Ep. 11 | Kasey Birdsong – Covid Series: Learn To Listen If You Want To Innovate
September 28, 2021
On this episode of The Rich Equation Podcast, Ashish is joined by Kasey Birdsong. Throughout this episode Ashish and Kasey discuss a multitude of topics such as the psychology of failure, the importance of innovating constantly along with the consequences if you don’t and how impactful technology can be for industries. Kasey also shares with us his best professional advise as well as what begin rich means to him.
ABOUT KASEY BIRDSONG:
Kasey Birdsong is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and business leader, with several successful company start-ups. He currently serves as the CEO of AIC Concrete along with being a strategic advisor to several technology companies. He has successfully managed the execution of over $250 Million dollars in high exposure projects.
0:03 – Ashish introduces this episodes guest, Kasey Birdsong 0:06 – Ashish shares a brief description about Kasey 0:26 – Ashish describes how this episode will discuss topics such as how to learn to innovate constantly, how technology is ready to disrupt many industries and the psychology of failure 3:15 – Kasey speaks about what has happened as a result of COVID-19 and what the current situation with the concrete business is like 5:21 – Ashish talks about how the level and frequency of communication needed to be so precise during COVID-19 times compared to pre-COVID-19 times 5:49 – Kasey states that you couldn’t communicate too much to your employees during COVID-19 7:25 – Kasey explains how a lot of their success pre- COVID-19 has been due to the fact that they’re one of the most innovative concrete service contracting companies 10:40 – Ashish mentions how Kasey has taught him that you can’t solve every problem all at the same time so having a process to decide what project to tackle first is so helpful 11:06 – Kasey jokes that as entrepreneurs we want to conquer the world in three days 11:43 – Ashish asks Kasey how he builds a culture where people/staff feel as though they can share creative ideas 13:04 – Kasey states that in leadership you have to listen to what someone is saying 14:05 – Ashish asks Kasey what advice he would give to people who intellectually understand that we should make change but are nervous about taking the step forward into innovation 14:54 – Kasey speaks about how the word failure scares a lot of people because they see it as an end point 15:11 – Kasey states that the word failing really means finding 16:13 – Kasey explains how he thinks you have to innovate constantly and how COVID-19 has really forced people to figure out how to innovate 16:31 – Kasey talks about the consequences of not innovating 18:56 – Kasey shares that he thinks as entrepreneurs we are so invested in every single thing in our business that when one thing goes wrong it crushes us and we temporarily forget that there’s 99 other things that are going great so it’s important to train ourselves and our mindsets that this is a journey and one failure isn’t the end 23:09 – Kasey explains how Planet Fundraiser is a platform and app where people can earn cashback at participating merchants when shopping 23:56 – Kasey describes how they created the platform 21:14 – Ashish states that step one is coming up with the idea and step two is validating it and proving it 24:53 – Kasey mentions how the most important person you should speak to is the person you’re going to ask for money – go talk to who your end customer would be if you created your idea 26:38 – Ashish asks Kasey about how much technology experienced did he have up to the point of creating Planet Fundraiser 27:14 – Kasey states that they had over 60 thousand users and over a thousand active groups within two years 27:41 – Ashish asks Kasey what was one of the most important things he learned through the process of trying to figure out the right formula 28:07 – Kasey advises you to never assume you know anything 29:57 – Kasey shares with us his ‘Why’ 30:54 – Kasey explains what being rich means to him 33:54 – Ashish states that there are ebbs and flows of time that you need to focus on certain things and routines need to adjust 36:01 – Kasey shares with us what keeps him up at night from a professional point of view is hiring and keeping the best possible people on the team 36:51 – Kasey mentions how he thinks the key is to have the right people sitting in the right seats and that’s where he is spending a lot of his time and energy right now 37:13 – Kasey shares some final advice and states that you shouldn’t be afraid of innovation and thinking about failure as a finding 37:56 – Ashish shares that he learned today that you really have to learn how to listen, assume that you don’t know anything and make sure you have the right people in the right seats
FIND KASEY BIRDSONG:
Welcome to the rich equation. Great to have you back. Today, I have a special guest Kasey Birdsong. Kasey is a technology entrepreneur investor and business leader with several successful company startups. He currently serves as the CEO of AIC concrete along with being a strategic advisor to several technology companies. He has successfully managed the execution of over $250 million of high exposure construction projects. On this episode, we’re going to talk about how to learn to innovate constantly and how technology is ready to disrupt many industries. How listening to the daily business friction points can be a great place to start to innovate and improve efficiency. Even more interesting. We will get into the psychology of failure and how we cannot assume we know anything when we get into our business. I know you’re going to love this episode. Here it is Kasey Birdsong. And remember if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to share it with someone that would be inspired by this or this information could be helpful and subscribe right now to the podcast and leave a review so we can continue to bring value to you.
