May 7, 2021

Larry Constantin Inventor, Engineer, International Sales Exec | Europe, Middle East Africa, India, Brussels.

Eastern Europe flight mishaps, Al-Qaeda bombing, autobahn, New Years Eve Siberian ice fishing | Life lessons


00:47 The night Jeff and Larry meet for the first time in the BMW showroom over a car deal. But although it's the last night of the month, Jeff disappears.... 3:16 Using both sides of his brain. 5:00 Larry used to drop in and jump into a sales situation with a struggling salesperson and help make the deal... 6:30 it's fascinating to hear Larry explain how window film is manufactured (for heat, UV, infrared) 7:21 window film was the simple word for what Larry was doing for a long time, but it ultimately grew into a very precise and scientific based business. He pioneered putting complex metals high performing metals into plastics. That is done in a metallizing chamber. It's a zero vacuum creating a fission and plasma in a in a giant chamber using rotatable cathodes. And he took atomic levels of each metal and bombarded with gas explosions, like a piston in a car, and it attaches to the film. 9:51 Larry sold window film in Europe, Middle East Africa, India and was also living in Brussels. 10:16 apartments, cars, people, translators, you name it. 11:00 Jeff having Russian Mafia meeting in Sevastopol, Ukraine. 15:31 Larry's Father's girlfriend was Debbie Harry (Blondie) 24:29 Larry moves to Europe. 26:02 Building IKEA funiture at 3am in the new Belgium apartment.. 27:49 offices all over the region, partners and distributors all over the world, including in Russia and Turkey, and Cyprus and Africa, South Africa, Greece 30:42 Your word and handshake. 35:29 Collecting aged receivables in Russia. 36:18 The flight to Siberia... 44:52 Russian commercial jet pilot drinking vodka before landing 47:58 Jeff leaves his phone on Russian Airline (Aeroflot)... 51:57 40 below on a frozen lake in Siberia on New Years Eve and Larry's world view shifted 56:42 the best way to decide what's important in life is to go open Christmas presents alone in a room 1:01:17 Bruere Blanc sauce 1:04:19 Al-Qaeda bomb at a mosque big shopping district... 1:09:52 Autobahn at 120. Passed like standing still by a string of Porsches 1:19:18 Burj Dubai, Tom Cruise and helicopters You debuted the movie. And that was probably the best icebreaker I have ever experienced. You had what your best clients, your VIP clients in the movie theater, right? 1:23:43 Jeff hosting the private BMW showing of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL. What could go wrong? 1:24:11 The dog needed a private flight... 1:38:31 Flying Jaguar 1:50:13 The flight from Brussels to Kiev....that almost wasn't...

Transcript

Unknown Speaker  0:02  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns,

Unknown Speaker  0:21  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, and I'm here with my great friend, Larry Constantine. And I want to tell you a little bit about Larry, before we get started, first of all, you might notice that our imperfections that are a little more clear, we changed recording software. And now we have a little bit higher resolution. So thanks for all the feedback from everyone on that. So I'll let Larry tell the story of where I disappeared to during it was at our first car dealer. Yeah, absolutely. I almost are last but yeah, you know, working, working with your sales team trying to make a deal on I think my first BMW, and, you know, like, always needed the sales manager to get involved in the negotiation. And they were running paper and pen back and burning through ink. And the salesperson came over very politely and said, you know, Larry, would you mind coming back? Maybe tomorrow, our sales manager had to step out. I said, I'm in the middle of a negotiation here. You're gonna throw me off my game. I said, Who's your sales manager said Jeff Sterns. I said, Okay, I don't know him. Where do you step out to? She goes, hold on, I'll be right back. So she comes back. And she says,

Unknown Speaker  1:31  
I don't know if I should tell you this or not. But he went trick or treating,

Unknown Speaker  1:35  
trick or treating? I said, How do I even answer that? Either he's an adolescent, or he's got a great family that he cares about? And the answer was, you have an amazing family, and you always put them first. And I thought to myself, you know, what is a good guy, I got to meet him. And I'll come back. So a couple hours later, you called me if you remember. And you said, Hey, I'm back from tricker trading, let's get that car deal wrapped up. And I think the history speaks for itself. But I appreciated you very much for who you were as the father and the husband and the parent. And I thought, you know, what is a good guy to do business with so? Well, Thanks for the compliment. So for the civilian not in the car business, we live pretty much. Well, I was gonna say 12, but it's really 11 last day of the month, and then the last week of the year,

Unknown Speaker  2:29  
is really the Super Bowl. So getting out at 10 1112 1am on the last day of the month is not uncommon certainly wasn't for me. And then the last week of the year, Christmas to New Year's or a couple days after New Year's, depending on over the weekend falls, where the manufacturer finishes out the year, I'd never gotten home, Larry, I'd never gotten home in my life before 11 o'clock at night in the last week of the year, ever. So

Unknown Speaker  2:54  
leaving the last day of the month was very, very unorthodox. And of course, Halloween is the last day of the month. So but my kids knew once the trick or treating was done, and we ate a few together, I was gonna be heading back because there be a few hours to go. But I want to tell you a little bit about a little more about Larry, very, very interesting guy. And you're gonna find

Unknown Speaker  3:16  
Larry's what I call a boat, very rare of both sides of the brain. I think you use both sides of your brain. And I don't know if you're like the movie where the guy takes the little clear pill and then he gets like times a million or we don't use your whole brain. I can't.

Unknown Speaker  3:31  
But you're very engineer ish.

Unknown Speaker  3:35  
And you're very sales ish.

Unknown Speaker  3:38  
So let me put it another way to install all the engineers out there.

Unknown Speaker  3:44  
Just because you could think engineer ish doesn't mean that you're really boring. So I mean, you could really talk to anybody. So I want to talk a little bit about Larry. And give it a little history. So just having Larry there on the screen may have me do all the talking. He may not have to say anything. I'll just tell the whole thing about Larry. But Larry bought a number of cars from us. Larry was always very likable, polite, great stories, personable, well traveled can tell stories relate to anyone about anything.

Unknown Speaker  4:18  
Yet when it came down to numbers negotiation,

Unknown Speaker  4:22  
he became very easy to not like let's put it that way. Is is much it was unorthodox for me to leave in the middle of a deal which is unheard of last day of the month but it was Halloween well that cost you the whole back didn't

Unknown Speaker  4:37  
Larry

Unknown Speaker  4:39  
would walk out over $1.80 payment difference on a lease no problem and let your stew on it let you punish you know, think about your, your consequence because you didn't make his deal. But a beautiful thing about Larry is he would come into visit socially like a lot of our customers used to do so. I was proud of the social aspect. But later

Unknown Speaker  5:00  
Woods dropping on a Saturday, I think you'd just be bopping around and maybe your m three, or maybe your Harley Davidson just enjoying the weather enjoying the drive.

Unknown Speaker  5:11  
And then one of the salespeople would be having a struggle with a customer and Larry would be visiting me at my desk, the desk that the salespeople are bringing their offers into. So he's hanging around hearing the salespeople come in, explain their situation, I need a lease, I need a loan, I need an appraisal, the customer wants to leave because of this, they're not happy with, you know, whatever's going on whatever story is being told. And Larry, without invitation, dare I say without permission, more than once had gone in to talk to the customer for the salesperson

Unknown Speaker  5:44  
and got the canoe unstuck sideways in the river and going downstream, again, for sales people more than one time, which is really amazing who you can speak to, which is anybody now when I talk about this engineering, hopefully we'll get into it on today's show. If we don't run out of time before it's your time to talk.

Unknown Speaker  6:04  
But when I met you, you were in the window film, manufacturing and I think inventing the certain type of film of my right, sure. Yeah, absolutely. Yep. Okay. And you can explain if you think it's interesting, but I found it fascinating when Larry explain how you've heard of titanium film, I always thought titanium film film, you know, like your by, you know, you get your American Express card, right? The green, the gold, the black, the Onyx, the Titan, you know, whatever. I just thought that was like the higher level film or stronger, but apparently, they're varying metals, that you can explode in a room. And then if I recall, there's magnets that make all the particles face the same way. And then there's this melting molten plastic that they fall into that eventually dries and turn into a film to have different UV or I'm sorry, yeah, so that's ultraviolet. But there's other lights that you blocked too, right? What are they right? infrared? Right? Yeah, you block infrared, you'll block ultraviolet light. And then of course, you'll control visible light in the simple term tinting is the visible portion. But yeah, it's a it's a very mature business at this stage. It's been around about 40 years. And, you know, window film was the simple word for what I was doing for a long time, but it ultimately grew into a very precise and scientific based business. And you're right, Jeff, titanium was one of the metals used by my former company, and they actually pioneered putting complex metals high performing metals into plastics, if you will. And that was done in a metallizing chamber. It's a zero vacuum. Imagine creating a vision and plasma in a in a giant chamber and use rotatable cathodes. And you take atomic levels of each metal and bombarded with gas great explosions, like a piston in the car, and it attaches to the film. Well, what you want to do with that film is cut the heat from the sun, control some light, so that you can see more comfortably when you're driving or you're in your home, but not make it opaque. And that's really the magic behind it. It's how you deposit the chemistry and how you get it to code onto the film. And, and that's that's a pretty substantial business these days.

Unknown Speaker  8:31  
Like I said, about using both sides of his brain,

Unknown Speaker  8:36  
kind of a boring topic, but Larry actually brought it to life. So one more little story. And I promised we're going to get Larry involved with today's visit.

Unknown Speaker  8:48  
When I left the car business, I joined car chat 24. And Larry did what he usually did when he came into the dealership for service.

Unknown Speaker  8:58  
He called me and said, Hey, hole, I'm in your service department.

Unknown Speaker  9:03  
Come visit or Where are you? And I let him know that I just left the BMW store where I'd spent about eight years.

Unknown Speaker  9:12  
And he says, Where are you? And I said, Well, I'm selling chat and support and software now. And he says, will it translate? You remember this? Yeah. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  9:24  
Larry says will it translate to other languages? I said, I'm sure and I'm VP of sales. But at the time I'm working from home I'm, I'm VP of Sales over no one.

Unknown Speaker  9:33  
And of course, I'm very excited to do anything to expand the company. So we went to lunch. And at the time

Unknown Speaker  9:43  
I believe in you'd sold your window film business to a company that hired you, and you were over Europe and Middle East. Yeah, Europe, Middle East Africa, India and living in Brussels. Okay, so you know, not a very well traveled guy.

Unknown Speaker  9:58  
And did you have

Unknown Speaker  10:00  
And maybe I created this about you, you know, my James Bond, man crush on you. Did you have an apartment and a car and a couple of these places? Yeah, absolutely. It was. It was a second life and the full deal for xpad treatment company was great. So yeah, apartments, cars, people, translators, you name it. So Larry says,

Unknown Speaker  10:23  
Okay, well, the Middle East, your software may have difficulty there.

Unknown Speaker  10:30  
Be Eastern Europe. He says, what time of year could you travel? And I says, I don't know, let's say end of July.

Unknown Speaker  10:37  
So he says, hmm, if you're gonna go end of July,

Unknown Speaker  10:41  
I think where you should go

Unknown Speaker  10:44  
is somewhere in South Ukraine where the Russians are on the Black Sea.

Unknown Speaker  10:51  
And we'll get you introduced.

Unknown Speaker  10:54  
Now, I go,

Unknown Speaker  10:57  
well, it'll be a story for another day, it was Fashion Week

Unknown Speaker  11:02  
in Ukraine. And it sounded like horse hooves going up and down the street, but it was high heels.

Unknown Speaker  11:11  
And Larry says,

Unknown Speaker  11:13  
how's it going there so far? And of course, with an exotic car background, I certainly run many auto shows with exotic cars, hired models and can spot models. And, you know, not that I was so into interacting with them. But just like being able to spot a line of work. I said, Well, there's a lot of models in town. I think there's a car show, or exotic car show. And he said, Well, you know, welcome to Ukraine, and it's Fashion Week and whatever. Right. So fast forward.

Unknown Speaker  11:41  
I got a translator. And now to talk about getting into car dealerships. I have to deal with the guy

Unknown Speaker  11:54  
that could potentially get me introduced. Do you remember this? I do. Yeah, I do.

Unknown Speaker  12:00  
So the translator, Boris

Unknown Speaker  12:06  
says, Listen, when these guys are gonna come to your hotel tonight. You'll meet them in the lobby.

Unknown Speaker  12:12  
What do you drink? You need to drink with them? What do you drink? And I said, I don't drink. And he says, Okay, then maybe just have five or six shots with these guys.

Unknown Speaker  12:25  
True.

Unknown Speaker  12:27  
So I said, I really I like I really don't drink. And he figured it out. And he got everybody one of the flask size bottles of vodka, I believe, put water in mine. And then everybody got a can of coke or whatever they drink next to it. And he introduces me around, and everybody's drinking. And we're in the lobby, and I think it's like a 1am.

Unknown Speaker  12:52  
And, you know, we're toasting the Titanic, and we're toasting Khrushchev and you know, all that stuff. And finally, I tell a guided to a joke, you know, blank yourself. And next thing you know, it's like, blank, my mother blank, my sister, and he's standing up like a drunk jock at a party.

Unknown Speaker  13:14  
Now, he's a little guy, but I felt like he could take me apart. And I'm thinking and the only way as he standing up, the only thing that's going through my mind is the calculations of how close I should be to Him or away from him to allow whatever punch is in it. Now he's

Unknown Speaker  13:35  
in Russian swearing and yelling. The translators trying to talk them down. Now. I've been telling jokes all night, and the translator has been translating. I mean, they've been laughing we've been hugging kissing toasting.

Unknown Speaker  13:45  
So finally, while I could see he's uncoiling, a little bit with the translator,

Unknown Speaker  13:52  
I can tell that he's relaxing. I decided to go closer because how hard can he hit me? Closer and I move a little closer, give him a hug. Give him a kiss on the cheek. And then he's like, crazy Americano, you know, and we went back to toasting everyone. But I was wondering, does my health insurance work here?

Unknown Speaker  14:08  
And will I have a wallet when this is all over? So what's interesting about Larry is he was an entrepreneurial entrepreneur, and then he went corporate, and then he went back to entrepreneur. So do you feel like participating in tonight's conversation? jump in? Sure. Yeah. Happy to take the time. Now, you know what, Jeff, I appreciate it and like what you're doing here. So thanks for the opportunity. You know, I you know, I'm not a big time entrepreneur, big time corporate guy. I just had the opportunity to have some great experiences. But really, I think it started you know, at a young age, I was always watching my father, who was an entrepreneur for a long time. My grandfather was an entrepreneur and inventor immigrated from Italy and self made man 1.7 100 employees and in the botanist, botany section of New Jersey.

Unknown Speaker  15:00  
You are Italian, he gave you a job and he invented the hermetic seal for the quartz crystal and always taught me as a kid. You know, treat your treat your employees and your customers well, and the money adds up. So I always remembered that, but I always wanted to work. And lemonade stands just weren't going to cut it because unfortunately at a young age, I had a passion for cars.

Unknown Speaker  15:24  
And you rewind in time, my father and grandfather always had nice cars, avanti, studebakers Corvettes, and my dad's first car when he was 15 was a 1961 Corvette Honduras Maroon with white inserts real knockoffs. And in high school, he would drive that car around. But what made that car a little bit better, was his girlfriend for five plus years was Deborah Harry Blondie. So all the pictures with this Corvette came with Blondie, this very attractive blonde lady, who at the time was an artist, she wasn't a singer, she was actually a painter. She wasn't blonde yet. She wasn't blonde. She was Deborah Harry, but I thought, jeez, you get a nice Corvette, you get a nice blonde girlfriend. That sounds pretty great to me. But I learned about cars, and I loved them. So I knew I better get to work. There's no free lunch in life. And at 12. At an older friend, I'm 12 years old, it's summer. In New Hampshire, I have an older friend, he says, Hey, I just got a job at a furniture store. I deliver furniture all over New England. And I can get you in. But you have to be 16. And I said, great. I'm 16. And he goes perfect. The owners are on vacation. So they won't ask you to give paperwork. But you can start now. And for about a week, 10 days, maybe we delivered furniture all over New England. It was the best thing ever. I knew I was making money I was gonna save for a car at some point. And the owners came back and they said, Hey, I just want to talk to you for a minute. I said, Sure. They said, You're fired. And I said, Why am I fired? They said you do a great job. Don't get us wrong. We love the work you did for the last 10 days. But you're 12 and you actually need to be 16 to work here. So that was my first job. And I got fired from it in less than a week. I didn't even get a paycheck. They had to mail me the money. And I thought, Okay, I guess I need to wait. But, you know, the itch was there. And I thought, I don't want any handouts. And you know, I'll mow some lawns and, you know, shovel some driveways. But ultimately, I need to do something a little bit more exciting. So

Unknown Speaker  17:37  
and then, you know, I got into this, this window film business by accident. It was girlfriend in West Virginia. Ironically, she had a beautiful iraq z Camaro.

Unknown Speaker  17:52  
And she came home one day with tinted windows. And I said, How did you do that? Where did you go? She goes, Oh, I did it myself. So well, you need to, you need to show me how to do that. So she did. And the next thing in West Virginia in high school, I was known as the guy that could make your car look better. So that gave me some some walking money as well. But I knew for me it was all about the car, right? You know, I needed a car to look good. I wanted to feel good in the car. I just I just liked them. So you know, that's where I got my first experience in, in this film business. And of course, as you mentioned earlier, it grew into a career from being an entrepreneur, having retail sites, basically, you know, tuning and accessorizing your vehicles, it also has a architectural element. So don't get me wrong, about half of our lives are spent in our homes and buildings. That was a big part of my business, and then eventually wound up working for the manufacturer and I'll explain what I what I did for them. But you know, in high school in college, it was really you know, how do I get a car? How do I make enough money to buy a car? How do I pay the insurance because my parents treated me well. But you know, it wasn't a free lunch either. At 17 I bought a limousine because I thought well, I can start a limo business on the weekends and make money and that'll get me a new car. And I remember

Unknown Speaker  19:19  
I remember buying the limousine it turned out it was a it was a game from Connecticut, a Latin Kings pretty notorious at the time. They sold me the car it was an autotrader deal. They drip delivered the car to Portland, Maine in a blizzard. And

Unknown Speaker  19:37  
I had a friend with me because I was a little suspect that these guys weren't always the, you know, the most upfront guys. I said, Would you like a bank cheque? They said no, we want cash. Like Okay, so

Unknown Speaker  19:51  
you know, I got the cash they showed up and they wanted more money than what they advertised.

Unknown Speaker  20:00  
It turns out that I had the cheesiest leather jacket that Wilson's leathers has ever made. And if you recall Wilson's leathers, they made one jacket that had probably every color under the rainbow, green, red, yellow. But the back of the jacket looked like the Mercedes logo. It was not it was just where the leather seams went together. And these guys wanted $9,500 in cash. And they weren't happy with that. And they were all packing. One of them had a Mercedes. And I said, I don't have any more money. This is all I've got. But I'll give you this custom made Mercedes jacket, if you call it good. And I remember holding up the jacket, and he looked at the logo. And he goes, Yeah, man, we're good. And I walked away with a limousine. So fast forward, I couldn't get a license to be a limo driver didn't really have the time. So it was actually a very poorly laid out plan. But I did drive the limo to high school. And that was a big hit. So I flipped it sold it did something else. But yeah, I was always trying to find a way to earn even while I was in school, and you know, always didn't mind putting the work in, ultimately wound up opening pizza places, getting a taste in the hospitality business. And that was that was great training, you know, you're you're working really hard customer, by customer, kind of like the car business, you have to earn your customers, they need to come back, you need to make money over and over. And I think that taught me a discipline of both the financial side, but also customer intimacy, how you treat people and what it means when they come back. So I got out of that business, went to college in Maine, and then focused a little bit more on this, this window film business

Unknown Speaker  21:53  
grew my my, I would say New England based business into something, you know, pretty decent, it was providing a great living. We're doing great things for people making them safer, more comfortable and enjoying their, their drives and their vehicles and so on.

Unknown Speaker  22:09  
And then I was asked by one of the companies making the film, if I'd consider joining them.

Unknown Speaker  22:18  
And I remember I just bought a house in Maine, life was good. And I thought I don't want to work for anybody. Why would I do that? That's crazy. But I was alone. You know, when you're an entrepreneur or you're a small business owner, that's maybe the best term, you're by yourself, unless you're a partner. So I thought I could always go back to my small entrepreneurial life, but maybe I should try being part of something bigger. So I joined in 2001, change my life moved from New England down to Clearwater, Florida. And

Unknown Speaker  22:53  
I was hired as a sales manager and showed quite a bit of promise, I think I was energetic. I liked the business, I you know, I worked very hard, I worked long hours, of course, then wound up taking on a global role as a product manager, and then wound up traveling quite a bit and seeing the different cultures,

Unknown Speaker  23:13  
you know, in 70, plus countries, and it part of the left brain right brain, and I appreciate the compliment is probably the fact that I've been able to work with so many different people from around the world, they're a lot smarter than I am, that have kind of taught you that.

Unknown Speaker  23:33  
It's not always ready shooting, it's measure, measure, cut, and, or aim and then shoot. And there is a, I think a balance between what an American style might be which is let's go get them. And let's win. And maybe a European style, which is a little bit more reserved, and you know, let's analyze, let's crunch numbers, let's maybe try the Americans are like now we're going forward. The Europeans might say now it's too risky. So I was able to kind of adopt the best from both sides. And I would say that's probably what I appreciate the most about my opportunity is I can, I can argue with myself very well. So at any rate, you know, wild up climbing the ladder, if you will, a company was very good to me provided several opportunities. And I remember them pressuring me, they said, Hey,

Unknown Speaker  24:26  
you need to,

Unknown Speaker  24:29  
you need to move to California, and you're in Clearwater are big operations. in California. If you're going to be the global guy, you're going to be in California. And there was no way in hell I was moving to California at that time. 2004 2005. Market pricing was outrageous. I remember the mortgage broker said, Hey, we'll get you a first mortgage, a second mortgage, we'll get you a third if you need it, whatever you want. And you can pay a million dollars for a house that's worth 200 grand, but we know you're never going to be home because you travel all the time. So when you want to move here, I said I'm not doing it.

