financial advisor technology

Ep. 95: Travel Gadget Geek-Out with Brian McLaughlin, Redtail Technology 

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.”

 Paulo Coelho, author of ‘The Alchemist

This quote was written pre-pandemic, but it certainly fits.  We all created routines the past year or so while we’ve been stuck at home that we would love to break out of.

But travel is coming back!  I’m seeing headlines lines like, “Americans itching to travel as TSA notches 18 straight days of 1 million-plus passenger screenings”.  Arlines are seeing strong demand for domestic and short-haul international trips. American Airlines said that their seven-day moving average of net bookings hit almost 90% of what it was during the same period in 2019. That’s pretty good!

In honor of the return to travel, we have a special podcast episode for you. We have been referring to this as “The Lost Interview,” since I recorded it last February at the T3 Advisor Conference. Remember when we used to have conferences? Well, Brian McLaughlin, CEO of CRM vendor Redtail Technology and I used to geek out over gadgets whenever we saw each other at conferences, so I thought it would be interesting to go through his travel bag and have him talk about all of the stuff he carried around.

Of course, COVID hit right after that conference and all travel shut down, so we shelved the episode. So, take a listen to Brian and I geeking out on tech and feel free to take notes for when you’re ready to get back on the road.

Click here and schedule a free Discovery Session to find out how Ezra Group can help your fintech firm grow revenue in the wealth management space.

Complete Episode Transcript

Craig: This is going to be my favorite podcast of the week. I have next to me in the podcast booth the great Brian McLaughlin, CEO of Redtail.

Brian: Did you say “the great”? That’s awesome.

Craig: The great.

Brian: Thank you so much.

Craig: The fabulous and amazing Brian McLaughlin. So thanks for being here.

Brian: I’m just a regular guy.

Craig: I’m just a regular guy, just like you, all you guys.

Brian: We’re going to have a good conversation here. I’m looking forward to it.

Craig: We’re going to have an awesome conversation because it’s not about press releases or about even Redtail really. We are doing our geek out podcast, and Brian and I had this conversation last year at the LPL Conference, we started just talking about tech we’re using and gadgets.

Brian: We were talking about Redtail announcements and next thing you know, we’re geeking out on laptops and phones, and I was like yes, you’re perfect. Because a lot of people don’t realize that I am a total nerd when it comes to this.

Craig: Right. Everyone knows I am, but they don’t know the secrets of Brian McLaughlin. We’re going to delve into the secrets. So you’ve got your Redtail bag, I can see this is the custom Redtail bag.

Brian: Yep, we got it all branded.

Craig: And what do you have in the custom Redtail bag?

Brian: Well, let’s start with the bag. So, a lot of people know I travel a lot.

Craig: Yes. You do. How many days a year are you traveling?

Brian: 200+. So I’m on the road almost every week, and I’m trying to change that. I’m trying to reduce that I’ve been telling people, we’ll see how that goes. My wife would be a lot happier with that. But the bags, man, I went through bags like every couple of months. And other road warriors in this industry, they get it. Cause it’s like, here’s your six month bag, blow right through and toss them. This is an e-bag it’s actually worked out great. We ended up branding them because they actually last. So if you are a die hard road warrior, they’re like a hundred bucks on They make this a smaller one, but they make a bigger one too.

Craig: And what’s the kind of bag so we can put this in the show notes?

Brian: Travel pro or something like that.

Craig: All right. So if you can find out, we’ll get that.

Brian: Yeah. No, but solid bag, because you know, what happened to me was when you put these in the overhead and bins or when you’re hauling, the handles would break or the seams would rip. And that just sucks, because our lives on the road are in this bag.

Craig: That’s true.

Brian: So which zipper should we open first? What do you have?

Craig: I’ve got a bag here, This is my Everki bag, and I liked it because it was tight, it wasn’t too big. It fits under the seat and it’s got the sleeve to go on top, this is cool, a lot of bags don’t have the sleeve thing and on video, they can see this, but on the podcast you can’t, but there’s like the sleeve in the back that goes over your carry on handle. So you can link them together. And it’s got lots of pockets for storing stuff because I like lots of pockets.

Brian: Need to have a lot of pockets. This one has the same thing. It’s a little different, it screws up every valet around here, but it has a sideways slot.

Craig: Ah, okay.

Brian: Because it’s designed to be a briefcase as well, and you have of course backpack straps.

Craig: It’s like a mullet, a party in the back, business in the front.

Brian: Yeah. This is the go-to bag for a year now.

Craig: Whoa that’s a little pocket on the bottom.

