46. 3 Startup Ideas for the Military Community

October 12, 2022

46. 3 Startup Ideas for the Military Community
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In this episode, Brock walks through three different business ideas for the military community: a military base drive through coffee truck, a Thiel Fellowship for service members, and a cohort based TAPS class. 

Show Notes:  
(00:00) - Why it's important to be a problem solver
(02:25) - A drive through coffee truck on military bases
(16:30) - A Thiel fellowship for military
(24:20) - A Cohort based TAPS class

The Scuttlebutt Podcast - The podcast for service members and veterans building a life outside the military.

The Scuttlebutt Podcast features discussions on lifestyle, careers, business, and resources for service members. Show host, Brock Briggs, talks with a special guest from the community committed to helping military members build a successful life, inside and outside the service.

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Brock Briggs  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the Scuttlebutt Podcast, the podcast for current and former service members looking for more than that nine to five. I'm your host, Brock Briggs, and you're in for something a little bit different today. You're getting just me, you heard me just me riffing on some half baked ideas I've had since stepping back into the military space. I've spent a lot of the time in my life, being a very glass half empty person, someone very quick to be critical and point out everything wrong in a certain situation or circumstance. As we all know, in the military, it's very easy to do that. We all don't want to PT at 5am. We don't want to deploy we don't want to PCS; there are countless things to whine and bitch about. When I got out of the Navy and went back to school, I fell down this weird entrepreneurship rabbit hole that I still seem to be chasing. One of the things that has led me to is some really interesting content. Currently, one of my favorite podcasts and has been for the last few years is called My First Million. These two guys Sam Parr and Shaan Puri, both entrepreneurs to varying degrees, get on and talk about half big business ideas. And it's a complete riot, it's so much fun to listen to, while providing great entertainment. It's also helped me flex a muscle I didn't know that I had. And that's how to look at bad things and find ways to make them better. Often that's through a business lense saying, How can I make money off of this. That sounds kind of self serving, but businesses are in existence to serve customers, which implies that they're offering a product that makes their customers lives better, or in this case, whatever shitty circumstances better. I'm going to cover three ideas today I've been sitting on sort of through a business context lens, but doesn't necessarily have to be that that's just how I like to think of them. A lot of the things I used to complain about in the military have sort of been marinating in my mind the last few years. And more recently, what has been done or what could be done to fix those things. I'm going to walk you through three ideas that I've been sitting on, let's go ahead and dive in.

So the first idea that I had is actually something that I was so so close to doing. When I was going to college after getting out of the Navy, I really had this idea that there ought to be quick service coffee on the East Coast. That was one of the big things that I really missed about moving to the east coast is that there wasn't Dutch Brothers or any of the quick service coffee names that the West Coast boasts, we have Dunkin Donuts. And that's big deal up in the east, up in the Northeast, and their Starbucks, but it really just isn't quite the same vibe as the West Coast quick service coffee chains. So I had the ideas and why don't I put together a quick service coffee shop and just target military bases. I'm calling this the Dutch Bros of the military or Vet Bros. The name probably needs some work. But we'll get there. My main idea around this hinged around the fact that military bases have this huge concentration of people that are honestly hanging on by an absolute thread, all of these people that are being glued together every day with caffeine and nicotine. And there ought to be something that serves that. There are these direct to consumer coffee brands that offer subscription and they're all really great, but that really just doesn't quite do the same as of fresh coffee or energy drink every day. And I'm surprised that there's not somebody dominating the niche of coffee on military bases. I did some research about what the amount of concentration is on some of the bigger military bases and a lot of the conversation that I'm about to have here with you is centered around a Navy base or naval installations and referencing Naval Station Norfolk specifically, but I'm gonna branch out a little bit. Naval Station Norfolk currently has 82,000 Active Duty people that show up every day including 30,000 civilians. couple others close by Fort Bragg is 52,000 Fort Hood, Texas 45,000. There's probably 10 military installations in the country that have at least 25,000 people on them. That is a crazy amount of people. My idea would be to open a coffee truck or trailer to service the military bases. They're super high concentrated people, you plop your trailer down in the middle of a big parking lot and sell coffee like there's no tomorrow.

