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Sam Taggart 00:47

Hey everybody, this is Sam Taggart and I am doing a repeat guest on this one. This is a repeat, we got Jess Phillips in the house. And before we bring them on. Last time Well, I don’t even know a couple of podcasts ago, I challenged everybody to do something different. If you didn’t hit me up. You got to hit me up and tell me what you did differently that day when you’re listening to this. Everyone’s going all Jessa frickin I’m like, “wow, you know, I’m gonna do a challenge”. Or I’m gonna say, hey, go on a run today or do something.

But no, I have a couple of announcements, we got our sales tournament starting here. We’re in grit, which is a 2v2 tournament. And this is in our platform called The Streets. And then a couple of things we have street smarts launching. And depending on when you’re listening to this I’ve got this week, which is the 25th and 24th.

So we’re literally judging a decade tournament, which is a high school entrepreneurship program and helping those kids kind of learn sales and entrepreneurship. But the big thing that you guys could all help me out with is this summer, we’re launching a tournament alongside our national knocking league for high school kids and teaching them how to really learn door to door sales businesses like Curb Painting, lawn mowing, window washing, and we need kids to register for it, where we’ll teach them how to do it, and then compete them for prize money throughout summer.

So it gives, you know if you have a high school kid or a middle school kid, or you have friends that are like, hey, I want my kid actively engaged in some kind of work that’s not just going to work for Chick fil A or something. But like having the street smarts, the grit, the hustle the education, there’s gonna be something that we’re pushing and providing and building a platform for the youth.

And it’s something we’re super passionate about. So yeah, go to street smarts on our website, if you want to get involved, we love volunteers we have you know, we’re trying to go to our national DECA tournament 24,000 Kids in Atlanta and April, and sponsor and do some donations there. And we’re trying to do some some really cool stuff. So I figured before I bring Jess on I was like I wanted to bring up some cool announcements, just for those that are looking to get behind something that they can find passion behind. Anyway, let’s let’s say I’ll bring I’ll bring Jess on.

So Jess, it was formerly one of the founders of quite arc, right like big, big Utah company and in solar. And now is one of the founders of quad TiVo, which is a, you know, sales enablement app that really kind of connects to bridges, you know, sales and install partners. And you know that they’ve had a real cool glow up over the last few years in the tech side, but what’s cool is just in our last podcast, we talked about some of the biggest commercial deals, you want a lot of big awards for doing some massive commercial deals.

And, you know, they put solar on the Rio Tinto, which is the large stadium for the soccer team here in Utah, and, you know, just a seasoned veteran in the game of solar. And today we’re going to be talking a little bit about partnerships. So anyway, tell us like for those who didn’t, was the last one, I guess, tell us a quick little rundown of your story. So it kind of gives us some context.

Jess Phillips 04:08
Yeah, thanks for having me on, Sam. Love to. I’ve been doing solar for 13 years. 2010 did last time I mentioned four different products I’ve done door to door myself. So I want to make sure I connect that for a lot of you guys listening to respect love what you guys do and whenever been asked, like was most influential job or anything every time by far it’s what I learned knocking doors from them.

Sam Taggart 04:33
And it’s why we’re doing the street smarts thing. It’s like if we can teach that at a young age. Yes. I love that. Like the most important job, you know, the most lessons I’ve learned, you know, and that’s why I’m passionate about pushing this initiative. So anyway, keep going.

Jess Phillips 04:47
No, you’re right. I mean, I look back at you know, when we started the company out of the garage and and then we did residential sales and then commercial in our own installs. And we were 260 employees at our peak and In four or five different states and did soar for UNLV to Rio Tinto Stadium, like you mentioned Adobe. So really high profile commercial projects. Still a loss, which one energy projects of the year in 2019. And I remember there was 2017, entrepreneur, the year finalist award that we were getting interviewed for. And that was one of the questions. And it’s hard, you never know what’s going to come out of your mouth. And they ask these questions and they try to sometimes keep them from you tell, tell, write, write a game time they make them really organic. And so it’s interesting to ask that one that was the easiest question they asked me it was easy to say like, had some really interesting jobs had some really great mentors, I think is the biggest thing I’ve been blessed with. I’ve always been around some of the industry’s best whatever I’ve been doing. But that was easy for me answers like what’s the most influential by far knocking door so I’ve done it for four things. Went on LDS mission 2004 2006. And Ohio, Cleveland mission is what it was. And that was fun. And then alarms for a year 2008 In Miami, and then the other one that’s unique, obviously, so worded a little bit when we started our company, but Rockchip repair. That’s one that’s rare. Remember that? Yeah, on the windshield. So yeah, there’s little bit about me background, and then did sore for 10 years with our own company, and then Soc lativa, middle of a middle of 2020, during COVID, and just was just blown away with what they were working on. They’ve been working on for about three years at the time, and it was about to launch and was just super excited to see what I do. I thought, Man, if I would have had katiba, when we were doing what we were doing, it would have been amazing. So I really love what I get to do my role as chief sales officer just building partnerships for katiba. And that’s really, even with all the other stuff, we’ve done commercial stuff, I really just enjoy seeing guys on the front lines, you know, just getting their first deal. Or guys starting their own company and getting their their teams going. And just hearing those success stories or expansion and all those things. So that’s what really drives me what I really enjoy the projects, big commercial projects were fun, but they were as they would grow and build, they were still just things you know, where seeing people grow and build is really what I enjoy, and like to be a part of. So quality has really allowed me to do that. So I love what I do.

