Ep 011

Kyle Van Pelt | Leverage Tech to Deliver Better Client Experiences


Kyle Van Pelt

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Inside This Episode

As if building a business in the financial services industry wasn’t already hard enough, financial advisors are also expected to be tech experts too!?

You need a CRM, a portfolio management system, a custodian, planning software, and a host of other tools to effectively manage client portfolios and deliver financial advice.

Not only is that super overwhelming—especially for those who don’t have a tech background—but figuring out how all of these different software’s communicate with each other is a massive challenge in itself. In large part, because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. 

So, how do you get all these disjointed technologies to speak to one another, so you and your team can focus on what you do best?

Today’s guest is here to help. I’m talking with Kyle Van Pelt, the CEO of Milemarker—a fintech firm that helps bring together integrations, data, and workflows to manage client information. In our conversation, Kyle shares his best advice for how advisors can use tech to enhance the client experience. 

3 of the biggest insights from Kyle Van Pelt

  • #1 There’s a kitchen junk drawer of tech that advisors are struggling to effectively integrate into their businesses. It’s confusing and convoluted. Kyle shares a more effective approach for how to solve the problem. 

  • #2 Learn about the Airbnb 11-Star client experience exercise and how to use technology to create a white-glove service that your clients will never forget.

  • #3 Time on one thing means time away from another. There’s no such thing as a perfect seesaw of balance in life. Kyle shares his tips for how to show up your best for both your business and family.


  • 00:00 How Riskalyze transformed the way financial advisors talk about risk with their clients.
  • 11:50 The frustrating tech-stack problem that every advisor is trying to figure out.
  • 18:10 Where are the gaps in your business and should they be solved with technology, processes, or people?
  • 22:13 The Airbnb “11-Star” exercise that will teach you how to create an unforgettable client experience.
  • 28:15 How to think like The Marriott and use technology to better understand your clients and create a white-glove experience that separates you from the pack.
  • 45:10 Steps to balance the demands of being an entrepreneur with the demands of being present for your family.
  • 53:26 Using generosity and charity work to gain perspective on life’s hardships.
  • 01:01:16 How Kyle defines “Do Business, Do Life.”



While we may include in our conversations mentions of firms and or products, this shall not serve as a review or endorsement of those firms.



  • What humans love is feeling seen and not feeling like this is what you do for every other person who comes through the door.” – Kyle Van Pelt

  • No matter whether it’s a three-star experience or a ten-star experience, the foundation and core of that have to be that these clients can live the life that they want to live and that while living that life, they’re not going to be putting themselves in jeopardy.” – Kyle Van Pelt

  • Understand that there are seasons where opportunity strikes. You have to go after it like a lion chasing a gazelle. But then there’s also opportunity for rest and for over-indexing on the other side of life.” – Kyle Van Pelt

  • It’s not enough to just say you’re a fiduciary or you’re a fee-only advisor anymore because regulatory winds are changing that to where everybody has to be a fiduciary, right? That used to be a differentiator. Now, I think it’s table stakes.”– Kyle Van Pelt

  • “Start with the end in mind because if you know where you’re going, it’s easier to figure out how to get there.” – Brad Johnson

  • If you’re going to do life with somebody, you’ve got to know them. What are they into? The more you know them, the more you can serve them in an intimate, unique way versus a cookie cutter everybody-gets-the same.”– Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson: Welcome back to another episode of Do Business Do Life. Kyle Van Pelt, welcome to the show. Glad to have you here, man.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. Absolutely, man. This is surreal. After listening to so many of the initial episodes and a bunch of your podcasts before, I’m stoked to be here. Thanks for having me.

Brad Johnson: Well, thanks, man. That’s humbling because I know you’ve got quite the pedigree and finance kind of coming up through the technology side. And I think it’s always kind of fun to reminisce like how this connection came to be. And if I remember right, it was a visit to my prior life in an office in Topeka, Kansas. And then I remember I think we connected in Atlanta one time at one of our kind of our meetings or events we’re doing, and it’s really cool to like, I think there’s a pretty instant connection. Just a couple of guys that were growing up in finance and we’re always kind of looking out in the future and kind of we have that that geeky, nerdy side of technology that we could connect on. But it’s really been cool to follow your path, man. So glad to have you here.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah, I appreciate that. I’m thankful that we made the connection as well, so it should be a fun conversation.

Brad Johnson: Kyle, I believe looking back when we first met you at Riskalyze, and I know many of the officers, many of the advisors listening in, not only are they probably familiar with Riskalyze but they’re probably actively using it in their business right now. So, maybe tell us because you were very early in the Riskalyze journey and you saw just kind of rocket-like trajectory there. Give us a little bit of story of how did that come to be. What were some of the lessons you learned from your Riskalyze journey? And then we’ll take it from there.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah, I appreciate that. And I’d be remiss without starting this without a huge thank you to both Aaron Klein and Mike McDaniel, who kind of took a chance with me. But I’ll start even a little bit before. This is kind of fun how this came to be. So, January of 2012, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and start a technology company with an old family friend. And like a lot of people in their first-time businesses, I had no idea which way was up or what I was doing. So, I’m just trying to devour as much content as I can to learn how to do this, how to build a startup. And I stumble upon a venture capitalist blog. His name is Fred Wilson, and he wrote every single day about building startups, building technology. And he knew a thing or two about what he was talking about because he had invested in Twitter and a host of other really successful companies. But the reason I bring that up is so Fred would write a blog post every single day, but then in the comments section, it was like Cheers. It was the same people would show up every day in the comment section and they would talk about the article or they talk about different things. And one of the people that was always in that comment section was Aaron Klein, and it was the early days of when he was building Riskalyze, which was a consumer, you know, direct-to-consumer application. A lot of people don’t know that’s how the story started. So, Riskalyze loss was going to be a product that was on E-Trade or Fidelity’s retail and the whole thing was how do we help people create more trades that are more in line with their risk tolerance and that would create more revenue for those, you know, the E-trades of the world because they were making money on trades and commissions back then. And I still remember, Brad, distinctly in 2013 when Aaron posted in the Cheers comments section that Riskalyze had pivoted to selling to financial advisors. There was a blog post. I remember reading a blog post. So, fast forward to when I joined them, which is 2015. So, they start selling to financial advisors in 2013. They get a little bit of traction over that next year and then I join in 2015 as one of the earliest hires in Atlanta here on the East Coast with them. And I just immediately saw the value of design and truly focusing on great product for the financial advisor space, because I think almost anybody listening to this, one, if you use Riskalyze, appreciate how well-designed it is, how easy it is to use. It takes you on a path that you want to be on, but two, the inverse of what most of the other software is that they use, there’s buttons all over the screen. Everything is jammed into one thing and it just sort of feels like it was always functionality over design or beauty. So, I immediately felt that and saw that at Riskalyze. And then what I also saw was just the beauty of product marketing. So, I’ll tell a lot of people this. I still believe Aaron Klein is one of the best product marketers I’ve ever met, not just in our space or in technology as a whole, but he is just genuinely one of the best in the world at telling a story about a product. And that is where the magic of Riskalyze came to be, which I tell everybody is it created common language for advisors to talk to clients about how much risk they’re willing to take. Because even before I got involved with that company, it always seemed strange to me to have a moderate portfolio. What does moderate mean? You know, people say, do everything in moderation, eat sugar in moderation. Well, is that one candy bar? Is that five candy bars? Is that zero candy bars? You know, what is moderate? What is aggressive? What is balanced? What is conservative? And I think Aaron always tells the story but there’s a reason why contractors use feet in inches with architects. It’s because you don’t want to build a moderately aggressive hallway down to a conservative bedroom. It’s like, this is how we actually square this up. And so, seeing how all of that came together was truly impressive and magical. To combine all of that, that methodology in the way of creating common language for advisors and clients about risk with the beautifully designed product was awesome because almost every other risk tolerance product that was out in the market was very academic. It was a ton of questions. It was almost like going through a survey or a college, a college course, or exercise. So, I kind of paused there but I just remember seeing Aaron knowing he was special, meeting some of the other team behind it and seeing what they were doing and thinking, I’ve got to be a part of that. And I was going to work as hard as I possibly could to help be successful and kind of learn from those guys as much as possible.

