Christian Arnold, Founding Principal at Clockwork Archeticture and Design and Former President of EOKC
“Christian’s entrepreneurial spirit and calm leadership allows him to effectively assemble and guide teams of experts that add measurable value to each project. His diverse background including industrial design, fabrication, construction and real estate development allows him to see solutions where others only see problems.
Before founding Clockwork, Christian was a design director in the Boston office for the largest architectural firm in the country. He has managed the design and construction of more than $2.8 billion in commercial real estate.
Christian is involved in a number of local and national not-for-profits, including National MS Society, DIFFA, Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, River Market Community Improvement District, Boys and Girls Clubs, KVC, Halo Foundation and Saint Therese”
Eric Kelting, Co-Founder of Complete Legal and President of EOKC
“Eric co-casts Complete Legal’s strategic vision while overseeing its accounting, finance, HR, insurance, and contracting. He helps manage the many operational needs of a growing businesses.
Eric has dedicated his entire career to the legal industry. He started in 2004 with the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, then worked in the litigation support industry for 8 years followed by working for LexisNexis before founding Complete Legal in 2014.
His excitement about the legal industry stems from the fast-paced, ever evolving nature of technology and eDiscovery. He enjoys building a strong team with a great culture by bringing in eDiscovery professionals, former litigation paralegals and professionals from outside the legal industry.
Through the Complete Legal Cares program Eric is proud to lead the organization in supporting charitable organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City and Harvesters – The Community Food Network. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, coaching little league and cheering on the Jayhawks.”
INTRO: Welcome to In A World With Real Media. I’m your host, Brad Burrow. In this podcast, we’ll dive into the lives of the most successful people in business. We’ll learn how they overcame adversity, took advantage of opportunities and learned from their experiences. Learn from our experts. It inspired, then go live your story. It’s In a World with Real Media.
Brad Burrow: Hello and welcome to the In [00:00:30] A World With Real Media Podcast. I have a couple special guests today. Um, Christian Arnold from Clockwork is, is Clockwork. How we we say that? Okay. You got it. Architecture firm. Yep. Okay. And Eric Tilting, uh, Eric and I, you were on my very first podcast. Do you realize that that was your first one? I think it was. Oh, that’s scary. I think that was the very first one, if I, if I remember correctly. Okay. Anyway, it was, it was about two years ago. I feel like it was a while. <laugh>
Eric Kelting: Probably longer than that. Yeah. Yeah. Probably pre Covid.
Brad Burrow: [00:01:00] But you and I have worked together. Eric and I have worked together a lot in the past on some, we were kind of going down this legal, um, animation and motion graphics and graphics type work. And, and, uh, we worked together for a little bit and then, um, that kind of went away. Yeah. And we went our separate ways and we’ve recently kind of reunited. And then Christian, you and I have just met here recently in E O K C, right? Yeah. So, um, let’s, first, I think it’d be really awesome for our [00:01:30] audience to just hear a little bit about each one of your guys’ company, and then let’s get into the organization and kind of what that’s all about. So, Christian, tell me a little bit about, about your organization.
Christian Arnold: Okay. Yeah. So my name is Christian Arnold, and I’m the founding principal of Clockwork Architecture Design. Uh, we think about architecture in a way that, like a branding agency approaches their clients. So we try to figure out how we can really en get en engaged with that client and think about them and advise them and take them through that whole journey as it relates to architecture and design. [00:02:00] Um, uh, started the company, gosh, 18 years ago. So been through a couple of downturns, which has always been fun. Uh, got to work with some really cool clients, big clients like, um, Tesla, Google, uh, and then some local favorites like the Royals, um, Barclay vml. Wow. Um, fun stuff like Char Bar and Barquet and Serv. That’s what people are like, oh, you guys did that. So, um, but it’s a, across the board, [00:02:30] very diverse practice.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Very, very cool. And Eric, tell us a little bit about your organization. Yeah,
Eric Kelting: Absolutely. Uh, Eric Kelton, one of the co-founders of a Complete legal, we’re an e-discovery company. Uh, so we’re a professional services company that gets involved with, uh, uncovering, uh, evidence and discovery as it pertains to a lawsuit. And then helping attorneys, uh, get to that evidence, that digital evidence, and taking them all the way through trial. So we started our company in, uh, late 2014 after being in the industry for quite a while [00:03:00] and kinda, you know, living the, uh, working for someone else and, and, you know, reporting to, I think six CEOs in six years, and a number of private equity, um, acquisitions and transitions. So, um, left the industry for a little bit, sat out our non-competes and started complete legal in in 2014,
Brad Burrow: Non-competes. Man. Do those even work these days? <laugh>? Yeah. I don’t know.
Eric Kelting: I don’t know. Not really. I’ve
Brad Burrow: Never had great luck with non-competes personally. And just a little side note there, <laugh>, maybe you could refer me to some of that’s
Eric Kelting: The next podcast. Yeah, I could
Brad Burrow: [00:03:30] <laugh>. So let’s talk about, um, eo e o KC Entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs Organization, kc. So, um, you know, in all transparency, I’m, I’ve been a part of Vistage, I’ve been a part of, gosh, we’ve been in business 25 years. I’ve probably been in four or five different organizations like this. Tell me about your organization. What’s different? What do you guys do?
Christian Arnold: Yeah, I can share my point of view. Yeah, go ahead. Uh, just cuz it’s been a little bit, uh, longer. So, um, I’ve been a [00:04:00] member for eight years and, uh, obviously if I wasn’t getting something out of it each year, I wouldn’t keep coming back for more. But I feel like every year I find something new, connect with new people, um, really kind of dig in, um, from a, just a local point of view as well as a global point of view. I love going to learning events. I’m kind of a lifelong learner, and so it allows me to engage nationally, globally. Um, and I think that’s what I love so much about it. Um, I feel like I’ve gotten so much from the, the members that [00:04:30] it’s my way of giving back is volunteering within the organization to help grow it.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. And most of us don’t even know EO exists until it’s brought up. Yeah. Exa. And so I was sitting with a friend of mine, someone I kind of view as a mentor in our industry, uh, similar, similar industry, um, and had had his, had his business for 20 plus years. And I was just, you know, venting to him one night, all the things I was struggling with as a, as a business owner, you know, staffing and, you know, um, payroll and finances and the costs [00:05:00] and all these different things.
