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The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Episode 156: Synchrodestiny and Taking Career Chances with Steve Nelson

January 05, 2022  |  By Matt Waller

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In this episode of Be Epic, Matt sits down with Steve Nelson, co-founder of 3-D printing technology company Carbon, Inc and empowerment initiative Re Inc. Steve is an investor, entrepreneur and board member who shares his journey from IBM to Wakefield Group to launching several successful start-ups along with his recent move to Northwest Arkansas.

Episode Transcript

Matt Waller  0:02  
I mean, I jokingly think of it as kind of forks in the road that you look at every two to three years to assess whether you're learning growing, developing and still getting excited every day. Excellence, professionalism, innovation and collegiality. These are the values of the Sam M. Walton College of Business explores in education, business and the lives of people we meet every day. I'm Matt Waller Dean of the Walton College. Welcome to the be epic podcast. I have with me today Steve Nelson, co-founder at Carbon Inc, and co-founder of Re Inc. Steve has tremendous experience as a financier, as a entrepreneur and as a leader, and he has lots of board experience as well. Thank you so much, Steve, for joining me today. I really appreciate it.

Steve Nelson  0:21  
Matt. Delighted to have the conversation. Thanks so much for including me.

Matt Waller  0:24  
You really have a tremendous background in so many things. I know when you started your career, you were at IBM and you were there for 14 years and left as vice president and general manager. Rather than talk about the earlier days in your career, I would like to start a little bit sooner. Start by talking a little bit about your experience with Wakefield Group as managing partner. And Wakefield is a venture capital firm for those listening.

Steve Nelson  0:57  
Sure, maybe we'll describe a little bit this whole notion of Synchro destiny, which you and I have had some fun conversations about before. But it was a bit fortunate for me that I was with a person that was looking for somebody to kind of come in and be the new Research Triangle Park, North Carolina General Partner and ultimately to be the managing general partner of the firm. And I ended up being in New York City offering advice on folks that might be good. And then I said, you know, if not for the fact that I love what I'm doing in California, we're raising our children. They're only five and seven, we have a great place, great lives. If not for that, I might be interested. I was surprised to hear myself say it. Surprised to get the question. I think they were surprised to hear me say it. And they asked me to put my thoughts together and fly to Charlotte, North Carolina. In this case, from the Bay Area. I lived in East Bay and I lived and worked in Silicon Valley, I guess for seven years. Before I knew it. I was moving to North Carolina and I was basically asked to be the managing general partner of Wakefield Group, which is a private investment vehicle for an amazing family, the Spangler family out of Charlotte. They'd be a first generation success story that would have gone long in Charlotte banking. That thing is now called Bank of America went long and building products. So what long in a bunch of industries almost a Warren Buffett of the South, just an incredible family. And I got asked to be their person, that was an amazing 14-year almost 15-year run for me ultimately kind of covering private investment. Think of it as more venture capital with some growth equity investing in and around the southeast with a base and Research Triangle Park. I learned enormously from my partners, but enormously on the job by doing the job.

Matt Waller  2:30  
Still, it was a big change for you in many different ways, not only in terms of location, but you had been involved in IBM, you've been involved in a software company Informix. And you'd been involved in a digital sports media company, a tremendous experience. But this seemed to be a bit of a change in terms of your path. Is that right? In my

Steve Nelson  2:53  
I'd say in a way yes. But the last role that I had, I jokingly referred to myself getting bigger and bigger jobs and smaller and smaller companies from IBM to Informix software to this fun little company called Quokka Sports which was a digital sports company that ultimately went public. In that role, I kind of learned that company creation business, and I was the one that Quokka Sports, I joined that thing. We had no money. I'm like thinking back on what was I thinking? We had no money. Two lovely young children. I had no way to pay myself. But somehow I wanted to be that first kind of senior executive behind the co founders. And I was raising the money. And ultimately, a great group called Accel Partners became our lead investor. So I kind of learned the venture business by being on the inside of a young company. And I kind of saw it from the ground up. So I was on the other side. And I often think that the best way to be in a lot of businesses is to see it from different perspectives. So the fact that I'd been a young company person, but maybe trained in big, important companies, too. Before I knew it, I felt like I knew the VC business pretty well. So all of a sudden, now I'm the one when I joined Wakefield Group to try to assess it from the other side and try to help it add value to the companies we decide to go back to invest in.