Unknown Speaker  25:00  
Essentially, and the company said, You're not coming. I said, Now I know that doesn't make sense. I'm not coming. So then they said, well, would you move to Europe? We have a problem in Europe. And we would like to consider you to run that business. I said, Yeah, I'll go to Europe. I remember my boss at the time, he goes, wait a minute, you won't come to sunny California, but you're going to move to rainy Belgium. Why would you do that? I said, opportunities better. I've, you know, there's things to be fixed there. I think I can help with that. And I want to fix something. So let me add it. So on that moving over there, but

Unknown Speaker  25:40  
it was 2002 2005, packed up, basically had a very, very big holding company that owned our business unit. They were Belgium base. So Belgium was their home turf. They treated you like gold anyway. And it was a you know, full x pack package. And I remember showing up in Belgium by myself. And I was told my company car would be in this parking spot, and I'd get the keys to my apartment. And I had ordered all this furniture from IKEA, because that was the thing to do over there. So I arrived, it's cold, it's rainy. It's about 3334 degrees Fahrenheit. So just enough not to be snow, but very cold. I get to my apartment at 11 at night. I

Unknown Speaker  26:27  
barely found the right key to work, but I got in. And I'm so excited because I knew that I paid the guy to bring my furniture from IKEA and assemble it and have it all together. And all I want to do is sit down and take a shower, use the internet. My IKEA furniture was still on the pallet. I don't know how they got the pallet in the apartment. It was shrink wrap strap down. It looked like it was getting shipped, you know, air cargo, completely untouched. So I call my realtor she picks up midnight said you know Ariel, buy my furnitures like not assembled. She goes Oh, I'm so sorry about that. He can come out in two weeks. Like women. I have no bed, no furniture, no clothes, no nothing. So I I managed to find a fork and a knife inside the IKEA and I started screwing things together. And I wound up getting half a bed together about three in the morning. And that was my first welcoming gift to Europe when I moved there. But now Larry, you are single. You're single when you made that. Okay? Oh, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And yeah, it worked out timing wise. And I was single, and,

Unknown Speaker  27:40  
you know, had nothing keeping me to Florida or Maine. So I took the opportunity. And, you know, it was a lot of hard work, the business needed a lot of fixing. We had offices all over the region, partners and distributors all over the world, including in Russia and Turkey, and Cyprus and Africa, South Africa, Greece, you name it. And I had a pretty large team. So I kind of expected, you know, a lot of oversight. But this company at the time back art, our former parent company was great. They just basically said, Here are the keys and call us if you need us good luck. And we ran, we ran hard, and we fixed a lot of things. And I rebuilt the team and had some great people already there, we added some new great people. And it was no shortage of workload, Jeff, I mean, it was 20 hours a day and, you know, four to five countries a week minimum. And there was always something to put out. And again, it was films and plastics and coatings. And the thing that you know resonated with me and I take it, you know, I wake up with it every morning is that no matter where you're doing business, no matter what country you're in, these customers all want the same thing. They want to trust you. They want you to deliver your product or service on time. They want to know if they have a problem that you'll help them. And I think I brought a lot of that to the table and some of the new countries that we had done business in or started to do business and we never touched before. And that's always kind of been my mo that I shake your hand on a deal. It doesn't matter if I understand the language you're speaking or not, I'm going to carry through and honor my deal. If you're, you know, Ukrainian Russians, Saudi, German, Italian, we're going to get along and we're gonna make you know, business together, and I'm going to help you make money. So I think they knew that of me. And when I would go in with my teams, or sometimes I just go alone and blaze a new country that we've never talked to. And I always felt proud that, you know, I'm going to deliver what I say and vice versa, and hold these guys accountable. So anyway, enough of that. Yeah. Well, Larry, I love that you bring that up, you know, some of the feedback I've gotten on these episodes, because you know, the show's connected through

Unknown Speaker  30:00  
cars. And some people have said, Well, I wasn't gonna watch because they think it's about cars. And I'm not really into cars. And it's the people that I've met through the car business, obviously, that's how we met. And some of the feedback I've gotten from the people that don't consider themselves car people, but took a look, maybe because they knew me, or knew a friend that recommended it.

Unknown Speaker  30:25  
contacted me and said, What I find interesting is sure there's some car stuff on there, but the people with their stories and the life lessons, so.

Unknown Speaker  30:34  
And we, of course, can talk about cars. But when you said, what I'm proud of is I want to deliver what i say i'm going to deliver. There's a thing I love about that. And there's a thing that I don't love about that.

Unknown Speaker  30:48  
That's always been very important to me. That's how my dad brought me up. It's always made me nuts when people said, People want to renege on an agreement. Well, I mean, did you get the signature in the right spot? I mean, was there? Is there a technical way I can get out of this deal? Or did we shake on it? You know, whatever. I mean, to me,

Unknown Speaker  31:06  
even if you wish you didn't make the deal, even if something changed, even if you could find a higher offer through somebody else, or it's inconvenient, I believe in asking someone if I can get out of a deal if it's not good for me, and I feel that strongly about it. But it's up only if they'll let me out of it. Can I get out of it? Because I'm not, I'm not gonna break my word. Right? So I love that you said that. But here's what bothers me. What bothers me is, is coming in with that kind of an attitude. And I've come into a few businesses, and I don't want to say turn around, but certainly impacted their growth, whatever.

Unknown Speaker  31:45  
It's pretty much. I mean, if you boil it down, boil it down, boil it down to the serving spirit and keeping your work. It's really all it's been. I mean, there's many, many, many, many moving parts, but it really boils down to

Unknown Speaker  31:57  
urgency and integrity. Really, right, and understanding the other person. So the thing I don't like,

Unknown Speaker  32:04  
is Why is it such a game changer? When you come in with something like that? Why is the world not?

Unknown Speaker  32:12  
I think it's simple. I think there's Yeah, there's two types of customers, customers that are eager to do business with you, and customers that are scared. And the people that are scared to do business are scared for a reason. You know, they've been burned before they're traumatized from the past. They're traumatized. I mean, I've had many friends tell me, Hey, we know you like cars, we know that you get along with your car dealers. That's strange in itself, they tell me, but they also tell me, Hey, would you help me? Would you come with me if I go to buy a car, because we know that you're comfortable with it? So Well, the reason I'm comfortable with it is I don't do business with anybody I don't like. And I think I tried to put my customer hat on. And I you know, I'm not a brainchild of customer experience. But I think, you know, what taught me the most was 70 plus countries over and over again, and dealing with some very tough people, in some cases, brutally tough. And I'll tell you the Russia story in a minute, they ultimately accepted the same thing I was offering everyone else, I'll be here on time, you'll get what I promise, you won't get burned with me. And I was part of a large company. It wasn't my company. I didn't control everything. But I controlled enough where I could I could meet those promises. And if we weren't supplying on time, or there was an issue, I would be damned if I let me tell you what happened on my watch. And I think that was something that was new, because a lot of people, not necessarily my former company, but a lot of people take customers for granted, you know, especially in distribution, I was doing a lot of distribution to these foreign countries. So you know, once you go through the effort of earning the customer, sometimes it's easy to become a number, you know, the customer is buying month after month, millions of dollars add up and all of a sudden, people get complacent. And they say, Well, you know, how much am I getting from this country? How much am I getting from this country that will be there next year. And my methodology was pretty simple. Probably not new, was no, we started zero next year, always zero, we have to earn every dollar from there on. We don't have 100 million dollars a business January 120 22, we have $0 and we will earn the 100 or more etc. And I think that made a difference. And, you know, I will tell you that, you know Russia was one of the best countries I did business with but also a tough one as well. And when I inherited that region, Russia owed us a lot of money. And they I remember dealing with the principal over there, it was a partner distributing partner.

Unknown Speaker  34:50  
So you owe us several million dollars. And he said, Yes, I know. I said okay, and it's all

Unknown Speaker  35:00  
Do He's like, Yes, I know that too. It's okay. And he goes, let me just stop you right there. Not paying.

Unknown Speaker  35:09  
Not gonna pay said, Okay. Why aren't you gonna pay me? It's like, before you got here, you broke your promise. You didn't give me what I wanted on time you didn't give me the right product, I had issues, I lost a lot of money. So now I became his problem. So he lost money. And now he's not going to pay me.

Unknown Speaker  35:31  
So I developed a relationship with him. I said, Well, I can't fix what happened yesterday, and you got to stop crying about yesterday, you got to help me help you. And if you're willing to do that, I can help you make more money, you won't worry about the few million dollars you owe me. You'll have a better business, but you got to give me a chance. So we established a relationship. I went there several times. And

Unknown Speaker  35:55  
ultimately, to get the money I needed to deal with his bankers at the time, and you know, this, from your travels, in the in the mid to late 2000s. bankers were being assassinated. As often as people were getting lattes in America, I mean, it was not fashionable to be a banker in Moscow or Russia.

Unknown Speaker  36:18  
I don't know that from my travels, Larry. You know, okay. Thankfully, well, in Russia, in Eastern Europe, if you're in banking, at that time, you were a bull's eye. And for various reasons, I won't speculate, but you were either wanted by somebody or you were needing something from somebody, but a lot of these bankers were afraid to surface to literally come above ground. So they called it the underground. And if you're dealing with a banker back then, and this banker was a partner, you were meeting with him with armed guards, three to four levels below the city in these I mean, offices, if you will, or underground city centers, if you will. And I remember going into a meeting because I said, Look, I've got to get the money, your $2 million past, do I need the cash? I can't, my company's not gonna wait on this. He says, Okay.

Unknown Speaker  37:14  
I'll take you down there. Misha, he says, I'll take you down and you'll meet eager. Eager is the banker, if eager wants to pay you, it's okay. So I described but I want eagers a little guy, actually little, little guy, maybe 5253. well dressed perfectly dressed, surrounded by gigantic bodyguards with semi automatic guns hanging from each side.

Unknown Speaker  37:41  
And I'm no threat to them. I can speak a couple words a Russian, I knew a little bit about what they were saying. And they said, Okay, please tell your what you want said I need $2 million today. And I need you to wire that to my, my home country in my office. They all start laughing. They tell me I'm funny in Russian, that I've got, you know, a big nerve that I'm playing along. And I knew they weren't going to hurt me because I was with the guy that needed me. But he's like, okay, we'll give you a million dollars today. And we'll give you the rest later if we like you. And I said, You know what, to myself that we've gotten nothing out of these guys, I'll take the million dollars, said okay, great.

Unknown Speaker  38:25  
Here's the wiring instructions. Again, please wire the money. They laugh again. She holds up a briefcase, he goes, No, it's it's here. And I said, and I'm thinking, I'm not going to get through customs with this.

Unknown Speaker  38:43  
We're gonna have to find another way. So without going into detail long story short, there was there was a there's a lot of money that got transported that day, some of it on carry on and some of it luggage. And ultimately, we wound up paying some debt down and smooth sailing thereafter. But that was a that was a lesson that you know, don't back down. Just make sure you're polite about it. You know, these guys were businessmen, they understood the same thing that we all understand. You got to you know, have a good relationship with your vendors and, and the vendor. You know, it's going to be there for the future. So that was an interesting lesson. And I became good friends with these people. I didn't tell you but just last year, Misha called me and he said, I'm in New England, and I think you own some restaurants in Maine. Where are they? I told him he says I'll be there in four hours. And he came over. And it was it was really it was really nice to see them. But, you know, the whole culture you know a little bit about it is is very hierarchical. It's really you know, you're you're Krishna, you're the roof mafia. You have resources, you're on top and everyone else kind of falls in line below it.

Unknown Speaker  40:00  
Just a side story with the same guy, we were going out to dinner, he was a very nice, I would say he was a nice Russian guy.

Unknown Speaker  40:07  
Probably connected, definitely connected. You know, you could tell by what they drove, they drove a G wagon or a Range Rover. They were, you know, at the top of the food chain, came out of a restaurant, and he accidentally hit a car in front of a little Honda, actually. And the bumper fell right off.

Unknown Speaker  40:28  
And Michael Nisha was reaching in his pocket to get cash because he felt bad, he was going to pay these guys, you know, he's like, I'm gonna just pay them. That's what you do. There's no insurance company, you just pay cash, right? And four guys get out of the car systematically ready to fight. And they took one look at his car. And they took one look at him. And they said,

Unknown Speaker  40:51  
No, thank you have a nice day. He rolls the window. He says no, no, it's okay guys, I will I will pay for that. I'm so sorry. And they're like, I don't want any part of this. It's on us. They grabbed the bumper put in the trunk of the car and drove off. And that was the Russian way. He just happened to be a nice guy. So you know, back then it was it was really about who you were and who you stayed away from and who you ran with.

Unknown Speaker  41:16  
So interesting, interesting side note there.

Unknown Speaker  41:19  
So I mean, you know, to the, to the listener to the watcher. I mean, who knows, we don't know where you've been. I mean, this may be low key for you. But for a lot of the world that hasn't traveled like that. I mean, that sounds like such a movie. That's normal for you. You're with the guy in the range over the G.

Unknown Speaker  41:41  
The people that are nervous about now, I'm curious. Did you ever collect the second million in the accounts receivable? About half of it? You know, we always seem to have some sort of bad luck, which would hesitate is interested paying all of it. We were current, I guess the good news is at one time, we were completely current, he didn't know us a penny. And business was great. And it was, it was really a pleasure. But you know, you talk about the stereotypical way and unfair to my Russian friends or the country itself. First of all, the history is amazing. It's it's ultra rich in history, you know, that the people what I liked about the Russians was they either liked you or they did. And that was a very good life lesson that if they shake your hand and say you have a deal, then I could take that deal to the bank. Sometimes my company would say, Did you get a contract? And I'm like, I don't think you understand. No, we have a handshake. And that's better than the contract. But don't push your luck. But but a funny story, and I just opened with it.

Unknown Speaker  42:49  
The first time I ever went to Russia, is going to Siberia, to do some business, and flying into Moscow domestically that was on Delta Airlines so that I felt pretty good about that. This is early 2000. And that was going on to Siberia. Well, then you transfer in Moscow to one of the three airports at the time. And you take another four to five hour Night Flight from Moscow into Novosibirsk, for instance. And my friends told me, they said look, you won't get what you deserve. You'll get what you pay for. So I get ready to load the plane. It's the largest Russian Troop Carrier they had at the time. Now bear in mind the in country planes were not as nice as what would travel over the Atlantic. These were Russian in your tuba lofts or Aleutians. And this was an allusion to aisle 450 people basically. And I remember going up through the belly of the plane on the tarmac, so no jetway, and I saw the radial on the tire. Coming through the rubber. The tires were shot. It was a massive jumbo plane.

Unknown Speaker  43:55  
And it was during was this Aeroflot it was Aero flight. Yes, it was. And back in the day at that time, they didn't have the same fleet that they have now. They are actually great airline now, but that was rough. And I remember sitting down and I turned the fan on. Well, the fan was in the back of the seat and a blue dust all over me from the seat in front of me. And I'm like, that's it. I'm not doing this. So I go up front. I grab the equivalent of $50 in rubles. I said to the flight that I said I would like first class please. And I go to give her the money. She goes it is impossible. You cannot have first class. They said okay, I grab $200. I said yes first class she goes to a so I sit down into a and I figured if this plane is going to go down I'm going to go down in first class because I'm not sitting in coach. Absolutely not. three in the morning.

Unknown Speaker  44:52  
I'm tired. Everyone's tired. lights are off. The cockpit opens.

Unknown Speaker  44:59  
Pilot comes out

Unknown Speaker  45:01  
So stereotypical, it's almost unfair, he comes out, he sits right down next to me in to be selling the open seat. Flight Attendant comes over with the beverage cart. He does a couple vodka shots. And I remember he still had his stylist from his Palm Pilot. And he's working on his Palm Pilot drinking his vodka. He closed his eyes for about an hour, then the flights ready to land. It goes right back in the cockpit and lands the plane minus 40 degrees, mind you. And I thought that this really just happen or is this a movie and you just had to kind of immerse yourself in that culture, or any culture for that matter, no matter what country I would go to, I thought, let's not be the local tourists, let's try to learn the people and respect them and, and learn what they have that we don't have, and then just be a neutral, neutral visitor. So yeah, that was that was my first experience flying in Russia. So ever since then, I knew that if I was going to go in country, I was buying my way up the first class, it just made me feel safer for some reason.

Unknown Speaker  46:10  
Well, I agree with you about not being such a tourist. I mean, I did a little bit of traveling. And for example, eating. I mean, I love finding out like, where do you eat, you know, forget where the tourists go. And I've been in some areas that I got a little nervous where I was being led, like, am I about to lose my wallet, and then of course, down into a basement stairway or something, and had some of the best food. Now speaking of Russia and Eastern Europe, and I've been all over Europe. And I believe that Eastern Europe is my favorite. When you go well, this is really Mediterranean. Outside of there I like south of Sicily, Malta.

Unknown Speaker  46:55  
I think I could live there. I think I can live in Eastern Europe. I'm not so much about the weather there. But I do love the food. And the thing I love about the Eastern Europeans is the storytelling.

Unknown Speaker  47:07  
And I agree with you on the camaraderie part. I mean, like if they forget that they hate you. There's no one gonna torture themselves by being around you or pretending me like you, you're gonna know they don't like you. And that's it. Or they'll tell you you're not funny.

Unknown Speaker  47:24  
And right. But if they if they do like you or you and you like them, the friendships are, you know. Unbelievable. Now, speaking of flight, and this is also so stereotypical that it's unfair, but it's true. I had connected in Moscow for somewhere.

Unknown Speaker  47:45  
I was in Moscow, I forget the name of you know, the airport. And within Oh, I can't pronounce it. Davidoff. It was D me. Yes. Is SPO. Chairman table one and two and DOMA diva. So, of course, long flight.

Unknown Speaker  48:02  
And I get off the plane and I'm halfway out of there. And I'm passing that round Information Desk

Unknown Speaker  48:09  
after the gate.

Unknown Speaker  48:11  
And I realize I forgot I left my phone on the plane.

Unknown Speaker  48:17  
Wow. And it's very frustrating to be somewhere like that without your phone. I'm not running to the local, T Mobile. So I asked the person at the round because I can you I could find English speaking there. At that round information thing. I know it. I know which one you're talking about right next to the coffee shop. Yeah, I know, you know. And I asked, Can I get back on the plane? I left my phone. And

Unknown Speaker  48:48  
too stereotypical. This is a

Unknown Speaker  48:51  
50 something heavy ish. But a strong bill strong build woman militant. And when I told her what happened, and can I get back on? She said,

Unknown Speaker  49:08  
Why did you do that?

Unknown Speaker  49:12  
Yeah, they're pretty honest. Right? Like, why'd you do because I didn't like the phone. And then I decided later, maybe I you know, was being too abrupt, and I shouldn't have left it out. And I was like, why did you do that? I'm all panic, but they did take me back and unlock the gate. And I was able to, well, you're lucky you're lucky. Very, very, very well. I'm such a sweet talker. So forgive me audience. I'm looking at my notes. Larry is so frickin diverse. I mean, what story so

Unknown Speaker  49:41  
of course, you could probably tell world traveling stories, one after another. And of course I married a Filipino girl and I can't remember if I visited her four or five times before I married my wife or brought her here and we decided if we're going to get married

Unknown Speaker  49:59  
but

Unknown Speaker  50:00  
The thing about not being touristy and getting into the local thing. I can't tell you how much I agree. And I usually in a restaurant and I'll do it here too, but I'll never want to look at a menu. I'll just be like, do they let you eat here like on a break? Do they give you a meal? Yeah, like, what do you have? I don't want to look at the menu, just whatever you have, is what I'll have. But with my wife. One thing that I kind of had to go a little touristy is when we developed a relationship, and I was going back just to visit her.

Unknown Speaker  50:31  
And the first time I went, I was supposed to visit some car chat staff never made it. But she said on this one, I'd like you to save money, which of course, I already know. I gotta marry the girl. I mean, she's trying to tell me how to save money.

Unknown Speaker  50:47  
I want you to save money. Don't get a hotel. Stay with us. So her family in about 600 square feet. We got mom, dad, sister, brother, cousin. And no air conditioning. Oh, God. And I'm like, and listen. I mean, I'm not above flopping down the mattresses and like The Waltons, and laying down next to Dad, I you know, I could probably for a night, but nowhere, you know. So I was polite. And I said, Look, I want to I like to watch TV to stop my brain and fall asleep. I need my air conditioning. I want a hot shower. They know hot water. I want to you know, of course the coldest it ever gets there is low 80s at night when it's raining. So coming off the hot Filipino weather, Larry, I think you got like an opposite temperature story that we should hear about. Yeah, you know,

Unknown Speaker  51:43  
pick it on Russia, again, the poor Russians, but I was going there quite a bit. A friend of mine from Florida said, I've never been to Russia. In fact, I've never been outside the country. I'd like to come with you and said, Okay, come on over. So we're back in Siberia to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which happens to be minus 40 Celsius at the same time.

Unknown Speaker  52:06  
It was over New Year's Eve. And New Year's is a big deal for the Russians, they celebrate New Year's and not necessarily Christmas. And it's a 10 day event, at the very least that it's symbolic of them having a good new year you celebrate the New Year, right. And then your next year is going to be great at it. There's some merit to it. I always like learning about that.

Unknown Speaker  52:29  
went to an office that we had some business with. And they were so proud that to Americans revisiting that the office on New Year's Eve set up food and drinks and sushi and so on.

Unknown Speaker  52:45  
And it's getting late. It's cold, of course it's getting late and the translators, husbands or partners were there in this case, one of the translators husbands was there. And he's trying to talk to me through his wife and, and I could understand a little bit but not not enough. And she said my husband, I'd like to talk to you for a minute, said sure. So she's she's right next to me. And he says, through her, do you fish? And I said, Sure. You know, occasionally I fish. Okay. Would you fish with him?

Unknown Speaker  53:21  
Said milk Sunday. Sure. You know, I could fish with him. Now mind you, you know, I was working hard spending money. I wasn't a high roller but I spent some money. I bought some things you know that and motorcycles, cars, I almost bought an airplane, those types of things. And wasn't overly happy to be honest. I was single and so on. So she says again, she goes well, my husband would like to know if you would fish with him. Now. Now, kidding me, right? Like it's it's New Year's Eve. It's minus 40. I don't know where we'd ever finished because everything's frozen. And he's, he's smiling. And he's happy Jaffe is so eager to have this new friend that he thinks he made.

Unknown Speaker  54:12  
And

Unknown Speaker  54:14  
he's like, Oh, I want to ice fish we have with with ice Outback. There's a lake and there's a hole and we ice fish and we will drink together and we will sit under the moon. And so I remember him being so enthusiastic about this, wanting to do this with me. And I thought why does he want to do this? And he doesn't know me. Like, why is he so excited? And I remembered that this guy is happier than I was at the time. He has nothing. Jeff the guy had no resources, no education, very little money. His wife was the breadwinner. And mind you

Unknown Speaker  54:52  
$75 a week at best is what she was getting paid.

Unknown Speaker  54:56  
Yet he was happier than I was. So we ice fish and we drank vodka.

Unknown Speaker  55:00  
I remember putting on my winter jacket and they laughed at me they were speaking Russian, they said, this is very funny because you're wearing your summer clothes. And I had full full on winter jacket, but it was so cold. And so that was the joke. And we sat under the moon and we drank vodka to stay warm, mind you, and this guy smiling year to year. And it was exactly at that moment that I thought, you know what, I got it all wrong. Like, I think that material things make me feel better. That's not true. This guy's happier than I am. He doesn't have anything. And I remember after that trip, I came back to America, I started selling things and spending more time with my parents. And I actually kind of hit I would say, a reset button. Not for long and not entirely at the level that one might do. But I took a temporary reset, sold some things and stopped living like a 10 cent millionaire. And I thought, I gotta figure out how to be happy like inside. I wasn't unhappy. I just wasn't as happy as this guy. So it taught me a life lesson. I never forgot that moment. And whenever I think, you know, could I do better? Does somebody else you have a better opportunity. I never let it bother me. I'm always from that day forward. Always happy in my skin. And it was a great lesson. It was an epiphany for like, what matters most right? And what matters most. And you've seen it you live it. your case, your wife, your kids, your friends. That's kind of who you are. That's the essence. So for me, that was a good one. That was a really good one. Well, I mean, Larry, look, I love toys. I grew up with a father that was big on toys. But I don't want to say look, we all want to say I'm not materialistic. I don't think I'm that materialistic. But who knows? Because I'm, you know, trying to rate yourself as stupid anyway, that's why everyone needs a corner man and a coach. We all can't see what we're doing ourselves. But my dad never struck me as materialistic. But we had a lot of things. Let me explain. I mean, down in his parking garage at the apartment in Detroit, he had his 48 Bentley.

