gun rights

Michael Hiles – CEO of 10XTS

Micheal Hiles, CEO of 10XTS, talks with Rob McNealy about blockchain, cryptocurrency, gun rights, political organizing, and entrepreneurship.

Michael Hiles – CEO of 10XTS Transcript

Michael Hiles - 10xts

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy
Okay, I am excited today. So today I’m talking to Michael Hiles. He is the CEO of 10XTS, which is a company out of Ohio that is in the regulatory FinTech space. And he’s also a second amendment guy. So I’ve been real excited to want to get on the show here so we can talk about some things. So, Michael, how are you today? Hey, how are you?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Thanks for having me.

Rob McNealy
Oh, well, I appreciate it. You know, it’s funny when we were kind of connecting on this, I thought it was interesting that you and I have been connected on social media going back to 2011 at this point. So you and I are both old school social media guys way before crypto even existed. And I think that’s kind of cool.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yes, sir. I actually predate the internet. I ran like bulletin boards on dial up modems, some old old dude here. So

Rob McNealy
I wasn’t I didn’t I wasn’t fortunate enough because I didn’t have family that was very technologically savvy. So I didn’t really get into computers much in any way till I was probably in college. Back in the 90s. So yeah, I wasn’t fortunate enough to have exposure to computers at a young age. So I really wish I did at this point, because, you know, I ended up in this space and using it my whole life, but it’s kind of interesting. You know, I’m here now. So that’s all.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I was blessed. I got so lucky. My dad worked in sales for a software company in the 70s. So in 79, I started programming on mainframes. I was literally that kid. I was like eight years old.

Rob McNealy
You and Bill Gates,

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Mmm, yeah, but I don’t have Bill Gates his balance sheet. I made some bad decisions somewhere.

Rob McNealy
I think I think that’s the you didn’t pick the right parents, I think.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, I hear you. So, so.

Rob McNealy
Well, good. Well, good. Tell me about 10XTS. Yes. What do you What are you doing?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
So, 10XTS is a startup early stage tech company is kind of the product of my background. round my career progression, having been a tech guy my whole life and then seeing the emergence of the technology and from the nascent you know, hobbyist phase like all tech does into, like the enterprise usefulness, that hey, there’s something here I knew, you know, Bitcoin payments, those are all early stage use cases, you know, kind of the pioneer, but being an information architect and a data guy, I recognize the usefulness of being able to use the underlying technology for things like, you know, record keeping notary, you know, other functions that right now require intermediaries and third parties to, you know, give you an assertion that somebody is presenting a claim or a proof and you’ve got some way to validate that from a record standpoint. So my team back before 10 x Ts in the early 2000s we won a Smithsonian laureate award when they were still giving those out for being the first to connect a judicial management system, a case search system, like you go to your county clerk of courts. And we got an award for being the first to connect an old school legacy court clerk system to the web. So being able to go to a browser and do a search. And so I’ve worked with public record for a big chunk of my career and understand the nuances of the workflow of data getting onto the blockchain, which is probably as or more important than the data on the blockchain. So tenex ts really, you know, fast forward. Yeah, we recognize the opportunity to not necessarily be the blockchain, but to be the record keepers that connect real world documents and data to the blockchain for single source of truth efficacy of the data model. So little bit different approach them I’m a crypto guy in the sense that I love cryptocurrency and the emergence and evolution of technology, but we see ways to then, you know, build on top of that core underlying promise. How do we go in? And how do we bring capital efficiency in particular, because our underlying vision is economic inclusion, you know, rising tide lifts all boats. And I think if we can solve a few problems related to that across our population, we can start to break down some of these social barriers and some of these political barriers that has everybody literally ready to, you know, start throwing fast rocks at people from the tree tops, and that’s not going to be the solution.

Rob McNealy
Well, I agree with you. And I think it’s interesting out there, at least in the social media world, when you’re talking about crypto and blockchain kind of things, that people on the left, and I’m not a writer either, but the people on the left seem to be really adamantly opposed to anything that decentralizes yet they still complain that the political process is really corrupt. And so to me, it’s really confusing to me Ultimately why certain that certain kind of politically it’s it’s weird because it comes down to I think that ultimately certain individuals do want the control of government over certain things they absolutely want to control you. And when you say we want to cut government out of this to get get rid of political corruption and corporate corruption, they can’t understand the connection between the two. And they don’t understand the fact that technology can enslave or liberate depending on who’s running it and who, how its applied. And, you know, it’s interesting, I thought of all things that the people on the left would be the ones that would embrace this type of technology that is decentralization, enabling and what..

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I don’t understand it, I you know, I, so I’m in Ohio 8 district so I’m fortunate to have congressman Warren Davidson is my congressman. And so Warren has led some of the charge in DC with the finance Services Committee. And in fact, I’ve been to DC I’ve, you know, testified and participated in congressional roundtable from a policy standpoint on all of this. And, you know, David and I, we’ve talked back and forth about, you know, just the function of automating government, you know, the blockchain out of it, but just, you know, how do you automate things that are human powered processes today? In the past, I’ve had left elected officials, Democrats Tell me, because I actually talked to them, you know, like, I’m not like so polarizing. It’s like, gosh, I probably got as many democrat friends as a Republican friends, it’s like, but in terms of the discussion around the function of government, I’ve had elected officials tell me in the past that government as a social function employs a segment of the population that would deem to be otherwise functionally unemployable. I don’t know if that’s true. I mean, I get it, it’s like, well, if you’re going to give them things, at least make them productive in some capacity from a community standpoint. Now, I don’t know if other of my many government employee friends would agree with that. But I’m sure you know, they would be fairly incensed by it. Because I know on the other side of the equation, PhDs and really brilliant people that are also part of the government and work for the government or have government contracts. And so I don’t know what that dividing line is. Rob, I really don’t. It’s certainly interesting when it comes really down to transparency. I think that’s the big threshold of well, we can get away with things the way it works. Now. We won’t necessarily be able to do that if we’re subject to some other reporting and transparency regime.

Rob McNealy
I think people are very libertarian, when it comes to themselves, and very statist when it comes to other people.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Do as I say, not as I do.

Rob McNealy
Yeah, I kind of think that’s how people are. I think they’re wired that way. I think that they want the maximum amount of freedom for themselves, but they certainly want to create rules for other people. Maybe as a form of self defense. Maybe that’s why that is that way.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Emotional intelligence? I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know what it is safety in numbers? Fight or flight?

