THE ANTHROS - GARYVEE STORY
Like many startup companies, we conducted an initial capital raise to get the company off the ground. In our very first business plan that was presented to investors, we presented one of our primary sales and marketing strategies: partnering with influencers and creators whose audiences would resonate with our message. Since Anthros prides itself on being the ultimate solution for the high performer, our dream influencer/brand partner was none other than GaryVee.
We believed that at some point, impactful people, such as GaryVee would have interest in Anthros and would be willing to work with us in some capacity. The following sequence happening as quickly as it did was very welcome, yet completely unexpected.
Actual slide from Anthros business plan created in 2020
THE ANTHROS-GARYVEE RELATIONSHIP
HOW DID IT BEGIN?
During an Anthros sneak peek event, in Las Vegas, one of our prospective esports athletes asked if he could bring his manager. We gladly obliged, and that manager ended up being Darren Glover, the VP of Gaming from Vayner Sports. They both tried our chair and instantly fell in love with it. Darren immediately said, you need to get in touch with VeeFriends, and “Anthros should be a Gift Goat gift”. To which we replied, sounds great, but "what exactly is VeeFriends and what is a Gift Goat"
VeeFriends is Gary's NFT project around meaningful intellectual property and an extraordinary community. These aren’t just simple NFT’s, they come with extra value like watching a game court side with Gary, an hour-long consultation session with business experts, OR a gift from an organization Gary truly believes in.
We very quickly learned that the GaryVee ecosystem is comprised of 12 companies, 1400 employees, and a total social media reach of over 44 million people. Wow!
Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and serves as the Chairman of VaynerX, the CEO of VaynerMedia, and the Creator & CEO of VeeFriends.
Transcript of Video:
What is VeeFriends?
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What is the Gift Goat token and why is it so coveted?
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Why did you believe Anthros was worthy of being a GG. Gift?
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Why did Gary invite Anthros on his podcast
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THE GENEROSITY OF GARYVEE
During one of our first calls with the Veefriends crew, I mentioned that Gary (and his audience) might have some interest in our entrepreneurial story. Yes, we have a great product, but Anthros could have never been without all of the personal turmoil and triumphs that were required to happen before this moment was possible. They must have agreed that our story was interesting, because in the very next meeting the VeeFriends team let us know that Gary would like to not only have us on his podcast, but also spend 1hr of consulting time with us for free (250k value).
Click on the images in the timeline below to follow our journey to meeting Gary:
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
We had always dreamed of having a marketing partner in New York City. Some of the best ad agency's, Marketing companies, and the worlds biggest brands are located in NYC. To be able to start our journey with GaryVee within this mecca of Marketing was a dream come true.
As you can imagine, prepping for Gary's podcast comes with some nerves. We made sure to arrive in NYC a couple days early so we could practice our sound bites and be as prepared as possible. We wanted to tell our story but also make sure that the listeners were able to get maximum value out of our message. Gary isn't a "stick to a script" type of interviewer, but our prep time allowed us to some time to be together and prepare to the best of our ability.
Gary's office is located in one of the most beautiful parts of NYC located overlooking the Hudson river. We were welcomed and greeted with open arms from his team members. As we were introduced around the office, we were able to observe Gary's team prepping for numerous super bowl ads from some of their biggest clients. Google "Vayner media super bowl ads" to see thier incredible final product!
What can we say about the guys at one37pm.com, they were a hoot! We were fortunate enough to be interviewed and featured by them as a supplement to the Podcast and VeeFriends launch. We had an hour of great conversation about the topic of sitting and why it's a misunderstood part of health in today's world!
5 LESSONS I LEARNED IN ONE HOUR WITH GARYVEE
CMO OF ANTHROS
As one of the founders and the CMO of Anthros (a science-backed startup office chair company), I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend one hour of consulting time and then sit down as a podcast guest with one of my biggest mentors, Gary Vaynerchuk. As an entrepreneur and Marketing nerd, learning from and having my ideas validated by one of the best minds in the world was a dream come true. Here are some of the highlights from my hour with Gary. Click buttons to the left to view.
YOU AREN’T SELLING A PRODUCT;
YOU ARE SELLING AN OUTCOME
I will never forget how Gary described our company with one simple statement: “You are not an office chair company. You are a health and wellness company.” This wasn’t a moment of identity crisis but a precise distillation of everything we are. After understanding the science and data- driven approach used to design our product, Gary could clearly see the product itself as a vehicle to improve health. We have already positioned ourselves as a company that offers education and products to improve posture, reduce pain, and maximize productivity, but Gary took it to the next level. He very simply articulated that the outcome being delivered to our customer is what matters more than the features and benefits of the product we sell. As a Marketer, this perspective shift inspires an entirely different way of interacting with potential customers.
GIVE, GIVE, GIVE, ASK
“How can you add massive value and GIVE more than anyone else in your space?” Gary asked. Most companies are self-focused and looking to monetize everything they offer. Gary flips the script and preaches that by giving first (with no expectation of return), you create trust and loyalty within your customer base. I draw a parallel between deciding what type of friends you want. Would you rather be around someone who asks questions and genuinely cares about you, or someone who only talks about themselves? The answer is pretty easy. Be the type of company you would want to do business with.