Matt Waller  3:57  
Boy, that's so true. And you know, some of the extremely successful business people I've interviewed on podcasts, I've seen this as a pattern. You know, some people want to stay in the same line of business or in the same vertical or same function within a company. But sometimes, you know, whether you're in a company getting different functional experience, or going to other companies and seeing things from different perspectives, it really gives you an advantage in future years.

Steve Nelson  4:25  
I completely agree. I mean, I jokingly think of it as kind of forks in the road that you look   at every two to three years to assess whether you're learning, growing, developing and still getting excited every day. And I started thinking if it wasn't for the first path, I was at IBM, as you said, for almost 15 years, the fact that I was willing to join a Silicon Valley based software company, I didn't have to do that either. And didn't have to take other functions that IBM or other moves at IBM and you think of your patchwork body of work is all based on kind of those choices. In many ways. I think there's the choices we make that are the most important thing. And for me, it's all about vitality, learning, growing and getting energized and I always do that when I'm growing and developing with amazing new people where I think I can learn and contribute in some way.

Matt Waller  5:04  
I'd like to skip up to Carbon, the fun one. You co-founded that in 2013. So you've been engaged there for eight years. But would you tell us a little bit about that story?

Steve Nelson  5:16  
Yeah, it's a a joy that's still being told. And it's amazing book instead of chapters were the next chapters are still to be told as well. But I then ran this Wakefield Group venture firm. So I felt like I had been in the company creation business, trying to back people that wanted to change the world. And I thought in many ways, it was like America's great business that I had, that involved investment judgment and company building skills. But I noticed that what I loved the most about being an investor was helping the companies because I felt like I go back to my IBM or Informix or Quokka Sports days, I got a real joy out of being on the inside. So I was invited by people that I knew, the people that I invested in, people that we had actually had an investment in, we called liquidity of technologies, taking a company public. In fact, I was on the board, I was the lead investor, I got drafted from and by the board to actually be the CEO for 18 months when we were making a leadership transition at the time at the company. And one of my friends that I knew well from liquidia said, Hey, we got this really cool 3D printing company idea. Love to run it by you. Love to get your thoughts. Maybe you want to be an investor, an advisor, launch president, somehow get involved. And I'm like, well, this is like really interesting. Tell me more. At the same time, I also had plenty on so I wasn't really looking to do new things. And I guess, back to my forks in a road, this might have been 2013 or something like that. They kind of say overnight on a text exchange, what do you think about coming to join us as one of the four co-founders, two professors, a theoretical physicist from Moscow State and me, and I didn't want to have any sense of imperialism. I was going to be the CEO. But I called myself in my own mind chief business guy. But these were extraordinary people that I knew really well, so I knew who I was getting into business with. But I also joined the company at the time, we had $9,200 in the bank. We owed lawyers $72,000. We had a printer made out of wood, and we were going to try to change manufacturing worldwide. We wanted to change the way things were made. And I knew how extraordinary my partners were in many ways. I felt honored to be their partners. So they built this first 3D printer for 200 bucks in Dr. Alexander Ermoshkin's home. He's one of my co founder partners; he and his son built it. They're amazing folks. And if you think of building a 3D printer made out of wood, a broken projector off of eBay, a stepper motor from Radio Shack, and some materials, I think, from Lowe's and maybe Ace Hardware, both plywood and resins or chemical materials, and it ended up also they came up with really what they called a window or a way of actually producing the 3D printed parts. I call it a magic window they dreamed up and I had some probably the best polymer chemist in the world and one of the best entrepreneurs in the world. Now Dr. Joe DeSimone is one of my partners they came up with I was just the lucky beneficiary of a contact lens type of material that was transparent to light, permeable to oxygen, and you could 3D print in a photo chemical way, not in the electromechanical way of the previous 25 years. All of a sudden, we had a 3D printer. And I remember the first drawing was of an ice cube, but you could 3D print 25 times, maybe even 100 times faster. So it was kind of a breakthrough. We put all of our research and studies into a research report into a paper. We debuted on the cover of Science Magazine, on the floor of a TED talk in Vancouver, and I was the one is my cheap business guys. Instead of the VC world, so well, I went to Sequoia Capital who are for sure the best venture capital firm in the world and for sure, the best in history and one of my great friends was at the time still a young and getting proven person named Jim Goetz who's now gone on to become five years in a row, the number one tech investor in the world Midas list number one, and we tried to raise one to 2 million from Jim and we ended up getting a commitment basically for them to lead a round of 11 million the same afternoon we started. And it's kind of gone crazy good. Four of us started with negative 63,000 bucks in the bank and now we got 500 employees Silicon Valley based blue so the blue chip and enterprise customers you name a prestigious enterprise customer, we kind of have them. I call it a tiger by the tail, for sure. And I went from CEO to becoming chairman. We then recruited Alan Mulally, who iconically ran Ford, and was the President/CEO of Boeing Commercial to join our board and he's been amazing. And then even Ellen Kullman -- who I think Alan helped recruit to the board, but Joe DeSimone's help -- is now our CEO and she's the first woman in 212 years to run Dupont. It's one of our big chemical suppliers. So it's been this handoff of amazing talent to amazing talent. And now I just feel like the lucky guy, just active co-founder, but we've had a crazy fun run and I think the next chapters are still to be told.