If I were to do this, I would tackle Naval Station Norfolk first and go right to the pier where all of the ships are, because that is like the choke point of everybody. The main corner pier where all the carriers park get an absolutely insane amount of foot traffic. Each carrier for you non Navy folks has somewhere in the neighborhood of like two to 3000 people per ship that are going aboard every day. And there are times where there may be two to three carriers parked right next to each other all within, you know, 200 feet on the the end of the pier. So as you can imagine the amount of people just walking through that area every day is insane. I remember being stationed on the ship and I would walk by this one food truck that would be out there all the time, we called it the gut truck. And you know, you might get a roach on your breakfast sandwich. But sometimes you're coming off of a 24 hour duty and that's the only thing that's going to carry you some grease and sausage and a fried egg. And honestly people love it. The lines that the gut track every day out there are so long and people just get out there and wait. And when you have nothing to do while you're at work, you can go get a breakfast sandwich or a coffee or whatever it is. This is a completely captive audience, people that have to be there every single day. And there's so much opportunity to offer an interesting service that people are going to get anyway. Think about the amount of people that show up to work every day with a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. And or anybody who gets an energy drink throughout the day, I think somebody could create a high quality and fast coffee truck that just pumps out drinks for like limited hours during the day. To kind of humor this situation, I kind of was like doing a little bit of digging on some of the numbers of what it might take to do something like this. You can buy a 6 by 12 enclosed trailer for about 5000 bucks. And I think with a little bit of modification, cutting open the sides doing all the necessary moving around to outfit it. Not with equipment. But I think that you could spend 7500 bucks and get a nice trailer and get it prepped for what your needs might be on this. And it's really got to be designed for for functionality. You need to be able to drive through both sides, I think and maybe even offer a pickup. After buying the trailer, you're going to need a couple other big ticket items. You need a fridge, generator, initial supplies, coffee, cups syrups, all of those types of things that might run you a couple 1000 bucks. Really the big ticket item is the expresso machine. And this is where you're going to have to get your wallet out. I when I had the idea that I wanted to do this I kind of did something that I actually am weirdly proud of is I went and actually worked at a coffee shop for I think it was maybe six to eight months. But it was really funny because I'm 27 years old working at a quick service coffee shop making 7.25 an hour. My boss is 16 years old and every day I'm like listening to the latest high school drama about what was going on in the area. But that's a whole other story. But when I worked there, we had these super nice expresso machines, I looked them up they cost 15 to 20,000 bucks. They've got these huge beam canisters up at the top grinds it and spits out as many espresso shots as you can handle and you can like tear them up. So as soon as one processes, it will kick down to the next one, it'll pour your shot. And it'll just keep cranking out shots will take almost as fast as you can do them. It takes maybe, I don't know 25 To 30 seconds for it to process. And the only thing you really need to do is make sure that there are beans in the top. And then after 10 or 15 shots you have to empty the grounds container. The angle that I would go with this is because we're serving military people who need caffeine and we like sweet things is really just jack these drinks up and make like the bare minimum entry coffee. Very, very highly caffeinated. And that's really what drives us sales and this kind of business anyway. One of the things that I was really surprised by I thought that our coffee stand when I worked there would just print money and we did that but it's really a volume game. If you're not selling coffee, you're losing money quickly. And so you really need to sell a lot of coffee and do everything you can to pump the average ticket price up of each thing. You do that by upselling drinks, maybe you offer cookies, muffins, things like that. I think one of the cool things you could do with this is actually name each of the drinks something different after like a navy term I'm thinking like JP5 or CWIZ, Navy terms are like named after guns that people would really get a kick out of and you know, tear them up so that the the appropriate name is fitting with the amount of caffeine that's going to. I had mentioned earlier, offering energy drinks because the energy drink market is huge with military people. One of the things that we sold the most of when I worked at the coffee shop is infused energy drinks. Yeah, infused. So you take a Red Bull, a monster, Rockstar, whatever you want, and you add a syrup to it. And there are different like formulas you can get to make specific tasting drinks. But the margins on those drinks are crazy. Energy drinks already are kind of expensive. And so you have to make that margin up. But all you're doing is adding, you know a couple cents worth of syrup to each one. But the the price is crazy high. This was like the second most popular drink I think we sold at the shop and I want to say it started out like 5.50 for like one an energy drink with like one or two flavors. That's easily a 50% profit margin on that. On that one drink. I mentioned that was the second most popular drink. The first was actually this frozen drink kind of similar to a frappe from Starbucks. Basically just mix espresso, a shitload of sugar and whole milk into an ice machine and drizzle it and chocolate, very high ticket item. But the icee machine is a huge pain in the butt, bulky, expensive. This would be something that I'd look at when you're ready to expand to maybe a second location. But this would be way too much for just starting out. The hardest part that you would need to do to figure something like this out is how to operate on the military base. There are businesses that are allowed to operate, but you have to get approval from the base. And I believe that there's clauses that say that you can't be in direct competition with other things. So you're not going to go open a dry cleaner on the military base and try and compete with the NEX or the MCX on price that just won't allow that. If you can get past that. I think that that would be the ticket and you can really run from there. If this was successful, what I would do is take it to every single base that's that's close by and what's interesting is you have the opportunity to adapt it to whatever branch of service is most popular on that base. So I'd start Norfolk you have like your JP five, your CWIZ but maybe you go to Fort Bragg next and name the drinks after I don't know whatever army dudes are into M16 rah rah rah.