Unknown Speaker  57:17  
You can see the painting in this. But his 48 Bentley.

Unknown Speaker  57:22  
He had his new Mark Lincoln mark that he got every year. And whatever year Corvette he always had some Corvette. We had horses we had, we didn't have many bikes, but we had friends, many bikes we'd visit in Michigan. And when we were little kids, what could be more fun than that Honda trail, 90, whatever. And in the summer, hoby cats and that sort of thing in the winter,

Unknown Speaker  57:44  
go down to Miami, visit all the kids in my neighborhood.

Unknown Speaker  57:48  
So but what I learned from my dad, oh, and dune buggy, so I always had I love dune buggy.

Unknown Speaker  57:57  
is

Unknown Speaker  57:59  
no one got any enjoyment out of that stuff using it themself. Right? That's right. That was it. I mean, the car was to go. We I remember we used to go drive to a friend's house who always had three wash buckets in the driveway. I still talked to one of the kid one of the kids, you know, he's 59.

Unknown Speaker  58:18  
But we pull up to their house. And there were so many of they had so many kids that drove in neighborhood kids that drove they always pull up on the weekends and wash their car in the driveway. But we'd all sit in the lawn chairs on the driveway while two or three people were washing cars. But we're all talking and then pulling one in the garage to put wax on it and helping and

Unknown Speaker  58:40  
seeing what wheels somebody put on something or what chrome tips they put on there. I remember the new their new Laguna, but it was always social. And on one of my shows here, one of my guests was a fella named Scott Ailes. I just love Scott, I really do. Well, I don't have anyone on that I don't love I mean, why invite him right? So Scott said, the best way to decide what's important in life

Unknown Speaker  59:04  
is to go open Christmas presents alone in a room

Unknown Speaker  59:09  
and some good one or not watch them.

Unknown Speaker  59:13  
Open what you gave them. That's true. So that it's like no fun opening the stuff without the person sharing, you know, sharing your expression with the person that gave it and when I give a gift, I mean, why do i do and I'm doing it for myself because I'm the one getting something out of it. I'm like, I want to see the person's reaction or cook them a meal or whatever. So I don't know if I'm materialistic but I have some material things. I have a boat, but it does nothing for me if I don't have company. Right and I have a pool that I never go in unless company wants to come over and use it or

Unknown Speaker  59:52  
etc. On and on and on. I mean it's all about social and when you're talking about the guy in Russia, I have a lot of experience.

Unknown Speaker  1:00:00  
in that part of the world with low income, and of course, my Filipino family, low income, I mean, let's just be honest, in a country that's got a lot of people that, from an income standpoint could be called poverty level, yet I don't run into a whole bunch of unhappy people. I mean, you know, this is where I don't drink, but having a drink, I mean, eating Same, same thing. Really. It's it's self social, right. And it's taking something in and sharing something. But it's eating, it's drinking, it's storytelling, it might be a musical instrument, it might be a fire, right? Some of the some of the best experiences always surround the meal, right? And that's kind of that was the thing in these countries I would visit even if you didn't,

Unknown Speaker  1:00:50  
if you were adversaries, or you had a conflict with some of these customers, when you break bread with them. It's neutral territory. Totally different deal. Yeah. And, and I remember I flew into France, actually, to train that time to meet a client that was really upset with us, but they were friends. And even when they're upset, they're they're very dramatic and very animated, but they're still polite, you know. And He took me to this restaurant in not, and it had beautiful mosaics on the ceiling of the restaurant, and I had

Unknown Speaker  1:01:28  
a hog fish with a beurre blanc sauce.

Unknown Speaker  1:01:32  
And he said, Do you like the sauce?

Unknown Speaker  1:01:35  
And I said, Yeah, I love it. He said, that's a beurre blanc. And you've had beurre blanc right now, I don't know.

Unknown Speaker  1:01:43  
He said, The beurre blanc sauce was invented in this restaurant 222 years ago. Oh my god. So it was a special occasion. And it was, it was always those moments and we became good friends. And ultimately, we did some good business together, there was something about the meal that would kind of solidify what you both wanted. You know, if you can't get through a meal with somebody, you're just a jerk, you just you're not cut out for doing business and you don't have the skills to to communicate and you can disagree at the end of the meal, you can potentially not do business, but have that that, you know, neutral zone and have those meals. I also had a good one.

Unknown Speaker  1:02:27  
Several, but another good one was in Cyprus in

Unknown Speaker  1:02:32  
right outside the capital, Nico C, I think. And we're walking down this cobblestone street, and Cypriots that were doing business with were former refugees. They were in the target shot, confined area, they were thrown out of their homes, and they were a middle aged and basically told that they couldn't come back to their own house, they had to start over. And these guys were quite entrepreneurial. And they built up a good business. They ultimately controlled all the license plates in Cyprus and utilize some play. They made it.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:01  
And fast fact.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:05  
I think you saw, I had a couple uncles that made license plates, but that'll be a different show.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:10  
That's different those guys were doing. They were forced to, but I think I made you one didn't I was like, one of my Porsches or something. But anyway, these guys pulled out table, they knew the restaurant, or they pulled these tables out in the middle of this cobblestone street and had blocked off the street for us. You did? Yeah. And we we sat and had the best meal. And you know, you can't forget those times. Because there's something endearing when you break bread with somebody, but also have that discussion. And I always tried to start my meetings with these folks. And sometimes I would be alone. I didn't have any background. They never met me. They I never met them. I'd always say I'm going to arrive for dinner. What time do you like to eat? And where would you like to go? And then that would break the ice. The next day, we get down to business and we do some, some hard discussions. But one of the times we were we're in Egypt in Cairo, and I was with our distributor at the time, and we're in the bazaar and the bazaar was kind of the shopping district of Cairo. Have you been to Cairo? No. Okay, so kind of like Turkey, big shopping district. But you had to enter by the mosque. And we're in a tea shop and all of a sudden the roofs rattling and dust and dirt falling down. Everybody's running out the streets panicking. We didn't know what happened. There's some sort of explosion and things are collapsing. So we got our stuff. Well, I had bought papayas the the hand drawn piracy Egyptian images

Unknown Speaker  1:04:48  
in Giza and I bought these things from a local after we took our horses up to the pyramids, and you would pay hundreds of dollars to the states I paid $1 apiece and I had them under my arm and

Unknown Speaker  1:05:00  
literally like dirts crumbling around us, and we're trying to get out of the tea shop, we ran out to the other end. And all I cared about was holding on to that provirus obviously making sure my friend was okay. And we scattered again, turns out the al Qaeda detonated the bomb at a mosque. Oh, my goodness, right at the entrance, and it was blocked. So it was, you know, it was a close call. But I brought that papayas home, I think I had 10 or 12 sheets for $1 each equivalent, and I have them hanging in my my houses, and they're just beautiful pieces of artwork. But they mean something, right? Yeah, there's a story usually behind a dinner or a meal or something unique in those countries. So I never took that for granted. And to this day, all of those people that I met, I could call them and if I were in their country, they would insist on having a meal together and vice versa. So some, I would say some long term friendships are forged as a result of that. Oh, Larry, I mean, I've made it a goal many times, whether it be trying to get closer with someone that might be a become a client, or just somebody that I'm a little sideways with, and it doesn't seem like it's gonna heal or get right. And I've made it it's kind of like you're trying to sell an appointment and sales. Don't want to say why don't want to get into it. Let's just eat Let's just eat like stay on that. Let's just eat Let's just eat or why. Let's just see, what are we going to talk about? Let's just see.

Unknown Speaker  1:06:31  
And I don't think that I've ever left the table in the same space, as I've gotten there if I've not eaten with someone before. Yeah, I mean, that's the goal, right is very much just learn, learn about what they need and what they want, what makes them tick. And, you know, I'm no expert with it. But I think it was a good education. And certainly, I think golf course also, but I'd rather work than play golf. I'm not a great golfer. So I would drag the team down. But nonetheless, that is a good way to bond. And then definitely, you know, a nice way to get to know people but no, I, if you're stuck with them for Well, in my case, as long as it takes me to play around, if you're stuck with him for six and a half hours on a car, you're bound to talk about a lot of things. Exactly, exactly. Well speaking about cars. So if I can, you know, obviously, you know, some of the cars I've had, and some of the cars I haven't had the I think my first car if I didn't mention it to you, was this really poor version of a Shelby charger. And it was, I think, a 1983 dodge Shelby charger. It was not really a Shelby and had no power to speak of. And it was a disaster of a car. But it looked good because it had racing stripes. And I thought that was great. So that was that was how I started with a car and wound up getting a Chevy Beretta A few months later, and, and that was a strange car that I think you love you loved or hated it. I've probably owned about 100 cars might have been a problem at some time. Nothing too exotic or crazy. But as you know, a lot of BMW has a lot of Porsches, a lot of Range Rovers and then some things in between like a Jeep or a pickup truck or what have you. But I remember one night, but let me clarify to the audience. Larry's own three figures in cars. And I'll bet you there may have been $100 total combined, earned by the dealerships that sold them to him. If it was that much. That would be disappointing.

Unknown Speaker  1:08:36  
Now look, you know what you told me and I never forgot. You said you know what? You're a pain in the ass.

Unknown Speaker  1:08:43  
But you're high volume and low margin as opposed to high effort and no volume. And I never forgot that. And actually some of the business I do today, I'd rather take high volume low margin than no volume at all. So I always appreciate that crack. And then I think you and I did did a deal together right after you insulted me but it

Unknown Speaker  1:09:03  
Yes, I always liked cars. I like all kinds of cars.

Unknown Speaker  1:09:08  
I have a pickup truck now as well as a Range Rover and I love the pickup truck probably because I have a Range Rover, but I just love all cars. So one night in Germany.

Unknown Speaker  1:09:21  
Going from I think Frankfurt, maybe back to Brussels that I'm doing about 115 120 miles an hour in a BMW company car that I have a diesel, my dad and it was you know, autobahn and unlimited speed limit at that time and the autobahn in Germany is not always unlimited speed, but in certain areas it is and if there's weather, they'll put a warning beacon it'll tell you what, how fast you can go. At this point, it's unlimited speed. It's probably it's after midnight, and I'm in the middle

Unknown Speaker  1:10:01  
You don't want to be in the passing lane on the Autobahn at 120 miles an hour, because that's actually slow. That's like breakdown speeds in America. So I'm in the middle lane. And I feel like I'm doing pretty well, I got brave enough to do 120 and my little BMW, and it's going well, but you know, I'm feeling pretty good. And I am coming down a hill, and I see this flickering of lights behind me. And I thought he's going awfully fast. And there's a few cars doing the same, and you could just see the light, but you can't see what's going on, you don't dare turn around, because you'll lose control a turn around. And I'm determined to maintain my 115 120 because I want to see what's coming up on me. And I just the lights get closer and they're flickering, flickering, flickering. And I think it probably 180 plus miles an hour, a string of nine elevens zipped by me.

Unknown Speaker  1:10:59  
And I thought and one of them actually had so much compression that flames came out of the exhaust on the I would say the backfire going down the hill. And I was so excited I put the pedal to the metal. And at 118 my car stopped. It just basically had its limited 118. So I couldn't catch these guys. The minute I got back to the US after that trip, I went to the local dealer, I'm like, I would like a 911, please. And that's how I got my first 911. So it was it was just, you know, so contagious to see these guys drive. And I had a customer in Germany, and he was a car nut. And his name was winford Brooks, amazing entrepreneur, just a great family, man, they have quite a business. And he knew that he would drive fast. And he knew that every one of us from America loved that he could drive fast. And we could so we were a little jealous. Let's say you were always asking you to win free. How long does it take from you to go from Hamburg to Paris? He would say, oh, how about Paris, normally, seven hours, winford 3.2 hours. And that was this. And we have some pictures of him doing 200 250k per hour and three at 300k actually, in one of his cars. But yeah, the the driving over there is is pretty unique. Now conversely, you go into Belgium, you're following the speed 110 kilometers an hour. And that was my other experience that I would get caught for speeding in Belgium at least once a week when I first moved there. But it wasn't as satisfying as being caught in America because there was no policeman with lights. They had cameras everywhere. So my company would call me and in their broken English, they'd say, Larry, we're very sorry to inform you, you were speeding again, you must please slow down in our country. And it would be two or three kilometers over. But the police would you know, send the radar they'd send a ticket. And I thought this is not satisfying at all. I want blue lights give me a real chase for God's sakes. This is terrible.

Unknown Speaker  1:13:12  
And so you have you have to follow the speed there, you're just going to have a camera pick you up. So but yeah, it

Unknown Speaker  1:13:19  
cars became contagious. And as you know, I would you know, keep a couple cars in the US nothing too crazy, but an M three or something like that. And a 911 I would come back from Europe for a weekend and that would be my driver and that would you know kind of make me feel like hey, I work hard when I'm over there. When I come home I get to enjoy you know family and a car and the sunshine and you know that you know the rest but that was kind of my mo when it came to cars and might be settling down a little bit. So met the love of my life. And you know, life is good. And cars are less important right now, although I still like them. But

Unknown Speaker  1:13:57  
it is it is all tied to a car one way or another, isn't it? Well, yes. And it's funny because you mentioned that because another one of the guests that I had Brett ram Kerr who's an Emmy Award winning NASCAR IMSA Michelin videographer he's made a full length feature film called best in class the making of a Concorde the elegance of it all up in your neck of the woods about audrain his stories are about the people in the car culture and even if you don't drive there's always some car there's always some photo of some relative there's cars are in our life for sure. And they Yeah, I think so. And you know, it's it's it's funny my future father in law.

Unknown Speaker  1:14:44  
amazing guy, my fiance Caroline. amazing woman. Amazing mother. Congratulations by the way. Thank you. Thank you by the way. You will meet her she's fantastic.

Unknown Speaker  1:14:57  
Her dad is a car guy like we are

Unknown Speaker  1:15:00  
And the whole family. They're all you know, anywhere from mid 50s to late 70s. They all love cars and they buy a lot of cars. They're smart buyers, they're they're very successful. They're in real estate, and they've earned every penny. So they're workers.

Unknown Speaker  1:15:16  
He knows I like cars. I know he likes cars, and usually one of us is buying something often. So we made a bet with each other. We said, okay, whoever buys the next new car, owes the other one. $1,000 instead, okay, that's a deal. Okay. So Oh, all summer long. He's coming home with new cars. And I said, john, I, you know, you bought two, I bought one, you're losing the bet you You owe me the money is like No, I said, new car. This is a used car

Unknown Speaker  1:15:47  
doesn't count. So well. You can't really alter the deal. And then he bought a couple RVs couple Mercedes RVs. And so as I said, an RV counts as two cars. So you're already in a deficit right now. So we just recently said, Okay, let's start the clock over. No new cars in 2021, secondhand only.

Unknown Speaker  1:16:10  
And then as soon as I agree to that, he goes and buys a couple more used cars. So it's kind of a thing with each other. We're trying very hard to help each other. He said, You can help me buy less cars, and I'll help you buy less cars, because I want you to be responsible because you know, you are with my daughter after all. Your accountability, buddy. Yeah, exactly. He's great. So we there's a new car that's coming out in about a year. And we both looked at each other. And he goes, I'll give you a hall pass on that car. I said, Yeah, I'll give you all pass on that one as well. So we have a truce. If we decide we want to buy this, this one new car together, but yeah, he's he's got great style. And he's he's great to me. And he's, he's definitely my fiance's, biggest fan. And they're just, they're just like best friends at times. You know, they're, they're great. So it's nice to see that dynamic. But, but yeah, he's got some he's got some cool history with cars as well. Do you have a wedding date? You know, we're looking at it now, probably next year, you know, we probably won't pull it off this year, just based on COVID still hanging around, and we're going to, we're going to do something probably up here. You know, there's such a great wedding venue up here. And in the fall, maybe spring or fall. It's a great spot. And we'll invite some close friends and you know, I'd expect you to get yourself up here. You got to get out of the office. And I was gonna say I'll ask how it was. Yeah, you're gonna ask how it was. I mean, like all your weddings, right? Always a bridesmaid never a bride. But no, you you will definitely be up here. Always a bridesmaid. I have stood up in about 12 weddings, I'd say maybe more. Yeah. And what's the retention rate? How are they doing all 12 of those guys.

Unknown Speaker  1:17:57  
I don't want to talk. I don't want to talk about the luck.

Unknown Speaker  1:18:02  
It's not about how many it's the percentage of success. And if you're responsible for that, you know, you are you're probably responsible. But that's right. So what about I mean, I'm looking at my notes here. And some you know, sometimes these conversations go full blown organic. But what Larry, I'm like, My God, you've been all over the world. And in every time I talked and we known each other a long time. It's always a new story. So it isn't like I know, there hasn't been reruns yet. So I said, Are there any bullets? And I mean, my God, I mean, I don't know what else to talk about. And I don't know how long we can retain someone's attention. But I got late night meeting in Dubai and Saudi I got Tom Cruise. I got Leonardo DiCaprio. You know, I'm intrigued or any of these worth talking about? Well, I mean,

Unknown Speaker  1:18:49  
the Tom Cruise one is short, but sweet. And you'll appreciate this. Because if you remember you did have a BMW movie debut. Okay. And it was regarding the Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movie, right. Were you at the theater where I introduced? Of course, I was at that theater, I will never let you off the hook for that.

Unknown Speaker  1:19:14  
Yes, I was at the theater. And I promised I didn't know where this was going. Well, I only share part of it and you could expand on it. But

Unknown Speaker  1:19:23  
you can take over after I finished the setup. But basically that Mission Impossible movie that you debuted, because it featured the i three in the BMW at the time

Unknown Speaker  1:19:33  
was filmed partly in Dubai. And I had an office in Dubai and I was in Dubai all the time. And I love Dubai. I like the people there. It was kind of you know, if you look at Dubai, it's kind of like the center point of the Middle East. So if you're doing business in Saudi or Bahrain or Oman, people would naturally be able to come to Dubai, there wasn't restriction. So that was our meeting zone in many cases, even though we went into these countries.

Unknown Speaker  1:20:00  
So the burj dubai burj means tower Burj Dubai was the tower, tallest tower at the time second to the building in Malaysia

Unknown Speaker  1:20:11  
and Dubai was having financial struggles 2008 2009 I believe, and they needed money from Abu Dhabi.

Unknown Speaker  1:20:19  
So Shaykh Muhammad in a last ditch effort to get some big investment for Babu Dobby, decided that as a tribute for the I think 500 billion something massive. He would rename the Burj Dubai by he would rename it Burj Khalifa for King Khalifa of Abu Dhabi. Okay, so that was a tribute. Well, then the day they renamed it happened to be the day that Tom Cruise was hanging out of the building filming that scene where he's on the wire going around. And I was there for that. We were downstairs in the courtyard, if you will, watching

Unknown Speaker  1:21:04  
celebrations and lights and they actually had the waterfall like the Bellagio in Vegas, and we're enjoying that we're we're we're some clients and so on having a meal actually with some Saudis.

Unknown Speaker  1:21:16  
And we said this guy, we see this guy hanging out of the building, and there's helicopters flying around. And we just thought it was part of the celebration of the new Burj Khalifa because clearly it has a new name based on the investment. And then we hear people talking about Tom Cruise and they said, No, it's Tom Cruise is up there. He's literally outside the building doing these stunts, and I guess he would do a lot of his stunts. So later on the news, which mine do is normally censored. They're very proud to say that the new Burj Khalifa was so exciting that even Tom Cruise would film his movie there. So that movie when you see him hanging out of that tower, I don't know how much of the scene but a lot of the scene was actually him on the wires hanging out of the tower, which is just a crazy crazy to know. More importantly, if you look hard enough, you can see Larry down on the sidewalk looking up at it.

Unknown Speaker  1:22:11  
Yeah, I wish you good. It was it's I can't remember the floor level but a massive building. And of course they'd sent through all the problems, you know, elevator breakage fire issue, ventilation problem. That never happened. Same thing when they built the islands. This was a quick but great story. Remember the palm islands in Dubai, they're very proud to show you that they built these neighborhoods on palm fronds. Each fron of the palm tree was actually a full neighborhood like we're used to in Florida. But they had these storms one night, and the storms washed away half of the palm tree. The island your neighborhood which has yet to be built you bought the lot, right is now gone. Now. It's sand built out in the middle of the ocean. And Shaykh Muhammad at the time, we heard through the construction people we knew he ordered 3500 dump trucks to work all night long, and fill that palm neighborhood back in before sunrise. Or they were all fired. So the next morning, that never even happened. And that's how they did some business over there. But that one was interesting. Just because we happen to be there by accident. And you know, we saw the movie now. Going to your program. You debuted the movie. And that was probably the best icebreaker I have ever experienced. You had what your best clients, your VIP clients in the movie theater, right? So we're at a BMW dealership, we invited our best customers, our brand ambassadors, the ones that sent the most referrals the ones that we made no money on, but we did a lot of volume Well, you know, whatever it was, right. Right. And invited them to see this pre release Mission Impossible movie in a private theater just invited guests and then I got up in front of the theater. I don't remember if I had a microphone or not. You did yeah. Okay, but I you know, I know you didn't have a microphone because you didn't need one you know that because I didn't want to hear it at the theater next door as it so but you know to make Jeff Sterns happy all you need is

Unknown Speaker  1:24:26  
an audience. So, I said what I said I'd I'd have to say I was terrific that night.

Unknown Speaker  1:24:35  
And do you want to say what happened next?

Unknown Speaker  1:24:38  
Yeah, so you know what's really important to remember if you remember the sound bed to Mission Impossible, right? You know that you know the tone of the music right? You know, when the Mission Impossible movies coming on? You've got this done that right? Yep. Well, the movie started

Unknown Speaker  1:25:00  
And we're hearing what appears to be moaning, some sort of

Unknown Speaker  1:25:07  
potential sexual encounter. You don't see anything you see a black screen. I'm not hearing the Mission Impossible soundtrack. People are starting to look around the moaning is getting louder and louder and louder. And now people are getting a little uncomfortable. You're waiting at any moment for maybe Tom Cruise to pop out of the you know the sky or jump out of a plane.

Unknown Speaker  1:25:30  
And as it turns out, the morning then turns to an image. I remember distinctly a bedroom scene with pictures hanging around the bedroom, and then a man and a woman doing you know what you can imagine voting would be coming from? And it turns out that that was the entree to a movie, I think called the babysitter or something crazy at that time with Jonah Hill. It was Jonah Hill, Jonah Hill is in it. Yep. Performing.