THE REST WILL FOLLOW
A direct quote from a member of Gary’s team was, “Gary’s number one requirement of his employees is that they possess kindness as a primary character trait.” I can vouch that this isn’t simply a desire, but a reality Gary has created within the Vayner culture. I had the privilege of meeting members of five different Vayner companies (Vayner x, Vayner Sports, VeeFriends, One37pm, and Sasha Group), and the one constant was pure kindness and genuine care for supporting us in our startup journey. We were met in the lobby by one of Gary’s team members who we had only known through email and online meetings. Instead of the standard handshake, nice-to-meet-you greeting, he gave all five of us hugs to genuinely welcome us to the Vayner family. If you can emulate this culture of kindness, I know from my personal experience with Gary’s team, you will develop loyal customers who eagerly share their experience with friends and family. Thanks Sinan, Jon, Nik, Andy, Adam, Charlie, Darren, Kevin, Gary, and the rest of the team that welcomed us!
THE “AT BATS” ARE THE ENTRY
TO DOING BUSINESS
What did he mean by this? Creating content around your message on a consistent basis is the necessary prerequisite for becoming established as a trusted brand. If you are to be trusted as an expert in your field, you must have the content to validate your expertise. Additionally, if you are a give-first business, one of the ways in which you give is through “entertainment education” (another Gary-ism). If you can educate and entertain on a consistent cadence, you are adding incredible value while building trust (Branding) with your customer base.
BACK PAIN, POSTURE, AND SITTING
POORLY ARE BIG PROBLEMS
Gary has been very vocal about his personal battle with back pain, and during our time with him, he stated that he believed sitting to be a major culprit of his pain. As Gary put it, “this is a REALLY, REALLY big deal”. Research shows that up to 80% of the population will have back pain at some point in their life, and sitting/poor posture is one of the primary causes. When he asked us “Which company is doing it best?” (conveying our particular health and wellness outcome), I couldn’t answer the question because I haven’t seen a company doing it in the way he was describing. If no one is doing it, and we know the magnitude of the problem, then I can only conclude that the world is ready for a new solution.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST NOW
Transcript of Podcast:
I think this is the story that I, I know you wanted to share. Let's talk about that. Be clear. He does not want to share this story, but I thought your audience would love it. I love you for that. I think they'll, uh, I love you for that. Add some value. Thank you for doing that. You know the losses Yeah. The, the failed successes seem to be the, the hot story. Tell us.
This is the Gary V Audio. Experience Vayner Nation, how are you? We are really excited about this episode of the podcast because we're gonna talk about entrepreneurship. We're gonna talk about the entrepreneurial journey that I know a lot of you are on the highs, the lows, but we're gonna talk about one of my favorite subject matters.
So before I go introduce these two great guests and what they're up to, I have to give a huge shout out to Jordan. Who was my trainer for three years, uh, Mike Viti introduced me to him. Mike Viti is now back and my trainer, they put out a book recently. By the way, I should have given that a little more love.
Uh, they have some funny stories about me, including one time when I ate an obnoxious amount of baked beans at city Field, um, and was not happy with my weight, but, , you know, uh, as I got to know these gentlemen and we're, we're, we're pondering some fun stuff together. Uh, I'm very passionate about what they're doing for a living, uh, because I grew up with a quote unquote bad back my whole life.
I was a senior in high school, um, 17 years old. and just in the middle of the night woke up and it was the scariest thing that ever happened. My back, like my back, quote unquote, went out. I had no idea what was going on. I was in the most pain that I'd ever been in my life, and I couldn't walk and I crawled, scraped my way to my parents' room, had no idea what was going on.
My family's very old school, Eastern European, Russian, so it was basically like, just take this Tylenol, go to sleep. There was no like, I mean, the amount of compassion kids get now compared to what I got is like, like, I mean like people get a splinter and get 10 times more than I got. I couldn't, I just wanna remind everybody I could not walk.
It's three 30 in the morning. It's real. My mom's like, here's some, here's some Tylenol. Go to sleep. Here's the funny part, I didn't go to school that day. That, that they had compassion for. I wake up and I'm perfect. I wake up at like 10 30, which is cool cause I couldn't sleep for a couple hours. I wake up, I'm perfect, perfect as if it didn't happen.
I have no idea what happened. My mom then says she has to run an errand and I go with her. We go to the Phillips Brook Mall in New Jersey and the huge sign at the Phillipsburg Mall says, Baseball card show today. My mom looks at me and thought I made it up to trick her so I could go to the baseball. But that day became the journey of what became a 20 year journey before Jordan Sy came into my life and taught me about my ql, taught me about the stretches, taught me about soft tissue, did the work.
And for years and years and years I've done the work and my back is in, by far the best shape it's ever been in, ironically, I've started playing basketball again. We played a lot of basketball over a two day period, and I. Tweaked it for the first time ever. And like by the way, this morning instead of the chest workout, I had Mike Viti and I did 45 minutes of soft tissue rolling against it.
So this is very intriguing timing because what I also learned, and I know I'm doing a huge intro, but I really want to go there because I think a ton of you are gonna want to know about and talk about what we're talking about here. When Covid came. I wasn't doing as much as my regular stretching, just, it was this, I was in my house.
The, the non gym setting didn't have me do my warmup as much. I was kind of doing the boflex thing and just like all weights, I was focused on it. And I really felt the effects after 18, 24 months. And when I was talking to Mike and even occasionally Jordan, um, it was funny. I thought it was the lack of stretching and then the conversation that we're about to get to really started to hit my radar.