Sam Taggart 07:12
That’s awesome. And in this like, you know, tech, kind of interesting startup, I guess, what have been some of the roadblocks or unforeseen pivots you’ve had to make since 2020. And I mean, it’s only been a year, two years. Two years really?

Jess Phillips 07:30
Yeah, I think um, the biggest things to look at, like when you start because we we’ve we really bootstrapped katiba. It’s multiple, seven figures to start a tech company and get going. And you know, we’ve been blessed, the founders of katiba had a lot of success with other software companies. And so they were able to do a lot of funding from from that, but you still have to be, like technology super expensive to develop, and it’s in. And so you we really had to be strategic about how I did that until we could get to our funding, which happened in October. So, you know, just really focusing on the customer experience. I mean, we might not, especially last year, we weren’t perfect with the tech, we were still got a lot of new features coming out a lot of new upgrades, especially aesthetically with like the actual technology itself, the software for the iPad. But also with our installation partners, there’s always a learning curve. As we know, our model is let’s bring in multiple install partners in each state. So we’re diversified so that when a company gets busy, it doesn’t we can maintain 30 Day installs, you’re around all the time. And so that’s one of the things we do for our partners, but it takes a while to get to that place. And so in the meantime, what we did was we just really focused on customer experience, that’s something we can control from day one. You know, I remember that’s why I started a solar company in 2010 was my dad tried to get sower and he called four different companies in Utah. And only three of them answered the phone and the fourth one never showed up. And I was like Well geez, I can answer the phone. You know, and I can show up and that seems to be more than what the other guys are doing right now. And so fast forward to today like we might not have have had everything perfect a year and a half ago we launched but we just really focused on a good customer experience with our sales dealers and helping them how we can do it’s consulting or connecting the dots for other opportunities for them we just really focused on that and now that we do have the technology in the real good place and and the partnerships and we’ve got some incredible install times and people really loving the tech and new features are coming out where you can sell a roof in the app or you can use soar ensure different products like that now in the app. When you buy

Sam Taggart 09:44
Yeah, day to day you to your your people to yeah that that actually

Jess Phillips 09:49
that actually launches today. We’re literally letting some of our partners get access. They’re so excited man, like especially the roofers like we’re really excited about that partnership. So yeah, we partner with you on that. And it’s been a long time coming just to get that all working the right way. But we’ve got some good people Riley on our is on our team and he’s helping facilitate all that which is so great to have him and he’s in

Sam Taggart 10:10
there so nice. He probably knows he’s like, I got this. Oh, so

Jess Phillips 10:13
good for me. I was like, Hey, can you do this? Can you? Can you make this thing home for us? And so yeah, that product is awesome. And your online platform for training, just, I think it’s gonna be huge for everybody. So I love that we can bring that to the table.

Sam Taggart 10:26
No, and kind of, you know, like, obviously, any growing company is gonna have its, you know, we can’t do it all tomorrow, you know, people, can you do this? You’re like, I can with more money in developers? Yeah, exactly. I can with some time and money. You wanna, you wanna? I love that idea? You know, I built a couple of tech companies I’m working on third on right now. And, you know, you’re like, definitely, that would be great if we had time. And I’ll put it the list of all the different features we want. And this thing. Like you said, it’s more expensive than people anticipate in. I feel you on that. So let’s, let’s so so the model, like you’re like, hey, we partner with these EPC companies, we make it simple for you to sell solar through just a tech couple clicks. Right. And, you know, obviously, you have our training platform, you have, you know, different integrations to CRM, you know, I mean, things like that to where it streamlines it. And I think tech is the biggest impediment. I mean, I remember, obviously, you can 2010 I mean, you probably, like, permit running yourself, like physical handout, like drawing it, like, I remember, like, a whiteboard. That was like my CRM, and I’m just like, scratching things off and moving it to the next box on my whiteboard. You know, I mean, it wasn’t that sexy. When I first got in, I’m sure when you first got in, it was our manila folders, dude. I mean,

Jess Phillips 11:50
we just use pigeons to deliver the permit, actually.

