#32 – Brandon Shelton: Grit, persistence, and perseverance. In this incredibly powerful, raw, and motivating interview, we hear Brandon’s story of persistence, belief, and perseverance. He is the product of hard work and determination, and I was incredibly grateful for the insights and wisdom he shared! Follow him and check out his firm, Task Force X Capital.


Aaron Spatz  00:05

I’m Aaron Spatz. And this is the Veterans Business Podcast. A podcast centered around the stories of US military veterans, and their adventures in the business world following their time and service. Its stories of challenges and obstacles. And then inside look at how veterans find their life’s work, their purpose, and their post military lives. Welcome to the Veterans Business Podcast, if you’re new to the show, welcome. And if you’re a loyal listener, I just want to thank you for tuning in week after week. I love your feedback. If you’d like to share any your feedback on the show, whether it’s with a specific guest, or just the general content of the show, feel free to email me podcast at Bold media.us. I love interacting with everybody that watches or listens to the show. And of course, if you’re listening on Apple or Spotify, just know that the show is now available in video format on my YouTube channel. So thank you again, so much for tuning in. I’m very excited to introduce our guest for today. Brennan Shelton is a veteran army officer served eight years before jumping into the civilian space. Brendan has endeavored on many ventures including time in investment banking, before ultimately launching his own firm TF X capital. Brandon, thank you so much.

Brandon Shelton  01:20

Yeah, thanks, Aaron. Thanks for having me.

Aaron Spatz  01:23

Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a it’s a sincere pleasure. I love the power of LinkedIn, and how we can make a very large world very small, but But no, I would just love to, you know, one, really want to get kind of in the weeds a little bit with with TF X capital and understand that, but we’d love to learn a little bit more about your journey, you know, primarily, like, you know, what, what caused you to join the military and what, what were some things that you were able to

Brandon Shelton  01:50

do? Yeah, a great question. Yeah, I mean, I grew up in a small 1000 person town in southwest. My mom, my mom was a public school teacher, my dad worked at the local paper. Fast forward till now I’ll be 44 in a couple of weeks. But, you know, pretty much services in my family. My father volunteered in the early years, Vietnam to be one of the first enlisted guys to become worn officers to fly the Huey helicopter. So you’re a year in Vietnam is 6465. My brother was a Marine, sniper in Desert Storm and in Panama, changed his life, set them on a really awesome path coming out of high school. I wanted to go to college, I wanted to go to big schools, save Virginia had a lot of very affordable options for state schools. I ended up wanting to go to the University of Richmond was, which was a very good but small and frankly overpriced private school, and had an ROTC program. And I didn’t know anything about ROTC. I didn’t know any of that most of people in my family were enlisted. And so did my research. God engineer mercy Richmond, I did a year there. And the wrinkle to my story is I made a bet that myself and those were my parents. And they said, We will figure out a way to help take out loans and get you through just one year because that’s all the money we have. But then the rest is on you. So you’re either going to need to transfer to a state school and take out loans yourself, or you’re going to need to win the top tier, you know, the larger ROTC scholarship. So I went through my entire freshman year of college, trying to be a freshman, but also working doubly hard. I volunteered for every single ROTC session my freshman year, and did everything. And sure enough, all my friends left to go for their summer for their sophomore year. And I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again, I gotten into another school to transfer just in case and I was lucky enough to find out in late May, a year that 1985 That I There aren’t a three year scholarship and I could stack. And so I’m the type of person that I don’t I’m not very, I’m not very good at listening to feedback. I’m not really good at following packs or orders. So it was pretty mediocre officer. But I took ROTC pretty seriously is a point of pride in my family. And I was good at it. Right? I can physically improve myself I can mentally and I also like like a lot of athletes. I got along with the most for the athletes at our school because a lot of them didn’t have the private school upbringing or some of the other student resources, a lot of them. Were using sports to get a college education. I was using ROTC to get a college education and I just think when you’re in ROTC in college or athlete, there’s some sacrifice there, right? You’ve got to not just be a good student and grow as a human being but you also have this other component. I love that accountability, that sort of, hey, we got that early when everybody else was sleeping in and doing that type of stuff. So graduated 98 And when I got waited all I want to do what was the hardest thing you could do in the army? It was considered infantry. I was very much of the mindset. I mean, I have short hair still now that I was a high end tight guy, my senior in high College, which is regrettable, but sorry, I’m a go infantry. I was like, Okay, what’s the hardest thing? You can do enrichment? Airborne Infantry, okay, where’s the hardest unit you can go to? And it was Vicenza, Italy. And it’s like, well, that’s where I want to go. And immediately my senior year is like, well, you can’t. I was like, Well, why? Like, well, you’re not a West Point graduate, and not just a West Point graduate, you’re not one of the top 10. And that’s who gets those slots. And I said, well show me the regulation. I’m that type of person. They’re like, well, there’s no regulation. It’s just how things are done. That is the spark the drive me nuts. I am that type of person. You tell me I can’t. Or you tell me there’s some sort of privileged group that gets access before you. I just think that’s fundamentally wrong. And so I said, all right. I will go to Vincenza. And everybody sort of laughed and snickered and whatever, got down the Fort Benning as a second lieutenant, I did my year, awful schooling and sweating and living in the woods of infantry school, had a real tough go of Ranger School. I never settling in Florida and then not barely graduated. The only reason I graduated Ranger School, frankly, because my squad mates voted it. So otherwise I wouldn’t graduated, which, thinking back now that I met my wife on active duty in Italy. And now we have three kids that that whatever you believe, religiously, karma, whatever. There’s something else that when I got very lucky, very, very lucky. But sure enough, I wrote letters to the commanding general in Italy. Say I want to come to your unit. I did that letter writing campaign from the moment I got to Fort Benning, I figured out how to use the international phone system at Fort Benning and called the last one over and over and over again to annoy the heck out of them. And I basically like bullied my way and they said, Okay, you get a contingent slot. You’re going to go to Germany and be mechanized amatory, but if you happen to graduate ranger school, maybe, maybe you’ll get a chance to slot. And so for me, having rolled the dice, my freshman year of college, I was like, I’ll take it. So sure enough, I graduate, sure enough, I get a pension slot. And that’s how I got into the army. It was sort of like some stair steps from my upbringing to some early challenges and adversity as a younger person. You know, when you and I’ve chatted before, whether things I’m starting to really realize about myself, is I’m just not I don’t I have friends. I mean, one of my best friends was I won’t name names on this podcast, but there are people who have not lucky but they’re just gifted athletically, physically, mentally, intellectually, and they can do the work and they can nail it first time. I mean, I feel their assault school my first time because I didn’t know you had to climb a rope. No one told me that and I didn’t do my research. So I had to be picked up by my mother. When I was in ROTC. Our little debate at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. I passed jumpmaster course on the very last JPI window in front of our entire unit and our commander saying you’re fired if you don’t pass, barely graduated Ranger School, barely got into Dukes MBA program, you know, saying so I’ve just never had this. It’s not luck, because there’s my friends who nail this stuff. They’re just great at it. I just don’t have that. So I just built from a very early on. I’m just not a quitter. I’m passionate, and I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I hold grudges. I work hard, you know, all those type of things, but my path into the military. And then my days in the military were really framed by me, I would say trying to fit myself into a system that frankly, I’m not sure I was meant to be in, you know, like, not military, but just like this unit of this style of this property, no those type of things and so, but I loved it love my first unit in Italy was around some pretty amazing human beings. Like I said, there were just a handful of female officers on our base. My wife shows up, she was a swimmer in college and they thought she was a male because of the way her name was. And she was airborne qualified. And again, they don’t want to put too many female officers at that base. Just kidding. It’s small size and the mountain you got these fire breathing infantry guys sitting in this base whenever we were deployed, and but yeah, my wife when she arrived in early 2000, but that’s where we were on my iOS on a mini deployment in September 2001 When I 11 happened, so unbelievable window of time from getting to college and sort of climbing into my 20s Yeah,

