Ep. 210: Breaking Boundaries for RIA Success: Insights from Joe Duran of Rise Growth

Come on in and sit back and relax. You’re listening to Episode 210 of the WealthTech Today podcast. I’m your host, Craig Iskowitz, founder of Ezra Group Consulting. This podcast features interviews, news and analysis on the trends and best practices, all about wealth management technology.

My guest for this episode is the man, the legend, Joe Duran, managing partner of Rise Growth. I’m sure everyone listening to this knows who Joe is, but just in case someone may be new to the industry is listening or you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 plus years, let me give you a quick overview a quick bio on Joe and his history. 

His background is so interesting, but there’s a lot of articles online you can find more information and more details about his background, but very quickly, Joe was born in Zimbabwe formerly called Rhodesia, a British colony in Africa. During their long civil war for independence. Joe worked odd jobs to earn enough money for a plane ticket to London when he was 18. He traveled around Europe, continuing to find menial employment, eventually emigrated to the US by 21 when he was alone with $600 to his name.

Joe started in the industry as an intern at a small investment management firm in Southern California at the age of 24. He made a dramatic rise up through the ranks becoming Head of Sales and Marketing by the time he was 28. And then President of the firm a few years later.

In 2001, the company which was then called Centurion Capital was acquired by General Electric and Joe cashed out with $30 million to his name. Now he could have rested on his laurels, but instead in 2005, he started his own company called United Capital. Joe built a unique process for his advisors to onboard clients that includes their own software tools called Honest Conversations and MoneyMind that were designed to draw out clients feelings about money and finance, decision making as well as ensuring a consistent investor experience across the firm.

That firm became very successful and in 2018 Joe sold United Capital to Goldman Sachs for $750 million. And now, moving on from Goldman, he’s launching his latest venture, RIA incubator called Rise Growth. We’re going to talk a lot about it in this episode. I’ve got some great takeaways from our conversation, some of the areas of focus that Joe is working on with with Rise Growth and some of the things around efficiency and owning your own data that we of course agree on, talking about different natural plateaus and capacity limits of RIAs at different levels, and then I drill down into some of his best practices around M&A since he has completed over 150 M&A transactions.

But before we get started, if you are an executive at a broker-dealer, enterprise RIA, family office or a TAMP, your tech debt is holding you back. Your old software platforms are rusty and falling apart and they need either a complete overhaul or to be replaced entirely. Your disparate systems don’t communicate with each other and it’s driving your operations staff and advisors crazy with manual processes and other errors. If this describes your company, you should run, not walk to our website, EzraGroup.com and fill out the Contact Us form on the home page. Our experienced team can evaluate your technology ecosystem, deliver targeted recommendations, optimize your existing systems and operations, or run an RFP or RFI to help you implement new software to help take your firm to the next level.

Topics Mentioned

  • Rise Growth Partners and Supporting Next-Gen Funds
  • Rise Growth’s Tech Platform and the Importance of Middleware
  • The Strategic Financial Partner
  • Mistakes and the Power of Questioning Certainty

Episode Transcript

Craig: I’m excited to introduce our next guest, it’s the incomparable Joe Duran, Founder and Managing Partner of Rise Growth Partners. Joe, thanks for being here.

Joe: I’m thrilled to be here, Craig. It’s good to finally connect.

Craig: I am thrilled. It’s my it’s my turn to be thrilled to having you on the program. We have crossed paths a lot, but first time here on the podcast we’re happy to talk to you learn more about Rise Growth. Where are you calling in from?

Joe: Laguna Beach, and folks all dispersed across the country. I like to find great talent. I don’t care where that talent lives. So we have an amazing team of people, keeps getting bigger, quite exciting.

Craig: I was just saying I was jealous living in New Jersey, knowing the great weather and the great view you have in Laguna Beach. Certainly a fantastic place to live.

Joe: Yeah, quite. It’s quite fortunate. You might not love our tax system, although it’s not much better on your side of the country.