Sam Taggart 11:54
Yeah, you’re on pigeons. Yeah. But like, what’s interesting is how the Solar World is, is segmented. Now I’m going to say in three aspects, you have sales, you have technology, which I’m going to put good leap and financing and that in our world, and you have installers and some people, you know, like a Sunrun, they do all of those three. But it’s kind of cool, you found your your, your your lane, you’re like, we’re going to be that middle chunk, that’s going to be the financing the, you know, I mean, integration to kind of bring sales and install partners together. And, you know, and a lot of people, you know, a lot of entrepreneurs or roofers, or you know, even solar companies, like, I’m going to do it all, I’m going to build my own tech, I’m going to go, you know, do my own installs, like I don’t like EPC companies, and they’re taking too much like, I think that the way that the solar industry is structured is quite beautiful. Like, there there is a good I don’t know, I don’t know, I guess what is your two cents on that, like, balance between these three components? Yeah, it’s

Jess Phillips 13:02
interesting how it’s all sorted out, and I’ve been on, I’ve done all those things, you said, we started as a sales dealer only, then we acquired our install partner after four or five years in my last thing, and then, and then we’ve ended that with commercial. And I mean, we were doing it all. And I can tell you, when we made the most money is when we were focused on just the individual one thing, our superpower. So some real numbers, I’ll share at least two different years in those 10. One year, we did 12 million in revenue, and we made $1.3 million. And we were a sales dealer only. And then when there was another year where we were doing huge commercial projects. And we were in five states. And we, you know, had 200 All these employees and sit residential commercial sales and install 53 million in revenue that year, and we made $200,000. So, to your point, I lived it myself. And I felt like we had some of the best in the world. We really like these guys that I worked with some of my partner stuff have gone on to do extraordinary things since then. Especially at the time, and these guys were people that help develop the NABCEP curriculum for you know, which is like the master’s degree of installers and stuff like that. So I got to meet President Obama and consult with him like one of my partners, you know, on the solar ready, that’s program. So some pretty amazing credentials in our company, and yet we still had a struggle with so I think the summary is, let everybody focus on what their superpower is. And there’s just purity in focus. You know, if you’re great at sales, communication, stick for revenue generating activities, and you see these guys start to try to do other things. And it’s just, it rarely works. There’s very few examples of it working on

Sam Taggart 14:38
Yeah, no, I had a client. I went to consultant price six months ago, he’s doing like 20 a month. And now he’s doing like 80 a month. So it’s cool to see him grow. But I talked to him literally on Saturday or Friday. And you know, I was like, once an age, he’s in California, and he, he goes, I’m so sick of these installers and blah blah And I swear like he goes off on this rant of like EPC good people are crooks. And I just can’t, I’ve been doing it myself. And I was like, I know you too well, you don’t have anyone, like you don’t have time to even sell and run your sales team, let alone now you’re going to add installing, and you don’t have like a right hand, you don’t have an operator, you don’t have a, I’m like, I’m like, okay, dude. Like, I think you should think through this real quick and maybe just mend that partnership and maybe have some strong conversations and, and like, strengthen the relationship there or change that team or you know, something. But I was like, I don’t know, if you’re ready for doing all the things yourself. And I was like, believe it or not, I guarantee your sales will go from 7080 a month back down to 20. Yeah, you’re gonna be like, Where’s all my money? And it costs money to do all that. And, and I was like, I don’t know, if you’re like, I don’t know if this is a good idea. And I kind of had to, just and I’m like, it might be it might be the path. Like, I’m not here to tell you what to do. But I was just like, how do we so so let’s talk to this. He has a bad experience with his EPC company feels like, you know, they’re shady. And they’re taking advantage of him? How do we build more trust in have better communication ability integrity, with partners? Because I feel like partners, we all hear like, oh, never partner? Never, you know, like, do it all yourself? Like, what’s your two cents on that?