Brad Burrow: Right. You struggle
Eric Kelting: With those. I struggle with all of it. What? And, uh, I’m waiting for him to just tell me all this, you know, just tell me what to do. Just tell me
Brad Burrow: What to
Eric Kelting: Do. You’re not doing it right, man. No, I know
Brad Burrow: <laugh>. That, that’s another podcast. Get outta here, man.
Eric Kelting: And, uh, he sits back in his chair and he says, you know what really helped me? And I was like, what? He’s like, well, I found this group called EO and he’s lives in Houston, right? And so he said, why don’t I, uh, track down the local contact for the Kansas City chapter and connect you? I’m like, great. No. Solve all these problems in the meantime, please. Right. So, yeah. Um, and what I didn’t [00:05:30] realize what he was doing at the time was that, um, he was gonna introduce me into a group of peers. Uh, an EO is full of, uh, entrepreneurs and business owners, uh, everyone in EO globally. Uh, there’s two requirements, um, equal share, majority, uh, ownership of, of a company doing at least a million dollars in revenue. And the hope there is, is that there’s a lot of different programs for business owners from startup to big business and and so on and so forth.
Eric Kelting: But, um, for that sweet spot, for those of [00:06:00] us that are running that small to mid-size business, and that we’re very much kind of on an island most most days, and we’ve got folks coming to our office, assuming that we have all the answers yet, you know, we’re all doing it for the first time every day is an, is a is the first day you’ve, the first time you’ve ever had that, that day, is that we’re finding peers and finding folks like, like you Brad and, and like Christian and all the other members of VO and, and just stripping it down and saying, here’s what I’m struggling with. Here’s what the problem I’m dealing with. How do you know, what’s your experience been like?
Brad Burrow: You know, one of the things I found about small business owners is that [00:06:30] they get into small business cuz they’re passionate about something. For me it was video production, storytelling and all that stuff. But then you’ve got legal, right? You’ve got hr, you’ve got, you know, all these other things that are just, you know, honestly suck the energy out of you mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But there’s something really powerful about having a group of people that are kind of like-minded and going through the same struggles. Would you consider EO to be that, you know, something where, Hey guys, I’m, [00:07:00] you know, the other day I got an audit from, uh, the Kansas department of, of, uh,
Eric Kelting: Labor. Ugh. K
Brad Burrow: D O L, <laugh>. You know, it’s like you get something that like that in the mail and it’s like, your heart immediately
Christian Arnold: Drops. I went out. It’s like, I, I didn’t sign up
Brad Burrow: With why am I doing this?
Christian Arnold: Right? Right.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. You know? Well, yeah, it, it ended up being pretty easy and came out very favorable for us, which was amazing. But I mean, the initial shock of getting something like that from, you know, a government entity, so having somebody that you could say, Hey, [00:07:30] I got this, what about this? And somebody say, you’re gonna be okay. Yeah.
Christian Arnold: <laugh>. Yeah. I mean, a perfect example of that was what we recently went through with Covid, right? So we are here, you know, this is something that’s not happened before in, in our lifetimes, or at least in our business lifetimes. And, you know, you start hearing all these lockdowns and things that are happening. What was really cool for me is that I had connected with people in Asia and Europe. And so as I’m talking to those business owners and entrepreneurs in those countries, seeing what [00:08:00] they’re going through, that’s like, here’s what’s coming. So there was really, it kind of took the surprise off of that. And then, and then obviously once it, the lockdowns hit the US it, we were literally sitting arounds like, okay, now what do we do? Like some businesses were thriving, some were like, oh, this is, you know, the best time ever other businesses were closing. And so what I loved during that time was having that sounding board and saying, Hey, what are you guys dealing with? What, how are you navigating this issue? So it’s like, you know, the day-to-day stuff that none of us got taught when we were going through our life [00:08:30] journeys that were figuring out. But then you have these, you know, cataclysmic events. And without that group, that’s when I met Eric was through that. It was like, you really bonded together.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. We, a similar story. Some, um, you’re meeting virtually every two weeks we’re meeting in, in a, as a small group, and you’re like, what’s this P PPP thing? I’m hearing more about what’s this E I D L thing? What’d your banker tell you? And some of the stuff that’s more common knowledge now, I mean, it was flying, if you remember just Yeah. Fast vernaculars and things we’ve never heard, you know, and government assistance that never existed. And so, [00:09:00] um, it was a, it was a godsend lifeline to have other people to bounce ideas off of and what are you hearing? Who are you talking to? And, um, yeah, just a group of peers to get through the, to navigate that.
Brad Burrow: And it was changing every day <laugh>. Right? It felt like, you know, even even the government, well, you gotta do it this way now. You gotta do it this way now. Yeah. It’s like creative people, you know, we don’t, we don’t, we can’t have a hard time focusing on things like that. We can, you know, tell stories and things like that, but working with an accountant mm-hmm. <affirmative> to try to figure out, you [00:09:30] know, how to, how do I qualify? Do I qualify?