Brian: A little pocket on bottom is cool, but it had this removable storage bin, and I just dumped that. And the reason why is all the crap in here that I keep using.

Craig: So you’re opening up a pocket on the bottom of the backpack.

Brian: Yep. So this is where you would normally put I don’t know, toiletries.

Craig: I see cables just piling out of this pocket. Out of the ebags, travel pro backpack. Tons of cables he’s pulling out. It’s just, it looks like the bottom of my drawer in my office. Just cables and plugs and adapters. You can’t be in love with any of these.

Brian: I’m in love with all of them. I have to use them all.

Craig: He’s got an iPhone adapter and he’s got the travel adapter.

Brian: All right. Let’s see what we got here. We got cloths. You have to clean your stuff.

Craig: iCloth.

Brian: Yeah. Got to have a few of those.

Craig: We always have cloth.

Brian: The most go-to in here is actually this,

Craig: Okay so it’s a cable, what kind of cable is that?

Brian: What is this? The iClever smart charge wall outlet. Dual USB wall charger. But it has a higher amperage that can charge iPads. First of all, we’re both Apple geeks.

Craig: Correct.

Brian: So everything I have, that’s why I have so many cables and dongles and all that other junk, but what’s nice about the dual here, one it’s small. It fits right underneath the plane plugs, stuff like that.

Craig: But does it stay in?

Brian: It stays in.

Craig: Because under the plane, what airline do you fly?

Brian: Delta.

Craig: Delta. So I fly United, and I find that the Apple charger doesn’t fit snugly into the charger.

Brian: Not the big block.

Craig: No it doesn’t.

Brian: So this one actually does, and you can reverse it. It doesn’t actually have a large blade. So if it leans one way or the other way it works.

Craig: So it’s the iClever, it’s got a very small block at the end. But it has two USB plugs that can plug into it.

Brian: One high speed, one slow speed, or lower and higher amperage, 2.8 and then 1.2 or whatever it is. So one cable each, the lightning and then the USB-C because of course all the iPads are USB-C. This one was works great on lamps too, but that’s a problem too. Like we plug this stuff in the hotel room, some lamps and you need to be able to fit that little small spot. That’s why. So this is my absolute go to, I use it every day.

Craig: That’s a good one.

Brian: I have been using these forever. This is a Mophie battery.

Craig: It’s very slim. It’s smaller than a deck of cards.

Brian: Yes. Very small opens up, cable’s already mounted in here, which is awesome. So there’s a lightening cable and USB cable. That USB is for charging it.

Craig: I see, it’s flipping open almost like when you’re giving out business cards. It has a little flip top and a little rubbery cables pop up. I feel the inside is smooth and little cables pop out. You’ve got a USB, and then you’ve got an iPhone lightning cable so you can charge. What’s the amperage on this guy?

Brian: It’s small. This is the smaller size, they make bigger ones.

Craig: Is it about 2000. I can’t read it.

Brian: It’s probably about 2000, maybe 1500 somewhere around there.

Craig: That’s like enough for one iPhone charge.

Brian: You know why I use this and why I got the small one is because of fits in my suit jacket. And you can’t really tell, because it’s not much bigger than a phone, but it’ll give me one full boost charge, easily.

Craig: And I like how it’s got the cables built in. I have the ones that look like cigarette lighters and you need a separate cable.

Brian: Yeah. So you don’t need any of that. You actually can take your phone, you pull it out and you put it like this, in your pocket, back to back.

Craig: So he’s got his phone and the battery back to back. You can fit it in your suit jacket.

Brian: Fully charged. Ready to go.

Craig: That’s the Mophie battery pack.

Brian: Well worth it. I’ve given it to a lot of my employees actually. I carry a little cigarette lighter adapter USB. This one is from, iShares you can get them at any trade show booth.

Craig: We recommend the iShare cigarette lighter adapter.

Brian: I don’t use this very much because I don’t rent cars very much anymore.

Craig: Who does?

Brian: Now you can get USB into cars, but before and still sometimes you need to have one of these. They’re lightweight, they’re cheap.

Craig: Good to keep just in case you get into a ’65 Mustang.

Brian: Dongles galore, you have to have these for presenting.

Craig: So those are your dongles, those are USB-C dongles that have a VGA and HDMI.

Brian: I actually have a second one for some reason, but yeah. HDMI, VGA, plug into anything.

Craig: Those are great for when you’re at a client site and you want to plug into the conference room video.

