About Our Guest-Matthew Davis
I am not your typical stodgy lawyer that loves golf. I hate golf, and I dislike a lot of lawyers because there is a selection bias for sociopaths in the law. Trust me, I’ve been in the trenches for over thirty years!
I do not practice much anymore because I had a midlife crisis and started a law firm, Davis Business Law. I am the CEO and sole owner, and with my team, we put it on the Inc 5000 list We will keep it there because we are still growing with seven offices and counting!
On this episode of Chasing Happiness Podcast, we have special guest Matt Davis. Matt is not your typical stodgy lawyer that loves golf. He hates playing golf and dislikes a lot of lawyers because there is a selection bias for sociopaths in the law. Matt published his first book, “The Art of Preventing Stupid, ” which teaches entrepreneurs skills to prevent stupid business mistakes and proactively protect their companies.
Matt will tell us about how he became an attorney, what inspired him to write his first book, and how he can help you avoid making stupid mistakes with your business.
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Why Even Smart People Make Stupid Business Mistakes with Matt Davis
[00:00:00] Ryan: Hey guys, Ryan DeMent Chasing Happiness Podcast. I hope you guys are having a wonderful day. Today is the very first episode that we’re putting on Restream. So guys give us feedback. We have a wonderful guest in Matt Davis. Matt Davis is not your typical attorney. He doesn’t like golf. He thinks other attorneys have some serious issues.
[00:00:24] Ryan: And we’ll talk about. But the word of the day that we’re going to use is stodgy or stodgy. I gotta be able to, I gotta be able to pronounce it correctly, but I came across Matt through a matching service and his profile just spoke to us and spoke to me and I needed to bring them on Matt. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:47] Matt: Thanks I am excited to be here and just chat and see. What we can come up with brilliant today.
[00:00:54] Ryan: So I know you’ve been practicing for 30 plus years or close to 30 years, but what got you into the industry initially?
[00:01:05] Matt: Okay. So I I was actually a pretty good college student, which after my performance in high school was really remarkable to my parents.
[00:01:15] Matt: And I thought I was going to go be a history professor and my dad and sort of his course, but direct way sat me down and he said, listen, let me make this real clear to you. I will pay for you to go to OU law school or you’re off the family tit. And he was just kinda that blunt. And I was, 21 years old and I had a history degree and I said dad, I think I’ll go to OU law school.
[00:01:48] Matt: And I did, and I was there actually, for those of you old enough to remember Anita Hill was our contracts. Yeah. Second year of law school, all the Clarence Thomas stuff happened. And the whole law school, it was just a circus for about two, three weeks. And yeah, that is literally how I got into law.
[00:02:14] Matt: And I think I’d always thought, yeah, why not? I come from a professional family. I really come from old farm stock, so to speak and my great grandfather pre-staged Willie Nelson and told all his kids to become doctors, lawyers, and such and there, so I come from a family of doctors and lawyers and so on.
[00:02:36] Matt: So I, it. It was natural for me.
[00:02:40] Ryan: So I know what OU stands for, but what the audience potentially not. I know where you’re at. So why don’t you tell everybody what OU is?
[00:02:48] Matt: Yeah, that’s Oklahoma. So university of Oklahoma, which is down in Norman I live in in it, which is my hometown. I came back here.
[00:02:56] Matt: Deciding not to be a Washington lawyer. So I tell my Arizona friends, I know you’re there, that’s like living in Flagstaff, right? You have to have a point of reference.
[00:03:09] Ryan: Well, Flagstaff is about a three hour drive north of me. And it’s a, yes, that’s a point of reference. But at the end of the day we all have geography issues. So we’ll deal with it. With you being an attorney for so long, we’ve had a great conversation prior to, and you have a great sense of humor, not stuffy, like a typical attorney.
[00:03:31] Ryan: What gets you through? First of all let’s start your journey. You went to law school because the parents said you’ll be off the tit. If you don’t, what transitioned after that, in what, how did your career play out and then we’ll get into what your are doing today.
[00:03:45] Matt: I thought I was going to be a Washington lawyer and I went and got a master’s degree at Cornell in basically energy economics.
[00:03:57] Matt: And then I went to work for department of energy in DC. And that was now there’s something interesting there, because even back in 94, I got hired in the secretary’s office. And then I quickly got shipped to geothermal because I didn’t like the idea of when they said we’re going to turn all of America to renewable energy by 2004.
[00:04:20] Matt: So this. 28 years ago now. And I’m like, guys, this just isn’t going to happen. But by the way, that’s what we’re living right now. And it’s not working very well because they still think we can do it, which we can’t would be nice, but we can’t anyway. So I was in DC for a couple of years and I thought I was going to stay there.