Eric Kelting: Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yep. I was like,
Brad Burrow: Head
Christian Arnold: Explode kind of thing. Yeah. Another one. And like, your, the example that you mentioned is another perfect example. And, you know, whether it’s, uh, a lawsuit that pops up or, uh, just dealing with, you know, negotiating with a company like mergers and app acquisition seems to be one that’s always popping up one way or the other. And so to have that core group of people that just bounce ideas off of and figure out how to support you, because EO is really about looking at your business, your community, [00:10:00] your family, and yourself. And all of those things are so intertwined in the life of an entrepreneur. And if you let one of those things fall off, then something else fails. And so it’s just maintaining that constant balance and, and having those touch points every month is, is super critical.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. So in my notes here, Eric, it talks about EO being the best kept secret. Yep. I didn’t know about it. I mean, I’ve been, I’ve been around for 25 years and I didn’t know, and
Eric Kelting: Christian’s been an EO longer than me, so he can probably speak to that more. But I know that when I joined EO that at a global [00:10:30] level, um, there was that hey, we’re the best kept secret. And I think it was that way for a number of years. And I think our new leadership as an organization, as an association really hates that. I mean, they look at EO as providing so much value. We have 17 over 17,000 members across the, the Globe and folks like us that,
Brad Burrow: That get,
Eric Kelting: It’s amazing. It’s, it’s what’s a large group of people, and the, what most of us are experiencing is that we’re looking at yoga. And this brought me so much value, so much tremendous value. [00:11:00] It’s helped, helped me in such, in such a great way. Why wouldn’t we want everyone to know it exists? Right. And especially in Kansas City, there are so many other associations with hemp and co The Kaufman’s Yeah. And Vistage. And, um, and they all, they all, they all bring value to, to the community. And they all have a slightly different purpose. And so for us, it’s just trying to get the word out, Hey, this is what EO is, and if this makes sense for you at this point in your life, and this is a great fit, if this isn’t a good fit, then here are all these other organizations or associations [00:11:30] that might be a better fit. Um, but yeah, just trying to get the word out and to, to, to no longer be the world’s best kept secret.
Christian Arnold: Yeah. I’ve got a buddy that’s in ypo, and he was telling me a story about how he, as a chief executive officer, he thinks about things very different than he was. If he was a majority shareholder of a company. Your, I think your, your perspective is different. You’re, you’ve got a different horizon. You’re focused on different things. Um, another friend, actually just last week said, until you’re writing a check outta your personal savings account to cover payroll, it’s not the same thing. [00:12:00] So it’s just, it’s, there’s, you’re just a different gravity with every decision you make.
Brad Burrow: Excuse me, I’ve got a little heartburn right there. Okay.
Christian Arnold: <laugh>, not that that’s ever happened. Jenny bus.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Never, never happened. Never
Eric Kelting: Happened. You’ve probably put payroll on Amex before. What are you talking about?
Brad Burrow: Eh, not Amex, but <laugh>.
Christian Arnold: Yeah. Or tell or tell me A CEO of a public traded company that put up his house’s collateral for an SBA loan. Different deal. Yeah. Right.
Brad Burrow: Oh my gosh. You’re like, uh, it’s like, uh, you know, [00:12:30] bringing back memories, but yeah, this building that I got an SBA loan on it, I got the loan right, right. At 2008. And you remember 2008.
Christian Arnold: Oh, good time. Yeah.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Perfect time. And which immediately put us in a, you know, a tough position fought through, but I mean, I mean, we, we had everything on the line. My house, everything, every piece of equipment, the building my kids <laugh> would’ve felt like, but you know, the pressure of that, it’s like, okay, things aren’t going [00:13:00] well. It’s like you could literally lose everything mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I don’t think people understand. No. The, the pressure that comes with
Eric Kelting: That. When Christian touched on this, I mean, the EO looks at the, the person as a whole. Right. And so, I don’t know about you two, but I know sometimes, I mean, we wear a lot of different hats, and sometimes it’s hard to tell when one hat’s on and one hat’s off, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so you’re a business owner, right? And you’re a, I know both of you are fathers and husbands. Um, most of our members are, you know, community [00:13:30] leaders. Um, they’re involved with various, uh, various charities. Coach, you know, coach sports teams, and our mentor, you know, children. And you’re just constantly, you know, it’s, you’re constantly wearing a lot of hats, right? Yeah. And, and meanwhile, everyone who walks up to you says, oh, gosh, things are great. Right? I saw your social media feed. Guys are crushing it. Like, of course it looks like that on social media, <laugh> media, but you know, it can be a lot, right? Yeah. And so just, you know, and like Christian said, if one thing’s suffering right, then, then that’s, [00:14:00] then something else is as well. So
Christian Arnold: Yeah, it’s definitely allowed me each year, like I kind of pick a different theme. And so like, it may be a, a leader leadership year, or maybe a family year or personal year, and just being able to like, share experiences and figure out how to make, become the best version of myself. And without that, I think outside perspective and holding yourself accountable. Like, I come up with some crazy goals for myself, and then these guys say, Hey, how are you doing on that? It’s like, Hey, okay, I’ll get back to it. <laugh>.
Brad Burrow: [00:14:30] Yeah. Yeah. You actually set goals, huh? Wow. That’s amazing. Yeah.
Christian Arnold: <laugh>,
Eric Kelting: He’s the smartest one in our group, so we’re, we’re all aspiring to be like Christian.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Now I am. So tell me, let’s get into specifics. I mean, what sets you apart? Tell me about some of the programs, what you guys do, how often do you meet? I know we have a really cool event coming up here. Yeah. That’s gonna be fun. Um, tell, tell me, you know, like, like the listeners that are listening to this, what, what could you expect being a member?
Eric Kelting: [00:15:00] Yeah, so I, I think we’ve touched on a few things. Um, you know, over 17,000 members mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, across 220 countries, um, I’m sorry, 61 countries and two over 220 chapters. Okay. Um, and so in the US we have a east and west and a central region. And so, um, EO can be just about anything you, you want it to be. I often call it the buffet, right? You can come in and just take a little bit, or you can come in and take a lot. Um, and it can be kind of overwhelming when you join because there’s so much available [00:15:30] as far as from, you know, global conferences to local events and, and online events and things like that. But, um, at its core, uh, we’re a group of peers. I talked about a little bit about, you know, you, the only two requirements are, you know, uh, operating the business at least a million dollars, and then equal share of majority ownership of that business.
Eric Kelting: And so you’re really running that business day to day. Yeah. And it’s, so it’s a group of, of your peers. Um, we are broken down. We have a, a chapter here in Kansas City, um, and then we meet in smaller groups that we call forums. [00:16:00] So I know that’s used, that vernacular is used by some of the other associations. I think that’s used in Vistage as well. But, um, so Christian and I happen to be in the same forum, and our forum happens to be eight people. And we meet, um, for half a day, once a month in a conference room and no electronics.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. <laugh>, no electronics.