Rise Growth Partners and Supporting Next-Gen Funds

Craig: Week can have a whole another podcast on taxes and business climate. New Jersey versus California. Let’s jump right in. Can you give us a 30-second elevator pitch for Rise Growth Partners?

Joe: Rise Growth Partners was an idea of supporting the next generation of national funds. We want to be the most exceptional growth partner that anyone could want, if they want to build a national fund. So we’re looking to back firms that have $1-5 billion in assets. They’re looking to go to $15-25 billion and we have a team of people that have done it and loved and that’s the partner I wish I’d had when I built my prior two firms.

Craig: It seems like the ultimate in partners. So having built a firm from the ground up, you certainly know what you need. But there’s a lot of companies out there doing similar things and your competitors out there also saying similar things. So how do you differentiate Rise Growth from all the other RIA aggregators and networks that are out there?

Joe: The reason we’re creating this. This is the third business I’ve been involved in in starting. My first one was Centurion. It’s now called AssetMark. But I’d started it and we sold the General Electric that then got merged with AssetMark and is now its own enterprise. At the time, people said well, why should I have my mutual funds managed and the fee charged and that was because nobody was managing them? But when we started, we thought we were crazy. It’s not the way the whole industry operates.

Joe: When I started United Capital, the idea was, hey, we want to build a national wealth management firm because there is no national firm that leads with people’s lives rather than their investments. And so we use behavioral economics, great technology to create a scaled, integrated national firm, and everybody was under the one brand, one brand, one culture one platform.

Joe: I then worked for Goldman for four years as a partner they’re running what was called workplace and personal wealth, which included my old business as well as the digital coaching work we did for corporates. And when I left, I was thinking, it seems like there’s not a great hub for these folks, with $2-3 billion dollars growing rapidly younger advisors. Their early choices are, a) sell to a national aggregator and give up all the rest of the upside where if you have 15 years of runway left is definitely not your best part. You might get a nice big cash check up front, but you don’t get to participate in the growth of your enterprise.

Joe: If you’re in your 40s, early 50s, and you’ve got a great enterprise, it’s growing rapidly. Your equity appreciation is much too great, no matter what price you’re receiving today, but that’s the one choice that people had. And if you want to sell and get the maximum price, I think that’s a perfectly good outcome. There are lots of great firms out there, like United Capital that are national firms that integrate, you can give up your brand you give up your way of operating and you join an established operation.

Joe: The second choice you have is you’re big enough you can get minority investments from firms. So we’ll take a financial interest, but bring you nothing in helping you to scale, figure out the technology, figure out your operating model that you operate under help you do acquisitions help you grow organically. I thought, it’s just a gap in the market for these high growth, ambitious firms who want to change the world. That don’t want to sell the enterprise, give up their operating methods. We can make the next generation of firms and there’s lots of money floating around the industry but there aren’t a lot of people who’ve actually done it before. And so what I thought was, we could be not just an advisor and investor, we can also be the best partner to guide and help these firms to figure out what they don’t know.

Joe: Because there are these natural plateaus in our industry where you get stuck at a billion and get stuck at two and a half billion, it gets stuck at five then you get stuck at 10, then you’ll get stuck again at 15 and then at 25 because these natural capacity limits that happen in industry that you’ve got to break through. And if you haven’t done it before, you don’t know how to get past it. That’s what I thought would be interesting is to say can we be the greatest partner in the world and get paid by participating the equity success of the underlying enterprise.

Joe: Everything we do is to be completely aligned with the underlying firm and we only make our money if we help you deliver to yourself the highest rate of return possible and growing the equity of your underlying enterprise. And that doesn’t exist today. There’s actually no one out there. We created this category because obviously their strategic bias is financial bias. So I think we would create a new category which is the strategic financial partner, where a synergistic partner, we take the best of both worlds, and bring you what we hope is a great partnership.

Craig: I’ve heard you speak at so many conferences, and one thing I’ve always liked about you is you ask one question, but you give me back like the answers to 10 other questions, and no I’ve got to peel that apart. That was a very deep, deep response. So I’m going to roll back a couple steps here. One of the things I liked about United Capital and you mentioned the the technology, your national firms leading with people’s lives versus their investments.