I don't know something funny, but dedicate the different drink names to the branch and you know, then it'll give people something to identify. Naturally, you're gonna have to paint the trailer with just like an obnoxious camouflage. Maybe there's some out neon camouflage colors, digital, maybe. Make it stick out like a sore thumb. So everybody knows what it is. And they see it coming from a mile away and kind of re recounting this whole thing. I think you could probably get the trailer and the equipment to get a minimal operation going for maybe 35 to 40,000 bucks. Put together a drink menu, maybe have 20 drinks, hire three or four people and pay a minimum wage plus 100% of tips. That was one of the things I learned about the coffee industry is most coffee places actually take a rake of the tips which is really messed up. But it's part of the gig. So pay minimum wage but offer them 100% of the tips and people love to be on coffee so long as you're cheaper than Starbucks. They're going to tip you doing a little bit of backwards math on this. We used to do at my coffee stand back in Boise anywhere between like 2500 to 3000 in sales from 4am to noon. That was a there was a huge chunk of that time though that was completely useless. The first customer maybe doesn't come through till like 430 and you don't really start getting busy till six and that's just on the weekdays. So you've kind of got a hang with what the timeline. People working as Navy base people are going to be on duty on the weekend. But that's going to be really, really minimal. I think you'd want to have your people working from like six in the morning to 12. Most work starts on the Navy base at seven, but a lot of people have to get there early because the traffic, I swear half the car in the parking lot at the Pier are just sitting there idling because people are have gotten there early and they're waiting to go in. So naturally, they would love to once they're already on base and pass the traffic, they're going to be totally wanting to get a coffee if they weren't able to get one on the way. And I think it's pretty conceivable that you could do 500 cups of coffee and six hours with some well trained coffee slingers. To stay on brainer, I think we're gonna have to call them gunslingers. But I think that 500 cups is pretty conceivable, if you had an average drink price of around 350, you could be doing about 1750 bucks in sales. Let's say you're paying three people 10 bucks an hour and running a 40% profit margin, you'd be looking at 500 bucks a day in profit, you'd run that Monday through Friday, and you're going to be to in 10 grand a month. And honestly that that equates to about a six month payback period. If you are really aggressive, there is a huge opportunity for somebody to dominate the on base, military coffee brand space. 

So let me run you through this next idea I had this one is a little bit different and isn't quite the same line of thinking and like a business. But I still think that something like this ought to exist. I'm calling this the Thiel fellowship for military members. I actually tweeted about this and got some love a while back and I've been thinking about it a little bit more. But this would be so so cool to pull off. So for those of you who don't know, there's this thing called the Thiel fellowship started by Peter Thiel. So the co founder of PayPal, Palantir, a bunch of other crazy huge, important companies, person investor in Facebook, he's worth like $4.2 billion. today. It's insane. But he started this thing called the Thiel Fellowship, which is a two year program for young people who want to build new things. Some of the requirements, you got to be under the age of 22. And basically, he's looking for you to stop or skip out on college in exchange for $100,000 grant and support from their network of founders, investors and scientists. That sounds a little bit crazy, but they take a ton of applications and, and honestly, there have been some really notable people you may have heard of that have gone through the program. First off, just I pulled some of the highlights of people who have gone through a Dylan Field, the co founder of Figma, which actually recently just got announced as being acquired by Adobe for $20 billion.