Well, your investor group is really impressive Sequoia Capital, Silverlake, Google Ventures, Piedmont Capital, Wakefield Group, GE Ventures, Fidelity, Johnson & Johnson, BMW, IDs and more.

Yeah, we made $680 million nobody's been coming at us. We haven't even really tried to raise it. It's phenomenal. So we're super well capitalized got hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank. And I guess one of the big recruits that we have and I think about it was I met again through Jim Goetz is a bit like going to to me, Steven Spielberg that knows who you want in your movie if you want to have a blockbuster. Sequoia introduced me to Craig Carlson. At the time, he was immediately former original VP of Engineering at Tesla for Elon Musk for the first eight years pre-revenue. And I got to meet Craig on bench in his hometown. Fast forward a couple of months and Craig Carlson is our chief technology officer. And we probably have 35 or 40 Tesla people there. And we've got the founding engineering head of Tesla is our head of engineering. Greg has been phenomenal. Joe's son, Phil De Simone has been phenomenal from the beginning is really the Chief Business Development product person, he closes all the big deals, we've got this amazing team, but it's a bit again, back to my analogy of that Spielberg movie, everybody watched the movie, everybody wants to invest, everybody wants to join.

Matt Waller  10:59  
you taking something that in my mind still is very new and cutting edge like 3D printing, and reinventing it that's quite remarkable. You had described to me before, when we met how this works, it does seem a little bit like magic.