Rob McNealy
I don’t know cuz I, I don’t want to control other people. So honestly, I know, I don’t want the response of I don’t want the responsibility to control other people. But there’s a lot of people that do think not only that they should do that, but they’re entitled to tell other people what to do. My mother is a great example of that. She cared. Yeah, my mom would totally be a Karen totally. You know, it’s all about the rules and you know.

My parents. It’s funny because my parents, I grew up in the Detroit area, and we were, my dad was a conservative, like they were conservative. So they were huge rule followers. That was their mindset. But they also didn’t understand that a lot of the rules were designed, they didn’t see how rules screwed them. And I remember this one time, and it was one of the first times I kind of had an understanding of that maybe things aren’t always what I thought they were like when I was 10. And I remember maybe nine, and my neighbor’s dad, across the street, ran a construction company and my dad needed a load of dirt. He had a dump truck kind of thing in the neighborhood. And my dad, and I was really good friends with the sun. And my dad says, one day, you know, your buddy’s dad’s a tax cheat. And I’m like, What are you talking about? He’s like, well, he made me pay him in cash. He didn’t want me to give him a check. So he doesn’t want to pay taxes on that. I’m like, that sounds like a good deal. I was like, and I’m like, why would you want to be deck? And it was?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
It’s call “none ya.” None ya business.

Rob McNealy
But I left it. I mean, I’m 48 this year, you know, and I’d like that left an impact on me because I saw like, Well, why should he have to pay taxes on that? Like I was just a kid, right? But my dad who was like this, basically it was a teacher. He was a he was a rule follower. He was locked in there was an employee miserable in his job. And the neighbor was self employed, had his own business. And it was just interesting to me how I remember what I remember about this. My dad was incensed by it. Like he felt it was unfair, that this other guy didn’t want to pay whatever the taxes were, or whatever, you know, and it’s interesting because I remember that to this day, and I left an impact. But I also see you know, my dad, if you ever read the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, my dad was the poor daughter had that mindset. It was very, this this mentality that if someone else gets ahead, they’re getting screwed in some way. And but I look back now and even then, when I was growing up, I saw that my My parents made their own decisions that made their own lives miserable. And it’s funny because even as a kid, I remember going into therapy now, but I remember as a kid, you know?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
We’re Gen X guys, man. I mean, we’re getting to that point, right? We got to confront these things.

Rob McNealy
Dude, no, no crap. But I remember when I was a kid, like I was telling my parents when I was like, in my teens, because I was working, and I was a busboy of all things at one point, making like really good money in a high, you know, high class hotel and stuff. And I was making more money than my mom. Like literally. And I said, Mom, why are you doing this job that makes you miserable? I have security. I’m like, No, you don’t? Yes, I do know you know, you don’t have any security like a fire you tomorrow. You have no control over and I recognize that as a kid. And my and it was interesting how like it made us clash and and so when it comes back around and like, Why do certain people want to control the people and why they reject these kind of decentralized technologies. I always think back to my parents because they’re that quintessential Karen kind of person that wants to do that. And that’s like, Wow, you guys are brainwashed. That’s all I can think of. They’re just brainwashed.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, I mean, it’s a tough thing when you live your whole life with filters and predispositions and social norms. And, you know, it blows my mind though, because and I, you know, I don’t want to get off on the tangent from a boomer versus younger people thing. But you’ve got folks that are like, counterculture in like, the hippie generation, like, we want to change this, we want to construct a new, you know, way of doing things, which Alright, cool. You know, there were certainly problems that were carried over from before. Then now, like, what happened, guys, I mean, it’s so funny, because when I was a teenager, I saw Peter Paul and Marian concert and their very last tour. And so it was like 87 and I’m thinking, hey, it’s hippie stuff. Let’s dress up like hippies. Well, so I got tickets to this concert, not realizing it looks at Memorial Hall, which is very nice upscale, you know, venue in Cincinnati and You know, I go in there and it’s like literally all these yuppies who were, you know, in their 30s at the time, but they’ve got like their sweaters wrapped around their polo shirts. And if you remember when they drink sweaters down their backs kind of a thing and, and here we are me, my girlfriend dress like hippies and it’s like, a something happened. Come on guys. Anyway, sorry. I didn’t mean to digress off into it people.

Rob McNealy
Well, you know, what happened to the hippies is that they were born at a time where the United States was the only manufacturing power left on the planet. And anybody can throw rock and make a ton of money. So and and you know what, at that point, you know, people like well, I really liked the Mad Men house and I really liked the nice cars and having two cars and, and I think that’s what happened ultimately, is that, you know, life was life was pretty good. Let’s just put in perspective, life was pretty good. And they grew up in a time where you didn’t have to even go to college to make good money, and you didn’t even have to Have a college loan and you could still, you know, because there wasn’t student loans like there are now that you could afford to pay for college and not come out as come out of college with no debt and work your way through. They can’t do that anymore. And, and so I think that, you know, they were launched just from the facet of when they were born, they were able to grow up in their young as young adults in a time when the United States very prosperous and, and I definitely think that skewed their vision and I think that’s also the opposite of what’s I think it’s the same opposite effect happening now millennials and Gen Xers. I mean, I was caught in student loan prep, too, because I was given bad advice from boomers. You know, just invest in any major regardless, you’ll it’ll pay off and, you know, you’ll make 10 times the amount of money that you invest in, like, that’s worship. But you know, you learn, live and learn, but I think that definitely is, you know, made some impacts in society on how we’re viewing these kind of things.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah. Then I did the inevitable. This is what I look at as an entrepreneur. I’m looking down the road You know, from CEO and my crystal ball lens of having several decades of technology experience and multiple, you know, product life cycles and technology cycles and saying, okay, that regardless of what happens, my entire career was built on how do I make things more efficient? How do I create tools? And how do I, you know, deconstruct the silos that drove power bases inside of corporate organizations, for example, you know, when you look at the baby boomer way of management and operation, you bring up Mad Men, all human powered political process. I call that fixed overhead. And so if you want to be relevant in the current market place, as technology people, and I’ve always viewed technology shifts as the opportunity to do a couple of different things first, you can certainly go in and be the Absolute disrupter be Jeff Bezos right? I mean, be the guy. Of course it fully the magnitude of the disruption didn’t fully materialize for a couple decades for Amazon. But you know, His goal was to just go and slaughter it. Hence the saying your margin is my opportunity. The other side of the coin as well, there’s already entrenched channel partners and people that are in these industries. Will they pay you to catch the wave and become more efficient, more competitive, without you having to become that business? I don’t have to be Whole Foods and be in the grocery business to go and help say Kroger be more efficient. They’re already in the grocery business. I don’t start a new grocery. And so back to the crypto space is one of the things that we’ve looked at. From a blockchain standpoint. Well, you know, we’re good. We’re experts in the technology, software and data. How do we then identify the opportunities to go to existing markets, whereas a lot of people are saying, Oh, no, we want to be Come on broker dealer, we want to become an exchange. I’m like, heck with that, you know, that comes with a lot of regulatory overhead responsibility, compliance things that, you know, that’s not what we do. Right? We could, but I would rather be the guy that says, I’m the expert at the tool. I know your problem, probably better than you know, your problem at the technology level. So you go out there and you’d be the bank, you go out there, you be the broker dealer, but recognize that your model is going to have to shift in order to stay competitive in the marketplace. Because if you don’t buy my stuff, your competitors going to, and it’s just a function of knocking on doors, and it’s a numbers game for me and for my company, to go out and find the use cases that are going to onboard and say, Yep, I get it. I get what you’re trying to do. This is a cost cutting measure opens up new markets.

