Evolux Interview – Ray Leavitt – EGLAVATOR Series

Evolux Interview – Ray Leavitt – EGLAVATOR Series

Ray Leavitt tells us his journey as an entrepreneur, from kicker at FAU’s football team to Sikorski Incubator in Connecticut. Lessons, Drones, Helicopters, aerial transportation, booking, MVPs, great lessons from a local entrepreneur 

EVOLUX was hosted by Sikorski’s Incubator in Connecticut and ow is back in South Florida with a revamped team. At the interview Ray said that:

“….  when they said hey ray you’re a winner i was like wait what they required me to move up in connecticut and i know you moved yeah and when i move that was like saying goodbye to the ecosystem and everything and you took the reins from there but when i was up there you know they wanted to put me through this year long incubator process which really was being put in this big beautiful //// “

Watch the interview with Ray and EVOLUX’s genesis and updates for 2020.

Transcript

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@13.5613.89lol
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@16.7435.16wherever you are in singapore join you once again to take it to be bringing you the latest and greatest and startups technology and information technologies and everything you want to learn on on tech today's your lucky day because we have super interesting person a friend a football player and an entrepreneur
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@35.6140.56so we have today ray levitt how are your way i'm doing great experiment with aaron
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@40.9252.83gray gray like usually you don't find a little football players or basketball player has been into printers tell me your journey when when do you began but what what was already played i played football for you
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@53.454.66got me down to south florida
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@55.3264.29i'm originally from jacksonville also growing up i come down to south florida pretty often visit my grandma and i loved it down here so had the opportunity to play football for coach tom bergeron
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@65.0774.34came out after you and then did you as corny like big points and when you were actually unfortunately right when i became the starter i had gotten hit by a drunk driver
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@74.9778.12oh knocked me out of football so that that
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@78.3697.44one door closed another door opened and it was it a bit of denial that because i had dreams and aspirations are going to the nfl as a kicker wow that does that's fantastic but then that turn out right because you became a better like a while not a better person but an interpreter maybe yeah actually it's funny you think your life is over in the world has ended and
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@98.37118.44i got an opportunity to go work for a bank in singapore and that really opened my eyes to the the global business environment and all the opportunities that existed and but your back on using marketing and business is that right yeah so i was studying international business marketing and small business entrepreneurship small business management at a failure and i
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@118.44120.449993remember when manning want to thousand
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@121.8124.32two thousand tall maybe he might have been around that time
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@125.22133.68so you know what are you know when i was coming up with because actually when i was on that trip to singapore okay i had a fascination with private aviation living in boca you know yet
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@134.13145.17expensive car area of the jets taking off actually when we were in football practice like five thirty in the morning the a gulfstream taken are blowing light rail asked an hour and a salsa yeah i was cool but if i can breathe
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@145.98148.02from the jet fuel exhaust but no it was
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@149.1154.17it was very motivating being down here and and that love for private aviation just being around it
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@155.01158.91maybe really explore and sitting in traffic of south florida
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@159.93164.46you know i really started to grow an obsession with vertical takeoff and landing road will aircraft
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@165.18173.22which now people call eat all the eye and but flying cars have been the dream of many and i wanted to try to make that a reality
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@173.94182.52so i really started to study private aviation and saw that the helicopter was actually the predecessor to that flying car but the helicopter industry had a lot of
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@183.63192.06market dynamics they'd really was inhibiting its growth and really needed some help to grow towards the future that we're now seeing come to fruition
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@192.57194.61perfect perfect and tell me one more thing
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@195.33215.34re like what do you what do you see yourself on ever looks in the future with the drones i saw in the computer consumer electronics show or right now one of those drones we saw a nickel somebody to talk shows and they were many drones that will work court caring people it was no longer joe's to carry a camera and take some picture but taking him and just like a helicopter and tell them tell me why you're you're you're
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@215.46223.5decision will be forever exam yeah absolutely so when i first started building his business we were really modeling after richard branson
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@224.34244.08after falcon wanna burn time who who put an aircraft in place for the next price to take me into space and come back with the reviews of vehicle i want to do the same thing with the flying cars that were on their way i was like man let's get a fleet of those and start creating a clown cartridge more system so that was always kind of the vision in the future
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@244.32254.94to build towards that done they weren't do you see yourself and they grow your vision for ever looks now and into the future with those muscles transportation vertical transportation yeah absolutely so
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@255.99275.94very first business plan for ever looks actually had a flying car on the cover of the business plan and i was when i was in university you know that time people thought i was crazy like flying cars and am i gonna tell on you know these the vertical live technologies on its way and you know computer technology with stabilization systems and unmanned aerial vehicles and things like that that are on their way it will now they're here