Steve Nelson  11:15  
Yeah, let me maybe describe it a little bit as if you imagine Terminator 2 liquid metal man growing up out of the broth out of a puddle, we literally do a CAD drawing of anything, think of that magic window that's made out of that contact lens kind of material. And we now have probably not current, but 40 plus patents, maybe a couple 100 pending, so it's truly new to the world. You literally do all that play a movie of the part you want to produce, and it stays liquid at the puddle on the magic window and you have a UV curable light, I think it's a wavelength of 365, the same kind of DLP chip you'd have in a movie theater, and you literally can pull the product out of the broth or out of the lake. And if you've seen again, Liquid Metal Man where they just grew up out of a puddle, it's very similar. So as a result, it's a breakthrough 25 to 100 times faster, much less expensive, higher quality parts, you can do used parts, instead of it being the parts that you would use only for prototyping. It really changes supply chain logistics, why would you make hundreds in advance if you don't need them? Why don't you do it just in time? Why wouldn't you bring some of those jobs or that capability back to the US? And why wouldn't everything be made for you? Why wouldn't there be a size mat for pretty much everything things in your feet, maybe things in your ears, maybe medical devices, I mean, kind of watch this space, because you can actually make everything different. So it's bespoke. And its won because of its speed because it's really focused on end-use manufacturing. So it's it's been a breakthrough and kind of the joy of a lifetime. And I'm thinking about how in the world that I get involved in that. I guess the commonalities are amazing people that you hustle and try to work hard for that invite you in to be a co-founder. And also when I think back on it, I had to leave my 15 year venture capital job to join a company that had no money. Printer made out of wood. But I'd never thought of it that way. Man. I just thought of it as the opportunity. And then the whole idea of getting back inside a company just felt like a joy. And I had enough pattern recognition in a while this is really different. Almost like we had an amazing screenplay. So I sole sourced it to Steven Spielberg. In this case, Jim Goetz who again, I knew how good Jim was. And he said yes in one afternoon to offer us five times more money than we were seeking. We're done. And we went stealth for 18 months. And Jim is now the lead investor, quarterback and calling all the shots. I'm just a cheerleader, helper, active, you know, with some free time to do a few other things.

Matt Waller  13:30  
What an amazing story. Congratulations. 

Steve Nelson  13:34  
So watch the space company's going really good. I think the zero to one part was the invention that Alexander Ermoshkin and his son came up with with Joe DeSimone's help. But at some point, scaling these companies is both fun and the next opportunity. And we've been scaling it beautifully. And this is a company that's definitely built to last.

Matt Waller  13:49  
You are also co-founder of re Inc. 

Steve Nelson  13:52  
Yeah, there's a fun story there too. I guess when I think back on themes, again, I'm a less young guy, much less young guy than you. So I've kind of seen the movie before and what I ended up gravitating towards the big theme. So the whole idea of transforming manufacturing, that's exciting. I'm also a proud dad, two amazing daughters, wonderful wife of 30 plus years and this whole idea of equity, equality, fairness, even diversity inclusion for women just resonated with me. And it turns out having lived in Chapel Hill, where UNC Chapel Hill is, they have this iconic women's football team meaning soccer team. And I knew that I was Mr. Nelson to a bunch of them because I kind of guess drawn to greatness and that program's iconic in terms of how good it is going back to the Mia Hamm days and they're the ones that won the women's World Cup back in 2015. And at the same time are going to sue their boss over being treated unfairly. You don't often aren't often best of the world at what you do. So I was advised you're number one to the US Women's National Team Players Association. We brought in McKinsey to do a study about getting them paid fairly etc. I came down to a friendly match in Brazil. This we were joking about it. I just came from New York with my re friends, my soccer friends Now iconic people, they weren't at the time, we said, you know, yes, you ought to fight for equal pay, you ought to fight for being fair pay, I think fair is a better word. Maybe you ought to get paid more, you ought to be treated equally and paid fairly. But have you thought about starting a new company, we call it newco -- N.E.W.C.O. --, where there isn't a bunch of unfairness, older white men that decide how much you're worth? Let the world decide. So we kind of built this thing launched it in 2019 at the Women's World Cup, the fundraising there has been crazy as well literally raised money, I think, well, the first money was from Kleiner Perkins, which would be a top two firm in history. We raised that literally at a zoom call, and the money was in the bank in two days before the woman played their first match. And it started out in streetwear. And it's really now morphed in this vertical social network for change makers, some biking enthusiasts would know the Apple Strava that kind of tracks everything for the biking enthusiast. This is more for the people that want to change the world and be changemakers and it turns out my partners -- Megan Rapinoe, Kristen Press, Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg -- became synonymous with the cultural movement of fairness, equity, equality, fairness, and changing the world in a good way. And even the fight for fair pay. It's been another tiger by the tail, they invited me in because they knew me as Mr. Nelson, they now call me Steve as a co founder. And it's 85% women owned all but probably 90% women run and me, they call me OG, I thought that meant old guy, which is true. And that was actually original gangster. I said, Okay, what does that mean? I said, no, it's actually good. You've been here from the beginning. So I'm OG to my young friends. I'm twice as old and we've had a ball. And we've added now to Kleiner Perkins, we raised money from New Enterprise associates, NEA, who's fantastic firm from CAA, that probably the most important talent agency in history out of LA, this university called Stanford that you probably heard of, and it's kind of gone really good. For me, it's a joy, I would do anything with these folks, I would do a not for profit, build a house. Anything. By the way, Megan Rapinoe is not like one of these iconic people on the planet. And she's my friend four years ago, almost five years ago. So it's been a bit of a wild ride. And for me a joy in the fact that we actually have a company. And by the way back to the whole notion of Yeah, fight to get paid fairly. But if you own something, there's this thing called ownership that nobody decided that the world and how good you're going to be. And we're off to a really good start. And let's just say their time and effort has been really well spent with a lot of upside to research been a joy. Absolutely a joy. 