Brad Johnson: That’s cool. Thanks for sharing that. There’s a couple of lessons I kind of pick up out of that. Number one, hell of a pivot by Riskalyze. That was a smart pivot to go from direct-to-consumer to the advisor space. I think that’s a lesson in distribution by itself is know who’s kind of distributing the knowledge that you’re trying to fit the product into. But I want to go to one other less than there. Here’s Kyle sitting at his laptop reading the blog post, and here’s Aaron on the other side of the country doing the same. That’s a characteristic of seeking knowledge, being a student, basically going in the direction that you think you want to go. Were you interacting on the comment section like, “Hey, dude, love what you’re doing at Riskalyze. Let’s connect?” Like, how did you go from two guys trading messages to I want to be a part of what you’re building?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. So, it’s probably even worse than that. I think because I was young and everything, I was more of a lurker in that comment section and I really wasn’t getting into the fray. So, I followed Riskalyze for a long time and I saw that they came to Atlanta and I had been involved in the Atlanta technology community and things like that for a while. So, when I saw that they were opening an office in Atlanta, this is the power of Twitter, I guess, I went to Twitter and I said, “Hey, anybody who’s looking for a new gig or thinking about doing something different? I’ve been following this company for a while and I think they’re remarkable. And I really think you would have a great experience here.” So, Aaron actually DM’d me after because, you know, as far as he was concerned, who in Atlanta had any clue who they were? So, he’s like, “Hey, who are you? Why do you know about us? What’s the deal?” And so, we got on a call. The funny thing is I don’t even know if Aaron remembers this or not but he tried to hire me as a software engineer at first. And I said I’d be honored but I don’t think you want me messing around in the code of your product. It’d probably go bad pretty, pretty quickly. And he was like, “Well, what do you do? Like, what are your skills?” And I said,” I really am a bridge between the people who understand the technology and the people who are buying the technology.” And so, that led to me doing a role of partnerships where I oversaw building 30 plus integrations at Riskalyze in a really short time. I was out in the market selling those and helping people understand how to benefit from connecting Riskalyze with their other systems and why they should be using it. But I could speak engineer, and I think some of that comes from the lifelong learning and being a student, but also be able to communicate well with others out in the marketplace. So, that’s how. I lurked for a long time but then I wasn’t afraid to promote cool things that I think are really interesting. And it led to a conversation.

Brad Johnson: Awesome. So, I want to, since our time here is limited, I kind of want to catch the audience that’s not completely familiar with your journey through fintech, essentially, where they both come together because you had a great run at Riskalyze, be part on good terms, and then the next stop is, I believe, Skience. Is that how you say it? Which I’ll let you describe it so I don’t butcher it, but now you’re working on this, you know, heavily on the CRM side, the data-driven side. And then I want to take some of the learnings and the future of technology and where you see it going in finance and really apply that to the advisor world. So, give us like a little CliffsNotes version or SparkNotes if you’re the kids these days version of your stop there. And then let’s transition to kind of where you see this thing going overall.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. Really high level. I think the founder of Skience was somebody who had been building in the Salesforce ecosystem for a long time. And we saw that this community, the financial advisor community needed something that worked more as a platform. And so, Skience was consulting. They were helping people turn Salesforce into what large advisory firms needed it to be. And then they also built an account-opening product that lived directly on top of Salesforce. So, you could open up to ten accounts at a time at your respective custodians. So, I just learned a lot there about how people were trying to take something and turn it into what this industry needed. And probably the biggest lesson, Brad, is our space is very niche. You have to really understand and speak this industry’s language and people are trying to take technology that wasn’t originally built for financial advisors and make it something for financial advisors. So, you either have things that are built really, truly exclusively for financial advisors, and with them in mind, think of the Redtails in financial planning software and things like that or you’re seeing firms try to take best-in-class technology for all other industries and then make them applicable to financial advisors. And that was a lot of what people hired Skience to do is, hey, we know that Salesforce is powerful. Lots of the rest of the world runs their business on this. We probably should too. Can you help us set this up to run as a wealth management platform? And that was a great experience. I learned a ton there about what people were trying to do.