Eric Kelting: No electronics. Gotcha. We kind of cheat sometimes, but
Brad Burrow: I don’t, yeah, I don’t know
Eric Kelting: About you. Um, but the, the goal there is, is to really get together in groups of, uh, smaller groups, you really get to know your forum mates really well [00:16:30] and share what we call 5%. So we say that the rest of the world gets 95% of you, right? Everything’s great, everything’s great, everything’s awesome. There’s 5% that you probably don’t get to share with your friends, your family, maybe even your spouse, maybe you’re really struggling with something. Um, and so Forum is a safe judgment free, confidential place for you to bring those issues. And the other thing that makes forms unique is that you’re not allowed to dispense advice. Um, you’re allowed to share your experiences. [00:17:00] And so if you’re dealing with something, I know it’s really hard, it’s a really hard mindset to enter into. How does that work? <laugh>? And we don’t always do a great job, but the goal there is, is that if you’re, if you’ve got a problem that you’re able to, to share it with the room, and if any of us have had a similar experience, then we can go around and talk about our experience and, and what we learned and, uh, learned from it and how we overcame it.
Eric Kelting: The thought being is that we’re all type a’s we all read the same books, the same podcasts, and we can all go to a bar and have the stranger next to us tell us what to do. Right. I’ll read good to great. You’ll be fine. Yeah. [00:17:30] Yeah. Um, but if I listen, if I have a problem and I listen to the way Christian, um, solved it in the past, if I listen to, to you, Brad, and the way you solved it, I might start chair it to cherry pick little bits and nuggets out of each experience that’s shared. And that’s gonna be a lot more helpful to me than a bunch of people looking back and saying, Hey, you know what you really should do? This is what you should do. You should fire that person. Or whatever the issue is.
Christian Arnold: Yeah. Cuz it’s human nature to get defensive when someone gives you advice. Uh, most people wanna like shut down cuz they don’t want to be judged. But if you’re just hearing how someone [00:18:00] else dealt with it, then your mind starts to process it differently. And then you can say, oh, not exactly the same thing, but I hear this and this, and piece those two together. And then that’s where the cool stuff happens.
Brad Burrow: Do you have to train people that come in? Yeah. New people come in. Hey, you can’t say that, right, <laugh>?
Christian Arnold: Yeah,
Eric Kelting: Absolutely. We’ve got some training. We do ongoing training. Uh, we have a format we follow for each monthly meeting. So it’s not completely, um, uh, just chaos for four hours.
Christian Arnold: Yeah. Yeah. It’s got a good structure to it and everybody kind of interprets [00:18:30] it and modifies it to meet their own needs. But we try to, um, encourage kind of a structured approach so that Dustin just doesn’t become just a social or, you know, sit around and and, and bitch about stuff.
Brad Burrow: All right. So one of the things that, uh, we wanted to talk about some specific stories, if each one of you could tell us like some specific things maybe that you really benefited from.
Christian Arnold: Yeah, like I said, I love learning. And so I’ve really, uh, made an effort to engage on the national and global level. So there’s conferences [00:19:00] that happen, uh, around the country and around the world. Um, a couple of my favorites are, um, in recent past are San Diego and DC It’s not only, it’s like Ed, uh, uh, Eric describes it, it’s like TED Talks and then social time with other entrepreneurs. So it’s kind of a, a cool comment.
Brad Burrow: Sounds like a lot of
Christian Arnold: Fun. Yeah. They’re really amazing. And it gets you to, you know, exposure to like, you know, a-list, you know, top level performers. Um, I think some recent ones that I went to, like we had there was, um, George W. Bush [00:19:30] was at one, um, uh, podcaster. Jocko Willink was at one, uh, Lance Armstrong, one of the ones that I loved hearing about was, um, uh, Jesse Itzler. So he’s a crazy founder. His wife is, uh, Sarah Blakely, who founded Spanx. Uh, she’s an e um, an EO member, uh, in Atlanta. And listening to his story of how he like built Zco coconut water, exited, sold that to Coca-Cola, then turned around and build marquee jets, exited, sold that to Berkshire. It’s like, [00:20:00] those are not people that I meet on a regular basis. It’s like it’s next level stuff. Yeah. It’s just really cool. Um, another cool one. Uh, I, uh, uh, went to a uni, uh, an EO university event in Lisbon, Portugal. Uh, so that was cool cuz then you get to meet, um, entrepreneurs in other parts of the world. Um, that transpired into an introduction to a firm that was based in Portugal and we ended up doing a joint venture together. Did you really? Wow. Yeah. So it’s just a, I just love that part of Yeah. Uh, the journey. Very
Brad Burrow: Cool. What about you,
Eric Kelting: [00:20:30] Eric? Yeah, similar, um, access to some amazing speakers. I mean, we’ve had the founder of Ag Boots come in from just the Kansas City chapter and, and, and speak to an event here we had in Kansas City. Did you guys
Brad Burrow: All get free boots out of the deal
Eric Kelting: Or? There was some free boots after the fact <laugh>. Um, but I mean, he, I mean he exited that company that, I mean, literally grew that from scratch Yeah. Into a multi-billion dollar company. And he just, in his lifetime and just amazing story. But I mean, we, we do events like that at the local level. Had an opportunity to listen to Magic Johnson speak virtually [00:21:00] to eo and I’ll be a chance to see him at a conference here this fall. He’ll be speaking in person in Detroit. Um, and so it’s just a, you know, access to just amazing speakers that you normally wouldn’t have access,
Christian Arnold: Access to. Oh, yeah. Coming. We’ve got Bear grills and sort Richard Branson. So it’s just like, you know, it’s like, just, it’s just, I think it’s fascinating. Uh, Usain Bolt was one, um,
Eric Kelting: Jane Goodall, there’s a, yeah, they have a, what they call the powerhouse series. And so those are virtual events. And so, um, we get some really big heavy hitters that will [00:21:30] be able to come on and do kind of a live stream to just EO members and, and get, um, moderated by an EO member. So,
Brad Burrow: So your forum go to these together. Do you guys, you guys all
Eric Kelting: Go to the, some forums? So it kind of, there’s like, like Christian said, there’s regional conferences and there’s global conferences. Conferences and forums will travel. Um, not only will we do a retreat for fun sometimes, but, um, we will, sometimes some of the forums will coincide with a conference and do a couple days in a city and have some fun and then actually and then attend one of the conferences.
