8: Brock Blake, CEO of Lendio, on Pivots, How His Motivation Has Changed, and Living Intentionally

Show Notes

Brock Blake is the CEO of Lendio. Lendio is a small business loan marketplace, where business owner fills out one application, and gets access to about 75 lenders on our platform, and can comparison show, and choose the loan that is best for them.

I love their mission of fueling the American Dream.

During our conversation we discuss:

  • How the business pivoted and evolved the business to the place it is today.
  • How team members share customer stories to inspire each other.
  • What they did when they received a “bad” customer review to turn things around.
  • Increase the pace of change and winning by failing faster.
  • Where he gets his motivation and drive from and how that has changed over time.
  • The intentionality he brings to his life and work.
  • How he took on the challenge of being a great CEO and a great dad.
  • Books he is reading and much more.

Books Brock recommends:

The best ways to connect with Brock are:

You can follow Brett Pinegar on:

Subscribe to SEEKING EXCELLENCE now and if you love it, rate, review, and if you feel so inclined, please share it with folks you think would be interested.


Podcast Transcript

I had a venture capitalist when I was first raising our first round of venture capital, and came in, and he was trying to get to know me, and he told me this story, he said, "Brock, I've never seen someone "be a successful family man, "and a successful CEO at the same time. "You either gotta chose one or the other." And that didn't sit very well with me, and in that moment, I knew that he was not the right partner to work with. And also in that moment, not maybe in that direct moment, but in the days after that where I really thought that comment just bugged me so much. And it motivated, it created this immense amount of motivation for me that I'm gonna show, not only him, but others, that you can be a great family man and a great CEO. And do it at the same time. Welcome to Seeking Excellence. I'm Brett Pinegar. In my work, I help executives and teams be their best, and achieve remarkable results, reduce time to market, more rapid growth, higher levels of profitability, along with a better quality of life. Learn more about my coaching, peer groups and training programs at brettpinegar.com. You can also follow me on social media @brettpinegar. Check the show notes for all the the specifics. Seeking Excellence is all about helping us understand what makes leaders that are striving to be their best tick. What are their beliefs or mindsets about how the world works? What motivates them? And how do they bring their best to their work? And then we take those insights, and uncover things that we can all do to live and lead with more intention. If you enjoy this podcast, we would appreciate it if you'd take the time to rate, review and share it with others.

Before we get into today’s episode I am super excited to announce that on May 17 at 11am MT, we will be having a no-cost webinar on the neuroscience of excellence and the four disciplines you can use to go from average to awesome.

You can go to brettpinegar.com/events to register.

Check the show notes for all the specifics.

My guest on this episode is Brock Blake, CEO of Lendio. Lendio is a small business loan marketplace, where business owner fills out one application, and gets access to about 75 lenders on our platform, and can comparison show, and choose the loan that is best for them. 

I love their mission of fueling the American Dream.

During our conversation we discuss:

  • How the business pivoted and evolved the business to the place it is today.
  • How team members share customer stories to inspire each other.
  • What they did when they received a “bad” customer review to turn things around.
  • Increase the pace of change and winning by failing faster.
  • Where he gets his motivation and drive from and how that has changed over time.
  • The intentionality he brings to his life and work.
  • How he took on the challenge of being a great CEO and a great dad.
  • Books he is reading and much more.

Brock, it's a pleasure to be with you today.

My pleasure, thanks for having me Brett.

Yeah, it's great. Well I'm wondering if we can start out with just a quick introduction to you and to Lendio.

Yeah, so Brock Blake, Founder and CEO of Lendio. Lendio is a small business loan marketplace, so you might think about Kayak or Expedia, we do that for business loans. So a business owner will come to us, and I'm talking business owner, we're talking main street restaurant owners, landscapers, dry cleaners, they come to us, fill out one application, and get access to about 75 lenders on our platform. Each of those lenders will then submit an offer, and then that business owner can comparison shop the rate, the term, the payment amount, and chose the loan that best fits them. We, at Lendio, we talk what drives us, we talk about fueling the American Dream. So what that means, we've got these millions of small business owners who have this idea, passion, to help, or to grow their business, to hire employees, to expand to a new location, some vision or goal for the future, but they need capital to be able to do that. And before Lendio, they might go bank to bank to bank, applying for a loan, getting their credit pulled, and it's a bad, painful experience. And so we've tried to simplify all of that, make it easy, come to one place, get access to all these loan options. And when you help these business owners get access to capital, and they tell you your story, it is, it's a really meaningful, satisfying work that we're doing. And so, that's a little bit about Lendio--

That's great.

and what we're trying to accomplish.