Brad Johnson: So, let’s go to this because this is a good little bridge here. If you look at just technologies and finance and, we said Riskalyze, we’ve said Salesforce, you go into the financial planning softwares, the eMoneys, the MoneyGuidePros. Then we’ve got, you know, here’s my custodian and you know, [00:12:13]bolt [0.0s] together with Orion or whatever. I mean, that was like a very quick list and there’s dozens we haven’t even named. And one of the biggest frustrations I see with let’s just say here’s an advisor. They’ve been doing this 10, 20 years. Maybe they’re gathering 100 million of assets annually and they’ve got a few advisers on the team, 10, 12 team members. That sounds like a pretty good cross-section of maybe a standard firm that would work a Triad. And they’re like, “Wait, I’ve got to be a technology expert, too? It’s hard enough being a financial planner,” and they’re trying to get all of these disjointed technologies to talk to each other, to transfer data so their team doesn’t have to do data entry five different times and five different softwares. Let’s just talk because you’ve grown up in this, you know, APIs. Maybe you define what an API is for the novice out there, but I feel like it’s a kitchen juncture of technologies in a lot of financial services firms, and like how do you start to see that? I know Milemarker is on a really cool mission. That’s kind of where that all comes together. So, just riff on that a little bit, if you don’t mind.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. Well, there’s a couple of things at play here. So, the first and foremost is the reason why integrations work really well outside of our space is because there’s always a well-defined hub for all of the spokes to plug into. And most of the time that is the CRM because a business like Milemarker, for example, we run everything off of our CRM. And so, we’re trying to get things to plug into that CRM. And so, in the financial advisor space, there’s always for the past ten-plus years, probably even longer than a debate about what the hub for a financial advisor’s office is. Is it the CRM? Is it the portfolio management system? Is it the financial planning application or is it the custodian? So, not only do you not have a hub, you have four potential hubs. So, if you back up into the shoes of somebody who’s trying to build technology and build integrations, you have to understand that this isn’t as flexible and malleable as some people might want to think. When you’re going to build an integration, you’ve got to think about what is the most common use case or way somebody would want to do this. So, that’s why integrations and other spaces work really well is because people go, they’re going to be using their CRM in this way, we’re going to build our integration to the CRM so that it creates this great efficiency because we know this is going to be the workflow. Well, when I was at Riskalyze and we built over 30 tools, you try to guess what the most commonly used way is going to be this but most of the frustration you hear from people out there are probably because they’re not using their tools in the way that is the most common use case. So, you’ve seen this a lot with Michael Kitces, who I know is was just most recently on the show. He’s been advocating for the CRM is kind of the new operating system and saying, “Hey, industry, let’s get behind the CRM being the place that people build to and from.” But there’s still just a ton of firms who believe that their asset management and portfolio management is the value so they live out of Orion or they live out of something like that, or there’s people who are so planning heavy or even risk heavy. There’s a lot of people who run their business with Riskalyze being the hub, and they want that to be the hub. So, that’s why so many people listening to this have probably experienced frustration with integrations, is because you can’t just say, “I want Orion and Riskalyze to talk to each other. Okay, great.” And then the advisor would hope that they can go, “Here’s how I want it to talk to each other.” You talked about APIs. So, for people who don’t know what that’s like, that’s like Lego blocks, right?” So, it stands for application programming interface. And what that means is here are the six ways that Riskalyze can be talked to by other pieces of software. And other pieces have the same thing, and you’re trying to stack those together to create a flow but it’s point in time. It’s the same as coming and asking you a question in your office, you giving me an answer, and then I take that answer back and I deploy it. What people want is flexibility and APIs just don’t provide enough flexibility. S,o I’ll kind of pause there and say that’s really one of the challenges I think that advisors are experiencing when it comes to integrations with their software. And I think everybody’s trying to figure out what’s a better way to do this and how do we think about approaching this in a more meaningful way.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. And what I think is interesting, if I was in your shoes, running a technology company in finance, the other thing we’re not even talking about is the different religions of financial advisor. Here’s the firm that grew up fee-based model. You know, maybe they were brokerage heavy, maybe one of the big banks and there was an asset management model. And then their software is built specifically for that or the world I grew up in, insurance-focused, and I feel like for the longest time insurance was the afterthought. It was like kind of the – it was like a host. I won’t even go there. It was like the old, old, old man software is basically what they were dealing with. But sometimes the data wasn’t even accessible on the insurance side. But now with COVID, there’s been an acceleration to really be remote-friendly because everybody had to. So, I feel like there’s beea a massive tailwind that’s really helped everyone out there. But one of the biggest struggles and hurdles I hear from a lot of officers that are trying to build a holistic fiduciary style plan is well I’ve got this software that looks great on my asset management side of my business. I’ve got this software. It’s really built for a kind of insurance or income planning but these two don’t even speak the same language. Back to the API conversation we were just having. So, big question here but I would just love to hear your thoughts. You’ve grown up in this. I’m just starting a firm. And I want to build a tech stack that can scale and be user-friendly for my team and my clients. What would be some core, like non-negotiable pillars? Like, if you look broad brush across the industry that you kind of start to see, these are kind of standards that are becoming like, here’s kind of the big Lego blocks I would build upon?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. Well, I think you have to ask yourself what kind of firm you want to be and you have to ask yourself what options am I leaving myself in the future? So, to your point, there’s a lot of people who started wealth management firms probably in the past 5 to 10 years who didn’t think that insurance was going to be a part of what they would do, or maybe they’d refer it out or something like that. But I think one of the trends you’re seeing happen in the industry right now is it’s not enough to just say you’re a fiduciary or you’re a fee-only advisor anymore because regulatory winds are changing that to where everybody has to be a fiduciary, right? And you’re going to have to prove it. So, just saying you’re fee only and charging 1% and doing financial planning, that used to be a differentiator. Now, I think it’s table stakes. And so, you’re starting to see the pendulum swing back the other way where firms are becoming more full service. They’re starting to look more like mini family offices or something like that, where you’re offering insurance and you’re offering estate planning and tax preparation and all of these types of things. Whether you’re doing all of that in-house or you’re sort of white labeling it but you’re having to provide it, people didn’t think that’s what their firms were going to be looking like when they started them not long ago. So, I would say, what is your firm going to be right now as you started and who you’re going to serve? But how are you allowing yourself to be able to be flexible and scale and add things as you grow and change? So, listen, you got to have a CRM, you got to have a custodian, and then you probably want to have portfolio management system and then you can do planning software. But I also think what’s getting really interesting is Orion has planning as a part of it now. Riskalyze has planning as a part of it now. You see lots of tools that have light planning. You’re also seeing a huge trend where people are working with paraplanners or sort of they’re having planners that they work with where what the paraplanner have the super deep, intricate planning software. And then you send them the case, let them do the deep planning, and then you focus on the client relationships. So, really now you’re down to three core pieces of technology and how do you give yourself flexibility to go forward with that. But let me flip that on its head for a lot of the people listening to this. They’ve probably already established a bunch of technology. What I would encourage you to do is do a technology audit. So, Brad, I’ll give you, we actually have a free exercise and I’ll actually give it to you that you can maybe put in the show notes or we can let somebody go through that your firm can go through and ask yourself, is this a five-star experience? You know, how do I feel about the way that our technology is aligning with the processes that our firm has right now? How do I feel that if I wanted to add insurance that this would be able to support this? If I wanted to add estate planning, would this be able to support it? Where are the gaps? And then you can start to figure out where those gaps can get filled, either with people or with technology. So, I know you were kind of asking what are the tools that I would pick but most of the time people are picking tools before they try to figure out the process or who should be doing what. So, a lot of the work that I’m doing right now is helping people understand where are the gaps and how should those gaps be solved. Is it with technology? Is it with people or is it with process?