[00:04:40] Matt: I thought I would just have a career practicing energy law. And I. One day. I had lunch with cousin of mine, 10 years older than me, similar career path. Literally it worked for Senator like I had. And then he went to Kansas law and I walked out of there and I was looking around those buildings, they’re 10 story buildings, downtown DC.
[00:05:05] Matt: And I’m just like, man, I just don’t want to do this. And I called my girlfriend, who is now my wife. She was a TV producer in LA. And I said, Hey, let’s move back to our hometown. And I have a bunch of kids and 26 years later here we are. And I think we have five kids, it’s hard to keep a steady count.
[00:05:23] Ryan: And how many of the kids are attorneys?
[00:05:27] Matt: Zero, zero now. The oldest one’s just 25. I just call them by unit numbers. Cause it’s easy to remember unit. Yeah, maybe she’ll go to law school. Three probably. And then for, he’s not academic I don’t think he’ll, but five was talking about going to law school last night.
[00:05:45] Matt: She’s 12. So she’s she’s my little Ethiopian baby. And she’s a piece of work. I’ll tell you what
[00:05:51] Ryan: so do you want any of your kids to become attorneys and grow up in.
[00:05:55] Matt: It’s interesting. Law is a very difficult and challenging and stressful profession particularly for the attorneys that really care about their clients.
[00:06:11] Matt: And there’s some that don’t, and that’s goes across the professions. I do think. Law attracts a lot of people with, unsavory attitudes and a lot of obnoxious characters. I know I went to law school with them for the last 25, 30 years. And I, it would be good, but it, and I.
[00:06:36] Matt: practiced law here in my hometown for 20 years, just county seat law practice. doing a lot of, family law, criminal law, just taking care of my clients. And that’s pretty rewarding. And the other thing too is the, if you come to a smaller city and you show up and work hard, you can make a really good living and it stands out really quick.
[00:07:03] Matt: And the bar, the attorneys tend to be pretty collegial. And if you don’t behave yourself and play nice, so to speak, you can play tough, but if you don’t play fair or you’re just a jerk or noxious, you get treated like a dog. There’s a few attorneys here that everybody just treats like crap because that’s what you’re going to get back from them.
[00:07:27] Matt: And word gets around.
[00:07:30] Ryan: So I’ve got to ask the obvious question. Why you said it earlier is, why do you have these type of characters that are in your profession that are just jerks and really don’t care and really seem like they’re, a notch above everybody else.
[00:07:48] Matt: Yeah. A law license is a license to be that.
[00:07:52] Matt: You can get in litigation. And I had, I don’t really go to court very frequently. I literally had to put on a suit two days ago and I was really shocked about it because I had a midlife crisis and started a law firm. So I mainly run the law firm and I have just a few clients left.
[00:08:13] Matt: And this guy, he’s setting hearings without calling me, even though I’m sending him emails going, Hey, if we’re going to set a hearing, please give me a call so that we can do it together so that we don’t have to reschedule. This guy said two hearings without calling me just to be a jackass.
[00:08:33] Matt: And, I’m copying the judge and bitching about it and the judge was paying attention. So the fact that he’s just being intentionally discourteous to be an ass and then as just mocking me and smirking about it. And, there’s just people that act that way. And they think that, oh, we’ll go hide behind the profession to just be jerks.
[00:08:57] Matt: And and I think there’s a selection bias because they can get away with it practicing. And by the way, I know some lawyers that are just horrible that way. And there, there is a slice of the public that thinks that having a lawyer that just acts like a jackass is effective representation.
[00:09:24] Matt: And no, it just, it runs up the cost. And and, and it’s, it’s horrible. And now the funny thing is there’s one of these guys and I have said the only thing worse than being on the other side of a case with them is having them on your side of the case. Because this one particular jerk, I had to try jury trial against bank of America.
[00:09:53] Matt: And it was just a horrible working with that guy. We had aligned clients, so they’re just there. And yeah it’s, there’s a selection bias.
[00:10:06] Ryan: It just seems like there’s a larger percentage of them in the law industry and it’s sad. You’re right. When you have that type of an attorney on your side, or even against you it runs the bill up because ultimately it just causes more trouble.
[00:10:22] Ryan: And then the billable hours go up, been there, done that. And at a point in my life, I too wanted to go to law school, but then I. Man. I can’t be that type of person. It’s just not who I am. That’s not how I’m wired. I
[00:10:37] Matt: barely, and fortunately you don’t have to do it all that often. You, most of the attorneys you work with, and by the way, in a smaller market, you know who they are in a bigger market, you got to wait until, If the other side is a jerk or is causing trouble, because know the best way to handle the case is to have the lawyers work together, to efficiently resolve it.
