Join John Malanca and his special guest Bruce Eckfeldt as they explore the economics of cannabis. Explore the advantages and challenges of cannabis as a business in this fascinating conversation about both the medicinal and recreational ramifications of cannabis in the marketplace.

Transcript

Cannabis as a Business: Thinking Outside The Bud With Bruce Eckfeldt

John Malanca 0:00
Hey, everybody, welcome back. This is John Malanca. With United Patient Group Be Informed Be Well and today’s guests we have gentleman from the East Coast, New York City to be exact. Bruce Eckfeldt. Great to have you on. I appreciate you. Joining me on this. I guess Monday morning, yeah. Monday afternoon for you. And so, Bruce, let me give you a little background after being trained as an architect who spent many years in the digital product design and service. And they found he founded a technology consulting firm in 2003. His company was an inc 5000 honoree, congratulations, five years in a row and ranked two under 41st. And two in 2009. He sold his business in 2013, is now a strategic coach, and advisor to early stage CEOs. Hopefully, I’ll be in there with you. And their leadership team, he hosts two podcasts, scaling up services and thinking outside the bud, and writes weekly for inc.com. And on leadership, as well as strategic business growth. So thanks for being on the show, Bruce,

Bruce Eckfeldt 1:01
thanks for having me.

John Malanca 1:03
It’s funny how people jump in this industry, we’re in one industry, and we kind of morphed into that. And I remember being, you know, right out of college, and I remember talking to my dad, and you know, most people look up to their dads as like their heroes, and how did you get here? You know, how did you become a father and, and a spouse and supporting the family? And, you know, in my mind, no worries, I mean, most kids, yeah, you’re looking like, Oh, we don’t have any worries. And so I wish to ask them, How do we get how do we know we want to do that? How do you know you don’t do and if most you not everyone knows what they want to do. And so he kind of morphing his, you’ll know, it’ll just kind of just flow into what you’re doing. Have a passion of what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. And so it sounds like you’ve you’ve done this, you’ve done this well. So congratulations.

Bruce Eckfeldt 1:50
Oh, thank you. I’m glad that appears that way. Yeah,

John Malanca 1:53
that’s funny. I think people don’t win. And on that point, I always tell people don’t always judge a book by its cover, because everybody’s going through something. So in this is something I work with patients on a daily basis. And so don’t always assume and I had an old call a years ago, run a sales team. And it drove me nuts when anyone was late. And I said, I always tell everyone better to be five minutes early than one minute late. And she said, John, you don’t know what they’re going through. You don’t know if they’re single moms single dads, taking the bus no money running to kids a school. Her name was Esther and Esther actually passed away from cancer when we work together, and that was that really hit home, so just show but she stayed stuck with me, you know, 20 years later of, of that, too. And so, on the outside, you look fantastic.

Bruce Eckfeldt 2:45
I’m very fortunate, and I’ve had a lot of great success in my life. So I don’t I don’t I don’t, I’m grateful for that. So yeah, like, it’s always challenges, right. I think that’s that’s life, that’s business and, you know, you’re gonna have that successful life is not one that’s easy. You know, and that is interest, you know, and she’s things. And I

John Malanca 3:03
think learning, you know, and I, you and I have spoken off camera, you know, losing my wife to cancer a few years ago, people always say, you know, I’m so proud of you for continuing on or doing this and I just, you know, I don’t want to say adversity break makes you stronger, and I would blame me I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody and I would do it all over again knowing what the outcome was just because of the light thick crud and I had and so you you know, cannabis wasn’t you very similar background, you know, athlete. And cannabis wasn’t your lifestyle. And so can you share how you became a patient and then kind of your expertise and life experiences and what you’re doing today?

