Chasing Financial Freedom

The Unseen Struggles Behind Revolutionizing the Affordable Housing Scene

December 20, 2023 Ryan DeMent Season 5 Episode 51
Chasing Financial Freedom
The Unseen Struggles Behind Revolutionizing the Affordable Housing Scene
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Venture into the realm of innovative solutions to the housing affordability crisis with me, Ryan DeMent, as I engage with the visionary CEO of Norhart, Mike Kaeding. Discover how a personal tragedy propelled Mike to lead his family's business and how his transformative strategies are not only cutting construction costs but also creating ripples of change in the lives of numerous Americans. This episode is a profound look at the intersection of personal growth and industry-wide impact, where the journey from loss to leadership unfolds alongside trailblazing approaches to building efficiency.

As we navigate the complexities of the construction world, prepare to be intrigued by the stories of adversity and the ingenious solutions that follow. Imagine redefining the building process through assembly line techniques or the insider perspective of a framer witnessing the tangible benefits of such innovations on-site. We tackle the nitty-gritty details of dealing with subcontractor disputes, measurement inaccuracies, and the challenge of scaling operations while maintaining affordability. It's a narrative about precision, perseverance, and the collective effort to enhance the very framework of our living spaces.

Wrapping up, the conversation pivots to the broader implications of relentless pursuit in business and personal endeavors. Embrace the ethos of continuous learning that powers self-improvement and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us to transcend conventional boundaries. From the inspiring tales of industry titans to the decade-long persistence of a filmmaker who redefined a beloved franchise, this episode is an homage to the indomitable will that shapes successes in real estate and beyond. Join us to explore these transformative journeys and the lessons they impart.

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Speaker 1:

Guys, ryan Diment from Chasing Financial Freedom Podcast. I hope you guys are having a great day. Today on the podcast we have Mike Cating. He's the CEO of Norhart and they are committed to solve America's housing affordability crisis and they're doing some pretty cool things in the apartment space. We're gonna talk about that and a couple other real estate topics. Mike, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks for having me. You're more than welcome. I know it's a little bit of a wait, but thank you for coming on. I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys are doing in this space, because I am in the affordable housing space but on the single family residence side. So I'd be loved to understand what you guys are doing, and I know you guys are. Are you guys building all across the United States or just in Minnesota?

Speaker 2:

Just in Minnesota right now, although we've been growing quite rapidly, you know, at a very high level, what we do is we simply design, build and rent apartments, but we're really focused on driving down the cost of construction. We've been achieving about a 20 to 30% reduction in those construction costs and we believe that over time we can achieve a 50% reduction. But imagine what that means. I mean, someday your rent could be half, and that's our dream.

Speaker 1:

Okay, you've got, you've grabbed my attention. So before we go down that rabbit hole, let's figure out or not figure out, let's talk about who Mike is, a little bit about who you are and why you're in the space.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I actually grew up with this. My parents originally started the family business and as we were growing up we had very small apartment buildings that we worked on and in fact we lost everything. At one point my dad was actually kidnapped in Peru crazy side story. But we worked past that and I remember being on site, sweeping the sites away and flattening nails because we didn't want to waste a dollar even on a few nails. But as I grew up, I went after college and I wanted nothing to do with the family business, and the reason that was is I didn't want people to think it was given to me. So I had to really wrestle with my own ego because my dad wanted me to join the business. But deep down, what I realized is that I wanted to try to make some kind of meaningful, positive impact in the world. And why not take this small business and grow it to having that kind of impact? So I jumped in with my dad and we doubled the size of the company in the first few years of working together. And then one day he suddenly passed away and that changed everything for me in my life. I ended up taking over as CEO I didn't actually take the title for like five years, but since then we have grown substantially and we're working now to make that impact.

Speaker 1:

I'm sorry to hear that your father passed away, because that had been one very hard. But then you have to take on the world of the business. I mean how I can only assume and I don't want to assume, but how did that make you feel? I mean, what were you going through during that time?