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Outdated principles will no longer work in today’s environment. It’s time for a new approach. Your host Ashish Nathu will help you discover methods to live the new American dream. It’s time to start living the good life on your own terms and experience a new way to live rich. Now here’s your host Ashish Nathu.
Ashish Nathu: Welcome to the rich equation podcast everybody Today we have Kasey Birdsong, a serial entrepreneur from Birmingham, Alabama. Kasey, and I have known each other for about four or five years. And he is one of the most interesting entrepreneurs I’ve ever met. He’s an incredibly fast learner. He is a servant leader by every aspect of that and just a really innovative, creative businessman and family man. And so I’m really excited to have him on the podcast. It’s absolutely my honor to have you here, Kasey.
Kasey Birdsong: Ashish buddy. Glad to be here, man. This is exciting.
Ashish Nathu: So Kasey is actually found a couple of companies, but on the very opposite spectrum of what people would think as conventional he’s built and run a technology company, which I’ll let him explain a little bit about and also heads and runs a commercial concrete business. That’s actually thriving through COVID and this is the COVID series, Kasey. So we really want to try to get into sort of what’s going on with your businesses. What are the challenges that you’re having and you know, how have you overcome, so why don’t you start going to giving us a little bit about what’s going on with the concrete business? What has happened since COVID and what’s happening?
Kasey Birdsong: Yeah, so I’m sure like most of the people that are listening to your podcast now, I mean, when COVID, I never even heard the word COVID right. So when this all started happening and, and developing, you know, we didn’t know what was going to happen, we didn’t know what moves to make or what you know, what reality was about to become for us. So it was a really uncertain period of time particularly in the construction business as well. And you know, we’re starting talking about the entire country is shutting down. What is that going to mean for us and our workers, our employees, and their families, and, you know, what do we do? How do we prepare for something that no one’s ever prepared for? You know, we couldn’t go grab a book at a library or do a search on the internet to see how we, you know, prepare for this. So for us, it was a period of time of being a little bit fearful and worried, but at the same time, trying to stay resourceful and confident so that our employees who were asking a lot of questions and wondering so that, you know, we stay in that leadership position so that we could you know, provide them with a pathway they felt comfortable with. And ultimately that would you know, really be the best outcome for everyone. And so that was kind of the initial you know, the initial thoughts for us. And the only way we knew to start about it was to think of it as you know, an innovation time of let’s look at the facts at hand and make really, really quick decisions and analyze those decisions. If we make a company decision related to how we handle COVID and we need to be able to figure out if it was the wrong decision quickly, and we did, we made some of those calls where, Hey, everyone, go stay home this week. And then the next thing we know is we are deemed as a you know, a critical business, so then, or essential business. And so we’re allowed to go back to work. And so what do you do then? You got to re message everyone and get everything scheduled and back on track. So it was definitely a challenging period.
Ashish Nathu: Yeah. That’s one thing that was really different about COVID probably than previous business environments, is that the level of communication and the frequency of communication needed to be so spot on and the messages could change every day, sometimes within the day.