Aaron Spatz  09:46

man, that’s a it’s a really surreal story. I mean, it’s a I mean, I feel like one of the common themes that I’m just hearing as you’re describing was just, it’s just hustle, man. Like if if there’s anybody out met that knows what it means to hustle, it’s you having to hustle for that for the ROTC spot. I mean, I, I distinctly remember that like, I’m a huge fan of ROTC, that’s that was my, that was my commissioning pathway. Also, I, I love that. And you’d said something about that, too, is like, you got all these different outlets, all these other things you can do in college, but I mean, to really do well, you really do invest a lot of time there. And then I love that letter writing campaign. So it’s like, you’re just you just weren’t gonna take it, you’re like, Well, if it if it doesn’t, you know, if there’s an official trying to think of like the army language, I’m just thinking like, in Marine Corps world, we’d say if there’s an official Marine Corps order, if there’s not like an army pub, or something that says, This is the restriction, then why not you know, and so just persistence, persistence, persistence.

Brandon Shelton  10:52

Well, that to me that I mean, to add on to that I didn’t even know letters actually arrived. That’s a weird thing. I mean, this is yeah, this summer and fall of 98. Yeah, I remember having like a Hotmail account, I did not have a cell phone. But like, I wasn’t emailing the you know, attache are something that I’m saying like, right, I was literally writing physical letters. The only reason I know this works is that when I got my you know, I’m sure the Marine Corps your same way. an officer’s changed now I got my tool one file your personnel file they physically handed to you when you PCs, which is hilarious to me, but, but in my file was one of those letters in the CG at the time, Nicholas scheck said this something like if makes it, he can count them or you know, something that’s shorthand to the G one was a one of them made it right. Like, I’m not saying that’s why I got the slide. I still think that’s a lot concert empty. But sure. It puts a smile on my face, like, Okay, we all do a lot of things that we have no idea if you’re building long term support and notoriety, like, that’s why like, I’ll say this at T FX. I encourage our guys, and we do it as well. Write letters. Like when you send out handwritten Christmas cards or holiday cards, rather to key stakeholders and investors. When we meet people, we write them in letters. I mean, it’s just you just never know, right? Like, maybe that person had an awful day. Yeah, get their game or whatever. You know, terrible boss. They don’t feel well. You get a hammer and leather did this not BS. It’s not salesy. I didn’t send you my sales material. I’ll just say, I appreciate you taking time with me. And here’s my card. We didn’t get chance to meet in person physically, but here it is. So yeah. Wow. Yeah, yeah, that’s how I found out I mean, I didn’t even know I remember, I was in this in this haze to PCs to get back to the States. I remember my then girlfriend now wife running me around to our process. And I just grabbed this file. And she’s like, aren’t you going to even look at it? I’m like, I don’t even know what it is. Look inside your personnel file. I just remember, like, oh, my gosh, there’s a

Aaron Spatz  13:05

there’s there’s all sorts of good stuff in there. That’s funny. That’s awesome. Well, talk us through now. So you know, you’ve you’ve done eight years in the Army. And then, you know, just looking at your background experience. I mean, I would love to hear kind of how, how that whole thing went down. So what what drove you to get out, but then, you know, share with us a little bit about your first couple experiences when you were out?