Jess Phillips 16:25
Yeah, I think it’s a great topic. I mean, first of all, we saw that problem all the time. And that’s part of what criteria was built for. So you know, to help to help bring together sales teams, and installers in a more effective way. And we do that with our technology and our marketplace. So that everybody competes based on performance. So, so I throw that out there. But my experience with it is just I think when you create a partnership, you know, starting it the right way, I mean, there’s always going to be bad players and stuff out there, but they usually sort themselves out. And, and I think, you know, there’s usually just like when I hear his story, I don’t ever I instantly assume like, there’s miscommunication, someone’s busy, they got behind. And now things have snowballed. And, and so emotions run high, there’s a lot of money at stake. And it’s easy to point the finger and blame other people, it’s usually not, especially now our industry has been through so many of these that most of the bad players have been sorted out that didn’t make it, you know, like, you should be pretty good to still be around at this point. So I feel like you know, it’s in the early days anybody was doing it, but there’s been enough to sort people out. So if you’re still around, I think most of the people are pretty good, especially on the install side, because most these guys been around for several years. So. So yeah, I would say for me, it was, that’s one of the things I thought would be good to talk about is how to be outward focused when you create a partnership. So right when you right out of the gate, it’s what I do everyday now, but also my past, I got a really cool experience to learn and see this firsthand from a billionaire that we did a lot of solar for, at my last company, we did it like over $100 million in solar with him over six years and watched how he did partnerships and how he set them up from right from the beginning. With the right expectations and the way that I really have learned this as your outward focused, so whether it’s with one of your employees, that you’re just hiring, or a sales guy, you know, 1099 or, you know, you’re getting divorced, and you’re you’re like trying to figure out how to settle everything, like what is important to them first. So I think it’s something that can affect you, with your EPC with employed everywhere in your life, everything’s really a partnership, you know, how you deal with your family, your, your, your kids, your sister, your your parents, I think it affects everything. They’re all partnerships, if you think about it. And so being outward focused, you already know what you need and want. But if you can figure out what they need and want, it’s amazing how many times you can get those things to really correlate and actually get excited. Or just find out upfront, if those things don’t align, instead of figuring it out six months, a year or whatever, down the road. And so making sure you’re asking them and really get to like what’s really important to them, you know, being our focus, so got a fun story about that with him. But if you want me to jump into that,

Sam Taggart 19:06
yeah, I’m listening. That’s good. Yeah. So

Jess Phillips 19:09
I think with with this one, it was fun, because it’s always fun to hear stories and get it interact with a billionaire. It’s pretty rare you get a chance to do

Sam Taggart 19:16
like money, their idea of money is unfathomable. In a sense, you know what I mean? Like? Yeah, Jay, do the

Jess Phillips 19:26
math. I remember hearing the math one time and it was just some crazy thing. Like I think it was Trump and this was way before he was elected or anything. It was like him like buying a helicopter was like us buying a Subway sandwich or something, you know, just like it is it’s really interesting, how they how you think it just wouldn’t matter. They change. Like I remember the first time I met him, he’s 66 You’re 62 at the time and I was just thinking you’re a billionaire. What are you doing in this conference room right now? You know, but it’s not about the money. It’s about the game. It’s about the fun. It’s about building you know, that’s what they really liked doing at least with the way so, so yeah, we met with him and we had a situation where building the stadium, it was our first project. Ironically, he said, let’s test you out on the stadium. So just to keep that in mind, it was a two megawatt project $6 million. At the time, it was the fourth largest solar project for any pro sports venue in the western hemisphere. So it was big like Gillette Stadium is a megawatt right where the Patriots play. Little little Real Salt Lake soccer team did a two megawatt project. Right? So it’s pretty big deal for him to do that. And we met him in February 1 day. He said he wanted to go to contract by March and be up and running by October. We did it it was crazy. I we had never done anything like that even since that fast.

Sam Taggart 20:39
Even a write up the contract to get the lawyers to like, just exactly.