Bruce Eckfeldt 3:48
Yeah, yeah, I was a pretty intense athlete. You know, student in high school college. Never just never really got into I had friends and stuff. We’re into it. High School, but never part of my kind of sphere college. I was a competitive rower. I was cross country skier I was an athlete for a while. Wow. So I was yeah, it was really interesting. And not that they didn’t that didn’t jive with use of cannabis unnecessarily, but it just it wasn’t part of my world. Even you know, I went to the University of Montreal, fairly strong cannabis culture in Montreal. You know, certainly exposed to it, but just never never really big part of my my life. And then about eight years ago, now, nine years ago, I ended up with a fractured vertebrae. I L five, vertebrae fractured, ended up having a fairly major double fusion surgery. You know, 12 hours. They got me out of there. They handed me this big bottle of Percocet. And a friend of mine was just like, you should try pot. And I was certainly open to it. I didn’t have any, you know, it wasn’t like, oh, no, I can’t try pot, but I never really thought about it. And I certainly never had thought about it as a therapeutic. And so Uh, I was I was like, hey, I’ll look I’ll give it a go. Right. Like, I certainly knew the downsides of, you know, the opioids and Percocet and, and had done surgeries and stuff before and knew that kind of zone that it puts you in. Yeah. And so when that was offered to me and suggested, I was like, Yeah, I’ll give that a try. And no, probably within a week, two weeks, certainly within two weeks, I was off all the Percocet. I was mainly doing edible, I was still doing a little bit of smoking, but mainly edibles. And it was great for pain management. It just, it really helped to get through kind of that that constant pain post surgery recovery. It kept my mood really good, right, like I just, you know, it helped me just not not sort of succumb to I think the sort of the emotional draining aspect of of, you know, not becoming I couldn’t bend, lift or twist, right, like, I was, I don’t know how graphic you want to be on this program. But right, there were certain things I couldn’t do myself that I had other people do for me, which was, you know, but not fun. And that just kept, it just kept my mood very good. And then my sleep was amazing, right, I just found that my ability to actually get really good sleep was improved. And even post surgery recovery. You know, I found that it really was very, very helpful for sleep dealing with sleep, dealing with, you know, a fairly active driven mind, right, that’s got 1000 things going on on a regular basis. It really, it really helped with all that. And so, you know, it became part of my kind of daily management routine, post that and that’s kind of coming on over the years. But yeah, and now with the products getting much more interesting and much better. You know, it’s been fun to kind of experiment with some of this stuff. And, you know, the different cannabinoids, the different form factors, I know, I know, have all sorts of creams and everything I use for my knees because I’ve run far too many marathons and Ironman and my, you know, my age, my knees are kind of shot. And so I’m always kind of dealing with, you know, joint pains and things like that.

John Malanca 6:59
So that’s the benefit of being on both of us on this side of the business. Because I have people that send me products, nonstop, you know, and I use them all I use. And I do the same thing before my runs, or rides. I lather my body, my calves up my knees up my elbow, wrist. And you know in it’s amazing on what what this what this plant can do. And all these new companies are popping up. Let me back up one. Yeah. College in Montreal. So are you Canadian, French Canadian?

Bruce Eckfeldt 7:34
No, I’m a US citizen. So I grew up in Minnesota, ended up there for school. So I needed I needed architecture, engineering and snow. Yeah. And when you when you look at those things, and you start looking at universities, it was a very, very limited set. And mantra, Montero was actually south from where I lived in Oh, wow. So it doesn’t the way the geography and and then I moved down to New York after after that, oh,

John Malanca 7:57
geography, geography history there. And then secondly, I’ve said I’ve witnessed a friend of mine is a surgeon here in California. And back in 2002. We were up in Tahoe for Fourth of July and I said, I would love to join you for surgery. He was your into I said, I love that stuff. He said meet me. And so I went to the hospital on that Tuesday, scrubbed up, did the whole thing. Bodies. There you go anterior posterior.

Bruce Eckfeldt 8:24
We did. We went into the front view, they did most of it through the abdomen, and they went into the side. So I’ve got, you know, cages between the spines, and then I’d have rods and pen to the sides. So

John Malanca 8:37
I sat there, body had anesthesiologist, the doctor myself and another doctor on that side. And I was right here and they literally open the body up and my first breath was skin. And he goes, Don’t inhale, I go, go pass out, don’t pass out. Don’t pass up. But I went I was able to see I wouldn’t open. I mean, I was right there. I mean, I was I don’t know if you can do that nowadays, you know, and he was probably doctors when when Christopher Reeves had an accent. He was he was teaching overseas in Italy. And so he they reached out to him. But it’s an impressive show. Did you have the titanium cages that they put in there with?

Bruce Eckfeldt 9:19
I’ve got two titanium pages between L four, l five and S one and rods and pins on the back. But yours is 12 hours? Yeah, just because we had some other complications. I’m on anticoagulant for some other things. A bunch of things. We had to do a little different ways. It was it was yeah, it was it was a big deal. It is a big one very well. I mean, the doctor was great.

John Malanca 9:41
So they should hear you say that I was like, Oh my gosh, that brings back memories. So yeah, like like you my my brain never stops as well. So cannabis, and it worked with you maybe could a lot of patients that I work with including, you know, Corinne, it didn’t work with her. You know, I work with a lot of pain patients. Another woman who’s been on our show Claudia Randy, you know, she said, John, I’ve tried all these things and unfortunately it didn’t work. And that was one thing that Christian, how come it doesn’t work for pain? And again, cannabis is not a one size fits all, a lot of work to do because like you said, it helps with that appetite, Asha?

Unknown Speaker 10:14
Yeah, also all this I think there’s a slight difference I realized between pain alleviation and pain management. Okay, so I certainly had pain. Like it didn’t, it didn’t make the pain go away. But it just allowed me to deal with the pain much more effectively and productively. I’m a big meditator as well. So I think the combination of meditation and the cannabis allowed me to kind of, you know, tolerate manage the pain, so I didn’t have to use the opiates, because I found that the opiate just is numb to me, you know, physically and mentally. And I didn’t want to do that.