Brandon Shelton  13:30

Yeah, I mean, my recollection of why I got out was actually negative. So I did not appreciate a couple things, mainly because of my youth. And I’m also I don’t mean, I don’t listen to well, sometimes, but I did not appreciate the level of skill of the NCOs soldiers and other officers in my unit. And at the time as the final wave was the ABCT. We revived as the 1/73. But, I mean, these guys went on to do I mean, they were I mean, I think for web 1.23 consecutive 82nd airborne division commanders were my bosses, right like 75th Ranger regimental commanders, Ranger battalion commanders, combat company commanders and battalion commanders highly decorated. I mean, they would probably remember me from a hole in the wall. But like, these are the people I was around NCOs enlisted, I mean, and I did a terrible job of staying in touch with them. It’s one thing I know my wife does. And she still talks to all of her original soldiers all the time. 20 years on, it’s pretty remarkable, I think is a sign of a great leader. But yeah, I did not appreciate that. So when I branched I didn’t even I was a branch detail guy. I don’t know a lot of people don’t understand that. But I went in with two possible career paths. Infantry and then at the time, pre 911 was supposed to be a voluntary election had to switch to military intelligence. And I wanted that because I wanted optionality I actually asked for that when I was commissioned. And so that’s what I had. When 911 happened. You All of us who were itching on active duty to do something, I didn’t care, it didn’t matter. All bets were off at that point. And being in the foreign country and being a young offer, you know, combat arms, guys, like whatever, whatever. And then remember, they’re like, well, you’re going to go stay infantry or military intelligence is calling I remember just some sequence where they call, they’re like, Yeah, we’re gonna cut you orders you’re going until school, I didn’t even I don’t remember putting much thought into it, it wasn’t really perceived to be a voluntary decision, which is fine. So went to Arizona went to all the Intel schooling and life slowed down dramatically, not because the intel school is terrible. It’s just different. Right. And so I appreciate a lot of tenants in there, I’ve got to make some great friends there that still keep in touch with now. But when it came time for assignments, in December of 2002, I’ll never forget this. I was trying to get back as an Intel guy to light airborne units, you know, like, please send me back, you know, it’s Fayetteville, North Carolina, I’ll go to Fort Bragg. Or I’d rather go like Fort Campbell, or what could you send me to with later on became pretty well known. But there were some groups out in Northern Virginia and Maryland. They were they were being attached to JSOC guys, and they had Intel. So I ended up lobbying my way no different than I got to Italy. I wrote letters. And I had this misperception that I can handle my own career in the military. And I think that was wrong. And so when I got into this one particular unit that was highly classified in the Maryland area, I got my letter get my thing. I remember handing to my branch manager. And she just laughed. She’s like, you don’t you don’t get to serve short circuit. She’s right. You don’t get to short circuit the pat pat. process. The bigger problem was, though, everyone and at that time thought we were going to Iraq, like that is I mean, it was a foregone conclusion. I mean, people will all my friends were putting their stuff in storage, we’re going to hit the ground and 2003 were gone. I mean, I there wasn’t even a doubt. I mean, my my fiance and I, we got our affairs in order. No joke. Like, it wasn’t my I started studying. I mean, it was that’s what we’re doing. And so because of that, they took almost half of my captain’s corps class and dumped us at Fort Hood, which was the one place that my sister was based there. She’s a military spouse, still, but her husband at the time was based there. I didn’t want to go there. I do not want to be around to mechanize divisions. This is not where it’s not in the middle of Texas. No offense. I love Texas. In hindsight, we got married in Austin, but I didn’t want to go there. And because I gotten into this other unit through my own maneuvering, and I’ve been sent to some tour paper and sent me to somewhere they want to go, just infuriated me right as a younger person. And I couldn’t I didn’t really handle my emotions quite well, you know, I was just mad, I was angry. So I said, alright, we’ll go. And I told the lady to her face. She was our Pyramind said the moment I can get out of them out. She said, Well, we’re a World War, you’re not going anywhere, like okay, and she was right. So I went through a number of stop loss stop move iterations. And that just irritated me as well because they were getting they were pulling off things on the back of your commissioning contract. Aaron that that said, okay, because of this ruling and this thing from the president signed this order or Congress there was a lot of gamesmanship, because I think I think the Pentagon and the US Army was I think recklessly caught short handed. Another way they saw for frankly, was this ridiculous stop loss stop move. You know, I still think to this day there should be some accountability for that. I think some people should have gone to jail for that because I think they violated some some very serious constitutional components but but that’s how my mind works right? Like I now been this like almost evangelical principle guy that like that’s wrong. Right? Like, I’d be happy to go but like, right, you’re you’re playing with people and I my friends were getting sucked up into it, too. So it’s funny all the infantry guys, I started with all that dumped there for her too. And I remember going to my first brigade headquarters, and they were all in the room. I’m like, Why are you all here? They’re in the state infantry. And they’re, they’re like playing table football. Like, I mean, like, they’re up by eight battle captains. So I go to I go to our division GT on never forget this because they’re like, you have to process with the GT first I’m like, fine, because I was gonna be a brigade as to and I go up there. I can’t remember this guy’s name was a captain. He was a colonel Lieutenant Colonel. I’ve never been in a full full blown division and quarters. Those you know, our little base in Italy and we do these micro deployments and then I was in the intel school like I’ve never seen big army that way right? Got lost finally found that GT shop I go in there and there’s like, a dozen EMI captains and intelligence captains. I’m like, what was going on? I didn’t know any other one was I was like, Hey, we’re