Unknown Speaker  1:26:00  
Yes, and whoever doesn't matter. And it took it seemed like an eternity before they would turn the movie off. Now what I can't figure out is one, you being frugal and smart, either didn't pay the movie theater enough to pay the right play the right movie, or to you might have upset the person running the tapes that night somehow in a pass car dealing. But this guy, whoever was controlling the tape, you know, he was having a ball because you have your best clients there. I think there was a few that were, you know, breathing out of a bag, there was some kids in the audience. And it was all people left man people, some people were leaving, you know, it was tight. And I and I think you're recovered? Well, and I think you said something to the effect like, Well, clearly we treat our customers differently than Mercedes or something like that. And everyone laughter for the most part, I think, you know, everyone stayed, you eventually got the right movie to come on. But it definitely

Unknown Speaker  1:27:02  
it definitely changed the evening. So well, the backstory to that. Oh, and I can't think of their name. But they bought a BMW gt like the station wagon.

Unknown Speaker  1:27:13  
Type body. They were the only one. They were the one in our area in our market area. Oh, God, that car.

Unknown Speaker  1:27:22  
When we invited them to that

Unknown Speaker  1:27:26  
they have such a moral problem with movies that they said we don't go to movies. Because

Unknown Speaker  1:27:36  
and we quite literally, they were buying lots of cars from us. They send lots of friends and they were like part of the family. We literally talk them into it like, Look, it's Mission Impossible and what could go wrong, and it's action and where's the morals?

Unknown Speaker  1:27:54  
And that was difficult, the first couple that stood up and walked out of there? Well, you know, every time I see Jonah Hill on any movie, I think of Jeff Sterns at the same time. So it's not just because of my bill, I understand. No, not at all, just the fact that you recovered well, and you, you know, you You broke a few jokes and apologized and treated people with respect, like you always do. And I think that made it made a difference. But you know, there is there is a funny one, you know, speaking of cars, you know, I, for the record for the people that are willing to watch our session together for the 8% that are still watching continue. Exactly, for those of you that haven't dropped off, you know, an old boss taught me once he said, it's always good to make a deal when both sides leave happy. And I thought, you know, that's good advice. Because when you buy a car, I disagree. But

Unknown Speaker  1:28:49  
well, when you buy a car, right, I always thought my job is to get the best possible deal and make it painful for the person selling me the car, because you know what they need to deal more than I do, and it needs to hurt. But that's actually not the right way to do business, maybe cars, but outside of cars is not the right way. So I realized that it's better to be fair, so that the person wants to do business with you again, and come back because ultimately, especially now with supply chain the way it is, in some cases, the customer buying the car is held victim to what the dealer wants to do for you. They don't have to give the car away. There's there's not an abundance in in all cases, especially with especially car. So that being said there was there was, you know, I learned that and I learned that be fair.

Unknown Speaker  1:29:44  
treat people the way you want to be treated but also hold people accountable. And if there's a quirk that I have, there's one thing that I'm not very good at is if someone treats me badly or steals from me or is doing

Unknown Speaker  1:30:00  
honest, I have a hard time with that. So I dig in pretty well. And there was a car manufacturer I had a big problem with.

Unknown Speaker  1:30:08  
And I drove this car from Florida to Maine.

Unknown Speaker  1:30:12  
With my dog couple years ago, all kinds of electronic issues, none of the brands we mentioned. And I kept trying to get the car fixed, they couldn't fix it halfway to mean 100 degree weather, no air conditioning, car wouldn't start stuck on the side of the road, you know, $100,000 car is just ridiculous. They wouldn't fix it, they wouldn't lemon the car, they wouldn't replace the car. So I get all the way to me. And finally, it was a struggle. And I said, I went to the local dealer said, Okay, I need you to call your head office, please help me.

Unknown Speaker  1:30:46  
In six months of records car's been out of use for 90 days in a year, I would like another car, same thing. A buyback or upgrade doesn't matter. But I need to go back to Florida. And I need to bring this dog back to Florida.

Unknown Speaker  1:31:05  
And I'm not driving without AC. So I finally get ahold of a local Rep. While I would say a person in office. He calls me with some attitude and says we're not buying the car back. We're not doing anything for you. This is on a Friday.

Unknown Speaker  1:31:22  
And I said, Well, you know, I've all nine of these things. I'm not a bad customer, all my neighbors by him now I'm kind of a brand advocate. I'm not trying to ask for any favors, but you really got to understand where I'm coming from and what's happened. And he's like, nope, we're not helping you.

Unknown Speaker  1:31:38  
said okay, I said, I'm, you're gonna make me dig in. This is not going to be pretty for you. I said, Do you want to escalate to your boss? This is like the North American headquarters for this company. So why don't you just escalate for me and see if they'll help me. I don't want anything for free. But I'll pay mileage What have you had two miles on the car? Just get me a car that can drive back to Florida or give me a loaner. I don't care, but I can't put the dog in the belly of an airplane. And I can't drive without AC. Nope, not helping. You said all right, I'm going to give you till Monday. If you don't call me back Monday with a good solution. I'm going to run a private jet. And I'm gonna fly the dog back on the private plane. And you're gonna pay for it.

Unknown Speaker  1:32:22  
And he's now at this point. He's laughing. He says, We will never pay for that. We don't do that. He's a younger guy. We don't do that. You can't do that. I said no, I'm doing it like you. You gotta help me out. I'm doing it.

Unknown Speaker  1:32:36  
Come Monday. Nothing. I call him again. Just to be nice. I'm like, give a solution for me. He's like, nope. I said Really? Like, nothing. You're not even gonna help me? No. Okay, I told you. So I went online. Got a broker? rented a jet. I got I think it was a Hawker

Unknown Speaker  1:32:58  
talker. 400 No. Yeah. Was it a hugger? I think it was a Hawker. 400 anyway, long story short. They said how many people I said one and a half ago. What's the habit? So it's a it's a golden doodle? Like anybody else? I'm like, No, like, okay, shut up at the airport, put my golden doodle on the plane.

Unknown Speaker  1:33:20  
He sat on the floor, played with his toys. You know, all good. Two hours later, I'm in St. Pete.

Unknown Speaker  1:33:27  
and a half hour after that. He's jumping in the swimming pool happy as a clam and homesafe. Right. That was the goal. So I follow up.

Unknown Speaker  1:33:37  
I send the email with the invoice. It was almost 16 $17,000 for the plane, I sent it to this kid in New Jersey. Oh, my God. I said, Listen,

Unknown Speaker  1:33:50  
in addition to buying the car back, you need to now add this $16,800 invoice to the bill because you're gonna pay for the plane. He doesn't know what to do. He calls me he's like I told you not to rent a plane. I said, and I told you to help me. So I also told him that I would talk to the CEO of the company. And I did. And I reached the CEO. And he put me in touch with his VP of customer service. And the guy was excellent. And the guy said to me goes, Larry, and goes, I

Unknown Speaker  1:34:24  
had a nice well written letter explaining what happened and the time he goes, I don't understand why this didn't get to me. He goes, I would have fixed this problem in 30 seconds. I said, Well, you know what? I pleaded with your people to get this to you because I figured somebody at your level would want to help. So we're gonna negotiate because what do you want? I said, I just want a car that works. I don't want any money. I don't want anything for free.

Unknown Speaker  1:34:45  
So he puts me in touch with another guy. The other guy's like, absolutely. I'm going to take care of this for you. How about this car? How about that car? If you get a bigger car with more engine more money, you just pay the difference? I said, Fine. He goes and you got to pay mileage. You know, it's about 55 cents a mile.

Unknown Speaker  1:35:00  
So I owed him about $16,000 in mileage, right?

Unknown Speaker  1:35:06  
And I said, Oh, okay, I'll make the deal with you. But you got to pay for my airplane.

Unknown Speaker  1:35:13  
Like,

Unknown Speaker  1:35:15  
we don't pay for airplanes. I'm like, No, I know you don't I agree with you. You should never pay for somebody's airplane, but you're going to pay for mine. And he looks at me, he goes, ready to buy. So I'll send you the bill right now. And I said, I'm going to send you the email that I sent to your people warning you that you'd pay for the airplane. So long story short, the 16,000. I would vote for mileage, he looked at the bill and the mileage he goes

Unknown Speaker  1:35:37  
out, Okay, how about we just even I said, Okay, you got to do. So. The joke was beautiful, you know, and it wasn't that I, I would have taken the dog back on the airplane anyway, I had to. But yeah, I had to dig in with these guys. And, you know, sometimes you have to do that. And it burns, it burns the energy out of you. And I almost stopped liking that brand. But this this guy was so good at recovering and so much kind of like you, Jeff, that he just said, Wait a minute, this is an easy problem to solve. And I'll just do it. So that was kind of a funny one. But, you know, goes back to the basics that, you know, I expect as well, as a customer, I want to be treated the way I would treat my customers. And I think the moral of that story is, you know, hard work and treating people the way you want to be treated always serves you pretty well. Got it and you say handle it like me. So I think the point is, as long as they succumb, we're all good.

Unknown Speaker  1:36:35  
No, you know, you can reach a compromise. I mean, just an equitable solution. I mean, that was the point. This guy, you know, this younger kid that obviously didn't have training or even know that he should go to his boss's boss or ask for help. His answer was, we're doing nothing. And that's not a solution for me or a guy like you. You're not gonna accept. There's no solution. How about a compromise? How about another proposal or something? And when he refused to do that, that's when I had to educate him in school him on now it right now that kind of like calling Michael J. Fox chicken. In right in Back to the Future. As soon as I start hearing up, that's the way it is, then I'm like you I can't help it. Even if it I could have made twice as much money doing something else and not focusing on it. I have a very hard time letting go of that. But I will tell you a funny one, a good one. But a funny one. It was actually my first 911 used one.

Unknown Speaker  1:37:35  
bought this car in Tampa Bay. And I went to my my best friend's house. And I said, Scott, let's go out to the mall. Let's go to one of the nice restaurants in Tampa. He says okay, he goes, but I'm driving. Because I want to leave early. I want to come home early. And I said, Well, my car's behind your car. Let's drive my car. It was a convertible. It was nice night out in Tampa is you know, and I said, we'll drive my car, but you can drive Scott. He goes, No, I don't want to drive your car. So come on, you know, I just got it. I want you to drive it. So we're driving on Hillsborough, going to Tampa.

Unknown Speaker  1:38:24  
And all of a sudden there's a Jaguar next to us. And we're parallel to this brand new Jaguar with temporary plates. Next thing we know that car is in the air at shoulder height. His wheel is at our shoulder. I'm in the passenger seat. It hits us, knocks us into the curb. he spins out goes over the bank man into a neighborhood you know the concrete walls. We stop. Were smoked everywhere steam. The car was running roll bars came up out of the back of a Porsche.

Unknown Speaker  1:38:56  
And there's a third car a Lexus? Everyone we get out we check everybody. Everybody's okay. Thank god right. There's a young girl she tried to join the eastbound traffic and she t boned this Jaguar so fast that it went in the air and hit us.

Unknown Speaker  1:39:16  
We max our insurance out his car is totaled. He just got it. My car's almost totaled, her car's totaled. We max out the insurance well I decide. Because I knew that this car is going to be a problem for me now that it's fixed. I have diminished value. So I get an appraisal. They said you have diminished value. It's at least 18,000 off book value. So the car might have been worth 40 now it's worth 22.

Unknown Speaker  1:39:42  
So the insurance company is ready to pay me. They said yep, we accept the claim. It's it's legit. We're gonna cut you a check. Great. They call me and they said

Unknown Speaker  1:39:53  
your car's been hit several times before you bought it. Now when I bought it, it was a certified Pre Owned, you know

Unknown Speaker  1:40:00  
Guaranteed never to be hit blah, blah, blah.

Unknown Speaker  1:40:03  
And the dealer had checked on previous work and validated that had never been hit. Well, the long story short is they didn't know either someone tricked them. So I'm back to the door. So we have a big problem, said I just lost an $18,000 diminished value claim. And now I have a diminished value car that you sold me that was hit. They looked at the paperwork. And the guy the guy was great, kind of like you. I won't mention his name for covenant reality, but he was great. And he said,

Unknown Speaker  1:40:37  
Well, why don't we just get your new car, we'll just sell you out of this car. We'll trade you out. I said that I want to trade. I don't want to buy a new car right now. He goes, Well, I'll make it worth your while. He's trying very hard. So this is three in the afternoon. I stay there all night. Everyone leaves. It's now nine at night. I had a, this is a 2003 911 and 2005. The new ones came out the 996 or 991. I think it was a beautiful black one in the showroom.

Unknown Speaker  1:41:08  
He said, Well, do you want to make a deal on this black one? I said no. I don't like black. I like gray. Which is true.

Unknown Speaker  1:41:15  
Mine's gray. Just give me a check. Give me my money back in my old car back. So at nine o'clock, Jeff.

Unknown Speaker  1:41:23  
This car was 70 some 1000. Mine was worth 20. He opens the doors of the dealership

Unknown Speaker  1:41:30  
basically says

Unknown Speaker  1:41:33  
Are we good? puts a template on the new one. I don't know how he did it. But he did. I can't remember all the all the details because this car or we even I said, Okay, we're even he goes, have a nice day, we never break a promise to a customer. This guy stepped up. Because he was so upset that they didn't know about what happened to my previous car that they said we're just gonna make it right. And I never forgot that. So that was a great story of somebody doing something that they didn't have to and it was kind of cool, right?

Unknown Speaker  1:42:10  
That is a wonderful story of somebody doing the right thing. And like the beginning of our conversation tonight, a thing I love about you as you keep your word. A thing I hate about that is it makes you stand out

Unknown Speaker  1:42:27  
that I love that this dealer did the right thing. And the thing that I don't like about the world is why is that such an exception? Yeah, it's

Unknown Speaker  1:42:38  
it's sad, right? You know, I remember coming back to Maine. And I told friends and family, I think I told my, my dad or my mom, is we're gonna have a bunch of work done on the house here. And everyone's gonna come on time. No one's gonna want any money until they're done. And we're happy.

Unknown Speaker  1:42:58  
And I said, Just watch. Sure enough army of people showed up at eight o'clock to start working on the house. And just to test the theory, it was my father was with me, said to one of the guys doing the masonry, I said, How much do I owe you? He goes, don't worry about it. When we're done, and you're happy, that's when you'll pay me. And that's the culture up here in New England, specifically me. And that's why if you know LL Bean, the retailer, they started this lifetime warranty back in 1800s. They've since changed some of it because people have taken advantage of their warranty terms. But their logic back then was if you ever had a problem with our product, we don't want you to be unhappy. We just want to make it right. And that's kind of the mentality here that people just want to do a good job. Now there's outliers, of course, and there's tons of outliers in different parts of the country in Florida. Unfortunately, because of so many different cultures living there and moving there. Sometimes it's tough to find a really good tradesman or service person or what have you. Great people in Florida, no disrespect, but try to get your lawn done the same way twice. I mean, how many of us have had five or 10 lawn guys, right? And that's just how it goes. But conversely, if you're in Maine, you have a lawn guy, but you kind of have him for 30 years until he dies he'll die on the lawnmower before you fire him because he just he's never going to do a bad job. So there's something refreshing about that when I came back here that people reminded me of what mattered and it was so simple right? Just do what you're supposed to do without anybody looking. And that's kind of a motto I try to live by the other thing that I think helped and you know I you know working for yourself you eat what you kill you know what that's like you there's no free lunch so you know I don't want it to sound easy and glossy. I I'm a small business owner and entrepreneur and you know we make money when we when our businesses are healthy but

Unknown Speaker  1:44:56  
it is very, it is very refreshing to keep your word

Unknown Speaker  1:45:00  
When it comes to simple things that a lot of people don't do anymore, show up on time. You know, you have a meeting with somebody, be there don't cancel on people. There's so many people nowadays think it's okay to cancel.

Unknown Speaker  1:45:15  
They they're so used to it in their generation, specifically the younger generation that hey, Jeff, I'm just not going to have the call today, because I'm busy. Well, what about the fact that you scheduled it and you carve time out of your schedule for such a thing. So there's a lack of respect in certain areas, in certain people, and in certain, certain generations that that needs to stop. And I think that it's kind of our job, you know, my age bracket, I'm 47, I'm right in the middle. I think I, you know, I think I owe people that work for me some, some schooling on the fact that you give your word and you do it. And part of that stems into our restaurant businesses, we have a couple of small restaurants up here.

Unknown Speaker  1:46:03  
It's a tough business, we're in a highly competitive market, it's highly concentrated. It's a great business with two different concepts. But we're in the heart of the city where all the action is. And last summer, we didn't have one person call out one shift. Nobody missed the shift. That never happens in the restaurant business. Now, we got lucky, of course, but what we really have, and I'm very proud of it is we have this micro culture, this little culture within this small sunlight, somewhat small business of people that care about us and about the business and about the customer so much that they don't want to miss work, and they don't want to hurt their colleague. And when we hire people, we try to tell them that up front, and we try to screen and make sure we're finding the right people, we say things like,

Unknown Speaker  1:46:58  
nobody's too proud to pick up broken glass or protect the customer. None of us are above, you know, doing any of that. There's no hierarchy here, you have a job, but you also have the ultimate job, which is to keep customers coming back. And then we say things like, if you're not able to be here on time, every time and help your colleagues have a great day and a great shift, you won't fit in. If you don't plan to stay here long term, don't come tomorrow. And if you can't smile and be a good teammate, don't come at all we say things like that. And we've been so lucky, Jeff, we've got so many great employees, not, you know, not a lot of employees or small business, but we have the ones we have are great. And it's almost seems like the not so great ones. They don't even apply. I think they see our team. And they're they're somewhat awestruck by it. customers tell us, we have the best service standard in the town. And last year, we're still new business, we won five out of 15 Awards in the city, you know, Best Restaurant, best service, best date night best drink best, you know, you name it. And that was because of our people. So we're quite proud of that. And I think that's part of what makes me tick that. Whether you're selling cars, or you're selling food, or you're, you're buying something, it seems to come back to the person that matters most. And people do business with people. And I believe that, you know, we owe people an education on what customers want. Larry, I always said that to my sales people and service people that you're not competing with the other dealership, you're competing with the other person, cuz I don't know, an entity I know the person that I deal with, at the entity. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I, I think if the one thing I can take going into, you know, my 50s and so on is I want people to always say, whenever I do business with Larry, he did what he said, if not more. And if I need something, I can call this person or this guy, and he's gonna deliver. And it can be miniscule. It's so easy to have an excuse on why you couldn't do something. And it's sometimes hard to just do what you promise, right? We all run out of time. Our days are busy, and I'm far from perfect. But you know what, in my, in my world now, I don't have hundreds of employees reporting into me and I have my own little agency. And then I have the restaurants. We have kind of a heart. We have a nice org chart and a nice team. Somebody needs something and they're counting on you. My motto is you've got to do it and do it fast and do it with a smile and move on to the next thing. So yeah, so Larry, the hourglass is running out but I don't want to lose you without hearing about the plane that Oh,

Unknown Speaker  1:50:00  
almost didn't make it going out of Kiev.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:03  
Yeah. You know,

Unknown Speaker  1:50:05  
something about Eastern Europe and their their aeronautical skills or their desire. I mean, God love them. But yeah, I remember I had to fly into Kiev from Brussels.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:17  
I think it was Ukrainian air. Right blue and yellow tail think it's Ukrainian Ukrainian airlines. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:24  
And they were hesitant. I remember when I had the book to ticket Brussels said, we're not sure if they're flying. I'm like, Oh, that's not good at all. That's just not good. But I needed to get there. So I think it was a Friday Night Flight. And a Saturday morning meeting.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:40  
I flew in. I was in the back of the plane. It was the worst meal ever. I mean, it was hot, mind you that they somehow were able to heat the food up, but then they wrapped it in this

Unknown Speaker  1:50:51  
shell of aluminum that just was scary to open. And I remember landing the flight crew was nice for the plane was rough, really rough. And it snowed over the weekend, flying back out on a Sunday night. And I'm looking at the airport, I have my private license. So I like aviation. And I always like to understand the weather and what's going on and what's not going on. And I didn't see a de icing crew, which was a first indication that there might be a problem. And I also didn't see plowed trucks plowing the runway. And the snow was building up. But I did see a snowbank at the end of the runway. So

Unknown Speaker  1:51:35  
get on the plane, I'm waiting for the D ice, no D ice. I'm watching the ice build up on the wing. It's not so bad, or I would have got off the plane, but it was questionable. we line up on the runway, there's no wind, of course, he's got the runway heading which is bringing us right towards the end of the runway where the snow banks and pine trees are.

Unknown Speaker  1:51:55  
And that's recipe for problems. And this guy, I would have done a short field takeoff. You know, your, your listeners that fly, especially commercial pilots, they know very well, more than I do what you need to do in that case, but you certainly do nice and you certainly make sure you have enough runway.

Unknown Speaker  1:52:15  
He barely got off the ground. And by the time we got to the end of the runway, the gear blasted through the snowbank we were probably six feet off the ground. I mean, he should have been 100 200 feet in the air by them. But he used all the runway to to gain altitude. I don't know what he did wrong. Obviously, we had a full plane, probably heavy on fuel.

Unknown Speaker  1:52:40  
Temperature wasn't a problem because it was cold. So your air density is great. But we plowed to the runway, the gears down, of course, because you're in low altitude and snow and ice banging against the fuselage. So now I'm thinking, you know, we're not going to have a gear that works. When we get the Brussels Sure enough, gear goes up. They circle a little bit because the gear wasn't indicating that it was green. When they were ready to land in Brussels, we finally get down the land and Brussels get off the plane. Next day, Ukrainian airlines ceases operations in Brussels. They were shut down due to unsafe conditions. But there was a few close calls like that. And you know, it's an all due respect to our to our friends from Ukraine or Russia, just you know, the airline was underfunded and didn't have the budget to protect. It was also during the conflict of Ukraine and Russia. So there was a funding issue and so on. But yeah, they, they they almost they almost didn't make it so.

Unknown Speaker  1:53:41  
But yeah, that that happens often. Right, Larry? Yeah, that's

Unknown Speaker  1:53:47  
scary, right? Indeed, indeed. So amazing. I look. Looking at the clock. I'm not looking at the clock because I'm bored. I'm looking at the clock because I'm blown away. We've been together a couple hours. Well, that's gonna take you to negotiate with me on a car. I mean, Jesus, there's nothing new here. That's that's actually the when we're down to the final $10 a month.

Unknown Speaker  1:54:13  
So now we're down to the final couple hours. $10 and we may need to have you back on but look, Larry, you're a great friend. I mean, you started out as a client, you became a wonderful friend. Our lives have intertwined quite a bit. Professionally personally.