Speaker 2:

It was horrible. I remember the day it sort of all happened. My dad we had some paychecks that were looking like they were gonna bounce Bank gave us a call and said Mike, you don't have money in your account. So we've never missed a paycheck and our entire history as a company we've never missed paychecks. Something was weird. When we dug into it we realized that my dad had put money into the wrong account. So we gave him a call and asked him to come back to the office to write a check to move it to the right account. But when he sat down to write that check he wasn't able to do so, and so I had to fill it out for him and sign his name, got things processed financially. But then that night my wife and I went to his house with my mom and was just there with him and something was not right, but we didn't quite know what. We went home that night and the next morning I got a friend to call for my mom who said that something was seriously wrong and that my dad wasn't willing to go to the hospital. So I raced back to see him and I think me being there was enough to jolt him to go to the hospital, but I remember walking into the pantry and just crying Crying Because I recognized in that moment that that was probably the last time I would ever really see him. That day he went to the emergency room. He ended up doing brain surgery because he had a stroke that was caused by a brain tumor and he did live for another six months, but he was essentially not him. He was physically alive, but his mind wasn't there, and so basically the next morning after all this happened, I'm now CEO, and it's a crazy environment just to wake up one day and have to be running a company. I remember early on it was a huge struggle because, for example, we were getting this project built called Emberwood, and the city that I was with in didn't believe that I could do it, and I wasn't sure I could do it either. In fact, they shut us down twice and the tech. Second time they shut us down, they pulled me aside in a meeting I'll never forget. They looked at me in city hall and said Mike, we don't believe you can do this, you need to hire someone else to manage this project. And we raced to find someone, which is the worst way to find someone. We found someone in three days and that was enough to get the city off of our back so we could continue working. But we're doing all this work behind the scenes to make things happen. And I remember a few weeks before we were supposed to open we had a water main 1,000 feet long, buried 15 feet in the ground and somewhere in that water main there is a pinhole, water leak. But we had no idea where we ended up. I was out there with the excavator in my nice clothes, shoveling like, using my hands, looking for that pipe, looking for this leak, and after a few weeks we were able to find it. Then I remember a few days before we were supposed to open, city staff came out and they said there is no way we're going to open here. I have like 30 families that need a place to live in just a couple of days and the city doesn't believe we can open. We worked through the night, multiple nights in a row, and the last day half a dozen inspectors came out for a half a day inspection. They looked at every nook and cranny of that building and at the end of the inspection, in the parking garage, the head building official pulls me aside and says Mike, I know we were hard on you but honestly, looking at this project today, this is the nicest project that we've opened in our city. It's like finally right Years of not believing in myself, not thinking that I could do it, and if finally I have some kind of information that maybe we were on the right road and maybe we could do this.

Speaker 1:

That's just so rewarding too when you've put all that time and effort in putting it all together. It's life-changing and you're like this is my calling. I've been there not to that extent, but to the extent of we had some sidetrack going on on some properties and the families couldn't move in. They bought them and we couldn't close title and go through the whole process. I know that feeling all too well. That's really cool. That's got to be rewarding, but also fulfilling for you too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it's important to remember for anyone in business. There's long stretches that you're in it and you're not getting much positive feedback. You may not be getting the customers you're looking for. Struggling to get bargaining up and running Operations is not working here. Your employees are fighting with you and calling you crazy, or what have you. You just have to dig in deep and put one step in front of another, over and over and over again. But as long as you're fighting hard and doing the right thing, it does pay off in the end.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I know that too well too. Yes, that's great to hear that happen. Once you got through that, let's keep on telling the story. I love this story. Where do you go from there?

Speaker 2:

Yes, now we start to have a little bit of success. We're still struggling because we kind of struggle with that city. There's other cities that weren't sure that we were going to work with us. Now we're starting to build up relationships with different city members. I remember at one point now that we had done kind of a similar project multiple times in a row, working with similar subcontractors. One of the subcontractors a plumbing subcontractor came to me and said Mike, sorry to do this, but I know we've been charging you a similar price for all of your buildings. Now we're going to charge you three times as much. It's like what? I can't afford to pay this. I just don't have the money to do that. It's like well, good luck finding someone else. He was right. We went back to market and everyone was more expensive. Now it's hard to find anyone who could do this work. We started to brainstorm how can we do this differently? We said, well, can we just do it ourselves? How hard could it be to glue a few pipes together? It's harder than we thought. But we ended up buying a bunch of books on plumbing, spent a lot of weekends and nights reading those books. We ended up hiring out some staff, like more apprentice level staff that could actually do the work. We found a master plumber that was willing to work with us part-time and kind of coach us along. We did all of that. We got jumped into it to start fixing this. We thought we could save money by doing that. Well, the short answer is we could. Long-term it ended up being a major strategy for us and the company. But in this one instance, initially it actually got harder. We ended up costing that three times as much. We struggled through it. There were so many pain points along that road. The magic is we got past that. We started realizing that if we brought more and more and more of these trades in-house, we could actually start meaningfully driving down the cost of construction, because not only are we saving the profit margins that these subcontractors are charging us, we can start applying efficiencies that aren't seen traditionally in the world of construction. In the world of construction, typically, the work is done by a variety of companies that come together to work on one project. Your electrician is different than your plumber, that's different than your carpenter, it's different than your suppliers, your manufacturers, your general contractors all different companies. They come together for one project and they often leave after that project. This is a terribly inefficient way to do things. In fact, manufacturing looks at us and says that we're crazy for that perspective. If a construction company were to produce a car, you'd have a different company installed on the windshield, a different company installed on the door and a different company installed on the wheel Then the wheel company. They would call you up and say hey, mike, I'm so sorry, I got delayed in another project, I can't get out there for two weeks. Your entire line would be shut down. Just crazy. This is normal. This is the way things have always been done in the world of construction. We brought all that work under one roof by doing so. Now we can apply some very simple techniques, for example, the assembly line. Well, how in the world can you take a building and drive it down a line? You can't Not, like you can in a car, for example, or an iPhone. What you can do is you can take the person and move them through the building. Right now, we break our large buildings up into small chunks called batches, basically about one unit. Every five hours, our teams shift through that building by one unit. If you look at the end of our building, every five hours we have a brand new apartment unit completed. Just that one technique alone can take a building that might be 15 months and drive it down to 10 or 11.

Speaker 1:

You're improving through efficiency to reduce your overhead cost which you're paying in labor. I like the concept of being able to drive it into every five hours. How long? Just out of curiosity, how long did it take you to get to that? That has to be some serious time that you guys put into this.

Speaker 2:

It's insanely hard to do. I'm not even saying we're perfect at it. We're always struggling to improve that. Someday we want to get that down to an hour or even 30 minutes and break smaller batches, which is crazy. I know Elon Musk talks about how it's hard to produce a car, but it is 10 to 100 to 1,000 times harder to build the system that builds that car. It's just the same true in the world of construction. It's incredibly, incredibly hard to build a building, but it's so much harder to build the system that builds that building very efficiently and at scale. It's a lot of work. I was on site this is maybe a few months ago now, but one of my conversations on site one of the framers. I was having a conversation with them and I was saying okay, what are the issues you have on your team? Give me some flavor of the challenges you face. He said, mike, the best we ever do for setting on this particular set of walls up is 55 minutes. It's great, keep that up. We need to do more of that. He said, mike, you don't get it. There are plenty of times where it takes us not 55 minutes but seven hours. It's like what the heck? Why is that he went to one of his walls, grabbed a marker and just started drawing it all out on the wall. The basic issues came down to things like the order of which the walls come on the truck Down. To like, if a particular wall is built and it's off by a quarter of an inch, that creates another problem. It depends on the availability of trucks and when they arrive. Are they just arriving just when they need them? It has to do a little bit with the crane and the coordination with the crane, and other trades are on site. There's so many pieces of the puzzle. If you get them all right, it's flawless, it's magical. It's amazing to see If any one thing goes wrong. You get this cascading effect that creates a massive problem down the entire line. That's why it gets hard as one small problem and create a massive cascade of issues.

Speaker 1:

I know that. I know that feeling also because we've gone from Bill you know, rehabbing one or two houses at a time to where now we build from the ground up and I and I won't go back to rehabbing houses. It's just, it's too much work. I love a clean canvas, but one of the things that we're trying out in it's somewhat similar is Pre-heap, prefab balls. If we're gonna put three houses up at the same time. Having that. Well, like you said, if they're off a quarter or an eighth of an inch, it messes everything up. So far, the first two houses we've had that happen and it threw everything off. So we're now trying to figure out is there certain portions of the walls that we can prefab that would be in line and not off More frequently than they are the main walls? The main walls are where we seem to have a problem. So we've gone back to the actual lumber yard that's doing this and trying to figure out why the main walls are off. But I love what you guys are doing because it's in the same thought process that we're trying to do. The other piece that I like is you have everything under one roof, so we have a general contractor that we have a partnership with that. We've kind of created an entity, entity with, and We've put everything under one roof. That's awesome. We have our trades, so we have our electrician, we have our plumber, we have our HVAC it all resides under one roof. So literally we just go down the street and we do that along the way on a smaller scale, but it still has troubles too and we're trying to work that out also. But when we had the separate trades living outside of our GC, the scheduling nightmare that happened was quite frequently. And Then you had a, let's say, an electrician, because this happened to us many times where the electrician didn't want to work when the HVAC guy was in there, because there was too much going on and there's too many meat moving pieces and it's like, no, we, we've got to find a way to make this work under one roof, and this is seven. This is almost eight years of trying to work this out and I still think we have a long ways to go.

Speaker 2:

You're so incredibly right. I have seen that so many times and it really get great efficiency. You need people working tightly and closely together. See those subcontractors and thinking about Optimizing their own profits and their own speed, and so they want everything done. Everyone else has gone through there, the last ones, and they just get their work done. They go out. That's inefficient and effective for the whole system Together. You know, I love how you brought up the wall panels. We ran into that same problem. We were using third-party wall panel companies and they would deliver the wrong wall panels, the wrong links. They would deliver them at the wrong time. In fact, it got so bad at one point that we said just send us out all the lumber and we'll assemble the wall panels on site. All of those things did not work, so what we ended up doing was building our entire own wall panel factory. So now again, we control that entire process so that we're getting the wall panels exactly as we want and see, the interesting thing is we we still the same issues the third-party wall panel company had, but what we have power to do differently now is we can fix those issues. Were, before there's this, praying that they would fix them.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you've got scale behind it now to where you can actually control that and that. That's that's really where We've started to look at. There's been some modular builders, home builders, that we've been been talking to about having a portion of their, of their business to where it's dedicated to us as we get a few more of these projects off the ground. The cities we're working with cities to, and Some cities want 25, 40, 50 houses built and it's like, okay, we can do that, but we need some help. And that's where these modular builders would come into, where, if we, they could dedicate space to us. We would even think about bringing in our own capital and bring our own human capital in so we can really control that. We're just kind of renting the space from them, to say, and they're in there their resources so that we would use their tools and their space, but we would bring in all the wood and so forth and do the work ourselves. I don't know yet. It's it's it's still needs a lot of vetting out to do, but I can tell you this what you guys are doing is is spot-on and I think it's gonna be very great For the industry as a whole and it gets bigger and bigger the the challenges. Are you guys ever gonna look outside of apartments? Are you gonna ever look at houses to where you can start now Creating that, that wealth for the, the American home buyer? You know saying, hey, let's get you from a rental, we'll get you out of one of our apartments, and now we've got this beautiful home over here that we can help you buy also.

Speaker 2:

It's certainly something that we will look at. I would say it is so Hard to do this for any one particular type of asset class that we're just focused on the little niche of Apartments that we're focused on right now. If we get to a point that that is optimized, then I would say for sure let's look at other avenues. I think we have an interesting point, though, on Wealth building, for families, and homes have been a key aspect to doing that. Well, what's really interesting is, if you look at it a little bit deeper, you can replicate some of that similar wealth building through other mechanisms and, like in today's market right now, with how high interest rates are and how expensive homes are, I'm not sure like for me personally, I don't know if I would invest my capital into a house. I would rather invest that in other places that can probably earn a higher rate of return, and so we're exploring ways to provide that to people as well. So we actually launched a new investment platform called no hard invest, where we're actually giving people a consistent rate of return of 10%, and so that actually beats the stock market historically and gives people a way to still build wealth and Be able to have an apartment if that's what they so choose, but that that investment.

Speaker 1:

So, you guys, is it for accredited or unaccredited investors, or both?

Speaker 2:

It's for anyone. We yeah, we know that most real estate investing is only for accredited investors and we didn't think that was right, because you don't get an opportunity Most people don't get an opportunity to disaster class. That builds a ton of wealth for people. And so we took the harder route with the reggae process and it's extensive. It took us a year audits, background checks, thousands of hundreds of pages of legal documents, approval from the SEC. But now that we've gone through all that, we can then offer that investment opportunity.

