Columbia, where he enjoys the outdoors and focuses on making a positive impact through his community-driven businesses.

Navigating entrepreneurship by learning from failure

Running your own business means you’re always learning, especially when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how well you prepare, things just fall apart. What really matters is what you pick up from those experiences. Every mistake is packed with lessons that can make your business stronger.

Take a product launch that flops, for example. It’s a tough break, but it can show you what your customers actually want, how to talk to them better, or what needs fixing in your product. Using what you learn helps you make better moves next time.

Even losing money, though it stings, teaches you to manage your budget better and plan smarter. Learning from failure makes your business tougher and more flexible, ready to handle whatever comes next.

The important thing is not just to get back up but to get up smarter. Each challenge teaches you something valuable, making you better prepared to dodge old problems and tackle new ones. Treat every bump in the road as a chance to build a tougher, smarter business.

Key Insights:

  • Learn from every failure. When something goes wrong, dissect the situation to identify missteps and implement new strategies. This continuous improvement cycle not only prevents future failures but also enhances overall business resilience and efficiency.
  • Prioritize strategic financial planning. Regularly reviewing your financial status helps you make informed decisions, anticipate cash flow shortages, and secure funding before it becomes a crisis, thereby ensuring sustained operational capability.
  • Encourage reflection and feedback. Regular introspection allows you to stay relevant and responsive to market changes, which is vital for maintaining a competitive edge and adapting to consumer demands quickly.
  • Cultivate resilience. Entrepreneurial resilience leads to quicker recovery from setbacks, minimizing downtime and maintaining customer trust and business continuity during challenging times.
  • Harness the power of community. Engaging with your local community increases brand loyalty and awareness, while collaborating with other businesses can lead to new partnerships, expanding your network and resources, which in turn fuels business growth and innovation.

Brad’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“I am going to feel the most fulfillment when I’m either growing or giving, period. That’s it. And part of giving is creativity and giving into a business and challenging yourself to become the best and brightest version of yourself.” (27:39)

Connect with Brad Pedersen:

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Brad Pedersen:
A.J., this is a real privilege to be invited to spend some time, or actually, I should say, invest some time with you and looking forward to our conversation.

A.J. Lawrence:
Your approach, I’m going to kind of stomp on a whole bunch of things and kind of put it in place. But, you know, like I said, I saw the Lomi composter you’re doing and I’ve been fascinating about that because I have a teenage daughter who has turned our whole house organic. We have plants everywhere because I kill plants, but she has a beautiful green. We have a composter in the backyard, but we’re constantly having all this stuff. So I was like, oh, that looks so cool. So I was like, oh, yeah, this would be great to talk with this guy. And then the whole Startup Santa, your book that you wrote and everything, let’s kind of go in a little bit into where you’ve been as an entrepreneur because I think it would be really great.

You’ve done so many different things, and you’re doing some really cool things, and you have some cool things coming out. We were just chatting. So maybe, why don’t you share a little bit about your own entrepreneurial journey with the audience?

Brad Pedersen:
Sure, yeah. Well, I can tell you that looking back now and reflecting, and that’s really what the book was about, was just taking time to stop and reflect and unpack everything that happened. But it sounds whimsical, but my life is a series of happy accidents.

It just, it wouldn’t make sense planning it forward. You just couldn’t put the path together. It only makes sense when you connect the dots looking in reverse. And, you know, I grew up in the prairies of Canada, and the only two things you do in the prairies of Canada are agriculture and oil. Most of my friends, colleagues, that’s what they grew up doing. And I actually took a different path. I was going to be a chiropractor because my father was a chiropractor, his father and mother chiropractors, and my great grandfather was the very first chiropractor in Denmark. So this is what Pedersen’s were supposed to do with their life.

So I was in school to be a chiropractor and just follow in my father’s footsteps. But the best thing ever happened to me is while I was in school, I ran into a young gal who would eventually become my wife. And she had a year left in her degree. And before I went off to chiropractic school, I sat around waiting for her. And people who have entrepreneurial tendencies, when they have time on their hands, they either get in trouble or they get in business. And so here I was, a young kid, waiting to see what I was gonna do. And I ended up following my curiosities of being a big kid, a big, playful kid. And I read a story in a magazine about a kid who invented a toy in California.