Brad Johnson: It really reminds me of Covey’s 7 Habits, start with the end in mind because if you know where you’re going, it’s easier to figure out how to get there. So, that’s really what I hear you saying, Kyle. An interesting thing that I look at technology and I heard there was a speaker years ago that mentioned this. He said, you know, as the world evolves and as technology evolves, your client experience, you’re actually not up against the client experience of your industry. You know, you’re not up against other financial advisors, you’re actually up against what’s the client experience at the Apple Store, at the Ritz-Carlton when you check in. And I love that audit idea because let’s just call it what it is. Most financial services firms, it’s just kind of been by default like, “Hey, I kind of like Frankenstein these technologies together. It’s not intuitive. It’s not user-friendly for your client.” And one of the things we coach on a lot at Triad is be client obsessed. You know, we’re advisor-obsessed here. We want the experience. That’s obviously why we’re working with you, Milemarker. We want to make it more seamless, more intuitive, a more user-friendly experience. And by the way, that doesn’t happen if you have to have 17 different logins to 17 different softwares that’s not user-friendly. And so, if you were going to flip that and throw that to advisors out there and start to think about the client journey through the technology, which starts with the front end, the analysis Riskalyze, which then goes into the build, which is maybe the financial planning software, which then goes into how you love and take care of that client once the plan is in place and kind of intuitive portal or log in experience or dock sharing or review, what are some things you’d be thinking about or questions you’d be asking yourself if you were an advisor out there trying to figure out, “How do I build this thing?”

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. I love that question. We love to steal from the founders of Airbnb, so it’s kind of a lot of where this went from. But they would ask, okay, if somebody was to come and book a stay or an experience on with us, “What does a three-star experience look like”? And everybody is, “Okay. I think a three-star experience would have these components or qualities or things like that. “Okay, how about a four-star?” And they describe it and it’s better. “How about a five-star?” “Oh, wow, you know.” And everybody thinks they’re going to be done there. And he goes, “Okay. How about a six-star experience? You know, and he goes all the way up to, I think, a ten-star experience and it’s like, what would it have to take for you to call this a ten-star experience? And I would encourage every advisor listening to this to go through that with their team. Okay. What does a three-star look like? And if you’re less than a three-star experience, you really need to have a gut check with yourself and your team because if you ever look up a restaurant or a place online and they have less than three stars, are you really given that place a serious look? I think the answer is a hard no. You’re going to go find something different. So, we got to, at minimum, have a three-star experience. And then what is a four-star? And so on and so forth. Going through that exercise is really meaningful. Now, two other things. I’m going to shout out a friend, Dennis Mosley-Williams. For those of you who’ve never heard of him or anything, this is his whole idea is he is a credentialed, experienced economy consultant, is what it’s called and it’s all about how do you design great in-person and digital experiences for clients. Because the experience is not just what they log into or anything like that. It is literally the way you answer the phone for your clients. It’s the environment you create for them. If they’re meeting you on Zoom, how are you creating a warm Zoom environment? If they’re coming to your office, how do you do these things? And he’s done amazing work. You can look him up on his blog or things like that. I think he’d be a great podcast guest as well. He’s got some great stories, but he actually…

Brad Johnson: Wrote it down. On it.

Kyle Van Pelt: But then also this is probably going to sound counterintuitive but meet your clients where they’re at. So, so many of the software vendors in this space right now are trying to build client experiences or client portals. And mostly what that looks like is a collection of accounts and performance and whatever. Listen, your clients are already using mint or personal capital or something. They already have something on their phone where they’re going and looking at that. So, if you’re going to provide a client portal, think about how it goes beyond what their performance and their accounts and their investments look like and have it much more focused on how they can achieve their goals, how they can feel more secure, how they can learn from you as an advisor because they don’t hire you to tell them how they’re performing. They hire you to make them feel confident that they’re going to be okay. And at the end of the day, no matter whether it’s a three-star experience or a ten-star experience, the foundation and core of that has to be that these clients can live the life that they want to live and that while living that life, they’re not going to be putting themselves in jeopardy. Your job is to make sure that they don’t jeopardize their future, and that is the core of any great client experience.

Brad Johnson: Let’s go to the Airbnb. I love that. Nick Whitaker, if you’re listening to this and Nick’s on our team here at Triad, he is a big fan of what you just shared. Actually, we have talked about that a lot inside of Triad. Was that a podcast? I think it was like Masters of Scale or something where they interviewed them.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: So, we’ll try to get that in the show notes. If it is, we’ll link to that because it’s a great episode. But I love just with that intention because I think the example that Nick gave me was like a true ten-star experience at a stay would be like at the airport. Somebody grabs your bags and takes them to the limo and that’s how they experience stars, you know? So, if you take it all the way out to a ten-star and now you’re like, “Well, right now we can only do like a five-star, you’re still like so far ahead of your competition, it’s ridiculous.” So, I love the idea of just like throwing all the rules out and figuring out like, what could this be if it was an over-the-top amazing experience. I love that exercise. You got off at technology there a little bit or maybe that’s just where my mind went but I look at, I haven’t experienced too many times. Probably the closest is my buddy, Ron Carson, when I went to Carson Wealth. They’ve got a beautiful office up in Omaha, but I remember I go up there and Ron’s been great. You know, I’ve kind of stepped in to try out as an entrepreneur, and he’s just an abundance mindset guy to spend nothing but an open book to me. And we get there. Incredible lady at reception, super kind, super well-trained. That was the first experience but I remember there’s like a little keypad there. And basically, you type in your name properly, so it’s spelled right. It takes a picture and now that is emailed to Ron and his team so they know, here’s who’s here, here’s what they look like, and that starts the experience. But I remember they utilized technology to start a very personalized kind of client or journey through their office. And so, I think there’s this really cool idea that you can start to do with technology, which is integration of the real-world experience and the digital experience and done well, it kind of should start to be seamless. You’ve seen a lot of different firms over your years. You’ve seen probably some that do it better than others. You have examples of like, here are some ways I’ve really seen technology integrated a seamless way where it almost like goes side by side with that in-person or face-to-face experience.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. That’s a good question. You’re putting me on the spot a little bit in the financial advisor side of things.