Brad Burrow: [00:22:00] Awesome. Tell me, tell me about some of the, I know we’ve got the event coming up here. Um, what do you guys have, uh, in mind for the, the Kansas City? Is it called a chapter? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, what would you like to see happen in Kansas City? I know you want it to grow, but I mean, what, what’s the vision for what that could be?
Eric Kelting: I think we’re focused on growth. And this is an interesting topic that in a lot of VO circles, which is, you know, don’t grow for growth’s sake. I think it’s entrepreneurs. Were, were, were hardwired [00:22:30] to always wanna grow things. Um, and you know, I think EO is really focused on growing while maintaining the quality of member and the quality of the member experience. But growth, some growth is, some healthy growth is good, right? So it broadens the network. It expands the network. It gives, um, more forums, more peers to talk to. When we, when we come to the, to the KC events, there’s more people to hang out with and meet. You know, if, if half of your members show up to an event, which is a good turnout, um, [00:23:00] you know, if you’re 40 members, it’s only 20 people. If you’re 80, that’s 40 people, right? Yeah. It’s so simple math. So, um, so yeah, I think, I think we’re focused on growth right now. Um, I don’t know what else. There’s, I know there’s a lot of other local initiatives, but that’s probably the biggest one.
Christian Arnold: Yeah. It’s just awareness and making it available. You know, we both talk about how for the longest time we felt like we were on an island and there’s no need for entrepreneurs to feel that way. There’s resources, we have great resources here locally. And then to be able to tap in, like I keep saying nationally, globally. [00:23:30] Um, so it’s really just making an awareness to know that you, you don’t have to figure this stuff out on your own.
Eric Kelting: And we’re completely self-funded. So the, with the growth comes from additional membership dues. And then with more dues you can actually, you know, can have bigger events, maybe bring in bigger speakers. And so, um, you can just do more. Right? And so like the, you know, uh, Kansas City’s around the, you know, mid thirties to 40 members and you look at our peers in Chicago or Austin, Nashville’s got like 300 members in Oh wow. Chicago’s a couple hundred. And you, you hear about [00:24:00] their budget and the types of speakers that they’re bringing in. It’s, it’s, it’s a very different experience, um, for a member in Chicago versus a member in Indianapolis or Kansas City or, you know, Tulsa. So, so
Brad Burrow: What are your roles, uh, in the Kansas City market? Christian, what’s your role?
Christian Arnold: Um, so in the past, I’ve, I’ve served on the board for a number of years. I was a past president. Um,
Brad Burrow: So Kansas City has a board then. Yep. Mm-hmm.
Christian Arnold: <affirmative>. Okay. Yep. And then, um, and right now, um, they just haven’t asked me to leave, so I’m just [00:24:30] kind of, I’m just here
Eric Kelting: To help. He’s our elder statesman. He’s our Yoda
Brad Burrow: <laugh>
Eric Kelting: Look, he’s served as president, he’s served as president for two years. Um, as well as pretty much every position on the board. So you gotta keep a guy like Christian around cuz he’s seen it all.
Brad Burrow: Yeah, yeah. What about you Eric?
Eric Kelting: Uh, I am cycling off. I’ve been the president of the KC chapter the last two years as well. Um, and then I’m gonna be starting a new role. I’m gonna go into le uh, regional leadership. So I’m gonna be involved in the central region, uh, for EO this in this upcoming year. So I’m gonna be working with some other chapters in other [00:25:00] cities. Um, also trying to stay really close to Kansas City. Cause obviously this is where I’m a member and, and where my heart is. So,
Brad Burrow: So how do you balance, I mean, the time commitment to do that, both of you? We have, I mean, that’s a lot of time to put into an organization like this outside of your business.
Christian Arnold: Yeah, we see it pop up time and time again. And, and even when members, uh, that I’m visiting with that are thinking about just joining just as a, a, uh, just a member, they are trying to figure out how much, you know, how they can make this work time-wise. And for me personally, [00:25:30] um, my experience was that it made me get a lot more diligent and a lot more efficient and a lot more selective about what I said yes to and what I said no to. So it’s, it’s like you just learn time management, you know, just like, you know. Uh, and if you’re in a family and you have your first child, how did you make time for that? You just figured it out.
Eric Kelting: <laugh>. So having a very understanding business partner and spouse for me, so, oh, that’s critical. Yeah. You gotta give a shout out to Jeff and Tracy cause they’ll, but no, it, it does, it takes a, it takes a, a tribe. And so having a good support [00:26:00] system, the stories that you hear from a lot of EO members that get involved, they talk about the more they get involved in EO and in EO leadership that pulls them from their business. When that happens, they’re forced to put in systems and process that allow that business to run without them there. And the businesses tend to grow. And so it’s almost kind of like forcing yourself out of the weeds of your business and forcing you to start building the business that can stand up on its own two feet without
Brad Burrow: You, you know, it’s very interesting things you mentioning that, you [00:26:30] know, we’re working on standard operating procedures as a lot of, uh, entrepreneurs and people that have started businesses just have it here and they know what they want to do. But translating that from here into something that can be scaled is so hard. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, is that something that
Eric Kelting: And boring
Brad Burrow: Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. It’s not like, uh, you know, outshooting uh, demolition derby for example. Yeah. Yeah. But, uh, you know, I is that some of the things that you can expect to, to [00:27:00] learn you, cuz I, I feel like as entrepreneurs, you know, we know what we know pretty well, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing that. But we don’t know things like, how do I structure my day? How, how often should I take meetings? Those weeks are not all I do is meet and I’m so worn out after a week like that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It’s like if I could get, you know, get my hands around how to handle that, things like that. Is that Yep. Some of the things that you can learn.
Christian Arnold: Yeah, exactly. We’re constantly sharing what we’re doing, how we’re managing with that stress that, you know, challenge, um, sharing [00:27:30] best, best practices, what we’ve learned, listened to, read. Um, so it’s like kind of a mastermind group that’s coming together to figure out like, how do we optimize each, each person and each each of their companies.