And it was kind of a rags to rich story, and I was inspired by it, called him up. And before long, I had entered into the wonderful world of toy distribution as my initial business. You know, kind of took that from my basement. It was like a bootstrap scale up story, you know, borrowing money from friends and family and doing everything you need to do to try and grow this business and this opportunity. And that was back in ’96. And by 2001, we built the largest toy distribution company in Canada. And we were really proud of this because we were this kid that shouldn’t make it did it story from the middle of nowhere. Right?

It just didn’t make a lot of sense. But we had made this really incredible success story. What I found out is that if you grow quickly and you have a lot of luck to help accelerate that, it creates ego, and ego tends to lead to overhead and irrational decision making.And so in a matter of time, very short period of time, that business went from hero to zero. We went from, we found it the hard way, you can grow too fast. If your balance sheet isn’t there to support growth and you trip covenants with your bank, they put in this nasty place called special loans, which is basically life support for businesses. They drip just enough money to just let you sort of survive, but not actually do anything you need to do.

And it just, it’s a slow strangulation of your business and ultimately bankrupt that company. And because I’m a slow learner, I thought, no, the model’s fine. I just need to get more cash and do more and I’ll fix it because I’m good at growing things. And two years later, I bankrupted that company one more time. And in my life, I’ve actually been through three bankruptcies. And like I said, slow learner. I never went to school and got an MBA in business, but I certainly can tell you I have a PhD in DUMB from doing it all the wrong way and the school of hard knocks.

So that led me in from toy distribution to toy manufacturing. And eventually I merged my company with another company in the States. It became one of the largest toy companies in the world. And we had brands like Tonka, Kinects, Lightbright, Care Bears, like you said, things that your kids played with and that you likely maybe even played with. I know I did.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. Lightbrights, yeah.

Brad Pedersen:
We scaled that company to a healthy 9 figures and exited in 2017. And I think at the end of one thing is the opportunity for a new thing. It’s the transitioning, right? And I know we’re gonna spend some time talking about like, what does it mean to end one thing? Is that it or is that all, or is there something that is beyond that? And I’m a big believer that it’s about keeping your feet moving and transitioning to an ending, which leads to a new beginning. That led to the opportunity for me to co-found a company called Pela, which was the world’s first compostable phone case.

And that led to co-founding a company called Lomi, which is, as you said, the world’s first organic kitchen composter that turns organic waste into a nutrient rich soil supplement in a matter of hours. And that’s where you find me today.

A.J. Lawrence:
Not bad. And I think you have something else coming you’re working on also you had mentioned before.

Brad Pedersen:
Well, it’s a question of like, are entrepreneurs, is it nature, is it nurture? I think it’s a bit of both. I think that there is a certain risk tolerance to being an entrepreneur that the average person just doesn’t have the willingness to have. Starts with curiosity. I’m curious about something, and then applying your creativity to see what you could do with that curiosity. But most important skill, this is where most people lack, is the courage, having the courage to actually try to lean into it and to actually see if you can get traction. I think when you identify your entrepreneurial tendencies, that’s the one sort of skill that you’ve got reps in, which is leaning in trying, laying out sort of like the Ben Franklin of the pros and cons and sort of setting the timeframe and resources that you can allocate to it, but be willing to actually try it. And the vast majority of those things don’t work. I mean, it’s a failing forward approach, right? It’s build, measure, learn.

You try things, largely they don’t work. And you either persist, pivot, or put a bull in it, right? And you decide what you’re going to do to then move on to your next thing. So on that point, like, I don’t see myself ever retiring. I see myself continuing to just transition my knowledge from what I have learned in the past into, well, I can grow myself into the future. So, like the Lomi kitchen composter is a direct result of making lots of toys, shipping billions of pieces of plastic around the planet, which I’m trying to make some recompense for with the things I’m doing now. So yeah.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. Well, I always laugh. I started my very first client back in the early nineties. And right before, I had a digital research back when there was pretty much just user net right before the web. And I kind of caught that whole web thing. But my very first paying client was RJR Nabisco. And yeah, I joke I started with selling my soul to the devil. So right from the beginning, I’ve had to pay my price and recover and do as much as I can because, yeah, it’s like, ooh, money.

Brad Pedersen:
Be careful what you wish for, right?