When Mike said it's the. and that really, really triggered me because where I got caught was I wasn't sitting a lot when I was 17, 16. Mm-hmm. . And so I never associated my injury with sitting. What I, in hindsight do understand was starting at 22, because I was building a.com, I sat an enormous amount and I reinforced my issues in all those years of sitting.
Um, I'm setting that up and now I'm gonna introduce these two wonderful gentlemen and it will all make sense of why I've told these stories and what we're talking about here today. So men, thank you for being on the show. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us. Why don't you tell the Vayner Nation individually, who you are and what you do.
Yeah, my name's Eric Murphy. I'm one of the co-founders and CMO of Anthros. And I'm Steve Dain. I'm one of the co-founders and the inventor and CEO O of Anthros. Wonderful. So now to connect the whole thing, why don't both of you, whoever wants to take the mic, tell the story of what is Anthros. Go for it.
Murph. Yeah. I would say just set a very high level. We are the company that's set out to create the most comfortable, supportive office share of the world has ever seen to help people with pain and maximize performance. So at a, at a very high level, that's the, that's the outcome we're trying to produce.
And why do we have the authority to make those wild claims? We worked with the disabled population and worked with people in wheelchairs for the. 20, actually 70 plus years as a collective, as a, as a team, as a collective team. So the amount of research, data science that had to go into the products that we were making for the disabled population, which are the most intense sitters on the face of the planet, as you can imagine.
Mm-hmm. , it wasn't just about comfort or discomfort, it was about, in some cases, life or death. Right? If you have the wrong equipment, of course, and you're sitting in your chair all day long, every day, that's a huge deal. So, For us, what we have is just a different way of seeing sitting and we may not be experts on a lot of things, but we can sit here today and say that we know sitting better than 99.9% of the population.
Yeah. So for, you know, that was an eye-opener for me. Of course, I had friends who started standing desk startups, so I had a lot of thesis of it. But I think for anybody listening. No question. The last 10 years you started hearing like sitting is the new smoking. Yeah. Was a, you know, a thing I've heard in Yeah.
Different business settings. There's been a bigger conversation to health and wellness over the last 30 years across the board. Mental health, physical health, like, I, I don't even recognize popular culture. It's a, it's wonderful. Like just the way people, what people are putting in their bodies, how we're thinking about it, and it makes sense, like mm-hmm.
you know, I never thought that this would be the way I would look at 47 when I was 15. Cuz 47 year olds just didn't take care of themselves the way we all do. And I'm not even like really, I'm like solid, but like there's people really looking crazy at 50 and 60 and 70 and so this is just great. This is why we're living longer.
It all makes sense. But what. , what are the things that were mis Let's start with sitting for a second. Sure. Cause I'm fascinated by it. What, what, what are the misconceptions? What are the realities? What can you share with the audience about sitting. . Yeah. You know, like anecdotally, for instance, the big one sitting is the new smoking.
Yeah. Man, that one, that one really chaps us going. It's not that bad actually. And if you look at the evidence, um, standing is the new smoking not sitting, tell me. standing is more detrimental for your spine and your body than sitting because that motherfucker gravity. You dissect the human body and you dig in and you, you turn.
So this is interesting to me. Are you saying, so are you saying hence why you're doing this startup? Are you saying. Your chair, based on what you're about to tell me next is better for you than a standing desk. Yeah. Why? When you stand. Sure. Yeah. You'd think that's hot. I'm standing now. I standing's important.
Right? It is. Both are very important. Of course. And it's one's not better than the other. Like everything in life. Right now we would like to start with the asterisks one. Is alcohol better than the other? You misplay It is bad. Yeah. Alcohol not misplayed is solid. Go ahead. Both played equal enough. Equally as important with fair asterisks.
Fair enough. When you stand, yes. You turn on every muscle in your body to stand up. Especially if you're gonna stand properly. Yes. Lot of muscle chains on. Yes. And you can only exert that much energy. So long before you lean on the desk makes all the sense, two arms on the desk and then you slide the laptop forwards even more and you lean even farther.
And now you're sitting with a really in a bad back position. And then you're crossing a leg and you're leaning this way and that way and you're really not doing what you really set out to do it. This standing desk, you know? You know what's so funny, brother? You know what just happened in my head when you were saying that, huh?
So cliche to things I believe about human behavior, the individual. That are most excited about getting a standing desk oftentimes are looking for the hack that works for them, which also then means that they aren't as interested in putting in the work to build up all the muscle that they would need to actually get the advantage of a standing desk cuz the amount of muscle.
That one has to create Oh yeah. Yeah. To actually take advantage of like not being fatigued over a period of time. Yeah. And standing some serious foundation. It's like, fucking dude, I know there's some good shit under that shirt. I can tell , I can tell I see it from a mile away. I know. It's good. It's like you gotta be like that to actually like do something, right?
Yeah. Yeah. Cause if you're standing incorrectly and you're doing that eight hours a day, all of a sudden that you're just adding strength to dysfunction. Right. So then the hypothesis becomes cool. Yep. Since we're gonna sit anyway, since like, . That's interesting. Okay, keep going. But the, I would say the second part of that is performance.
So, okay, we look into the research, we look at in the data, and when you are standing, you conscious or not, you are hijacking some of your ability to focus on what yes, what you're, what you're working on. So fi, when you're sitting in a chair that supports your body, you can shut off your muscles, you can relax.
Then 100% of your attention is going to what you're focusing on. So I think it's from both a pain. You know, injury perspective, but also just a performance perspective per, it's an interesting question. I'm curious what you're gonna say from a standpoint of like, it's leg day, it's ab day, it's like, right, like that whole thing.