Kasey Birdsong: Oh, absolutely.
Ashish Nathu: You have guys out on the field and doing projects.
Kasey Birdsong: It was a time to over-communicate. I mean, you said it there. I mean, like, I don’t think you could communicate too much to your employees because everyone was so worried in the business. I mean, you didn’t know you’re exactly right. You know, you may send out messaging in the morning time and something else come out from the CDC the same day and it changes. So it was definitely a time where we try to stay in constant communication with all of our leaders and all of our employees, quite frankly.
Ashish Nathu: What I love about you and your business mindset and the way you approach business and strategy is you’re such a technology, innovation driven entrepreneur. And you think about things about process and efficiency and systems and you know, how to improve every little thing within your companies. How has that changed during COVID? How has that helped you during COVID, you know, concrete is a business that has been around for a long time way before you, my friend. And it’s an interesting opportunity, right? It’s not like concrete can’t innovate or the way that concrete or those types of businesses. I won’t even just put that as a category, but, you know, service-based businesses, construction based businesses. Those businesses will continue to thrive. They go through their own cycles, but more often than not, they’re not abundant with innovation. And you bring that to that party. So tell us why, how, what have you learned? What’s the secret sauce let’s get into that.
Kasey Birdsong: Well, I mean, for us you know, I think a lot of our success pre-Covid as a concrete company has been the fact that we are probably one of the most innovative concrete service contracting companies that I’m aware of just from my background and my business partners and what we’ve tried to breed through the culture. And I think that’s helped us be successful pre COVID, but having that framework within our business already established of innovation. And how do you, constantly looking for what are the friction points in your business? What’s slowing you down? What is the thing that’s keeping you from going, you know, from good to great in any area. And we try to look at that, constantly looking at those friction points to analyze them and some of the friction points, are, yeah, we’d love to address that, but it’s not that bad right now. You can’t fix everything at once, but what are the ones that are, and so we already, we have always had that framework. And I think with COVID exposed things where you just had to communicate differently, you weren’t having large group meetings. But we had the framework to how do you tackle those things. So really almost the decision and framework process to work through the new rules, all of a sudden there’s new rules everybody’s having to play about. And so that framework is really what helped us, I’d say make the modifications. And just some of the examples are, you know just reporting you know, a traditional way that a lot of people do is traditional dailies and invoices. And what happens on a job site every single day being reported, and someone brings it to the office, a sample in handing it to an office admin. We instantly made all of that electronic. I mean, that was one of those things that been on the to-do list for a while, but all of a sudden now it was reprioritized, right. Just keeping people from having to come in and into the office to do that and handling paper and doing so, you know, that just gave a way to keep our employees. We felt like unnecessary contact just at least until the time that there was a vaccine and those type things came out. The other part is just, we were already doing virtual meetings. We were already using, you know, products like slack to communicate in our office. We already had all of our drawings on plain grid that was digital. So we were fortunate in that sense because we didn’t have a lot of hiccups transitioning to it, which I think a lot of people maybe aren’t used to doing zoom calls, right. But everybody quickly, they quickly learned how to do it. They were forced to. So you know, I think that’s a good thing we learned was that just maintaining and if you’re a small business and you don’t have a framework for innovation, probably, maybe don’t call it a framework now, but if you’ve made it through COVID, you probably put together some type of process of how to adapt to the conditions. I would just encourage everyone to expand that and really try to have a framework for innovation within the company of at least getting new ideas to the forefront for a valuation by leadership to analyze like which items you want to tackle, which item should we try to go and progress and make better for the company?
Ashish Nathu: That’s one thing I learned from you for sure is, you know, you can’t solve every problem all at the same time and having a process and a framework to decide, okay, which one, which projects do we get done first? Which ones build on top of the other, right. Using tools like Asana and slack. And those tools really make those decisions easier. And you have a parking lot of innovation ideas that you can then filter through.