Taylor Wilson, the second youngest person to produce nuclear fusion of the talent. Vitalik the co creator of Ethereum; there's a long list of just like prodigies, and that Peter Thiel is kind of known to attract. So how would we take this to the military? How I would start out with this is go and seek out people who are kind of already well known in the venture space. For this to succeed, we not only need money, but we also need the resources. So I'm thinking we come up with money, I'm not sure if it's $100,000, or, you know, maybe it's 250, whatever, we pool up some money, and we basically offer it to a prospective person in the military who is like a natural builder, people who are looking to push the boundaries on things. So for this to succeed, we're not only going to need to get money, but we need resources. And I think to really get the buy in of people who may put up money for something like this, they would need to be former military. I don't think that they would really have the buy in otherwise. There are a couple of people that came to mind that met this criteria people like Anthony Pompliano or Pomp as a lot of people call him. Or maybe Paige Craig of Outlander VC, both former military people who have made their name in the venture capital space and would love to get a piece of this action. There are plenty of other venture funds out there who have mandates around funding service members. So my pitch to these people would basically be Hey, why don't you put up a little bit of money in exchange for trying out to see if we can one build something cool and maybe if you have to maybe that equates to part ownership of the company. If that ends up being built, maybe it is like a full scale venture thing. But ideally, they put up the money in order to basically run an experiment and see if we could get somebody to get out of the military and commit their their next like year or two, to building something really, really great. This probably sounds a little bit like anti people staying in the military. And it really isn't that I think that there is a large cohort of people who are maybe on the fence about staying in and maybe have done really well in the military, but want to do something bigger and badder than that.

And this would be for those type of people. Another characteristic that might apply to some of these people is, you know, while the military is difficult, in some respects, there are some people who are such high performers that they're not actually challenged by the military. I remember, in my rate in the Navy, there were so many smart people, and they just like got a perfect score on the exams without even having to study and they're just honestly under utilized. Those would be the type of people that I'd be going after for this. And that would actually be the more difficult part of this program, I think, is finding the individuals who meet these characteristics and are willing to make that bet and take the swing. There are some interesting places that the military has where these type of people may be hanging out. You could get the Navy times or whatever military news organizations to write a story and broadcast it. But another interesting place to scout for individuals like this would be the different competitions that the different branches house. A few episodes back, I talked with Michael Pecota, about 3d printing and he mentioned this competition within the Navy, where people brought forth an idea basically, to help innovate and make the fleet better. He actually ended up winning the competition with a 3D printed cap for his squadron. But those are the type of people that would be great for something like this. People who don't have to be doing anything big and above and beyond, but are already on their own. Those people that are entering those types of competitions like literally are potentially being offered nothing in exchange for like making everybody else's lives better. And they're doing it and I think that that's super admirable. So that that is actually the place where I would start looking for these types of people is go to the competition's NAVSEA NAVAIR put on several of them. And there's also several other organizations trying to spur innovation within the military branches. And those would be the people I'd be looking to talk to. Depending on the type of project or business the individual wanted to build, there also could be the opportunity to get sponsorship from some other larger organizations. If it was defense related, that would open up a whole host of companies that were looking to get involved I'm sure. The first program that comes to mind is the  Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, I'm sure that they would love to get involved with something like that. And there are also several larger defense companies like Anduril, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, that would probably love to sponsor something like this. That's what I've got for the Thiel Fellowship for the military, I really think that there would be an opportunity to create something cool, and it would be a really fun journey to watch. On that show My First Million, they did something like a mini Thiel Fellowship of their own, where they basically had a business that they were going to buy, and like it was a SaaS business that they bought on MicroAcquire and they basically, like opened up applications for people to basically be given this business in exchange for kind of like documenting the process and generated a bunch of press. And I'm not exactly sure what ended up coming from it. But plugging somebody in the right person in with the right resources, you can make some big, some big, big impact. 