Matt Waller  17:23  
Well, that's awesome. You have a lot going on. You're on many boards, we haven't gone through that. But there's one board that I would like to talk a little bit about. You are one of the founding board members of the Whole Health Institute.

Steve Nelson  17:37  
Yeah, it's gonna be the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences, kind of the new med school, but also I was kind of a founding advisor before the whole health institute even started. I had the great joy of meeting Alice. Alice Walton that is, to me is like an entrepreneur. She's an innovator, she's an out of the box thinker. A lot of people would say she's the most like her dad, pretty iconic guy that started this fortune one company, there in town. Alice has become a amazing person in my life, amazing friend and invited me not only was there from the beginning of the Whole Health Institute, a bit of a founding advisor, even into leading the search for Tracy Gaudet, who's done a fantastic job, and the team behind all of that. But now this new med school and I guess her first are tied for first new board member of the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences. But love Alice and what she wants to do to transform healthcare in America.

Matt Waller  18:23  
Clearly, you've been involved in some very transformational businesses. This seems to be remarkably transformational because it could transform healthcare business in the United States.

Steve Nelson  18:37  
Yeah, it's, it's got big dreams. I just love people that are big dreamers, I kind of say it all begins with a dream. And Alice Walton and her whole initiative at Whole Health wants to transform healthcare in America, think of it as also East meets West. So it's not all about fee for service. It's about keeping people healthy. It's about the move to value based care, new payment models, new approaches, new partnerships, you may have seen a big launch of a conversation and for specialties with the Cleveland Clinic, pretty much everybody on the planet that's anybody or even best in the world of what you do wants to partner so it's been a good a joy that you put some amazing people in the same room. And the beautiful thing is it's starting in Northwest Arkansas in the hometown of where this amazing family and you know, my friend Alice, grew up. So it's a joy for me to try to help any way I can. And that case, it's completely not for profit. I don't need or want anything out of it. I just get energy and vitality. I love hanging around people like Alice in the whole health crowd. They've been amazing.

Matt Waller  19:34  
It is. It's tremendous. What made you decide to move to Northwest Arkansas? Was it that?