Eric Kelting: And they’re really speaking to, you know, if the more you get involved in the deeper you go, I mean, I Christians here talking about, you know, pinging folks across, you know, halfway around the world when Covid hit and I’m like, oh my God, I didn’t even realize that. That’s, you know, because Christians put the time and energy in attending those conferences and making time for it. He’s got this ginormous network [00:28:00] that Yeah. You know, and so, um, that a lot of us don’t have. And so the more, the deeper and more involved you get, that network grows and all of a sudden you’re talking to media, um, companies or media owners in Nebraska and Chicago and Texas, and how’d you get through this? And, you know, what did you do when you got to this size? And so, um, yeah, we can, you can focus on learning about your business, specifically your industry as you meet others, but also just some of that stuff’s kind of generic time management and stress management, all those types of things can be industry agnostic. [00:28:30] So
Brad Burrow: Yeah.
Christian Arnold: Yeah. And so much of it comes down to like, how do you help develop your team and the people that you’re working with on a daily basis and empower them and position them for success because that, that ultimately starts to free up time so that you can then focus more strategically or go after new business pursuits, or, you know, really think about how you’re gonna invest that as, as your most valuable resource.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. So there’s an announcement that needs to be made. Does that sound, uh, oh, yeah. Sounds like something new. Yeah.
Eric Kelting: So we’ve talked a little bit about the, so [00:29:00] the, um, the, the regional conferences. So the, the central region, the US central region for the, for the us uh, we have an annual conference called Eccentric. Right? Yeah. And so, uh, that could be hosted any of the 23 chapters in, uh, the central from, from Minnesota down to Texas. And so we have bid and uh, recently been, uh, awarded the Eccentric conference for 2025. Um, this is huge for our city. This is huge for our chapter. Um, Christian [00:29:30] mentioned this, you know, it’s like TED Talks in the morning and these over the top parties at night. This is going to be an amazing experience. We should have five to 600, uh, EO members from all over the Midwest and central, uh, converge on Kansas City in the fall of 2025. Uh, make sure that city’s ready for World Cup. You know, it’s a,
Christian Arnold: We’ll test it out,
Eric Kelting: Really break in some of the, some of the new developments, but we’re gonna have entrepreneurs from all over the, from all over the Midwest. We’re gonna have an amazing time. These conferences are just an awesome three day experience. [00:30:00] And so we were just literally like a month ago, we’re awarded this. And so we’ll be working on this for the next, where
Brad Burrow: Is it gonna be? Do you know?
Eric Kelting: We, uh, we don’t know yet. We’re still, we got, we’re, uh, we’re trying to nail down. It’ll be probably in, it’ll be be in the downtown area. Yeah. Um, but we’re trying to nail down, um, hotel contracts, and then that’ll be kind of our base. And then the events will be throughout the city. We’ll be, I mean, talking, renting buses and shipping very fine. Five, 600 people all, all over the city to really just get an experience of what it’s like to be in Kansas.
Brad Burrow: When, when is the date? Do you know?
Eric Kelting: That’ll be nailed down. So it’ll be the fall. So it’ll be [00:30:30] mid, mid to late September, early October is usually where they, where they slot ’em. It all comes down to hotel availability. So
Brad Burrow: We’ll have some, uh, maybe a football game in there somewhere.
Eric Kelting: Football, there’s, um, the American Royal, there’s a lot going on in the fall in Kansas
Christian Arnold: City. Yeah. We’ll be able to piece together some cool events.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. But the city’s ready. I mean, the, the new airport, we’re hosting the draft in a few weeks. Um, there’s so much other development going on in downtown, as you guys know, uh, leading up to World Cup that some of it will be ready for this conference in 25. So, um, we’re going to Detroit [00:31:00] this year. We’re going to Fort Worth next year. Yep. Yep. And then Kansas City. So we are super excited about it.
Brad Burrow: Do you know any of the factors? Were those factors in why you guys got the bid for this mean the airport, the things that are happening in Kansas City?
Christian Arnold: I don’t know. I think it’s just because Eric is so awesome.
Eric Kelting: I think it’s part of the application. You sold it, right? I we sold it hard. Um, no, we, you know, look, we, it was a two-part sale. It was saying that the city’s ready and that the chapter’s ready. Yeah. And, and that was really the application. And the city was [00:31:30] check the box, look at all this stuff that the city’s doing with the draft in the World Cup. I mean, we can host a 600 person conference, gimme a break. Yeah.
Christian Arnold: And I think some of the other larger chapters like Chicago, dallas, Fort Worth, they, they really want to see that kind of gap get filled between those two larger cities. So
Brad Burrow: They were four Yeah. Having it in Kansas
Christian Arnold: City. Yeah. So it’s very much a regional event.
Brad Burrow: Is it a vote? How, how does it get
Eric Kelting: Awarded? There’s an a, there’s a, there’s a committee. I don’t, there there was a, there was a formal
Christian Arnold: Who’d you buy off?
Eric Kelting: I sent a lot of money, a lot of FedEx envelopes,
Christian Arnold: [00:32:00] <laugh>,
Eric Kelting: Um,
Brad Burrow: Some boots you send some
Eric Kelting: Some hug boots. Yeah. A lot of booze. Yeah. <laugh>. Um, no, it was a, it was a formal application process. I know there’s a selection committee. I was not told who was on it. I think that was very intentional. I’m just now finding after the fact who was a part of the decision making process. But we think this is gonna be really big for the chapter. I mean, if, if this is something that will be open to EO members only. And so we’re really hoping as we lead up to this and as we continue to grow and add, um, [00:32:30] you know, strong peers from, from this community, that this is something that’s like, Hey, you wanna be a part of this because you get access to, to something this, this amazing. So
Brad Burrow: Yeah. That sounds like a really great time. It’s like three days you’re gonna, you’re gonna need a vacation after those three days
Eric Kelting: Probably. It’s gonna be exhausting. I’m sure there’s a lot more people that do all the hard work and I’ve already convinced Chris. Yeah. I’ve already convinced Christian to help. So, wait, what? <laugh>, you said he’d help <laugh>, but, um, no, it’s, and it’s completely self-funded. So we’ve actually, the, we get a little bit of seed money [00:33:00] from global, but the entire conference budget is dependent on us also selling those five or 600, uh, tickets, so. Wow. Yeah. It’s gonna be a, it’s
Brad Burrow: Gonna be, so what’s the plan for that? How are you gonna do that? We just
Eric Kelting: Started. I don’t You wanna be on the board? <laugh>. I mean, we can
Brad Burrow: Have you, I happen to know a company that can help with some of the media aspects of those things.