[00:11:02] Matt: And yeah, absolutely. I just got a really nice one done. This was interesting to me. I was fighting with a law firm out of south Texas. The case ultimately ended up in arbitration in Florida. And
[00:11:18] Ryan: this is the one we talked about on our pre-call wasn’t it? Where the guy was being a real, a-hole to
[00:11:24] Matt: no.
[00:11:24] Matt: Cause these were women lawyers. Ah,
[00:11:28] Ryan: go for it. I love this story. I’ll love to hear
[00:11:30] Matt: a story. Yeah, no, these were women. And man, we were just hard at it. We were just thrashing each other and politely, throwing all sorts of punches. And at the end of the day, we got to the settlement table and did a mediation with one of the Houston judges.
[00:11:50] Matt: And we settled and the judge was absolutely astonished. She’s was like, you gotta just settled that case in two hours. And, it was a pretty big case. And I said, yeah, and said, you know what, Rhonda? And I’ve been, we know where we all stand and we know that we’ll size each other up and we know somebody is going to lose and it could be either us.
[00:12:11] Matt: But at the end of that, I we were circulating all the settlement paperwork between our clients. And, I, I said in my email, I didn’t mind saying it in front of my client, which is a big national corporate. I said, props for you guys because you fought hard and you fought fair. And by the way, call me because I need some local representation down there and, on, on a particular issue and my clients, the, this was one of the that was a Houston manager and he knows that, cause we’ve worked together a long time and he’s oh yeah, we want.
[00:12:50] Matt: You’re being the upper level council. We want to know who the real good, hard fighting, but fair lawyers are because those are who we want you hiring to help us out in particular issues.
[00:13:03] Ryan: So can you also back up in that story about the younger attorneys that you were fighting against in Texas?
[00:13:10] Ryan: I think it was Austin or Dallas. Do you remember that one? I want to hear that story because you were just starting to go back and forth with them, but you want, you didn’t finish it up. So I was, I’m interested to see how that turned out.
[00:13:28] Matt: Okay. This, look I’m gen Z, so let’s do just some intergenerational thrashing while we’re at it.
[00:13:35] Matt: Can’t go boomer to me because I’m gen Z. Okay. And and but the way I kind of joke because I’m an Okie and we have a little brother complex to all Texans. Yeah, you, they are not aware that we exist, but we’re, we have a rivalry going with them that they’re not aware of. And and I joked out joke.
[00:13:57] Matt: There’s, when you really want to get deal with somebody that’s difficult, it’s a Texas millennial lawyer. That’s like the trifecta
[00:14:08] Matt: And anyway, this guy just kept picking a fight with me and I’m like, dude, I have, I’ve represented this company for 16 years. I have tried this case hundreds of times, and you’re serious. You are serious. You are about to get your butt handed to you so bad. And he’s no, we’re, and he’s making all these ridiculous arguments trying to get us for what we call a in the law business, incidental or consequential damages, which are, which means in short form that somehow these are like long, far removed damages.
[00:14:52] Matt: Oh we couldn’t do our production because you breached the contract. I’m like, first of all, we didn’t breach. And that has nothing to do with your production. And even more importantly, dingbat, there’s an, there’s a clause in the contract that says each party agrees to waive incidental or consequential damages.
[00:15:12] Matt: And this moron is picking a fight. And by the way, this is a huge national firm. That is billing their clients three times more per hour for their senior partner or for the partner. Who’s my vantage. Okay. We’re peers at the bar. She’s billing three times more than I am. And a five-year out associate is billing twice as much as I am, right?
[00:15:37] Matt: Yeah. It was so obnoxious. And. Ultimately we tried that case and I ran the numbers on them. I got everything I asked for, but in the middle of all that everybody had attorney’s fees claim and their attorney’s fees claim was for twice as much as what ours is. And they had two attorneys try the case and that was pretty abusive and it was really stupid advice.
[00:16:05] Matt: To their client, because, after they paid the attorney’s fees, the cost, the interest, they probably paid three or four times what we would have settled the case for.
[00:16:17] Ryan: So I guess I got to ask the question, is that just the large entity or their client just not caring and not doing the due diligence or it’s just flat out stupidity.
[00:16:28] Matt: It was
[00:16:28] Matt: just, it was too. Stupid. And, they think, oh, some big law firm is gonna, it’s a big national firm and they, that some people think that’s just really effective to have client, law firms like that. And, there’s a place for them and in, some big corporate representation, but, we fight with them all the time.