Rob McNealy
Well, I definitely think that blockchain technology has a lot of interesting uses in business. And I definitely think that you can gain some really interesting efficiencies with blockchain technology that maybe smaller to mid tier companies could use them to take some of that market share away from the big entrenched holders. I’m sorry, you know, companies that are in that space, because the bigger the company, the less risk adverse they are, you know, you know, you know, GM, and you see how it is right now, right, GM and all these companies now are deciding they’re going to go into electric vehicles, like a decade after Elon Musk decided to start, you know, do the innovation and now they’re like, okay, there’s a market. We’re going to go in there and try to crush it now. But I think that this, these technologies, whether it’s just for payments with blockchain stuff, I think there’s amazing opportunity now that business people are starting to look at it. I think what was happening before is that most of these crypto projects were led not even by entrepreneurs, but just straight developers that maybe never even ran like their own business before. But they had an interesting idea of how technology could evolve. They created it but they didn’t really understand how to actually get people to use it. Get it out there absolutely adoption standpoint?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yep, absolutely. I mean, you look at the fact that the iPhone was released a year before the white which is basically around the same time as Bitcoin white paper came out and look at the contrast and adoption between, you know, the first smartphone versus this really nascent weird hobbyist technology that involves all these layers tantamount to you know, having to fire up your modem and change your dialing string and get your command line interpreter to telnet and you know, some other computer network. And then you look at the that transition that inflection point of well, when AOL started putting out CD ROM installers with an awesome user interface in every shrink wrap, plastic bag, partnership deal. You know, they could Steve Case could possibly go and sign up at the time right now, and pushing out millions and millions and millions of this really awesome user experience. So that’s where I think that a lot of the disconnect is at for really any technology but in you know, particularly adoption of blockchain cryptocurrency technologies, nobody wants to see how the sausage is made, just bring me a plate of bratwurst right, I’m ready to eat it. And I think that’s where the technologists get so enamored with their own, you know, source code and their GitHub repos that, you know, they forget that the average person can’t even change the windows settings of their, you know, basic visual device on their laptop, right? We’re not that far along, guys, after all these years.

Rob McNealy
Well, well, I can tell a lot because you know, and I love developers, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti developer. They just have a very different set of skills and a different view.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Oh, of course. Yeah. I lead a bad merry band of developers, you know, I mean, I am a developer. So it’s really interesting. You know, I like in work in development, working with developers as really like managing a rock band. Right. So it really is. It’s the parallels are so you know, you got it somewhere between being your psychologist and, you know, the communicator, the spouse, dad when it’s necessary. It’s this weird dynamic to get true r&d developers, people that know how to create something out of nothing, because it’s all function of motivation. Right is how do I get Stephen King to go into his dungeon and come out with the next best seller? Right? And that’s, that’s really how do you guide that as a CEO of a tech company as it gets interesting.

Rob McNealy
But to use your analogy, right, there is no, no person in their right mind would let the band determine the marketing and promotion strategy for their album either.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
No, no, no, they have no idea. They’re out there on the street corner, just, you know, doing the, you know, minstrel for free with the hat, you know?

Rob McNealy
Busking in busking in the subway. Right?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Exactly.

Rob McNealy
And so that and that’s part of the problem with a lot of developers and engineers. This is just an engineering mindset. I’ve worked in a lot of engineering companies, big companies, and this is pretty consistent is that the build that they will come mindset? Is what it comes down to. And unfortunately build it, they will come doesn’t usually work. That’s right. It’s a myth. And, and it doesn’t matter if you have the best technology. Doesn’t it med the best marketing technologies are the ones that win. And what that means is, even if you have the best technology, if you don’t have a way in a strategy to put that solution in the hands of the people that it solves their problem, it doesn’t matter. It’s not going to get adopted. And and it’s funny because I’ll have this discussion with engineers and a lot of them. They think they’re smarter than everybody else. And that’s okay, because they need to be smart. But if I said, an engineer has to have a certain skill set and intelligence level, and it’s a trained career path, that they’re professional, they would all agree with that. But then I said, you know salespeople and marketers are also a skill set that go through training and experience. Absolutely. And it’s like no, no, that doesn’t matter. Anybody can market I’m like, that’s horseshit. That’s absolutely nonsense.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
The disconnect that I’ve identified is this magical little thing called empathy. Right? It’s like engineers a very rational construct logic, a plus b equals C. And as we know, human beings are also very emotional. And we all share 11 of the same emotions. And you’ve got the, you know, want to be Spock engineers over here. Well, that just doesn’t make sense. So like, Well, of course, it doesn’t make sense because people don’t make decisions particularly make decisions to buy things based on making sense. No, they’re going to absolutely make an emotional decision. And then when the logic comes into play, it is rationalizing their emotional decision and supporting their confirmation bias that we all have to a massive degree. The older I get, the more I realized that, you know, Hey, you know what I thought about the world. I don’t I’m not the smartest guy in the room. In fact, as a CEO, that’s my mantra is I want to be the dumbest guy. And I want to surround myself by awesome people that are hell smarter than I am. Right? And then how do you be the manager of the band and get them to work together and get over their petty bullshit, because when teams on stage and they’re jamming it out, and you got 70,000 people in the stadium audience cheering, and here’s my money, take my money. That’s when you know that things are actually working out. That’s, that’s my metric.