My third and final idea is actually something that I've talked about on the show before and I know that this has been threatened by so many people, but there needs to be a better taps class. So I'm going to pitch how I think that this could be done and why it would be more effective than the current system. It's funny TAPS is literally something everybody complains about. We all know it's bad, but it's operating in such an area that it's hard to really get the attention it deserves. It's kind of in this dead zone, you know where the military probably feels like they're offering great assistance and helping people transition out. And then the people that have a problem with it, they just kind of go with it. And then when you get out, you don't care enough to actually go back and like, offer feedback about how to make TAPS class better, there's, there's just no incentive for anybody to do that. There are a couple of major complaints that I hear about TAPS class from, basically everybody and these were some of my complaints to the first one is that the information was good, but maybe wasn't what they needed, specifically, wasn't tailored enough, could have used more like one on one support, maybe wasn't what they needed at that time. Maybe they were going to need that information in the future, some kind of combination of any of those things. The other complaint that I hear is kind of a lack of follow up, there's no real place to go with further questions. You sit through this thing for two weeks and that that comes at varying times, too. Sometimes, that's the last two weeks before you get out. Sometimes it's two to three months before, it really kind of varies. Theoretically, you're supposed to be able to take it multiple times, but I've never actually talked to somebody who was successfully able to get approval to do that. The time really, when you're implementing the things you should be learning at TAPS is actually really far down the road. And people have questions after the fact. But then they have nowhere to turn really after. You know, if you're getting information from your TAPS class, and you're getting out in a month, then all of a sudden, oh, well, you know, I didn't apply for this. And then all of a sudden, it's a year after you've been out. And, you know, who do you ask that there really isn't anybody. I think that there could be an opportunity here to do something that resolves both of those. Since COVID. I've seen these courses popularized people call them cohort based courses, basically a fancy way of saying a group of people taking a class. It's basically just a college class being taught on a non traditional subject and room with 15 to 20, maybe people that are really high energy and like really, really want to be there. A lot of cohort based courses are extremely expensive. And so people's propensity to pay as that actually goes up, the more excited they are about being there. And naturally, the more they get out of the class. The idea behind the cohort is that it implies a different level of interactiveness than traditional college class. You know, if you're spending $1,000, to attend some class, you're probably going to be trying to get as much out of it as you can, and you're gonna bring that energy that it takes to make that happen. Think about when you sat through taps class, if you have been already and it's you know, a roomful of people half asleep that just don't even know why they're there, they're looking at it as this is two weeks I can get out of work. There's no desire to be there. With the cohort courses, everybody wants to be there. And I think that that is an interesting distinction to make when putting something like this together. If you were put in a room, let's say that you were even just to do the TAPS class again and let's say that TAPS was optional. And you got to choose to be there, or you just got to free weeks off of work. Guess how many people would be there? Not very many. But those ones that did want to be there, they'd probably be really excited to do that. And that's what a lot of the success of the cohort based courses hinges on and I think would really drive something really interesting with a cohort based quote unquote, perhaps class. There have been some really crazy businesses started on the quote, cohort based courses. Master Class kind of took this and made it asynchronous, which is probably good for like the masses, but something like this would really really benefit from a group of highly motivated people who are looking to succeed when they get out. By spending a lot of time talking with the other people who are getting out with you. You know, you're able to benefit from their knowledge tap into their networks and use that to kind of propel growth. Think about when you left boot camp, and how the the camaraderie that you felt with all of those people. You were really on fire. You probably felt like you knew them. You may have never talked to him again. But at one point you really worked closely with them. Imagine that on a shorter timeframe, but for getting out. One person who I've seen lead really successful cohort based courses is actually David Perell. He runs a course called Write of Passage designed to lead a small group of people through learning how to write online. He's an expert. And he's been doing it forever blogging and publishing essays online. He started this course to teach people writing around like your personal niche, something he calls your personal monopoly. I've never taken it, but people that I've spoken to that have are absolutely rabid about the course and what it did for them. The crazy thing about it is is rite of passage costs over $4,000. 4 grand for a five week class. I know there's more to it than writing and you're obviously getting more out of it than just learning how to write. But that really speaks to this type of model and what people can get out of it. I say all of this about Write of Passage to emphasize that people are hungry to learn. And if you find the right people, you can build something really powerful. So let's talk about how I go about building this. Some of the critical elements that I think about when getting out, break down into two buckets. First is the VA. Everybody has questions about the VA, you're almost always entitled to something from the VA, whether it's GI bill or education benefits of some sort, or disability and how that plays into your health care. The second bucket is your job. One of the other things that you heard talked to a lot about in TAPS classes, hey, we're setting you up to get you into your next job. They spent a lot of time talking about resumes and whatnot. The VA information is applicable to everybody. But this jobs bucket actually could be broken out into a couple of different categories, I think. And this could actually be a differentiator and how the cohorts are selected. Put everybody through a section about the VA, go through some of those details, and then have the breakout sections for each sub bucket within jobs. I would break those job buckets out into three different parts, entrepreneurship, a tech job and a traditional industry job.