A.J. Lawrence:
Yes, very much so. As you get older, unfortunately, it’s easier to say no to those things, but it takes a while before you feel comfortable saying, I’d have said this many times, obviously, to many different people about the bankruptcies and the processes you went through and your PhD in dumb. Those are very difficult experiences to go through. I’ve never gone through a bankruptcy, but I’ve come way too close multiple times in my life. And those are some of the worst experiences I’ve had when I look at them from a business point of view. Yet now, you then were able to move on to a better variation of what you were doing, create this larger company, exit it. You have the book right after that. You had the case, you have this.

How is your approach, not just your approach, because obviously you have more experience as an entrepreneur. But the type of things you’re trying to do now that you’ve had this big exit and you’re kind of creating these new businesses, and I know you have a mastermind concept for other similar types of entrepreneurs coming up soon, has your approach to entrepreneurism changed? Have you found the type of things that you’re trying to do or what your goals are for entrepreneurism different now?

Brad Pedersen:
Yeah, I do. Look, I think kind of going back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs right in the beginning, we’re just trying to have some consistency, food on the table, roof over your head. I joke with my friends who don’t own businesses that they don’t really understand the dynamics of, you know, they’re used to input, output, input, output, input, output, right? I do some work and then get a paycheck. I do some work and get a paycheck. As an entrepreneur, you do some work, you do some work, you do a lot of work, work, work, eventually get a very small paycheck if you get one, for a very long period of time.

And so that curve of persistence to get to the tipping point where you actually start to see a return, I think your motives there are very different. I’d never put down an entrepreneur who’s at that phase of like, they’re in the mud, the blood and flood of starting a startup and they’re just trying to survive to like put my current worldviews onto them that, hey, you need to be more aspirational. You need to be thinking long term about the meaning, the legacy, you know.

You just want to survive the business. Because what you just said is that I think the greatest fear of any entrepreneur is the death of their business, right? Which bankruptcy is that. It’s literally, you birthed this business. It was an idea that you took into inception, birthed into the world, started it, and it’s fragile and there’s a lot that could go wrong. And the darkest place I could imagine was that going to the place where suddenly I lost control and that that business could die.

Rightfully so, I would tell entrepreneurs that in the beginning, you have to do the work. There’s this aspirational codes, work on the business instead of in the business. In the beginning, you just got to work in the business. Actually, you just need to get the reps put in the work, do what you need to do to get some momentum and critical mass so that you have some sustainability to then afford the time to work on the business and be more strategic and thinking about that. So, I’m fortunate at a place in life where the best metaphor I can use is this, is that I used to be, so I’m a Canadian so I’m going to talk from a hockey perspective. I used to be a really good hockey player.

I could skate around, put the puck in the net, and for a season of life, that was really important for me to be able to do that. But then as I scaled that company, understood that I can’t just keep the only one putting the puck in the net. You can’t win championships with one person doing all the scoring. In fact, an interesting note is that Michael Jordan, it was only after he stopped scoring an average of 30 points per game that they became the dynasty team because they started putting supporting casts around him who could all score instead of just him being the one player. So you got to start putting up other people in the rank who can put pucks in the net. And then you’re transitioning to the coach who’s helping coach and support and be in a place where you can help those players be the best to allow the team dynamics to win a championship.

But I’m at a point where now I’m up in the box and I get to not only see the coach and the bench and the players on the rank, but also the whole league and thinking about what are the moves we need to be making, five, ten years down the road to the next trades that’s coming up, all that kind of stuff. And I liken that to where businesses, I know that I could go out there and do the work, but actually the best leverage I have right now is my experience, my relationship, and my ability to access resources to help companies grow. So what really blows my hair back now is that I’m helping build companies, but doing it by coaching really great teams and coaching the coaches of those teams to actually help them be the best and brightest version of themselves so that they can continue to be winning. And largely off of the wisdom for my wounds that I have made a ton of mistakes.

And unfortunately, success is not a good teacher. I say success is a sucky teacher. We only tend to learn from the difficulties. But the point is, when you’re going through pain, there has to be purpose to it, because on the other side of pain, if you’re willing to unpack the lesson and take the time to do that, there’s a better version of yourself with new understanding and an opportunity to be more valuable. And so, yeah, I would say from the perspective of how I work through people instead of working on projects, that’s a key point. And I’ve also say that I have set some guardrails around myself about protecting life design. In the past, I have not had very good guardrails.