Brad Johnson: Maybe it’s RIA side. I know you’re working with some bigger firms but just like, where it’s kind of that easy more user friendly.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think so I’m going to answer this question in two ways. I’ll answer it from our industry perspective and then you already used a great one. But I think we have actually, industry, we have really low bar to clear here, right? Because the very first thing that we can be doing is I’ve already given you my information upfront in several ways. Please don’t make me have to type this in again or write it again every single time that you need something from me. And by the way, that’s the client. So, what other people do is they just make somebody on their team type this information over and over again. And it’s like, that’s just a really low bar to clear, which I think is, hey, how are we capturing this information about a client once, and then we can use that information many times and continue to build out almost a client graph is what I would call it. So, if you think about like how Facebook does advertising and all of these things, they call it like the interest graph is like, what’s Brad interested in and how do we measure all that? How can we build better profiles around clients that we can then distribute that out to the different things that they’re using? We are seeing some people start to think about that because I will go back and as,y quickly, you talked about how the industry is changing just so people understand how we got here. You know, this industry used to be very account focused, so you would go in and open an account with a broker and they would maybe buy some stocks for you. But then to a totally different person, you’d go buy your insurance and they would open an account for you and then maybe you’d go buy some mutual funds and they would open an account for you, and then you’d have a bank account over here. So, the way this used to work, you used to have a collection of accounts. Well, not long ago, everybody switched to this household model of you work with me, and I have everything under one roof. You’re not working with your broker over there and your insurance agent over here, and you’re this over there and all of that stuff. Your attorney is. The technology is not caught up to really working at a household level yet. All we have tried to do is take all of those disparate accounts and try and pull them together. And I think that’s where clients are really feeling it. So, people who are investing a ton in that infrastructure layer that allows you to tie all of these different things in the ecosystem around a client themselves or around their household, I think is leading to better experiences. The other thing that pops to mind, I don’t know why this is the first thing that pops to mind but I’m a big Marriott guy. I travel a lot. Well, it’s really cool that you can check in on your phone and get a digital key and go up and open your room with your phone by using, you know, because of everything they know about me and have some of my preferences inside of my Marriott realm when I show up there. So, it’s not everybody who does that but there’s that. And then last shout-out I’ll give to another friend is Dan Bolton at Riskalyze. So, Dan, I think does a really remarkable job of learning a ton about what people are doing by using technology, capturing that in the Riskalyze ecosystem. And then when you go to the Riskalyze conference, you always see this, but Dan is always doing these special white glove surprise and delight things because he has used technology to create a better in-person experience for those people. So, I don’t know if that’s exactly what you were asking or getting at but just some ideas for folks here that…

Brad Johnson: Yeah. No, I love that. Actually, let’s go down that Marriott path. I’m a Marriott guy, too. How did I become a Marriott guy? Because their technology was better than the other hotels. And so, let’s take a few examples that we love, and then let’s apply that to finance. So, back to data entry. I literally pull up the Marriott app on my phone. Super intuitive, easy, and it’s like gere’s where I’m going. I can book any room in that city at whatever star level I want. It’s this just a quick in and out? Something quick, easy, close to wherever I’m going? Is this a family experience? I need a pool, whatever, so I can self-select based on experience but I don’t have to reenter my name, my credit card, anything. The data is there already. So, back to that multiple data entry. By the way, the healthcare services industry needs a list on this podcast because every time you go to a doctor’s appointment, you’re refilling the same format over and over, right?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yes.

Brad Johnson: And so, that’s a really cool way that I see that applied in that example. But now you go to the other side, the user-friendly experience. It is on the app. Do you want a room by the elevator? Close so that it’s easy to get on and off? Do you want it down the hallway? There’s like, all these user preferences that they actually know, like when you book your room, just do it this way. And so, applied to financial services. I’ve seen that like, how do they take their coffee when they come in? Imagine if that was the client experience is, “Hey, Mr. Jones, would you like your coffee with two creams like last time or do you want something different?” What is this magic, right? All of that is possible in a CRM. So, what are some other thoughts just around like maybe that Marriott experience applied to financial services?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. Well, I think what humans love is feeling seen and not feeling like this is what you do for every other person who comes through the door. So, your example of how they take their coffee is great but also, “Hey, instead of us having a water sitting on the table, we have a Coke Zero for you because we know that you love to drink Coke Zero. And for your significant other, we’ve got a Sprite or something,” and it’s like everything is it’s all these details. Right, Brad? And I think what we have just as an industry tried to focus so much and a lot of the conversation has been on scale, how do we scale? And the way we scale is by trying to like fit everybody into the same box. So, ideas are not just what their preferences are for when they come to see you but do they like to be communicated with via text message or via email or via phone call? Do they want to meet every month? Do they want to meet every quarter? do They want to meet once a year, twice a year? What are their preferences? Do they want to get straight down to brass tacks or do they want to talk about their most recent vacation and share it with you or things like that? These are all preferences. I think that you can use technology to match with. So, even going down that route, “Hey, we know you were just in Italy. So, you were in Rome and you were in Paris and you were in London for 10, 12 days or something before we saw you last. Here are like some cool things that we learned,” you know, something along those lines. I actually think that Triad does a really remarkable job at this. I mean, you guys get people custom shoes and you’re sending out all kinds of different things because you know about their firm. So, I would be curious to know, is that just manually adding that data to the CRM when you’re onboarding people or are you guys using other tools or ways of really knowing about each of your firms and your advisors?

Brad Johnson: No. I think first off, the biggest thing, I think that’s a great question. The biggest thing is you have to have the intention. It goes back to that Airbnb. If you don’t care about a ten-star experience, you’re never going to build it. Like, if that’s not your end goal. And I think one of the things we look at Triad here is advisor obsession. And I think often we just had a whiteboard session. I’m in our conference room here. We had a whiteboard session a couple of days ago and I think so often it’s just like, what’s the most convenient for the brokerage firm or our team here, which is where what’s most convenient is not to hire Milemarker and consolidate and spend a bunch of money to spend and a bunch of brainpower and work to make this seamless and easy. What’s easier is to buy 17 different softwares and just say, “Hey, here’s your 17 software. Just log in to 17 different software.” So, I think it all starts with the intention. And here we are advisor obsessed, and we will remain advisor obsessed. And if you’re advisor obsessed, I know Jeff Bezos had at Amazon for the longest time an empty chair in every conference room and that represented the customer. And if the customer was sitting at this table, what we want them to hear the conversation going on, and I think a lot of companies would be horrified if their customer was sitting in that chair. But also if our intention is to build for them, then not to we should be thinking about. And so, I think you start there. That is what leads to, oh, maybe we should better know our clients if we’re going to serve them at a higher level so in our onboarding process, we actually have we talk about thought about do business, do life. If you’re going to do life with somebody, you’ve got to know them. What are they into? Kyle has got kids. Kyle loves baseball. And the more you know them, the more you can serve them in an intimate, unique way versus a cookie cutter everybody gets the same way. And so, we do what we call a do life interview, where we start to understand that and we actually do get shoe sizes so we can drop for you guys. “Hey, by the way, we got some cool custom shoes coming this summer, so you should request a pair. Maybe we’ll hook you up with some.” But, yeah, I think, like I don’t want to riff too long here, but I think it has to start with… It has to start with caring here because if you don’t care, you’re never going to build it. But where my head went like back to the advisors, there’s so much you can learn and pick up if you’re just an active listener. I had one firm, one time. They’re like any time where somebody calls in and they have a stuffy nose, you’re like, “Hey, are you feeling okay?” “I think I’m coming down with a cold.” For $5, $10 on DoorDash, you can deliver some warm chicken noodle soup across town to them with a little kind note, “Hey, we’re thinking of you. Get to feeling better.” That $10 is worth more than making an extra 1% return on the portfolio that year. I can promise you that.