Give us a sense of the scale of the business. How many, I mean whatever metrics would make sense to share, I mean how could we sort of get a sense for your impact?

Yeah, so we have funded just under a billion dollars of loans.

Oh, that's great.

At an average loan size of 50,000 dollars, so I mean that's a lot of, tens of thousands of small businesses across the country. And we have about 150 employees, 100 here in South Jordan, 50 in our New York office, and growing this last year, you know we grew, just under 100% year over year. And so we're, it's a big market, a big opportunity, and we're doing some good things.

That's great. Well I think you already raised one of the key issues I wanted to talk about today, which was purpose. One of the things that leaders need to do is to establish the purpose of the business, to explain why we're doing what we're doing, why are we climbing this mountain we're climbing here. And it sounds like you've got a great purpose here. Did it start out that way, or did you sort of get into that as your sort of fundamental purpose?

Well early on, you know our purpose, I mean I didn't quantify it, or you know I couldn't articulate it exactly the way that we do today, but it was, I've always been passionate about business owners, and entrepreneurs, and helping them get access to capital. Before Lendio, I'd started a company called, Funding Universe, so a lot of people in Utah are familiar with it, because we did so many events and things here. But what we were doing, is we were connecting entrepreneurs to investors, angels, and venture capitalists. And we would do that through these speed pitching events, like speed dating meets venture capital.


And we were, you know helping these business owners they would to try to and get access to capital in that way, and it was a satisfying, and very, both satisfying and painful learning experience to go through that business, because you learned that most businesses are not gonna raise angel or venture capital. Most businesses are these main street businesses. And they're not gonna be the next Uber, Square, Twitter, Facebook, in fact, only about 1% of businesses actually raise venture capital. Most need 50, or 100, or 150 thousand dollars, and so you know we, I knew there was a need to help business owners get access to capital, but we were solving it in the wrong way, in my opinion. And that's when I started to kind of realize, "Man, "instead of focusing on the 1%, let's focus on the 99%." And we shut down Funding Universe, and launched Lendio in 2011, and with the goal of let's help small business owners. And that has really expanded into this vision of, we say fuel the American Dream, and it's not, it's not a tag line, it is real.


And it is making a difference in the lives of these small business owners, because we believe that small business owners are kind of the backbone of the economy here. So, we can help make an impact with that.

That is absolutely the case, and it's interesting to see, really the purpose has stayed the same, and then the pivot is around the strategy and around where you're focusing in order to make the biggest difference for the purpose.

That's right.

When you look at your company today, and your team here, what are you doing to inspire them with this vision, with this purpose? Are there specific ways in which you go about helping the team really capture what this is all about?

Well every month we have an all hands meeting. And where I like to remind, remind the team of what we're doing. And we do that in a few different ways. First is, we put it out there, of what does fueling the American Dream mean? And we connect the dots, and we try, to do that we share customer stories.


So, either customer videos or like this last company meeting, which was Thursday, we had eight of our front line customer service team members stand up and each give a one to two minute story, and say, "I worked with a business owner "in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and here was their challenge, "and this is what I needed to help them accomplish, "and this how we helped them get a loan, "and this is the result of that."


And so you tell the stories, and so you realize that it comes to life. You know if you're an engineer, you may not be able to be customer facing everyday, but that way you realize, "Man, what I did made an impact."


So we try and tell the customer story as often as we can. And, but then we also try and tie it back to kind of, macro-economics stats, and so for every, we have a goal of funding basically a billion dollars in loans in one year. And when we accomplish that, that will represent about 11 billion dollars of economic impact across the United States. And I kind of just try and put that into perspective, of what type of impact 11 billion dollars is on the economy. So from the smallest level, from a customer story to a macro level of you know, economic impact, and kind of try to connect the dots in-between that's what we do.

Love it, love it. How do you think that focus on purpose, and helping employees feel really connected to the purpose, whether they're an engineer or on the front lines, how's that impacted your ability to be successful as a business? Do you see that are tangible benefits of being so purpose driven?