Joe: Yes.

Rise Growth’s Tech Platform and the Importance of Middleware

Craig: One of the things I liked about the what you did a United Capital was you built your own tech platform, which account you called FinLife, and you built a tool called MoneyMind, and I saw that as the first advice engagement tool. That was way ahead of the curve. Now we’ve gotten a lot of advice engagement tools out there. How do you see that as being something that revolute that changed the market and are you planning on building something similar?

Joe: So I’ll tell you the FinLife there was the lovely behavioral economics tools we had in place, which were differentiated at the time, but the thing that powered everything was the middleware. And interestingly enough, that’s still an area where most of the efficiencies get made the biggest difference between a $3 billion firm and a $30 billion firm, the $30 billion firm typically has integrated middleware.

Joe: What do I mean by middleware? The thing that connects all the data flow from all the sub components to us, no one’s going to change the planning software they use, or the custodian that they use, or their onboarding system or their portfolio accounting system. But that data lives in its own silos and what you have is a choice. You can join Orion’s ever increasing but closed world and live in their silo. Or you can join Envestnet’s closed universe or Salesforce’s closed universe and I know that what we believed in is we got to control our destiny because maybe, and again, I’m not making endorsement. But if you’d love financial planning on MoneyGuidePro, then your in Envestnet’s world, if you like Orion’s portfolio accounting system, you’re in Orion’s world, and of using Salesforce as your CRM all three of them are trying to lock you into their ecosystems, which creates incredible challenges.

Joe: It’s kind of like the relationship between the US and China. It’s cooperative for now. But it keeps becoming more and more painful. When you shift from Zoom to Google Meets, that microphone doesn’t work or something doesn’t work, because all these places are trying to create closed architecture communities, even though they say you can API in.

Joe: I firmly believe that you have to control your destiny, which means you must have your own ecosystem which allows you to then control your data because the entire future of our industry, and of technology is about data management and flow. I’m a huge believer, we’re talking on a tech podcast here, that you must be in the data business. Because we’re in the information business, we give advice. You need to make sure that you have the ability to flow data from where you need it to where you need it, and is having a massive impact on this. But you need to have middleware architecture allows that to happen for three reasons.

Joe: Number one, for efficiency and your ability to actually onboard clients and manage them at scale. You cannot have to enter different data and all the different places. Second, in order to manage the business as a whole and what’s happening in the underlying business flows, you need to be able to look through the underlying systems into one aggregated management system. Efficiency, then data and analytics. Then third, you want to apply AI at some point. To tell you what the next best action is, or to give you smart analytics about what’s working and not working. Then you need to have this middleware data flow in order to make that happen. And that requires, in essence, your ability to build your own ecosystem so you can get what you need that reflects the business that you’re running.

Joe: Now, again, all these different ecosystems will try to convince you that they’re building the next ecosystem, but they’re gonna want you to live within their construct. It’s kind of like being in the Apple world. It’s hard to leave Apple land if you’re in Apple, same thing with using Google. And so the question is how to do it when you only have 2 or 3 billion and can’t commit the level of resources and that’s an error we brought in Brian Jensen, the head of technology for third party solutions at Schwab. He helped me build FinLife and he’s one of our partners here to think about how we help these local firms because again, they are great solutions that we have partnerships with where you can have an open architecture solution. And then delivered to the clients what they need, or your advisors a workstation, or connect to all of your back office functionality in one seamless solution that is the belongs to the partner firms that we work with.

Craig: Another deep answer to a question I was going to mention, Brian Jensen, I saw him that Future Proof, and he mentioned he was joining your team. So that was a great, great hire on your part that say.

Joe: Yeah, we’re very excited about it.

Craig: It’s hard to it’s hard to attract great people because there’s so many opportunities for them. But if you’ve got a great reputation in the industry, sometimes they’re a great firms, but the people running them maybe don’t have the best environment.