chief. There’s like, Oh, he’s back there going there. And x ray, sir Captain Shelton reporting. He’s like, why are you here? I’ll never forget that because Why are you here? I said, Sir, I don’t know. don’t want to be here, because you shouldn’t be here. I guess I can’t take anymore. There’s too many as ever, what do you mean? He goes, do you understand it’s a five year wait to start your company command. And so what they’re doing is eight month rotations they get you in you take you know, you do your inventory, whatever, I forget all the acronyms, but you use command like, check the block, and then you lose command. Just just you can have your company command. You know, a lot of people my friends stayed in to become company commanders on Monday, right? That’s the last thing they wanted to do in their service period. So it’s just all this gamesmanship I just got, I was just kind of disenfranchised. So, again, one of my Vicenza buddies who’s still in, I’ll keep his name out of it. It’s pretty senior guy. He was working at the core corners, and I just, I just want something like I hated here. I just ran through four miles of tanks. I was like, we’re not going anywhere. But he spun us for a rack and they stood us down and like this is can you please send me somewhere because he was the task guy for the Corps. And he’s like, Oh, we got an opening for your security clearance. It’s no five billet but they’ll take us no three and CENTCOM. I’m like I’ll take it I don’t care. I’m out so when I was early I was only there for like couple weeks rotate and my wife was still in Italy because she was a year behind me. Okay, so go down process get the same column I’m supposed to be the night battle captain in Florida and then the rest semi for to gutter. And then if we went to war, or we went to war, right, leap forward to st come forward. And sure enough and process with this marine with my brother loves to tell me about my this Marino six, HMS pilot was awesome. I still can’t remember his name. And actually, I just looked it up, because he signed one of my awards for that. Yeah, he’s like, Hey, who are you? And I’m like, Hey, sir, we’re like in processing like a new company. You know, like, you’re in the Oh, I’d never been really truly joined environment either. Right? So I’m a young dude, everybody’s in. Oh, 40506. There’s an O seven in processing because CENTCOM started to expand as a JTF headquarters, right? Like it started because now it had to handle Afghanistan, Iraq. So he’s like, What are you doing? And I’m like, I’m supposed to go work, the night shift and the skiff. He’s like, No, you’re not here. Come work with me in GTA five. One of the best jobs I had an army to be honest with you. So in the month or so before the invasion, and then like four or five months after as a six month Tasker? I never left Florida. Oh, well, but we didn’t shift 12 hours 12 hours on 12 hours off. And I got to be on the coalition ground desk. So I never did any intel work. I just had a super high security clearance. So I I helped would help build the Polish division that ended up taking up a sector of Iraq upon the occupation with you know, Korean field hospital and Latvian this you know, Azerbaijani that, I mean, it was crazy. And I do have tea and go for runs with these guys, because they send their senior most English Colonel over. And yeah, I was like this liaison. It was amazing. We have reservists and there we had active duty people. We I mean, it was like, yes, you’re all in the military. When you’re all going to work outside your comfort zone. It was amazing of cool experience. But that was kind of how I laughed. And so the moment I got back to Fort Hood, it was pretty quick. You know, it was like, window open stop loss.lu from my MLS, and I pulled my paperwork down. So I left active duty and started Oh, four and I did two years in the reserves. That’s how I left kind of left kind of edgy, kind of mad at the system. I didn’t trust the system anymore. I know a bunch of my peers also left for similar reasons because they got messed around with you know, bad duty assignments, changing orders, packing up your house and your family. Oh, change again, change this change that. I think I think guys most guys are okay with that first one or two times, but like this, Hey, we’re at war excuse because of your bad management and bad planning. It just gets tears up family and goodwill and having a family like I’ve had that, I think serve well. in the country. I just left my wife also wasn’t a career person. She wanted to do her four years. Yeah, active and do the rest in the reserves. There’s a transportation officer. That’s how we laughed. And so how we picked New York to pick the story up. Yeah, I studied capital markets and undergrad having grown up in a sort of middle, you know, middle class, lower middle class, small town. I’m that type of guy that wants to make a bunch of money. Right? I want to I want to leave my kids off better off than I was, you know, sort of typical story University Richmond had a capital markets concentration and that’s what I studied it really enjoyed it. My wife’s from the upstate New York when they closer to family is a no brainer. So now our way back in New York City area, I networked my way using marine friend of mine that one of the banks like you mentioned in the opening and that’s how I got into you know, capital markets. So could you roll my as I told you before, so think about this 2004 I interview well, with is pre LinkedIn. Okay, so resume. I have some good accomplishments from the military. not amazing, but good. I have a good undergraduate degree. not amazing, but solid. I was 28 years old, I lived around the world lead teams. And a couple years after 911 year in New York, and in your view well, and they’re like, yep, here’s a 22 year old job at age 28. And again, I mean, it just infuriated me. I was just like, Are you kidding me? Like, I literally just left the military for this. Like, I can’t even I’m saying like I was just, I was just really frustrated. All my buddies are starting to do start their second tours and data and I’m like, Oh, my goodness, but I just couldn’t believe that this was this was the process, right? hindsight, I should have just kept my mouth shut, and sucked it up. And it life would be okay. And it was, but I just, I was like, Alright, these guys all think I’m behind schedule. So here we go. Again, I’m not going to work harder. I’m going to be the first year the last off chartplotter trying to play catch up. But that was a really impressionable period of time, I would say from 2002. When I left Italy, I would say like 2005 skill at nights and weekends, and then I’d spent more than a year commercially, you know, I’m saying that was a really interesting time for me.