Jess Phillips 20:44
Like Sandy city, you know, yeah, like story like to get a permit. Right. The funny thing about that is, obviously they love having in there, they have a stadium and all the income that comes about, we didn’t get the permit technically till the day before we turn the system on. But everybody was everything was fine. But like, that’s just how fast everything had to work. Like everybody was working together with a partnership. So yeah, pretty remarkable. And one of the stories really came after with the partnership. So one of things I picked up early on with him is he just preached to us as a three NAB meeting our meeting, like, this is what I want you guys to make on your margin, if you’re not making that let me know if you’re like he really wanted to be very transparent. And like, here’s what I need, I need transparency, I need trust. And I think for him, he he’s probably dealt with his whole life, a lot of inauthentic relationships, people that know because everybody knows he’s got the money. And so I think one of the things we did really well with him from the very beginning and why he trusted us after as we had an opportunity where after the project was installed, a really we had a really crappy situation happen. So this will get a little technical, some people enjoy this. But when you do a big commercial project, the utilities sometimes get a little nervous, it’s a lot of energy being put into the grid. So you don’t just like submit for net metering permit. And like it gets approved like this is a big deal, right, you’re pushing a ton of juice through through the grid in that area. Two megawatts is a lot of power. And the utility didn’t even understand some of it, they didn’t even understand well. And so if you think about how our power is produced, usually it’s with the motor or something spinning, right. And so they have something called hotline blocking. And what that means is if the grid needs to be shut down, let’s say a power line gets knocked over, they need to immediately shut down the power source, so doesn’t keep pushing power through that and kill somebody. So they wanted us to install what’s called hotline blocking, which is like a mechanism that essentially just switches that power off immediately from the source. And this thing was going to cost like $150,000 like room right there to close off the solar. And we were trying to explain the utility like solar doesn’t spin like it’s, we can just flip a switch and it’s off, you don’t need to have something cut it down. So that while the motors spinning, it’s not still putting more power out. So bottom line is the utility want us to install $150,000 thing that wasn’t needed. And in order to get the system turned on. So he get the tax credit that year, that was what they wanted. And we were like, you don’t need it, we’re not going to spend this money and 150 grand on a $6 million project isn’t small, especially when you’re getting tested by a billionaire. And you’re like, hey, the utility wants us to do this. So you’re going to need we’re going to change order $150,000. So we decided to just go and tell the truth, this is what they think. And we don’t think they need it. And so we understand we’re telling you that we’re we think we know more than the utility company about their own grid, but that’s the truth. So they want you to put this money up $150,000. And if and will they’ll they’ll do some more research and decide if they need to do it or not. But in order to flip the switch and get your tax credits, your you’ve got to put $150,000 down and trust that we’re going to get this done for you. And he just figured we’re never getting the money back. Let’s just get it done. So that was scary to go ask him for 150 grand because it could have made us look like we didn’t know we’re doing like What do you mean? Like, how come? You guys didn’t tell my answer to that? Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, you guys shouldn’t so scary, just to be honest with them. But we did it. Because that was a scary part. First one is just being honest with about what’s going on. And then number two is about seven or eight months goes by and I’m sure he just forgot about the money figure, there’s no way that utility is ever going to give that back. And we kept falling up in teaching them how it worked. And Rockmount Power said, You know what, you’re right. You don’t need to do this. So they actually wrote us a check to our company for 150 grand, and gave them up because it was an escrow. And we could have just deposited that and nobody would have known. There’s no way like it would have been gone. And we were meeting with him about doing a bunch of his apartments and stuff. And at the end of meeting I didn’t think much of it. I was just like, hey, but one more thing before we leave and we’re just gonna leave like here’s a here’s this check. You know, you remember when we said that? We didn’t think that we needed to do this thing and they said we did. Well, here’s the money it came back and he like, I’ve never seen this guy this guy’s on top of it. He’s all over his business, your business but he got emotional, and actually have a picture like he gave me this big hug and it just meant a lot to him and to your point like 150 grand to him isn’t thing that wasn’t about that it was about and it’s something he already had written off. It was about the authenticity, the trust, the integrity, which is something that he really, really was important to him. And so, yeah.

Sam Taggart 25:15
Any business owner, I mean him on an extreme I couldn’t even imagine. But I’ve felt like that were on both sides. I felt like Man, these people just took me like, and it’s frustrating how, like, they can’t authentically own up to their mistake, the money, the whatever. I mean, I just had a situation where I had to pay a guy back 7500 bucks on Saturday. And it was just like, I literally looked different. I was like, I have zero reason to pay this back at zero reason to like, like, I have all the contracts and all of the reason to keep this. But if you literally feel so distraught, so frustrated, so taken advantage of like, I’ll give you the money, like that’s on your head now, to decide if you feel like you were just whiny playing victim, you know what I mean? Like, you know, and I just said, like, Dude, it’s, I’m gonna always take that high route. But it was just interesting. Like, just any exchange, like, I’ve seen so many fights, so many bad relationships, I mean, burnt bridges. You know, and that trust obviously didn’t just make you the extra profit on that one job. I’m sure that trust is like, let’s go to all the jobs. Yeah. What did it lead to? I’m curious, like,

Jess Phillips 26:24
Oh, man. Yeah, that’s funny. You say that, because, of course, you know, the trust was there to do a $29 million project, it was the first of its kind in the world, you know, slay lost, but dozens of others with him as well. But even within that exact story, you ask a perfect question on that, in that story, game 150,000 back, which was a ton of money to us, nothing to him. And what he immediately said back after, like, gives me the target never hugged me before I’ve never seen hug anybody really. So that that at that point, now we’ve got a great relationship. And that happens all the time. But he, he said, You know, I’m gonna do is I’m going to give you a $30,000 Integrity fee. That’s what he called it. And he’s like, so and then he came in, visited our company, I asked him if he can speak at our company. And he brought, I think it was $300 cash for every employee. And that sounds like oh, 300 bucks. When you do, I think it ended up being like, like $20,000, or something I don’t remember. But to do put all that in cash and envelopes was a ton of work. Like it was a you know, it was just a lot of work, a lot of themes that went together. And it was pretty remarkable that that he did that. And then he came and spoke and then that on top of that he ends up, he ends up, we end up taking the money, he gives us 30,000. And he was building a new club, the outing club at Real Salt Lake. And so we learned from what he did. And we recycled that back and said, Hey, we know this new club is really exciting to you. And you want to be a part of it. Or we want to be a part of it want to help you get going because you really want us to join these clubs. And we’re like, man, these things are expensive delay, like go to all these games and these tickets. But we took the money he gave us and we just put it right back into buying tickets there. And we got to meet a lot of really cool business relationships. And he introduced us to a lot of people that way. So it just kept recycling itself. And we kept building on it. So it was really fun to learn from him. And to see that firsthand from somebody that does it at the at the highest level.