My default is to work hard and long. You know, I’ve scaled most of my feelings at the expense of my family. Not that I’m proud of it, but that’s just the reality of what I did. I said my family was important. There were certain things in my life that were important, but if you looked at my calendar, it would say otherwise. So I’m at a season in my life now where it’s like, okay, no, I’m actually going to prioritize the things that I truly think are the most valuable, where I fast forward to my 80 year old self, I’ll be glad that I made the decision to put my investment of my agency, my most valuable resources, my time. So where are you investing that? And I want to make sure I don’t compromise it.

A.J. Lawrence:
No, that is good. And I almost think because you had that experience of your ego getting ahead of yourself earlier, getting here now, cause I have seen people who’ve had maybe a little bit more straightforward progression get to a point, think they’ve done great, and then they don’t have that ability. Their ego keeps telling them to push forward and forward where I think some of us who, as I used to joke it was two steps forward, three steps back, five steps forward, eight. Yeah, it was like just complete back and forth, back and forth that when I was able to sell my last business, I was like, oh, all right, next ten years, I wanted to see my kids off to university. So I took those ten years off to kind of get that period. But it’s hard to kind of even see that balance in it. So it’s really cool how you’ve done that.

We were talking a little bit before the interview just about how you’ve dealt with complexity and the things you’ve learned in your now kind of the owner’s box. I’ll kind of add that I have this Ted Lasso just because I basically mainlined it late last year. I can’t even remember when now, but recently mainlined the three seasons. But when you look at how you approach things and how you sort of try and advise people in your own businesses and then those outside when you’re helping other entrepreneurs, how do you sort of guide people in that view of like, okay, yeah, you mentioned the balance sheet, having the right type of business, or having the right balance sheet to your stage of business, you don’t grow too fast. I always used to talk about infrastructure and sort of management structure because I know I kind of built a really good one for 2 million and then zoomed off to 6 million and was like, what do I need to change? Oh, we lost a wheel. Oh, there goes the engine.

It was like, oh, okay. How do you look at that growing complexity that happens in the business as you start moving past into your seven figures, and there’s multiple inflection points. And business models change all the time, so different points, they come sooner or later or whatever, depending on your model. And AI is going to make it another fun game. Sure. Probably increase the speed and diversity, but expand out the amount of work you can do. How do you guide people? What lessons from your own mistakes, as you’ve said, do you kind of guide people with dealing with that increase of complexity?

Brad Pedersen:
Yeah. Well, first off, we’re supposed to grow as humans. We’re designed to grow. And in fact, all creation around us mimics that to us. Like, how high will a tree grow? As high as it can. How many nuts will a squirrel gather in the fall before going into the winter season? As many as they can. So as humans, how big and how bold are we supposed to grow is as big and bold as we can. Actually, we’re the only species that has the ability to do less than we’re capable of.

We can actually choose to be less than. And that’s a whole separate conversation we can do another time. But businesses are designed to grow. They are. But we have to understand that when you grow a business, you’re stressing it. Right? And the level of growth will determine the level of stress. There’s three areas in your business that you constantly have to be reinventing if you’re stressing your business. That’s your people, your cash, and your systems that basically allow the execution plan to happen, right?

I tell people, if you’re growing at a single digit rate, that’s probably something you can afford to do once a year. If you’re growing at double digits, that’s probably something quarterly. And if you’re growing triple digits, you’re probably monthly reassessing those three things, particularly the cash. The one thing I would say is that,

A.J. Lawrence:
Very nice way of putting it. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

Brad Pedersen:
When you’ve been through bankruptcy, there’s certain things that will be forced on you in terms of discipline that you just never want to do again. You don’t learn anything by getting kicked by the same horse twice, so there’s no need to actually do things twice. Although I’m a slow learner, so I had to do a couple things twice. But I would say in all my businesses now, the rigor that we have around cash planning is massive. Like when we got put in special loans, we were forced to run a 13-week cash flow, which is running out the end of your quarter. So there’s never surprise that’s a discipline to this day that I carry forward.

And I just say, without getting too specific about the type of tools, you just never want to be surprised as a leader or as a leadership team about when you may or may not run out of cash. You want to know well in advance so you can help plan for it. And quite frankly, a quarter is not enough time. If you’re raising venture funds, which we’ve done with the last two companies, you need to give yourself more than 90 days to actually go through to find the right people to then do the due diligence to get the deal done. So growing a business quickly while we all want it, you just have to be prepared to actually have the strategic insights around it.