Unknown Speaker  1:54:33  
I'm grateful because I know you're busy. You have a lot of businesses, you're planning your wedding, you got your new love your life, your life partner, you got a lot going on. And you made time to come on here. I what I really hope for just like in your restaurant that's known for just the best service. I hope people listen to these and say, you know, that's an interesting story that was worth my time. I really hope we deliver some value. I was riveted. So

Unknown Speaker  1:55:00  
Me, I'll get my mother to watch. I promise you'll have a couple fans no matter what. I appreciate that. And remember, somebody taught me this as well. Price is what you pay. And value is what you get. That's important. Yeah. Now you say that, indeed, you never said that to me in the showroom.

Unknown Speaker  1:55:20  
Unless of course, I'm buying a car from you, then none of that matters. Go back today. Because their philosophy when you were buying for me was, if I could recall the translation was price, price, price, price price, and while you're at it, can I get a side dish of price and while you're getting that, can you get me some price?

Unknown Speaker  1:55:36  
And don't forget the floor mats.

Unknown Speaker  1:55:41  
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Unknown Speaker  0:02  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns,

Unknown Speaker  0:21  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, and I'm here with my great friend, Larry Constantine. And I want to tell you a little bit about Larry, before we get started, first of all, you might notice that our imperfections that are a little more clear, we changed recording software. And now we have a little bit higher resolution. So thanks for all the feedback from everyone on that. So I'll let Larry tell the story of where I disappeared to during it was at our first car dealer. Yeah, absolutely. I almost are last but yeah, you know, working, working with your sales team trying to make a deal on I think my first BMW, and, you know, like, always needed the sales manager to get involved in the negotiation. And they were running paper and pen back and burning through ink. And the salesperson came over very politely and said, you know, Larry, would you mind coming back? Maybe tomorrow, our sales manager had to step out. I said, I'm in the middle of a negotiation here. You're gonna throw me off my game. I said, Who's your sales manager said Jeff Sterns. I said, Okay, I don't know him. Where do you step out to? She goes, hold on, I'll be right back. So she comes back. And she says,

Unknown Speaker  1:31  
I don't know if I should tell you this or not. But he went trick or treating,

Unknown Speaker  1:35  
trick or treating? I said, How do I even answer that? Either he's an adolescent, or he's got a great family that he cares about? And the answer was, you have an amazing family, and you always put them first. And I thought to myself, you know, what is a good guy, I got to meet him. And I'll come back. So a couple hours later, you called me if you remember. And you said, Hey, I'm back from tricker trading, let's get that car deal wrapped up. And I think the history speaks for itself. But I appreciated you very much for who you were as the father and the husband and the parent. And I thought, you know, what is a good guy to do business with so? Well, Thanks for the compliment. So for the civilian not in the car business, we live pretty much. Well, I was gonna say 12, but it's really 11 last day of the month, and then the last week of the year,

Unknown Speaker  2:29  
is really the Super Bowl. So getting out at 10 1112 1am on the last day of the month is not uncommon certainly wasn't for me. And then the last week of the year, Christmas to New Year's or a couple days after New Year's, depending on over the weekend falls, where the manufacturer finishes out the year, I'd never gotten home, Larry, I'd never gotten home in my life before 11 o'clock at night in the last week of the year, ever. So

Unknown Speaker  2:54  
leaving the last day of the month was very, very unorthodox. And of course, Halloween is the last day of the month. So but my kids knew once the trick or treating was done, and we ate a few together, I was gonna be heading back because there be a few hours to go. But I want to tell you a little bit about a little more about Larry, very, very interesting guy. And you're gonna find

Unknown Speaker  3:16  
Larry's what I call a boat, very rare of both sides of the brain. I think you use both sides of your brain. And I don't know if you're like the movie where the guy takes the little clear pill and then he gets like times a million or we don't use your whole brain. I can't.

Unknown Speaker  3:31  
But you're very engineer ish.

Unknown Speaker  3:35  
And you're very sales ish.

Unknown Speaker  3:38  
So let me put it another way to install all the engineers out there.

Unknown Speaker  3:44  
Just because you could think engineer ish doesn't mean that you're really boring. So I mean, you could really talk to anybody. So I want to talk a little bit about Larry. And give it a little history. So just having Larry there on the screen may have me do all the talking. He may not have to say anything. I'll just tell the whole thing about Larry. But Larry bought a number of cars from us. Larry was always very likable, polite, great stories, personable, well traveled can tell stories relate to anyone about anything.

Unknown Speaker  4:18  
Yet when it came down to numbers negotiation,

Unknown Speaker  4:22  
he became very easy to not like let's put it that way. Is is much it was unorthodox for me to leave in the middle of a deal which is unheard of last day of the month but it was Halloween well that cost you the whole back didn't

Unknown Speaker  4:37  
Larry

Unknown Speaker  4:39  
would walk out over $1.80 payment difference on a lease no problem and let your stew on it let you punish you know, think about your, your consequence because you didn't make his deal. But a beautiful thing about Larry is he would come into visit socially like a lot of our customers used to do so. I was proud of the social aspect. But later

Unknown Speaker  5:00  
Woods dropping on a Saturday, I think you'd just be bopping around and maybe your m three, or maybe your Harley Davidson just enjoying the weather enjoying the drive.

Unknown Speaker  5:11  
And then one of the salespeople would be having a struggle with a customer and Larry would be visiting me at my desk, the desk that the salespeople are bringing their offers into. So he's hanging around hearing the salespeople come in, explain their situation, I need a lease, I need a loan, I need an appraisal, the customer wants to leave because of this, they're not happy with, you know, whatever's going on whatever story is being told. And Larry, without invitation, dare I say without permission, more than once had gone in to talk to the customer for the salesperson

Unknown Speaker  5:44  
and got the canoe unstuck sideways in the river and going downstream, again, for sales people more than one time, which is really amazing who you can speak to, which is anybody now when I talk about this engineering, hopefully we'll get into it on today's show. If we don't run out of time before it's your time to talk.

Unknown Speaker  6:04  
But when I met you, you were in the window film, manufacturing and I think inventing the certain type of film of my right, sure. Yeah, absolutely. Yep. Okay. And you can explain if you think it's interesting, but I found it fascinating when Larry explain how you've heard of titanium film, I always thought titanium film film, you know, like your by, you know, you get your American Express card, right? The green, the gold, the black, the Onyx, the Titan, you know, whatever. I just thought that was like the higher level film or stronger, but apparently, they're varying metals, that you can explode in a room. And then if I recall, there's magnets that make all the particles face the same way. And then there's this melting molten plastic that they fall into that eventually dries and turn into a film to have different UV or I'm sorry, yeah, so that's ultraviolet. But there's other lights that you blocked too, right? What are they right? infrared? Right? Yeah, you block infrared, you'll block ultraviolet light. And then of course, you'll control visible light in the simple term tinting is the visible portion. But yeah, it's a it's a very mature business at this stage. It's been around about 40 years. And, you know, window film was the simple word for what I was doing for a long time, but it ultimately grew into a very precise and scientific based business. And you're right, Jeff, titanium was one of the metals used by my former company, and they actually pioneered putting complex metals high performing metals into plastics, if you will. And that was done in a metallizing chamber. It's a zero vacuum. Imagine creating a vision and plasma in a in a giant chamber and use rotatable cathodes. And you take atomic levels of each metal and bombarded with gas great explosions, like a piston in the car, and it attaches to the film. Well, what you want to do with that film is cut the heat from the sun, control some light, so that you can see more comfortably when you're driving or you're in your home, but not make it opaque. And that's really the magic behind it. It's how you deposit the chemistry and how you get it to code onto the film. And, and that's that's a pretty substantial business these days.

Unknown Speaker  8:31  
Like I said, about using both sides of his brain,

Unknown Speaker  8:36  
kind of a boring topic, but Larry actually brought it to life. So one more little story. And I promised we're going to get Larry involved with today's visit.

Unknown Speaker  8:48  
When I left the car business, I joined car chat 24. And Larry did what he usually did when he came into the dealership for service.

Unknown Speaker  8:58  
He called me and said, Hey, hole, I'm in your service department.

Unknown Speaker  9:03  
Come visit or Where are you? And I let him know that I just left the BMW store where I'd spent about eight years.

Unknown Speaker  9:12  
And he says, Where are you? And I said, Well, I'm selling chat and support and software now. And he says, will it translate? You remember this? Yeah. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  9:24  
Larry says will it translate to other languages? I said, I'm sure and I'm VP of sales. But at the time I'm working from home I'm, I'm VP of Sales over no one.

Unknown Speaker  9:33  
And of course, I'm very excited to do anything to expand the company. So we went to lunch. And at the time

Unknown Speaker  9:43  
I believe in you'd sold your window film business to a company that hired you, and you were over Europe and Middle East. Yeah, Europe, Middle East Africa, India and living in Brussels. Okay, so you know, not a very well traveled guy.

Unknown Speaker  9:58  
And did you have

Unknown Speaker  10:00  
And maybe I created this about you, you know, my James Bond, man crush on you. Did you have an apartment and a car and a couple of these places? Yeah, absolutely. It was. It was a second life and the full deal for xpad treatment company was great. So yeah, apartments, cars, people, translators, you name it. So Larry says,

Unknown Speaker  10:23  
Okay, well, the Middle East, your software may have difficulty there.

Unknown Speaker  10:30  
Be Eastern Europe. He says, what time of year could you travel? And I says, I don't know, let's say end of July.

Unknown Speaker  10:37  
So he says, hmm, if you're gonna go end of July,

Unknown Speaker  10:41  
I think where you should go

Unknown Speaker  10:44  
is somewhere in South Ukraine where the Russians are on the Black Sea.

Unknown Speaker  10:51  
And we'll get you introduced.

Unknown Speaker  10:54  
Now, I go,

Unknown Speaker  10:57  
well, it'll be a story for another day, it was Fashion Week

Unknown Speaker  11:02  
in Ukraine. And it sounded like horse hooves going up and down the street, but it was high heels.

Unknown Speaker  11:11  
And Larry says,

Unknown Speaker  11:13  
how's it going there so far? And of course, with an exotic car background, I certainly run many auto shows with exotic cars, hired models and can spot models. And, you know, not that I was so into interacting with them. But just like being able to spot a line of work. I said, Well, there's a lot of models in town. I think there's a car show, or exotic car show. And he said, Well, you know, welcome to Ukraine, and it's Fashion Week and whatever. Right. So fast forward.

Unknown Speaker  11:41  
I got a translator. And now to talk about getting into car dealerships. I have to deal with the guy

Unknown Speaker  11:54  
that could potentially get me introduced. Do you remember this? I do. Yeah, I do.

Unknown Speaker  12:00  
So the translator, Boris

Unknown Speaker  12:06  
says, Listen, when these guys are gonna come to your hotel tonight. You'll meet them in the lobby.

Unknown Speaker  12:12  
What do you drink? You need to drink with them? What do you drink? And I said, I don't drink. And he says, Okay, then maybe just have five or six shots with these guys.

Unknown Speaker  12:25  
True.

Unknown Speaker  12:27  
So I said, I really I like I really don't drink. And he figured it out. And he got everybody one of the flask size bottles of vodka, I believe, put water in mine. And then everybody got a can of coke or whatever they drink next to it. And he introduces me around, and everybody's drinking. And we're in the lobby, and I think it's like a 1am.

Unknown Speaker  12:52  
And, you know, we're toasting the Titanic, and we're toasting Khrushchev and you know, all that stuff. And finally, I tell a guided to a joke, you know, blank yourself. And next thing you know, it's like, blank, my mother blank, my sister, and he's standing up like a drunk jock at a party.

Unknown Speaker  13:14  
Now, he's a little guy, but I felt like he could take me apart. And I'm thinking and the only way as he standing up, the only thing that's going through my mind is the calculations of how close I should be to Him or away from him to allow whatever punch is in it. Now he's

Unknown Speaker  13:35  
in Russian swearing and yelling. The translators trying to talk them down. Now. I've been telling jokes all night, and the translator has been translating. I mean, they've been laughing we've been hugging kissing toasting.

Unknown Speaker  13:45  
So finally, while I could see he's uncoiling, a little bit with the translator,

Unknown Speaker  13:52  
I can tell that he's relaxing. I decided to go closer because how hard can he hit me? Closer and I move a little closer, give him a hug. Give him a kiss on the cheek. And then he's like, crazy Americano, you know, and we went back to toasting everyone. But I was wondering, does my health insurance work here?

Unknown Speaker  14:08  
And will I have a wallet when this is all over? So what's interesting about Larry is he was an entrepreneurial entrepreneur, and then he went corporate, and then he went back to entrepreneur. So do you feel like participating in tonight's conversation? jump in? Sure. Yeah. Happy to take the time. Now, you know what, Jeff, I appreciate it and like what you're doing here. So thanks for the opportunity. You know, I you know, I'm not a big time entrepreneur, big time corporate guy. I just had the opportunity to have some great experiences. But really, I think it started you know, at a young age, I was always watching my father, who was an entrepreneur for a long time. My grandfather was an entrepreneur and inventor immigrated from Italy and self made man 1.7 100 employees and in the botanist, botany section of New Jersey.

Unknown Speaker  15:00  
You are Italian, he gave you a job and he invented the hermetic seal for the quartz crystal and always taught me as a kid. You know, treat your treat your employees and your customers well, and the money adds up. So I always remembered that, but I always wanted to work. And lemonade stands just weren't going to cut it because unfortunately at a young age, I had a passion for cars.

Unknown Speaker  15:24  
And you rewind in time, my father and grandfather always had nice cars, avanti, studebakers Corvettes, and my dad's first car when he was 15 was a 1961 Corvette Honduras Maroon with white inserts real knockoffs. And in high school, he would drive that car around. But what made that car a little bit better, was his girlfriend for five plus years was Deborah Harry Blondie. So all the pictures with this Corvette came with Blondie, this very attractive blonde lady, who at the time was an artist, she wasn't a singer, she was actually a painter. She wasn't blonde yet. She wasn't blonde. She was Deborah Harry, but I thought, jeez, you get a nice Corvette, you get a nice blonde girlfriend. That sounds pretty great to me. But I learned about cars, and I loved them. So I knew I better get to work. There's no free lunch in life. And at 12. At an older friend, I'm 12 years old, it's summer. In New Hampshire, I have an older friend, he says, Hey, I just got a job at a furniture store. I deliver furniture all over New England. And I can get you in. But you have to be 16. And I said, great. I'm 16. And he goes perfect. The owners are on vacation. So they won't ask you to give paperwork. But you can start now. And for about a week, 10 days, maybe we delivered furniture all over New England. It was the best thing ever. I knew I was making money I was gonna save for a car at some point. And the owners came back and they said, Hey, I just want to talk to you for a minute. I said, Sure. They said, You're fired. And I said, Why am I fired? They said you do a great job. Don't get us wrong. We love the work you did for the last 10 days. But you're 12 and you actually need to be 16 to work here. So that was my first job. And I got fired from it in less than a week. I didn't even get a paycheck. They had to mail me the money. And I thought, Okay, I guess I need to wait. But, you know, the itch was there. And I thought, I don't want any handouts. And you know, I'll mow some lawns and, you know, shovel some driveways. But ultimately, I need to do something a little bit more exciting. So

Unknown Speaker  17:37  
and then, you know, I got into this, this window film business by accident. It was girlfriend in West Virginia. Ironically, she had a beautiful iraq z Camaro.

Unknown Speaker  17:52  
And she came home one day with tinted windows. And I said, How did you do that? Where did you go? She goes, Oh, I did it myself. So well, you need to, you need to show me how to do that. So she did. And the next thing in West Virginia in high school, I was known as the guy that could make your car look better. So that gave me some some walking money as well. But I knew for me it was all about the car, right? You know, I needed a car to look good. I wanted to feel good in the car. I just I just liked them. So you know, that's where I got my first experience in, in this film business. And of course, as you mentioned earlier, it grew into a career from being an entrepreneur, having retail sites, basically, you know, tuning and accessorizing your vehicles, it also has a architectural element. So don't get me wrong, about half of our lives are spent in our homes and buildings. That was a big part of my business, and then eventually wound up working for the manufacturer and I'll explain what I what I did for them. But you know, in high school in college, it was really you know, how do I get a car? How do I make enough money to buy a car? How do I pay the insurance because my parents treated me well. But you know, it wasn't a free lunch either. At 17 I bought a limousine because I thought well, I can start a limo business on the weekends and make money and that'll get me a new car. And I remember

Unknown Speaker  19:19  
I remember buying the limousine it turned out it was a it was a game from Connecticut, a Latin Kings pretty notorious at the time. They sold me the car it was an autotrader deal. They drip delivered the car to Portland, Maine in a blizzard. And

Unknown Speaker  19:37  
I had a friend with me because I was a little suspect that these guys weren't always the, you know, the most upfront guys. I said, Would you like a bank cheque? They said no, we want cash. Like Okay, so

Unknown Speaker  19:51  
you know, I got the cash they showed up and they wanted more money than what they advertised.

Unknown Speaker  20:00  
It turns out that I had the cheesiest leather jacket that Wilson's leathers has ever made. And if you recall Wilson's leathers, they made one jacket that had probably every color under the rainbow, green, red, yellow. But the back of the jacket looked like the Mercedes logo. It was not it was just where the leather seams went together. And these guys wanted $9,500 in cash. And they weren't happy with that. And they were all packing. One of them had a Mercedes. And I said, I don't have any more money. This is all I've got. But I'll give you this custom made Mercedes jacket, if you call it good. And I remember holding up the jacket, and he looked at the logo. And he goes, Yeah, man, we're good. And I walked away with a limousine. So fast forward, I couldn't get a license to be a limo driver didn't really have the time. So it was actually a very poorly laid out plan. But I did drive the limo to high school. And that was a big hit. So I flipped it sold it did something else. But yeah, I was always trying to find a way to earn even while I was in school, and you know, always didn't mind putting the work in, ultimately wound up opening pizza places, getting a taste in the hospitality business. And that was that was great training, you know, you're you're working really hard customer, by customer, kind of like the car business, you have to earn your customers, they need to come back, you need to make money over and over. And I think that taught me a discipline of both the financial side, but also customer intimacy, how you treat people and what it means when they come back. So I got out of that business, went to college in Maine, and then focused a little bit more on this, this window film business

Unknown Speaker  21:53  
grew my my, I would say New England based business into something, you know, pretty decent, it was providing a great living. We're doing great things for people making them safer, more comfortable and enjoying their, their drives and their vehicles and so on.

Unknown Speaker  22:09  
And then I was asked by one of the companies making the film, if I'd consider joining them.

Unknown Speaker  22:18  
And I remember I just bought a house in Maine, life was good. And I thought I don't want to work for anybody. Why would I do that? That's crazy. But I was alone. You know, when you're an entrepreneur or you're a small business owner, that's maybe the best term, you're by yourself, unless you're a partner. So I thought I could always go back to my small entrepreneurial life, but maybe I should try being part of something bigger. So I joined in 2001, change my life moved from New England down to Clearwater, Florida. And

Unknown Speaker  22:53  
I was hired as a sales manager and showed quite a bit of promise, I think I was energetic. I liked the business, I you know, I worked very hard, I worked long hours, of course, then wound up taking on a global role as a product manager, and then wound up traveling quite a bit and seeing the different cultures,

Unknown Speaker  23:13  
you know, in 70, plus countries, and it part of the left brain right brain, and I appreciate the compliment is probably the fact that I've been able to work with so many different people from around the world, they're a lot smarter than I am, that have kind of taught you that.

Unknown Speaker  23:33  
It's not always ready shooting, it's measure, measure, cut, and, or aim and then shoot. And there is a, I think a balance between what an American style might be which is let's go get them. And let's win. And maybe a European style, which is a little bit more reserved, and you know, let's analyze, let's crunch numbers, let's maybe try the Americans are like now we're going forward. The Europeans might say now it's too risky. So I was able to kind of adopt the best from both sides. And I would say that's probably what I appreciate the most about my opportunity is I can, I can argue with myself very well. So at any rate, you know, wild up climbing the ladder, if you will, a company was very good to me provided several opportunities. And I remember them pressuring me, they said, Hey,

Unknown Speaker  24:26  
you need to,

Unknown Speaker  24:29  
you need to move to California, and you're in Clearwater are big operations. in California. If you're going to be the global guy, you're going to be in California. And there was no way in hell I was moving to California at that time. 2004 2005. Market pricing was outrageous. I remember the mortgage broker said, Hey, we'll get you a first mortgage, a second mortgage, we'll get you a third if you need it, whatever you want. And you can pay a million dollars for a house that's worth 200 grand, but we know you're never going to be home because you travel all the time. So when you want to move here, I said I'm not doing it.

Unknown Speaker  25:00  
Essentially, and the company said, You're not coming. I said, Now I know that doesn't make sense. I'm not coming. So then they said, well, would you move to Europe? We have a problem in Europe. And we would like to consider you to run that business. I said, Yeah, I'll go to Europe. I remember my boss at the time, he goes, wait a minute, you won't come to sunny California, but you're going to move to rainy Belgium. Why would you do that? I said, opportunities better. I've, you know, there's things to be fixed there. I think I can help with that. And I want to fix something. So let me add it. So on that moving over there, but

Unknown Speaker  25:40  
it was 2002 2005, packed up, basically had a very, very big holding company that owned our business unit. They were Belgium base. So Belgium was their home turf. They treated you like gold anyway. And it was a you know, full x pack package. And I remember showing up in Belgium by myself. And I was told my company car would be in this parking spot, and I'd get the keys to my apartment. And I had ordered all this furniture from IKEA, because that was the thing to do over there. So I arrived, it's cold, it's rainy. It's about 3334 degrees Fahrenheit. So just enough not to be snow, but very cold. I get to my apartment at 11 at night. I

Unknown Speaker  26:27  
barely found the right key to work, but I got in. And I'm so excited because I knew that I paid the guy to bring my furniture from IKEA and assemble it and have it all together. And all I want to do is sit down and take a shower, use the internet. My IKEA furniture was still on the pallet. I don't know how they got the pallet in the apartment. It was shrink wrap strap down. It looked like it was getting shipped, you know, air cargo, completely untouched. So I call my realtor she picks up midnight said you know Ariel, buy my furnitures like not assembled. She goes Oh, I'm so sorry about that. He can come out in two weeks. Like women. I have no bed, no furniture, no clothes, no nothing. So I I managed to find a fork and a knife inside the IKEA and I started screwing things together. And I wound up getting half a bed together about three in the morning. And that was my first welcoming gift to Europe when I moved there. But now Larry, you are single. You're single when you made that. Okay? Oh, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And yeah, it worked out timing wise. And I was single, and,

Unknown Speaker  27:40  
you know, had nothing keeping me to Florida or Maine. So I took the opportunity. And, you know, it was a lot of hard work, the business needed a lot of fixing. We had offices all over the region, partners and distributors all over the world, including in Russia and Turkey, and Cyprus and Africa, South Africa, Greece, you name it. And I had a pretty large team. So I kind of expected, you know, a lot of oversight. But this company at the time back art, our former parent company was great. They just basically said, Here are the keys and call us if you need us good luck. And we ran, we ran hard, and we fixed a lot of things. And I rebuilt the team and had some great people already there, we added some new great people. And it was no shortage of workload, Jeff, I mean, it was 20 hours a day and, you know, four to five countries a week minimum. And there was always something to put out. And again, it was films and plastics and coatings. And the thing that you know resonated with me and I take it, you know, I wake up with it every morning is that no matter where you're doing business, no matter what country you're in, these customers all want the same thing. They want to trust you. They want you to deliver your product or service on time. They want to know if they have a problem that you'll help them. And I think I brought a lot of that to the table and some of the new countries that we had done business in or started to do business and we never touched before. And that's always kind of been my mo that I shake your hand on a deal. It doesn't matter if I understand the language you're speaking or not, I'm going to carry through and honor my deal. If you're, you know, Ukrainian Russians, Saudi, German, Italian, we're going to get along and we're gonna make you know, business together, and I'm going to help you make money. So I think they knew that of me. And when I would go in with my teams, or sometimes I just go alone and blaze a new country that we've never talked to. And I always felt proud that, you know, I'm going to deliver what I say and vice versa, and hold these guys accountable. So anyway, enough of that. Yeah. Well, Larry, I love that you bring that up, you know, some of the feedback I've gotten on these episodes, because you know, the show's connected through

Unknown Speaker  30:00  
cars. And some people have said, Well, I wasn't gonna watch because they think it's about cars. And I'm not really into cars. And it's the people that I've met through the car business, obviously, that's how we met. And some of the feedback I've gotten from the people that don't consider themselves car people, but took a look, maybe because they knew me, or knew a friend that recommended it.