Sam Taggart 28:17
That’s so cool. That’s so cool. Yeah, it’s not every day I get to meet a billionaire. And I guess I guess the question there would be, if you’re, you know, you’re going after and looking for VC partners, and there’s 1000s of them. You’re going after, you know, and you’re helping partner with sales companies to like your onboarding companies all the time. And there’s a there’s an element of like, how do you vet? Like, what questions do you ask? So that you can quickly identify value systems? And, you know, probability of success, things like that, like, what are some of the questions you feel like, would help you as you move into a partnership?

Jess Phillips 28:59
You should do a podcast for

Sam Taggart 29:00
living man. Oh, yeah.

Jess Phillips 29:03
Just great questions. Man. I love that question. So I think that’s a great question. I hadn’t really thought about it. Like, I hadn’t really thought about it, like firsthand, like, what does that actually mean? What questions that actually asked, like, consciously, but what I think I look for is, are they outward focused, right, like, are they? What questions? Are they asking me? Are they just like, what’s your red line? What’s this? What’s that? When I see them asking questions about how katiba can serve their reps, that’s usually my biggest indicator. Like when they go straight to like, how’s this gonna affect my guys? Way before? How much more profitable? Is it gonna make me how much easier? Is it gonna make my life when they start saying, is this gonna help my operations girl that helps me with all this stuff. Is this gonna help my reps? That’s the first thing is I haven’t had one example where that’s not the case. You can usually just tell that if they’re driven by that, and what’s best for their team first, and if that is not boxing, Just checked really big, they don’t even care about what it’s gonna do for them yet. And I’ve, that’s the first thing has become really easy to identify that. So usually I don’t even have to ask too many questions I just I just listen to the questions they ask. And that’s how I can tell who they who, how they’re driven.

Sam Taggart 30:17
So what about, you know, when you aligned, obviously working with Trent and some of the other owners at cortiva? You know, a lot of people are like, Oh, I’d never partner like I’ve had a relationship with partners that I’ve just avoided. And it was because I watched my dad get screwed over millions of millions of dollars due to a scumbag that just took all the money, like, you know, I mean, he’s just, I think I had childhood trauma, like just being candid. Where I’m like, Well, my dad got screwed twice on bad partnerships. And, you know, he’s kind of always ingrained that. But it’s like, that’s just a belief system I have. So watching Deloitte create his billions wasn’t just alone, I’m sure he did it with right amazing teams and partners. And

Jess Phillips 31:02
to actually your point, I’ve never seen him do a deal where he’s the whole owner ever. He doesn’t own I’ve never seen it. He does it every single time. He always brings in partners, he brings in guys he used to work with, Hey, you’re gonna jump into this with me. He always brings investors and partners. I mean, obviously, I think that’s smart, he think believes in diversification. But it’s interesting, you say that, and he’s rarely even I see him being the majority, he doesn’t even have to be the majority partner every time. Just to emphasize your point. It’s a really interesting thing. I didn’t know about him until I got into his business. After several years like this, he owned 100% of anything, he just, he always brings in all these other partners all the time. And I obviously they trust him, you know?

Sam Taggart 31:40
So like, you know, with you and your, you know, you have to say, Where do I put my time, my energy, my resource, and I’m sure that there’s been tiffs, and moments of like, Eff you like, this is not I’m doing all the work you third, why are you in Mexico for three weeks? You know, or whatever? I don’t know. I guess talk me through how you made your decision as far as why align with Trent and other guys?