Is there a regimen for certain people that would be nice for them to do a mix? , like, is it good to sit in this chair five days a week, but two days a week? Do the standing desk like, I think it's, it's, it's a shorter timeframe than that. It's like, why don't you sit an hour and stand an hour, sit an hour, stand an hour, sit an hour stand.
20 minutes. Or maybe not an hour of standing. Maybe, maybe even shorter window of standing because you fatigue faster. That's, yeah. Uhhuh. . So sit an hour, stand 10 minutes, move around, then sit down again and sit. Well, yeah, don't slouch. If your body allows you to stand eight hours a day in the perfect position, and you can do that without creating any kind of dysfunction in your body, then great.
You know what's so funny? I just thought of something. I actually pitched Mike on a startup that plays in this slouching thing. So I had, something happened a different time and Mike got me this thing, right, that I put over myself. Mm-hmm. , what is that thing? Like a posture reminder. Yeah. Thank you. Yep. And like, you know, it really like whatever, and I don't remember, it might have been my back thing.
I just remembered telling him like, yo, we need to create a product where like, I was like, my bigger problem is when I'm sleeping. When I'm sleeping, I go fully primal into baby mode. I'm like, like, I'm so fucked up. I'm like, I'm like baby Yoda. Like I'm, I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm doing something.
I'm with you there. I'm so bad. Dislocated shoulder. And I was like, bro, I have to like, and actually the shoulder thing now. Yeah, I'm, I used to sleep through the, All the time lately, this is very recent, last six months, I'm waking up once or twice a night because my shoulders, and I don't know, like, like I'm actually doing all the right things more.
I don't know what I did that made this thing happen, but I was like, Mike, we need to, I need this thing. I wanna sleep with it. It's funny you should mention sleep with sitting right now cuz those two are best friends and most people just don't realize it. Notice what I did. No, you took a great segue Gary.
Thank you brother. So wait, so after you guys are done with this startup, can you create like a sleeping chamber ? That makes me like be like a vampire and just like be pot, like honestly , the thing that's cool about the sleep one is like I just would love to be straight as an arrow for seven hours. Cause I'm sleeping anyway.
It feels like I'm not doing the work, which is fun. That's the problem. The problem with the. F, health, fitness, posture, you know, all of it. Mental health people really struggle doing the work. Mm-hmm. , that doesn't come natural to them. I have unlimited fitness buddies who all look like you two, who like just don't want to actually work eight hours a day on their business.
And I laugh cuz I'm like, . They're like asking me every shortcut the same way. I'm asking them like, Hey, can I get like the apple cider vinegar bullshit? Or can I get like AB implants or can I, like, what's this new thing that every fucking person's now taking so they don't fucking eat the diet? Like the fucking, like, people are just always looking for the The shortcut.
The shortcut, which is why this intrigued me and why I wanna do this show, which is like, there's not a lot of things that are easy actually. To make your life better. It's why medicine's so like loved and revered, like you take it and things can get better. This kind of felt very practical to me. I'm like, wow.
Especially when Mike put the propaganda of like, and not the propaganda, like start, I use that as a slang term. So I wanna be clear here. , when Mike educated me of like the sitting thing is a thing and it makes sense cuz my, this like, whatever, what's this? Like, what's that? Yeah. But like. Yes. The so ass, that motherfucker.
Oh yeah, that's a tiny one. The amount of work I have, like that shit is so tight. Yeah. And that's all from this horse shit. Mm-hmm. like, like anyway, nonetheless you can do yoga and Pilates and put in the fucking work, which everyone should. But what really fucked me up was I did put in the work for three years and fixed so much, and then one 18 month window of a global pandemic where I changed my behavior.
Mm. really affect. I, it really was. I'll be very frank with you. Disheartening cuz it's cliche. I lost 20 pounds over a year and a half. Yeah. And I put in all the work and fuck. Nine months later it's all backed be because you changed your behavior back to the bad behavior. That's probably the thing that I most want to talk to you about, which is like, cuz I think it's a, by the way, for everyone who's listening, this is a very selfish episode for me because I hope this springs an idea for you, that's your version of this startup for.
Meaning, I think there's, there's still a lot of inventions to be made that will. Put training wheels to people on things that are hard. Let me give you like another comp that nobody talks about. The reason I thought musically was gonna be big, which ended up becoming TikTok and I get all that credit, is because I understood that it was helping people make content easier.
Mm-hmm. , that if you look at what happened with social media over the last decade, the tools now between green screen this and filter that and music this, and split screens that. It's become a product. infrastructure. It's a Adobe suite that helps people that couldn't do what I did, which was like you just had to go and talk and that had to carry the day.
So I love this concept of training wheels, things that make things easier. This chair really helps everyone, but someone like me who's really emotional about his back pain over the last 20 years, yeah. Really an interesting product and I'm sure a lot of other people out there A, are going through this.
But then B, to be honest, cause I know my audience here, I'm hoping this episode inspires them to do their startup that helps people do something they don't wanna do. Speaking of inspiring, tell us about the adversity story. Oh, I'd love to, but I, I'd like to touch quick on something that you said, please.
The posture trainers. and And sleeping and tie it into the mattress and posture training. Yes, and that's exactly what a chair that fits you right can do this, can help you sit up better. Actually, let's talk about the chair. We're kind of like yapping. Like I have this whole my own agenda right now, which is I'm hoping somebody invents something so profound and they say, my podcast, didn't.