Brian: Presentations at conferences, and because you’re a Mac user, you’re basically screwed because nobody at the hotels have everything you need. So you have to carry your own stuff. These ones, Amazon, they don’t have a name on it.

Craig: It’s the Amazon VGA, USB-C adapter.

Brian: They’re metal. It’s kind of cool.

Craig: It’s VGA, HDMI USB-C.

Brian: You want both. You can get pass-throughs, I’ve had those before.

Craig: I have one but it’s got four plugs on it. It’s got a regular USB, which is nice to have. No C, it’s got a USB and then it’s got an HDMI, and a VGA and something, which I’ve never used, but it has an ethernet port on it.

Brian: I remember the days, and I don’t have it on me because I don’t need it, but I used to travel with portable routers.

Craig: So did I. With a 25 foot cable I would bring to clients’ offices. So I could plug into their network.

Brian: I have the world’s longest USB-C cable.

Craig: Is that an Apple USB-C, the rubbery Apple kind?

Brian: It is.

Craig: You know what you need? Here’s, I’m going to give you something. This little thing here.

Brian: Oh, nice.

Craig: It’s like a rubbery twist tie, which I don’t know the name of, I’ll look it up on Amazon.

Brian: Can I keep it?

Craig: Yes.

Brian: Cool. Thanks!

Craig: It’s a free gift for being on the podcast.

Brian: Cool! You should brand these. Put a little tag on it.

Craig: They’re so small though.

Brian: I got that, and you’ve got these Axiom things for lightning cables.

Craig: So in your bag you have extra cables for your Macbook. And that I see that just fell on the floor is a USB..

Brian: Headphone jack.

Craig: Is it a lightening to 3.5 millimeter?

Brian: Yeah. 3.5. That’s what it is.

Craig: You need one of those.

Brian: For cars, phones on planes or whatever, you just need to have something like this.

Craig: So you should thank me, I got you to clean up.

Brian: That you did.

Craig: It’s now organized in your little bottom part of your backpack.

Brian: That cable is massive. Backup USB charger got to have that, always need to have two on the road. This is a flash drive.

Craig: It’s really small. It’s got a tiny little USB-C on one end and USB 2.0 on the other end.

Brian: Yes so I can use it on anybody’s device.

Craig: And it’s very small.

Brian: It’s one gig. So it’s not massive, but it’s not tiny either.

Craig: It’s good to have a flashdrive with you.

Brian: It’s good to have a solid one, especially now with two ports like this for the Apple users and everything. But we use it for presentations, last minute we’ve got to transfer something, whatever. I can jack this and it weighs nothing. Super easy to carry around.

Craig: Because you carry your bag around for your whole life, every ounce counts.

Brian: Of course. I have a regular USB drive.

Craig: Regular USB drove. And what’s that?

Brian: This is a remote control.

Craig: It looks like a little ping pong paddle. It’s Logitech.

Brian: It’s a mouse, but it’s for presenting as a laser pointer.

Craig: But what is it called? It’s a Logitech what?

Brian: I’m sure it’s in here somewhere. It’s a clicker for presenting. So it has the USB, it comes right out and you plug it into anything. No software.

Craig: Oh, so you’ve got a USB Bluetooth connector that you can detach, and plug it into a laptop or something.

Brian: And just start clicking. So I use this a lot on the road.

Craig: So it just says Logitech, it’s got a little LCD screen.

Brian: Well it has a timer for if you’re presenting.

Craig: Oh it’s a timer!

Brian: You actually can set a timer. It’ll warn you and vibrate in your hand to say, okay, it’s been 30 minutes.

Craig: It vibrates? That’s excellent. Oh here it says R800, is the model.

Brian: They’re not too pricey.

Craig: What did this cost?

Brian: 50 bucks.

Craig: And this fits in your hand really nice. It feels good.

Brian: For people who present, I know a lot of financial advisors don’t necessarily present like that, but if you do –

Craig: Oh, look at the laser pointer. Oh, look, see over here we have ETS, I can laser pointer people, see the green dot. There’s Blaze Portfolio right there. Oh, this is excellent. I love this green dot. I’m going to get this because I’m at clients’ offices doing presentations.

Brian: There you go. That’s great.

Craig: No, no no. I’ll order one. Don’t worry.

Brian: I’ve actually given these away too, because one of the things I don’t like doing on the road is using somebody else’s clicker. I want to use my own. I know how it feels.

Craig: Are you a germaphobe, is that why?

Brian: No, not at all. Not at all, but, I just like to have the power in my hands. Yeah. The last one is a Tile. That’s when I got free from Marriott, but I’ve had a few.