Joe: Can I tell you honestly our industry has so little imagination. Everyone’s just copying everyone else. And so for me, I find that incredibly boring. Once I’ve claimed my client did I don’t want to do the third time. Everything I do is a constant evolution of what I think is needed right now and where I think the industry will be in 5 or 10 years and if you think about it, 5 or 10 years, we’re in phase three of the wealth management industry. Phase one, it’s a cottage industry with thousands of sole practitioners and the big wire houses. But the independent RIA, the fiduciary space, was a cottage industry.

Joe: Phase two is the evolution of national firms. And we certainly saw that with the United Capital, Wealth Enhancement Group, Mariner, you name it, there’s lots of these large national firms now. Phase three is when those large national firms, if you think about in the next five years, several of them will be a quarter of a trillion to half a trillion in assets. And you’ll have these super regionals. And those large national firms are going to have to buy $10-20 billion firms because it doesn’t move the needle for them to get involved with 500 million to a billion dollar funds, right, which is exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing because I’m like, Look there’s gonna be a mountain of opportunities, if you can build a $10-20 billion RIA. And your valuations will be very, very competitive because these large national firms and the private equity firms that want to grow you from 20 billion to 50 billion, but that’s a lot more work. It’s actually remarkably easy to grow from $2-10. Now, not not done yet. But we know the subcomponents like it’s four or five acquisitions for the integrated, scalable platform, a great brand, a unique segment that you can service and we can do all of that and move the needle but for a lot of these firms, where we are right now in the industry is we’re entering this phase three, where there’s a huge advantage to scale.

The Strategic Financial Partner

Craig: One thing you mentioned as well, we just talked about the different plateaus of assets. You said there’s a plateau 1 billion or two and a half another at 5, another at 10. What is it about those numbers that create the natural plateau?

Joe: I wish I could give you a magical answer. But here’s what I know for myself. Having done this twice, up to about 100 million, you have a lifestyle business, and that’s probably true, all the way up to 500 million and what determines your size is how rich are your friends, your friends’ friends, because you can have 300 clients and then you get to an ensemble, maybe a partnership you join someone else. We have rich clients and maybe make it to a billion. You can get to a billion dollars in a lifestyle business.

Joe: If you crack the code, and then start operating as a centralized, managed, scalable business you’ll get to two and a half billion but that requires the founder and CEO have to let go of control and actually bring in operating partners who can actually give them leverage. And interesting enough 90% of our industry is run by very big ego people who don’t like to give up control. So they will always have their little barber shop, it’ll be fine. They’ll have a great life, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to get to 2.5 billion, you have to have professional leadership. And the job is completely different.

Joe: I was always a very good salesman, but I hated the repetition of being an advisor. So I meet with clients. I’m like, I’m bored with this. I want to do something different. And so I would bring in people to service the clients. And then I’m like, well, let’s do acquisitions, because then I’ll cover Aqua hires, then I’m like let’s do bigger acquisitions. And so that’s for me, just the way I was wired is I like running and building big things. But that’s not true of everyone running an RIA.

Joe: Some of them are amazing advisors who like the end to end control aspects of being your own owner/operator. In order to get 2.5 billion you have to you have to get the buses bigger. You need people to fill the seats. You need to know what those seats are. But you have to be willing to invest in yourself as a leader and entrepreneur. Many of these folks aren’t. But there’s a learning process, that’s why I like the 2-5 billion because they’ve kind of figured out a lot of the pieces but then, this is the hardest part, is you maxed out probably where your brand could go without spending and investing in either organic or inorganic acquisitions. And most of these firms have no idea how to begin that voyage.

Joe: They say, well, I’ll do acquisitions, but they don’t know how to do them. They don’t know how to structure them most importantly they don’t know how to filter out the bad acquisitions, because that’s the worst distraction in the world is a bad acquisition. They’re just like, well, if I gotta grow, I gotta do acquisitions, but it’s not a hobby, or they have a very weak organic strategy, which is frankly, the best thing you could do is grow your organic, but they’re not comfortable in the digital world. They have done nothing differentiate their brand from every other wealth manager in the world. And that’s our job.