In chapter one of my book, I actually walk through it and I unpack lessons from the Navy SEALs. And there’s two lessons which are advance but protect the flanks. So you need to be advancing, you need to be moving forward, but you can’t do so at the expense that you leave your flanks exposed. Because in battle, that’s the number one way that battles are lost, is people advance too quickly, their flanks are exposed and there’s a flanking maneuver and they lose the battle. Cut off supply line and reinforcements. Right? So that is first. And then the nuance to that is also slow is smooth and smooth is fast, which is, as a growing company, you are going fast but you need to slow down to make better quality decisions because you’re making erratic decisions quickly at the speed of growth, trying to respond to the new AI latest thing, which by the way, AI is just a tool, just like the Internet was a tool.

The thing that hasn’t changed is people. People are the same. So this tool will just be applied. The human elements will be what ultimately we’re dealing with on the other side of this. But needless to say, it is speeding things up. And there is this propensity to make quick decisions, which often have to be remade over and over again. And it creates a lot of whipsaw to your organization and a lot of strain.

So how do you slow down to go fast? Mario Andretti actually talked about this. In order to win races, you have to learn to go slow to go fast, particularly around the corners when you’re driving a car. So in business, it’s no different. You need to understand what is important. How do I slow down to make better quality decisions, particularly around the people, the systems, and the cash? You know, I was just talking to an entrepreneur yesterday who is growing his business at 300%. So it’s a crazy growth curve.

And he had done some fast hiring that now he has to redo. And I just said to him, so here’s the thing, if you shortcut your shortcuts, which are basically the systems that you’ve put in place to, as an entrepreneur, protect you from yourself cause we tend to make quick decisions or like to make quick decisions thinking that it feels good or we like the people on the other side. If you shortcut the shortcuts, you’re actually gonna end up further back than you started. Cause now you have to redo it all again. And you lost all that time, not to mention the brain damage of hiring the wrong people and putting them in positions that infect the entire organization if they’re not the right cultural fit. So you have to slow down to trust the process to get the people in the right seats to ensure that they can actually add the exponential outcome the other side of it.

So anyways, that’s probably more than we wanted for one particular topic. And by the way, chapter one of my book is free. You can go to my website, download for free and just get a flavor of it. But there’s a ton of lessons on that about how I broke my first company just by not tracking those three things in a really meaningful way.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah, I mean, it’s bringing back some bad memories of my own experience. Everyone, we’ll make sure we put a link to the free chapter, but obviously also to the full book when this episode comes out. So it’ll be in the show notes and all that. All right, so you kind of look at this and create what sounds very much like a cadence and a kind of a structure to it. And I know a lot of people talk about EOS, OKR structure stuff, Scaling Up, and I think there’s probably 20,000 others. Do you lean to any of them or do you kind of have your own, just from the ones you’ve built over your own life experience, like you were saying, from the bankruptcy proceedings and all the other fun you’ve had to go through?

Brad Pedersen:
Look, there are no perfect systems. There’s just a system that’s perfect for you and your team. You’ve already mentioned EOS, Scaling Up. Rhythm is another great one. CO tools, another great systems. Craig Kramer, there is so many. The point is that once you have all, the best example I can come up with is when you go to a symphony, you have all these players in place. Until you have the conductor with the sheet music leading them in a cadence, it’s just noise. It only becomes music when they all play according to their timing position at the exact moment.

And you could apply it to sports, to rowing, whatever. But the whole point of the system is to make sure each player is doing their part at the exact right time to allow you to get the exponential outcomes from having a galvanized team focused on a vision mission, living out the values, and just putting in effort and purpose. I think all those tools and systems are good, and as long as it works for you and gets you to the outcomes, that’s what matters.

A.J. Lawrence:
In looking at what you’ve been able to achieve and sort of some of the things you’re working on now and just referencing a lot of the content on your own site where you talk about achieving a life of freedom, purpose, embracing passion, how do you go about defining what success is going to be for yourself as an entrepreneur? Because you have so many interesting things you’ve done so much already. You’re able to be a snowbird. You know, go back and forth, get to choose, location independence, you have the flexibility. You’re working on projects that mean things to you. You’re engaging in the type of things that really seem to get you going as an entrepreneur. How do you work to really create that definition of success for yourself as you move forward?

Brad Pedersen:
Yeah, look, I think it’s a work in progress. You know, I’m not there yet. I’ve got, I think, a pretty good idea of what that looks like. But on 51, I’m at the halfway point or maybe the third point, I don’t know, we’ll see. But I’m still working on it. The best definition I’ve come up with for me at this point in time is success equals freedom. Freedom to do what I want, when I want, the way I want it done with who I want it done with. And the caveat to that, because, you know, if someone wins a lottery, they technically have freedom, right? But we all know that the average story where lottery winners takes place, it’s not a good outcome.