Kyle Van Pelt: 100%.

Brad Johnson: And so, it’s just those little intentional things and how you document them and remember. And the cool thing with technology, it’s actually much easier than it would have been 20 years ago, where you would have had to have a file cabinet of like papers this thick just to keep track of it all, you know? So, I don’t know. I mean, that’s just my thoughts kind of off the cuff, though.

Kyle Van Pelt: No. I think that’s really good. And I would now add so I’m thinking about all of the firms that we work with and I’m thinking about what you said about intentionality and all of that stuff. And I know that there’s a tendency to feel stuck but you have to invest in what this experience looks like and it’s oftentimes not cheap. And I think if I was sitting in the shoes of the advisor listening to this, they’re going to say, “Well, I’m spending a ton of money on technology already because I keep buying all of these tools and I keep buying all this stuff and it’s not working.” And that does kind of come back to this encouragement to do an audit of where you’re at because if you think about in dollars and cents, here’s how much money I have to invest in creating a really genuinely exceptional client experience. You know, what does that look like and how are we going to deploy that? But then I think what’s happening is that gets diluted because they’re trying to also create a great staff experience, right? So, you’re trying to have technology that makes your staff’s life better, while also using that to create a great client experience and you’re spending on all of these different tools. And I think it feels like, man, all I do is buy a new piece of technology all the time. But are you really stopping to think about that begin with the end in mind? How is this helping us serve our end goal? By being obsessed with what that client wants. So, “Are you investing well in the tools and technology that you have in your firm?” is a question that I would pose to anybody listening to this right now. You want your clients to invest their money well, and you have gone through great lengths to figure out what are the best ETF partners for them, what are the best insurance products for them, what are the best ways that we can help you achieve your retirement goals or your saving goals or spending goals. I mean, think about the amount of hours that you have put in to understanding those investments. How much time have you spent in researching the tools to build the experience that you want and how those tools are really going to work?

Brad Johnson: Yeah. I love that. One of my favorite things to do is just like, do you eat your own cooking? So, if you’re an advisor and you’re like, “Man, some advisors, I mean, you’re running big operations. You probably don’t even know half of the stops along the way at this point. I mean, that’s one of the things a lot of our firms, you know, you start out as like the advisor in charge, you’re doing everything. Then you evolve and transition to a business owner where maybe you’ve got a bit of a team. And then if you really get to the next level, you’re kind of a CEO. You might not even be doing appointments anymore. In some firms, many of our firms, they’re not. And you kind of almost lose touch with the client journey as you scale. So, if that is you and you’re like, “I’m not even sure,” go back and say, “Hey, I’m actually going to do the client journey myself, be a secret shopper,” or have a really good friend that you trust will tell you the truth. Let them be a secret shopper. “Here’s what I loved. Here’s what really sucked going through onboarding with you all,” and you’re going to get a lot of opportunity and a lot of gaps or a lot of frustration probably delivered the check, man, we could really clean that up. We could simplify that. If these two just talk to each other, we wouldn’t have to double-enter data. So, I think sometimes it just literally go walk the path that your clients are walking and figure out what’s the disconnect there.

Kyle Van Pelt: It sounds so simple but you’d be amazed the amount of times we ask people to do that and they really come back shocked at the results. Because a lot of times and we’re guilty of this too, in my life and at my company, a lot of times we go buy something to solve some sort of immediate pain without really thinking about the long-term effects of what that looks like. So, I would echo your recommendation to go through that and just see what pops out.

Brad Johnson: Here’s a question. Ask yourself, this might punch you in the face if you’re listening in, would you want to be a client at your firm? And if you’re honest with yourself, some of you might be like, “Hmm, that wasn’t a very good experience I just went through right there.” But the cool thing is, you can always, hey, you’ve always got the future. You can always level up, right? Well, Kyle, I want to kind of transition into another part of this. We’ve talked a lot of do business. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about you, you’re married, you’re a family man, you have four kiddos.