John Malanca 10:51
So it was constipated. I mean, that’s the thing that a lot of patients do is like, you know, that I’m constipated. And especially if you’re going through chemo, radiation on top of everything, you know, and they make that pill. Remember the commercials that were about, you know, 567 years ago for opioid induced constipation. Here’s a pill for you. And it’s like, okay, take these, but if you get backed up, take this pill, you know, that till the hills? Don’t take this, though. And so yeah, so I mean, we see you know, health and wellness. Sounds like the same thing has been been in your, your lifestyle as well and keeping our body balanced. I don’t know how old you are. But I’m 53. And I feel like, I still look out my 20 year old eyes. You got you got me about three years. But yeah, okay, good. So 50s are great. 50s are great. And we’re still able to do this. And the good thing, we still have our hair looks, you know, and you have some great hair, but also touching toes. I can still touch those. See my toes? Yeah. Out there, too. So. So yeah, so you talked about, you know, you have everything you don’t congrats on selling your company being an art coming. So you have a wide variety of on your resume? What made you get into the cannabis industry? Was this just something? Or just getting off? Because

Unknown Speaker 12:06
yeah, it was it was both I mean, I certainly sort of having the experience I have with cannabis kind of opened my eyes to really the power of the plant and where it can be applied. And that just was fascinating. I mean, just from, you know, someone who’s been an entrepreneur for a long time, and always kind of looking for new kind of innovative trends and what’s going on in the world. You know, that was I certainly saw that, hey, I think there’s something here, right, something’s going to happen with cannabis in terms of how we embrace it as a culture, you know, as a plant as a medicine. And so that that was certainly interesting. The work that I do, as an entrepreneur, and as a coach is essentially helping, you know, companies have a huge opportunity to grow, figure out how to do that, right? Like, I joke, it’s like, I helped keep the wheels on the cart. Yeah, like, like, we can go 80 miles an hour, but like your cart is might fall apart when we hit 40, while I’m there to help figure out how to keep the wheels on the car. And, and just seeing where the cannabis industry was going. It’s like, wow, there’s gonna be a lot of very high pressure, high paced growth, that could definitely stress a lot of companies. And so doing what I do is just a perfect opportunity for strategic coaching, you know, basically helping CEOs leadership teams really figure out what their strategy was going to be, how do they execute on that? How do they level up their leadership skills? How do we find the right people, you know, talent involved design the right organization. So, you know, as an industry, it was a great spot for me as a coach, and quite honestly, you know, the other thing I realized is, most coaches like me, kind of wouldn’t touch cannabis with a 10 foot pole. Right? It was just, there’s still enough stigma around cannabis, that from the traditional business world, you know, there’s some hesitation and getting involved and I being an entrepreneur, and maybe a little younger, you know, certainly open to the idea, you know, as an architect a little bit more on the creative side, right? So, very open to the idea of getting involved in cannabis. And I saw, you know, just a great opportunity to apply what I do to an area that very much needed it. And, you know, and then honestly, I can function in the world, right? Like I can function in cannabis. And the fact is, is cannabis is still you know, it’s a little hairy at times, you’ve got a confluence of cultures, a confluence of kind of people and experiences and capabilities, and being able to help kind of navigate that and deal with that I realized I could I can, I can operate effectively in the world and bring what I do to the cannabis culture in a way that they were able to kind of understand and accept and embrace and leverage that,

John Malanca 14:39
you know, I when we started this journey, you know, like you I’m thinking, How do I share this with my family one, but also to old work colleagues, you know, because of stigma, and I remember for the first you know, eight, nine months, you know, I would do, we would do press release, and they would just say John when say, John Well Okay, and I had a lot of colleagues in this industry got really upset with me like how, you know, what are you doing? I said, Listen, this wasn’t my background, and I still have family members and old colleagues, because back in 2010, to 11, it’s not how it is now nowadays, you know, they’re talking about it. And, you know, seniors are talking about a church and the bridge, pledge clubs and garden clubs. You know, this is I’m talking about my mom, I mean, it just blows me away that something like that, that was the one thing and so you bringing your expertise to this and bringing that stigma down? You know, people said to Chris, and I, you know, you guys are good ambassadors for this industry showing that, you know, and I feel that the same way thing with you with your background of being the way you are, and I think when you’re an athlete as well as entrepreneur, doctor, entrepreneur, you have I would say, type A personality, are you? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 15:52
I can be I can’t be what I need to be. But yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think it was very much part of it. I mean, I, I think I was reasonably fortunate that so I’m, I think I’m the only I’m certainly the only person in my family without a PhD, and everyone else has medical MDS RNs. Okay. And so on one hand, I think there was a fairly, sort of scientific kind of focused on, you know, is this really medicine kind of thing, on the other hand, a fairly open mind of like, hey, look, you know, if this stuff works, this stuff works. Let’s, let’s figure it out. I mean, the cultural side of it, I guess, I never really had too much stigma immediately within my family around at least not that I can remember offhand. But it certainly in the beginning, it was a little bit your Oh, you’re getting into cannabis. And now it’s like, Ooh, you’re getting into cannabis. So, you know, I used to joke like, used to be, everyone would step away from you at the parties when I talked about it. Now everyone wants a job.