So freedom, living in my values, anchored by my virtues and expressed with vitality. So those are the caveats. Those are kind of the guardrails around the freedom. And what do I mean by values? Well, values are where you invest your time. And for me, it’s my family, it’s my faith, my fitness, and it’s my economic engine. The free enterprise of what I get to drive forward. Those are the four sort of key pillars that I focus on on a daily basis. And then I have these flexible ones which are friends, fun, refinement, or finishing, if you will, like growing myself and growing my abilities. And that one kind of also was a daily driver.

But I also got to a place where you can get to active procrastination, where you spend a lot of time reading books and listening to podcasts and doing that, but you’re not doing anything with it. There’s got to be a balance between consumption and creation. You got to be consuming, but then using that to create something. So that’s why to me, it’s more of a flexible. And then finally, how do I build more freedom into my future with just opportunities and things like that? So where I express my time, there’s two different things that I found that drive me. And the one is the hope for more or the fear of losing. And I always kind of catch myself on a place like, what am I doing? Am I making this decision because I’m hopeful for a better, more abundant outcome or am I in place making it out of a fear, a scarcity, a comparison, whatever sort of motivation.

And my default is that I catch myself often, like more often than not, it’s on the side where I’m in scarcity. And it’s like I gotta stop myself all day and say no, I need to focus on things that bring me more hope. And what I’ve found that I’m optimizing for at this point in my life is fulfillment. Like, the key word for me is how do I feel more enjoyment, satisfaction, and meaning, which for me are fulfillment. And I do that when I’m spending my time in what I call the four C’s, which is challenges, growing myself, contributions which come in the form of creativity or charity and/or connections with people, making a more meaningful connection. That when I’m in the four C’s, I’m really thriving and I feel more enjoyment, satisfaction, and meaning. And that’s the abundance side, the hope side.

If I’m on the fear side, scarcity, I find them driven by the four P’s, which is power, prestige, possessions, or pleasure. And actually, there’s a whole another, it could go down the whole of like the original, Aristotle defined them as the original idols, if you will. Or sorry, St. Thomas Aquinas, the original idols were those four things, and they truly are the things that pull you away from really making meaningful relationships with people or growing yourself and growing your abilities. So I know that sounds like a lot but it’s actually not. It’s very simple. Hope or fear. And within that, there’s the four C’s or the four P’s.

And if I’m being driven by the four P’s, I just know that’s probably not the decision I’ll be taking. And to simplify it like this, I am going to feel the most fulfillment when I’m either growing or giving. Period. That’s it. And part of the giving is creativity and giving into a business, and challenging yourself to become the best and brightest version of yourself. That is where you feel the most grounded and connected to your humanity and fulfilled as a person.

A.J. Lawrence:
It’s interesting because I’ve had this conversation with quite a few people and definitely other entrepreneurs, not just here on the podcast. And what I find very interesting is something that you’re able to, like many of us who realize that understanding the metric structures or the behaviors and tracking and understanding things are very important. But most people get lost in either trying to do too much or too little in all the systems. It’s that kind of experience to go, okay, we need to, you know, all this stuff is important. Reality is there’s only a couple. The two to three things you really need to, and if you’re good, the one thing that kind of is your north star, whatever, we can go on and call it a gazillion things. Earlier you talked about Ben Franklin and I’m looking at your F8 values. Do you ever like treat them like, what does he call that? And I’ve done it in the past.

It’s been years though and I almost probably should go back where he tracks sort of like on a regular basis his efforts on his, I think ten, I can’t remember right now, off the top of my head, 13. Yep. Do you kind of treat your f8 that way sometimes where you’re tracking on a kind of on a consistent basis your efforts towards your 8?

Brad Pedersen:
So not on a formal basis, I would say. But yes, there is, I would say if you spend time in reflection, which I encourage everybody to do, and quite frankly, writing the book, I think everyone should write a book just for the discipline of forcing you to stop and reflect and unpack your life and just do an audit. Because most of us are going through life kind of superficially skimming the surface and never mining it for all the rich lessons that have happened, particularly as entrepreneurs. Bad things happen, we just move on. Like, okay, yeah, just next. At least that’s what it was for me. But there’s a whole bunch of lessons there to unpack.