No question. You know, it is part of, it's the common thread that connects all of our team members together, is that we're all passionate about that purpose. And, I believe in, we're very protective of the culture that we have here, and we only want team members that I believe that the most talented individuals in whatever, is if they're doing something that they're passionate about. And so, not that every single person is extremely passionate about solving this major problem, but when you connect that dot, and you help them see the impact we're doing, it just becomes not just a job where you're checking in eight to five, it just creates meaning to it, and it creates their best, I believe, all of our collective kind of best work.

I think that's right. In fact, Gallup did a really interesting study, they do it ever year, or every couple of years, where they look at employee engagement, and they really establish, what are the key drivers of an engaged employee? And having meaning or purpose is one of the primary ways you can do that. And what's interesting about that, is that when an employee is an engaged, they're probably between one-and-a-half and two times as productive as they are as when they're either not really engaged or actively disengaged. Employee turn over much lower. Employee satisfaction much higher. Customer satisfaction much higher. Do you see any sorts of the, any benefits like that in your business?

Yeah, no question. You know, you just said customer satisfaction. We have thousands of customer reviews of you know, five-star reviews of them going through our experience, and our team members take pride in when they get a customer review, or the opposite. We had a great story this last week, where a business owner came in looking for financing. There was a misunderstanding. They put a review on there that said, "I've read all these other reviews, that say "it's an amazing experience, mine wasn't so amazing." And our head of customer experience, immediately reached out to that customer, apologized, you know we're so sorry. There was a misunderstanding, we want to make it up to you, let us figure out how to take good care of you. And because we deal with thousands of business owners every month.


And it turned, literally, two days later, that customer went online and wrote the most amazing kind of review of, and so if that customer had slipped through the cracks, or whatever had happened, but we reached out and we made it right, and you turned a negative experience into an overwhelming positive experience. I guess that goes back to the passion of you know there's meaning in your work, and that there's meaning in taking good care of that customer and helping them get access to capital. I mean

Yeah, yeah. I see those tangible results in a lot of different ways, that's just one example.

You know what's so interesting, is that there are a lot of companies out there where purpose isn't a top driver for them, and they kind of, "Oh purpose, "don't really need it, just give me the number, "we just gotta hit the number." And they're very numbers or results driven. And I think that there's an opportunity for you to see how you can add to that, by adding purpose to results, as a way to sort of make this business even better. For your employees, for your customers, for you as an owner of the business.

Yeah, I think that the numbers, I mean that's all apart of it, right? To me, that's the scorecard.


And so you start with purpose, and passion around you know what're we really accomplishing here? How are we making a difference in this world? And then, you know, but you have to be able to build a long term sustainable business, you have to be able to drive revenue, you have to be able to drive profits, you have to be able to do those things, because if you don't, then the organization goes away, and you're not actually fulfilling your purpose. So you connect those dots. And so, okay, it starts with purpose, but if we do a great job with the purpose, the scorecard is gonna be here in these financial results. And if we do great with these financial results, it's gonna drive back to our purpose. You're just trying to connect those dots, right?

Right, right, so let's take the results in a different direction, because you mentioned a couple of times this pivot that you've had between Funding Universe and then the first version of Lendio, maybe the second version of Lendio here. And those are important pivots, and every organization pivots, it's just a part of life here. When you think about your process for becoming aware of the issue, and then determining the best ways to solve it, getting creative and innovative about how to solve the problem. And then your implementation of that, I'll call that kind of a learning and adapting loop, where companies get really good at learning and adapting are more likely to be successful in the long term. What were some of the key things that you did to get good at being aware, and to not let this problem of like we're focusing on the 1% versus the 99% go on too long?

Fail faster than everyone else.