Kasey Birdsong: Well, I mean, as like, I mean, as entrepreneurs, you know, we want to conquer the world in like three days, right? I mean, it’s kind of built into us. And so, you know, you have a list of a hundred things. Well, there’s only so much time that, you know, you have in a day that all your teammates have in a day. And so the most important part is figuring out what is really, you know, put first thing first, what’s first.
Ashish Nathu: And innovation. I mean, you definitely have that creative mindset of process improvement. Does that, is that top down? Are you instilling that in people every day? Are you like hammering that in or is there, how do you build a culture for that, Where it’s bottom up?
Kasey Birdsong: You listen, everybody’s got to listen, you know I think some of the best, best ideas today, we tell our guys, Hey, if you’ve got an idea that’s different than the way we’re doing it, we tell new hires this in the interview process. And a lot of times that gets them excited because they’re like, wow, this company, if I do go to work here, they’re going to listen to me. And so, you know, some of our best ideas have come from, you know, people that have been with us less than six months, they start working for us and they’re like, Hey, either they bring an idea they’ve seen before, or it’s a new idea. And when you do that, you also, you of course got to know that. It’s okay to bring new ideas. We’re going to listen to them. We’re going to evaluate them, but we may not do them. And you may not understand why we don’t do them. And we’ll try to share that and be transparent, but we encourage it, like bringing idea is a good thing. And so when people feel like they can do that you’d be surprised of the little, small things that in the busy, you know running your business, that you may not see that someone brings to you, you may not even realize what’s going on. So that, I think that’s a key component of just instilling in the culture that you can bring ideas to your leadership. You also, I mean, it’s encouraged and also in leadership, you’ve got to listen, listen, listen to what someone’s saying and dig in. Why are they bringing that up? Like, what’s the real reason that sparking in them that they think that this could be a good idea for the company.
Ashish Nathu: You know, I remember somebody telling me that the worst thing that can happen in a business is the framework of we’ve always done it this way. And I think a lot of people are fearful of change and innovation. I mean, COVID accelerated all of that. You had no choice, but even during, even after COVID like you had said that there was a period of fear and anxiety and, you know, unsurity and all this dramatic change. And then it’s like, okay, well, what do we do now? Let’s start making changes in the right. Innovation can be destructive. People get concerned, too much change. Doesn’t get adapted properly, maybe even a lack of knowledge or knowledge base within the business. What advice do you have to people that maybe intellectually understand that we should make change and innovation, but are nervous or concerned or don’t have the right team? What would you say to those people? Because it comes really naturally to you, sorry to interrupt, but like, it comes so natural to you that you don’t even think about that, but that’s a big problem.
Kasey Birdsong: Sure, sure. I mean, I think that my personal experience, like even prior to, you know, COVID and innovation is that, you know, you hear it a lot and people say, you know, fail fast or, you know, failure’s a good thing. Or you say Elon Musk, you know, he had a quote recently that says, you know, if you’re not failing, you’re not innovating enough. And I think just for some people, like they hear the word failure and it terrifies them because they see that as a you know, they see that as an end point. And so I think sometimes for like entrepreneurs that have been through the process and understand what that fail fast and failing the word failing really means, it really means findings. Like you’re finding something out, you’re coming to a finding or you’re coming to a result and it’s not a destination. It’s just, it’s more of a finding. So like you’re running, you know, you’re innovating, you’re running a small test. You basically, you have a theory of something that maybe could help make the company better. So you’re trying to get to a result, right. So maybe, maybe for those people that word failure, it gives them a lot of angst, which I know it does me. I don’t like to fail. But it’s more of a, how quickly can we test a theory? How do you do that and make changes and adapt to it? So it’s just a series of little experiments, right? To come up with some finding, maybe not failure, like, you know what I mean, findings. But for people that struggle innovation, I think that you know, the alternative is a lot worse than, you know, if you do nothing, you have to innovate constantly. And I think that this has forced a lot of people to figure out how to innovate. And we’ll see, just like through the financial crisis, I think some of the most innovative and best companies will emerge over the next two to three years that we’ve never heard of.