Joe: Our job is to partner with these great firms and say, Hey, we’re not behavioral economics, so that every touchpoint is totally different for your clients than anyone else. We’re going to help you to tell your story in a way that makes you memorable and leaves an impression. And then we’re going to do both organic and inorganic with a lighthouse message to attract people that are drawn to what you’re doing, and it won’t be everyone. But these are all things that again, easy to say. Not so easy to do, and requires capital and honestly, you save a lot of money if you don’t go down to a bunch of blind alleys. And you can only do that if somebody has been on that road before. And I was like, that’s a bad turn right there. And then of course, you have to have the respect and willingness to listen on the other side. It doesn’t matter how good ideas is the firm who has control, has no interest in listening to us, our job is to say, hey, can we find great firms with great leadership that we can influence and help to do something greater and again, the natural plateaus are a constraint usually of leadership, because the bottleneck is always the top of the bottle. And then secondly, it’s lack of know how about what’s it going to take to get to that next level.

Craig: When you’re building up firms from 1-5 and getting them to 20 to 30, or even larger, is there a saturation point? In national RIA market? Can there be too many of those firms where you’re going to start seeing that it’s getting harder and harder to get the next to that next level, or is it because we’re in phase three and the super regionals are going to have to be buying up $10-20 billion firms at a fast rate that doesn’t there’ll be no end in sight to how many?

Joe: There will be no in sight because the reality is having worked at a large national bank at wirehouse, they can never do the things that an independent RIA can do. And so again, I have nothing but respect and love for my experience at Goldman Sachs honestly the most amazing people although I know all these wirehouses and large national banks get a bad rep. I actually loved my time there. I learned a ton, but they’re also in a completely different regulatory environment.

Joe: The government spent so much time regulating them that there’s very little latitude to do some of the amazing things that you can do if you’re an independent firm. Tax prep, estate planning, you could do the whole gamut of services as a fiduciary not as a as a registered representative that gives you a lot more latitude. What they do have that’s a huge advantages, they have great risk controls and a lot of these national firms haven’t got the kinds of systems in place that will be necessary. But I think that there’s no end in sight for the opportunity for RIAs. And I also see no end in sight if you have a $10-20 billion RIA, for the opportunity set that’s available.

Joe: I do not know whether there is an answer for the 100 billion dollar RIA. I don’t know what the exit looks like for them, because they can’t go public because the markets aren’t giving them the valuation that independent companies are getting what private companies in the world space so it’s an interesting question, what happens to these large national firms? If you think about it, it’s happened in accounting. It’s happened in legal practices, and there’s still a never ending series of acquisitions and accounting and legal because everyone still needs lawyers and accountants. And everyone will always need a financial advisor because the minute things are too complicated, or the cost of being wrong is high, you need a professional to either blame or help you take the load off. And that’s true for as long as there’s good money and it will be true as long as there isn’t.

Craig: Bring me someone to blame, said the king. Earlier you said you’re talking about the different closed worlds of Orion, Envestnet and Salesforce. What about your your platform, you’re pitching your enterprise technology platform as one of the benefits of Rise Growth? What are the core components of that that you’re using to build this?

Joe: The core components more than anything, is that it is built on your stack and it is a way to transparently see what’s happening in the underlying business out of the gate. So you can see inflows outflows, and activities, all integrated in whatever your combination you have, because we know there’s only two or three planning software that everyone uses. So only two or three CRMs everyone uses. Once you have the fully integrated elements, you could do anything and we’ve done a couple of great, interesting work with a firm called Uncork with another firm called Jiffy.ai that we’re working with to say, hey, how do we put all these pieces together the optimal way? We have brands working hard and diligently with these groups and others to think about the systems. But we obviously want to work in conjunction with our first two partner firms, three partner firms and we don’t have those delegates, I think early next year, certainly the firms we’re talking to are fully aware of what we’re looking to build out. They’ll help us build it out and our goal is to make it so fantastic that everybody would want to use it and would make it available for firms that we’re not even invested into it.