I know a lot of people use that fail fast. You know I heard this analogy, and I've used it a few times as of late, for the video game players out there. I'm not a huge video game player, but in, I think everyone's played Mario Brothers where you get on there, and the first thing you see is this little turtle guy coming by, and you run into the turtle guy and you die. And you learn, oh, I can't run into the turtle guy, I gotta jump over him. And then the next time you jump over the turtle guy, and you follow him in the pit and you die. And you realize, oh, man, I can't fall in the pit. And you learn, the only way you're gonna pass that level or in that video game is that I gotta die a bunch of times to figure it out. And so sometimes in business, it's that way. It's like man, we gotta make mistakes faster than everyone else. And we gotta learn from them, and try not to do that again. And so I think embracing that if you're not making mistakes, then you're not really progressing, and how do you empower your team members to feel that same way? Where it's like, you know what? We'll make mistakes, some are actually gonna be really painful. Everyone says fail fast, until it's really painful, then it sucks. But, you know, how do you respond to that? You say, fail fast, and then they make a mistake, and you berate them, you know and you get upset at. How do you respond to that? Be able to say, "Hey, great learning opportunity, "you know let's make sure it doesn't happen again, "let's grow from it, be better next time." So, I think it's in how you handle that failure or those mistakes, that allows you to grow.

What do you it is for you as leader that allows you to not be the person that berates the employee, what is it about your style or your approach that allows you to say, "Hey, let's learn from this. "Let's do better next time, "but let's get right back at it." Where does that come from for you?

That's a great question. Where does that come from? I mean it's just born into who I am, and so it must come from my parents, from my upbringing. You know I'm just passionate about people. And their success and their growth, and sometimes I might be err on the wrong side of that, where I might avoid conflict, you know even sometimes.


And that could be a weakness, but I think it's just that the passion for people, and seeing them progress and grow. So it must come from my upbringing, I have, go ahead.

So yeah, tell me a little bit about your parents, and tell me a little bit about what it was like that you think probably created that mindset for you.

So interesting thing about my family, so my mom grew up extremely poor, very, very poor. A single mother who worked all the time, and everything that she did, she had to do on her own. And she has this crazy innate personality of being creative, and not letting anything get in her way. She wanted to go to Prom, she didn't have the money to buy the dress, she would literally go to the store, look at it, and then go home and sew it, her own dress. My dad, and so she was a schoolteacher. My dad is a psychologist, and he just has this deep passion for people, and so that combination has created some, and I say this just to help give perspective of my upbringing. There's five boys and one girl, my sister's the oldest. Her husband is the president of a very successful financial brokerage. My oldest brother is the CEO of a half-a-billion dollar company in Texas. Next brother is in marketing, an exec was at Walmart, now EA Sports. Next brother is a CEO of a company. Next brother is a patent attorney. And then me, as a CEO. So whatever they did, it created that combination of people and just you know never say die, or creativity or whatever has instilled into my siblings this, and very competitive. This drive that has just been ingrained into our upbringing.

That's powerful. And I think that a lot of people really yearn for that kind of a drive, and that sort of a focus because not all of us had that upbringing very much driven by different things for different people. So let's imagine one of the listeners out here saying, "Boy, I wish I had Brock's sort of enthusiasm for life "and that I became more of a, less of a victim, "and more of sort of a creator, let me create "the future I want, and not let anything get in my way." What advice would you give to somebody who's now 30, 40 years old, and is now trying adapt or to adopt this kind of a mindset.

Yeah, so, you know I think I would just describe some of the things that I do that have helped me with that. You know I start off, and I've tried to make a, try and build a system around this. I don't think you can do anything until you figure out how do I make this to be long term, like I don't just do it for a day, and then I'm done, right?


You know some of those things that have helped me create kind of this zest for life, you know I think morning, kind of study time, more meditation time, early in the morning. A time where, to go workout, and to exercise, and to get outside and sweat and push yourself, and compete in different ways. Time with your family. My wife, and we have four kids, and their different activities, and connecting with them, putting the cell phone down, and trying to be there in the moment. And that includes you know dinner each night, and some of those things. One-on-one time with your spouse, weekly date, or things like that. And then when you're at work, you know I believe you should have a very balanced life, but when you're at work, man, you are at it. And I mean every minute of that day, you're just trying to drive as much value as you possibly can. And I think that some people try and work, you know burn the midnight oil, and morning, and late, late at night, and they get burnt out, and tired and worn out. And there's times you have to be able to do that, but I think that if you have balance in your life then the time at work, even if it may not be you know 15 hours a day, if it's 10 hours a day those 10 hour days are gonna be more productive, than someone's 15 hour days, just because you're at your, you know you're on. And then the balance of being able to get away from work every once in awhile, shut it off, go to Lake Powell or whatever on vacation, and have time to think and decompress and rejuvenate yourself. So you know for me, those are some of the things, there's you know personal, spiritual connection, and religious connection for me that rejuvenates me on a weekly basis. Where I can stop kind of some of the other things and try and be uplifted in other ways. I think that that balance, and it doesn't have to be, that's mine.