Speaker 1:

Been down that road before to. I haven't, I haven't put a fund together, but it was one of those things we do Individual private investing. I use a lot of self-directed yeah yeah. Investors, okay yeah, that actually will come in on an individual deal because they ultimately want to be the bank. So we'll actually finance and do the whole deal through that and then once the house is sold to an end buyer, if they can't qualify for a traditional mortgage, which we do lending also then we can write a Private mortgage and fund it the same way, and then that end Investor then becomes the bank and then it's sent off to a servicer and then that family this makes their mortgage payment to that that servicer and that's the end of that deal. It's awesome, it's so good, yeah, it's all all. Yeah, all done the same way, just a different way of looking at it. But the the thing I want to go back to what you guys are doing. Are you guys specifically looking to work with cities? I mean, how do you guys Find your, your next project and in land and so forth, and Tell us a little about what you're trying to do when you guys get these projects off the ground and in how you're Changing and impacting the communities that these apartments go on?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know that was an lesson early on, that it's important to build relationships before you need those relationships and so we actually have a team now that does just that. They're fantastic. They build relationships with city staff members, they constantly looking for land and building relationships with rokers, direct land owners as well, and Because of that that gives us this pipeline of where we can build our new projects. You, we look for sites and places where there's good commercial available, that the city is growing. That's a positive kind of space and environment. But honestly, like the last decade or so, it's also been constrained just by what land we can actually find and get access to, because it's sometimes really hard to find good sites to build on. To begin with, you know one. You talk a little bit about the impact. Some of our properties are honestly among the nicest in the state. We've got one that's seven stories, two-story main entry, the full width of the building, restaurant, coffee shop, brand new transit lines. Right at the front door we have thousands of square feet of amenity space. We have rooftop patio and grill and penthouse suites with two story windows with 270 degree views of the city and views of downtown. It's amazing. But the question I often get is Mike, you talk about wanting to solve housing affordability, but when I go on your website, the rents they're about the same as anywhere else I could find, and that's true. You know, as we talked about earlier, the system to build housing is really hard to do, and so we're taking those profits and putting it into building out that system, that infrastructure, and our dream is, over the next decade or so, to reach about 192,000 units in our manager, with a 60,000 unit per year pace and that sort of scale. We're now producing so many homes or apartments in the markets that we're building. For that we're, since we have an abundance of supply because supply and demand, pricing starts coming down naturally. And here's the magic. That's not just for our own residents, it's for everyone in the communities that we're building in, and that's really the impact we're hoping to have.

Speaker 1:

That's a big impact, and how is that going for you guys?

Speaker 2:

I mean it's going great in the sense that we've been doubling in size almost every year for the last number of years. I would say the one big challenge we're faced with right now is rising interest rates. You know, we would build buildings because their costs are so low and say we have a hundred million dollar building, we would build it for $75 million and the bank would give us $75 million, so we were entirely financed simply in bank financing. If you know the world of bank financing, there's a few nuances there that I'm skipping over, but that's generally how it worked. Now, as interest rates rise, loan proceeds, the amounts banks will give you goes down, and so that's $75 million alone. Today is more like $55 million, and this is partly what sparked the journey down. Creating New Heart Invest is giving people an opportunity to invest and allowed to make these projects a reality. What we're finding, though, in today's market is that multi-family or apartment new starts starting. These new projects has fallen by something between 70 and 80% in the past year Just absolutely fallen down and the reason that is is because, with high interest rates, most developers can't make these deals make financial sense in today's market. So for us, they still make financial sense because our costs are so low. We're just having to pivot to the point of raising capital in ways that we haven't had to do before. So learning how to raise that capital well has been a journey that we're on. That's new for me, but it's been fun to watch that come in and watch the money come in and to build that skill set within the company.