Aaron Spatz  26:25

Professionally, yeah. Well, now and then I’m looking at I’m looking at your background. Yes. So you’re, you’re doing your your investment banking deals. And for 2007. You go on the credit training, trading tails, and seven to eight, and then you’re and then you’re off doing, and I can’t tell if this is the same kind of thing, or if it’s more like management consulting. In 2008.

Brandon Shelton  26:51

It’s different. Yeah, it’s so you’ll love this here. And so what you know, my wife and I made a decision that let’s pause having children at the start our civilian careers. And then for me, I was like, my god, these people, apparently, I’ve got to, again, catch up, right. And I’m not the fastest learner and stuff. So sure enough, schlep away engineer city, early mornings, late nights, and studying nights and weekends, and then their NBA class met around the world was awesome fun, too. It wasn’t, that was not a thing. I still keep in touch with a lot of those guys now. So I get to about 2006. And that’s a couple years there have been a now licensed which is a hard thing to do. And I remember talking to a couple veterans that were in around the desk area, and I wanted to be a trainer they were the closest thing I could tell that looked in act like a lack that like a team like they cared. Most of the sales guys and others, they were they they were nice people, but they were incentivized to be assassins. And they didn’t even think twice about screwing the guy who’s a like, two seats over enact that was really hard for me to reconcile even now it is to be honest with you, but like I have perspective. Now I did that. I was just like, ooh, evil, bad person. Like let’s run it up to a chain of command. Like that’s not what you do. You don’t run a chain, there is no chain of command. That’s just he makes $10 million a year because he brings in hundreds of millions of dollars for the bank. Right? And I’m like, Yeah, but this person over here, those drugs at night I know it, I can tell my stupid. They’re like, yep, don’t worry about that either. Right? It was sort of like, that’s why I tell when I see Junior ROTC folks, especially junior officers, whatever rotating out and they see them and VC, they reach out. They’re like always wanting to be in venture capital or capital markets, I can totally connect with that. Right? I can totally connect with that aspiration. My first bit of feedback, I do these about once every two weeks, I want you to go work at the most bureaucratic publicly traded fortune 500 company you can find, I actually don’t care what you do there. Take any role. It does not matter full time role. I want you to work out for 36 months. So I want you to I want you to work for someone Junior than you, which you’ve never had to do. Right? We’ve never reported to someone younger than yourself. I want you to watch one or two budgets, performance management systems, cycles. Watch how they fill out your your OER fit rep. Watch what they do for your NCO, re watch someone get screwed over, watch a project fall through watch you win a customer, whatever it is your trade, you know, I just use that. Because when you come depending on how you learn, not all fellow veterans are the same. At the end of that 36 month period, you’re just going to you’re going to grow immensely, because you’re gonna also you and I have done the same. We’re going to pick ooh, I did I don’t have to do the okay, I can actually translate that here and it works even better or right. No, I’m trying to find those translation points. So I was trying to find all that the same time I felt like I felt like they were looking down upon me. Most of the people I worked around went to private school. But they’re generally all white. They were generally White males who played lacrosse and went out every night, doing whatever, and I was the guy who brought my lunch to the desk. I want to go home to my wife and work out. You know, I was trying to play this long game, right? So I was just always this outlier there, but the traders, they were a little bit different, they would rip each other and reminded me of the military and, you know, my friends, they would, they would like one person was out, you know, they slide over to that desk and say, oh, okay, she’s off the desk, but looks like it’s you like, there was a screen record there. And I remember talking to these guys, and they’re like, Okay, yeah, but they don’t hire guys like you. I’m like, why they hire folks straight out of grad school. You’re not coming from the same assembly line that they’ve proven success, right? So so no different than investing. From a hiring standpoint. You know, they’re looking for apples. If you are an orange. That’s tough, right? Because if you don’t work out, that’s all you you hired off off the path. And I was like, oh, man, I didn’t. Again, I thought that was BS. I was like, ah, you know, tell me no, I’ll work harder. But in hindsight, they they’re exactly right. That’s the hard thing. Right. So you’re asking for someone to take a leap of faith on your skill sets. Like I can imagine you in that role, even though it’s not what you did. I can see you there, which is the giant problem veterans have. How do you take someone who was a seal sniper and go you know what, you’re gonna be great in investment banking, the average human being non military person, it’s very hard to reconcile that right. But most people come that serve can walk that dog. Okay, well, this is why and these are the building blocks. That hadn’t happened to me. And so I said, Okay, fine. Put my chip back on my shoulder. I’m gonna go figure this out. So found that guy went to college with a couple blocks up at Bear Stearns and other well regarded 85 year old bank. When had coffee with him. I told him, I was frustrated. He’s like, Well, funny. She mentioned this, our trading desks, different products, but our trading desk credit trading as a junior slot open, but there’s no way you’ll get it. I was like, Why? Because Because we only hire people that did that did this thing somewhere else from a competitor? I’m like, okay, at least get into the queue. And he’s like, I’ll get you in the queue. Because the hiring manager was a military brat. And they love the military, or Republican, very pro military, all Long Island guys across guys, all this stuff. And I was like, okay, sure enough, I was able to be 16 or 17 people and get the slot started. I started in like, March or something like that April, something early 2007. So it was my life. I go, I’ve done it been a lot of heartache. But I thought it’d be a career in the military. We pulled out of that started on Wall Street started behind, you know, like, starting at the 50 yard line, sort of mine 20. Right. And so, I said, Let’s do it. Let’s go sort of family. So we went right into that process. Well, Fast Forward, march 2008. If you recall, the great financial crisis, a lot of people points in March 2008 is kicking off that crisis, mainly because of our bank. So two weeks before having our first child, Bear Stearns implodes, so we lose like $16 billion of cash in a week. It was amazing. I could talk for hours about this. On Friday, we were insolvent. Sunday, we were sold to JPMorgan for like $1.02 bucks, they end up having to mend that later. And then when the deal closed, I was like, Man, I just had my first kid, like, I can’t afford to be unemployed. Right? I put all my chips on Wall Street after the military. And they’re like, Well, we have transition slots. No one wanted to be on the transition team. I was like, I will do it. So for the balance of 2008, I went into essentially a vacant, hollowed out trading floor with a couple other guys. And we sat there and we would take like, you know, there’ll be a couple things a day you had to do because at the merge the legal entities together, these were huge. I’m talking billion dollar positions. You had to move them over the rest of time. You read the book, but you watched we watched the whole world fall apart. We got to September and watch AIG implode, I mean, I’ll tell you right now, there were some people I thought very similar March of this year, who there were some nervous moments like, wow, we are really on the brink of the entire financial system collapsing. Right. And so that’s where I learned the biggest thing I tell guys, Aaron about that summer fall, I learned is the power of the military network is all my friends I had developed in a couple years up in the New York area in the industry now that I went to all the alumni stuff for Duke in Richmond, very powerful networks up in New York. Everybody was freaking out. No one returned phone calls. I’m like, Okay, I have to find a new role at the end of 2008. Like, my bank blew up, right? So I need I need to figure this out. And I started networking with all the veterans and all the other banks and at first people were like, oh, Bear Stearns, you guys were the sick ones. So really sorry to hear that. You know, after a couple months, everybody’s like, Oh my god, we’re all screwed. And it was very interesting. They lobbied for I started meeting, I didn’t meet them in person, we were just I am and then get on the phone. It was awesome. Okay, this is what I’m seeing. This is what I’m hearing, this is what I’m seeing, this is what I’m hearing. And when I tell guys is the beauty of the veteran network, not all veterans are good human beings. We know this, right? Not all service members are either, but that I think the vast majority 70 80% of former military folks, the United States will generally leave it lean in if they determined that you’re a good actor, did you give more than you took? Whatever your criteria is, I think I’m a big paintbrush in here. Most people I was in judging them the same way. And they were judging me the same way. And the beauty is, is that they will then introduce you to their personal networks, 70 of siblings and other the neighbors, my pastor, someone I went to school with, you know, and I didn’t know networking at the time, I now do it all the time. I didn’t know anything about it. I don’t even know the word networking. It’s not something we learned in the military, like professional networking is when you’re unemployed, right? I gotta go to the job. Right? Like, I didn’t know that. And yeah, right. It’s not like they go, hey, guess what I need to go network over there with Second Battalion and figure stuff out. I mean, not, it’s just not something I was used to. But I learned it for survival that summer and fall. That’s how I got out of Wall Street. And adjoining to make the story quicker, I end up joining a startup consulting firm started by some British Royal Marines, it looks a lot like present day McChrystal group. So again, trying to use the mission command structure and tendency to help guide commercial strategy, execution leadership and stuff like that, we were start up, I could stay in New York City area didn’t have to me. So I’ve been doing it for four years, I thought I’m gonna do it for a couple months. And then you know, the financial crisis would pass and I’d go back to finishing what I want to do on Wall Street. But as you know, the Wall Street crisis was really bad. But I also got after it, the difference was, instead of commuting into New York, I was just on airplanes all the time, right? Like, you could pay the bill or client and but it allowed me from 2008 to 12 really innovate, to spring a 12. And allow me lots of iterations to see lots of different companies, and different industries. And my biggest takeaway, there was, man, almost all the problems, all of you very well paid executives of all these different industries and all these backgrounds. They’re all people, it’s just people related. Like, I’m not discounting, market forces and, and the complexity of their their competitive set. But most of the things we dealt with, they were holding out strategy and execution were groups of people trying to do big things in small, small periods of time, and I’ll name resources and put my efforts were right there on that, that that angle, my largest client in 2012, in Chicago, and hire me to be an enterprise strategy guy. State in the middle of that, by the way, when I was consulting in 2010, we moved down to Charlotte, quality life, raise your kids down here. And then in 2015, is when I left an organization after seven years of weekly travel, and then started to effects. Wow,

Aaron Spatz  38:06

that’s a Yeah, I mean, I get the sense, we could probably spend an hour on each one of these little sub topics for quite some time, because it’s I mean, it’s, there’s some really, I mean, really fascinating story, like really fascinating topics, especially your timing of the way it all played out. But maybe we’ll have to say that for for some other time. But we’d love to love to learn more about TF X capital, like, how did that come about? What are you doing, you know, share, share with us what, what, what all that means and a little bit about your journey during that process?