Eric Kelting: Well, we’re gonna need up a I’ll introduce you. We’re gonna need a hype video.
Brad Burrow: <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. You know, one thing, so I’m gonna kind of go off on a little bit of a tangent here, but, [00:33:30] um, and this is kind of affecting my business a little bit, but we’re in this world right now with ai. Are you guys following? I’m, I’m sure you’re following a little bit.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. We’re, yeah.
Brad Burrow: Do you think that EO will actually start talking about some of those things that are happening and how entrepreneurs need to be thinking about that? Because Yeah, some of us are, if you’re not on top of what’s happening, you’re gonna get behind.
Christian Arnold: It’s, uh, evolving very rapidly. Yeah. As we’re, we’re all seeing, there’s actually, I’ve, um, um, been involved in two different webinar, [00:34:00] um, podcasts on AI specifically that other members around the country are putting together, like thought leadership. Yeah. Um, I talked to a guy he was in, uh, I think maybe Chicago. Um, but he’s building an insurance agency starting from scratch using chat G P T. So it’s like very like forefront stuff. So there was a recent deal that I listened in on, and it was three or four thought leaders and how they’re integrating, um, all AI tools into their businesses as we speak, what [00:34:30] they’re learning. So it’s, it’s very quickly evolving and, and becoming pretty close.
Eric Kelting: You just forward as a virtual eo.
Christian Arnold: There’s another one coming
Eric Kelting: Up virtual EO event on, on ai. Yep. I think,
Brad Burrow: Oh, is that right?
Eric Kelting: Thursday? Yeah.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Oh, wow. I just think it’s such an interesting time. We live in, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, you know, there are a lot of companies that spent lots of of dollars getting articles written for SEO and all that stuff. And now you can go out and chat G p t and type in write me a, you know, seven 50 word blog on, you know, the [00:35:00] legal ramifications of <laugh> of this, and bam, there it
Christian Arnold: Is. Well, and not only that, but there’s also AI consumption that’s already happening. You know, a simple way to think about that is like when someone submits their resume and they spent all this time and effort putting it together, and then, you know, we already know that artificial intelligence is being used to review resumes and they’re kind of boiling down to like cutting out all of the crap and just like, here’s the facts. And so you lose a lot of that storytelling aspect. So I, I think the creativity part of it, at [00:35:30] least, you know, my belief is that it’ll continue to be super important, but how we process that is gonna change very rapidly.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. And some of the, a lot of this technology too, some form of, it’s been around for 10 plus years, right? Yeah. So it’s just now kind of getting mainstreamed and talked about and, and you know, cooler. Yeah. But some of this stuff at resume review, it’s been in legal space, there’s been some form of machine, um, intelligence for over a decade, but, um, it’s still got a low adoption rate. [00:36:00] Right. And it’s just stealing some of that same technology that Netflix uses. Right. You feel like this, you must like this. Yeah. Our iTunes was using 10, 15 years ago. So I think we’ve been surrounded by some form of ai, whether, whatever, whether, whatever it’s called, but, um, but some form of artificial intelligence or algorithms Yeah. For over a decade.
Brad Burrow: Are you guys seeing, um, you know, one of the biggest challenges I, I think coming out of, uh, the pandemic for small businesses hiring, you know, I mean, the whole hiring landscapes [00:36:30] changed. Are you seeing that starting to come back to the mi middle a little bit now? Or what, what do you think about that?
Christian Arnold: It’s always been a struggle just to find, I think because in, in my experience in what we deal with and how we try to approach our projects, it’s always been really tricky to find, you know, someone that’s trained in architecture or interior design and how to think like a strategic advisor. So that’s, it’s always a rare finding for very, for us
Brad Burrow: Specific type person that you’re
Christian Arnold: Looking for. Um, I don’t, I personally haven’t seen that change or evolve rapidly. [00:37:00] I think, you know, as companies were, you know, working remotely and then starting to come back, you know, figuring out what that hybrid model looks like, um, we always operated our business that way. We always, you know, placed trust and freedom with our team. And so it really didn’t change that dynamic. So, but it’s probably a little bit of an anomaly.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. I wondered on your, in your business too, I mean,
Eric Kelting: It’s starting to self-correct a little bit these last few months. Yeah. I mean, the really pretty, I’ve
Brad Burrow: Heard that a lot from people, right? The
Eric Kelting: Really big companies, not only service providers, but also the software [00:37:30] companies in our space have started to, to announce layoffs. And so it’s right sizing a little bit. It got pretty grim. Last year actually was one of the new threats. We always thought we had all these different potential threats Yeah. As a small to mid-size, um, e-discovery company. And then you’re like, oh God, I don’t my my talent. Right? I don’t have access to the talent pool, and then my talent is under siege from other people. Yeah. Other people getting poached, and you’re like, oh, crap, I didn’t see this one coming. You know? And so you,
Brad Burrow: That happened to me. I, I mean, one of the, one of the big companies here in town, [00:38:00] it’s a pharmaceutical rep, they do advertising. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> took my animator and doubled salary. Yep. So it’s like you can’t
Eric Kelting: Compete. And I was in, um, at a couple of these larger conferences. I mean, we were, that was a conversation topic, um, was several EO members about different industries. And for me it was finding a couple lawyer members. And so we were talking about law. And so met a couple members in a couple different cities, same thing. Like I’m losing associate attorneys, their salaries are being doubled. Yeah. You know, I can’t compete. And so, you know, so
Brad Burrow: That’s the kind of thing that’s why [00:38:30] I kind of went that direction. Just circling back, I, I feel like this organization could really benefit small businesses when things like that are happening. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, bombs are exploding and you’re like, oh, crap.