John Malanca 16:50
I mean, we would do we would do. We would exhibit at pharmacy conferences, not pharmaceutical, but farmers with pharmacists. And the first year, you know, people walked by our booth go, Okay, I’m not looking. And then the second year, like, Okay, I’ll come over here and see what they’re up to, you know, year three, year four or five. Everyone’s around our birthday, to see you guys. How can we get involved? What’s going on? And so, again, it’s just bringing the stigma down the talk. I mean, you know, years ago, you wouldn’t, you know, dear friend of mine, the highs, Mike and Kelly hide their centers, cash hide, and cash was the very first and legal medical cannabis, youngest, first legal medical cannabis patient United States. And he was the pioneer, but no one wanted to touch it with his 10 foot pole meeting. Good day. Good Morning, America. Today’s show, Dr. Oz and they would talk to him. Hey, Bruce, you wanna be on the show? With? Yeah, sorry, we can’t do it, you know, the higher ups would say something. And now, I mean, it’s just show you where that is to where we are today. Or where that was then. And today, I mean, in all parts of this, this industry, you know, the stigma is down. And people are turning to this that have as as a medicine. And so can you talk to that, what you’re doing what you’re seeing in the industry, because what you’re doing with helping so many businesses are some great ideas, and they have a lot of money, but they’re not keeping the wheels on the bus. And I’ve seen that because like you I speak with companies on a daily basis that are wanting to jump in here to help have the right mindset, but what are they missing? Is it is it a is it a goal? I mean, a man? So

Unknown Speaker 18:32
I think the challenge, I mean, there’s a lot of challenges, I think, I mean, obviously just general challenges in cannabis. But I think one of the things when it comes to the medical side is is the kind of when adult use programs come in to the market, right, so you’ve got a state that’s established, a fairly good medical program, and then adult use program comes in. And the two big problems are access to products, right, like it’s a product tends to go towards adult use. And so there can be a problem finding sort of inventory quantities of good product and honestly, product development, right, like the the area starts to shift towards adult use, right and and away from the therapeutic focus kind of products. And so I think a lot of the interesting companies that I’ve seen on the medical side have made the decision say, Look, we’re just going to focus on medical and we’re going to start looking at really what are the you know, everything from the dosing to the cannabinoids to the terpene profiles, like really focusing on for a medical use, what do we really need to create in terms of products? You know, everything from form factors, packaging, all that kind of stuff. So I think that’s one interesting trend right now in the industry is how the dynamic between adult use and the medical programs end up impacting the product development side of things. And so one One of things I’m always looking for are folks that are trying to really innovate on the medical side, right? Because it’s, it’s, it gets kind of overwhelmed by adult use.

John Malanca 20:09
So if you’re your company, you’re a nationwide company.

Unknown Speaker 20:12
Let’s say I’m a, I’m a coach I work with, I work with groups all over the US and actually in Canada, everything from testing labs, to packaging companies, to cultivators to test the testing labs, like various parts of the chain, and what I’m looking for all of those things, where are the growth opportunities, and I work with them to figure out the strategy. But but the medical side is, is certainly an area that I think is under sort of under developed right now. Or I think there’s, there’s a dearth of good companies focus on medical medical products.

John Malanca 20:47
See, and that’s what we’ve been since day one. And I remember people I mean, I won’t name names, but there are some this I guess, editor for a very popular magazine wrote us, and I received my email is back in 2011. I, oh, my God, they they found us and we’re brand new. And he said, it will never go medical. It will never go medical. And I’m thinking Listen, I have nothing against the recreational but we’re fighting for people like my father in law, who had two weeks live, two days, two weeks, two months, not 20 years. And so just like in the restaurant business, you know, you have your early birds, the blue hairs want to come in at five and be out by 547. And then the people the other group that come in, and so I said, you know, that’s that’s your were frightened for anything. And he wrote back, I apologize. It’ll never go medical. Well, you know, literally, no, you know, they changed their name. In medical cups, I’ll leave it like that. Magazine. But California being legal since 1996, is medical. In 2016. It came up to become adult use. Yep. And a lot of people in the industry, I voted no on it. Crenn, my my wife, she she voted yes on it. And the reason I voted was because we were so medical that I had seen what it’s done to Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, in the medical market came in and really pushed out the scheming the recreational, medical, and so the doctors a lot of doctors who work with had to close their offices, because now they’re going I don’t need to go see Bruce anymore. I can just go right down dispensary and talking to patients now, right after that. I said how do you vote and they said, you know, we made a mistake. We felt like we were at least in California, it was the kind of a bait and switch type of thing. And right now 2021 This is 2016 They’re still what do we go? What do we do? What do we listen to you?