What it would do is go and find an expert in each of those areas, each of those three sub job buckets and find somebody that can coach to specific sections. Honestly, half the people I've interviewed on this show would be great candidates for that. For the VA section I chat with Maureen Elias and get connected with some of the experts on VA benefits. And the job bucket I'd talked to folks like Rich Jordan or Nate Lenahan to talk about why buying a business as a great career path option. Maybe loop in some entrepreneurs like Todd Conner and explain some of the nuances of what it takes to start a business from scratch. And in tech, I'd be partnering with Shift who has a bunch of connections with tech companies on placement and getting vets into tech jobs for the traditional job bucket and more generalists. I want to reach out to Bill Toti, who I had on with his book from CEO to CEO, where he outlines a career in industry post service. One of the things that would be really critical to this type of model, and really ensuring that you've made people successful after getting through the course is the starting point of it. And when this conversation begins, I'm reminded of an episode that I had with Will Jordan. One of the things he said he's always stuck with me. He said, I started getting ready to get out of the Navy the day that I joined. And that honestly is the mentality that most people should have this conversation on a cohort course for TAPS ought to be starting around a year out from your EAOS. Maybe you're looking at buying a business or starting a business or you know even looking at a traditional job, you need to start as early as possible. You may not be able to commit full time to doing it, but I'd much rather be getting a 365 day start than starting basically your last two weeks in the service. In the course it would be good to spend a little bit of time doing the traditional things tabs class talks about I mean, I feel like we spent three days learning how to write a resume, which is important but it's not a game changer, especially for people who are looking for non traditional jobs. If you're going to start a business, you don't need a resume. You need practical things that Business owners need. Spending half a day writing a business plan and then pitching it to the class is going to be 10 times more effective to you finding success in that field than learning how to write a resume. If you're gonna go launch a venture backable business, you should spend time learning how to write a great pitch deck. Point is that each of those three buckets under jobs needs different things and needs specific coaching from somebody who's in the space. All of this in the course would be tied together with trying to build as much camaraderie in between the students as possible. One of the things that you do in the TAPS classes set up a LinkedIn profile for the first time, if you don't have one already. One of the questions that I have looking back on that experience is why were we not immediately adding everybody at our table into our network, we literally did not benefit from anybody else in that class. And that's a real shame. There were a roomful of people who are also getting out at the same time as us. And we're eager to kind of learn and maybe a little bit scared to, why weren't we trained to benefit from all those. And I say that as my experience that may not have been everybody's, but my class, everybody was sitting around, we made our profile, and then we moved on.