Steve Nelson  19:40  
yeah, I guess COVID has a way of doing things for everybody in the world. Right? I mean, we always joke about that. We were 20 year people in North Carolina. Our daughters have 20 Somethings that live in LA in Santa Monica, Brentwood kind of area. And they couldn't really come back and see us so we couldn't really go see them in that window of time and my wife beautifully proudly pronounces hey, I want to buy a sprinter van. When we get a sprinter van and just kind of do our life from the road a little bit, so which is what we did, and we're out visiting them. And again, at this point, I'm hundreds of conversations into life with Alice and the whole health crowd. And she has a stop through town on our trip, literally from LA back to North Carolina, because we were still at the time owning a home and property in North Carolina after 20 years of living there. Big empty nester house, it wasn't really required. We stopped, stayed at the 21-C, spent a lot of time with Alice and some of her family members toured the place. Before you know it, somebody called and said, hey, there might be a unit available. And we took a look at it on like 10 minutes notice. And at the seven minute mark of being toured around it, my wife says we'll take it. So that's back to the was that planned? Was that in a spreadsheet? No, I guess that's a blank moment of just forks in roads and amazing people. And I really, I'll add to it. So Alice and the Whole Health Institute for both my wife and I, my dear wife, Susan, and I is a huge draw for us. Because we just feel like we could have been involved from the ground up with something great. That's really important. Again, if you think of themes, health and wellness, and healing is really important theme. So is changing manufacturing. So is equity, equality, fairness for women. But I also think Bentonville in Northwest Arkansas could be this next great place to start and grow a business. There's no way. And the reason any reasons, it can't be that next great place. It's very much the way I felt about North Carolina in late 1999, when we moved there when we just picked up and moved. So it's very similar to pick up and move. And there's been amazing folks. And I feel like there's no reason. And by the way that told you, Matt, you're fantastic at what you do, we wouldn't have to invent somebody as good as you that wanted to actually be transformative on a local level, and so many professional ways, and just had joyous times with you already. So the whole idea of being around people, when you wake up every day excited about who's there. It's just something I get excited about. And I love it as a base for next chapters. So that's the way I guess it came to be. And here we are. And it's been fantastic. 

Matt Waller  22:02  
What you say is so true. What makes life joyful is the people you're around. I so much agree with that. And there are so many wonderful people to be around. So we are fortunate. You have been an extremely successful business leader in many, many different dimensions. Really a paragon, I think for young people who want to go into business, what would you recommend to our students, whether they be undergraduates or graduate students?

Steve Nelson  22:35  
I really appreciate the question. And of all the things we've talked about, this is probably my favorite, I get so much energy out of young, talented people. At some point, I'm the less young guy no matter what. So the whole idea of trying to help. And we come across Matt, you and I as wise, but we just have seen the movie before and lived longer and have some life learnings to share. There's a few if you don't mind me mentioning them would be, I'me really big on exploring your interests to find your passions, and then open the aperture wide to find out what you love. And if you could find the people, places, things that or even who inspire you, give you energy, give you vitality. I think that brings inspiration into your life. And it helps you or even create your life calling and I'm really big on what's your life calling What's your reason for being. And for me, it's those things that give you the most energy, the most vitality is usually your passions over time, and you can over time, find a way to work in those fields. And then find the people around that that are kind of best at what they do. And prioritize those folks. You know, first and foremost, I love to go to work on them, with them, for them. I don't need any gain out of it. My gain is the energy and vitality I get out of it and the learnings I get out of it. And as we talked about the joy, and sometimes I feel like I've I'm honored privileged lucky to even be alongside them. Like who am I? I'm just this guy that's had these forks in the road that some of them are worked out pretty well. So this whole idea of combining what you love to do what you with what you do for a living. I think it's fantastic as well, I guess if I was thinking of skills to grow, I think Systems Thinking is good. That's where innovation and opportunity think of those key skills, you know, wide and deep be an expert at something but be broad enough liberal arts, with the sciences. I think being technology aware, and or savvy. I think being able to use these tools is really important. I think being competitive and actually wanting to do well. I don't mean competing against other people but wanting to do well. Maybe that's better said as conscientiousness or grit. And then there's nothing better than being a great communicator, I think both verbal and written. And I love the idea of being of service to others. And so the longer you live, the more and I'm sure you realize that maybe you've realized that your whole life. I really got it in the last decade or so. This whole idea of being service to others is where I get my joy. It's not by doing my thing is is by helping others. So I guess those are the big things that I would say. But I'd actually add to it, you know, be a dreamer, you know, I now hang around because of Sequoia and Alice Walton and my friends at Kleiner, Perkins, John Doerr, these are dreamers that think anything is possible. And I guess I've always been the person personally, no matter what I'm going to give everything my absolute best effort, they're going to get my best me. If we can control having a positive attitude and being upbeat about things I don't know many pessimistic successful folks. I don't hang around with them anyway. And then being a great team player, and then it doesn't feel like work if you're working alongside amazing people. Those are some of the things that I really have enjoyed, I guess over the last many years is picking projects that I'm passionate about finding the absolute best people associated with it. And there's, you know, there's been talk on the engineering side of things of 10x. Engineers, like some engineers are 10 times better, doesn't mean they're better people. And this means just engineers, I just think some people are just extraordinary at what they do. And if you could find a way to be a talent scout, and get your way to those extraordinary people. That's where the magic really happens is, you know, big dreams, big needs, extraordinary people. And it doesn't thence feel like work at all, it feels like a joy. And we've used that word. I think, you know, happiness is fleeting. Joy is not, I think you get joy from serving and helping others. And for me, it never fades to try to be of service and helping other folks. And it never fades to want to be around incredible people. So I guess those would be some of the life lessons. You can't always do that job. One. I'm thinking when I was a young IBM guy that did I know this? No way. But this is like if I was to get beamed up to another planet and had to offer these words based on now many decades of being around extraordinary people and some fun projects. I'd want to share those words,