Unknown Speaker 22:45
Yeah, I mean, it’s too. I mean, for me, they’re just two different industries. Yeah, I mean, you’ve got one, which is really looking at, you know, money. Yeah, so certainly one well, I mean, like, I think at the end of the day, everything is money. Right? Yeah, I’m not gonna, you know, pretend that you know, there’s not profit motive. And

John Malanca 23:03
I would love to have this duffel bags of cash, which all the media, you know, points on to about the record blee and there’s nothing wrong with the recreational side. That’s what

Unknown Speaker 23:13
it’s, they’re different industries. But I think the problem comes is when the they’re kind of confluence of them from a customer point of view and from a production point of view. And you know, when you get these dispensaries that, you know, you have dispensaries that are clearly adult use focus, and you have some dispensaries that are clearly looking at, you know, more patient focused,

John Malanca 23:35
do you think the product, let me get your insight on this? Do you think the products are identical and one’s just higher taxed than the other? Or are they shipped separate products? Because I have this talk about quite a bit?

Unknown Speaker 23:51
I guess I would say from a strategy point of view, they are different strategies. I mean, underlying formulations could be very, very similar. Although I think there’s still one I guess, I think there’s that one of the challenge has been so much of the formulation strategy has been on the adult use side and not on the medical side that you you have a dearth of good quality medical products designed to be used for medical applications. You know, so you end up with you know, from even going into a medical dispensary, you end up having to kind of use adult use products and not really having the right you know, underlying formulations I find at times for for patients also purely from a branding point of view, I mean, you know, the the packaging the form factors, you know, things like that, you know, clearly you know the weight has been on the adult use side you know, so I’d love to see more innovation in terms of formulations and in terms of product you know, formats packaging, stuff like that are really geared towards the the medical side, but it is it’s a you know, it’s a profit motive force. Right, like where where can companies make money? Yeah, I mean, the adult uses their

John Malanca 25:05
ticket and I appreciate your your take on that, as well, because I always look at it, that the products are the same. Because people will say, well, let’s go with this. And I want medical, not the recreational. So a lot of lot of patients and consumers mindset is CBD, medical THC is recreational, which, you know, in the USA, it all every Canadian, it plays a part in bringing your body back to homeostasis balance. And then the tax portion and so I look at it is you can still have access to medical grade products in the recreational 18 Excuse me, 21 and over, but the tax is different? And is are you seeing that as well? Because Are you seeing others? Because you’re working with a lot of companies that are

Unknown Speaker 25:50
yes, I’m working with lots of different markets? I mean, generally, yes. I mean, they’re, they’re taxing or they’re providing less a discount on the tax for medical use, you know, in part because it’s, you know, you know, it’s, it’s sort of a vise tax, right, like, for if you’re adult use, like, Okay, we’re gonna tax it higher, because this is kind of a luxury, it’s not medical necessity, I think that’s generally been the market or the kind of policy logic behind the things. But it creates this gray market, right, it creates a situation. And the fact is, is, you know, a lot of people are using are coming in through the kind of the adult use side to self medicate, right? So I mean, just because you know, someone isn’t going into a medical dispensary, or using a medical card or paying the medical tax doesn’t mean they’re not using it for medicinal purposes. It’s just a question of like, what what has what is the avenue they have gone down? And what’s the best road for them in terms of actually acquiring the products that they need?

John Malanca 26:51
Speaking about product, can you share any anything that you’re working on right now? Or is it kind of hush hush until next

Unknown Speaker 26:57
month? Well, most of the groups that I work with, it’s all hush hush until they, you know, until they launch things but I guess in general, the things that I’ve that I’ve been interested in terms of trends, certainly the some of these more interesting formulations. I mean, as you mentioned, you know, we’re learning more and more about, you know, all the different cannabinoids and the terpenes, and the flavonoids and everything that are in these in the plant that we can extract. So that’s really interesting to see how we’re kind of understanding not only how these individual molecules work, but also in combinations, you know, how they create different effects. some really interesting stuff of people now, you know, using other plant, you know, product plant medicines incorporating this right, so not just cannabis, but you know, other other traditional plant medicines, you know, with the various kinds of properties and capabilities and putting them into kind of formulations, where cannabis is just one of many things they’re putting into stuff. The other one is interesting is there’s, there’s a couple of groups that are developing or extracting terpenes from non cannabis plants, right, so like oranges, and things like that. I mean, these you know, terpenes come from all sorts of things. I mean, cannabis is a is an offshoot of the hop, you know, plant and that has gone off to you, there’s lots of different ways you can get terpenes out of the hop families, but all fruits, you know, there’s lots of different ways you can get these terpenes. So people are extracting terpenes, for the purpose of creating formulations such that they don’t run amok of the cannabis laws, right. So you can still create a terpene blend with non cannabis plants. So that you can actually now you’re you have no restrictions, or I mean, you can ship internationally, it’s just a fruit product. Yeah. But they’re kind of learning from the cannabis side to figure out how can we get these terpenes and create some of these profiles and create