Jess Phillips 32:09
Yeah, no, that’s a great question. I’ve, I really don’t think anybody’s had a perfect experience with partners. I mean, I’ve had other partners to where we brought people in, and then end up being a huge anchor, you know, and as much as you do everything and be outward focused, they just take advantage. And I’ve had multiple rounds of that in our last company. And it was amazing when that, like the first time that happened, as soon as that the first partner was was removed, we doubled the next month, it was I don’t even I mean, we were distracted, if you can say anything else, as far as the two owner, other owners, but yet, the culture, whatever it just, it’s amazing what it will do. So when you finally when you just you just see how they behave, people can change, but usually who they are at their core is who they’re going to be in business. And so when you talk about examples of like, oh, you’re in Mexico, it’s like, wow, I would never have a partner that would do that. They would come and talk to me, it felt like, Hey, this is what I want to do. I mean, one point, Trent did Trent actually, we’ve been partners for 13 years in multiple businesses to your point. And we started and so we’re together. And we’ve had some incredibly tough things to go through. And somehow we’ve always navigated it, there was a time where he wanted to take time off and build a house and everything. And he did for almost a year. And great, he talked me about it, this is what I want to do whatever. And then he’s like, because of that you should have this bigger salary. And I’m just gonna take this, and he had the whole plan. And it made sense for us. Like, it wasn’t like, hey, I want to still make the same amount of money and do nothing, you know, because I can legally. And so that was an example where just because of who he is, he always was thinking, our focus, hey, what would be fair, if I took some time off, and he’s gonna now carry a bigger load, I’ll be a consultant role, like, let’s give you this, let’s do this for you, or whatever. And if you you know, I mean, it was just an easy conversation, because he put himself in my shoes. And he was clear and direct about what he wanted. You know. And so, that was an example of where that happened. And so I just think you just you find the right people that have integrity. And that’s such a word, it’s overused, and a lot of people like to broadcast but when you actually see an action over and over and over, when things are really tough, it’s really easy to get along when things are really good. And so I’ve just had multiple rounds of that with with him and then my partners at katiba. Same thing I mean, just to see how they behave, when things are here, the stories of how they behave when things are really hard. It gives you it gives you a visibility on how things are going to be when they’re really good because that’s also when you hear partnerships get really nasty is oh my gosh, everybody’s making money and then all of a sudden somebody gets greedy. So yeah, you just watched behaviors, and how they behave on the extremes of everything and when you see certain behaviors that are scary, like that’s definitely something you want to run away from and when you see behaviors when times are really hard or times really good. You latch on to those partnerships. I mean, I I’m doing like a real estate thing or has just never even met this guy has nothing to deal with it, and I’m like, hey, if I do this try, and I’ve always had this thing, we’re doing something business, we’re always going to come to that person and give them first right of refusal to join in. And Trump will probably do nothing with it. Like, he might be the guy that reads the documents, because I’m not going to do that, you know, but I’m going to bring him in, because I trust him, he’ll be a second set of eyes on everything with with whatever we’re doing is diversity. And we just have this rule between us like, hey, if we’re doing something in business, there’s an opportunity to let’s give the other person opportunity to jump in, even if you had nothing to do with it. Because what goes around comes around. So just kind of a rule we live by, and it’s worked. It’s served us really well and might serve others.

Sam Taggart 35:35
How often? Because obviously, you’re in like your own little worlds, doing your own little things and roles. How often do you meet to cultivate that partnership in that relationship? And like, how much time maybe on and off work do you spend? Making sure cuz I look at a partnership. I’m like marriage, like you’re literally like, spending even more time than probably a family sometimes together. So it’s like, Yeah, is there any kind of system that you found that works for you guys, as far as communicating as far as meeting as far as building that to where it’s worked for 13 years? Because I don’t think there’s a lot of people that could say, Yeah, me and my partner have been together for 13 years like that. Yeah, that’s a lot.

Jess Phillips 36:14
Yeah, no, that’s a great question. I think early on, we always would make sure like, when we were building the companies, like let’s do a lot of lunches together, just just a lot of that. Right now, it’s hard. It’s funny, you bring it up, because we’re relying a lot on the the reservoir, we built up the bank, you know, with each other, because we barely can talk, we’re so busy in our roles, day to day, I mean, we’re super focused, he’s the Chief Operations Officer of quality, there’s a lot there. And we’re growing really fast. And so I was laughing about how like, we barely get phone calls. And and it’s just like, we don’t even say hi, it’s like, hey, I need this thing. Cool. Like, is that bad. But we do go to when we travel, I think is a really good opportunity. Like if you can go like if you can’t even get these lunches in which we can’t even do right now. Because things are so busy. We do travel together on certain trips and stuff, like we just went to Florida and launched a few new companies there. And so when you travel together, right, you’re on a plane together, you’re hotels, and that really guarantees you get a chance to reconnect that way. Because I think it’s impossible, if you don’t do some of that stuff, it will eventually crack because you just start assuming things, you start getting off and you don’t even realize what’s going on their life. And so to your point, a system would be really good. And we’re in a place where we’re relying on eight happens in a marriage, right? Like, there’s times where wife gets crazy, and you’ve got to, you’ve got to rely on, you know, know