Ashish Nathu: What are the consequences of not innovating?
Kasey Birdsong: I mean, you’re going to get, you’re going to get beat by your competitors probably. I mean, if you’ve got a competitor, which almost everyone does, many of them if you don’t innovate at some point, the landscape that you’re in, an environment you’re working in is going to change to where your model that has worked or has been working just will not work anymore. It just, we’ve seen it with all types of companies, right? Somebody reminded me of a VCR repair shop the other day. They’re like 15 years ago, this guy had a VCR repair shop and was just raking it in because everybody had VCRs. And just to get a VCR repair, this guy was making, you know, 20 years ago, he was getting, making $75 an hour. Nobody owns a VCR anymore. So what if he still is trying to repair VCRs? He never progressed his business, or just said, no, I’m going to stick it out and keep doing it the way I’ve been doing it and keep fixing VCRs, you know, he wouldn’t be doing very well. So I think that’s kind of a, it’s a loose analogy, but I think that, you have to innovate and adapt. I mean, to me, I see those two words are very similar.
Ashish Nathu: It’s so funny how, you know we talk about this together all the time that you could go from feeling like the world is completely in your favor and thriving, and then literally six seconds later, everything’s falling apart and you are going to die. And then 12 seconds later back to like, oh my God, I think I got the biggest break ever. And we’re just going to conquer the world. Like, why does that happen? What’s going on in our minds that give entrepreneurs that sort of roller coaster ride, which I think a lot of people and the reason why I want to get into that is because I think that if we can understand really what’s going on in the mindset of that we can become better entrepreneurs and people can adapt to change and innovation and things not going your way better. What’s that about?
Kasey Birdsong: Man, I tell you, I thought about this a lot and I don’t have a full answer, but for me, I think part of it is I think as entrepreneurs, we care so much and we’re so invested into every single thing about our business. That just one small thing goes wrong or it could be a larger thing goes wrong. It just crushes [19:20 inaudible] we are so focused on it. We care about it so much that we forget that there’s 99 other things that are great and things to be thankful for. But it’s at the forefront and just, I think training your mind and yourself to be disciplined. And you just know that it’s a journey, like that bad thing or that good thing, right. That good thing, realizing that those two are to be celebrated, but it is a journey in all of them. None of those are a final destination. It’s just, you know what I mean? It’s one stop sign to where we’re going, right.
Ashish Nathu: I want to go down this journey because you started a technology company a handful of years ago, and a company that didn’t really exist in the space. You were sort of blue ocean strategy with this new idea that you had. And I’d love you to tell a little bit about like what the idea was and where it manifested, on the softball fields of the elementary schools. So I’d love you to tell a little bit about that story. But, the reason why I want to go there is because I think that people need to hear, and everyone’s going through their own journey and many listeners have an idea or want to take the leap, but they get concerned about the risk of failing. They get concerned that 9 out of 10 people think that their idea’s bad. They maybe don’t have the skillset or the knowledge base to take their idea and make it grow and make it come to fruition. Maybe they think so far ahead of like, oh my God, this could be a hundred million dollar idea and blah, blah, blah, but don’t know how to take three steps forward. So I know I’ve experienced that. I know you’ve experienced it. Let’s go down that path.