Rob McNealy
Yeah, I agree. And I can always tell when a developer is in over their head when it comes to understanding how to promote their solution or their project is one. I’ll use the Linux analogy, and they’ll say, look, Linux is great. It’s an amazing software. It’s open source. It’s kind of decentralized in a lot of ways, but Linux never made Any market share never got market share on desktop. And Linux servers, which are amazing, are still are very niche because the only people that care about them are developers. So, so so Linux is never like I’ve had developers literally Michael, tell me that Linux is mass adopted. And I’m like out of your minds, you’re absolutely out of your mind.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I mean, you can argue that because it’s embedded in the bowels of the apple lap, you know, the Apple device that, you know, the core OS is a Linux variant. So they’re technically not wrong, but they’re not wrong for all the wrong reasons.

Rob McNealy
Well, you know, I think the I think the block chains that win are going to be the same way no one the average person on the street and by the way, I spend my time as an entrepreneur talking to potential customers, before I ever decide to build a business or code a project now, and and to me, you should have a customer first and then build the solution for that individual customer. That’s how you build a business at least my 20 years of being out entrepreneur, that’s what I’ve come up with at least. And the customers in the world right now do not care about the centralization. And so if your big thing in development is decentralization, most people don’t give a shit about it. People want their problem solved. And if decentralization solves that problem, they still don’t care how the problem is solved. They just want it solved. And and I think that’s where a lot of people miss out. And they don’t understand that. I think a lot of developing lead crypto product teams are out there. And they’re trying to basically want to educate you on why you should be mad and only like decentralization. And I’m like, that doesn’t make any sense because I don’t care. It’s like, you’re not going to get anywhere with that kind of methodology of marketing come up with a solution that makes sense for them and just make it work in the background.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, I mean, the problem I found that the furthest throughout it, particularly as an entrepreneur, and this is where you cross over into the VC world where you know, who’s crystal ball and what’s the what’s the time horizon of the crystal ball that you’re looking at in terms of market emergence and development, right? You have to sort of be at that point, which means and what’s the old saying that if Henry Ford would have been completely customer lead, that they would ask him for a faster horse or something to that particular effect. And I think that there’s, there’s an interesting balance in technology cycles. As I’ve studied in my whole career right now, I’ve been front and center watching the emergence of, you know, every technology literally since the mainframe, and seeing how it goes from the hobbyist. And, you know, really the guy that wrote the book on its Geoffrey Moore, I don’t know if you ever read Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore, but I don’t know. I know. I haven’t read it. It’s an amazing read. And if you’re into technology into technology markets and understanding technology businesses, it really is the Zay of the bell curve of the adoption cycle for the stuff. And where do you hit that inflection point, timing the money timing the product, being able to To hit the ground running, that’s our big gamble as entrepreneurs is like, I know all my ideas are good, right? I know that there’s market. It’s a function of living and surviving until you hit that inflection point, right? The cash burn is the cash burn. So, can you stay ahead of the cash burn? Don’t run out of money, right? And then if you’re right there, when the lightning is ready to strike, bam, you know, there comes the bolt. And you know, that’s where the it really is a lightning strike function for a unicorn billion dollar tech company.

Rob McNealy
Well, I think that’s where the entrepreneurs come in. And I and I really think that entrepreneurs are able to see all the pieces like that and but still be able to jump down into the details and the nitty gritty stuff. And I think timing is a hugely important and that’s one factor. We don’t control necessarily when something is ready. But to understand that timing and being able to mitigate the risk and say, Look, I you know, You’re Henry Ford example about trying to listen to, you know, customers and say they’ve come up with a better horse. Well, I think the reality is he’s not right or not wrong there. And I think this is why is that a good entrepreneur can see, okay, I see this new technology, but how to apply that technology to solving a problem. And then figuring out, again, goes back to market segmentation, and then strategy for you know, putting that solution in front of those people. You know, Steve Jobs was amazing at this, like he understood that there was this friction with music distribution, and technology could solve that. Right now, a lot of people went out sit there and complain, oh, a lot, I think in a modern example of music as people would like, I would like, you know, ice cream trucks to have music records going around streets. That would be maybe what people would say would be easier than thinking in terms of digitizing music and distributing music a different way. And I think you’re right. A good entrepreneur, though, will solve that and figure out that thing and tell people look, yeah, your idea might work. But I got a better solution for that problem. And that’s this way, this is the solution. And that’s why i think that i think crypto so far in a lot of ways has been held back by the fact that you haven’t you don’t really have enough entrepreneurs involved with these projects yet. And it’s changing. It’s changed a lot just in the last two years. But so much of it right now has been led by developers who are build it and they will come and I think that that’s changing and..

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Well the definitely don’t know securities laws because unfortunately fun funding and financing a project on a purely decentralized basis and how it was funded, it certainly run afoul of the regulatory regime and you know, that’s why we just filed a Delaware C Corp and sold equity. Like everybody else’s like guys see how it goes. We’ll get there.