Someone else is gonna have a completely different balance, but thinking about how do I progress, how do I, is it studying, reading, exercising, balance, family, I think that's been a good recipe for me.

That's fantastic here. Do you feel like, are there mantras or things where you intentionally go back and think about it, or does this mentality, this really sort of ooze and sort of flow through all of these sort of recharging and rejuvenating activities that you're involved in?

Just learn over time. But I'm definitely very, what's the word I wanna use, I'm intentional.


Very intentional about that. And I've tried to you know on a very regular basis, whether it's quarterly or annually, kind of take a step back and evaluate how I'm spending my time. Am I spending it on the most, the things that matter the most to me? And building a great business matters, a great deal to me, but not at the expense of my family and other things. And you know, I'll just tell this quick story.

Go for it.

I had a venture capitalist, when I was first raising our first round of venture capital, and came in, and he was trying to get to know me, and he told me this story, he said, "Brock, I've never seen someone "be a successful family man, and a successful CEO "at the same time. "You either gotta chose one or the other." And that didn't sit very well with me, and in that moment, I knew that he was not the right partner to work with. And also in that moment, maybe not in that direct moment, but in the days after that where I really thought that comment just bugged me so much. It motivated, it created this immense amount of motivation for me that I'm gonna show, not only him, but others that you can be a great family man and a great CEO. And do it at the same time. And I'm not sure if I'm great at either one, but I am intentionally doing my best to hopefully receive that title, or you know not recognition. I'm not doing it for anyone else, but I wanna be able to show you can do that.

You wanna prove that, yeah. Yeah. You know it's interesting several people that I've interviewed so far, talked a lot about the power of and, not or. This or that, it's power of this and that. And it's interesting to see how as we think there's more possibility that we can accomplish so much more than if we think we have to trade off this for that, where we settle for something that's much less than what's possible. And it's great to see it, great to see it here. So let's come back to sort of your leadership style, and talk a little bit about how it's evolved over time. If you were to kind of take the clock back 10 or 15, 20 years and describe you as a leader, and the leader that you are today. What of been some fundamental changes for you in your approach to leadership?

Well first of all, it's around motivation. I think early on in my career, you go read those entrepreneur magazine stories, and you'd see that guy or gal built a business, sold it, and drove off in the sunset with their Ferrari or Lamborghini or whatever it was. And you're, man, that would be awesome. And you know early on, I thought about that a lot, and I always kind of talked about it, I'm gonna build this business, I'm gonna sell it, and then we'll go see what else we're gonna do. And quite a few years ago, I'm not sure how long ago, but I had a really pretty significant change of heart in that. It wasn't about building it to sell it, because that drives short term thinking, and it's about building a great business that solves a problem. And hopefully it's a 100 year business. That doesn't mean it won't be sold, but when it's sold, hopefully it will even progress further so it can be a 100 year business. But you're building something of value. And that really changed my outlook on the decisions I was making, and you know it's not always a short term decision to optimize the results in the short run. It might be a decision I'm making today, that I believes gonna have an impact three years down the road, and some people may not appreciate that or recognize it for what it is, or question that decision, but you know why you made the decision, and you stick with it, and it usually pays off in the end. So, that's one of the significant changes I've had from early on in my career.

What do you think motivated that? You talked about there was this moment where you realized that no longer was the exit the most important thing that was building something of value.

Through a lot of experiences. And a lot of, you know, I don't know, maturity, again, I don't think there was one moment of time. But seeing, you know you're trying to solve a problem, and you know you try and solve it one way, and it may not drive the value you want, or it may not create the customer experience you want, and you learn, and then you see and you do it the right way, and you realize, "Wow, that was pretty awesome, "and it was pretty satisfying, and we got this result." And you just, I don't know, you take a step back and you there's just some maturity there I guess.