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, I think maybe you’re going for three and then you got twins on the last one. Is that how it works?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. We had two girls. First, we wanted to try for a boy, and we got two boys. So, we have two girls and two boys and it’s a lot of fun here.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, cool. Well, let’s maybe talk about the do life side. And I know it was kind of cool like Milemarker and Triad weren’t formed that too far apart from each other. So, we were both really living the startup life. And I was asked the other day, like, “How’s it been?” And I’m like, “Man, the entrepreneurial rollercoaster is real.” And we were talking before we started recording here, and I know being a great husband and a great dad, it’s like very much at the top of your priority list but there’s definitely seasons of business where it gets really tough. And so, I know a lot of advisors have based that out there. So, what are some of the learnings? What are some of the like the advice you might give advisors out there if they kind of feel like they’re going through this grind where they’re maybe a little bit out of whack one way or the other?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. I think, first of all, is don’t beat yourself up about it because that doesn’t help. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself space to believe that you’re going to mess up. Because I think through this journey for me so far, starting and being the CEO of a technology company and all of that stuff, whether you’re starting a firm or whatever it is, is that I have felt this incredible pressure to be perfect and I wouldn’t even really ever call myself a perfectionist before this but I don’t feel like I can be imperfect to my team. I don’t feel like I can be imperfect to my customers. I don’t feel like I can be imperfect to the outside world as we try to market this thing and tell everybody about how great it is what we’re doing. I don’t feel like I can be imperfect to my wife as somebody who is trying, you know, like we’ve all bet a lot on this to try and create something and all of that. And so, it’s always such a hesitation to share if things aren’t maybe going perfectly as planned. But the funny thing is, we all know that everybody’s going like nobody just has this perfect up into to the right experience when doing this. So, to the listener who might be struggling with that, give yourself some grace. It’s okay. It’s okay that you’re not perfect. It’s okay that you’re messing up. But I was sharing a little bit before there’s an author and a speaker named Jon Acuff, and he said something that was really helpful to me, which was, “Stop trying to create this perfect seesaw of work-life balance because you will always fail at that.” When he writes a book and he has to go out on a book tour and speak and try and distribute this book and do the best that he can, there’s not a lot of balance for his family to be able to be a part of that. It’s a season where he’s incredibly busy, but then what he does try to do is when the book tour is over, he tries to now create a season where he’s over-indexed on what he’s doing on the family side of things. So, that season now maybe he’s not working on another book or anything like that. If you’re maybe not an author and you have a business that requires something every single day and you got to show up every day, this is the question I ask myself is, “Well, how can I have certain seasons?” And I think that the way that works for any business owner out there is when opportunity shows itself, you have to go after it as hard as you possibly can. And then there’s going to be times when you are executing on that opportunity and things are going to get a little bit more routine, more disciplined, more working on it. And you can change things a little bit on that side. So, I would just recap that by saying give yourself grace. It’s okay to not be perfect. Nobody expects you to be perfect. And then number two, understand that there are seasons where opportunity strikes. You have to go after it like a lion chasing a gazelle. But then there’s also opportunity for rest and for maybe over-indexing on the other side of life.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. I heard that put away where it’s like there’s a reason professional athletes have off-seasons. It’s like you look at an NFL football player that’s a grind of a season, but that’s the reason there’s an off-season. So, I love that. The book launch is the perfect example. For some financial advisors, that might be tax season, you know, big push and then making sure you recharge. I’ll tell you, one of the things that came to mind as you were going through that is that pressure to be perfect is real. You know, as a founder of a firm, you’ve got to lead a team, you’ve got to be calm, you’ve got to be confident. You can’t show up in front of a team disheveled, emotional. Nobody’s following that. But I will say one of the things I’ve learned over the last two-and-a-half years we’ve messed a lot of, believe me, is a team really appreciates vulnerability, you know, being real, being authentic, taking ownership and saying, “You know what, I screwed that up. That’s on me. My fault.” And so, from my experience, every time I’ve been in a leader, in a room with a leader like that, the only thing it does for me is like, I’m like, “Damn, I want to follow this person wherever they’re going because they’re not perfect, but they own it when they mess up,” and they said, “Hey, that wasn’t my intention, but we’re going to course correct. We’re going to learn from that. We’re going to go this direction instead.” And I just love like the realness because so true. I get like this, you know, it’s like, man, I’m just crying and trying to help the team at the office. And then you get home 45 minutes late for family dinner, and then you screwed that side up, too. And then you’re like, “Man, I can’t win anywhere. What’s up?” And that’s tough. That’s tough. But I think the intention and kind of course correcting is always going to be part of being an entrepreneur. So, any other thoughts just around that side?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. Well, and what you just said kind of popped something in my head but playing baseball growing up as a pretty high-level athlete, and then now I play a lot of golf and the coaching is always don’t compound your mistakes. So, that’s one thing I would say, “Hey, it’s okay to not be perfect but try as hard as you can to not let that mess up,” lead to, “Okay. Now, I missed the family dinner and that’s a second messed up. And then now I did this and that’s the third messed up and the mistakes compound.” So, try to limit your mistakes. So, on the baseball field, it was like you make an error. Okay, fine. Shake it off. Like, don’t let that affect the next play. In golf, you hit a tee shot out of bounds like, okay, that’s frustrating but now don’t hit, don’t make a stupid mistake on the next one and compound your mistakes because that’s where things really go bad because the same thing here. It’s okay to mess up. Give yourself that grace but try as hard as you possibly can to not let those mistakes compound is one thing I would just put out to everybody here too.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, which is easier said than done because we’re emotional beings as humans, right? And I think that’s one of the places where stoicism really plays. For me, it’s like, control your perceptions, you know, what comes in, direct your actions accordingly, how I or, you know, decide to react to that and then willingly accept what’s outside of your control. And I think oftentimes where I’ll see founders or advisors, it’s like, “Man, I had one bad interaction in my first meeting and now that just compounds throughout my day, and now the whole day is ruined.” Michael Hyatt was on the podcast a few back and his wife, Gail. I loved it. She said he’s like going home and he’s talking to her. She’s like, “How was your day?” And he’s like, “Bad.” She’s like, “Well, tell me about it.” And he explains the whole day and she goes, “I think you just had a bad 20 minutes. I think the rest of your day sounded okay.” But I think it’s a perfect example of what you’re talking about. Don’t let that bad 20 minutes carry you through the whole rest of the day and ruin your day. I love to not compounding that. Well, I want to take some time. We were talking before you went live here. And one of the things you mentioned that had become almost a part of your family, I think you’re actually on the board to, there’s a nonprofit called Hungry 4 A Day. And I think you guys do a really big push around Thanksgiving. One of the things I love, I love to surround myself with givers. That’s one of the things we say at Triad is this is a community of givers, not takers. Nobody wants to be in a community of takers. That sucks. And so, I love the kind of the charitable approach and being really intentional. Tell me a little bit about that. Is that a full family experience? is that just Kyle’s, really important to him? How does that play into how you carry yourself?

Kyle Van Pelt: It’s probably Pareto principle where it’s 80% me and what I’m doing but then 20% family stuff but the quick high level is Hungry 4 A Day exists to inspire generosity amongst people. So, it’s funny that that’s how you led. And we do that through hunger-related causes. So, we believe that it’s really hard to hear any sort of advice or ways to make your life better over the sound of a grumbling stomach. There’s a lot of people who want to go try and teach people how to improve their lives but when you’re hungry, that’s the first thing you’re thinking about. You’re not thinking about how to get a type of job or any of that type of stuff. So, yeah, we normally do a handful of projects a year where we will help with hunger-related causes as a whole. But Thanksgiving’s kind of become our really big flagship event. So, really proud to come on here and say that Hungry 4 A Day helped feed over 65,000 people Thanksgiving dinner this past November that otherwise wouldn’t have had it. So, this isn’t like people were going to have Thanksgiving dinner somewhere else and whatever. We hear from them, “Hey, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” or we had just said, you know, “This isn’t for us or it isn’t for our family.” And that’s where the family event comes in because we do, we partner with a bunch of different organizations and we all go, the Van Pelt family will go, but others will go and we’ll hand out all of these things that happen. So, the way we do that through inspiring generosity, though, I think this is really cool is by giving just $35. You can pay for Thanksgiving meal for an entire family of at least four. So, that buys the turkey, that buys all the food, all of that type of stuff. And so, we’ve seen so many people who are going, “Hey, maybe I’m really busy. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t have the time to go work at a food pantry but I’d love to help.” And it’s like almost everybody can give $35 for that type of thing or help in that way. And then we’ll see, what’s been really fun, too, is to see corporate partners come alongside that. So, actually, Riskalyze has been a corporate partner for a handful of years where maybe Riskalyze will buy all of the turkeys in those meals. And so, your $35 goes that much further to feeding other people and all of that type of stuff. So, it’s been a really neat thing to see, especially in those moments, kind of dovetailing what we were just talking about, where I feel like maybe I’m messing up or I’m not being perfect or whatever. When you can go do something that feels seemingly small to you and make just such a huge difference, it really puts a lot of things into perspective and it’s something that’s made me feel really, really proud and has made my kids get a whole different perspective as well. So, I’ve been happy to help the founder of that company, David, for about six or seven years now. And, man, I really, really enjoy it and I think it’s a blast.