And so if you take time, and I encourage it weekly to audit your life, you become aware of imbalances or where you are out of integrity with what you committed are your values. Just by the way your calendar look, where you invest your time, and it’s just those subtle nudges of course corrections as you’re going down the road that I need to be. I need to lean into this more. My family has been neglected this past week, which to me, I have incredible kids. My kids are now, they’re adults. They’re in their mid to late twenties. And I’m so proud of who they have become. Because, by the way, we’re human beings, not human doings, although we seem to get our value from what we do. But I would largely tell you that I failed as a father for most of my life. It’s only been the last six or seven years that I’ve really had a chance to really invest into those relationships and bring them to a place where I feel so grateful and so connected to be with my kids.

But my human nature is to just go hard, go all in, work crazy hours and drive a business. Because as a kid, how I felt loved for my dad is do hard things and do them better than everybody else. And that was just like the love language. And so I did and I kept doing it, and it’s still my default. And I have to put up guardrails to protect me for myself.

A.J. Lawrence:
Our strengths are also our weaknesses. Yep. What’s the best way people here in the audience can find out about what you’re doing, learn about the book, obviously the free chapter on your site, LinkedIn, what’s the best way?

Brad Pedersen:
I’ve largely not been on social media. Those are personal choices. Won’t go beyond the rabbit hole of why I think that’s true, but I think when you compare, you despair. And Eleanor Roosevelt said comparisons to thief of joy. So I feel like in general, that’s what it forced people to do. Yeah, there are good things about it but I have not spent a lot of time there, so you’re not going to find me. I mean, I think I have profile still there, but I’m not actively posting anything unless you go to LinkedIn because that’s the platform we’ve chosen to kind of put up content. We’re writing a weekly newsletter called Life to the Full, myself and a couple of colleagues who have sort of a common worldview.

We are planning to launch something called Full Spectrum. In fact, you can go to the website now, it’s fullspectrumlife.com. And the principle behind it is how to lead in business without losing your life. And I think that’s something that entrepreneurs struggle with all the time. There’s a lot of guilt around like what I’m doing in my business and at the expense of what else, and am I truly living a life that is fulfilled to the full? And so we’re going to explore that in a more meaningful way. As you mentioned, the book which is startupsantabook.com, and then my current businesses, Lomi and Pela case. You can go to the websites, lomi.com and/or pelacase.com. And yeah, that’s kind of where you’ll find me and find out what I’m up to.

A.J. Lawrence:
Cool. We’ll make sure all that’s in the show notes. Well, obviously, in the newsletter that comes out when we announce this episode coming out. And then in our socials, because we do put out all of our content to the socials. But yeah, it’s an interesting environment at times. Totally how far you go into it. But that’s the fun, the balance, finding that fine line. Brad, you’ve had an amazing journey and just your approach to entrepreneurism is just feels good to listen to.

As someone who’s gone through a lot, I always enjoy hearing people who, what’s the phrase I heard? Patina? I always mispronounce it, but I’ve turned bumps and the dings and the brakes into something more. Japanese vase art style, where you

Brad Pedersen:
Yeah, yeah.

A.J. Lawrence:
where you recreate things from the broken to make it even better. I mean, you’ve had an amazing entrepreneurial journey and thank you so much for sharing with us today. I really appreciate it.

Brad Pedersen:
Yeah. Well, you know, on that note, Ernest Hemingway had this quote, the world breaks all of us and some of us are stronger in the broken places. And his metaphor was broken bone, that bones when they break, if they heal back properly, they’ll be stronger than they were when they were broken. If they don’t, they become gangrenous and you can die. So, you get to choose. Life’s gonna break all of us. You get to choose whether you’re going to become bitter or better. It’s been fun to explore some of those ideas with you today, A.J. So thanks for having me on.

A.J. Lawrence:
No, thank you. This was great. Everyone, thank you so much for listening. Please go check out Brad’s site. I think Secret Santa. I’ve already been kind of looking at the Amazon reviews and kind of going, I’ve already added it to my kindle list. So please go check out Brad’s site, go check out Lomi. But most of all, just check out the way Brad is talking about being able to live your own entrepreneurial journey to the degree that you want to. I think it’s something that you can take a lot out of.

So, everyone, thank you so much for listening. Can’t wait to talk to you again. Bye-bye.

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