[00:16:55] Matt: I know all the big law firms are and all the markets that we operate in and it doesn’t phase us. It’s constant fight with those guys,
[00:17:03] Ryan: but the only people that win in these type of battles are the attorneys because they’re getting paid.
[00:17:09] Ryan: I got to ask the question and then we’ll get into your midlife crisis. I think that’s a great conversation too, is if you’re in one of these types of situations and you’re not a big, corporation, how does one effectively somewhat manage their costs when it comes to these types of situations?
[00:17:28] Ryan: When I say this is, and I’ll give you an example. I used to own a construction company and the operator, we were part owners and the operator basically had some issues. And so we basically said, we’re going to divorce you. And that meant, legal proceedings and so forth. He decided to go hire a big name firm, which was trying to run up the bill.
[00:17:48] Ryan: I have a firm that’s more boutique like yourself. That makes sense. And just wanted to get done and let’s call it a day. His attorney had to get his billable hours in. So he was trying to run up the bill and then stick us with the numbers. And I said, no, that’s not how it’s going to work. We had to go back and forth to get that done, but ultimately we didn’t have to go to trial, but we were able to get the judge to agree.
[00:18:10] Ryan: How do you, is there any way to play that in life and business? Because it just, it becomes stupid.
[00:18:17] Matt: Yeah.
[00:18:18] Matt: There’s a variety of strategies. Get the judge to order mediation or and that’s good. We are a big fan of arbitration and arbitration in short form is private court.
[00:18:33] Matt: And that. And so a lot of our operating agreements and whatnot that we write for our clients we’ll have arbitration clause, but clauses. Jamie’s my right hand and paralegal office manager, she’s, if you get the idea and we got most of what we do anymore, it’s arbitrations. And we ended up in district court.
[00:18:57] Matt: That’s when I was talking about having to put on a suit. Because somebody was trying to weasel out of the arbitration and man, we were just like, this is so tedious. We’re subpoenaing witnesses. We’re tracking them down and we’re, and, or filing all these motions and this and that. And I’ll tell you what, arbitration proceedings can be so fast.
[00:19:18] Matt: And you just, you don’t have all this big discovery and I’ll try a half, a million dollar case in arbitration and maybe have to answer 10 discovery questions instead of 30 and put up with days of depositions. That’s nice. And we’re good at it and we move it fast.
[00:19:37] Matt: Arbitration’s a good idea. The bottom line is there’s a variety of strategies and, or just ignore them a lot of the time, when somebody is being obnoxious, but sometimes you can’t. You actually have got a case pending up in Nebraska and the other lawyer just will file anything and everything.
[00:20:00] Matt: And he’s just obnoxious. And I would not. It’s the cases coming in stages. And I tried it in Omaha a couple of years ago when all the way then Nebraska Supreme court, after that we won and now we’ve got a hearing and then he just he’s like the Energizer bunny of obnoxiousness
[00:20:17] Ryan: and the, again, the only people are winning are the attorneys in this and it’s.
[00:20:22] Ryan: It’s I can get on a soap box on that.
[00:20:25] Matt: Yeah. And I’m having to answer to my managing attorney out of Boston on that. And and he gets it. I’m like, look, this is, and he looks at the file and he’s I see what’s going on. You’re not the one filing all the motions like no.
[00:20:42] Ryan: So let’s get into your life story. You have a midlife crisis and you say that you’re going to start a law firm.
[00:20:48] Matt: Yeah, that’s I it’s kinda joking and not, but that’s what happened. I was ultimately had a really sophisticated marketing strategy in that I was not in the phone book and I didn’t have a web page.
[00:21:01] Matt: And I was just practicing a lot of my house. Cause I have this big spare room and I know I had a book of clients that just kept coming back to me. And, but I did have one client that was 40% of my business. And that’s not healthy. That’s, a real vulnerability. I got five kids at home and I’m the sole breadwinner of the family.
[00:21:22] Matt: That’s a really bad place to be when you have zero marketing now. And I just didn’t have to have it. And I incidentally ran into a group called how to manage a small law firm and they’re a law firm coaching company, and I really am grateful to them and they, I went to one of their conferences and they said, Hey, why don’t you start a business law for ultimately they said, why don’t you start a law firm?
[00:21:48] Matt: I said okay. Then I talked to some people, other lawyers and okay. And started coaching with these guys. And they said more about business law. I taught it at the college. Then, any of the people we work with, why don’t you start a business, small business law firm.
[00:22:05] Matt: And I said, I’d love to let’s do it. And what are we up to 12 or 13 attorneys we’re about to hire again. And we’re in the small market and we just want to Oklahoma city, so let’s go, which is, hour and a half away. And we started growing there and then we said let’s go to Tulsa, which is hour and a half away.