Joe: Normally I ask people on the podcast why they selected specific technology but Babu Sivadasan and I go way back so I know why you picked Jiffy.ai, that’s a great product. But why did you pick it, but for people that don’t know what is it about their technology that you believe is going to help you with building your tech stack?

Joe: I’ve noticed that for a couple of decades now. The folks that aren’t caught up for quite a while as well. And so you need two things. You need to be able to actually be agnostic as to where data resides and Babu’s team has done something using AI that I’ve never seen before, which is it puts you in the business of simply auditing the underlying data rather than pulling all the data out. So that’s extremely unique, using bots to move the data as if it’s a human from one place to another. That’s a very special thing.

Joe: The biggest nightmare as you know with data is data accuracy and then moving into the fields populate the right fields. And so that’s a very unique element. And then other solutions are looking at a no code codeless environment makes it a lot easier for firms that don’t have super advanced technology people to get things done. And we know the founders and the leadership teams of both those enterprises, we’re working with others as well to be clear. And typically they’re all looking to crack the RIA space, but need somebody like us who does a well and can actually bring large RIAs to help design how to scale and create something that is open source, open architecture solution that doesn’t care what sub components you want to use. But it’s interesting, we launched in like a decade ago and there’s no solution that actually includes the middleware, the advisor client tools and like none of it matters if you don’t have middleware.

Craig: It’s true. We work with a lot of RAS and broker dealers and the data we call it data as an asset.

Joe: Data is the new gold.

Craig: It certainly is. You’ve completed over 150 M&A transactions in your time so you’ve told us what you’re looking for in firms that you want to acquire but what are some of the red flags that will cause you to cancel a deal that you started out?

Joe: Well, first and foremost is culture. We have three steps and every transaction we do the first one is what we call a WAC score, willingness, ability, capacity. And that first is the somebody who actually wants to do what is necessary. A lot of people will say it, some people just aren’t willing to do it so there’s no reason to go much further. You can never fix a lack of willingness. If somebody is a control freak, and they’re always going to want to make every decision, they’re never going to get to $25 billion. And if they are, it’s not going to be with us because we’re not smart enough to know how to work with someone like that. We have to like people and and there are people who have fixed mindset that people have growth mindset and if you read nothing, or take nothing away from this, go read that and study that industry, growth mindset and fixed mindset. Because if you have a fixed mindset, that’s what’s constraining your growth.

Joe: Second is ability, do they actually have the skills necessary to execute on that? And a lot of people don’t have the skills within their structure within their firm to actually execute what they would like. And the last is capacity, do you have the resources necessary to execute? We love firms that have willingness and ability but not the capacity because we can bring the capacity. We can solve for a lack of ability because we know how to hire and recruit. I know a lot of people in the industry and so does Terri, but we can’t fix willingness. So the cultural bit is number one for me.

Joe: And how do they treat their people, how important are clients to them? Are they willing to share control? Are they willing to think creatively in a new way to revolutionize the industry? Because change as hard but change is a requirement if you’re going to grow, you cannot grow, can’t go to where you want to go doing it the way you’ve done it, because otherwise you’d be there already.

Joe: So you just need to be willing to adapt and change the way you work. The second thing we do as a fit score, what’s the size of business? What are the opportunities inherent in it? And what’s missing that we can add to the table? If we can’t add anything to the success of an underlying business, they should just take the best price they can get, because we can’t help them. If there are gaps that we can identify, here’s how we’re going to help you, we have this enterprise readiness assessment where we heat map them on 45 measurements across their business operations and management, their tech stack and their growth strategies. And we actually give them a heat map compared to other one to $5 billion firms, and then compared to a $10 billion firm and we identify the gaps and give that to you for free as a report, it takes about two to three hours to get the download, takes us several hours to put it together and then we deliver it to you and your management team. And we do that because we did that at United Capital. Even if we don’t end up working together. We know we’ve done something good that’s useful. We can also see what reaction you have to us telling you this what needs to happen and whether you’re willing to do it or not.