Kasey Birdsong: Yeah. So I mean like most, I guess entrepreneur ventures, it comes out of a need, the idea. So my daughter was on a T-ball team and the coaches were wanting to raise money for the T-ball team. And my wife happened to be the team mom. And what they’d done previously was sell donuts. You know, you go around and you harass all your neighbors and coworkers to buy, to buy these overpriced donuts. It’s for cute kids, you show them pictures. And, you know, people then started getting out their pocketbook. But doing that, parents just don’t enjoy it. And so all the parents in the team really went to my wife and said, can we do something different than a donut fundraiser? Can we try something more innovative? And so she wrote me into helping her think of something. So the first thought was, all right, we’ll go out and talk to local restaurants and retail places to see if they want to buy a sign, we’re going to put it in the outfield and we’re going to charge them, you know, $300 to $400 for that. And that’s what we’ll do. And so I started approaching these merchants and I was blown away by the response of how much they get bombarded and people coming, schools, sports teams, T-ball teams everything you can think of these like local businesses, which are like the pillar of the community, right? I mean, they’re there, the grocery stores and restaurants. People just come and ask them for a lot of stuff for free, a lot of money, and they’re trying to run their business. So, you know, it creates the interruption, but they also know those same people as their customers, but them just giving everybody $500 here and there, like at some point they have to start saying no, or you have to, as a business owner, think about your ROI. So that was really the birth of the [23:10 inaudible], which was planet fundraiser, which was a platform and an app to where people could earn cash back at participating merchants when they went to shop there. So merchants said, you know what? It was really the idea I had was, well, what if people come shop here, would you be willing to give cash back or percentage? And they said for their loyalty, sure. Someone comes here and spends a hundred dollars taking their family out to dinner. Sure, I’ll give 5% back. I’ll give $5 back to their T-ball team. So we created a platform that was able to digitize all of that and allow people to go shop there and instantly be tracked and the money go back to support really what they care about. It didn’t matter. And as a participant, you can care about different things. So that was the idea how we got there was, you know, you come up with some grand idea that, then you really need to validate it. And before we’re going to spend a lot of money. And so what we did was, how can we validate this idea of how can we at least test it to see that…
Ashish Nathu: Step one is coming up with an idea. Step two is validating it.
Kasey Birdsong: Yeah, exactly. So the process that we had was one, go talk to a lot of people, like, you know, having conversations pretty much don’t cost you anything. It’s free. So go talk to family and friends. But then talk to people that you don’t know, talk to strangers about your idea because family and friends, they’ll tell you things are a great idea a lot of times cause they love you. The stranger almost, you know, strangers, they’ll give you pretty honest feedback. The key person to go talk to is the person that you’re going to ask money from. So go talk to who your end customer would be if you created this new world or whatever you created. So we went and started talking to a lot of business owners and restaurants and retail locations and saying, if we built this, would this be a better solution? For what you’re experiencing right now? And we get pretty overwhelming yes. That they saw it as a solution. And so yeah, step two would be validating it and that’s what we did.
Ashish Nathu: And then building an MVP to make sure that it actually worked and people would pay.
Kasey Birdsong: That’s like, so this is, I mean, the innovation part of it is, okay, How can we somehow, you know, use duct tape and bubblegum to put together a test? Like how can we do it without like going in, you know, getting a second mortgage on our house to test this thing. And we decided, well, we could print off some business cards and find a school to pass these out and promote. And we found a local school said, Hey, they’re having a football pep rally. If we can get a couple of restaurants that’ll give 10% back for people coming to shop there. You know, we’ll do all the work, we’ll set it up, but then can you guys pass these cards out to students and parents let them know that they go shop at this place after this week’s pep rally, they’ll earn 10% back for the football team. And they did that. And we had a great turnout and that was the very first test of like, well, we may be on to something here, the response.
Ashish Nathu: I mean the business ideas is so cool. Just to make everyone really clear how much technology experience did you have up to that point? When mean to technology, I mean like really a tech startup B type of not like, oh, I know how to use outlook.
Kasey Birdsong: Right. I mean, I helped my wife build a website for a little retail business she had, clothing retail, but beside that, that was it.
Ashish Nathu: That was it. So zero innovation, coding, tech startup experience. And within a relatively short amount of time, couple of years, it’d be two years. How many users within your geography?