Sam Taggart 37:32
that we’re committed. And we know that we love each other. Like, no more needed. Cool. No, this is this has been good. And, and I’ve liked to where this has kind of gone and in going and if you’re listening to this, like maybe you’re not an entrepreneur, maybe one day, you’re going to be an entrepreneur, maybe your buddies always been engineer, you’re being like, let’s go do this man. And you’re like, scared, you know, and, and I hope this is giving tools or thought processes, ideas, learn from the wise, like, take the mistakes and the lessons that somebody else is learning and use that relevant information to make your decisions. And, you know, I, I’ve had to change my tune quite a bit recently, like I haven’t interviewed at it three forgot to kind of partner in and take over chromatic software we built and I was like, Yeah, I’ll just hire you give you equity, like let you run. And I’m changing my relationship to partners recently, as far as like even our business development department. I’m like, Hey, I’m, I’m open to even just affiliate partners like with you or with other, you know, people that we can cultivate that just are strong Win Win scenarios. And if it’s a win, win, deal, no deal, like, and it’s like, how do we, you know, build ultimate trust? And then and then I think it’s like, my dad always said, he’s like, Great contracts make great partnerships. And, like, I think a lot of people are afraid to vet out or don’t have the thought process to be like, you know, like, people jump in a business. Hey, we’re 5050 I’m like, what, what does that mean? Like? 5050? Could be all sorts of things. It could be, you know, decision making, is it? Is it vesting is it. You know, what happens when this happens? Is it money? Is it who’s coming up with the same expenses, everybody splits it, is it? You know, I mean, like, rainy day like, and I think a lot of people don’t think through that. But if you built out a really clear operating agreement, there’s you just fall back on that versus the emotional. Yeah, kind of the I feel like you should pay for that. Oh, why? Like,

Jess Phillips 39:36
why do Yeah, I love that. It’s exactly what I was, like you You start off with just being truly transparent beginning. I mean, it’s funny you say that because I remember learning going through this learning curve myself. I remember 1012 years ago, like I didn’t even I was like, we don’t want to know we make a profit. They’re gonna look down on us for that. It’s like, so weird. Like, that’s how my young 2324 year old mind thought was like, well, if they think we’re making profit, they’re gonna want, you know, the customers gonna want that or whoever, right? And it was amazing, like you learn over time, like doesn’t matter and then seeing Deloitte Hanson just littered, like, here’s I need, I’m gonna make 11 I’m gonna have you make between 10.5 and 11% margin, if you do a really good job, you get 11 points. I mean, he just said, what you’re going to make, and here’s what I’m gonna make. And it was just like, just no shame on I’m a business and I’m here to make money. Here’s how I need to make money. And so if you can start a partnership, just saying like, what do you guys need? Because you have some guys that like, for what I do, they want a really big and one payment, right? And some guys want the red line, obviously, if you have the guys that want everything, but the guys that are worth partnering, partnering long term to go back to your question like, What do you look for? Like the guys understand you can’t have everything. So like I had a company recently, look, I don’t the red line doesn’t matter. I need something competitive. And I’m I’m capitalized, I don’t need huge 23,000 $4,000 And one payments up front. What’s important to me is I need your 30 day installs. If you can really do that all the time, then then I’m good here, right? So it’s easy to just really focus our efforts there and making sure we get in the markets that have those right. And so it’s easy for me to come back and say, This is what I need, you know, this is based on what you said, this will align really well this one ask you have it doesn’t fit like, this is what I need. So, and then you work on it together. And then you just know upfront, if you get stuck, and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and you know, up front versus doing a partnership, and you’re both faking something that is never going to work in any way. So just knowing right?

Sam Taggart 41:31
Yes. So important. So more. So I’m gonna wrap up with that one, because that’s good. I mean, if you didn’t, you know, hopefully somebody listening to this right now is like, Oh, I’m in the thick of that right now. Or, Oh, I was about to go down this rabbit hole without that, like, hopefully you guys took some value out of this guy’s go go check out cortiva They’re a great platform for you know, from a knocking CRM connected to EPC solution to really, you know, get your installs in like, you know, don’t have to do all the things and they streamline that. And so, is it cortiva.com Like what How did they find it?

Jess Phillips 42:10
What do you call it?

Sam Taggart 42:11
The iba and yeah, I pretty jazzed I appreciate you being on the show, man. This is this was a this was a great conversation.

Jess Phillips 42:19
Yeah, thank you and we Dorner calm was amazing, man. That was our first launch right a year and a half. Well, just over a year ago. You’re at Georgia con for I just want to give a shout out on five it was incredible. Like we the it exceeded our expectations once again. And it was just an incredible event. So I hope they keep building we were excited to be to be partners on all that. Thank you, man. Really helped us jumpstart our company, man.

Sam Taggart 42:42
Thank you. Appreciate that. Care. We’ll talk soon brother.

Jess Phillips 42:46
Hey, thanks. Thanks.

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