I get all the credit . Then there's also, I really want you to talk a little bit cause I know a little bit about backstory cuz I think a lot of people go through adversity before they get to their place, but. T one more time. the.com of the chair, and more importantly, like what does it actually do? It's anthros Yep.
Dot com. Yep. And it's just to play on the Greek root word of human anthro. And that was our principle for designing the chair. It wasn't to design the chair for an office worker or a gamer or a. Or a blogger, it was to design a chair for a human being. And we all have the same needs. We don't have green blood and purple blood.
We all need the same kind of input, the same kind of love. And a chair can hurt you or it can help you. A chair can, a chair can feel comfortable. You can fall asleep in it, or it can be like a park bench and be painful where you can't wait to get off of the dang thing. And that's what we tried to invent is a chair that can help change your posture over time.
You're feeling that when you make those little adjustments to the two backs Yeah. You were changing your posture. Yeah. And use it as a tool instead of the strap that your, your trainer had you put on. Yeah. You're using your chair to get your, your, which is so much more scalable. Yeah. You, nobody wants to wear a weird strap at night.
Yeah. But people sit in chairs. Yeah. Yeah. So change your posture over time. And, uh, actually we, we worked pretty hard to get the chair registered with the FDA as a sitting orthotic. It is, it is. It is qualified. Change your posture over time in one of the big claims that we make going try the chair. Feel the truth.
This is the softest cushion you ever gonna sit on. So what's that? Is this the human, this is back to like muscle gain and all the stuff I learned like the, the way your body mind thing works. You're saying micro deposits on a daily basis, that over time actually change the way you're like walking and sitting and standing in the bed.
Yeah, that's, yeah. Definition of an orthotic is changing posture over time. Yeah. Which is what this, this chair allows you to. On top of that, we guarantee, because we have testing, university testing, we, we took all of the leading office chairs that we could find, threw 'em into a, a seating engineering lab and said, can you guys test these and see which ones perform at the highest level in terms of measures of comfort?
And you can guess who, who won that, who won that test? A bunch of the bunch of wheelchairs, sitting nerds. Of course, , . tell us something. You know, I, I think this is the story that I, I know you wanted to share. Let's talk about that. Sure. Be clear. He does not want to share this story, but I thought your audience would love it, and I love you for that.
I think they'll, uh, I love you for that. Add some value. Thank you for doing that. You know the losses Yeah. The, the failed successes seem to be the, the hot story. . Tell us, uh, I'm 47. I just turned 47. Yeah. And. , this is literally the anniversary. 20 years ago, I was 27 years old and I started a business, uh, bringing a power wheelchair to market with a really unique feature on it that kind of, uh, raised the seat up 22 inches.
Hmm. Sounds kind of weird, like a, an accordion thing, but if you're sitting all day long, you can't reach in your upper cabinets. You can't see somebody eye to eye and on and on and on and on, right? So raising them up. Function in a walking world is a no-brainer. So, brought this thing to market, was doing really good.
Raised, uh, was what, 27? 28 raised, uh, I don't know, almost 2 million. Had seven, uh, partners and, uh, launched. It was, uh, traveling all over the US showing the chair off to all the VA hospitals. Things were going great. And I came across, uh, an investor, uh, uh, uh, kind of on a, on a. , uh, a new angel investor. And, uh, I was reading Ink Magazine 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year, and it was a local Wisconsin guy that had done really good for himself.
And in there he talked about, man, when I was, uh, if I could go back in time, I'd, I, I'd work with the banks differently. I, I'd changed my whole relationship and I was like, I wonder what he means by that cuz I'm in Right. The startup mode, right? What, what should I know? So the old fashioned. I wrote a letter with a pen.
Yeah. And licked an envelope and put a sticker on it. And, uh, lo and behold, he reached out and invited me down to meet him. Shocked that he responded, right? That guy's a billionaire. I didn't think he'd give me the time of day, but he's the kindest guy I've met in the business world. So, rode down there, met the guy, shook his hand, told him my story, and in one, , uh, that was it.
I wanted him to be a part of this business and he wanted to be in and buy everybody out. And what can I do for you? What do you need right now to, to keep winning? I said, I need like 25 grand, you know, my monthly burn rate's hot right now. And he's like, okay, stop by the front desk for, uh, for a check for $25,000 and we'll talk in a couple weeks.
It's like, What did you just say? You, you don't even have my home address. You. I don't even know if you have the spelling of my last name. You wanna give me a check for $25,000 on a handshake? Man, I love you, . Of course, you are like the very godfather, right? So, uh, this relationship went on, on a number of months of doing exactly what he said and, uh, um, the story goes that literally, uh, you learn.
No deals done until it's done. Hmm. Right. That simple little adage. Yep. Uh, literally a handful of days before the contract was signed by both of us, he was buying, uh, all my partners out and gonna move down by him and. You know, right off into the sunset. Yeah. With this power wheelchair. And we're gonna change lives with a billionaire backer.
I mean, how much more can you ask for in your early twenties? Yeah. Yeah. Early twenties. It wasn't 2017. It was 2000. Yeah. I was 27. Seven. 7 27. I was listening carefully. That's that threw me off for a half second. I thought that's what it was. I just wanna clarify it for audience. So here you are. . I mean, here's someone who gave you 25 k kind of blindly.