Craig: Tile meaning the Tile brand?

Brian: The bluetooth Tile locator. All my bags have one, you can attach it or for me, I just throw it in the pocket, and replace these about once a year, throw it in there, track it on your phone incase I lose my bag.

Craig: Have you ever had to track it?

Brian: Yes.

Craig: And how does the app work?

Brian: It worked great. I left it in an airport once, I found it at another gate.

Craig: How long did it take you to find it?

Brian: 15 minutes. It was fast.

Craig: I’ve never thought of that, I should do that.

Brian: Well you can get them free at a lot of places. I mean, I’d buy it, no big deal, but I had a bunch of free. I just registered it and yeah, pops up where your bag location is every couple of minutes from other people seeing it on their phones and they’ll give you a geolocation.

Craig: Crowdsourcing.

Brian: Yeah. It’s fantastic.

Invest In Others

Craig: So I’ll bring up one thing that I have, which is I’m on the phone a lot, as I’m sure you are. So I’ve gone through Bluetooth headsets like you wouldn’t believe. I keep trying, I was sticking with this old Plantronics in-ear, and I just couldn’t get rid of it because everything I bought was crappy. And I finally got these Jabra, it’s got a boom mic and it’s flexible so you can bring it down. And it’s a little red, which looks nice. And it’s over the ear or on ear rather. And it’s got two.

Brian: Is it noise cancelling too?

Craig: No, it’s not, but it’s fine. I mean, I haven’t had a problem with hearing anybody. I had a one ear, like a customer support ear thing, and after about a year and a half, I had problems hearing anybody. I guess it just sort of slowly died. So these Jabras are great.

Brian: And those are not that expensive either, right?

Craig: It was 50, 60… maybe it was $70 on Amazon.

Brian: That’s still way cheaper than a quiet comfort Bose or something like that.

Craig: Exactly.

Brian: Do you have a quiet over ear for traveling? For flying?

Craig: Yeah, I have a separate now. Again, the best thing I ever bought was my Bose. Noise cancelling, quiet comfort, the $300 ones.

Brian: And there’s actually a headset, right?

Craig: Goes over top of your ears.

Brian: The best.

Craig: And I wear them every flight and I plug it into my iPhone and listen to music. But these are for phone calls and I mean, I’m on these all the time. What I liked about these Jabras is that I switch from my iPhone, to my Mac sometimes back and forth, and it’s instantaneous. With other, I had a Parrot, and blue Parrot was the brand.

Brian: Oh yeah I remember those.

Craig: And it was good for awhile, but it was always a pain switching from the phone to the laptop. I ha to disable my Bluetooth on my phone to get it to recognize my Macbook.

Brian: This obviously throws out the most important question, why not AirPods? Cause that’s what I have.

Craig: Because they’re just too expensive and they go in your ear, and I’m going to lose them.

Brian: Fair enough. Now I don’t have the pro ones, but somebody else let me try theirs out.

Craig: Well now I know what to get you for your birthday.

Brian: Yes, exactly. Give me the pro ones.

Craig: If you want to get Brian McLaughlin a present, get him the AirPod Pros.

Brian: And they let you do laser engraving. We always have a Redtail motto on it.

Craig: AirPods and you like those.

Brian: I love these things. These are by far my favorite. Now I am like you, all Apple. So with these I don’t have to deal with a seamless transition. Plug them in, it’s my phone. Oh, switch over to my laptop with one click. It’s just automatic. Don’t think about it. Now this is the new one, the wireless charger. Now I don’t travel with the wireless charger cause it’s still a little bulky. But at home, just lay on the charger, done. So you can go either way, but the battery life on this is ridiculous.

Craig: Not the Pros, but regular AirPods.

Craig: Regular AirPods. Your battery life is a week?

Brian: About that. Yeah. About a week of flying, no big deal. So you’re talking five-hour coast to coast, watching movies, whatever.

Craig: You’re making calls on them?

Brian: Yes, absolutely. I do all my calls on them. And you can do it in one ear or both ears. That’s kind of nice. I even use it at home with the Apple TV sometimes at night, like, Oh, I’m going to watch a loud movie or something. I pop these in with Apple TV syncs it all together.

Craig: Think about how far we’ve come, because I used to do that as well. 10 years ago I bought Sennheiser wireless headphones that plugged into the TV aux jack so I could hear movies. That was like super cool. I could watch movies downstairs without waking everyone up.