Unknown Speaker  30:25  
contacted me and said, What I find interesting is sure there's some car stuff on there, but the people with their stories and the life lessons, so.

Unknown Speaker  30:34  
And we, of course, can talk about cars. But when you said, what I'm proud of is I want to deliver what i say i'm going to deliver. There's a thing I love about that. And there's a thing that I don't love about that.

Unknown Speaker  30:48  
That's always been very important to me. That's how my dad brought me up. It's always made me nuts when people said, People want to renege on an agreement. Well, I mean, did you get the signature in the right spot? I mean, was there? Is there a technical way I can get out of this deal? Or did we shake on it? You know, whatever. I mean, to me,

Unknown Speaker  31:06  
even if you wish you didn't make the deal, even if something changed, even if you could find a higher offer through somebody else, or it's inconvenient, I believe in asking someone if I can get out of a deal if it's not good for me, and I feel that strongly about it. But it's up only if they'll let me out of it. Can I get out of it? Because I'm not, I'm not gonna break my word. Right? So I love that you said that. But here's what bothers me. What bothers me is, is coming in with that kind of an attitude. And I've come into a few businesses, and I don't want to say turn around, but certainly impacted their growth, whatever.

Unknown Speaker  31:45  
It's pretty much. I mean, if you boil it down, boil it down, boil it down to the serving spirit and keeping your work. It's really all it's been. I mean, there's many, many, many, many moving parts, but it really boils down to

Unknown Speaker  31:57  
urgency and integrity. Really, right, and understanding the other person. So the thing I don't like,

Unknown Speaker  32:04  
is Why is it such a game changer? When you come in with something like that? Why is the world not?

Unknown Speaker  32:12  
I think it's simple. I think there's Yeah, there's two types of customers, customers that are eager to do business with you, and customers that are scared. And the people that are scared to do business are scared for a reason. You know, they've been burned before they're traumatized from the past. They're traumatized. I mean, I've had many friends tell me, Hey, we know you like cars, we know that you get along with your car dealers. That's strange in itself, they tell me, but they also tell me, Hey, would you help me? Would you come with me if I go to buy a car, because we know that you're comfortable with it? So Well, the reason I'm comfortable with it is I don't do business with anybody I don't like. And I think I tried to put my customer hat on. And I you know, I'm not a brainchild of customer experience. But I think, you know, what taught me the most was 70 plus countries over and over again, and dealing with some very tough people, in some cases, brutally tough. And I'll tell you the Russia story in a minute, they ultimately accepted the same thing I was offering everyone else, I'll be here on time, you'll get what I promise, you won't get burned with me. And I was part of a large company. It wasn't my company. I didn't control everything. But I controlled enough where I could I could meet those promises. And if we weren't supplying on time, or there was an issue, I would be damned if I let me tell you what happened on my watch. And I think that was something that was new, because a lot of people, not necessarily my former company, but a lot of people take customers for granted, you know, especially in distribution, I was doing a lot of distribution to these foreign countries. So you know, once you go through the effort of earning the customer, sometimes it's easy to become a number, you know, the customer is buying month after month, millions of dollars add up and all of a sudden, people get complacent. And they say, Well, you know, how much am I getting from this country? How much am I getting from this country that will be there next year. And my methodology was pretty simple. Probably not new, was no, we started zero next year, always zero, we have to earn every dollar from there on. We don't have 100 million dollars a business January 120 22, we have $0 and we will earn the 100 or more etc. And I think that made a difference. And, you know, I will tell you that, you know Russia was one of the best countries I did business with but also a tough one as well. And when I inherited that region, Russia owed us a lot of money. And they I remember dealing with the principal over there, it was a partner distributing partner.

Unknown Speaker  34:50  
So you owe us several million dollars. And he said, Yes, I know. I said okay, and it's all

Unknown Speaker  35:00  
Do He's like, Yes, I know that too. It's okay. And he goes, let me just stop you right there. Not paying.

Unknown Speaker  35:09  
Not gonna pay said, Okay. Why aren't you gonna pay me? It's like, before you got here, you broke your promise. You didn't give me what I wanted on time you didn't give me the right product, I had issues, I lost a lot of money. So now I became his problem. So he lost money. And now he's not going to pay me.

Unknown Speaker  35:31  
So I developed a relationship with him. I said, Well, I can't fix what happened yesterday, and you got to stop crying about yesterday, you got to help me help you. And if you're willing to do that, I can help you make more money, you won't worry about the few million dollars you owe me. You'll have a better business, but you got to give me a chance. So we established a relationship. I went there several times. And

Unknown Speaker  35:55  
ultimately, to get the money I needed to deal with his bankers at the time, and you know, this, from your travels, in the in the mid to late 2000s. bankers were being assassinated. As often as people were getting lattes in America, I mean, it was not fashionable to be a banker in Moscow or Russia.

Unknown Speaker  36:18  
I don't know that from my travels, Larry. You know, okay. Thankfully, well, in Russia, in Eastern Europe, if you're in banking, at that time, you were a bull's eye. And for various reasons, I won't speculate, but you were either wanted by somebody or you were needing something from somebody, but a lot of these bankers were afraid to surface to literally come above ground. So they called it the underground. And if you're dealing with a banker back then, and this banker was a partner, you were meeting with him with armed guards, three to four levels below the city in these I mean, offices, if you will, or underground city centers, if you will. And I remember going into a meeting because I said, Look, I've got to get the money, your $2 million past, do I need the cash? I can't, my company's not gonna wait on this. He says, Okay.

Unknown Speaker  37:14  
I'll take you down there. Misha, he says, I'll take you down and you'll meet eager. Eager is the banker, if eager wants to pay you, it's okay. So I described but I want eagers a little guy, actually little, little guy, maybe 5253. well dressed perfectly dressed, surrounded by gigantic bodyguards with semi automatic guns hanging from each side.

Unknown Speaker  37:41  
And I'm no threat to them. I can speak a couple words a Russian, I knew a little bit about what they were saying. And they said, Okay, please tell your what you want said I need $2 million today. And I need you to wire that to my, my home country in my office. They all start laughing. They tell me I'm funny in Russian, that I've got, you know, a big nerve that I'm playing along. And I knew they weren't going to hurt me because I was with the guy that needed me. But he's like, okay, we'll give you a million dollars today. And we'll give you the rest later if we like you. And I said, You know what, to myself that we've gotten nothing out of these guys, I'll take the million dollars, said okay, great.

Unknown Speaker  38:25  
Here's the wiring instructions. Again, please wire the money. They laugh again. She holds up a briefcase, he goes, No, it's it's here. And I said, and I'm thinking, I'm not going to get through customs with this.

Unknown Speaker  38:43  
We're gonna have to find another way. So without going into detail long story short, there was there was a there's a lot of money that got transported that day, some of it on carry on and some of it luggage. And ultimately, we wound up paying some debt down and smooth sailing thereafter. But that was a that was a lesson that you know, don't back down. Just make sure you're polite about it. You know, these guys were businessmen, they understood the same thing that we all understand. You got to you know, have a good relationship with your vendors and, and the vendor. You know, it's going to be there for the future. So that was an interesting lesson. And I became good friends with these people. I didn't tell you but just last year, Misha called me and he said, I'm in New England, and I think you own some restaurants in Maine. Where are they? I told him he says I'll be there in four hours. And he came over. And it was it was really it was really nice to see them. But, you know, the whole culture you know a little bit about it is is very hierarchical. It's really you know, you're you're Krishna, you're the roof mafia. You have resources, you're on top and everyone else kind of falls in line below it.

Unknown Speaker  40:00  
Just a side story with the same guy, we were going out to dinner, he was a very nice, I would say he was a nice Russian guy.

Unknown Speaker  40:07  
Probably connected, definitely connected. You know, you could tell by what they drove, they drove a G wagon or a Range Rover. They were, you know, at the top of the food chain, came out of a restaurant, and he accidentally hit a car in front of a little Honda, actually. And the bumper fell right off.

Unknown Speaker  40:28  
And Michael Nisha was reaching in his pocket to get cash because he felt bad, he was going to pay these guys, you know, he's like, I'm gonna just pay them. That's what you do. There's no insurance company, you just pay cash, right? And four guys get out of the car systematically ready to fight. And they took one look at his car. And they took one look at him. And they said,

Unknown Speaker  40:51  
No, thank you have a nice day. He rolls the window. He says no, no, it's okay guys, I will I will pay for that. I'm so sorry. And they're like, I don't want any part of this. It's on us. They grabbed the bumper put in the trunk of the car and drove off. And that was the Russian way. He just happened to be a nice guy. So you know, back then it was it was really about who you were and who you stayed away from and who you ran with.

Unknown Speaker  41:16  
So interesting, interesting side note there.

Unknown Speaker  41:19  
So I mean, you know, to the, to the listener to the watcher. I mean, who knows, we don't know where you've been. I mean, this may be low key for you. But for a lot of the world that hasn't traveled like that. I mean, that sounds like such a movie. That's normal for you. You're with the guy in the range over the G.

Unknown Speaker  41:41  
The people that are nervous about now, I'm curious. Did you ever collect the second million in the accounts receivable? About half of it? You know, we always seem to have some sort of bad luck, which would hesitate is interested paying all of it. We were current, I guess the good news is at one time, we were completely current, he didn't know us a penny. And business was great. And it was, it was really a pleasure. But you know, you talk about the stereotypical way and unfair to my Russian friends or the country itself. First of all, the history is amazing. It's it's ultra rich in history, you know, that the people what I liked about the Russians was they either liked you or they did. And that was a very good life lesson that if they shake your hand and say you have a deal, then I could take that deal to the bank. Sometimes my company would say, Did you get a contract? And I'm like, I don't think you understand. No, we have a handshake. And that's better than the contract. But don't push your luck. But but a funny story, and I just opened with it.

Unknown Speaker  42:49  
The first time I ever went to Russia, is going to Siberia, to do some business, and flying into Moscow domestically that was on Delta Airlines so that I felt pretty good about that. This is early 2000. And that was going on to Siberia. Well, then you transfer in Moscow to one of the three airports at the time. And you take another four to five hour Night Flight from Moscow into Novosibirsk, for instance. And my friends told me, they said look, you won't get what you deserve. You'll get what you pay for. So I get ready to load the plane. It's the largest Russian Troop Carrier they had at the time. Now bear in mind the in country planes were not as nice as what would travel over the Atlantic. These were Russian in your tuba lofts or Aleutians. And this was an allusion to aisle 450 people basically. And I remember going up through the belly of the plane on the tarmac, so no jetway, and I saw the radial on the tire. Coming through the rubber. The tires were shot. It was a massive jumbo plane.

Unknown Speaker  43:55  
And it was during was this Aeroflot it was Aero flight. Yes, it was. And back in the day at that time, they didn't have the same fleet that they have now. They are actually great airline now, but that was rough. And I remember sitting down and I turned the fan on. Well, the fan was in the back of the seat and a blue dust all over me from the seat in front of me. And I'm like, that's it. I'm not doing this. So I go up front. I grab the equivalent of $50 in rubles. I said to the flight that I said I would like first class please. And I go to give her the money. She goes it is impossible. You cannot have first class. They said okay, I grab $200. I said yes first class she goes to a so I sit down into a and I figured if this plane is going to go down I'm going to go down in first class because I'm not sitting in coach. Absolutely not. three in the morning.

Unknown Speaker  44:52  
I'm tired. Everyone's tired. lights are off. The cockpit opens.

Unknown Speaker  44:59  
Pilot comes out

Unknown Speaker  45:01  
So stereotypical, it's almost unfair, he comes out, he sits right down next to me in to be selling the open seat. Flight Attendant comes over with the beverage cart. He does a couple vodka shots. And I remember he still had his stylist from his Palm Pilot. And he's working on his Palm Pilot drinking his vodka. He closed his eyes for about an hour, then the flights ready to land. It goes right back in the cockpit and lands the plane minus 40 degrees, mind you. And I thought that this really just happen or is this a movie and you just had to kind of immerse yourself in that culture, or any culture for that matter, no matter what country I would go to, I thought, let's not be the local tourists, let's try to learn the people and respect them and, and learn what they have that we don't have, and then just be a neutral, neutral visitor. So yeah, that was that was my first experience flying in Russia. So ever since then, I knew that if I was going to go in country, I was buying my way up the first class, it just made me feel safer for some reason.

Unknown Speaker  46:10  
Well, I agree with you about not being such a tourist. I mean, I did a little bit of traveling. And for example, eating. I mean, I love finding out like, where do you eat, you know, forget where the tourists go. And I've been in some areas that I got a little nervous where I was being led, like, am I about to lose my wallet, and then of course, down into a basement stairway or something, and had some of the best food. Now speaking of Russia and Eastern Europe, and I've been all over Europe. And I believe that Eastern Europe is my favorite. When you go well, this is really Mediterranean. Outside of there I like south of Sicily, Malta.

Unknown Speaker  46:55  
I think I could live there. I think I can live in Eastern Europe. I'm not so much about the weather there. But I do love the food. And the thing I love about the Eastern Europeans is the storytelling.

Unknown Speaker  47:07  
And I agree with you on the camaraderie part. I mean, like if they forget that they hate you. There's no one gonna torture themselves by being around you or pretending me like you, you're gonna know they don't like you. And that's it. Or they'll tell you you're not funny.

Unknown Speaker  47:24  
And right. But if they if they do like you or you and you like them, the friendships are, you know. Unbelievable. Now, speaking of flight, and this is also so stereotypical that it's unfair, but it's true. I had connected in Moscow for somewhere.

Unknown Speaker  47:45  
I was in Moscow, I forget the name of you know, the airport. And within Oh, I can't pronounce it. Davidoff. It was D me. Yes. Is SPO. Chairman table one and two and DOMA diva. So, of course, long flight.

Unknown Speaker  48:02  
And I get off the plane and I'm halfway out of there. And I'm passing that round Information Desk

Unknown Speaker  48:09  
after the gate.

Unknown Speaker  48:11  
And I realize I forgot I left my phone on the plane.

Unknown Speaker  48:17  
Wow. And it's very frustrating to be somewhere like that without your phone. I'm not running to the local, T Mobile. So I asked the person at the round because I can you I could find English speaking there. At that round information thing. I know it. I know which one you're talking about right next to the coffee shop. Yeah, I know, you know. And I asked, Can I get back on the plane? I left my phone. And

Unknown Speaker  48:48  
too stereotypical. This is a

Unknown Speaker  48:51  
50 something heavy ish. But a strong bill strong build woman militant. And when I told her what happened, and can I get back on? She said,

Unknown Speaker  49:08  
Why did you do that?

Unknown Speaker  49:12  
Yeah, they're pretty honest. Right? Like, why'd you do because I didn't like the phone. And then I decided later, maybe I you know, was being too abrupt, and I shouldn't have left it out. And I was like, why did you do that? I'm all panic, but they did take me back and unlock the gate. And I was able to, well, you're lucky you're lucky. Very, very, very well. I'm such a sweet talker. So forgive me audience. I'm looking at my notes. Larry is so frickin diverse. I mean, what story so

Unknown Speaker  49:41  
of course, you could probably tell world traveling stories, one after another. And of course I married a Filipino girl and I can't remember if I visited her four or five times before I married my wife or brought her here and we decided if we're going to get married

Unknown Speaker  49:59  
but

Unknown Speaker  50:00  
The thing about not being touristy and getting into the local thing. I can't tell you how much I agree. And I usually in a restaurant and I'll do it here too, but I'll never want to look at a menu. I'll just be like, do they let you eat here like on a break? Do they give you a meal? Yeah, like, what do you have? I don't want to look at the menu, just whatever you have, is what I'll have. But with my wife. One thing that I kind of had to go a little touristy is when we developed a relationship, and I was going back just to visit her.

Unknown Speaker  50:31  
And the first time I went, I was supposed to visit some car chat staff never made it. But she said on this one, I'd like you to save money, which of course, I already know. I gotta marry the girl. I mean, she's trying to tell me how to save money.

Unknown Speaker  50:47  
I want you to save money. Don't get a hotel. Stay with us. So her family in about 600 square feet. We got mom, dad, sister, brother, cousin. And no air conditioning. Oh, God. And I'm like, and listen. I mean, I'm not above flopping down the mattresses and like The Waltons, and laying down next to Dad, I you know, I could probably for a night, but nowhere, you know. So I was polite. And I said, Look, I want to I like to watch TV to stop my brain and fall asleep. I need my air conditioning. I want a hot shower. They know hot water. I want to you know, of course the coldest it ever gets there is low 80s at night when it's raining. So coming off the hot Filipino weather, Larry, I think you got like an opposite temperature story that we should hear about. Yeah, you know,

Unknown Speaker  51:43  
pick it on Russia, again, the poor Russians, but I was going there quite a bit. A friend of mine from Florida said, I've never been to Russia. In fact, I've never been outside the country. I'd like to come with you and said, Okay, come on over. So we're back in Siberia to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which happens to be minus 40 Celsius at the same time.

Unknown Speaker  52:06  
It was over New Year's Eve. And New Year's is a big deal for the Russians, they celebrate New Year's and not necessarily Christmas. And it's a 10 day event, at the very least that it's symbolic of them having a good new year you celebrate the New Year, right. And then your next year is going to be great at it. There's some merit to it. I always like learning about that.

Unknown Speaker  52:29  
went to an office that we had some business with. And they were so proud that to Americans revisiting that the office on New Year's Eve set up food and drinks and sushi and so on.

Unknown Speaker  52:45  
And it's getting late. It's cold, of course it's getting late and the translators, husbands or partners were there in this case, one of the translators husbands was there. And he's trying to talk to me through his wife and, and I could understand a little bit but not not enough. And she said my husband, I'd like to talk to you for a minute, said sure. So she's she's right next to me. And he says, through her, do you fish? And I said, Sure. You know, occasionally I fish. Okay. Would you fish with him?

Unknown Speaker  53:21  
Said milk Sunday. Sure. You know, I could fish with him. Now mind you, you know, I was working hard spending money. I wasn't a high roller but I spent some money. I bought some things you know that and motorcycles, cars, I almost bought an airplane, those types of things. And wasn't overly happy to be honest. I was single and so on. So she says again, she goes well, my husband would like to know if you would fish with him. Now. Now, kidding me, right? Like it's it's New Year's Eve. It's minus 40. I don't know where we'd ever finished because everything's frozen. And he's, he's smiling. And he's happy Jaffe is so eager to have this new friend that he thinks he made.

Unknown Speaker  54:12  
And

Unknown Speaker  54:14  
he's like, Oh, I want to ice fish we have with with ice Outback. There's a lake and there's a hole and we ice fish and we will drink together and we will sit under the moon. And so I remember him being so enthusiastic about this, wanting to do this with me. And I thought why does he want to do this? And he doesn't know me. Like, why is he so excited? And I remembered that this guy is happier than I was at the time. He has nothing. Jeff the guy had no resources, no education, very little money. His wife was the breadwinner. And mind you

Unknown Speaker  54:52  
$75 a week at best is what she was getting paid.

Unknown Speaker  54:56  
Yet he was happier than I was. So we ice fish and we drank vodka.

Unknown Speaker  55:00  
I remember putting on my winter jacket and they laughed at me they were speaking Russian, they said, this is very funny because you're wearing your summer clothes. And I had full full on winter jacket, but it was so cold. And so that was the joke. And we sat under the moon and we drank vodka to stay warm, mind you, and this guy smiling year to year. And it was exactly at that moment that I thought, you know what, I got it all wrong. Like, I think that material things make me feel better. That's not true. This guy's happier than I am. He doesn't have anything. And I remember after that trip, I came back to America, I started selling things and spending more time with my parents. And I actually kind of hit I would say, a reset button. Not for long and not entirely at the level that one might do. But I took a temporary reset, sold some things and stopped living like a 10 cent millionaire. And I thought, I gotta figure out how to be happy like inside. I wasn't unhappy. I just wasn't as happy as this guy. So it taught me a life lesson. I never forgot that moment. And whenever I think, you know, could I do better? Does somebody else you have a better opportunity. I never let it bother me. I'm always from that day forward. Always happy in my skin. And it was a great lesson. It was an epiphany for like, what matters most right? And what matters most. And you've seen it you live it. your case, your wife, your kids, your friends. That's kind of who you are. That's the essence. So for me, that was a good one. That was a really good one. Well, I mean, Larry, look, I love toys. I grew up with a father that was big on toys. But I don't want to say look, we all want to say I'm not materialistic. I don't think I'm that materialistic. But who knows? Because I'm, you know, trying to rate yourself as stupid anyway, that's why everyone needs a corner man and a coach. We all can't see what we're doing ourselves. But my dad never struck me as materialistic. But we had a lot of things. Let me explain. I mean, down in his parking garage at the apartment in Detroit, he had his 48 Bentley.

Unknown Speaker  57:17  
You can see the painting in this. But his 48 Bentley.

Unknown Speaker  57:22  
He had his new Mark Lincoln mark that he got every year. And whatever year Corvette he always had some Corvette. We had horses we had, we didn't have many bikes, but we had friends, many bikes we'd visit in Michigan. And when we were little kids, what could be more fun than that Honda trail, 90, whatever. And in the summer, hoby cats and that sort of thing in the winter,

Unknown Speaker  57:44  
go down to Miami, visit all the kids in my neighborhood.

Unknown Speaker  57:48  
So but what I learned from my dad, oh, and dune buggy, so I always had I love dune buggy.

Unknown Speaker  57:57  
is

Unknown Speaker  57:59  
no one got any enjoyment out of that stuff using it themself. Right? That's right. That was it. I mean, the car was to go. We I remember we used to go drive to a friend's house who always had three wash buckets in the driveway. I still talked to one of the kid one of the kids, you know, he's 59.