Like it's, it's everything's checking the boxes. Yeah. Coming true known. You're literally within the week of him buying out the rest of investors at the same valuation or an inflated valuation, uh, it was gonna be inflated. They're, they're gonna be good exactly's. Right. Right. Um, and, and, uh, got a phone call saying that he had a.
death out of the blue. Right. You know? Oh, so you know, this was setting up as like, it was funny the way you were selling the story, like the, I thought you were building up the drama of like, this was the nicest guy, but it wasn't the nicest guy. Oh no. He's the nicest guy. Oh fuck. In business, that's that I ever met, like, you wanna talk about the definition of philanthropy?
That is this guy I almost jumped in and said, right. You know, if it's too good to be true, it is. That's why you didn't say, . Holy shit. Yes sir. You're a week away from this thing and this gentleman passes away tragically. Yeah. And we, we mentioned it was oh seven, right? So I'm going into oh eight, January of oh eight.
Right. The whole world changed. The whole world did change and just like, maybe it's happening now. And that burn rate was still there. Right. And he owned like 30 other companies and you know, wow. It's just fate, you know? You can't change fate. It was, it was meant to be. Exactly. So hard to swallow at 20, hard to swallow.
Yeah. Especially when you felt like you were at the top of the world. , you know, a day before, and now it's gone. This goes very into my thesis of like gratitude for like, you just don't know, like seemingly, like every, you know? Yeah. You don't know's. All gone, how long did it take? You know? This is very thank you by the way Yeah.
For making him share this Real talk. Real talk. Because the answer might not be even now. Like how long did it take you to comprehend? That to get to a place where you could say it was just meant to be versus like, how did this happen to me? What are the odds? All that stuff. Oh, that's, can you, sorry to interrupt.
Can you slip in the quick little story of the. The moment where you kind of had the, this is, this is the worst about, can you tell the worst moment of the story, Steve? It's, it's kind of the bottom moment where you're looking at like, how old was the gentleman, this gentleman, when he passed maybe 60. It's terrible.
Okay, go ahead. Okay. So, um, um, this moment happens, right? And uh, it only takes a handful of months to go by before, uh, they, they, 6, 7, 8 months go by and they're like, Sorry, we're liquidating all of his companies unless it dealt with the main company and yours doesn't qualify as one of those. So now I've been, I don't wanna say strung out, but the burn rate was going, the deals was done, but it's not done now.
And now I'm in like June, July of oh eight looking for money. Okay. And my existing partners were mortgage bankers, uh, uh, builders, all in the wrong trades, basically to keep funding this company. So I was done. I was just, my goose is cooked so, , I was the managing director of the L L C, and as you know, all bankruptcies slide through that individual.
So I took the loss as did my wife at the time of the business failing. And, um, um, that was a lot of strain on us. And that was the end of the relationship. So the divorce kicked off at the exact same time of this, and, uh, that's tough. Now, uh, I was asked to turn in all my assets, right? So this is the moment that, uh, is, is the tough.
it's, uh, drive your vehicles down to the auction, please. Okay. So I drove the first one down and was very embarrassed back then. I was, I was of course kind of down and out, so I hitchhiked my way back home. Took about an hour or so, got back home and thought that was stupid. I got a better idea. I'm gonna put this moped in the back of the other vehicle.
And I drove the other one down to the auction and, uh, pushed the moped out and, , you know, thought, okay, it's normally an hour drive on the expressway and I've gotta take all these country roads in January. Yeah. In Wisconsin, uh, with, you know, my best coat and pants on that I can in a snowmobile helmet, and no goggles and.
You know, looking like a nut job who's riding a mophead in January in Wisconsin to begin with, let alone crying the whole way home. Russell would love it. Yeah. Into that shit. Just literally crying the whole way home. I mean, the crocodile tears, you know? Yep. Freezing your face and chipping 'em off. And especially when your brain up, you know, three weeks earlier.
I don't know the timing here. Yeah. But like, How many days earlier? You think it's completely on the other side of the equation. Yeah, it happened so fast. Yeah, that's, and then you get all, you get back to the, the, the, the building. It's like, well, I don't have a place to live. And all that I have left in this building is a pallet with like six bags of clothes on it, two speakers, my gas grill and my yellow lab.
Happy to see me. Yeah. And, uh, the dig back question is, is easy. Uh, and, and you say it all the time. , you, you don't have much time to feel bad for yourself when you start getting hungry. A hundred percent. No job, no checking, no savings, no bank, no cars, no house, no place to stay. You're homeless. It's just you and your dog, and you're hungry.
So what do you do? You hustle. You take any jobd you day, I'd couch surf at some friends' houses. Mm-hmm. , you know, start it far and, and narrowed it in. You know, you can only do that for so long too. and, uh, there's no job that I wouldn't do, man. Of course. Clean gutter, clean up poop. Yep. What Pressure? Wash.
Yep. Put a floor in. What do you want? And done. So for two years I just hustled . And then what happened? And then, um, what's really interesting is that what was supposed to happen? Yeah. What was supposed to happen. The interesting thing is, Uh, you could say that I was a little bitter than like this wheelchair thing ruined my life.
Okay. There is some of that of course. , you're a young man at this point. Yeah. Like ruined my life. Someone in their late tw This is why I talk about all my content, like when you're 29, you're not gonna walk around earth with a 47 year old. You know, perception, you're not gonna walk around earth. Yeah. With a 74 year old perception, you're definitely in like that place.