Brian: And then there’s the radio extender ones. But yeah, the AirPod Pro does sound really cool with the noise canceling because I do own quiet comfort as well. I don’t travel anymore with them because I can’t seem to lay my head and rest or anything. They’re just too bulky for me.

Craig: Do you take night flights. You take any red eyes?

Brian: I try not to. I used to take a ton of them, but I do mostly day flights now.

Craig: I’ve been taking too many red eyes, I’m taking a red eye tomorrow night. I bring an actual pillow. I went to t\Target and bought a $9 pillow. So if it gets ripped, messed up, I just throw it away. And I put that against the bulkhead and it fits the big Bose headphones because it kind of molds to it.

Brian: That’s a great idea.

Craig: Cause I need to sleep on my side. So I need that pressure on my side of my head.

Brian: But that big headset’s pushing and it just doesn’t work for four or five hours. So pillow, I’m going to try that.

Craig: And another thing to try, I don’t know how you sleep with white noise on your iPhone, Spotify. I have a white noise playlist on Spotify.

Brian: So I do environmental noise, either way.

Craig: I have like eight hours of it so when I go on a night flight I turn that on. So it’s playing like a washing machine. When I’m at a hotel I like to turn the air on full blast. So you hear that fan going and it blocks out the noise.

Brian: We all have to do that because you’re sleeping in an unusual place for one night, two nights. How do we get good quality sleep is always a challenge. So, you’re right, white noise is always great call. It’s better than falling asleep with the TV on all the time, which I seem to fall in that habit too much.

Craig: So you’re opening your ebag, and that is a front panel. It opens sideways like a refrigerator door.

Brian: It’s because it’s supposed to also be a briefcase. It’s actually the one thing I hate about this case.

Craig: I wouldn’t like that either.

Brian: And now I can zip it like this so nothing falls out. But if I go like this when I’m carrying it, everything slides out.

Craig: That’s why I got the Everki because everything’s from the top.

Brian: Yes. Top-down only, that is literally the only frustrating thing about this bag.

Craig: I see you’ve got all the Redtail stickers and things.

Brian: I always travel with Redtail stickers to give away or whatever, put one on your laptop. You have no stickers on your laptop.

Craig: I’m sticker-clean.

Brian: You’ll see my laptop in a second. Some business cards, hardly ever use them.

Craig: When are we going to find a solution to get rid of business cards?

Brian: Remember we had Bump?

Craig: Yes, we had Bump, where’d it go?

Brian: Bought by somebody probably. I think I told somebody, just Google me. I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere online.

Craig: I’m getting weird sized cards like at this conference. These are nice. Oh, this is heavy and thick.

Brian: Yeah we did really heavy, nice quality cards.

Craig: You hear that? It’s a thick card there.

Brian: I give away like one a month.

Craig: It’s like a millimeter thick and I like that it’s the right size. And it’s white on black because this conference I’ve gotten all the weird size cards. Well, here’s another geek thing. I love Evernote. I live in Evernote.

Brian: So do I.

Craig: I have almost 5,000 notes.

Brian: Wow.

Craig: So I type every client meeting into Evernote, every podcast in my notes in Evernote, my staff type stuff in Evernote for me. And I scan business cards with Evernote, every business card I get, I will scan it and then ditch the cards. But I’ve gotten a couple of square cards and weird colored cards that it won’t recognize. So it just takes a snapshot of it, but it won’t recognize it as a card. It brings it into a contact form, automatically, reads all their information, pulls down LinkedIn information and then emails in your contacts.

Brian: Oh, that’s awesome.

Craig: You should try it. You should try that feature.

Brian: We use Dropbox for notes. So I use that as well. And they do a good job for doc processing and camera processing of that, and grabbing that data.

Craig: Dropbox is good.

Brian: Yeah, Dropbox does a pretty good job, definitely for making PDFs on the fly, stuff like that. Evernote, you can do that though as well.

Craig: If you like writing by hand, sometimes I like writing pen on my little notebook I have. And I can take pictures of that in Evernote and it converts it. It does OCR.

Brian: Apple pencil?

Craig: I just ordered it yesterday.

Brian: Pretty cool. I’m not a big user of it.

Craig: The first generation or second generation?

Brian: This is the second generation. The one that pops onto the iPad and charges on there.

Craig: I just got an iPad for Christmas.

Brian: Finally. Welcome to that. First one?

Craig: Oh no, I had the original iPad. I had an iPad 1.0.

Brian: Oh good.

Craig: And when I did that, I stopped my subscription to the Wall Street Journal. I’m only doing iPads.

Brian: That’s all you need. Here we have a snack.