Kasey Birdsong: We had over 60,000 users over a thousand active groups, which were anything from local bands, churches you know, local organizations, American cancer society, or you know, some of those larger type organizations all the way down to the T-ball teams and different sports teams at schools.
Ashish Nathu: What was one of the most important things you learned in that process, as you were trying to figure out your formula, is that in the earliest stages, there’s so much change. There’s so many things that are like working, not working, you’re spending money, you’re burning cash. Like what did you learn that other people could prevent from experiencing the same thing?
Kasey Birdsong: Don’t assume you know anything.
Ashish Nathu: That’s so good.
Kasey Birdsong: Don’t assume that you have the answers to anything, like, cause we’re all preconditioned differently, right. We all grew up in different situation. We’re all biased. And so, I mean, ultimately the market wins and the markets right. So like, and I say market like your customer base, like what’s going to fuel your business. And the most important thing I think is understanding in the early days, cause your customer base is going to change as you grow. But who’s your target customer at that early stage? Talk to them, know them, you know, try to be, I mean, you have to understand that customer and any assumptions you make, if they’re wrong, they’re just too costly. You’ve got to really, really understand your customer. What they’re looking for.
Ashish Nathu: I mean, to go full circle, you know, one of the things you learned in COVID was to listen to your employees, right. And so not assuming we know anything and really listening to our team, listening to our customer, adapting to what’s going on based on what we hear rather than what we think there’s a real good lesson there.
Kasey Birdsong: Yeah. 100%. Because things that may not concern us, it could be very concerning.
Ashish Nathu: Now I’ve known Kasey for a long time and yes, you are a serial entrepreneur, but you have a really amazing strong why and why you do what you do. Can you share with people why you spend 68 hours a week working your ass off, working your butt off so hard, for what result?
Kasey Birdsong: I mean, this may sound like a pie in the sky thing, but I think that like to me, I put it as a duty, just like overarching why is just the leave the world, leave a mark on the world that results in it being better than I found it. Like, that’s kind of the big why, like if I can do it, that could be building a business that provides for people’s family or making the lasting impact or that creates some ripple that makes this place better than it was yesterday. And I’m happy, I’m doing what I like to do.
Ashish Nathu: And I asked this question to everybody that’s on the podcast is what is the rich equation for you? What does it mean to be rich Kasey to you?
Kasey Birdsong: I think having, I think it’s kind of multi-layered, but I think the first layers that the yourself and your family and your friends are living healthy. They don’t have any needs that aren’t getting fulfilled. Not wants, needs. That aren’t, you know, things that are, you know, that you need to have that are essential for having a healthy and happy lifestyle. I think that’s the first layer. I mean, if those are fulfilled then I think it expands out and Rich’s being able to wake up every morning and go to sleep every night, just being happy and very satisfied with what you have and thankful, understanding what a blessing it is for things that get overlooked. And so it’s, I think it’s having yourself and the ones you care most about that they’re in some place that they feel that content, I think that’s being pretty rich if you can provide that and you can create an environment where you feel like everyone’s living that way.
Ashish Nathu: Being a serial entrepreneur, there’s a trap. People think that you’re always trying to build the best, biggest business, make a ton of money. And all you said was be happy with the people that you’re around. You spent so many hours working all the time, that’s in conflict, what’s going on.
Kasey Birdsong: Well, I mean, I do work those 70 hour weeks, but I also I do a lot of two and three days off with the family. So I think it’s counter balancing. When you’re at work, you work, you focus on the work, you’re productive. You get it done. And when we are a family and friends, you’re with family and friends. So when your work, you work, when you’re with family and friends, you turn to work off and you had to counterbalance, you have seasons where, Hey, you know, I told my wife before the next two months, I’m going to be, you’re not going to see me a lot, unfortunately. But when we do see each other, we’re going to make the best out of it. And then when those seasons are over, then it’s, Hey, let’s go on a week and a half or a week vacation together. And guess what? We’re not going to be, we’re going to turn it off, you know. And so that’s kind of the counterbalance and that’s the only way that I’ve been able to balance, cause you’re right. And it makes you appreciate it a lot more too.