Brandon Shelton  38:42

Yeah, if you had told me I know, I’ll give you my my soapbox speech. But if you had told me in January, really spring, kind of like January, February, March of 15, that hey, you’re going to go back to capital markets. And you’re going to start an investment firm. I would love them on the I have against that. And I would have argued, argued with you dramatically. I don’t know how I don’t have a good quick story. Like oh, I was in this moment and thing a light bulb went out. But it was definitely a moth to a flame. It’s the embodiment of what we’re looking for when our founders EDIS. You know, I’m not starting from because I’m in love with venture capital. I’ve always wanted to be one, right? So when we meet founders are like, Oh, I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’m like, I don’t don’t know. That’s a good demand signal. But if you feel like you were put on this earth to solve this problem, that’s different. And so for me, I kind of felt that too. It was a couple baby steps. I said, all right. I left my last firm on great terms. So I’m gonna take about six months to catch my breath. I’ve been small family, three daughters. I’m gonna do some I don’t want to get on the airplane for a couple months. So I’d like to do that. I’d like to get to know Charlotte. I knew my house to the airport and back and then a little bit of the veteran community here and that’s it. And I just want to kind of breathe a little bit catch up. Because remember, I mean gyrating on the Wall Street and then recreating yourself a couple times, like, it takes a toll on you mentally, physically. I was coming, watch it burn out. And so sorry, before I turned 40, I want to figure out well, what’s my next evolution? What do I want to do next. And so I just threw myself into the local marketplace, I had the freedom to go attend startup events, randomly, I get 10 veteran events, I can attend Duke alumni events, and you start meeting people, and then you have the freedom to go meet them for coffee. Remember, they’re all tense, like you and I are all done all the time. To me. I’m carefree. Anytime you want to meet on Wednesday, my calendar is full, I’m free. Let’s go knock anywhere you want, right? Because I was also trying to learn the city. And sure enough, I probably had 100 meetings, coffees, and I realized that people were like, ooh, your background, given your finance and strategy stuff can really work with some small business owners. And I was like, Oh, do you know any, and if they’re veteran, that’s what I prefer. So I read, you know, certain networking and stuff like that. And I was instantly drawn to veterans trying to build software startups. Not because I’m a software guy, but But given the software. It attracts a different type of founder, a founder that is a little bit more like me, in terms of how I communicate and stuff like that. And then I started just talking to him. And then I catch a couple of them in hindsight, while they were capital raising, and they thought because LinkedIn that that’d be a good angel investor. I didn’t realize that for some sort of like, are you? Are you pitching me? You know, you know, yeah, I’m like, Oh, I have no money. Like, I’ve never Angel invest in my life, and I’m unemployed, technically. Now, like all but I can help you with some free consulting and which was stupid in hindsight, but software startups don’t need consulting. And so I was like, well, we spent some time together, could you can you at least splain your business? To me a little bit. Let me see if I can make a helpful connection. That’s how we got started. And then they would tell their friends, and then I meet some more people and start meeting people outside of Charlotte, and up and down the East Coast and all over country. Aaron, I want to say I talked to my 30 software founders. And I was just really struck with they all had the same presentation deck, prepping a PowerPoint, I was like, Is your Is there somebody out there? Like saying this is the way you do it? Because it’s definitely not shocking. There? There probably is. Yeah, right. But like, they’re also clouds, it’s kind of funny. And then, and then they were immediately then we want to get to know you, they get right into pitching. And so I would stop on blank like that. Tell me about the military. I can, you know, slow down a little bit, let their hair down a little bit, you know, form some trusts on that. I’d say, Hey, let me let me let me reciprocate. This is what I did. This is where I’m from. So I’m doing now and now had to declare that there. I’m like, I have no idea what I’m doing right now. So, you know, it’s like, Hey, I don’t want to waste your time. But I’m looking to help cannabis, but I’ll help you make a connection. And then they would start telling me stories about how hard it is to raise capital. And I was really struck with again, I’m remembering it now. I wish I’d written it down and counted it. But it was like all of them play the same music. To me. Raising capital as a former military leader is actually harder. In there. They weren’t saying it this way. But then their non military peers. So same age, same. Let’s say they came from the same town, they have similar levels. Why is that? Well, one, that leg of your professional journey is near Onyx. I mean, really, it’s contextual. There’s an environment, there’s a fabric, you’d have to almost be there to understand it. And there’s jargon and lingo that the handcuff as well. But like, it really is an experience based part of your your life. civil military divide continues to get wider, statistically speaking, those that are in venture capital firms are drilling white males, generally in the same kind of five to six cities joining from the same five or six schools generally high net worth upbringing. So there’s this monolithic component where they know when, when they started pointing out, like with firm giving a name a firm in any VC firms, I started looking at, let’s see their bios, I’m like, because I remember working with these type of people, and I’m like, they’re nice people. But you two do not speak the same language. Right? You’re an operator executer can put a premium on leadership mission. They put a premium on delivering value for their investors. And, you know,

Aaron Spatz  44:13

there’s no, there’s, there’s a point if I can just jump in here real quick, if I may. But there’s a point you’re making here that I think is really, really powerful. And maybe it’s a point you’re getting ready to make, but it’s the same experience you had, right? Like you get out you’re going to Wall Street, and you instantly feel like oh my god, here I am. I am I am like way behind the eight ball. Like, you know, oh my gosh, I gotta I gotta keep up. I’m seven years behind or six years, whatever the metric is. And so in a lot of, in a lot of ways, right? That feels the same way for these guys. They they were in the military experience. They didn’t have the same pedigree. They weren’t on that same assembly line that you that you talked about, and now they feel like well, crap. Now I gotta now got a really, really hustle. Is that right? Like, am I on the right right track there?

Brandon Shelton  45:00

I would say so, you know, I’ve been so heads down and so intensely focused on this as a founder myself, you know, it’s really hard sometimes to look back on myself. But I can only tell you this, a lot of what we do is incredibly technical in nature. And I need a lot of legal and valuation and advisory help to get through these nuanced moments. But at a high level, this all is incredibly familiar with no background in venture capital, that people have assessments for me, I mean, people invest in I believe, they invest almost like they hire. Right, like so perceptions, their biases there. You know, sadly, a lot of the VC firms, the United States say they’re founder friendly, but then they put out in front of them all these financial individual contributor people. So if you’re if an operator, whether it be whether or not so someone who’s skilled in general management and leading people and building and creating and scaling comes across, it’s really hard for them to, to assess that, because they don’t speak. It’s like, I joke with you as I go. Take your CFO and tell him he’s in charge of hiring all the future high performers of the business in general. Like it’s just not, it’s just different DNA sets, different lifestyles, and as I’ve said, That’s why when we come across VC firms that are founded by operators or their focus on niche, like immigrants, people of color females, we along really well with them, right? Because we’re trying to look at the whole package, not just a where’d you go to school? Oh, okay. Well, you worked at Google, and you went to Stanford. And you know, to to these two people, here’s $500,000. I’m not saying it’s that simple. But there is this before COVID, over the last 10 years has been this rinse, repeat pattern matching that is talked about a lot and in different organizations. But it has to your point, Aaron’s felt very familiar, so that’s what gave me the spark. I was really like, Man, if I was wealthy, I’m pretty sure I could pick what I deem is high performing former military leaders and I think is less than 10%. Once you get to build a structure and filtering system to account for where that person is in the arc of their lives. So if you just bank on Oh, I went to military academy, thus, if your name for great success, I struggled with that, if it is I served 25 years ago, and it doesn’t matter. Now, I also struggled with that that’s not true. Wire Service period happens between ages 18 and 25. Before the frontal lobe is formally formed, right very impressionable part of our lives. And that’s that system that we talked about for monetary slip is stripped away, merit based promotions are stripped away, you’re a multi year player, you are taught Why didn’t again, I appreciate it, because that was a I just was not in the right mindset when I was on like most people, it is a beautiful system to teach you missions. How do you attach yourself to something bigger than yourself? This is where I think underpins most veterans who struggle to assimilate post militaries are they’re trying to replicate an environment we’re trying to replicate, I need to be able to to unbelievably and unilaterally believe on a person my left and right, that we’re gonna be there for each other, but they’re in the system that is really nine to five, you can come and go as you please. And no one knows how much anyone makes no one knows how things hat. Right, right. So. So it’s a challenge. But that was sort of like man I, I could see, I’d make a bet on you. And then I started Googling veterans and capital and I start cold calling a couple of nonprofits like bunker labs and Patriot boot camp, and then the for profits and some other veterans who are in VC. And I just started reverse engineering. And by the summer of 15. I was like, Man, if I can raise capital, I think I think we can win. And that’s how we got started five years ago.