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@277.02280.35there's a big challenge i think we think it's right around the corner
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@281.4289.95but there's a lot of safety and history goes into constantly reiterating vertical lift aircraft and so these helicopters that you're seeing today
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@290.64310.8lot of the aircraft in the market they've been around for a long time but because they have the safety history and record so the phase not going to just open up the doors to let these end of the airspace right away it's going to take rear end of rigorous testing before it ever gets to a point where can transport a man however there are other countries that have really been very lenient in this as you see and china
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@310.83319.05and you buy that are allowing these type of technology so we're very aware of it and we're very interested in him but we still think there's a big gap to taking you know
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@320.1323.1i would say the technologies of helicopters there flown by pilots
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@323.91339.54to getting to that future but i think it's going to be very similar to autopilot with a pilot in place for a very long time before you see us just jumping in a vehicle with nigeria will be like the jetsons then that will will be a while maybe a decade to that because ryan ryan companies like elevator promising
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@340.41351.75tomorrow and that's probably to build up investor interest but but the reality is that you're gonna need you know pilots that want to live to get that thing safely on the on the ground in case of an emergency but right now
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@352.56372.54where where was that painter from ever looked when you you began and like helping and startups had that's hi mandy when when you are in the eighty c and interpersonal develop a corporation and had use segue from helping and start ups to like okay i have my idea lend to build it and the incubator for some sikorski incubator
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@372.96388.89sure so when i came back from singapore and i was building the business plans for ever looks there was really no business plan competition for you and the product and service innovation courses in the business plan and courses and that's where we came up with the concept for the business i was also a private jet broker at that time
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@389.61409.71doing that side of the business but when i when i had put the business together and met sky ellington who ran the it was called for to flirt atlantic researched of element authority and je t who ran the enterprise developed a corporation south florida up the offer me a free workspace in that technology business incubator for a couple of years to get
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@410.037773416.82started and and off the ground so they gave me mentorship and a lot of things like that and while i was there i started doing side projects for them
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@417.63422.7i had hosted a a workshop so that that drunk driver hit me and knocked me out of here
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@422.94429.51ended up getting that's that settlement it was a very small amount but i've got a settlement and i use that to hold a workshop were brought down
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@430.83436.14researchers from georgia tech richardson's to florida atlantic university college of engineering and computer science
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@437.64452.82florida tech boeing phantom works petroleum helicopters and what we were doing was all of those parties participated in the movement of personnel and cargo around atlanta during the ninety six olympic games but as all don't phones and white boards
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@453.42460.95and we were trying to understand that system for how they you were using helicopters to get products and goods and people around
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@462.03482.37and we wanted to take that understanding and that that system actually was submitted to the vertical flight some committee of the day it was done by them and it was called tartan ass project tartan ass which was the tilt road or and advanced aircraft sister wrote a script in the national airspace system so it was trying to understand that flying car vitali you're talking about i remember how this can
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@482.400205502.53exist in the airspace that's really not digitized yeah so basically apple looks is this solution for scaling pickup and landing a vertical helicopters or vertical vehicles is that that that's what evolution primarily is right sure so out of that that consortium that i put together a three day week
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@502.59502.95shop
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@503.67520.83what we came up with was the next generation nano not interfering for deport operating system called a genie rose and that was the beginning and what what was the first project that we could do to build that grand vision of helicopters coming and are facing with the multi modal infrastructure that exists with planes and trains and all that so
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@522.0532.92out of that system we said we need to build software around this but we had a hard time when in grants and so we put together a small friends and family around and built the very first booking system for helicopters the had our first step
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@533.7539.1so we took the seventeen helicopters that we're here in south florida and we created a booking system it was very you know
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@539.85553.89very simplistic of an app but we got an app built and with that i when i started sponsoring golf tournaments and so we did the all he wants championship here and boca raton and from that we landed a helicopter after the last putt dropped on the eighteenth hole
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@554.64564.03for groups on the green one of them benefiting them over town community hospital brow and so the money that was raised for that and the noise that was created as the freaking catalina wine mixer like from step further
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@565.83584.82and what that did is it got some buzz created around the system we had built next thing you know we're flying nascar drivers and pro pro golfers by helicopter to get from the race tracks to their yachts and to get around south florida and jumped over the traffic and that was the initial dose i live version one point and that was our prototype and then