Unknown Speaker  58:18  
But we pull up to their house. And there were so many of they had so many kids that drove in neighborhood kids that drove they always pull up on the weekends and wash their car in the driveway. But we'd all sit in the lawn chairs on the driveway while two or three people were washing cars. But we're all talking and then pulling one in the garage to put wax on it and helping and

Unknown Speaker  58:40  
seeing what wheels somebody put on something or what chrome tips they put on there. I remember the new their new Laguna, but it was always social. And on one of my shows here, one of my guests was a fella named Scott Ailes. I just love Scott, I really do. Well, I don't have anyone on that I don't love I mean, why invite him right? So Scott said, the best way to decide what's important in life

Unknown Speaker  59:04  
is to go open Christmas presents alone in a room

Unknown Speaker  59:09  
and some good one or not watch them.

Unknown Speaker  59:13  
Open what you gave them. That's true. So that it's like no fun opening the stuff without the person sharing, you know, sharing your expression with the person that gave it and when I give a gift, I mean, why do i do and I'm doing it for myself because I'm the one getting something out of it. I'm like, I want to see the person's reaction or cook them a meal or whatever. So I don't know if I'm materialistic but I have some material things. I have a boat, but it does nothing for me if I don't have company. Right and I have a pool that I never go in unless company wants to come over and use it or

Unknown Speaker  59:52  
etc. On and on and on. I mean it's all about social and when you're talking about the guy in Russia, I have a lot of experience.

Unknown Speaker  1:00:00  
in that part of the world with low income, and of course, my Filipino family, low income, I mean, let's just be honest, in a country that's got a lot of people that, from an income standpoint could be called poverty level, yet I don't run into a whole bunch of unhappy people. I mean, you know, this is where I don't drink, but having a drink, I mean, eating Same, same thing. Really. It's it's self social, right. And it's taking something in and sharing something. But it's eating, it's drinking, it's storytelling, it might be a musical instrument, it might be a fire, right? Some of the some of the best experiences always surround the meal, right? And that's kind of that was the thing in these countries I would visit even if you didn't,

Unknown Speaker  1:00:50  
if you were adversaries, or you had a conflict with some of these customers, when you break bread with them. It's neutral territory. Totally different deal. Yeah. And, and I remember I flew into France, actually, to train that time to meet a client that was really upset with us, but they were friends. And even when they're upset, they're they're very dramatic and very animated, but they're still polite, you know. And He took me to this restaurant in not, and it had beautiful mosaics on the ceiling of the restaurant, and I had

Unknown Speaker  1:01:28  
a hog fish with a beurre blanc sauce.

Unknown Speaker  1:01:32  
And he said, Do you like the sauce?

Unknown Speaker  1:01:35  
And I said, Yeah, I love it. He said, that's a beurre blanc. And you've had beurre blanc right now, I don't know.

Unknown Speaker  1:01:43  
He said, The beurre blanc sauce was invented in this restaurant 222 years ago. Oh my god. So it was a special occasion. And it was, it was always those moments and we became good friends. And ultimately, we did some good business together, there was something about the meal that would kind of solidify what you both wanted. You know, if you can't get through a meal with somebody, you're just a jerk, you just you're not cut out for doing business and you don't have the skills to to communicate and you can disagree at the end of the meal, you can potentially not do business, but have that that, you know, neutral zone and have those meals. I also had a good one.

Unknown Speaker  1:02:27  
Several, but another good one was in Cyprus in

Unknown Speaker  1:02:32  
right outside the capital, Nico C, I think. And we're walking down this cobblestone street, and Cypriots that were doing business with were former refugees. They were in the target shot, confined area, they were thrown out of their homes, and they were a middle aged and basically told that they couldn't come back to their own house, they had to start over. And these guys were quite entrepreneurial. And they built up a good business. They ultimately controlled all the license plates in Cyprus and utilize some play. They made it.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:01  
And fast fact.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:05  
I think you saw, I had a couple uncles that made license plates, but that'll be a different show.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:10  
That's different those guys were doing. They were forced to, but I think I made you one didn't I was like, one of my Porsches or something. But anyway, these guys pulled out table, they knew the restaurant, or they pulled these tables out in the middle of this cobblestone street and had blocked off the street for us. You did? Yeah. And we we sat and had the best meal. And you know, you can't forget those times. Because there's something endearing when you break bread with somebody, but also have that discussion. And I always tried to start my meetings with these folks. And sometimes I would be alone. I didn't have any background. They never met me. They I never met them. I'd always say I'm going to arrive for dinner. What time do you like to eat? And where would you like to go? And then that would break the ice. The next day, we get down to business and we do some, some hard discussions. But one of the times we were we're in Egypt in Cairo, and I was with our distributor at the time, and we're in the bazaar and the bazaar was kind of the shopping district of Cairo. Have you been to Cairo? No. Okay, so kind of like Turkey, big shopping district. But you had to enter by the mosque. And we're in a tea shop and all of a sudden the roofs rattling and dust and dirt falling down. Everybody's running out the streets panicking. We didn't know what happened. There's some sort of explosion and things are collapsing. So we got our stuff. Well, I had bought papayas the the hand drawn piracy Egyptian images

Unknown Speaker  1:04:48  
in Giza and I bought these things from a local after we took our horses up to the pyramids, and you would pay hundreds of dollars to the states I paid $1 apiece and I had them under my arm and

Unknown Speaker  1:05:00  
literally like dirts crumbling around us, and we're trying to get out of the tea shop, we ran out to the other end. And all I cared about was holding on to that provirus obviously making sure my friend was okay. And we scattered again, turns out the al Qaeda detonated the bomb at a mosque. Oh, my goodness, right at the entrance, and it was blocked. So it was, you know, it was a close call. But I brought that papayas home, I think I had 10 or 12 sheets for $1 each equivalent, and I have them hanging in my my houses, and they're just beautiful pieces of artwork. But they mean something, right? Yeah, there's a story usually behind a dinner or a meal or something unique in those countries. So I never took that for granted. And to this day, all of those people that I met, I could call them and if I were in their country, they would insist on having a meal together and vice versa. So some, I would say some long term friendships are forged as a result of that. Oh, Larry, I mean, I've made it a goal many times, whether it be trying to get closer with someone that might be a become a client, or just somebody that I'm a little sideways with, and it doesn't seem like it's gonna heal or get right. And I've made it it's kind of like you're trying to sell an appointment and sales. Don't want to say why don't want to get into it. Let's just eat Let's just eat like stay on that. Let's just eat Let's just eat or why. Let's just see, what are we going to talk about? Let's just see.

Unknown Speaker  1:06:31  
And I don't think that I've ever left the table in the same space, as I've gotten there if I've not eaten with someone before. Yeah, I mean, that's the goal, right is very much just learn, learn about what they need and what they want, what makes them tick. And, you know, I'm no expert with it. But I think it was a good education. And certainly, I think golf course also, but I'd rather work than play golf. I'm not a great golfer. So I would drag the team down. But nonetheless, that is a good way to bond. And then definitely, you know, a nice way to get to know people but no, I, if you're stuck with them for Well, in my case, as long as it takes me to play around, if you're stuck with him for six and a half hours on a car, you're bound to talk about a lot of things. Exactly, exactly. Well speaking about cars. So if I can, you know, obviously, you know, some of the cars I've had, and some of the cars I haven't had the I think my first car if I didn't mention it to you, was this really poor version of a Shelby charger. And it was, I think, a 1983 dodge Shelby charger. It was not really a Shelby and had no power to speak of. And it was a disaster of a car. But it looked good because it had racing stripes. And I thought that was great. So that was that was how I started with a car and wound up getting a Chevy Beretta A few months later, and, and that was a strange car that I think you love you loved or hated it. I've probably owned about 100 cars might have been a problem at some time. Nothing too exotic or crazy. But as you know, a lot of BMW has a lot of Porsches, a lot of Range Rovers and then some things in between like a Jeep or a pickup truck or what have you. But I remember one night, but let me clarify to the audience. Larry's own three figures in cars. And I'll bet you there may have been $100 total combined, earned by the dealerships that sold them to him. If it was that much. That would be disappointing.

Unknown Speaker  1:08:36  
Now look, you know what you told me and I never forgot. You said you know what? You're a pain in the ass.

Unknown Speaker  1:08:43  
But you're high volume and low margin as opposed to high effort and no volume. And I never forgot that. And actually some of the business I do today, I'd rather take high volume low margin than no volume at all. So I always appreciate that crack. And then I think you and I did did a deal together right after you insulted me but it

Unknown Speaker  1:09:03  
Yes, I always liked cars. I like all kinds of cars.

Unknown Speaker  1:09:08  
I have a pickup truck now as well as a Range Rover and I love the pickup truck probably because I have a Range Rover, but I just love all cars. So one night in Germany.

Unknown Speaker  1:09:21  
Going from I think Frankfurt, maybe back to Brussels that I'm doing about 115 120 miles an hour in a BMW company car that I have a diesel, my dad and it was you know, autobahn and unlimited speed limit at that time and the autobahn in Germany is not always unlimited speed, but in certain areas it is and if there's weather, they'll put a warning beacon it'll tell you what, how fast you can go. At this point, it's unlimited speed. It's probably it's after midnight, and I'm in the middle

Unknown Speaker  1:10:01  
You don't want to be in the passing lane on the Autobahn at 120 miles an hour, because that's actually slow. That's like breakdown speeds in America. So I'm in the middle lane. And I feel like I'm doing pretty well, I got brave enough to do 120 and my little BMW, and it's going well, but you know, I'm feeling pretty good. And I am coming down a hill, and I see this flickering of lights behind me. And I thought he's going awfully fast. And there's a few cars doing the same, and you could just see the light, but you can't see what's going on, you don't dare turn around, because you'll lose control a turn around. And I'm determined to maintain my 115 120 because I want to see what's coming up on me. And I just the lights get closer and they're flickering, flickering, flickering. And I think it probably 180 plus miles an hour, a string of nine elevens zipped by me.

Unknown Speaker  1:10:59  
And I thought and one of them actually had so much compression that flames came out of the exhaust on the I would say the backfire going down the hill. And I was so excited I put the pedal to the metal. And at 118 my car stopped. It just basically had its limited 118. So I couldn't catch these guys. The minute I got back to the US after that trip, I went to the local dealer, I'm like, I would like a 911, please. And that's how I got my first 911. So it was it was just, you know, so contagious to see these guys drive. And I had a customer in Germany, and he was a car nut. And his name was winford Brooks, amazing entrepreneur, just a great family, man, they have quite a business. And he knew that he would drive fast. And he knew that every one of us from America loved that he could drive fast. And we could so we were a little jealous. Let's say you were always asking you to win free. How long does it take from you to go from Hamburg to Paris? He would say, oh, how about Paris, normally, seven hours, winford 3.2 hours. And that was this. And we have some pictures of him doing 200 250k per hour and three at 300k actually, in one of his cars. But yeah, the the driving over there is is pretty unique. Now conversely, you go into Belgium, you're following the speed 110 kilometers an hour. And that was my other experience that I would get caught for speeding in Belgium at least once a week when I first moved there. But it wasn't as satisfying as being caught in America because there was no policeman with lights. They had cameras everywhere. So my company would call me and in their broken English, they'd say, Larry, we're very sorry to inform you, you were speeding again, you must please slow down in our country. And it would be two or three kilometers over. But the police would you know, send the radar they'd send a ticket. And I thought this is not satisfying at all. I want blue lights give me a real chase for God's sakes. This is terrible.

Unknown Speaker  1:13:12  
And so you have you have to follow the speed there, you're just going to have a camera pick you up. So but yeah, it

Unknown Speaker  1:13:19  
cars became contagious. And as you know, I would you know, keep a couple cars in the US nothing too crazy, but an M three or something like that. And a 911 I would come back from Europe for a weekend and that would be my driver and that would you know kind of make me feel like hey, I work hard when I'm over there. When I come home I get to enjoy you know family and a car and the sunshine and you know that you know the rest but that was kind of my mo when it came to cars and might be settling down a little bit. So met the love of my life. And you know, life is good. And cars are less important right now, although I still like them. But

Unknown Speaker  1:13:57  
it is it is all tied to a car one way or another, isn't it? Well, yes. And it's funny because you mentioned that because another one of the guests that I had Brett ram Kerr who's an Emmy Award winning NASCAR IMSA Michelin videographer he's made a full length feature film called best in class the making of a Concorde the elegance of it all up in your neck of the woods about audrain his stories are about the people in the car culture and even if you don't drive there's always some car there's always some photo of some relative there's cars are in our life for sure. And they Yeah, I think so. And you know, it's it's it's funny my future father in law.

Unknown Speaker  1:14:44  
amazing guy, my fiance Caroline. amazing woman. Amazing mother. Congratulations by the way. Thank you. Thank you by the way. You will meet her she's fantastic.

Unknown Speaker  1:14:57  
Her dad is a car guy like we are

Unknown Speaker  1:15:00  
And the whole family. They're all you know, anywhere from mid 50s to late 70s. They all love cars and they buy a lot of cars. They're smart buyers, they're they're very successful. They're in real estate, and they've earned every penny. So they're workers.

Unknown Speaker  1:15:16  
He knows I like cars. I know he likes cars, and usually one of us is buying something often. So we made a bet with each other. We said, okay, whoever buys the next new car, owes the other one. $1,000 instead, okay, that's a deal. Okay. So Oh, all summer long. He's coming home with new cars. And I said, john, I, you know, you bought two, I bought one, you're losing the bet you You owe me the money is like No, I said, new car. This is a used car

Unknown Speaker  1:15:47  
doesn't count. So well. You can't really alter the deal. And then he bought a couple RVs couple Mercedes RVs. And so as I said, an RV counts as two cars. So you're already in a deficit right now. So we just recently said, Okay, let's start the clock over. No new cars in 2021, secondhand only.

Unknown Speaker  1:16:10  
And then as soon as I agree to that, he goes and buys a couple more used cars. So it's kind of a thing with each other. We're trying very hard to help each other. He said, You can help me buy less cars, and I'll help you buy less cars, because I want you to be responsible because you know, you are with my daughter after all. Your accountability, buddy. Yeah, exactly. He's great. So we there's a new car that's coming out in about a year. And we both looked at each other. And he goes, I'll give you a hall pass on that car. I said, Yeah, I'll give you all pass on that one as well. So we have a truce. If we decide we want to buy this, this one new car together, but yeah, he's he's got great style. And he's he's great to me. And he's, he's definitely my fiance's, biggest fan. And they're just, they're just like best friends at times. You know, they're, they're great. So it's nice to see that dynamic. But, but yeah, he's got some he's got some cool history with cars as well. Do you have a wedding date? You know, we're looking at it now, probably next year, you know, we probably won't pull it off this year, just based on COVID still hanging around, and we're going to, we're going to do something probably up here. You know, there's such a great wedding venue up here. And in the fall, maybe spring or fall. It's a great spot. And we'll invite some close friends and you know, I'd expect you to get yourself up here. You got to get out of the office. And I was gonna say I'll ask how it was. Yeah, you're gonna ask how it was. I mean, like all your weddings, right? Always a bridesmaid never a bride. But no, you you will definitely be up here. Always a bridesmaid. I have stood up in about 12 weddings, I'd say maybe more. Yeah. And what's the retention rate? How are they doing all 12 of those guys.

Unknown Speaker  1:17:57  
I don't want to talk. I don't want to talk about the luck.

Unknown Speaker  1:18:02  
It's not about how many it's the percentage of success. And if you're responsible for that, you know, you are you're probably responsible. But that's right. So what about I mean, I'm looking at my notes here. And some you know, sometimes these conversations go full blown organic. But what Larry, I'm like, My God, you've been all over the world. And in every time I talked and we known each other a long time. It's always a new story. So it isn't like I know, there hasn't been reruns yet. So I said, Are there any bullets? And I mean, my God, I mean, I don't know what else to talk about. And I don't know how long we can retain someone's attention. But I got late night meeting in Dubai and Saudi I got Tom Cruise. I got Leonardo DiCaprio. You know, I'm intrigued or any of these worth talking about? Well, I mean,

Unknown Speaker  1:18:49  
the Tom Cruise one is short, but sweet. And you'll appreciate this. Because if you remember you did have a BMW movie debut. Okay. And it was regarding the Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movie, right. Were you at the theater where I introduced? Of course, I was at that theater, I will never let you off the hook for that.

Unknown Speaker  1:19:14  
Yes, I was at the theater. And I promised I didn't know where this was going. Well, I only share part of it and you could expand on it. But

Unknown Speaker  1:19:23  
you can take over after I finished the setup. But basically that Mission Impossible movie that you debuted, because it featured the i three in the BMW at the time

Unknown Speaker  1:19:33  
was filmed partly in Dubai. And I had an office in Dubai and I was in Dubai all the time. And I love Dubai. I like the people there. It was kind of you know, if you look at Dubai, it's kind of like the center point of the Middle East. So if you're doing business in Saudi or Bahrain or Oman, people would naturally be able to come to Dubai, there wasn't restriction. So that was our meeting zone in many cases, even though we went into these countries.

Unknown Speaker  1:20:00  
So the burj dubai burj means tower Burj Dubai was the tower, tallest tower at the time second to the building in Malaysia

Unknown Speaker  1:20:11  
and Dubai was having financial struggles 2008 2009 I believe, and they needed money from Abu Dhabi.

Unknown Speaker  1:20:19  
So Shaykh Muhammad in a last ditch effort to get some big investment for Babu Dobby, decided that as a tribute for the I think 500 billion something massive. He would rename the Burj Dubai by he would rename it Burj Khalifa for King Khalifa of Abu Dhabi. Okay, so that was a tribute. Well, then the day they renamed it happened to be the day that Tom Cruise was hanging out of the building filming that scene where he's on the wire going around. And I was there for that. We were downstairs in the courtyard, if you will, watching

Unknown Speaker  1:21:04  
celebrations and lights and they actually had the waterfall like the Bellagio in Vegas, and we're enjoying that we're we're we're some clients and so on having a meal actually with some Saudis.

Unknown Speaker  1:21:16  
And we said this guy, we see this guy hanging out of the building, and there's helicopters flying around. And we just thought it was part of the celebration of the new Burj Khalifa because clearly it has a new name based on the investment. And then we hear people talking about Tom Cruise and they said, No, it's Tom Cruise is up there. He's literally outside the building doing these stunts, and I guess he would do a lot of his stunts. So later on the news, which mine do is normally censored. They're very proud to say that the new Burj Khalifa was so exciting that even Tom Cruise would film his movie there. So that movie when you see him hanging out of that tower, I don't know how much of the scene but a lot of the scene was actually him on the wires hanging out of the tower, which is just a crazy crazy to know. More importantly, if you look hard enough, you can see Larry down on the sidewalk looking up at it.

Unknown Speaker  1:22:11  
Yeah, I wish you good. It was it's I can't remember the floor level but a massive building. And of course they'd sent through all the problems, you know, elevator breakage fire issue, ventilation problem. That never happened. Same thing when they built the islands. This was a quick but great story. Remember the palm islands in Dubai, they're very proud to show you that they built these neighborhoods on palm fronds. Each fron of the palm tree was actually a full neighborhood like we're used to in Florida. But they had these storms one night, and the storms washed away half of the palm tree. The island your neighborhood which has yet to be built you bought the lot, right is now gone. Now. It's sand built out in the middle of the ocean. And Shaykh Muhammad at the time, we heard through the construction people we knew he ordered 3500 dump trucks to work all night long, and fill that palm neighborhood back in before sunrise. Or they were all fired. So the next morning, that never even happened. And that's how they did some business over there. But that one was interesting. Just because we happen to be there by accident. And you know, we saw the movie now. Going to your program. You debuted the movie. And that was probably the best icebreaker I have ever experienced. You had what your best clients, your VIP clients in the movie theater, right? So we're at a BMW dealership, we invited our best customers, our brand ambassadors, the ones that sent the most referrals the ones that we made no money on, but we did a lot of volume Well, you know, whatever it was, right. Right. And invited them to see this pre release Mission Impossible movie in a private theater just invited guests and then I got up in front of the theater. I don't remember if I had a microphone or not. You did yeah. Okay, but I you know, I know you didn't have a microphone because you didn't need one you know that because I didn't want to hear it at the theater next door as it so but you know to make Jeff Sterns happy all you need is

Unknown Speaker  1:24:26  
an audience. So, I said what I said I'd I'd have to say I was terrific that night.

Unknown Speaker  1:24:35  
And do you want to say what happened next?

Unknown Speaker  1:24:38  
Yeah, so you know what's really important to remember if you remember the sound bed to Mission Impossible, right? You know that you know the tone of the music right? You know, when the Mission Impossible movies coming on? You've got this done that right? Yep. Well, the movie started

Unknown Speaker  1:25:00  
And we're hearing what appears to be moaning, some sort of

Unknown Speaker  1:25:07  
potential sexual encounter. You don't see anything you see a black screen. I'm not hearing the Mission Impossible soundtrack. People are starting to look around the moaning is getting louder and louder and louder. And now people are getting a little uncomfortable. You're waiting at any moment for maybe Tom Cruise to pop out of the you know the sky or jump out of a plane.

Unknown Speaker  1:25:30  
And as it turns out, the morning then turns to an image. I remember distinctly a bedroom scene with pictures hanging around the bedroom, and then a man and a woman doing you know what you can imagine voting would be coming from? And it turns out that that was the entree to a movie, I think called the babysitter or something crazy at that time with Jonah Hill. It was Jonah Hill, Jonah Hill is in it. Yep. Performing.

Unknown Speaker  1:26:00  
Yes, and whoever doesn't matter. And it took it seemed like an eternity before they would turn the movie off. Now what I can't figure out is one, you being frugal and smart, either didn't pay the movie theater enough to pay the right play the right movie, or to you might have upset the person running the tapes that night somehow in a pass car dealing. But this guy, whoever was controlling the tape, you know, he was having a ball because you have your best clients there. I think there was a few that were, you know, breathing out of a bag, there was some kids in the audience. And it was all people left man people, some people were leaving, you know, it was tight. And I and I think you're recovered? Well, and I think you said something to the effect like, Well, clearly we treat our customers differently than Mercedes or something like that. And everyone laughter for the most part, I think, you know, everyone stayed, you eventually got the right movie to come on. But it definitely

Unknown Speaker  1:27:02  
it definitely changed the evening. So well, the backstory to that. Oh, and I can't think of their name. But they bought a BMW gt like the station wagon.

Unknown Speaker  1:27:13  
Type body. They were the only one. They were the one in our area in our market area. Oh, God, that car.

Unknown Speaker  1:27:22  
When we invited them to that

Unknown Speaker  1:27:26  
they have such a moral problem with movies that they said we don't go to movies. Because

Unknown Speaker  1:27:36  
and we quite literally, they were buying lots of cars from us. They send lots of friends and they were like part of the family. We literally talk them into it like, Look, it's Mission Impossible and what could go wrong, and it's action and where's the morals?