Rob McNealy
Well, it wasn’t that complicated to sort out like when we launched right after the height of the bull run in 2018. Everybody told just do an Ico you can raise money. Money. And that’s why we looked at doing a token project is that we were interested ourselves personally, of doing a startup and we wanted to learn what the Ico process was about. That’s why we were looking at that. And then when we said, hey, let’s launch a project, and we were originally gonna do an Ico because I had an idea for another business. And I thought, wow, as an entrepreneur, the idea that you could raise a whole lot of money. You don’t have to go through VCs and you don’t give away equity as an entrepreneur like hell. Yeah, that’s amazing, right? But through our diligence process realized we realized pretty quick that that’s that’s got to be illegal. What I said, Where did I go? There’s no way we can do this. And we still had lawyers, I was coming and this is ridiculous. I’m not a lawyer, but I worked for a lot of lawyers and my day job. And I was talking to lawyers and like I tell utility took I go, where does the where does the SEC recognize the term utility token they don’t, that’s not even a term that’s just made up. And that’s why we launched Originally the way we did so we’re not a security but it’s interesting like pretty much every IC on the United States was in security. And you and I were talking a little bit about that online about, you know, the securities and the Icos and and where that is right now, what do you think’s going to happen with the Ico world? I mean, going forward, it’s amazing idea that you can raise money this way. But I also think there’s a lot of problems with that, which.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
There really is, and I’ve been fairly prolific about my opinions. And, you know, it’s created a bit of a barrier between me and the traditional anarcho capitalist crypto guys, because they’re all about, you know, all the way up to and including, you know, disrupting government. You know, they see government as an quote unquote, intermediary, I don’t know that I agree with them. And I don’t want to go there necessarily in this conversation, but, you know, in terms of needing new laws that define things that don’t need be find is problematic. We don’t need To change securities laws, the United States of America already recognizes literally a jelly doughnut as an investment contract based on the way I sell it to you, if I promise you a rate of return, that if you buy this jelly doughnut from me today for 100 bucks and a week from now you can sell it for 1000 get in on it now. FOMO, right, that that, in that instance, created a de facto security that’s a problem for people out there on YouTube with you know, their unregistered broker dealer status of pimping a particular quote unquote, opportunity. Right. And that’s where the SEC very adamant and I agree with it, because when you remove particularly in finance, a certain amount of regulation, the bad actors immediately move in. Yes, he doesn’t care, right. The only thing they care about is protecting the actual individual from fraud and inflammation disparity is what creates fraud. And you know, that that’s the reason we have this robust set of rules that is transformed America’s financial market into probably the most stable equity market in the world, consistently over time. So a certain amount of that regulatory framework is certainly necessary based on case precedent and enforcement, which is driven largely by complaint, not because, you know, sec commissioners are sitting around like, hey, how do we screw with the little guys today? Right? I mean, it’s literally, it’s almost exclusively complaint driven. So I don’t know that we need to change it. And then when you look at the other side of the equation when it comes to regulatory crowdfunding, for example, that’s not been adopted since the title three jobs act of 2012. Right. I don’t even think that regulatory crowdfunding was raised a billion dollars combined since it was enacted. So.

Rob McNealy
I think My take is and having not been originally a securities guy, but when we launched two years ago, I took a deep dive and learned as much as I could about securities offerings and at the state level federal level. I took like a deep dive for six weeks and I felt very comfortable at that point of my own opinion that every Ico was illegal under US law at the time. And what I did, but I do think the the area of regulation that no one’s really talking about so much that I think actually is an impediment to adoption is the IRS treatment of cryptocurrencies as property. I think those regulations do not fit. Currently, I do believe that even if the IRS just decided to elect to treat cryptocurrency for instance, as a foreign currency I think would do a lot to speed up adoption. And I think because I think the the accounting, basically requirements that businesses and even individuals have to do What from the crypto side of things to actually use it as a buying, you know, something that’s being used for buying and selling goods and services? I believe the IRS is going to be the biggest part of it not the SEC rules.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, I mean, right now we pay taxes if we make a profit because we bought, you know, a Beanie Baby at a garage sale and sold it on, you know, eBay for you know, profit margin. Right. Right. We’re supposed to report that as income. It gets really complicated when you get into high volume transactional stuff. And that’s that’s really what the technology enables that the current intermediary status of the market is not prepared to handle right when we change hands for equity ownership. I have a token, for example, that represents shares of stock. There’s no such thing as a bear stock certificate, right? I mean, we, we register our names and our contact information, the DTC handles, the transferor etc. It’s got to be done through a transfer agent. There’s, you know, a very well defined process and be in that’s just simply the validation part of the market right where that trust and those trust layers have had to be abstracted out and human powered process. Once again, this guy says that the sky is a true and valid owner of the stock and he’s truly in validly, you know, transferring it selling it to this other person will write it down and keep the third party record and how the blockchain can do that, right. I mean, but the law is not there yet to support that layer of automation, and it requires somebody to hold a license for whatever reason. It’s like I laugh about custody, you know, everybody argues about custody and custody of digital assets of like, you know, wonderful lights went out. There would be no custody, right? The blockchain has the custody so you banks can go away now, do you need a license to have this particular type of an account to hold something on behalf of somebody else? Because it’s the blend of the existing, you know, laws. I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. I get invited to lawyer conferences, but you know, it’s like this..

Rob McNealy
This, but I think that’s an interesting thing about the custody piece, right? Everybody’s like, Oh, you should just not your keys, not your crypto and the unforgiving nature, I think of crypto is also problem. And as I said, in our conference last, this last March, we hit we do an annual off chain conference, which is kind of a mix of crypto and prepping and preparedness and self defense and things like that. We’re doing the next one in February. And we talked, we talked a lot about this, because what you know, and I think it’s because the typical anarchist is broke, they don’t understand that, you know, if you take away banks, and third party, or third, you know, trusted parties that are holding your 401k funds and things like that. Now, what you’re, what you’re suggesting is people now have the equivalent of their life savings on a little device in their house. And now before you might have had a bank, supporting that with like armed guards and vaults and, you know, backup generators and all that and and now you’re saying the average person is in charge of all that stuff now to at their house. And man, that’s that’s just that’s a reach for me. I think that you know if crypto is going to be adopted, there absolutely needs to be, you know, third party custodians available, because I don’t think the average person can handle it and maybe I’m maybe I’m a jerk. But I just can’t imagine like, for instance, my Karen type mother, being able to handle like her social security, you know, on a blockchain and crypto and and I just don’t think that’s I don’t think it’s realistic to have that expectation that the average person can manage that at this point without like a big cultural and educational shift.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Now, I mean, it gets back to self sovereign identity, which you get a lot of people are working on that particular problem, that particular aspect of connecting to blockchain, right. How do I, how do I assert that the person who’s touching this device that’s conducting this transaction that’s going to be recorded on the blockchain? Because that’s really what I care about is how data gets To the blockchain, not what’s on the blockchain, right? So how do we assert and validate that this particular individual is actually who they say that they are? And so there’s a lot of that self sovereign trust, and how do we create those applications and identity verification? The problem that I see though, is that at scale, it gets pretty draconian pretty quick, because the real ultimate solution is, you know, binding your genome to hash value on a network something that scares the shit out of me.