29, 30. I'm bitter. And you know where pe you know, I, I, there was a, there was literally a comment today on my social, I don't know why it triggered me so much. Literally, literally. It's what I get all the time. Oh, I know what it was. I, I did my, there was a very, very, very viral video for me years ago of me outside saying, this could be the last Monday of your life.
You could have been a bus. It went very viral at the time for a lot of people today, it's still to this day, it was the first time they ever saw me, cuz it was when Facebook fan pages were going and we hit and we reposted on Instagram for the first time in forever. And literally there was a, I was just looking at it this morning, like 24 hours later, just kind of reading some of the comments and someone's like, you know, Yeah, but like, like not really because like I am lost, I'm 25 and all my friends are doing X, Y, and Z.
And the thing that I always find interesting is especially at 28, 29, 30 fucks up everyone under 30 in such a wild way. Every single person 17 to 29 has this crazy bad relationship with 30 As if it's like I'm 47 and I'm like, 30 is a child. Mm-hmm. , right? Yeah. And, and the world's younger now, and a lot of people do like live.
More child life at 30 than they did back when everybody was getting married at 20 and would've 10 year olds at 30 just uh, you know, two generations earlier. But, you know, at that, to back to your story, cuz we're of that same age. Like, not only were you struggling those two years, some of your high school friends and some of your acquaintances and cousins and friends really, quote unquote had their life figured out already.
Oh, they did. I was. And that really fucks with people. Yeah. That's where people get really was zero. Right? People get really down on themselves, especially when, and this is, this is why this story is so important. Thank you for making sure this cause this is good for my audience. Especially when a month or two or three earlier you thought you were gonna be ahead of all your.
This is, this is what I, why I'm obsessed with comparison. Comparing your life to anybody else's life is the great mistake of everyone's life because it will put you in such a bad place regardless, either you'll think you're too good. . Yeah. Which is maybe where, yeah, I don't know you like maybe where you were a month earlier, cuz you're like, wait till I have this big wait till everybody hears, which is always bad.
That's a vulnerability. Yeah. Or the one that's much more prominent, which is you think you suck because you called out the most successful person, you know. of your A. I love how people do it. Gary. You don't get it. My neighbor's sister's best friend just built a million dollar company. I'm like, what about your 80 other loser friends?
Why don't you compare to yourself? Like people won't pick out the one per Mark Zuckerberg. I'm like, mark Zuckerberg like, the fuck are you talking about all 20 of your roommates suck? Why don't you compare yourself to them? Like, why? People just love to bash themselves, like for no fucking reason. in your late twenties when you get to that zero of a place that fast from a place that was on the verge of putting a lot of paper value.
Mm-hmm. around you must have been challenging it. It was, but I, I really go back to, it was like, how'd you do it? How'd you do it? It's like, man, I was just hungry and I wanted, I, I'm, I'm a, I'm a doer. I want to take care of me. I didn't wanna, of course, fall upon the system, so guess. I'm gonna sling concrete.
I'm gonna put your roof on for you. I'm gonna, I'm gonna remodel your kitchen for you, but I'm taking care of me. Course. And at this case it was just me and my dog. Yeah, of course. . How did you, so what, what happened next? How'd you get to this point? We, that's, that's a quick transition, believe it or not, after two years of just side jobs hustling and just staying alive, I mean, literally, um, the company, when I was making this power wheelchair, I designed everything but the.
I bought the seating system from another local company. Okay. Called The Comfort Company. Okay. And this company reached out to me, you know, two years later going, Hey man, what are you? Up to you. You're not doing the wheelchair thing anymore. I am like, no, no I'm not. Why don't you come work for us?
Interesting. No wheelchairs ruined my life. No thank you. Oh, no shit. At first. Oh yeah. It was a solid note. You were still. I was, yeah. Yeah. He still, so you wanna know how long, I can tell you. Two years later, apparently I was still a little bitter cuz I, I said no to him. And literally the, the, the, the weird part is I got in the car politely told him no.
Hey man, thanks for the offer. I'm gonna find something else to do. Wheelchairs, man, that my gig, I get maybe two blocks down the road and I had the most thermal nuclear emotional blowup out of nowhere. I had to pull the car over and I had no clue why. And it was more like, how dare he make me think about wheelchair people?
You were mad. I can't believe that he's trying to make me come back into this thing. No, it ruined my life. And then, you know, two weeks later after tiling, your friends and family, they're like, you're an idiot. This is who you are. You love this. It's who you are meant to be. Just go take the job and get your ass back in there.
And I did. And they saved me. And then I got back into the wheelchair community again. Serving them this time, not with power. Now it's with seating. How did you go all the way back? How did you first get into the wheelchair community before, even before? How'd you invent that? Like what was your first experience with it?
Uh, that's a quick one. Uncle Bob. My Uncle Bob, um, as a disability. I see. I've grown up around it. He's been in a manual chair, power chair his entire life, and he's a, that's it. He is an entrepreneur. He owns a landscaping company and climbs on and off tractors and skidsters equipment. And if you saw him, you'd go, I cannot believe this guy does this.
So you want to talk about the definition of tenacity? It's uncle, uncle Bob. Bob. Yeah. I love fucking Uncle Bob. I saw this chair that goes up and down and I was like, If Uncle Bob, he had one of those, or anybody like him scratching your own itch for your, is just like profound. All right, we're gonna, we're gonna run outta time.
What did we not, we didn't get That was, by the way, you should not do this chair business and you should be a professional storyteller. Cause that was extremely good. Now, now cmo. I know why you made him do that. I was like, why? Like that wasn't pretty audience that was putting him in the platform of what he should really be.