[00:22:27] Matt: And we said let’s go to Wichita, which is an hour and a half away. And then Kansas city and Dallas, and we just learned how to operate, spread out. And we learned how to hire great lawyers. That are problem solvers, not problem brainers that really have the skillset and the passion to help small business people.
[00:22:49] Matt: As we say, our first core value is believe in protect their dreams. And it’s really fun. It’s really rewarding to, to see these businesses grow and prosper and try and keep them out of trouble.
[00:23:03] Matt: And
[00:23:04] Ryan: that’s one refreshing and two not very often heard from an attorney or a firm.
[00:23:12] Matt: Yeah. in The, law school, we are taught to deal with issues, and that means deal with problems. And I come to things maybe a little bit differently. My mother, who was the only woman in her med school class then became a she ended up in St. Louis doing her residency, and then she and my dad both came back here to our hometown. And mom was no, she did a lot of surgery.
[00:23:45] Matt: An OB GYN. I think he would say a lot of surgery specifically stayed out of, I stayed out of medicine because my mother used to, she always wore glasses like this and we’d be having dinner. And she’d say stuff like I took a tumor out of a woman today about the size of that roast beef mom graphic about it.
[00:24:10] Matt: But she was in the seventies. On the cutting edge of breast cancer screening. Okay. Let’s as doctors, as professionals, let’s get ahead of the problems, what a novel idea. And that, that idea stuck with me. And I think it’s really important. And then working with my clients.
[00:24:35] Matt: I’ve got these clients, as a matter of fact, we’re meeting here in a couple hours transferring the business, but we, these are just small town kids, the basically own the small town, right? Just a fantastic American success story. And we’ve been together so long. We’re like peas and carrots, but I wrote about this in my, my first book, The Art of Preventing Stupid.
[00:25:01] Matt: And they were, this was a critical change to me. This was 12 years ago or so, and we’re talking and they said I just, they had some outside firm come in with this bit from Chicago, with this big shebang. This is how you protect your business with this complicated structure and this and that.
[00:25:24] Matt: And I was looking at it and I was talking to the account and we’re like, this is nonsense, and ultimately I just go, how much insurance do you guys have? And I said, I don’t want a couple million bucks, maybe three, maybe two. I can’t remember. And I go, guys, what in the hell are you thinking you have 30 loaded down Ford 550’s out on the road doing service calls.
[00:25:51] Matt: And I have seen the local hospital run up $700,000 in medical bills after a car wreck. And $2 million is not going anywhere on that. Oh, yeah. I was okay. We went out, we got insurance stuff. What guess what happens? Six months later someone
[00:26:16] Matt: had a car accident.
[00:26:18] Matt: Yeah.
[00:26:19] Matt: And one of our drivers is going down.
[00:26:22] Matt: I can’t country, highway, no shoulders. And by our standards, it’s pretty hilly. And he hydroplanes and he goes down the side of a semi like this, and it comes out the back into the other lane and hits a and it hits a mom and dad and a brand new literally drive in at home from the lot brand new pickup truck.
[00:26:52] Matt: Oh, wow. And two kids in the back and mom and dad didn’t make it. Oh gosh. Yeah. Horrible deal. And yeah, and by the way, my client is over in one of the big towns with his chest cut, open, having thoracic surgery he did not know for two weeks.
[00:27:15] Ryan: Wow. And that’s horrible. Yeah,
[00:27:19] Matt: yeah.
[00:27:19] Matt: It’s horrible. It’s just sorta gross to talk about. And I don’t know how I got off on it. In, in the preventative sense and two weeks later, I drive out to the country and they live out, 35 miles outside of town. And knock on the door and, he answers, he’s a big old boy.
[00:27:40] Matt: And it’s pretty surprised to see his lawyer on Sunday afternoon and he’s going back to work the next day. And I sit down and I tell him what happened and it’s, he’s got tears running down his face. And I say, I know the first question. Yes, are the kids going to be okay? I said, the kids are healthy and we got enough insurance to make sure they’re taken care of forever, so to speak.
[00:28:11] Matt: You can’t ever replace that
[00:28:13] Ryan: and replace family.
[00:28:15] Matt: Yeah. And and ultimately we talk about it and he. Yeah, it says, is the company going to be okay? And I said, yeah, it’s going to be okay. And out of that tragedy I can look back and I’m like, okay. It was that intervention on the level where we did that in a preventative way.
[00:28:39] Matt: Really. Was able to do the best thing we could, which is be able to provide for those kids and also protect the company. And that’s why I wrote The Art of Preventing Stupid book is willing to start to teach people how you can protect your business because, it’s like with the discussion about.