John Malanca 28:45
oils because I’ve been to conferences before a COVID hit and you go to this table, and it’s like, oh my gosh, and so for our audience to and I know I’m a broken record on this, but we’ve all spelt terpenes and it’s, you know, it brings you back to it to a place for me it’s stop and smell the roses roses always remind me and my grandmother and so I really don’t care where we are Bruce and I, you and I walking down the street, if I see a road, I’ll stop and smell it brings me back that as well as lavender and the same thing. You know, it’s calming and so each each of the these terpenes that are in the cannabis plant and other other guess plant based or fruit, fruit, you know, they can bring

Unknown Speaker 29:27
bring in they have they have psychological effects. And they have I mean, I mean people are really finding some interesting effects, you know, medical effects, right people are leading to it will affect the body in different ways. And certainly this combination. I think the one thing we’ve we’ve learned on the cannabis world, you know, from a formulation point of view is, you know, extracting these individual molecules out, say, Okay, well here’s 100% pure THC, you know, just does not have the same effect as you know, a full spectrum or a broad spectrum profile with which these things work. work in combination. I think one thing that I’ve appreciated, having done, you know, interviews with a lot of these folks now, the the challenge we have in cannabis from the medical side, where you have an industry and medical industry, which is fundamentally based on identifying individual molecules, researching them, testing them, putting them into trials in very particular ways, and in very isolated controlled environment, to be able to evaluate and prove efficacy and be able to, actually, you know, put these market cannabis is not that I mean, cannabis is a plant medicine, it comes it as a whole broad spectrum of, of molecules, candidates, and trying to pull them out individually and test them like we would, you know, Tylenol is just it doesn’t work. And so there’s been a lot of friction, a lot of challenges from, you know, the research in the pharmaceutical world, like, how do we do this? How do we validate, you know, cannabis, as an effective drug? In these different, you know, formulations for these different conditions in this different environment? It’s a, I think it’s probably one of the bigger challenges and cannabis.

John Malanca 31:10
Are you seeing that a lot of these companies are having to do this out of out of country out of us and go overseas or up to Canada? Do they have these tests? Fortunately, you know, me you’re seeing this? Well, we have

Unknown Speaker 31:24
to do that most of that has been because we can’t legally we can’t do the research, right? Because it’s still federally illegal, we just can’t do we can’t actually run the test the same way we’ve run them. I think the big shift that I’ve seen or the the interesting one is sort of moving away from kind of single molecule clinical trial kind of model to much more of anecdotal, large, broad spectrum, or broad scale and broad studies, anecdotal studies of cannabis use and broad population. So rather than saying, Okay, we’re going to take on our people, and we’re going to 50, this and 50 does, and we’re going to randomize it, and we’re going to double blind it and all this stuff is like, look, you know, the fact is, we’ve had, people are using cannabis at very large volumes for various periods of time. And if we can collect the right data, and do the regression analysis to be able to say, Well, hey, but here’s a whole bunch of people in this situation with these genetics with this, this condition, let’s look and see how, you know, different cannabis products are affecting them, you know, positive leg in different ways, like there’s, there is ability to pull out legitimate research or legitimate conclusions from some of us. But it’s a whole different approach to trials. And, you know, being able to conduct research around this. And we’re just not set up as an industry to do that, or certainly pharmaceutical is not set up to do that. And so a lot of this has been innovating on how do we collect this data? How do we analyze this data? And how do we validate it using this different kind of data approach? How do we validate this from effectiveness point of view?

John Malanca 32:53
Have you let me back up to terpenes? Really cool. Have you spoken to Dr. Susan trap, she’s out of Colorado, terpene specialist, and she’d been on the show, and I’ve worked through a couple of things. I’d like to put you guys in touch I think you if you’re working with a lot of terpenes you know, she she would be a nice asset as well. So companies that are coming in here, what what what can you share for because a lot of everyone has a story, you know, I have a story, you have a story and how it kind of led you into this and a lot of the patients we work with, and we do story to hope on a regular basis, you know, patient group, and with those stories of hope, what they went through, they started a company. And so for listeners, how can you help? What would you what would you what would you do? Like from A to Z starting point of Bruce, I need help. I don’t have any wheels on the bus. And I need I need to at least get one we are in a spare tire on there too. And so do you work and I know you’re working with multi million dollar company.