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@584.85605.01you say waiting to see cars can now how do you get into sikorski sounds like a very prestige incubator yeah so to answer your question that i was incubating alex and building that okay while i was offered that program management position with the eighty see the guy lama corporation technology business incubator so i was there
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@605.5623.56help cultivate the started started because system so we had you know the six years that i was there we did biotech conferences with all the major universities in the state so we did like stem cell research and all kinds of really cool technology that was emerging and then we also did the technology business showcase would you actually presents and right right right right
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@624.22629.95and so i was helping coached entrepreneurs of that and i would do a lot of the
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@631.33641.14the greeting and the business plans and the and the deal flow support for the new world angels and it really helped boca bootstrap her tech meta to we can we get started
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@642.43660.849993things to cultivate and be a catalyst in boca for the tech startup seen and i think we had a pretty good run with it but it it actually evolved from for once you have air yeah exactly and i guess anything that was that can lead to say away from where we have him initially dad i was learner and i can in no way i can we can and mass or without knowing
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@662.2682.3the challenge to happen and and fortunate in that things are working out but but tell me more by that's what happened was so i had summit in my business plan yes he was immediately is of course of course key okay so sikorski had this global entrepreneurial challenge and since i was so focused on vertical lift match i was trying to find i said
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@682.42702.52you know the operators they haven't earned money they're they're liquidating carefully this was also during an economic crash oh yeah two thousand and ten crash thousand and eight nine ten it was around that time i hear it and danger had actually moved and the research park who was founded by a gucci either i saw happen to them while they were trying to be the operator and the aggregate her and technology
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@702.55708.67ashton anything they tried to be too many things at once and grow too fast which is what they were used to and they had the funding and be erased eighty seven million dollars
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@709.39713.41but the problem is is he invested in the eclipse five hundred and hear the delivery position for that
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@714.28715.9the onyx were a new avionics system
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@716.83732.52with microsoft and they failed and the delivery of the aircraft and and get brought in and time and the crashing they had raised membership and right it just it was a big problem so they had a lot of promise and they showed how angry people on c four flights by the seat
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@733.45753.49be comparable if not cheaper than flying commercial and they were focusing on routes that the airlines were not really focused on they were under servicing routes are here to gainesville here to jackson owner to write lando those types short flights because the airlines they have to fill these huge airplanes right and they need enough demand to do those around yeah there will never go from here to gainesville they when they were offering it to jacksonville though
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@753.64759.16right and you may have a small regional little do it and it's just not as frequent as people would like it right so right right right
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@759.400044779.38the one to seven hour drive time is a wide open space that needs to be focused on and at that time i was still very focused on helicopters because i believe in the vertical so anyways i put our business plan it was like a hail mary discourse because i figured who is the most a benefit other than the operators the manufacturers right the manufacturers are always they've grown their businesses on government contract
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@779.47789.58to build military aircraft right the commercial space than early care they were a few billionaires i want to win helicopters great will build an executive aircraft but i was trying to show them how we can grow the executive market
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@790.18809.89in the charter market right and now they have a much bigger market to go after with that that fleet of aircraft and tell me and then now where wife evelyn so we understand where you're coming from for football player to an entrepreneur program manager for to see cleaning and partnership closest to me south florida now yours course key and what happened after that yeah so
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@810.58819.25they were like hey you're in the top three i was going up against a company out of australia san francisco germany and these companies were way further ahead than what we had
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@820.36840.28and when they said hey ray you're a winner i was like wait what they required me to move up in connecticut and i know you moved yeah and when i move that was like saying goodbye to the ecosystem and everything and you took the reins from there but when i was up there you know they wanted to put me through this year long incubator process which really was being put in this big beautiful
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@840.49860.86venice and videos of me and has a lot of pr to show the innovation that they were doing but it really wasn't the level support we were hoping for and they actually ended up being acquired by lockheed martin halfway through as being up there also we didn't even get the funding we're supposed to get my savings and really took the entrepreneurial leap and had a hard landing but what it forced me to do
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@860.98863.38go and pitch angel groups around new york city
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@864.01872.92bring a team together and we were able to get a small amount of mine about two hundred thousand dollars to to take that prototype system and build a new know a more beta system
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@874.06893.499414and the and as something that you actually saw so much boat on your own someone you're posting where you were having actual costs some are you had a lower costs them as you reach a certain amount of sales i think you actually had everything working yeah so we actually through a partnership with bmw ventures who is looking at us as an investment portfolio
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@893.62898.72money they connected us with rolls royce motor cars who was launching a