[00:29:03] Matt: The insurance. I said, guys, we’ve got that many people out on the road. It’s not a question of, if somebody is going to get an accident, it’s just a question of when and how bad. Yeah. And, I was a smart ass, which I know is pretty common and it, with the title of the book, Because, it’s like guys, most of the problems we get into in business are unforced errors.
[00:29:33] Matt: Okay. And the reason we, me and my firm as lawyers have experience with that is we see it and we see the same errors, the same mistakes come in time after time. And what if like my mom doing breast cancer screening? What if we would teach people. How to prevent those and how to, and how to systematically get in front of the problems.
[00:30:00] Matt: So that they’re not just sitting in the problem pit, and instead as business owners, they’re staying in the opportunity zone because you’re either in one or the other, you’re either dealing with an opportunity or you’re dealing with the problem and. And so I, I’m really passionate about that and it’s really, and by the way, too, it’s really fun for my lawyers, my team, to work with people who are doing stuff and who are building things and to help keep them out of trouble.
[00:30:35] Matt: Right now, Am I talking too much?
[00:30:38] Ryan: No, not at all.
[00:30:40] Ryan: This is your story. This is what we want to hear. The other side of an attorney that is not looking for the dollars and being greedy.
[00:30:47] Matt: By the way, it’s not everything I’m saying. It’s not entirely altruistic because by the way, when you can get in front with clients and help teach them and help prevent their problems and help keep things streamlined and keep them in the opportunity zone.
[00:31:02] Matt: You’re adding a ton of value. And it’s Ashley, who’s my right hand, lawyer and naturally lives in Portland, Oregon. We had a we’re doing the general counsel work for this little startup. And they, and we’ve, so we’ve worked with them through all this really in, with this spirit and this nature of work. And these guys are they’re geologists, nerds. They’re like hyper spatial reservoir geologist.
[00:31:33] Matt: Blah-blah-blah out of the oil business and they discovered. Yeah, discovery may be too strong of a word. They identified. Some other people knew it was there too, but they identified an extension of this oil field and south Arkansas that we’re not talking about oil. Now we’re talking about lithium because lithium is dissolved in the salt water down in the oil field.
[00:32:02] Matt: Okay. And this crazy new idea, so you go 85 miles that way. You start to hit the iodine fields and a lot of oil Wells will produce salt water, and that’s, by the way, what was causing the earthquakes is the re-injection of that. But all the iodine in your salt is pulled out of wells.
[00:32:24] Matt: Out here, 85 miles. That way all the helium that you use is pulled out a gas wells out by Amarillo. Okay. Now these guys just figured out, Hey, here’s a bunch of lithium and that’s been really exciting to do and work with those guys. And it’s been a great account for us. And, we’ve kept them out of all sorts of problems .
[00:32:46] Matt: And it was fun. We did what we call the Disney World maneuver, which if you guys know this, but when Walt Disney bought Disney World, he set up all these little companies, bought all the land before anybody knew what was going on and then merges it all in. And that’s what we did. And I got all the leases and, we’re getting ready to, Ashley’s just call me, we’re getting ready to go to market with this.
[00:33:14] Matt: And, it’s been really fun to do.
[00:33:17] Ryan: That’s awesome. That’s but see, that’s something you don’t get to see from a typical attorney. You see them just hitting the billable hours and that’s it. And it’s always coming in the end when you’re in trouble, instead of being proactive, they’re being, reactive to the situation, then.
[00:33:34] Ryan: You’re stuck with that. And it’s, I wish there was more of you out there. Really, I have to say we have a good outside general counsel. I they’re into tech and they’re into real estate. They’re in the things that we’re in. But they started as a very small boutique and now he’s grown.
[00:33:48] Ryan: I think he’s close to 12 or 14 attorneys too and he spread across the country also. But we started, I can remember when I started with him, it was just him and his brother was going to law school and he was helping them out and just going one at a time. And that’s, and now he’s got all these other different attorneys and it’s that’s cool to see that because they truly care and they want to be in front of stuff.
[00:34:11] Ryan: It’s just it’s you guys are rare. It’s just, you guys are a rare commodity.
[00:34:16] Matt: Thanks. And I hope it’s becoming more common. And, by the way, and we’ve got, of course The Art of Preventing Stupid book is a good resource. I’m not really Hawking the book cause I’m not trying to get on any stages, but I think it’s a good resource.
[00:34:30] Matt: It’s the tip of the iceberg. Of what we do with our general counsel clients. And by, by the way we still do traditional law and a lot of it, but then we’re like, Hey guys, by the way, this is how we could have kept you out of this. And, but the main idea we get down to is it’s a three step process.