Rob McNealy
Right? What could possibly could go wrong with that?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I saw the movie Gatica. I mean, I am I am clearly about bioethics. And, you know, this is where I, I think that we have to assert that’s true self sovereign part of the status. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what that means in the future. I’m as equally excited for my kids as I am frightened for my kids. And that’s why I’m out for that’s why I’m trying to do what I do. At least with what I know how to With and, and, you know, hopefully we can push back against, you know, the the Karen’s of the world who want to enslave and entrap and, you know, and subjugate and and I don’t I’m not here to fight and argue over policy ever it’s just a function of, you know, can we create technology solutions to stupid human problems because we’re really only like a couple of levels above chimpanzees don’t crap at each other, you know, the trees.

Rob McNealy
I go like this, you know, I don’t you see this a lot in the crypto world and I think there’s a lot of I think there’s a lot of immaturity out there is that when people are like they cheerlead like China getting involved in embracing blockchain, I’m like, dude, you really don’t understand that a government like that embracing blockchain is going to be absolutely leverage to enslave those people. No, it’s not going to be it’s not going to be used to liberate the I mean, all right, that we got the government of Saudi Arabia, right. They’re still chopping people’s heads off publicly, right. I mean, I mean, Still, like Bronze Age kind of shit, and or like Dark Ages kind of stuff. And now you’re going to give them these tools that can, you know, I think could enslave.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, and the dichotomy with this is that I firmly believe the next global reserve currency will be a programmable digital currency format. Right? You’re basically saying a government accepts the risk of however long of transporting value from point A to point B, using this particular, you know, normalizing thing, you know, whether that’s conch shells, whether that’s the United States dollar or whether that’s, you know, the digital renminbi and, and it’s going to it’s going to happen and it needs to happen because, you know, the, the idea that I can actually carry money in my QuickBooks account, for example, as my actual Treasury or my wallet, that I can just simply pay vendors by transmitting not dollars, but US dollar currency. It’s through a government settlement system. Right. And we know that the US, you know, the Federal Trade. So the Fed is actually working on this, but they claim that their platform is not going to be ready until 2025. So, and I forget the name of the system. I wrote about it in my newsletter a few weeks ago, but they’ve been working on it. But now we got China piloting the digital Yuan, in a couple of provinces. They’re ahead of us, right, from a nation state standpoint. We’re so far behind in the United States. It’s frightening based on where our reserve status of currency is going to go back to France, right. There’s they’re studying it now.

Rob McNealy
Well, I do believe that at some point, the US dollar will no longer be the reserve currency and what that how that plays out for the average American I don’t think it’s going to be positive, to be honest. But, I mean, that brings us into the next phase. Right? We I think you and I both agree that technology is useful, but it can be used for good or bad. I think it’s just it’s just like any tool, right? But just like guns, right guns can be used for events, or they can be used to commit crimes. That doesn’t mean that the tool is bad. It just means that it’s better to have more guns in the hands of good people than in the bad. And I think that’s where we kind of also says, you know, you and I are kind of overlap there politically. So recently, you’ve been leading a little campaign in Ohio, tell me about that.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Well, it’s really an accident. So I’ve got political campaign management experience. I’m a marketing guy, you know, how to, you know, organize things. And so it’s carried me in it a lot of interesting places throughout my career. And so I saw what was going on in particular Virginia, but then Kentucky and Pennsylvania and some other states. Around the, you know, this idea of red flag laws and, you know the the ability for the government to suspend your rights without due process and come in and confiscate anything that you own out of your home, particularly one that has been enumerated in the Constitution, United States of America and defended multiple times through multiple Supreme Court cases. And here, we’ve got people, you know, saying, nope, we’re going to come in and we’re going to take away your gun. And I guess that was really a wake up point for me to see how they’re scrambling in Virginia, for example, to solve the problem, and recognizing that when the argument or the claim that the conservatives don’t know how to organize, right, it’s true to a certain degree, right. And if you believe that all Government is local. And you look at the approach that Virginia is taking, you’ve got the states that are these counties in the state of Virginia that said, okay, based on our government structure, we have a way to push back at a local level, we can have our county pass a resolution that essentially D funds enforcement activities of infringing enforcement is what it’s called. That’s directed by the state. Now, I’m not a constitutional scholar by any stretch of the imagination. So I can’t get into the, you know, is this largely just a symbolic thing? You know, there are other things to take into consideration, consideration, I don’t know, but I know that when I go down to my polling precinct to vote on everything, it starts with local, right. I mean, I have local bond issues. I have local candidates that are being elected to county offices and we don’t have the kinds of networks and communication frameworks, particularly in the state of Ohio, to rapidly organize and coordinate across the state teams that are essentially decentralized, right? You’re talking about a decentralization. But how do you get teams of committed volunteers citizens to work in their county? We have 88 counties in Ohio. And how do we get them to coordinate and work together to also pass model resolutions around this particular second amendment issue of red flag laws? Not just for these things, but then also in the future when somebody comes along and says, oh, we’re going to take this other right. How do we organize and structure and construct our our response in particular, and it goes back if you do a little homework in the war for independence, how the colonial You know, the colonials, the in the individual colonies in the cities and the towns and the villages operated for nearly a decade leading up to the actual war, was they created a de facto shadow government coalition of people and they call it a, they call it a community, or I’m sorry, a committee of safety. So there was a committee, there were several iterations of committees, and it was just regular people, regular prominent citizens in the community, that operated in a fashion to be communicators, to network with each other, and then ultimately to take action at the local level when necessary. But then how do I coordinate around with the other folks? Right? And so it’s the same communication distribution model, right? It’s how do you decentralize a organizational structure and target a particular issue in the Case passing red flag model ordinance line or a model resolution language at the county level, and then leaving the framework and in place, and particularly the state of Ohio, we are a state that enjoys the opportunity to put a signature campaign initiative onto a statewide ballot to even modify our constitution as a state, but that requires all the draconian regulations that they put in front of us, you know, we have to gather so many signatures within a certain amount of time and, and have so many counties represented, etc, etc. So, so I started this little group on Sunday, literally five days ago, just a sort of, you know, trial balloon and I created a Facebook group, it’s private, it’s hidden. You have to know somebody so there’s a velvet rope. We don’t take all comers. You have to literally be invited, invited in, and it’s still this phenomenal chaos but we went from zero to like to Well, thousand members of this group in five days, just people blowing this thing up because it really is a hot issue. It’s a big thing.