Craig: A snack, it’s a Nature Valley granola bar, oats and honey Nature Valley.

Brian: Gotta have a snack. Always ready to go, usually I have two, three, four of these. I’ve already eaten a few on this trip. Cough drops in case you need them.

Craig: In case you’re in a panel.

Brian: Yeah. We have to have those ready to go.

Craig: Is that a MiFi?

Brian: MiFi we’ve been doing forever. We used to be Sprint. My recommendation is this is the Verizon jet pack versus the older one. This one’s older. They have a newer version, but the SD Verizon 4g LTE jet pack, turn it on. You have your wifi network. The trick though for me, was get a different network than your cell phone.

Craig: Yes.

Brian: That’s a big deal. People don’t usually know.

Craig: Are you AT&T?

Brian: I’m AT&T and when AT&T doesn’t work, Verizon does and vice versa. That’s how I get around that. So I always carry this. I find I use this less and less though, because wifi is just so good now. So I don’t use it nearly

Craig: And AT&T has gotten better. I switched to AT&T in 2007.

Brian: It’s hit or miss.

Craig: I found it to be a munch better. I’m getting great download speeds. You’re really digging it in. We’ve got a dollar, a few dollars in here. It’s not really geeky. Cash is not geeky.

Brian: More Redtail stickers, have a lot of fun stickers, backup ID pass.

Craig: You have the Tide pen.

Brian: The Tide pen you have to have.

Craig: Have you used that?

Brian: Yeah.

Craig: I’ve never used it. I used to carry with me for years and I don’t, I never used it.

Brian: You’ll have like Italian red sauce, and you get it on your shirt and you’re like, crap.

Craig: And it works?

Brian: It actually does work. I grabbed this. I go to a lot of conferences, this is the stuff I pick up.

Craig: I get chapstick. Chapstick is my favorite swag.

Brian: Really? Okay. We’ll get you some.

Craig: I have, my pockets are full already.

Brian: Do you have the EOS?

Craig: No I don’t like those. My girls do.

Brian: Too flavorful?

Craig: I don’t like the form factor.

Brian: Okay. An eyeglass cleaning cloth, and collar stays. I don’t have any in the bag today, but in my suitcase, I have tons of Orion collar stays.

Craig: I’ve never seen Orion collar stays.

Brian: They have them in little business cards, they pop out.

Craig: Really?

Brian: Yeah, I just grabbed like five to throw my suitcase. Good to go.

Craig: This is American century chapstick.

Brian: When’s the last time you actually bought chapstick?

Craig: Years ago. Okay so talking about collar stays, I’m going to show you something. I’m going to get undressed here a little bit, but so I’m pulling my collar up. Look at this.

Brian: Okay. That’s cool, what is that?

Craig: This is it’s called a collar shaper. So I hate it when I’m wearing a suit jacket, my collar flops down. So you put this on like this and he can’t see at home. But with the video you can see it goes under your collar. It’s a a metal horseshoe shaped, very thin metal, and it’s got a little legs inside and it goes under your collar to keep your collars pointy up all the time.

Brian: So it doesn’t go widespread.

Craig: One side, always flops down, like my right side will flop down.

Brian: Where’d you get that?

Craig: Amazon.

Brian: Oh, okay.

Craig: It was like 17 bucks.

Brian: A little pricey for a little tiny piece of metal. And you can wear that through TSA, it’s not enough metal to set it off?

Craig: No, it’s too skinny, it’s firm, but not too far. You can bend it a little bit if you have a wider collar, a higher collar or a shorter collar you can bend the little legs.

Brian: Oh, that’s cool. I got to get that.

Craig: If you wear a tie, you don’t need it, but I never wear a tie.

Brian: No one here at wears ties anymore, it’s all gone. I mean, it’s rare.

Craig: Well, Tony Stich.

Brian: He’s always dressed. He’s a sharp dressed guy.

Craig: And now the real tech, the heavy equipment, MacbookPro comes out.

Brian: So I rotate through these about once a year, I’ll just kind of upgrade them.

Craig: Hold on let me see the stickers.

Brian: You know, cause it’s a bummer. I give it away and lose all my stickers.

Craig: Did you go to Oregon?

Brian: I did not go to Oregon, but I’m a massive football fan.

Craig: Because you’ve got an Oregon Ducks sticker on there.

Brian: Of course, I have two of them.

Craig: What do you mean “of course”, if you didn’t go to Oregon, why would you have an Oregon ducks sticker?