Why does everybody want this story? I just wanna sell chairs. Did this story. You're a very, very good story. Talk. That was really cool. Um, . So actually, cuz I'm gonna get rushed outta here. Like what, what didn't we touch on that you thought of? Like, I obviously wanted to talk about like, first I'm like, pretty sure before I die I will have a soft tissue business because, you know, not to the level of the emotion I think comes with an Uncle Bob, but who's in a wheelchair.
But like my back was foundational in my life for 20 years. Like, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't sit on a certain side of airplane. For 15 years because I knew if I fell asleep mm-hmm. , that there was a chance it could lock. Yeah, yeah. Right. So like, it was a real part of my life. Like, you know, it really, you know, it's amazing what you'll just accept.
I was just like, that's my life. I have a bad back. And it was just like so solvable. Yeah. Through just tissue work and stretching and like strength and it just like, I'm like, wow, fuck. And this is why I'm so passionate about this single podcast. The thought of like, you know, you know, at some level you guys care quite a bit if people get this chair.
I'm just trying to get people educated by audience about like the chair thing and like, yes, of course it'd be awesome if they get excited about this, but. I just want people to know. Yeah. It's kind of like, it's kind of like in the seventies, I'm sure someone was like, this cigarette thing is not as good as people think.
Like we should talk about it more. Or like, or like, the things we're going through now, like this, this, this, the way we're sitting is a real thing. Absolutely. And like really matters. What, what do we, what do we not touch on in the last two minutes here that we should touch on? Anything stand out? We could probably tie that.
go right from the comfort company thing. Now that's, yeah. We could just jump into, how'd you do seating? We did seating for 10 years, right? Yep. And then you guys met where you were? Yeah, we met at that seating company 15 years ago, so Oh, you were there? Yeah. He was always product. Yep. Product side of things was marketing.
And so we brought products to market for the last 15 years together. Yeah. So guys know each other that alone. Oh yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. And at what point did you know you guys wanted to work together? Like in a different cap? Yeah, I mean, I think, uh, man, that was probably 10, maybe eight years ago. We, sorry, transparently.
He was, uh, upset at our then president. Yeah. And he said he seems like that kind guy. I think I'm ready. I think he still got some feelings in it. Like I'm watching him carefully. I'm not sure I can turn it anymore. That's it. I'm outta here. I got an idea. We're outta here. Think we should do office chairs.
Do you think that's entrepreneurial passion? Do you feel like that's engineering dna? Like, Hey, this isn't as good as it can be. Ah, like what triggers that? I'm. . The curious guy that likes looking for problems and then finding simple solutions. Big solutions. My, my, my wife would tell you that my favorite phrase is, I got an idea.
you're an entrepreneur. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. Well, I mean, I know we we're short on time here, but I think Anthros what we want, we just want to be part of peop. people who know what it's like to wake up at 4:00 AM and work till midnight. The people who are chasing their dreams, sacrificing everything, getting zero recognition for the people like you who've experienced chronic pain.
Yeah. And will never take for granted not being a pain again. We think that we can be part of, you know, part of that journey and, and we're sharing those type of people on. So for, I love that brother. Uh, a couple things. There's so many little thi stories I wanna tell. I used. When I first started working out, it was wild.
Jordan pointed this out to me. The weight, like when I'd have to pick it up to do like some sort of thing on the right side, I would just pick it up and on the left side I would pivot my entire body to be able to do it because I couldn't do it straight. Yeah. And like I'm bringing this up at the like random thoughts here.
Cause I'm just, I'm telling people like, I don't think people realize that they don't need to. being in pain cuz they don't think they have time to fix or money to fix it. Not that this chair's fucking inexpensive, but like, it's like, to me it's just so fucking worth it. Like, like grabbing my luggage from the top at an air.
Like, it's just like, it's an everyday thing when you don't realize, you know, a, I honestly, I also think I'm doing a PSA for just gaining. ? Mm-hmm. . Like, like, like it's really scary how big of a deal that is. Especially legs. Like we were talking about this offline. Like it really matters and nobody wants to do leg days.
Like I literally, when Mike says Bulgarian, but squats, I literally like cry. It means still every time, two days later, not walking down steps. It's the worst. But fuck, it's so worth it. So like, you know, both gaining strength to just make this very broad. We talk so much about perspective and mentality on this show.
This is going to the other side of it, which is. You just don't have to be in this situation. Like there are a lot of ways to do it and I do think sitting like is a category of conversation that needs to have a lot more talk and like obviously the chair, but then there's obviously other variables that you could be doing and I think I, I hope this inspired some people to actually go down this rabbit hole cuz I'm looking forward to the dms and emails in a year because it is a big deal for me and for a lot of other people.
Yeah. And uh, and I'm cheering for you guys and I wish you well. Yeah, thank you very much. Thanks so much. Thanks Gary.
THANK YOU GARY & TEAM
Sitting across the table from Gary, in the office that we have seen online 100's of times, chatting about sitting, posture, health, business and life was an experience that will always be remembered.
As we reflect on our time with Gary, we are most appreciative of his sincerity, willingness to help, and genuine desire for us to succeed. In less than 2 hours spent with Gary, we walked away with lessons to last a lifetime, along with validation that we have indeed created something that the world needs! Thank you Gary and team for the opportunity and support, as we begin this journey to fix the worlds SIT!