Unknown Speaker 34:01
So the challenges are different. If you look at kind of as a company grows right from from sort of, I’ve got an idea of you know, raising money, founded a company first product, getting to market, getting traction, you know, getting profitable scaling the business like each step has its own set of challenges. So generally, I’m working with companies that have they’ve got traction, right? They’ve they’ve got a product, they’ve got customers, they’re making money. They’re ideally they’re profitable. At some level, maybe they’re not maybe they’re just like we’re able to generate revenue. It’s we just can’t figure out how to make it profitable at this scale. And we want to figure out how to really scale this thing. We want to get to several 100 million dollars in revenue. That and I work with them around that I would say the core of what I do is around strategy meaning every every successful I would say in order to be a successful scaling company, you really need to identify who is your core customer, right? Who do you really serve? Who do you really focus on? What is the product or service that you provide them meaning like What do you what do you do for them? Right? If you’re trying to sell everything to everyone, you’re not going to get very far right? You just cannot focus, you don’t have time and energy to try to do that. And everyone else in the world is trying to do that, too. So you’re not going to differentiate yourself. If you can really hone in Who am I trying to serve? What is the problem I’m solving for them? And what is my solution? If you can really hone that, that’s where you can start to really focus on scaling. So everyone I work with, it’s a lot of this is winnowing this down, like trimming out all the things you could do to the handful of things you really should do to be able to grow in scale. And that’s going to be based on really, what are your new capabilities? What are your passions are at right, there’s a whole kind of confluence of things that come together to figure that out. But yeah, it’s that defining the focus, and then figuring out once I have this focus, how am I gonna go to market? And then what do I need to build around me in terms of operations in terms of talent in terms of, you know, leadership teams, in terms of expertise, I would say one of the big challenges in cannabis these days is even for companies that have a great strategy, and there’s a great market opportunity. You know, if you need to get to a couple 100 people in your organization to be able to scale it, it’s tough to find good people that can work in cannabis. And so you’re bringing there’s there’s certainly not enough people in cannabis right now. And so you’re pivoting people from other industries. And that doesn’t always go so well, right? Like, I certainly run to a lot of cases where you’ve got this great, you know, pharmaceutical executive, 30 years and pharmaceutical is going to come over to cannabis, and then they crash and burn in six months. Because it’s just, it’s a different industry. It’s totally different. And they can’t make the change. Right. And other people can, but it’s, that’s, that’s one of the big things. But yeah, so I work with them to really figure out strategy. And then how do we really define the the scaling process? What are the goals were the targets? How do we build out a team to achieve

John Malanca 36:44
that? It but just to mirror what you said, I tell people all the time, this is this is and I’m done. Like you have quite a few things in my life. And I’m thinking this is the one of the craziest industries. You know, I remember when I first started, I take you see this for my forehead. Yeah, you see a Bruce youth now go actually banging my head against the law of frustration. And these are the business professionals in this industry. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go at this wave. You know, these are a lot of opportunity in this industry. But it’s not a get quick, rich industry. No, no, I

Unknown Speaker 37:22
think that’s one of the misconceptions. Oh, yeah,

John Malanca 37:24
I’m gonna get in the cannabis industry, I have dirt, I have a seed, I have water, and I’m a multimillionaire right now. And it’s like, it’s not a and I think if you need to come in with some compassion in your heart, as well, if you are coming into to say I’m on the medical side, I want to help people in which, you know, I’ve seen a lot of great companies, and I’ve seen a lot and I’ve seen companies come in and have a great idea, great product. And they’re no longer here. And I know if it’s if it’s capital, or they burned out, or just business in general, I mean, it’s happened to your local ice cream store your pizza joint or whatever. So what what can you share with our audience? You know, I mean, I want to spotlight what you’re doing, and how people can find you. What, what, what is what are the, like, the core core things that you can do for for companies coming in? I know, you shared kind of cliff note there. But how do they start with you? I mean, so if I came up, Bruce, I’d like to start and I do receive your emails as well. Yep. And so what can you share with our audience?

Unknown Speaker 38:28
Yeah, well, so I always I always push people to the podcast, right? So my podcast has really great interviews from, you know, all sorts of people in the industry, their stories of of, you know, getting into the industry struggling in industry being successful industry. So there’s some great content there always, always suggest that people want to learn more about cannabis. Listen to that, some of that stuff. And terms of the work that I do. I mean, I’m, I’m a strategic coach. Right. So my, my job is helping clarify those issues of who was my core customer? How are we gonna go to market? What are the differentiators? How do we build our core capabilities? I have a series of strategy sessions that I run privately for companies when they want to go through the strategy process. I’m happy to send people, you know, outlines of how my strategy stack and how we get to some of those answers. I run a lot of workshops, helping both kind of answer various pieces of that I run a series of mastermind programs. So for folks that are in the industry and want to really have a confidential place safe place to come and bring their business challenges, their struggles, their questions. Hey, hello, how do I do X? I host mastermind meetings where we get together monthly and those folks have a chance to share experiences I coach we bring in content really help bring in planning, bring in strategy, bring in accountability, so they can really get focused on growing and scaling. And yeah, I mean, the medical side, it’s the yeah, there’s been a lot of folks coming in with really great intention and noble causes and, you know, which are, you know, incredibly important. But the thing is, you also have to run a successful business, right like you’re unless unless you’re Gonna get funded continuously somehow from some outside source. Like if you’ve got to figure how to make money. And so I think one of the things that I love doing is helping people that are super passionate and have really noble causes, and are mission driven. also figure out how to make sure that it’s going to be a sustainable, viable business model. Because at the end of the day, that if you really want to have impact, if you really want to bring your product or service to market, and impact as many people as possible, you have to build a sustainable, scalable model around it, right? There’s no There’s no point in doing it, or it’s really tough to do if you require funding at every stage.