Rob McNealy
And I think that’s something you definitely need to work on because that’s that’s amazing that people are that concerned. And here in Utah, we are seeing something very similar happening to getting a lot of the gun rights groups are getting out ahead of some of the RPO stuff that’s coming out of our own state legislature. And you would think a state like Utah, which is, you know, definitely conservative in nature. That gun control bills wouldn’t be something that you would come up but I think they’re later I was told that there’s going to be multiple gun control related bills coming on and state legislature at least coming out of committee that, you know, we’re going to have to face here. And I think that’s what’s going to happen. I mean, in this country, we definitely have multiple cultures in this country from the coast. in the Midwest and the mountain states, where literally, people are very anti gun have never seen a gun before, you know, they’ve never actually shot a gun or been around a gun. But they definitely want to tell the other states what they can and can’t do. And I think Unfortunately, that’s going to change because, you know, we are culturally very different. And I think in the future, and I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think in the future, if there’s a time of crisis where say, you know, maybe it’s an economic collapse, or the US dollar, you know, kind of tanks or whatever, I believe the United States will break up, because I think we’re too culturally different. Now. In many parts of the country, what do you think?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I mean, I don’t want to see my nation balkanized. Because what that means is, is that the power centers and the resource centers are all going to be concentrated in urban areas. And and I don’t want it to turn into Judge Dredd, right with the mega trop Ulises. And then wasteland in between. If that’s what happens then obviously if we’re in the wasteland in between we are far more suited to take care of ourselves and restore a certain amount of functional self governance and you know community alignment at the localized level. My town has literally my county seat is my town. Now I’m wedged between a couple of bigger bigger metros, but I live north of Cincinnati and my town has 8000 people in a county of like 45,000 right on the border of Ohio and Indiana. And I think that we can probably figure out how to put some seeds in the ground and work together to you know, restore a certain amount of community. But we are at risk we’ve lost a lot of mercantile ability. At the local level, we’ve lost a lot of trade skills that are going to be necessary in order to maintain standard of living and we’ve lost a lot of access to, you know, other knowledge resources. And I don’t want it to be a choice where if you don’t want to live in a mega trop list that you relegated to some sort of feudal, agrarian sort of surf Lord the keep kind of a scenario and I don’t know I just let’s work together Let’s all work together right now to keep these kinds of things from happening. You know, I,

Rob McNealy
I, you know, I agree with you and it’s kind of weird I live it because I even though I have an MBA, last June, I graduated from welding school full year and a half program or two full time school at night for a year and a half just to be a hobby welder, because I wanted to learn an actual skill. And I think that going forward, you know, we’re going to have to go back and be willing to learn things that maybe we forgot, and to be more self sufficient. And I think that’s kind of the ethos of the whole decentralization mantra, but Michael, we’re running out of time here. Yeah, man can people where can people find out more about you?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Well, um, so the company side is 10 x Ts one zero x ts.com. We’re pretty narrow. So it’s not very exciting. If you go there, we talked about, you know, like FinTech and reg tech, you know, enterprise stuff. And then of course, I’m on social at Michael Hiles on Twitter. Hit me up on LinkedIn on a professional basis. I’m around a pretty easy to find. I’ve enjoyed it. Great conversation, man. I love Love, love the discussion.

Rob McNealy
Absolutely. And you know what, I’m going to hold you to that because we’re going to have more of these in the future. But Michael, thank you so much con today.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Thanks, Rob. I appreciate it. See y’all

Rob McNealy
have a great day.

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Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns Transcript

Dan Zimmerman, Managing Editor of TheTruthAboutGuns.com

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy
Today I’m talking to Dan Zimmerman. He is the managing editor of the truth about guns blog website. It’s one of the biggest sites in the space. I’ve been a big fan and a reader for years now. And I’m really kind of excited to talk to him today. So Dan, welcome to the show. How are you?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
I’m good. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Rob McNealy
Well, I appreciate you taking the time out. I know you’re really really busy. We’ve been trying to get this together for a while now. And I’m glad to finally reach out to you. So and this is not BS. I actually have been reading your site for a long, long time. So and I am a fan. I’ve been a fanboy way before since I was doing podcasting. So it’s kind of like when you get to talk to your idols is like I feel like a little teen girl kind of excited. No, I’m serious. I really do like this. And I think I think there’s some interesting things we can get into today. But for the for the sake of the audience, I got a diverse audience. That’s not all generally gun related kind of people that you know, watch this show. Listen to the show. So tell us a little bit about the truth about guns.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Truth about guns has been around almost 10 years, it’ll be 10 years and I think February. I’ve been with it for nine years and we get about one and a half to 2 million unique readers a month. Our most popular content is always has been gun reviews, but we handle and write about and comment on everything gun related. So we do a lot of politics, a lot of gun control a lot of gun culture, you know, hunting, gun nation type stuff, self defense tips and tricks we talk about personal defense uses, you know, the thousands of almost millions of personal defense situations that about firearms every year to find some gun uses so we do a little bit of everything in the firearms space.

Rob McNealy
kind of sounds like me on the show. I do a little bit of everything. So how did you get into this? I mean, what was your background? So you’ve been doing this nine years now, what were you doing before the you know, getting into the editing phase of your life?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
You know, before that I worked for a start up in the financial space and before that I was a financial guy, Reuters. I really didn’t. I came to guns later in life that most people didn’t really pick up a gun to the others about 30 or so, and then I got into it on I went on a vacation where they took us out and had us they launched some clothes and how to shoot shotguns Adam and I absolutely love that. That’s still my favorite thing in the world today to do to do with guns is shooting clays, love shooting trap and that type of thing. So I just got into it in wanted to learn more. So I started Googling around. And the truth about guns at that time was in its infancy. And I wrote to the guy who started Robert verado We started corresponding back and forth. And he asked me if I’d ever written anything. And I told him, I haven’t written anything, turn papers in college and that type of thing. So I started and he needed more help as the blog started to get bigger and bigger, and I just got more of an active role and it grew organically from there.