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@900.37920.29power perfection driving event or and their customers they already have everything so what can you offer them that they don't already have so they wanted to get their prospective clients and their existing clients in a car on a track to show them the new sporty rate go look at the dawn that was coming out how do we do that when no one wants to draw
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@920.29939.79five two hours to get to a track and then drive for four hours and drive two hours back they don't have the whole day to waste on that day so when they saw well we had with the booking system for helicopters it was a perfect match to create fly and drive track events so we did successfully firefly and right track avenge all across the country and l a palm beach miami up in new york
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@940.45960.25and from that we learned our business model of a bit of space travel with helicopters you can i like six to eighteen helicopter flights a day instead of waft charters been booked through the system so while it was a really cool way for us to learn our business model using our our technology platform and now the yard your haven't come back to follow because opposite your back
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@961.3978.91tell us more about that you're on a vapid your management dean your revamping you're apt to your platform you're working on new things teller audience while it was going on yeah so i mean there's been a lot of it's happened between the world's worst days and this we expand our platform to being not just helicopters we we brought on prop planes because a lot of times
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@979.54999.34the economics of a helicopter doesn't make sense or and i don't necessarily need away and vertically somewhere right so the natural evolution of this was adding prop planes amphibious aircraft light jets up the heavy jets and in what we had created in our technology wasn't just a booking system but we had invented away in a compliant way too
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@999.911019.65allow people to crowd source flights product charter they become one customer that one customers already been quoted they know what their prices and then they go to that operator as one customer is identified in a very simplify ways like an over x or over to over x type of four planes you know in a manner simplify way right over pull over
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@1020.281031.17but over didn't really exist when we forgot i know as large and of course and different different regulatory compliance problems here because you and you're dealing with the alpha yeah i don't think it is that easy
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@1031.861042.48their management team does anyone that you have recruited a any more people yeah so so actually the team has evolved you know it's gone through cycle we actually had a really bad here in two thousand and eighteen
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@1043.21044.64mom our partners in chicago
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@1045.481062.52who passed away we became the reservation system for vertebrae chicago which is how important our dog at all and that partnership was great but we had a lot of turbulence with that and then one of our best pilots you know he had passed away so two thousand and nineteen was a tough year we lost revenues and things like that so i had went you know
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@1062.911066.99when things are kind of down and out you're trying to figure out a way to reconfigure this year
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@1067.531072.84with coven we had a lot of flights they normally are bahamas season find you will to live on
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@1073.921074.34that guy
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@1075.481084.12those revenues and so through all this though we kind of emerge with the new management team i had i had reconnected with map matthew hudson right
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@1084.721093.12we know who is one of our incubator ten and dry right i brought in from we're gonna bring math has one has some math here you're washing your next hi
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@1093.781113.28that's a lot of great energy and he was kind of that that partner that i had always needed and never really had the ira and on my same level with really able to discuss those connect very well i see you guys in communication very very well when you're in a conference call you guys have is a natural chemistry
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@1113.311133.44which is good for entrepreneurs and i want to say what into a little bit of your experiences and entrepreneur obviously you have him quiet quite a ride what do you recommend to listen to pronounce right now that are facing challenges are facing late because in your face one challenge and accident you are pass that you're you're you're an all and my axe in what are you
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@1133.561153.06you're fine and never hard to even complain about that ever and i known him for quite awhile you have a daughter and actually is a challenge is a blessing but and the same time is a big responsibility it's a driver for you and you have a dog on a girlfriend so your house and you have a full life is another years working for ever looks twenty four seven or or you're married and envelopes and your kids
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@1153.751159.99so i kinda like you have real human beings in a family del entrepreneurs out there that they're watching you today
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@1160.621180.69something motivated to continue and not not not be a week while you know it's funny because there's for the first time ever i felt like man am i supposed to just quit you know and and there's been a lot on everybody who has that thought don't don't don't don't but typically long time for me to get to that point because i had multiple times where i could just shrug off the stresses
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@1181.141188.85and just plowed forward and the more irons i put in the fire something would hit and pull you out of that dip and actually there's an entrepreneur here in south florida
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@1189.691202.17it was recently succeeded pretty well with his ex said john duffy from louisiana right right hand on the right yeah he gave a speech and after you answer i think it was a you where he he was talking about entrepreneurship is a repetitive
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@1203.11207.75roller coaster ride where your job is to avoid near death experiences cost
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@1209.251215.88and against i can testify to that yeah yeah like there's times when you're down on now and then something
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@1217.051218.19something pulls you out of it