Yep, yep. Sometimes it's the outside influences in our life that cause us to begin to see the world differently, and for me that's been the case. I'll meet someone who has a profound impact on me, somebody that goes, whoa, you know they see the world differently. And I'll learn from them, and go maybe I need to take a step back, so this concept of connecting with people, mentor as heroes, and then taking a step back and say, "What can I learn and what do I need to get "into my life in order to improve my game?" When you look at your life, and you look at your sort of sense of who you are, other than the family, looking outside the great upbringing that you had, heroes, mentors that have made a big difference for you?

Um, outside of the family, uh.

Well maybe it's interesting to think about why that's a hard question to answer. I mean what is it about the family was just profoundly inspiring, it sounds like.

Yeah, my brothers, I mean my siblings have been, had a major impact on my life as well. But I've talked a little bit about them. You know I look to people that, I'll mention a few different individuals that have had an impact on me. You know, I think Mitt Romney has had an impact on me, you know people are gonna be like, "Oh, you know "the Mormon Presidential Candidate." But just the way he went about, and carried about his business, and handled criticism, and seems like, from my perspective, he's just tried to do everything that he's done, and been very successful at it, done it with class. And he is, he's a family man, he's in love with his wife for however many years, and all their grandkids, and the way he was able to do that in a public spotlight I think, was fairly impressive. I loved the way Larry Miller, I read his book, Driven, great book. I loved the way he has really given back to the community and created this legacy. You know I think John Huntsmen, Senior, is that way, I read about some of him. You know these individuals that have had their word as their, is like binding, they care about people, they're building a great business, but also giving back. They're leaving a legacy. It's not just about the almighty dollar, there's more to it than that. And so Bob Gay, the partner of Mitt Romney. The lesser known, you know I've read quite a bit of things about him, and some of his talks that he's given have had a huge impact on me personally. Just, it's that power of and. There's one talk in particular, he wanted to be a religious seminary teacher all growing up, and he had the chance to go to Harvard Business School, and he's like, "But Dad, you know like, "these business men are just shrewd, and it's just about "the almighty dollar." And he said, I think it was this learning where he said, "That whatever, Mormon Chapel, Catholic Chapel, "or whatever it is, you know, that will do a lot of good, "but also costs something to the effect, "it was like a million dollars to build, "and that's gotta come from somewhere, right?" And he's gone on, and so that kind of opened it up, you can do a lot of good, you don't have to be a seminary teacher or do a non-profit to impact the lives of many people. And he's gone on, and had just this lifetime worth of effecting people in a positive way. And so those types of individuals inspire me immensely, and I try read and soak up as much as I can about people like that.

Well you, I think about the pattern in these individuals here, and the theme that I hear you mention is this notion of integrity. In addition, there's this power of the and. They sort of walk the talk. They are who they are. They are real, they're human beings. And they are true to themselves and their families. There are other examples of leaders that, that's not the case. It sorts of win at all costs. It is this notion, I'm gonna be a CEO, I can't be a family man. And it's interesting to think about what it takes to transform yourself from that thinking of I have to make a choice, to I can be my best self regardless if I'm at home or at work here. I wonder if it's mindset, if it's a belief, or if it's something that we teach in the schools, or what we could do here to help more people realize they could have it all? I'll give you another example here. I was talking with a female CEO, of a company here in Utah, that said you know there's a lot of cultural sense of you either need to be a mom, or you can be in the workplace, and that you can't have both. And she talked about how she realized that she could do both. There were trade offs, there were issues, but it wasn't this versus that, that she could act with integrity and be a great professional CEO, and also be a great mom, and a great wife, and have a great family here. And so, you think these issues are cultural? Do you think issues are sort of taught from a very young age here? Where do you think they come from where we can realize it's and? We can act with integrity and be successful in business?

Yeah, I think that's a great example, and I think that the world tells you that you can't. The world tells you that you can't do both. You can't be this and that. You know there's not examples of this, you have to sacrifice A to get B. And so you're just ingrained into this is just this is the way that it is.


So you just need to follow. Just get in line, and this is just how it is, right? We don't have to get in line, and we can kind of create our own, what is our own kind of ideal scenarios. There's a great book I'm reading right now, it's called, High Performance Habits. And I can't remember the author of it, but it is all around this whole kind of topic around the power of and, and being your best self, and for those that are listening and are passionate about leadership, it's a good book.

Great, we'll add it to the show notes to make sure people can connect with that book here.


So, you learned about the power of and from this book here. What are some other interesting books that you've read recently that you might share with the audience?