Unknown Speaker  1:27:54  
And that was difficult, the first couple that stood up and walked out of there? Well, you know, every time I see Jonah Hill on any movie, I think of Jeff Sterns at the same time. So it's not just because of my bill, I understand. No, not at all, just the fact that you recovered well, and you, you know, you You broke a few jokes and apologized and treated people with respect, like you always do. And I think that made it made a difference. But you know, there is there is a funny one, you know, speaking of cars, you know, I, for the record for the people that are willing to watch our session together for the 8% that are still watching continue. Exactly, for those of you that haven't dropped off, you know, an old boss taught me once he said, it's always good to make a deal when both sides leave happy. And I thought, you know, that's good advice. Because when you buy a car, I disagree. But

Unknown Speaker  1:28:49  
well, when you buy a car, right, I always thought my job is to get the best possible deal and make it painful for the person selling me the car, because you know what they need to deal more than I do, and it needs to hurt. But that's actually not the right way to do business, maybe cars, but outside of cars is not the right way. So I realized that it's better to be fair, so that the person wants to do business with you again, and come back because ultimately, especially now with supply chain the way it is, in some cases, the customer buying the car is held victim to what the dealer wants to do for you. They don't have to give the car away. There's there's not an abundance in in all cases, especially with especially car. So that being said there was there was, you know, I learned that and I learned that be fair.

Unknown Speaker  1:29:44  
treat people the way you want to be treated but also hold people accountable. And if there's a quirk that I have, there's one thing that I'm not very good at is if someone treats me badly or steals from me or is doing

Unknown Speaker  1:30:00  
honest, I have a hard time with that. So I dig in pretty well. And there was a car manufacturer I had a big problem with.

Unknown Speaker  1:30:08  
And I drove this car from Florida to Maine.

Unknown Speaker  1:30:12  
With my dog couple years ago, all kinds of electronic issues, none of the brands we mentioned. And I kept trying to get the car fixed, they couldn't fix it halfway to mean 100 degree weather, no air conditioning, car wouldn't start stuck on the side of the road, you know, $100,000 car is just ridiculous. They wouldn't fix it, they wouldn't lemon the car, they wouldn't replace the car. So I get all the way to me. And finally, it was a struggle. And I said, I went to the local dealer said, Okay, I need you to call your head office, please help me.

Unknown Speaker  1:30:46  
In six months of records car's been out of use for 90 days in a year, I would like another car, same thing. A buyback or upgrade doesn't matter. But I need to go back to Florida. And I need to bring this dog back to Florida.

Unknown Speaker  1:31:05  
And I'm not driving without AC. So I finally get ahold of a local Rep. While I would say a person in office. He calls me with some attitude and says we're not buying the car back. We're not doing anything for you. This is on a Friday.

Unknown Speaker  1:31:22  
And I said, Well, you know, I've all nine of these things. I'm not a bad customer, all my neighbors by him now I'm kind of a brand advocate. I'm not trying to ask for any favors, but you really got to understand where I'm coming from and what's happened. And he's like, nope, we're not helping you.

Unknown Speaker  1:31:38  
said okay, I said, I'm, you're gonna make me dig in. This is not going to be pretty for you. I said, Do you want to escalate to your boss? This is like the North American headquarters for this company. So why don't you just escalate for me and see if they'll help me. I don't want anything for free. But I'll pay mileage What have you had two miles on the car? Just get me a car that can drive back to Florida or give me a loaner. I don't care, but I can't put the dog in the belly of an airplane. And I can't drive without AC. Nope, not helping. You said all right, I'm going to give you till Monday. If you don't call me back Monday with a good solution. I'm going to run a private jet. And I'm gonna fly the dog back on the private plane. And you're gonna pay for it.

Unknown Speaker  1:32:22  
And he's now at this point. He's laughing. He says, We will never pay for that. We don't do that. He's a younger guy. We don't do that. You can't do that. I said no, I'm doing it like you. You gotta help me out. I'm doing it.

Unknown Speaker  1:32:36  
Come Monday. Nothing. I call him again. Just to be nice. I'm like, give a solution for me. He's like, nope. I said Really? Like, nothing. You're not even gonna help me? No. Okay, I told you. So I went online. Got a broker? rented a jet. I got I think it was a Hawker

Unknown Speaker  1:32:58  
talker. 400 No. Yeah. Was it a hugger? I think it was a Hawker. 400 anyway, long story short. They said how many people I said one and a half ago. What's the habit? So it's a it's a golden doodle? Like anybody else? I'm like, No, like, okay, shut up at the airport, put my golden doodle on the plane.

Unknown Speaker  1:33:20  
He sat on the floor, played with his toys. You know, all good. Two hours later, I'm in St. Pete.

Unknown Speaker  1:33:27  
and a half hour after that. He's jumping in the swimming pool happy as a clam and homesafe. Right. That was the goal. So I follow up.

Unknown Speaker  1:33:37  
I send the email with the invoice. It was almost 16 $17,000 for the plane, I sent it to this kid in New Jersey. Oh, my God. I said, Listen,

Unknown Speaker  1:33:50  
in addition to buying the car back, you need to now add this $16,800 invoice to the bill because you're gonna pay for the plane. He doesn't know what to do. He calls me he's like I told you not to rent a plane. I said, and I told you to help me. So I also told him that I would talk to the CEO of the company. And I did. And I reached the CEO. And he put me in touch with his VP of customer service. And the guy was excellent. And the guy said to me goes, Larry, and goes, I

Unknown Speaker  1:34:24  
had a nice well written letter explaining what happened and the time he goes, I don't understand why this didn't get to me. He goes, I would have fixed this problem in 30 seconds. I said, Well, you know what? I pleaded with your people to get this to you because I figured somebody at your level would want to help. So we're gonna negotiate because what do you want? I said, I just want a car that works. I don't want any money. I don't want anything for free.

Unknown Speaker  1:34:45  
So he puts me in touch with another guy. The other guy's like, absolutely. I'm going to take care of this for you. How about this car? How about that car? If you get a bigger car with more engine more money, you just pay the difference? I said, Fine. He goes and you got to pay mileage. You know, it's about 55 cents a mile.

Unknown Speaker  1:35:00  
So I owed him about $16,000 in mileage, right?

Unknown Speaker  1:35:06  
And I said, Oh, okay, I'll make the deal with you. But you got to pay for my airplane.

Unknown Speaker  1:35:13  
Like,

Unknown Speaker  1:35:15  
we don't pay for airplanes. I'm like, No, I know you don't I agree with you. You should never pay for somebody's airplane, but you're going to pay for mine. And he looks at me, he goes, ready to buy. So I'll send you the bill right now. And I said, I'm going to send you the email that I sent to your people warning you that you'd pay for the airplane. So long story short, the 16,000. I would vote for mileage, he looked at the bill and the mileage he goes

Unknown Speaker  1:35:37  
out, Okay, how about we just even I said, Okay, you got to do. So. The joke was beautiful, you know, and it wasn't that I, I would have taken the dog back on the airplane anyway, I had to. But yeah, I had to dig in with these guys. And, you know, sometimes you have to do that. And it burns, it burns the energy out of you. And I almost stopped liking that brand. But this this guy was so good at recovering and so much kind of like you, Jeff, that he just said, Wait a minute, this is an easy problem to solve. And I'll just do it. So that was kind of a funny one. But, you know, goes back to the basics that, you know, I expect as well, as a customer, I want to be treated the way I would treat my customers. And I think the moral of that story is, you know, hard work and treating people the way you want to be treated always serves you pretty well. Got it and you say handle it like me. So I think the point is, as long as they succumb, we're all good.

Unknown Speaker  1:36:35  
No, you know, you can reach a compromise. I mean, just an equitable solution. I mean, that was the point. This guy, you know, this younger kid that obviously didn't have training or even know that he should go to his boss's boss or ask for help. His answer was, we're doing nothing. And that's not a solution for me or a guy like you. You're not gonna accept. There's no solution. How about a compromise? How about another proposal or something? And when he refused to do that, that's when I had to educate him in school him on now it right now that kind of like calling Michael J. Fox chicken. In right in Back to the Future. As soon as I start hearing up, that's the way it is, then I'm like you I can't help it. Even if it I could have made twice as much money doing something else and not focusing on it. I have a very hard time letting go of that. But I will tell you a funny one, a good one. But a funny one. It was actually my first 911 used one.

Unknown Speaker  1:37:35  
bought this car in Tampa Bay. And I went to my my best friend's house. And I said, Scott, let's go out to the mall. Let's go to one of the nice restaurants in Tampa. He says okay, he goes, but I'm driving. Because I want to leave early. I want to come home early. And I said, Well, my car's behind your car. Let's drive my car. It was a convertible. It was nice night out in Tampa is you know, and I said, we'll drive my car, but you can drive Scott. He goes, No, I don't want to drive your car. So come on, you know, I just got it. I want you to drive it. So we're driving on Hillsborough, going to Tampa.

Unknown Speaker  1:38:24  
And all of a sudden there's a Jaguar next to us. And we're parallel to this brand new Jaguar with temporary plates. Next thing we know that car is in the air at shoulder height. His wheel is at our shoulder. I'm in the passenger seat. It hits us, knocks us into the curb. he spins out goes over the bank man into a neighborhood you know the concrete walls. We stop. Were smoked everywhere steam. The car was running roll bars came up out of the back of a Porsche.

Unknown Speaker  1:38:56  
And there's a third car a Lexus? Everyone we get out we check everybody. Everybody's okay. Thank god right. There's a young girl she tried to join the eastbound traffic and she t boned this Jaguar so fast that it went in the air and hit us.

Unknown Speaker  1:39:16  
We max our insurance out his car is totaled. He just got it. My car's almost totaled, her car's totaled. We max out the insurance well I decide. Because I knew that this car is going to be a problem for me now that it's fixed. I have diminished value. So I get an appraisal. They said you have diminished value. It's at least 18,000 off book value. So the car might have been worth 40 now it's worth 22.

Unknown Speaker  1:39:42  
So the insurance company is ready to pay me. They said yep, we accept the claim. It's it's legit. We're gonna cut you a check. Great. They call me and they said

Unknown Speaker  1:39:53  
your car's been hit several times before you bought it. Now when I bought it, it was a certified Pre Owned, you know

Unknown Speaker  1:40:00  
Guaranteed never to be hit blah, blah, blah.

Unknown Speaker  1:40:03  
And the dealer had checked on previous work and validated that had never been hit. Well, the long story short is they didn't know either someone tricked them. So I'm back to the door. So we have a big problem, said I just lost an $18,000 diminished value claim. And now I have a diminished value car that you sold me that was hit. They looked at the paperwork. And the guy the guy was great, kind of like you. I won't mention his name for covenant reality, but he was great. And he said,

Unknown Speaker  1:40:37  
Well, why don't we just get your new car, we'll just sell you out of this car. We'll trade you out. I said that I want to trade. I don't want to buy a new car right now. He goes, Well, I'll make it worth your while. He's trying very hard. So this is three in the afternoon. I stay there all night. Everyone leaves. It's now nine at night. I had a, this is a 2003 911 and 2005. The new ones came out the 996 or 991. I think it was a beautiful black one in the showroom.

Unknown Speaker  1:41:08  
He said, Well, do you want to make a deal on this black one? I said no. I don't like black. I like gray. Which is true.

Unknown Speaker  1:41:15  
Mine's gray. Just give me a check. Give me my money back in my old car back. So at nine o'clock, Jeff.

Unknown Speaker  1:41:23  
This car was 70 some 1000. Mine was worth 20. He opens the doors of the dealership

Unknown Speaker  1:41:30  
basically says

Unknown Speaker  1:41:33  
Are we good? puts a template on the new one. I don't know how he did it. But he did. I can't remember all the all the details because this car or we even I said, Okay, we're even he goes, have a nice day, we never break a promise to a customer. This guy stepped up. Because he was so upset that they didn't know about what happened to my previous car that they said we're just gonna make it right. And I never forgot that. So that was a great story of somebody doing something that they didn't have to and it was kind of cool, right?

Unknown Speaker  1:42:10  
That is a wonderful story of somebody doing the right thing. And like the beginning of our conversation tonight, a thing I love about you as you keep your word. A thing I hate about that is it makes you stand out

Unknown Speaker  1:42:27  
that I love that this dealer did the right thing. And the thing that I don't like about the world is why is that such an exception? Yeah, it's

Unknown Speaker  1:42:38  
it's sad, right? You know, I remember coming back to Maine. And I told friends and family, I think I told my, my dad or my mom, is we're gonna have a bunch of work done on the house here. And everyone's gonna come on time. No one's gonna want any money until they're done. And we're happy.

Unknown Speaker  1:42:58  
And I said, Just watch. Sure enough army of people showed up at eight o'clock to start working on the house. And just to test the theory, it was my father was with me, said to one of the guys doing the masonry, I said, How much do I owe you? He goes, don't worry about it. When we're done, and you're happy, that's when you'll pay me. And that's the culture up here in New England, specifically me. And that's why if you know LL Bean, the retailer, they started this lifetime warranty back in 1800s. They've since changed some of it because people have taken advantage of their warranty terms. But their logic back then was if you ever had a problem with our product, we don't want you to be unhappy. We just want to make it right. And that's kind of the mentality here that people just want to do a good job. Now there's outliers, of course, and there's tons of outliers in different parts of the country in Florida. Unfortunately, because of so many different cultures living there and moving there. Sometimes it's tough to find a really good tradesman or service person or what have you. Great people in Florida, no disrespect, but try to get your lawn done the same way twice. I mean, how many of us have had five or 10 lawn guys, right? And that's just how it goes. But conversely, if you're in Maine, you have a lawn guy, but you kind of have him for 30 years until he dies he'll die on the lawnmower before you fire him because he just he's never going to do a bad job. So there's something refreshing about that when I came back here that people reminded me of what mattered and it was so simple right? Just do what you're supposed to do without anybody looking. And that's kind of a motto I try to live by the other thing that I think helped and you know I you know working for yourself you eat what you kill you know what that's like you there's no free lunch so you know I don't want it to sound easy and glossy. I I'm a small business owner and entrepreneur and you know we make money when we when our businesses are healthy but

Unknown Speaker  1:44:56  
it is very, it is very refreshing to keep your word

Unknown Speaker  1:45:00  
When it comes to simple things that a lot of people don't do anymore, show up on time. You know, you have a meeting with somebody, be there don't cancel on people. There's so many people nowadays think it's okay to cancel.

Unknown Speaker  1:45:15  
They they're so used to it in their generation, specifically the younger generation that hey, Jeff, I'm just not going to have the call today, because I'm busy. Well, what about the fact that you scheduled it and you carve time out of your schedule for such a thing. So there's a lack of respect in certain areas, in certain people, and in certain, certain generations that that needs to stop. And I think that it's kind of our job, you know, my age bracket, I'm 47, I'm right in the middle. I think I, you know, I think I owe people that work for me some, some schooling on the fact that you give your word and you do it. And part of that stems into our restaurant businesses, we have a couple of small restaurants up here.

Unknown Speaker  1:46:03  
It's a tough business, we're in a highly competitive market, it's highly concentrated. It's a great business with two different concepts. But we're in the heart of the city where all the action is. And last summer, we didn't have one person call out one shift. Nobody missed the shift. That never happens in the restaurant business. Now, we got lucky, of course, but what we really have, and I'm very proud of it is we have this micro culture, this little culture within this small sunlight, somewhat small business of people that care about us and about the business and about the customer so much that they don't want to miss work, and they don't want to hurt their colleague. And when we hire people, we try to tell them that up front, and we try to screen and make sure we're finding the right people, we say things like,

Unknown Speaker  1:46:58  
nobody's too proud to pick up broken glass or protect the customer. None of us are above, you know, doing any of that. There's no hierarchy here, you have a job, but you also have the ultimate job, which is to keep customers coming back. And then we say things like, if you're not able to be here on time, every time and help your colleagues have a great day and a great shift, you won't fit in. If you don't plan to stay here long term, don't come tomorrow. And if you can't smile and be a good teammate, don't come at all we say things like that. And we've been so lucky, Jeff, we've got so many great employees, not, you know, not a lot of employees or small business, but we have the ones we have are great. And it's almost seems like the not so great ones. They don't even apply. I think they see our team. And they're they're somewhat awestruck by it. customers tell us, we have the best service standard in the town. And last year, we're still new business, we won five out of 15 Awards in the city, you know, Best Restaurant, best service, best date night best drink best, you know, you name it. And that was because of our people. So we're quite proud of that. And I think that's part of what makes me tick that. Whether you're selling cars, or you're selling food, or you're, you're buying something, it seems to come back to the person that matters most. And people do business with people. And I believe that, you know, we owe people an education on what customers want. Larry, I always said that to my sales people and service people that you're not competing with the other dealership, you're competing with the other person, cuz I don't know, an entity I know the person that I deal with, at the entity. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I, I think if the one thing I can take going into, you know, my 50s and so on is I want people to always say, whenever I do business with Larry, he did what he said, if not more. And if I need something, I can call this person or this guy, and he's gonna deliver. And it can be miniscule. It's so easy to have an excuse on why you couldn't do something. And it's sometimes hard to just do what you promise, right? We all run out of time. Our days are busy, and I'm far from perfect. But you know what, in my, in my world now, I don't have hundreds of employees reporting into me and I have my own little agency. And then I have the restaurants. We have kind of a heart. We have a nice org chart and a nice team. Somebody needs something and they're counting on you. My motto is you've got to do it and do it fast and do it with a smile and move on to the next thing. So yeah, so Larry, the hourglass is running out but I don't want to lose you without hearing about the plane that Oh,

Unknown Speaker  1:50:00  
almost didn't make it going out of Kiev.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:03  
Yeah. You know,

Unknown Speaker  1:50:05  
something about Eastern Europe and their their aeronautical skills or their desire. I mean, God love them. But yeah, I remember I had to fly into Kiev from Brussels.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:17  
I think it was Ukrainian air. Right blue and yellow tail think it's Ukrainian Ukrainian airlines. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:24  
And they were hesitant. I remember when I had the book to ticket Brussels said, we're not sure if they're flying. I'm like, Oh, that's not good at all. That's just not good. But I needed to get there. So I think it was a Friday Night Flight. And a Saturday morning meeting.

Unknown Speaker  1:50:40  
I flew in. I was in the back of the plane. It was the worst meal ever. I mean, it was hot, mind you that they somehow were able to heat the food up, but then they wrapped it in this

Unknown Speaker  1:50:51  
shell of aluminum that just was scary to open. And I remember landing the flight crew was nice for the plane was rough, really rough. And it snowed over the weekend, flying back out on a Sunday night. And I'm looking at the airport, I have my private license. So I like aviation. And I always like to understand the weather and what's going on and what's not going on. And I didn't see a de icing crew, which was a first indication that there might be a problem. And I also didn't see plowed trucks plowing the runway. And the snow was building up. But I did see a snowbank at the end of the runway. So

Unknown Speaker  1:51:35  
get on the plane, I'm waiting for the D ice, no D ice. I'm watching the ice build up on the wing. It's not so bad, or I would have got off the plane, but it was questionable. we line up on the runway, there's no wind, of course, he's got the runway heading which is bringing us right towards the end of the runway where the snow banks and pine trees are.

Unknown Speaker  1:51:55  
And that's recipe for problems. And this guy, I would have done a short field takeoff. You know, your, your listeners that fly, especially commercial pilots, they know very well, more than I do what you need to do in that case, but you certainly do nice and you certainly make sure you have enough runway.

Unknown Speaker  1:52:15  
He barely got off the ground. And by the time we got to the end of the runway, the gear blasted through the snowbank we were probably six feet off the ground. I mean, he should have been 100 200 feet in the air by them. But he used all the runway to to gain altitude. I don't know what he did wrong. Obviously, we had a full plane, probably heavy on fuel.

Unknown Speaker  1:52:40  
Temperature wasn't a problem because it was cold. So your air density is great. But we plowed to the runway, the gears down, of course, because you're in low altitude and snow and ice banging against the fuselage. So now I'm thinking, you know, we're not going to have a gear that works. When we get the Brussels Sure enough, gear goes up. They circle a little bit because the gear wasn't indicating that it was green. When they were ready to land in Brussels, we finally get down the land and Brussels get off the plane. Next day, Ukrainian airlines ceases operations in Brussels. They were shut down due to unsafe conditions. But there was a few close calls like that. And you know, it's an all due respect to our to our friends from Ukraine or Russia, just you know, the airline was underfunded and didn't have the budget to protect. It was also during the conflict of Ukraine and Russia. So there was a funding issue and so on. But yeah, they, they they almost they almost didn't make it so.

Unknown Speaker  1:53:41  
But yeah, that that happens often. Right, Larry? Yeah, that's

Unknown Speaker  1:53:47  
scary, right? Indeed, indeed. So amazing. I look. Looking at the clock. I'm not looking at the clock because I'm bored. I'm looking at the clock because I'm blown away. We've been together a couple hours. Well, that's gonna take you to negotiate with me on a car. I mean, Jesus, there's nothing new here. That's that's actually the when we're down to the final $10 a month.

Unknown Speaker  1:54:13  
So now we're down to the final couple hours. $10 and we may need to have you back on but look, Larry, you're a great friend. I mean, you started out as a client, you became a wonderful friend. Our lives have intertwined quite a bit. Professionally personally.

Unknown Speaker  1:54:33  
I'm grateful because I know you're busy. You have a lot of businesses, you're planning your wedding, you got your new love your life, your life partner, you got a lot going on. And you made time to come on here. I what I really hope for just like in your restaurant that's known for just the best service. I hope people listen to these and say, you know, that's an interesting story that was worth my time. I really hope we deliver some value. I was riveted. So

Unknown Speaker  1:55:00  
Me, I'll get my mother to watch. I promise you'll have a couple fans no matter what. I appreciate that. And remember, somebody taught me this as well. Price is what you pay. And value is what you get. That's important. Yeah. Now you say that, indeed, you never said that to me in the showroom.

Unknown Speaker  1:55:20  
Unless of course, I'm buying a car from you, then none of that matters. Go back today. Because their philosophy when you were buying for me was, if I could recall the translation was price, price, price, price price, and while you're at it, can I get a side dish of price and while you're getting that, can you get me some price?

Unknown Speaker  1:55:36  
And don't forget the floor mats.

Unknown Speaker  1:55:41  
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Larry Constantin

International exec

Entrepreneur turned Corporate Executive Turned Entrepreneur
First Job At 12 years old, I had a chance to have a job if I was 16, so that day I turned
16 (furniture company fired after a week will explain
Learned about Window Film in High School from a girlfriend, though it was cool, so
moonlighted on weekends was pretty popular hobby
At 16 carried a pager in High school, used to leave class to take customer calls
At 17 bought a limousine (from a famous gang in CT) thought I would start a business ,
but had to go to school so I drove the limo to school. Was the most popular guy in
school for a few weeks
Finished school in Maine , then on to University of Southern Maine
Open Pizza Restaurants at 19, then back to Window Film
Licensed Pilot- ask about some great stories about near crash landings
Started formerly a Window Film and Accessory Company in the 90’s then recruited to
join a corporate role in 2001- Moved to Florida , Promoted from (See Resume )

Current
President of Coating Solutions Group
Co-Owner of Bourbon Ventures Restaurant Group