Christian Arnold: Yeah. We just, we just had a learning event that was really focused around, you know, defining your core values and your culture, and not just like some stickers on the wall, but like really making decisions in your company who you’re hiring. Um, and like, you know, letting that be a guiding principle because that’s how you start to compete when, [00:39:00] when you have these, you know, kind of large, faceless global organizations or, you know, how do you, um, differentiate. And that’s one of the ways to differentiate is like really be intentional about the, the type of culture that you’re wanting to build.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. And this is a great photo board. I mean, that’s the event that, um, Christian’s ref referencing is that top left. And that was actually a, an event and then a workshop the next day with Will Scott, the Gift of culture. And we’ve got some, some speakers up there that we’ve had in Kansas City. Then there’s a couple of retreats, looks like a hike. And, [00:39:30] uh, Christian and I, not skiing, but sitting on the side of a mountain drinking beer <laugh>. Yeah. Um,
Christian Arnold: That’s a very important part
Eric Kelting: Of skiing. That’s a big part of, yeah. That was a big part of, but, uh, the conference down in new, the eccentric conference down in New Orleans a couple years and day at the K and event. Um, I think that was in Miami, uh, um, with some Chicago members, so Oh yeah. Looks cool. It’s a good, it’s a good, uh, it’s a good, um, it snapshot of kind of what you can expect as an EM member, just access to a lot of really cool experiences. Yeah. And learning events [00:40:00] and connection, really just connecting with peers.
Brad Burrow: I noticed that those, those shots are under collaborative learning.
Eric Kelting: I
Brad Burrow: Guess that, is that what that is? Over on the right. Those pictures over there.
Eric Kelting: A lot of learning. It’s
Brad Burrow: All
Christian Arnold: Learning. Yeah. Sometimes it’s what to do and sometimes this is what not to do.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. Christian and I learned that we couldn’t ski very well anymore, so it was one run, sit and have a beer, one run, sit and have a beer at a,
Christian Arnold: Let you know your limitation.
Eric Kelting: Yeah. Let your body recover. Pace yourself. That was what we
Brad Burrow: Was by the end of the day. You had a pretty good time, had a great time, <laugh>, and maybe you learned something.
Eric Kelting: [00:40:30] Can’t ski, you can’t ski all day. That’s what we learned.
Brad Burrow: <laugh>. All right. Well, let’s go ahead and wrap up. Um, I wanted to just, um, kind have you guys kind of each give us, you know, just give us the, why should an entrepreneur do this? You know, why should we be looking at this?
Christian Arnold: Yeah. Like I said, for me it’s been life changing. So, um, you know, it’s made me a better leader. It’s made me a better father. It’s made me a better husband. So if, if someone’s, you know, looking for those things, you know, it’s at least worth looking at. I looked at all the organizations that were available in the city, um, [00:41:00] and for me at that time, this is what made sense. And so it’s definitely worth, uh, checking out.
Brad Burrow: Eric, what do you
Eric Kelting: Think? Yeah, for me it was, uh, I always say it was one of the best things I’ve done for myself, uh, when I joined, probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself professionally. And it just, it gave me a group of peers to talk to. You know, it got all the stuff outta my head. Um, I don’t talk about as talk about the company as often at home, which gives my wife some relief. Yeah. Um, which I think is, is good for both of us, but just, it gives me a group of people I can, I can talk to, bounce ideas off of and, and really learn [00:41:30] from. You know, I wanted to be an entrepreneur my whole life, and Jeff and I took a risk in 2014, but we’d never done it before. And, um, it’s a, it’s, it’s, we learn something every day or go through a different experience every day similar to, similar to what you were sharing about your audit and stuff comes at you quick. And so just have a group of people that you can connect with. And like Christian said, it’s not for everyone and everyone are, um, there are a lot of associations in Kansas City that have a different purpose. And so I always encourage entrepreneurs and business owners to, to, to, you know, reflect on what they need at [00:42:00] that time in their life, and then make sure they find the association or group that makes the most sense for them. So yeah.
Brad Burrow: Great. I’m an entrepreneur. I want to join. What’s the process?
Eric Kelting: Yeah. Um, I, our website is eo Kansas city.com. Um, and maybe on this pod maybe we can post some contact information. Yeah. Um, but we’ve got an amazing chapter manager. So the, the chapter actually has a, a part-time, um, person named Loren, uh, who’s awesome. She actually runs the chapter, they call US presidents, but we don’t really [00:42:30] do anything. Um, so, um, Loren Lorena’s a huge asset, and we’ve got, uh, a board of directors. We’ve got a membership chair and a, and a process that we can start. But, um, yeah, we’d love to get that contact information out so people can connect. So, yeah. And there’s
Christian Arnold: An application on the website, and that kind of kicks off everything.
Brad Burrow: Awesome. So in closing, I always have everybody on our podcast do the movie voice. So you guys have to do the inner world with real media, and this could launch your voiceover career. So, Christian, if you want to go first, all right. You just gotta get really [00:43:00] close to the mic and really do the low, you know, inner world. Okay. Go ahead.
Speaker 5: Inner world with real media
Brad Burrow: <laugh>.
Eric Kelting: That’s pretty good. Yeah, that
Brad Burrow: Was, he’s, he’s, he’s got the bar
Eric Kelting: Up there. I thought he was gonna lean in and go. New news <laugh>. Wrong podcast, bro. <laugh> in a World with Real Media. That’s all I got. That was way better. That
Brad Burrow: Was pretty good.
Eric Kelting: Not as good as this guy.
Brad Burrow: You guys might want to get an agent. I’ll, I’ll hook you up. Actually, I might be here. Voiceless
Eric Kelting: <laugh>.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Right. All right. [00:43:30] It’s the in World with Real Media Podcast. Thank you for joining us guys. Be sure to subscribe, look, watch it on YouTube. Send it to your friends. Uh, make your wife watch it. Whatever. We, we want you to
Eric Kelting: Put it on TikTok, whatever,
Brad Burrow: Whatever, all those
Eric Kelting: Places. Whatever you do anymore.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Whatever it is. Yeah. We we’re learning every day. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next time.
OUTRO: This has been In A World with Real Media. Thanks for joining us. And be sure to subscribe on iTunes and follow Real Media on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. So you never miss an episode.