For those few of you who actually read what I manage to write occasionally, you know I often talk about my primarily source of knowledge and insight into this world we live in comes from my children. The older I get the more I believe that they are my best source to learn about the outside world and myself. I just have to listen and look — with focus and intention. 

One example of learning from my children comes from my daughter Amelia who is out to save the world from plastic, predatory employers who don’t pay living wages, and people who grow, transport, or sell food that generates unnecessary and avoidable poison to the earth and environment in which we live.  It must be “organic” and it must be “free trade.” 

People like her when I was growing up were called tree-huggers. They were the subscribers to Mother Earth News, who composted early, and stopped shaving their legs and under their arms and who recycled way before “normal” people stopped throwing away their aluminum cans, plastic and paper. And the same thing also goes for all those animal rights folks way back when. Ruin my circus will you? And breaking into those labs testing rats and rabbits — I mean really? Need to be locked up. 

Now all that stuff is mainstream — like behavior that “normal” people exhibit. Who knew? My children knew, that’s who — with apologies to Dr. Seuss. 

One of my regrets — and I have very few — is not taking that course, or those courses, during my days at FSU, studying how public policy was made and originated. I did miss out on what would have been the most fascinating field of study — and still would be for anyone who is headed into the university life in this day and age.  

Anyway, I interviewed a young person today for my podcast which is called — and this is pure and unashamed promotion here — which is called “Boardroom Buddha” on the Appen Podcast Network. Yes, the Appen Media Podcast Network — something that my son Hans, Appen Media’s general manager — launched a little over a year ago and which I  believe now includes 13 different podcast channels. If Hans were not doing this, I would have no clue about this new media. However, he is doing it, so just ask me anything you want to know about podcasting, even though I probably still won’t be able to answer your questions. I will just fake it or tell you I will get back to you. 

If you have an iPhone, just look for that little purple podcast icon, and click on it. Search for Boardroom Buddha, and follow the prompts. If you have an Android, I can’t help you. Call Hans. Or you can go to, and then call Hans. 

I digress. What’s new with that? 

The thing that I am supposed to do every week for “Boardroom Budda” is interview local entrepreneurs in one of Appen Media’s two podcast studios in our office. Did I mention that Hans is fully set up to lease out studio time so you can do your own? Or that he/we can write, produce and disseminate your podcast for you — or that Hans has other newspapers calling him up all the time to pick his brain about his co-prodding, his network and his business model? No? Sorry, but they are. 

It has been really something to watch. I mean I have seen people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a newspaper office — because, of course, all newspapers are liberal fear mongers, right? — knocking at our front door to come to their podcast interview. Go figure.   

So, my interview today was with a kid who basically blew me away. He graduated from Milton. He is now 23. His name is Evan Roberts.  He started his business three years ago and is just now entering his fourth year of business. He has 19 employees now — not contractors, employees. He did $6,000 the first year,  “six figures” the second year. The third year, he increased at least 300 percent over the second year.

His goal for the fourth year is ambitious. With his 19 employees, he is already working in five states including Georgia. The goal for 2019 is to become a national brand and have representation in all 50 states. His business model — the little pearl of wisdom that he shared in the pod interview I did with him today — is to “maintain quality at scale.” Yep, quality at scale. How cool is that.

More than a few times during the Boardroom Buddha interview, I had to stop the interview and ask him “who taught you that?” He didn’t offer to explain. “I make a lot of mistakes,” he said, “and learn from them.” 

He is a man on a mission. Did I mention that in his former life he was lead singer and guitar player in a band, and after that he was the manager of a pizza restaurant? 

I told him I wanted to buy stock. “Just don’t forget this interview and call me when you are ready with your IPO,” I said. He smiled.  

I told him I was serious. “Don’t smile. You better call me.” 

His business? 

Well, you’ll have to listen to the podcast. Booya! 

Boardroom Buddha. Don’t miss it.

Ray is the Publisher Emeritus for Appen Media and the Herald newspapers.

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