Brad Johnson: Is that an Atlanta-based charity?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yes, started here in Atlanta but we work in all over. So, we work with partners in California, in Michigan, in Florida, in Texas, I think in Tennessee now. So, we’re working our way across the country but we partner all over but started here in Atlanta.

Brad Johnson: Awesome. Yeah. I got advice. One of my biggest fears as a parent is raising spoiled, entitled kids.

Kyle Van Pelt: Oh, yeah.

Brad Johnson: And I think that’s pretty common for a lot of parents. One of the questions I’ll ask a lot of people that are just further down the road, I’ve got a 12-year-old, 11-year-old, and seven-year-old, and I’ll say, “Hey, you did well for yourself. Seems like your kids kind of have it together. They’re not jerks. What advice would you give me?” And one of the like this is almost. I don’t know that I’ve had an exception to this one. Almost all of them are like, “We put our kids in a place where they gave back to others.” They saw those that were less fortunate, whether it was a mission trip, whether it was working at like maybe a meal, a soup kitchen, meal kitchen, whatever we want to call it. And I’ll tell you, we’ve done that a bit. Probably not near as much as I want to. Covid kind of threw a little wrench in it but I will tell you, it’s really eye-opening to a child when they’re looking at their plate like, “That doesn’t taste good. I don’t want that.” And then they go and they see people that haven’t eaten for three days and I go, “Maybe I need to kind of change my take on that.” So, I love the mission and I love that you’re bringing the kids along for that as well because I promise that’s definitely making an impact on that that will turn them into better humans long term. That’s for sure.

Kyle Van Pelt: Totally. And I just think, I mean, listen, given the choice of people giving financially versus doing nothing, I think people giving financially is always good. But for anybody listening to this, I would just really encourage you to give with your time and your effort as well because getting proximate to those challenges and to the issues that people are really facing, number one, gives you a whole new appreciation for what’s going on in the world. But, man, it makes you a lot more grateful for where your life is at. And on the do life thing, I was really struggling with a handful of things recently. And somebody just said to me, and it’s always such a gut punch and I’ve said it to other people before, but they’re like, “Listen, man, there’s a lot of people who would gladly trade places with you. They would gladly take the problems you’re experiencing right now for the problems that they have.” And, in the same way that I wish I was probably in Jeff Bezos’s shoes right now, where his seemingly biggest problem was that he wasn’t going to buy the Washington commander’s football team and everything else seems good. It’s like, man, it seems like life is so good over there. There’s a lot of people who would gladly switch places with me right now, and I try to like to keep that perspective.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. It’s always good to have people in your life that kind of call you on your B.S. where it’s like, “Man, I’m really struggling.” You’re running a company. Maybe it was a rough day at the office but I always looked at it. You know, if you’ve got your health and you’ve got the love of your family, man, like, to me, if I had to live in a cardboard box on a corner and I had that, it can be a lot worse off. So, I think it’s always about perspective and making sure you keep people in your circle that kind of check you and will tell you the truth. So, I love that advice and thanks for sharing the realness. That’s one of the things I love about this podcast. We can talk business, we can talk life, and I can tell you, all of us as humans have off days, all of us have imposter syndrome, or that little voice in our head that says, “We can’t that day.” And that’s what’s fun about this. Like, I would do this podcast if nobody was listening because it’s just, you know, I feel like it’s a chance to level up in life and surround myself with others I can learn from. So, with that, Kyle, it’s been an honor to have you on. I’m going to wrap with a final question here. And what’s cool is you’ve interacted with Triad. You’ve been out to the home office a few times. You’re helping us build some cool stuff that’s going to help a lot of advisors out there. But we talk a lot about do business, do life. It’s the title of this show. How would Kyle Van Pelt: if you’re going to say, “Here’s what do business do life means to me,” how would you define that?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. I love that question. So, the way I define that for me personally is that I am working really hard in the seasons that we have right now to help create memorable experiences both for myself and my family. So, the way I would draw that out is, personally, I want to play the top 100 golf courses in the United States of America. So, I’m working my way through that and I want to visit the Top 50 James Beard restaurants and have really wonderful meals with my family because we love food. I love to cook. My wife loves to cook and we love going to great dining experiences. So, doing business allows us to do those types of things that otherwise probably wouldn’t be possible. And then number two, the other that you kind of intertwine them, so we homeschool our kids and Milemarker is a remote company so combining to do business new life is we want to make school come alive. We want to take it off of the textbook. So, we’re going on trips where to let our kids see the things that they’re learning in person as they learn them because we believe that those bring those things together. So, I can do business while doing that, while also allowing my kids to enhance their education by bringing the textbooks to life and traveling around and having experiences. And that to me is what it’s all about.

Brad Johnson: I love that. There’s a theme in the entrepreneurial community. I think COVID also accelerated this of pretty much every entrepreneur. I feel like I have no issue taking my kid out of a day of school and, hey, let’s go do a trip and let’s not learn about World War II. Let’s go to the World War II Museum and experience it. And I think most kids, rather than flip through a textbook to your point, would rather like, “Oh, wow.” Or like we took our kids to Gettysburg. Like, no, this is where it all went down. And so, I love that approach to life, which, by the way, is a lot more fun for a parent too than study in some worksheet at the end of the day. Curiosity, how far into your golf? How many through the hundred are you? How many more to go check off?

Kyle Van Pelt: Yeah. I’ve still got a lot. I think by last count I’m at 13 or 14. So, there’s a bunch I got to get done. Some of them so I might have to adjust a little bit because like Augusta National is on the list. So, hey, if any listeners, members in Augusta National that want to be kind and let me go play with you, I love to tick that box, but some of these courses are really difficult to get onto. But if I’m on my deathbed and I don’t get all hundred of them, but I really went through and had a goal of trying to play a lot of them with cool people and I get 80%, 90% of the way through, I’m going to call that a win.

Brad Johnson: Love it, my man. All right. Well, as always, great to hang. Great to spend time with you. Appreciate you. And until next time.

Kyle Van Pelt: Thanks, Brad. Thanks for having me on.

Brad Johnson: See you, Kyle.


These conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies, concepts and tools that could be incorporated into the advisory practice, advisors are responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed is in accordance with any and all regulatory and compliance responsibilities and obligations.

Copyright ©️ 2023 Triad Partners. All rights reserved. Copyright of all Triad Confidential content belongs exclusively to Triad Partners, a Delaware corporation.


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