Mistakes and the Power of Questioning Certainty

Craig: You answered another of my questions already. That’s fantastic. I love the enterprise readiness assessment. We do something similar here at Ezra Group working with with firms because as you’ve as you mentioned, firms don’t know where their gaps are when it comes to business operations. So be able to go through and quickly show them, here’s how you stack up against firms both at your current size and where you want to be. We call that a Target Operating Model. Here’s your current state, here’s your future state and here’s the execution plan to get you there. I always ask people on the podcast, we’ve learned more from our mistakes and from our successes. So in your career, you’ve had a lot of successes, but what’s a mistake you’ve learned the most from?

Joe: Well, I tell everyone this, this one piece of advice and it’s based on many bad experiences. I tend to be a fairly confident human being. But the things that will take you down are whenever you are absolutely certain about anything. And so I have added a mantra for many, many years of my life, which is ask the question, what if I’m wrong? And it doesn’t matter what the specifics are. Every mistake was rooted in one underlying premise which was I know that I’m right, everyone else is wrong. When I lost great talented people, it’s because I didn’t open the door to my being wrong. And that meant that they could never contribute in a way they could have.

Joe: In my younger life I learned a lot about being adaptable and listening to advice to the fact that I was drawn to people who were just like me, great salespeople who are great visionaries. And frankly, you don’t need an army of those people. If nobody can actually build a train track, it doesn’t matter where you envision it going. And so, I think at its core when I stripped down all of the lessons that I’ve ever had it will return in the same fundamental question that every individual should ask themselves, and the more confident you are, the more you should ask this question is, what if I’m wrong?

Joe: Because it’s true that even as a parent and a spouse and as a human being, a lot of what you think is true are simply opinions that you tell yourself, you’re a prisoner of your thoughts. And the only way that you break free of that prison to get to places you never imagined, is to break away all of the narrative you tell yourself about what’s true and fixed. And the more that I challenge everything I think I know is true, the more open and growing I am as a human and even if I don’t succeed, if Rise doesn’t end up being a huge success, I will still have learned a ton that makes it very useful for whatever I do in my life.

Joe: So if I would take one takeaway from everyone here, just be more humble about whatever you are so completely certain as the truth is just an opinion, that 99% of what you think is true is not in fact true. But people find that hard to believe, because we get certain fixed in our mindset that oh no, this is right and this is wrong. But there are 1000 versions where there might not be true, at least in the context you have it.

Craig: I think the world would be a much different place if people realize that most of what they think they know is wrong.

Joe: It’s just an opinion. It’s not wrong. It’s just one part. I’ll give you a good thing to wrap up here. I study something called the Vedanta. And very in the very beginning, this was years and years and years ago, they held up a pencil in the middle of the room and they said look at this pencil and tell me what you see. And we were all around a big conference table. And we all wrote down what we see and they say, you’re assuming that because you see your side you know exactly what’s on the other side. But you can’t see the other side you, can’t see the scratches, if it’s a different color, if it’s broken, if it’s got a crack, you see only what you see. In fact, what you see right now if I spin the pencil just a little is completely different. Something as real as a pencil, you don’t ever have full perspective of it. And if that’s true about something like the pencil imagine how true that is about things like laws or opinions or judgments which are much softer. And it’s helpful to just realize that they are a thousand truths, not just one truth. That it doesn’t mean that you’re right around the world is filled with “and” it’s not actually “or”. I think being expansive in your thinking is quite useful in almost every aspect of your life that even if you turn out to be accurate, that it’s not harmful to hear a different point of view that might adjust and add to your perspective. Not necessarily disrupt your perspective, not prove that you’re right or wrong. But we tend to be very binary in our thinking in the world, and that comes at a huge price.

Craig: I could go on for the hour with you here. Out of time my friend. Where can people find more information about Rise Growth Partners?

Joe: Go to RiseGrowth.com and you can learn a little bit about us. We officially launch in 2024 but we’re always looking for fantastic people and great partnerships, obviously. Thank you so much for taking the time. Hopefully this was interesting to your audience.

Craig: I guarantee it will be, thanks Joe.



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 craig@ezragroupllc.com