Taking TAPS as this giant class serves no purpose. And if you don't benefit from anybody else being in the class at all, I'm not sure why it's being done that way. If that's the way that they're gonna do it, just record a session and just make people watch it like your annual cyber awareness or your driving for life NKO, whatever it is. With the cohort model, meaning a more focused effort on building those relationships amongst the members of the class, you're going to be vested in seeing the rest of your classmates succeed, you're going to have their contact information and know what everyone's background is in your class, and mentally know and understand that that person, and that group of people that you're quote, graduating with is a resource to you which they are. I honestly don't remember a single person's name from my class. One of the things that is the most tricky is how that this gets funded, I have to assume that there has been multiple attempts to dethrone whoever runs the current TAPS class. I'm not sure if it's outsourced or what. But I know that there's a small segment of people who are in the military who are hungry when they get out and want to do everything they can to set themselves up for success. I think initially, you'd need to charge for something like this. Bringing in top talent, like some of the names I've mentioned, you couldn't do for free, could probably get a good deal because they have felt the pain of getting out. But their needs are going to need to be compensated for their knowledge and time. The first group, or your first cohort is going to be the hardest. But I think that you can charge 500 bucks for something like this for a two week class, cap it at 30 people, maybe bring on some sponsors to offer scholarships, whatever you need to do. You could also offer maybe a second tier of the class, that's like a lifetime pass for all future cohorts. Maybe charge 1500 for that. One of the things that David Perell uses as like a selling point of his Write of Passage is he has that higher premium tier. And I have to guess that a lot of people actually buy it because you benefit so much from not only the learning, but also the people in that. So imagine you go through this cohort, based course, on TAPS, you meet all these great people in transition, you're super fired up. And then you know, in six months, you have a question for one of those are experts on entrepreneurship or a tech job or you want to maybe experience one of the other segments, maybe you want to actually go to a traditional industry job. And so you want to go back through that portion. You can go back and maybe participate in another course and then also benefit from the new people that are in that class. Again, while there's value to be had from the specific guests, the true value is going to be derived from meeting 29 other hungry individuals, people who are willing to pay to learn how to be successful when they get out. So a little bit of math: 500 bucks for 30 people, you're at maybe $15,000. Maybe you have $1,000 worth of materials and location costs, pay a moderator 5000 bucks to host it and split the rest between your guests. I think that that's pretty conceivable and probably would be pretty doable. Where this gets interesting is really after your first cohort. You really want to go all in and make sure that there's so much value you've provided in the cohort that people just can't shut up about it. And they're going to want to recommend it to everybody. The long term strategy, something like this would be to make it so effective that the DoD can't turn a blind eye to it. And they will probably be hearing about it nonstop. And maybe eventually, that could be an alternative to the taps class where the DoD pays for people to go through the class. Or maybe there ends up being multiple options for TAPS classes, there really ought to be more tailored experiences that really wouldn't require a lot of the DoD or really anybody else. This all really hinges around the absolute fact of life that you need to spend as much time as you can around the people who are doing what you want to do or trying to do what you want. I think back to my TAPS class, and there were probably two to three people in there that wanted more. But honestly, the rest could have cared less. Get around the people that you want to be like, and if you can't find them make a place for them.

I can't think of a much better way to close up on that. Speaking to finding the right people, I had a thought while I was putting this together and it really kind of speaks to where I'm at and kind of where I'm coming from, with putting this podcast together. When I first thought about launching this, I really thought that there was a missing information gap. I felt like I didn't know about entrepreneurship and transitioning effectively and honestly what feels like a different way of life that I'm kind of pursuing now. And to be quite frank, I was mad about that. I kind of felt like it was the military's responsibility to open my eyes to those things. My view on that has changed drastically, but my view has changed even more on why this podcast actually exists. It's become less about filling an information gap that I thought existed and more about finding the people that think the same as me. I want to find those interesting people to have hard discussions with the real about the problems that we're facing, and not in a way that cast blame or doubt, but in a way that spurs innovative thinking. I want to solve those problems, not just moan and bitch about them. More and more. This gets me closer to finding those people. And if you're listening, I really appreciate you taking this ride with me. I've thought so many times about quitting this last year held like even today. I released an episode every Wednesday at seven in the morning. And here I am on a Tuesday night recording this because I didn't plan well enough to have an episode ready. That's the real reason for the difference in format today. Doing the hard thing is always the right thing though. Despite not wanting to hang my hat on download numbers for this podcast, there is one number I do look at when I'm struggling to continue to push forward with this project. And it's to look at the download numbers on Wednesday around noon. While this isn't the perfect gauge, it tells me that there are people waiting to listen to what I had to say this week. And honestly that's what keeps me going. We're coming up on one year of podcasting and I'm sure a lot of a sentimental and sappy posts then but for now, thank you so much for your support. And you better believe there'll be another episode with 100% effort ready for you next Wednesday. Go do the hard shit today and we'll talk next week.