Ashish Nathu: And things do come in seasons, I’ve been using that way more frequently than I’ve ever done before. Like, what is the season I’m in? Is this a work season? Is this a personal time season? Is this a self-care season? And that’s real, there are ebbs and flows of time that you need to focus on certain things and routines need to change and adjust. And what have you.
Kasey Birdsong: Yeah. I mean, for me, communicating is Key. I mean, sometimes there’s seasons that are unexpected, right. That something happens catastrophic. And then you have to go to the family and say, Hey, I’ve got to work late every night, this week. I apologize. Next week, once I get this behind me, you know, I’m going to be home flipping burgers and cooking for everyone. But you know, and fortunately I think if you communicate that you’ll get the grace hopefully everyone does that my family gives me sometimes, but yeah, it’s a season. And I think key is making it not where the season is permanent when you can counterbalance and spend time and take a little time off to recharge your batteries. Everybody needs that, do that as well. You know, take your foot off the gas every once in a while.
Ashish Nathu: Yeah. You’re such a wise guy and so many people connect to you so naturally. What it is it about your character that makes you so warm and people gravitate towards your brother? Like a super connector.
Kasey Birdsong: Very kind words. You know, I don’t know. I will say, you know…
Ashish Nathu: I wish I had 10% of what you have there in that regard.
Kasey Birdsong: I think I don’t know. I guess being yourself, that’s what people told me, you know, like I don’t ever really change pretty much the same, pretty comfortable in my own skin. You know, so I don’t know if that answers your question, but I’ve had, you know, you’re being very calm with your words, but I’ve had many people just say, Hey, you’re always the same. And being consistent.
Ashish Nathu: What is one of the most challenging things you’re going through right now? What keeps you up at night? What is one thing that is really toiling at you either personally or professionally?
Kasey Birdsong: Professionally right now we’re in a season of growth, is hiring and having the best people on the team. And I think, you know, as our businesses is growing we’re fortunate to already have a nice backlog when COVID came. And so this year we’re on track. We grew by over 60% in 2020, and this year we’re on track to double in size. So we’re hiring just this morning, we hired two new people starting today in our office prior to this call. And I think for me is, do I have, you can have the right people in the wrong seat. And the key I think is having the right people in the right seats. Are we hiring the right people. And are we putting them in the right seat? I think that’s professionally where I’m spending a lot of my time and energy right now.
Ashish Nathu: That’s so good. I think I’m good. Do you have anything else you want to share with people?
Kasey Birdsong: You know, the only thing I would say is don’t be afraid of innovation. And if the word failure is one of those words that makes you cringe, when you hear about, Hey, innovate, you got to fail. Think about it as a finding, think about it as you’re just getting to a result, that’s going to let you to figure out what’s good. You got to know what’s bad. And so look at it as you’re finding out the stuff that you don’t need to be doing. And sometimes that’s as important as finding out the good stuff, knowing what you should not be doing, what’s not working and something that you shouldn’t be focusing on.
Ashish Nathu: Well, Kasey Birdsong, thank you so much. What I got out of today was that you really got to learn how to listen, and you have to assume that you don’t know everything and listen to your customers, listen to your teams, listen to your employees, and have the right people in the right seat. So good. We’ll put all your social links and how to find you within the podcast links. I appreciate you brother. Thanks so much for your time.
Kasey Birdsong: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me and any listeners out there. I’m an open book. Feel free to reach out.
Thank you for listening to the Rich Equation podcast with Ashish Nathu. Do you want more ideas on how to live rich? Go to www.richequationpodcast.com for show notes and resources. Then take one minute to leave Ashish, a five-star review on apple podcasts, and we’ll see you on the next episode.