Speaker 1:

That's cool, pivoting and adjusting to the market because out here in Arizona they have the same problem. There was a ton of apartments going up and all of a sudden it just came to a screeching halt as soon as we went above about 6% on interest rates and it's dried up. And now here, at least in Phoenix proper, they've rents took a nosedive and now they've gone straight back up again along with home prices. So it's like, okay, I mean the rollercoaster is here, the challenge here in Arizona, because I just recently, in the last 30, 45 days, we got our nonprofit approved that we're going to do financial coaching through. It's called True Community and I wanted to start it out here in my backyard because most of the developments that we do today are Midwest. There aren't very many affordable housing spaces. You can do any of that out here in Arizona. An acre of land before all this happened was running for about $500,000. It's now down to $400,000. So there hasn't been much change. So it's like I can't build anything affordable on something that's close to a half a million dollars just to acquire raw dirt. So I'm starting to build some additional relationships here in Phoenix with the city council people and different people in the community, but it's going to take time and it's like I can see why there's so many people living in apartments. I'm sorry, just renting. I'm not trying to say it's a bad thing because they can't afford a home. You make it so unaffordable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's crazy, and you're right. Everything's kind of slowing down, and what's going to happen over the next few years, as there's a backlog of pipeline, of buildings that are still under construction, as that starts to dry up, we're going to see prices go even higher, most likely, and so it's going to just we're in a bad spot for the economy in the United States unless we can solve this issue.

Speaker 1:

And then tomorrow CPI comes out. So, depending on whether that comes out hot or cold, that'll push interest rates up or down. I mean, there's so many moving pieces here, but I think it boils down to is control what you can control and stay focused on your niche, and that's really what you can do. Shifting into another gear is, as you guys are going through the market and you're seeing the market turn over, slow down and so forth, what do you guys really think you can do from an impact perspective? As you're raising capital and that money's coming in it sounds like it's doing quite well Do you guys still think your acquisitions can still keep up with what's going on in the marketplace to be able to still put units in play?

Speaker 2:

We're still doing that. Absolutely. We're not at the scale. I mean we're producing maybe three to 500 units a year right now. So we're not at the scale that we're having a meaningful impact on housing supply. But that's our goal for the next few years, next decade is to scale up so that we're having that more meaningful impact. But again, things are working for us simply because our costs are so much lower than other developers and so our financial situation still pencils out. It's just meaning that we have to pivot and learn new skills that I didn't have to before.

Speaker 1:

That seems to be a reoccurring theme nowadays. We're pivoting on a lot of things and learning new skills. Running a nonprofit. People tell me all day long and I'm still learning, reading and trying to bring on some people to help with grant writing and some other stuff they're like you can't run it as a for profit. I'm like, why can't I? Where's it saying the IRS code that I can't? It's just those type of things Because our ultimate goal is to run it as a for profit. At the end of the year, take those monies either put in a 1031 or some type of interest-bearing account to where those monies get rolled over and then at some point get put in the hands of a capable family to help them build a home. That's cool. So I mean it's not going to anybody's pocket other than helping somebody else and it's the pivots and the changes that I love. The pain is, like you said, is the growing piece and understanding how those all work in that journey and I was talking to a guest last week about that is he was on a journey of helping entrepreneurs and small business owners find their branding and their niche and he says you know what if you're not spending an hour or two every single day, either reading podcast, listening, some type of consumption to better yourself. How are you supposed to help your brand and how are you supposed to help your business if you're not improving yourself? And that's kind of where this is. It's like I'm learning on a daily basis about a nonprofit, but I'm also thinking, wow, there's things in the nonprofit world that we potentially can move into the for-profit world to make it more effective in how we actually get our message out there.

Speaker 2:

And it's like I love that it's so strong. I love that you're taking different things, learn from other industries and applying it to that space. But I also could not agree more with that. You've got to learn and grow. You know, for me this sounds a little extreme, but it's true. I spend about 15 hours a week just in learning. But how in the world can you even pull that off? It's actually pretty easy. During the car ride, I listened to audiobooks. During my run, I might listen to podcasts. I run 15 miles every Sunday. That's a few hours I can put to learning. Every night, after I put my kids to bed, instead of watching just kind of random shows, I'll put on documentaries and things that I can learn from where I'll do classes at night and then, as I'm drifting out to sleep, I put on YouTube. There might be like 20 minutes before you're fully asleep and there's an amazing amount of information you can learn from YouTube. And so like, yeah, if you want to change the world, if you want to make a meaningful impact, you've got to be learning and growing. So I love that insight.