I'm reading a book right now, another one called, The Art of Storytelling. And I believe that the job, one of the jobs of a CEO, is to help people connect, is know if you can present with a story, you know I think that's, if you're in any sort of presentation role that's a great book. Man, I'm always reading or listening to something.

That's good, that's a great book here so. We'll get some information on that into the podcast as well, into the notes here. You know, as you think about the things that have made you who you are, you talked about family, you've talked about role models, you've talked about books here. What role have your employees played in you becoming who you are? What kind of feedback do you get from your team that has been very influential to you? I'll give you an experience, like I remember years ago being a brand new leader, and having one of the people that was reporting to me, come to me and said, "I don't trust you." And it was like, whoa! I mean it totally set me back, because I thought what have I done to create distrust? And for awhile I was like, bull, don't believe it here. Finally, I reached the point where I said I need to go back and really unpack this and understand that. And it was immensely beneficial to have that direct feedback and to learn what I had had done that had created some distrust, and be able to make it right here. What sorts of things have you learned from your team that have helped you?

I think since I as I continue to learn and grow, you know I think early on in your career you kind of think you know it all. I always say that the best parents are those who don't have any kids. Right? They know the answer to everything. But as soon as you start, soon as you have kids, you're like, I don't know how to do this, like what do I do in this situation? And as a CEO, again early on you think, I have to have all the answers. Everyone's looking at me, I have to have all the answers. And I realized that there are a lot of people, most people out there are way smarter than I am. And you know do I try and identify my strengths and weakness, what am I really good at, and be intellectually honest about that, and where are my weaknesses? And then go out, and find someone that, and they may be completely different than you, but that is the best in the world where you're very weak. And so for me, I just try and surround myself, and it's a cliche to say, but surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, and that are more talented than you in certain areas where you are weak. And that's, I think makes a great team. And it's okay to be exposed a little bit, be vulnerable, and depend on others. And that's what I've tried to do. Build out of that team, and where there's trust there's healthy conflict, there's healthy debates, where we're really debating the solution around a problem. And with people that have different talents and skill sets, that's what I do.

Fantastic. This is great. Let's go ahead and wrap up here with just a quick little set of questions around what describes you as a leader. So would you say you're more of an introvert or extrovert?


And have you always been like that, or has that changed over time?

I've become more introverted over time.

Interesting, and for what reason?

Just trying to be more thoughtful. And so there's times where as I get older or whatever, I've learned you need to take time for yourself to be able to really just think about problems. And you'll hear that when you're younger, you'll be like, "Why do you just, "I don't get that you know." But as I get you know deeper into my career, I just really value time to really process things and make good decisions. And so, that's made me a little more introverted.

Great. Are you a rule maker or rule breaker?

I'm a rule breaker. My wife gets on me because she's a rule maker. But you know, I teach my kids, I'm like there's certain rules that, there are certain rules that you should keep at 100%, and then there are other rules, who knows why they made that rule, it's a dumb rule, so you know it's okay to break'em. You know, so, I get myself into trouble a little bit with that, but I like to push the limits on things.

Yeah, well it sounds it's not rule breaker, but deciding what's a rule and what's not a rule.


So would you say you're more of a leader from the front or from behind?

The front.

And what do you like about being in the front? Or what about that works for you?

I like being able to set the vision of where we're going. This is what it looks like. This is how you fit within it, and then empower that employee, and give them ownership and get out of the way. So I just wanna help people see it. And describe it, and know what it feels like, and then I wanna just get out of their way and let them do their thing.

Great, fantastic. One last question here. If you were to look to yourself in the next 20 years, what advice would you give yourself in order to make the next 20 years the best they could be for you.

Man, that's a deep question.

Yeah. We'll end on a big one.

Priority. What are your priorities, and make sure to define those. What are the things that most important in your life? And then are you spending the adequate time and energy and resources on those things that are the most important in your life. And how often, and make sure that you are putting in a regular time check to be able to do an evaluation of that. And so if you're off, you can course correct and get back on.

I love that, I love that. Brock, how can people follow you on social media?

Yeah, I'm on Twitter, Brock Blake, and on Instagram, and on Facebook, all the same, just Brock Blake, or you can follow us at Lendio.

Fantastic. Hey thanks for your time today.

Thanks Brett, appreciate it.