[00:34:50] Matt: Number one, let’s brainstorm smart and brainstorm. Insightfully about what can go wrong, because you’re probably familiar with SWOT analysis. What’s our strengths, weaknesses opportunities and throw it up on a whiteboard. And then you come up with a few things, this question, what are our threats?
[00:35:14] Matt: It’s not an insightful question. That’s not a smart question. Now what catastrophes can hit my market. That’s a better question. Or, what am I ignorant about my competition, that’s an insightful question. Or, we we talk about all your problems coming, either from catastrophes, your own ignorance or your own ineptitude, and ineptitude just means you’re slacking off, you’re supposed to be doing it.
[00:35:46] Matt: And we use those three categories to frame questions either through the business immune system report, which is what the art of preventing stupid is about. Or we also, and that’s more systemic about your business or more. We have another subjective, more subjective report called the strong protected business rule.
[00:36:08] Matt: And that’s the title of my next book, which I haven’t decided when to publish just a strong, protective cause I’m busy running a law firm and but those reports help frame really insightful questions that then. Frame up your vulnerabilities because one of our taglines is dealing with your vulnerabilities.
[00:36:31] Matt: So you can capitalize on your opportunities because the people that do are the companies that are the, A Players on the field, because they’re not making stupid unforced errors. There and they’re the guys that get the opportunities and, okay. So first thing is brainstorm smart brainstorm with structure brainstorm, systemically, and or subjectively about your business.
[00:36:56] Matt: All this was on davisbusinesslaw.com in the resources tab, all the forums. And then number two, you got to prioritize and we talk about prioritizing. Okay. Improved, so to speak the Eisenhower matrix. And what we do is we talk about likelihood and seriousness as the axises, because some problems are so remote.
[00:37:24] Matt: You’re not going to get hit by a tornado outside of Phoenix. No, we might might at Oklahoma. That’s a spectator sport around here. And literally, you’ll see the weight back in the day. The law firm I worked for was the attorney for the movie twister because they found it right over here.
[00:37:43] Matt: But the you prioritize, and if it’s serious, an active threat versus a unserious and unlikely threat, You do the matrix and your frame them up and then develop a plan to deal with it. And by the way, we work with a lot of business coaches that like to use our stuff, because we’re basically looking at the negative side of, what can go wrong.
[00:38:10] Matt: Let’s deal with the threats and weaknesses. You guys go deal with the strengths and opportunities. But our job, again, as attorneys is to deal with your vulnerability. And it’s better if we do it upfront and then ultimately, okay. So step three is you get to a plan and we focus on three things.
[00:38:28] Matt: Number one, get the easy list on if it takes you five minutes to deal with a, medium unlikely vulnerability, just do it, just get it off your level. Partly just because it’s getting the momentum going and, momentum, something to be said for that. They say the hardest thing is getting started taking that first.
[00:38:48] Matt: Yeah. And then two, we talk about, Stephen Covey talks about rocks. What are your projects? What do you have to get done? And, put the, put that on your list and that dovetails right into strategic planning, whether you’re doing ELS or scaling up, or I’ve been talking to these guys who’ve developed a new system called pinnacle, which is really cool.
[00:39:12] Matt: And and then three. I thought this was I was kinda proud of myself about this is I identify the habits that you need to put in place or need to get rid of. And I think that’s a really important part of building a strong, protected business is being serious with yourself about, cause that’s different than projects ultimately.
[00:39:39] Matt: And I know the habits. Has been pretty pronounced and literature recently from atomic habits. And there’s a couple of books out there about it and I’m sure that influenced my thinking, the strong, protected businesses are the ones that have that, have the good habits and, or have gotten rid of the bad habits.
[00:39:59] Matt: I’m so boxing right now, but I’m really passionate about teaching businesses, how to stay out of trouble, to deal with their vulnerabilities so they can capitalize on our opportunities because it’s cool to see, man. It’s cool to see these people living the American dream and making something out of their lives and, changing their family’s lives for generations.
[00:40:25] Matt: And, not so much maybe that they are going to have, multi-generational wealth, they’ve now taught their kids that this is possible.
[00:40:37] Ryan: And they can come up with something on their own and start generating in, in creating entities or businesses there. It just, it’s a snowball effect and I’m with you on that because unfortunately with today’s instant gratification piece with social media, and we could go down a whole another rabbit hole with that.
[00:40:54] Ryan: The hard work piece has gone. They think if you put out a Tik Tok or an Instagram or a YouTube short, whatever that it’s supposed to go viral and you’re supposed to be a millionaire overnight. And that just, it doesn’t work that way. You have to I joke about it is I’m an eight year overnight success.