John Malanca 40:35
You know, being in this industry for 11 years, I think we’ve we’ve we’ve seen it all I’ve seen a lot of companies come in even in our company, you know, the same thing of growing pains, what worked, what didn’t work, keep on you know, pull your bootstraps back up and, and keep going. That was one thing that I still have in my head every day with a friend is act like you’re in the middle of mud are in the in the trenches, mud, heavy sack on pouring, rain, wind blowing, and you’re just one step at a time and look forward, if just constantly go go go and forget about all this other hoopla on their side, as well. You mentioned let me go with your your Mastermind course. And you’re sharing ideas that isn’t a one on one sharing ideas or even a group like,

Unknown Speaker 41:15
yeah, so what the way I do it is I put together groups of about six to eight, CEOs. And I do it by industry. So all these folks are in cannabis, I just want to make sure there’s no direct competitive conflicts. So either geography geographically spread, or you’re working on different parts of the Grow chain. But the point is to bring together folks that are going through this similar struggles, right, like, you know, trying to figure out how to get this business run and growing the business, find the right people figuring out strategy, you can often learn a lot from other folks that either are going through the same thing, or just went through that or going through that in six months. And so I created a container, right? A space where we can get together and share those ideas. Like what we call hot seat, right? So I get people to get like, okay, like what is the real challenge and we dig into it, we push for root causes, we get super vulnerable at times, I was just saying, do people feel comfortable sharing? We’ve had people cry, we’ve had people like oh, yeah, absolutely like because because like at the end of the day, this is it’s challenging, right, as an entrepreneur, like most of the stuff that you’re struggling with, or stuff that’s in your head, right. And if you you don’t have a place to be able to kind of work that stuff out. In a and the nice thing is, is that that group, no one has a dog in your fight, right? Like, we’re just there to love you and like help you be successful, right? Like, like, we’re not an investor, we’re not a spouse, we’re not an employee, we’re not a business partner. We’re not a regulator, like, whatever, we’re just there to help you be successful. But we can give you honest, you know, feedback around what we see and the patterns you’re in and the your thinking patterns. And we can help call some of that stuff out. And the whole point is to get more options more perspective on the table, so you can make better decisions that are going to help you scale faster. So that’s the container we create in the program. And then I bring in coaching tools and growth tools. And we do strategy, and we have goal setting and stuff like that. But fundamentally, is to create that space where you can really share deeply with with other folks that are in similar situations.

John Malanca 43:07
So you have two things. One is your one on one, but also your your mastermind. And so the mastermind is it a six week course or so I

Unknown Speaker 43:16
do that we do that sort of in perpetuity. I do usually do a one year, we have a one year curriculum, and then people stay in it. And we yeah, we keep that group going. And it because you end up creating, you get to know these people. Yeah, you know them deeply, and they know you deeply. And that’s a really valuable thing when you’re going through different phases of the process.

John Malanca 43:34
Fantastic. So how do people find you?

Unknown Speaker 43:38
So excel.com EC K ftld t.com. It’s my my main website and has all my coaching information, thinking outside the bud.com is the podcast. And my email is just bruce@fl.com you can always reach out and I’ll I’ll put you in touch with whatever piece of content is most applicable to your situation.

John Malanca 43:56
And are you working on anything right now that you want to highlight? We got to the audience?

Unknown Speaker 44:01
Yeah, depending on we’re putting together a really interesting Symposium on cultivation in June. So and we’re we’re bringing together some of the most interesting cultivators, people in ag science, people in research people that have been cultivating cannabis for, you know, 3040 years, and really focusing on the science of cultivation. So we’re putting into that program that’s going to be in June. It’s a one day symposium. And we’re doing a new mastermind group the end of next month so we’re recruiting for that. What else we’ve got going on? Yeah, just the world is so busy. podcast episodes all over the kidding. Yeah.

John Malanca 44:39
Never ending but Well, cool. Have a lot to share with you. Offline. I’d like to introduce you to people as well and further discuss see what we can do together as well. But, Bruce, I thank you so much for jumping on. I have to ask you, I love that background. Tell me it’s not a green screen. Is it real?

Unknown Speaker 44:57
That’s that’s real. That’s all good. I

John Malanca 44:59
love it. I I love the colors. Perfect. So hey, Bruce ek Phil, my fellow Eck FTM fedt.com. And I thank you and then how, let me say share how can they find your podcast as well?

Unknown Speaker 45:18
Yeah, so thinking outside the bud.com is you know, you just search for that and you’ll you’ll find it’s on all the all the all the platforms, there’s a website will push you to whatever platform you want. Sounds awesome. Awesome.

John Malanca 45:31
Well, Bruce, I appreciate you being on and doing what you’re doing in the industry. And I look forward to doing more with you in the future as well and have a blessed day and everyone hope you enjoy this. I certainly did. John Malanca is United Patients group be informed and be well and we’ll see you again soon. Take care everyone. Bye bye.