Aaron Spatz  48:37

Wow, man, good for you. So So walk us through now, what does that look like now? So like, what is what is the day to day? Like? What is what does the process look like? In order for you to do business? What does that like? Just so?

Brandon Shelton  48:50

Yeah, so our investment strikes home. And by the way, our investment thesis we think works in any type of business, it doesn’t have to be a software business, it could be a podcast business, it could be a franchise, it could be a beer company, it could be a consulting firm. But it doesn’t attract investors. So we think if we can prove this thesis out with a high failure, obviously high return possible marketplace, enterprise software, then we think we can scale it if we need to from there. So we invest in what we say early stage, so in my world that has its own definitions that tend to move. So let’s just put it to different if you’re a sort of, if you’re one, that kind of three year old company, and you have two to 20 employees, I’m not talking full time, not part time, pay you later. And you’re kind of in your first one, two or three evolutions of raising outside capital, generally raising a little bit more than a million on the low end. That’s where we invest, right? So you have enough evidence that you’re beyond that six month glory period where everybody’s like, man, you’re the man you’re the woman. You started the business. Yeah, you get to that second six month period and if you have to penance and you’re in your late 30s, or 40s, or 50s, I’m telling you that is, you know, that’s a painful part. Right? Now you have to look yourself in the eye and say, Whoa, I have a spouse, I have kids, and I could be earning 5x What I’m earning now with benefits over it. Hey, so you got to check yourself. And then you also can, you’re also sir, saying to yourself, Well, I started my business to go here. But I make a 15 degree correction there. That’s actually where we can exploit it. Right. So that’s the fabric, we’re looking to grab multi founder teams, hopefully just one of these former military leaders in there. No one’s straight out of grad school. No one’s straight out of the military, you need to work commercially. And that’s one of the lessons we’ve learned. And you have domain expertise, right. So you and your co founders have felt the pain firsthand. And again, you think about if you think about the age we’re talking about, we’re not talking about people in their 20s journaling. Drama, people who’ve got some life under them, they’ve got some scars on them. They they’re past that 36 months, I think window to transition. And that, and again, b2b software, technical service. You know, that’s if you look at our portfolio online, that’s where we’re at, and we’re finding them all over. As you know, veterans go back to one or two places, traditionally, they go back to their hometown, or they go back to wherever their one of their duty stations was that they enjoyed, or their most recent one. So they’re in all 50 states, they’re not aggregated around the tech hubs like everybody talks about. And to that degree, we have a preference for the southeast, we think that the southeast United States, which we would, we would include Dallas there, Aaron, we think if you go DC, Dallas, over to Florida, these are these are great marketplaces, low cost of living, you know, high growth, great talents, great place to raise a family, high veteran population. So there’s a there’s a higher probability that people commercially will have a good positive view on you. And you can not use your veteran car, but you can knock on doors and get information quickly as a startup. Yeah, but the biggest reason is, is that we just don’t have enough capital investment capital down here. I mean, every quarter now it gets counted. And we take a look at it. But it’s it’s, I mean, I think it’s something like 60% of the venture capital money United States comes down in Northern California. Wow. So but we know why that started. But I hopefully we start to see more funds like ours, another spring up all over the place, and Atlanta and Charlotte, and Richmond and Nashville, and Dallas, and Houston, and all these great cities where you can really build good businesses, but just not enough. If you’re a founder, you could maybe knock on to venture capitalist doors, and then you got to start getting on planes.

Aaron Spatz  52:45

I see. Yeah. Right. That makes sense. Yeah, that actually, that makes that makes perfect sense. So I mean, before we go, I I’ve been I’ve been loving this conversation. I we could go for like another hour or two. But I want to respect your time. But no, just as like a final parting shot. I mean, what would be some of your bits of advice, then I guess for folks that are either a they are they’re wanting to start something, they’ve got an idea percolating or two, they’re in that early stage right now. They’re in the first year. And they’re in they’re still grinding out and hustling. Like, do you have any any words of warning or words of encouragement?