[00:41:10] Ryan: I’ve had two failed businesses. Twenty-five years in corporate America and corporate America didn’t teach me how to fish. Kept me fat and happy. So I failed at two businesses on my own because I didn’t know how to fish. So I had to relearn how to fish in, or actually not relearn learn how to fish and that’s life.
[00:41:30] Ryan: I have, we all have failures. You just got to get back up and move forward.
[00:41:35] Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Amen to that. I’m laughing because one of the books I always talk about is harboring the case. The swim with the sharks without getting eaten alive. And one of the great lines he’s got in there is I can’t believe how stupid I was two weeks ago.
[00:41:52] Matt: Yeah. I feel that way every dang day. Because, I work, I know my body of law, but running, a business is a different route, particularly growing one in particularly scaling one. And you said eight. And, people will tell you it’s five to seven years to make a business successful and sustaining.
[00:42:13] Matt: And I say don’t count on the five count on the seven
[00:42:16] Ryan: on, around on the eight count on, on, on the rest of it. And even with the eight years going, we’re not sustainable yet because I just added another mix last year to a nonprofit. So now I’m learning the nonprofit world, which I’m, if you haven’t been, if you don’t see it, I’m not conventional.
[00:42:33] Ryan: And people say you can’t run a nonprofit, like a for-profit. Why can’t I what stops me from doing that? Because ultimately the nonprofit is for us and our clients are unbankable. They can’t get credit. So we have to teach them the basics of credit in crawling and getting through that industry.
[00:42:53] Ryan: Nonprofits don’t do that. Non-profits just want to push you through a system, get you to check the boxes and move on. I want to educate people. I want to be able to give them the tools to succeed in life and people say, oh, you can’t do that. Sure. I will watch me. Yeah,
[00:43:07] Matt: you can. Incidental and that Goodwill industries is a nonprofit corporation.
[00:43:12] Matt: Sure do. Yeah.
[00:43:15] Ryan: I’ve moved many times in my life and I’ve donated a lot of things and get the donation cards and, back in the day they used to fill it out for you. Now it’s you’re on your own. They’re just give you an empty card and that’s it. And there you go. So it’s, businesses, like you said, is it’s running a business and scaling.
[00:43:32] Ryan: It is totally different than, going after a passion or like you said, practicing law. Now you’ve got a business and now you have an entity that you have to pretty much manage on a daily basis and you have to be an attorney. You gotta be a leader, you gotta be a manager, you gotta be cheerleader. There’s so many different hats you have to wear, but at the end of the day, as long as you’re doing something that you’re passionate about and that fire stays there.
[00:43:57] Ryan: You’ll continue to flourish and grow. But once again, like you said, you gotta be prepared for those instances where you’re looking at your weaknesses all the time and being able to adjust or get rid of them because ultimately that’ll be your demise.
[00:44:12] Matt: Yeah. Yeah. And the businesses that do that, man they just kill it.
[00:44:17] Matt: They just absolutely kill.
[00:44:19] Ryan: Matt, it has been wonderful to have you on it. We’ve been 50 minutes here and I could say we could keep on talking before we end. Where are you guys? What states are you practicing? Are you practicing in all 50 states? Are you guys specific to certain states?
[00:44:34] Matt: No we just operate mainly on the, what we call the south plan.
[00:44:38] Matt: So we’ve got office in Kansas city, so that’s Kansas city or Kansas and Missouri. We do a little bit in Colorado and we’ll probably go to Colorado here in the next year or so. And then Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, or as we like to call it, little baja
[00:44:57] Matt: I liked that they didn’t hurt, they’re not amused at all with that comment.
[00:45:01] Ryan: I’m sure they’re not, I’m sure that gets them a little hot under the collar. Where can people find you? What’s your website
[00:45:09] Matt: Davisbusinesslaw.com. And again, we’ve got a lot of the stuff I was talking about.
[00:45:15] Matt: In forms up on the resources tab. And, my email is email@example.com. If anybody just wants to pick my brain or ask me a couple of questions,
[00:45:26] Ryan: That’s great. And I’ll put all the contact I’ll put your information and your website in the show notes so people can get ahold of you guys.
[00:45:33] Matt: Sounds
[00:45:33] Matt: great. Hey, I appreciate it. It was really fun to be on
[00:45:36] Ryan: thank you, Matt, for coming on. It’s been entertaining, but also enlightening that there is a good attorney in this world.
[00:45:44] Matt: It’s now taco Thursday. So I’m going to get some tacos,
[00:45:49] Ryan: Have a good one. Okay. Bye-bye bye-bye.