Speaker 1:

The funny thing is I'm a late adopter, but about a year and a half ago I had a good friend on my podcast and he's like Ryan, you're missing out on this, this whisper sync technology, and I'm like what's whisper sync technology? So it's where Audible connects in with your Kindle and you get to hear and read it. That highlights it across it. So I've never been a huge reader, but ever since then I can rip through a book in about two weeks, and so now I have a sequence of books that I like to read, so some of the self help, self improvement mindset. And then I have a like a section of nonfiction stuff that I'll read to kind of just, you know, help my mind turned off and just be away from business. But that's changed my life, because I get to hear what the person's saying, I'm also reading it, and then, now that I've been doing it for long enough, I crank it up to like 1.25 and 1.5. Excellent, and it just goes and I just seem to absorb it a lot easier and I remember and retain things. It's just a lot easier for my mind to take it all in.

Speaker 2:

It's like where's this been? It's, oh my gosh. I could not agree with you more. There's something about reading and listening at the same time, especially if it's highlighting it goes along. You, just you just grab so much more of the information at a deeper level. That's fantastic. I love that.

Speaker 1:

And I, I get into it more, I'm more focused, I'm more detail oriented with it. Put my earbuds in so no one hears it and I just go, and it's just. I get into it and it's just, I go, I go, I go. I'm reading Charlie Munger's brand new autobiography that just came out, the fifth Right after he passed away. Very interesting His zingers that he puts in there and the thing how he thinks it is crazy. He would come home after a 14 hour day in the office, sits down in this green lazy boy chair, as they describe it, and he has the Wall Street Journal on one side, he has Barron's on the other and then he has some type of book that's a nonfiction book that he would all three and have a sequence to read and absorb information, while he has his kids sitting on his lap and he's talking to him going through all that. He's doing all that, but he's also absorbing the information. I was like, how do you do that?

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, I am going to have to read that. That sounds great. Have you read the new Elon Musk biography that came out of you?

Speaker 1:

I have not. How is it?

Speaker 2:

Oh my God, that's fantastic as well. There's so much. What I like about it is it's not just oh, elon Musk is great. Obviously he's done amazing things. I really look up to him. But it shows the whole gamut of what he's been through and it shows sort of the dark sides of his personality as well, and it kind of wrestles with this question of can you, can you have someone that changes the world without pushing people to their limits to make massive impact. It's a really interesting thing. One of the takeaways at the end that I thought was really interesting is he talks about this concept of the goalkeepers or the forgetting the term but the people that watch over and kind of govern over the work, the judges in some sense, versus the people doing the work. And when you start creating a society where you have more people judging and regulating the work rather than doing the work, you're kind of in a bad spot. You need a lot more doers than judges.

Speaker 1:

It's kind of like it's similar and I'm not. I'll go there. It's kind of like government, where you've got too much government and not enough private entities doing the work. I mean because the innovation comes from private entities, not from the government. But yeah, I get that. Who's the author on that? I?

Speaker 2:

think it's Walter, I did.

Speaker 1:

Is it just recently released?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like a month or two ago.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I will look it up. I'm on. I'm due for another book here shortly, so once I finish Charlie's book I'll go look at that.

Speaker 2:

Awesome Sounds fun.

Speaker 1:

All right, sir. This has been a great conversation. If people want to reach out, they want to, maybe even want to, invest. Where's the best place they can contact you at?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the best place to go is our website. It's norhartcom, that's N-O-R-H-A-R-Tcom. When you get on that site you can click on invest to learn more about how to earn 10% interest on your money. And then the second kind of interesting thing is we have our own shows. One of my favorite is called Zero to Unicorn. It's about the journey of small business growing to billion dollar scale, and one of my favorite guests was Michael Uzlan. He's the originator and executive producer of Batman. In fact, he just barely eat out the rights to Batman when he was fairly young. But after that point it took him 10 years. 10 years of trying to convince people to make this movie, people slamming their door in his face, of telling him he was crazy and this idea of a dark and serious Batman franchise would never work. But he fought through it and after those 10 years he was able to make it a movie and obviously the rest is history. He's done some incredible things, like a movie, national Treasure and others. But what was kind of fun is trying to get him on the show. Originally we would have calls and he would be on the set of the Joker movies. It's just crazy. That's cool.

Speaker 1:

I will link your website in the show notes. Thank you for coming on and sharing your story. I love what you're doing and you're making an impact in the world.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much. Have a great day.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Mike Cating
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