Matt Waller  27:01  
Based on my observation of you, you really live this service to others. I know you're doing it in many ways with the Whole Health Institute. No, but you you're doing it with the university too helping us with the entrepreneurship efforts. And I really appreciate that we're, we're lucky you decided to move here and get engaged. 

Steve Nelson  27:20  
So I'm the lucky one. And again, lucky to have met you, man have so enjoyed our conversations, and I hope there's many, many more opportunity to work side by side. I'm really proud of what you're doing. And your team is doing. And there's a big opportunity for somebody to do something really special somewhere in the nation. And I don't know why northwest Arkansas, and things emanating from your leadership and kind of locking arms with some other incredible people and I'm, I'm bringing my friends through town. So my you know, dear friend, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins is coming to town for the second time. Jim Goetz is coming to town as you well know, from Sequoia and I don't think he's spoken publicly in six years. He's coming in April. So we're getting the best in the world kind of folks that want to come to town to tell their story to listen, learn and offer thoughts and these are folks that in theory have already won at life. But they want to offer gifts to others and they're picking our town in Northwest Arkansas to have those conversations.

Matt Waller  28:12  
Steve, thank you so much for taking time today to visit with us andit's been a really interesting conversation and really appreciate you. Have a wonderful holiday.

Steve Nelson  28:22  
I appreciate that Matt.

Matt Waller  28:22  
On behalf of the Sam M Walton College of Business I want to thank everyone for spending time with us for another engaging conversation you can subscribe by going to your favorite podcast service and searching be epic B E E P IC

Matt WallerMatthew A. Waller is the dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair and professor of supply chain management. He is also the host for the Be EPIC Podcast for Walton College.


Walton College's EPIC values -- Excellence, Professionalism, Innovation and Collegiality -- are the heart of Dean Waller’s podcast. Since the beginning of the series, Waller has interviewed business professionals, industry experts, CEOs and Walton College students to bring listeners first-hand accounts directly from the entrepreneurial world.


Waller is an SEC Academic Leadership Fellow and coauthor of “The Definitive Guide to Inventory Management: Principles and Strategies for the Efficient Flow of Inventory across the Supply Chain,” published by Pearson Education. He is the former co-editor-in-chief of Journal of Business Logistics. His opinion pieces have appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia and Financial Times.


Waller received an M.S. and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and a B.S.B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri.

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Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become the state's premier college of business – as well as a nationally competitive business school. Learn more...

Be Epic Podcast

We're sitting down with innovators and business mavericks to discuss strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship. The Be EPIC Podcast is hosted by Matthew Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Learn more...

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