Brian: I went to SAC State, we have an okay football team, go Hornets, you know? But when I fell in love with football and college football, particularly the first game I ever went to was Oregon Ducks at Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.

Craig: Oh that must have been fun.

Brian: And just fell in love with the sport, went with a bunch of guys actually from the industry. And we went to this rainy day game. I remember they played Fresno is the early 2000s. And I just fell in love with the sport and everything else, and I just adopted them. My college doesn’t have a team to really follow on TV or travel or anything like that. So I went on and I’ve been 20 years a fan.

Craig: Now I know the history of the Oregon sticker your MacBookPro.

Brian: So I always have Oregon stuff. I mean, everybody sees on Twitter or whatever. I’m always wearing Oregon stuff. A huge football fan though. I have a whole list of like games I want to go to, my bucket list of games, like Notre Dame is up this year.

Craig: In South Bend?

Brian: In South Bend.

Craig: I wanted to do a Big 10, because I went to Rutgers and Rutgers just joined the Big 10, four, five years ago. I wanted to do a Big 10 tour, go to Michigan, go to Ohio State, Michigan State. Cause those are great stadiums, Penn State, a hundred thousand people.

Brian: You gotta go on a white out.

Craig: And I hate Penn State with a passion, but I’ll go.

Brian: So I don’t care that Oregon is playing or not. I just want to experience it. So my whole family is into college sports. We love them. But yeah, go Ducks.

Craig: So which MacBookPro is that, the 13 inch?

Brian: I do the 13.

Craig: So do I.

Brian: But then they have a 16. It seems large. I ordered one to the office for a developer, we’re going to see how I like it. This one does have the touch bar and all that. I never use it. I use it for volume and screen brightness.

Craig: I was about to say, I use it for volume and screen brightness.

Brian: I never use it like they advertise it. Or the escape key.

Craig: I can’t find the escape key! I have the same thing. Well, actually I just got this last July. So this is the brand new 2019. It just came out in July, which I never buy, but I was in Santa Monica at the Orion conference speaking there and I spilled a whole cup of green tea on my laptop. Not just a little splash. The whole cup was empty. There was no liquid left in the cup when I was done with it on my laptop, trashed it. So I had to run, and fortunately Santa Monica has an Apple store right there. So I ran over three blocks.

Brian: What do you have in stock?

Craig: Well they said tomorrow we’re releasing like at midnight tonight, they’re releasing a new one. So I’m like okay, I’ll come back tomorrow. So I was in my hotel at 12:01 placing the order, picked it up in the morning so I could work the next day.

Brian: It’s funny with the iPhones you always had to do that a lot more than you did this time, but it was always at Orion fuse events was when it would hit and we had to stay up til 12:01 and everybody in that room would do it. And it’s like how fast can I get it? In two days I’ll have it or whatever. So my stickers change, Dutch brothers coffee. I used to have some craft beer stickers.

Craig: Riskalyze sticker, I see. Give a shout out to Riskalyze.

Brian: I have a Mobile Assistant one. So I mean Redtail is known for being foodies.

Craig: Oh I didn’t know that.

Brian: We don’t do chains. We travel the country. We try not to chain restaurants. And so we have this whole list of places that are our favorite local places, Klein State, in Portland, one of the best breakfasts you’ll have.

Craig: Okay show me the iPad, what iPad do you have there?

Brian: iPad pro, but the small one, it’s a 9.7 inch, with a smart case with the keyboard. Prop it up, face ID, all that. So no more buttons on it, which is nice. This is my go-to. I use this so much, at home, whatever I do games on it. I do work. I do whatever. I have to have it. It’s a must device be charged, 24/7.

Craig: Now, have you used Sidecar?

Brian: I have used Sidecar at work, at my desk and done that and it actually works.

Craig: I love sidecar. That’s all I use my iPad for, for having two screens.

Brian: You’re using a laptop then, so you don’t do an external monitor?

Craig: At home I do.

Brian: At home.

Craig: At home I have a big extra monitor. When I’m in a hotel room, I need another screen. So I bring, I have a 12.9 inch iPad that all I use. So it’s exactly, almost exactly the same size as my MacBookPro.

Brian: That’s awesome. And it’s pretty good. I mean, it’s pretty seamless, Sidecar.

Craig: It’s glitchy every now and then, like a little disconnect I just reconnect it. Sometimes it doesn’t want to connect maybe a couple of times, but for 95% of the time, it’s really seamless. Works great.

Brian: How many Macs do you own?

Craig: Not as many as I used to. I have three daughters, and –

Brian: Oh we’re not going to count kids’ stuff.