Brandon Shelton  53:28

Yeah, I mean, less than a couple things that come to mind. I think first and foremost. I think if you were even if you were let’s say mediocre in the military, right 1820 20 to 25 and I had moments of that myself that that experience so use it right so use the civil military divide that continues to widen to your advantage. It’s not saying oh, I’m a veteran so this better than you or I know where you know, right and stay away from all the stupid stuff that goes out there with veterans running as you see running for office and all that stuff. But I just we were taught each of our units your experience Aaron was different than mine. You use it. I mean, a couple things I think that don’t get used enough and startups planning. I don’t need to see if for some reason some founders are taught through incubators or advisors. Here’s my five year pro forma I’m like you’re telling you have no revenue you don’t even have a product how I appreciate the thinking but like let’s let’s let’s say where do we want to be in six months time and backwards plan till now? Right? The second thing is may never did you I don’t know if you use may never Aaron I have I found that hilarious. As a consultant we would teach Senior Commercial teams at large publicly traded companies how they use the main effort. They struggled with it they’re like oh, well that’s mean effort one and may not for two and like woof can’t work for you want to mean effort? And you as a leader have to pick it? Yeah, right. Sorry. that’d be one. I think the second thing is if you are building a startup or company that wants to, and you think right out the gate I need, I need to raise money. I think you should take it pause. You think long and hard and do your research of why I think way too many companies teach themselves online, read books, go to these conferences, watch Shark Tank, and especially veterans, anything, that’s what right looks like. That is what? That’s not true. You need to have an expert, not your friends, not your relative, not someone in town. Veterans should know and listen and officers the difference between information and intelligence. Go gather information way before you even put your own money in, let alone ask others you know, is it most people start with friends and family so they don’t go around to people they know and started with and others and, and some people are like, Oh, that doesn’t matter. And they they don’t care if they want their money back for me. I’m like, I’ve actually told some friends, I don’t want your money yet until I prove this T FX thing out a little bit more. Right? Like I just knew that was early days. Now I’ll take their money, right? But do your homework, right? Go talk to a real lawyer like a lawyer who does this for living fun, you know, raising capital? Go through, okay, how do I get screwed? How long? Why do I need it? And I think your goal should be is can you bring this along your product and your dream along as far as possible where it becomes. So backbreaking timelines, and resource wise that you now need to go raise capital not because to stay alive, but to make it work? Right. So like, somehow, if it’s a side hustle while you’re you’re employed elsewhere, and you do it on the side, there’s nothing wrong with that, that gets shunned in the venture capital community, I’m not going to invest in you either. You need to be doing it full time. Right. But like, I’m not gonna deem you for that. If you choose to get SBIR money, like from the Air Force, or AF works or National Science Foundation, or whatever, super money, they’ll get grant money out of it, but most people are like, probably like me, they’re impatient. So that takes that means Oh, well, what I can do in two years, it’s gonna take me four years. Yeah, but you, you you’re your own boss, you get to drive the train as long as you want. But the moment you start raising outside capital, you become a C Corp Jerilyn. You kind of see court means you have to have a board, which means the board has to meet four times a year. Most founders skirt it because they’re like, the founders will be the board. I will not most and we’re small, but most professional investors won’t tolerate that. They need objective voices in the board. Then founders, especially combat arms, guys, like Well, why do I need a board you’re this is my business, your minority investors, you know, there’s this struggle. To me, it’s a sign you haven’t done your homework. You plowed right into raising capital, because you like ah, and you think it’s episodic, right? So I raise capital, I’m like, oh, that’s over my next rounds a year from now, like my investor, might one of my sniffing investors has told me, You’re always raising and so it’s, again, if you were like an infantry leader, pilot, you know, kind of these, these sort of hands on tip of the spear rolls, and you find out like, a third or half of your job as a founder, from the moment you step on the equity, you know, the capital raising treadmill, until you get off or removed is fundraising. And it’s awful. It’s just it’s an inefficient, terrible process. It’s just as bad as for Vc as it is for founder. But these are some of the learnings. So I don’t mind you getting on that treadmill and saying, I’m gonna raise capital, but I’m going to ask you why you’re raising? Good, why? How much are you raising? Okay, when you need the money by? Okay, how does this get you one plus one equal four? I’m telling you probably half the deal flow, we look, I can’t answer that question. They can’t, because they’re like, I’m just gonna do this. I’m gonna make this and then next year, I’m gonna raise my A, because they think that’s what the SOP is. I’m like, No, that’s your business, you should run you do your homework upfront. And delay raising capital for as long as possible, is probably the other thing. So I would say two things. Use what you learned in the military, don’t be afraid, then to do your own work upfront, especially if it’s going to involve outside capital, if you’re going to go build a lifestyle business. Nothing wrong with that. Right, get bank loans on a personal guarantee, whatever, click grow slowly. I think that’s awesome, too. But like, investors, even though we’re both veterans, I expect to expect an outcome. So right. You can’t just change your mind. Is it hard three years later? No, no.

Aaron Spatz  59:21

So yeah, exactly. When you took someone’s money.

Brandon Shelton  59:25

Exactly. But like, again, I I think 99% of the founders we meet are amazing human beings to begin with, right? Just to have the gravitas to hang a shingle for the pitch deck together. Maybe they started it maybe they’re running it, you know, it just never been never been an entrepreneur for giving it a try. Right. That’s more than most country right? Yeah. But my comments sometimes they that especially the veteran component. Yeah, there’s nervousness because you’ve never started a business everything else but like, I hold you to a higher standard. Well, before you go formed a C Corp. Did you ever Where’s your lawyer? That’s another easy one who’s your lawyer and they point out the lawyer, I poke the lawyer and like, oh, this person’s not this is like a litigation attorney. This is not someone who’s first they’re doing you a favor helping you out. But they’re not go get professional athletes around you. Right? You do it, right. Because we’re trying to assess as investors, will you be a good steward of my investors money. Or if your angel, my money, and everything you do the precision in your deck, how you talk, the research, how you interact, you’re being graded, right? So do more. Don’t Don’t step on that treadmill until you’re like very aware of like, this is how I get hurt. And this is how I win these Yeah. And you make your your use that create, translate that to intelligence. Make a four decision.

Aaron Spatz  1:00:48

That’s awesome. No, and I just want to, I just want to thank you, Brandon, thank you for spending so much time with me. Thank you for sharing your insight and for your story. I’ve really enjoyed it. And I really, really do appreciate it.

Brandon Shelton  1:01:02

Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate you doing this.

Aaron Spatz  1:01:04

Man. What a fun episode i i love Brandon’s intensity. I love the fact that this is a guy who has worked his tail off to get to every every place that he’s been in, and he, he doesn’t hide it, right, he doesn’t hide the fact that, you know, this may take me a little bit longer to learn or to understand, but it didn’t, it didn’t change anything like I’m going to persist, I’m going to work my butt off to get to where it is that I need to be. But then also, it’s really important to note a lot of lessons learned that he shared and so he shared a lot of the things learned. And I love his perspective on man like you, you take people, and you’re in this high intensity environment in the military, and then you get out and then you’re having to almost start over in many cases. And a lot of it doesn’t translate over. And so and then, of course, level of expectation if you’re a founder, and just a lot of things that he’s expecting to see. And I think there’s a lot of strength in that. I mean, why didn’t I think of main effort? Like I’ve never heard anybody talk about main effort in any of these podcast episodes, not even once. And I mean, even in my own business I talked about, like, I use Commander’s Intent, I use the general framework of an OP order, but I haven’t gone to the level of detail of me and effort. And what is that we’re gonna wait the main effort properly, we’ll have a couple of supporting efforts, perhaps. But that goes back to this whole business principle of doing one thing really, really, really well. And focusing on that rather than doing 500 things kind of mediocre. So anyway, I thought that I thought it was fantastic. I thought the interview moved pretty quickly a lot, a lot of lot of nuggets, there a lot, a lot of really good perspective and really high value content, I would encourage you to connect with Brandon connect with TF X capital very fast in the work that they’re doing. So just want to thank you for tuning in and for watching. And if you haven’t subscribed, please do so. I will say that every every single week. But no but thank you so much for watching, and see you next week.

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