Craig: Well we took over our dining room which was very small in the house we bought. So we turned that into the study and I built in the wall, like you’ve seen in your office, like if there was like a bookshelf, it was actually a kitchen counter from Home Depot. But attached to the wall, drilled holes where you would sit for workstations and set up three iMacs.

Brian: Perfect.

Craig: So it was like a WeWork facility in my house. But now the girls have moved to laptops so we dismantled that, only my wife is working in there now.

Brian: So you personally use one?

Craig: I personally use two. So I have this MacBookPro and I have an iMac 27 inch in my office at home.

Brian: Love that device. So I have three work, home, travel. And that’s why I like the Apple products is how seamless all of that is.

Craig: But if you have a laptop, isn’t it meant to move? Why would you have a separate laptop?

Brian: I like the big screens when I’m sitting down to work.

Craig: Or you said you have iMacs?

Brian: Well, so I have the MacBookPro 13.

Craig: That’s your travel?

Brian: That’s my travel, or on the couch.

Craig: And an iMac at work.

Brian: No, iMac at home, 27 inch iMac, the 5k one. And then I have the MacPro at work now. But it’s the old one.

Craig: That’s some serious hardware. That’s really old.

Brian: Yeah. So it’s the old black cylinder, Darth Vader looking thing it’s way cool. Crazy fast. Still works.

Craig: You have failed me for the last time. Brian McLaughlin.

Brian: That’s almost like a shout out to Aaron Klein who’s at Disney World right now doing probably Star Wars stuff. That’s awesome. It is the Darth Vader box though. I went to go buy the new one.

Craig: Why are you buying a Mac Pro?

Brian: Because I’m a nerd, I just want to have it.

Craig: Are you gaming on it?

Brian: Why would I buy a Tesla?

Craig: Are you playing X-Box live?

Brian: No I don’t do any of that type of hardcore gaming. My game is Clash of Clans and that type of stuff, you know, lightweight, iPad. I wanted it just for the horsepowers.

Craig: Are you programming like weather patterns that you’re trying to figure out…?

Brian: No, we do a lot of programming. So we’ve run a lot of locally.

Craig: And you still program, don’t you?

Brian: Daily or near daily. Yeah. I still do.

Craig: You’re probably the only CEO of a firm who’s actually still programming.

Brian: I’m one of the last few that are left I think. It’s always been a passion of mine, digging into the code. I mean, I was doing it this morning up in the hotel room, just working on some projects. My products though are less production, front end stuff, and much more R&D architechting, testing, trying out new things for innovation that I then hand off to developers or project managers to actually build it into something if I can prove it. So I just, I got years of experience doing it so I can go really fast on prototyping, and I love it. I love the creativity of it. So like right now I’ll be on like data feed processing, like standardizing data feeds across 50 vendors and to mash it into a really normalized format, but high speed, we have the process of stuff in minutes. How do we do that? So, you know, I originally wrote all the Redtail code, day one. And so it’s just a great avenue for me to get out my thoughts and just put them onto code and just, yeah, I geek out.

Craig: Awesome.

Brian: This thing runs a lot of code. It’s all cloud based. It doesn’t matter. Right. The other thing I have on here,

Craig: I have those too. I have the exact same one.

Brian: I think I have like 10 of these, I lose them all the time.

Craig: That’s a tiny little USB-C two USB 2.0 adapter. And it’s like a half inch long.

Brian: It’s very tiny. Exactly. Yes. It’s how we get to the other dongles. It’s a dongle to a dongle.

Craig: It’s a dongle enabler.

Brian: That’s pretty much it.

Craig: You’ve said it all, don’t do any more, let’s save it for the next time.

Brian: Alright, fair enough.

Craig: We’ll do another one of these. Brian, I’m so happy you came. We talked about this in August (2019). We finally got to do the tech geek out podcast.

Brian: Next time we should do like apps, like actually take our laptops and go through how we use them. Like I ask people all the time, how do you use Evernote better? How do you use this tool?Works for me.

Craig: Oh we can do that all day.

Brian: We should do that, we can screen share those.

Craig: We’ll crank up my Zoom cause we can screen share and video and we can record it. Awesome.

Brian: Thanks for having me man.

Craig: Thanks for being here. I’m glad we could work it out.

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The Wealth Tech Today blog is published by Craig Iskowitz, founder and CEO of Ezra Group, a boutique consulting firm that caters to banks, broker-dealers, RIA’s, asset managers and the leading vendors in the surrounding #fintech space. He can be reached at