Rob McNealy
You know, it’s kind of interesting how you said, you got into guns kind of later in life. I had always been around guns, but I didn’t. I came from a hunting family. But I didn’t come from like a gun culture family. And I think there’s a significant difference between the two. And I think when I kind of kind of did that crossover was probably about 10 years ago. I’m 47. So my late 30s I started getting into the shooting side of it, not as much the hunting side of it and you know, I kind of just started delving into it as well, where I just started becoming a gun builder and I started learning about tweaking my own guns and doing my own trigger jobs and becoming like This home you know, home gunsmith kind of thing. And I think it’s interesting over the last 10 years that I’ve been in the gun space I’ve like I’ve learned just a ton and got me interested in making things and I kind of came at it from that point of view but I found it was like with a lot of people that kind of go from like, either not being around guns or just being you know, only mildly around guns. And then they become gun culture group. It’s almost like a religious conversion. Like once you’re in you’re like sucked in right?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
So as a converts that are that are the most most devoted.

Rob McNealy
And most annoying, usually. You know, it’s like, honey, I need another gun. No, you don’t? Yes, yes. Yes, I do. But you have an AR 15 but I don’t have it in I’ve only got it in four other calibers. Not this one. I know.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
You know, everybody’s got a snitch.

Rob McNealy
It was kind of funny. Just a couple months back I you know, I don’t I’m not a display guy. I don’t put all my guns out right but I made a gun rack that I us for my little my little work area. And I made all these little cutouts for the guns. It’s really kind of cool. I made it all on my CNC plasma table and stuff. And my wife’s like, how many guns do you have now? And I looked at her dangerous question. And you know, I don’t hide things from my wife, right? But I’ve had a lot of upgrades and you know, it is with all like 1020 twos and air fifteens are all modular. So when you do an upgrade, you got a spare trigger pack or, you know, whatever it is. And I looked at her stone cold and I said, I don’t know. She’s like, That’s not good. I think it is. So it was a it was a really interesting conversation. I’d like you know, I think I’ve almost been probably almost good. Now I’m finishing my last build, actually, I’m waiting on a Black Friday sale to get my maximum defense brace with the JP silent capture spring. So I’m hoping they’ll be a good sale on that because they’re not cheap. But that’s the last thing I need for my nine millimeter carbon crystal build that I’m doing right now. So I’d be came from done nerd, but I try to build one or two guns a year now just as a hobby Anyways, I’m getting off topic we’re talking about you know

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
It’s on topic it’s guns.

Rob McNealy
Exactly. So the you guys are really you dive in on a lot of subjects with you say you are different than say other online gun magazines and gun journals and gun blogs.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Yeah, most of them actively avoid the political side of things. And you know, there’s people like, oh, firearms blog, which is just their motto is guns, not politics. And I understand that makes perfect sense. They were super strictly concentrate on that the gear, the guns that that type of thing and not not talking about the gun control and politics and all that kind of thing. We just take a more rounded approach there. There are other sites out there that do similar thing ameland does a similar thing to what we do. bearing arms really is doesn’t do the guarantee. They just talked mostly about politics side of guns, that type of thing. But, yeah, I mean, we just,we just have a hard time divorcing the politics and the culture, from the guns themselves. It’s all kind of one big ball, and individ sort of indivisible.

Rob McNealy
I absolutely agree. And it’s funny, because when we were launching our project, and we decided to focus on this space, so we as a team, with our test project had a lot of conversations about picking like this market to work in. And in before we made some hard decisions about that, you know, we had that conversation like it and and I’m an open guy, and I said, Look, this isn’t a unilateral decision. You know, if we get into this space, just going into the space will mean that we are now political, right? And usually with business, at least in my background, you know, I’ve always been taught if you’re an entrepreneur You know, you should be non political as much as possible, although that seems to be changing these days. I used to like it when I, when I didn’t know the politics of the companies I bought products from. But we had that conversation because even if I don’t want to be a political person, if you’re working around guns, other people will bring you into the political piece on.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Yeah, it’s hard not to get drawn into it with the politics that swirl around the whole question of guns, the regulation. And in certainly in a presidential election year, and it’s it’s a it’s a constant topic of discussion.

Rob McNealy
Well, it’s a non stop, we’re going to take your guns away from you kind of event and things like it seems like it’s going to be going on probably through the end of the cycle over the next year. So I’m just kind of buckled up on this one. Um, so you’ve been in the space, you know, working in this space as a project company for nine years. How would you say the space is changed? You guys have grown the industry, the politics, what’s different now than when you started?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
There are more out there. There are more people jumping into some of these things. And technically, I guess those people are competition for us. But there’s I think there, there’s room out there for everybody. There are millions, you know, probably close to 100 million gun owners in this country. And know, the more of those people we can get involved and informed about the laws and the issues around firearms, the better. The more informed gun owners we have, the more people who are going to want to protect their rights and protect and preserve, defend and extends the right to keep and bear arms which is a good thing for everybody.

Rob McNealy
So what would you say the state of the gun world is right now? Are they in retreat? are we losing the battle? I mean, it seems like if you watch least any mainstream media out there, the stuff the big ones, you know, it’s all anti gun all the time. We’re going to take your guns away, we’re going to take your guns away, especially at the state level, there seems to be, you know, a push in some of the you know, the the normal corporate states. What’s, what do you think the state of affairs is right now?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
It’s very much a mixed bag. If you look over a longer timeline, if you look from the mid 80s to now, it’s definitely going the right way. In terms of more firearms freedom. Back then you had a tiny fraction of states that had shall issue laws in terms of concealed carry. I think we had back then we had one constitutional carry state, Vermont and over time I’m over the last generation we’ve gone from that to 49 states with concealed carry technically they’re 50. But Hawaii is a de facto, they don’t issue any permits and then they don’t have to have that. And we’re up to now depending on how you count either 16 or 17 constitutional carry states with the latest Oklahoma at the beginning of the month, which means no one who can legally possess a firearm needs a license to own it to carry it. They have it in their car anywhere they’re legally legally have a right to be they can carry a firearm personal or a private property restrictions accepted Of course.

Rob McNealy
Well, I think that’s that’s the way it was supposed to be. You know, they say that if you have to the government you know, regulating certain things And making you pay up for a permit and then giving you right back there just selling you the right you already had. And I think you know, I’m a big fan of constitutional carry though there there are advantages to being licensed and having the piece of paper when you’re traveling and things like that. But I think, you know, you hit on something interesting. It is a mixed bag, at least what I’m seeing I live in Utah, and Utah’s fairly gun friendly. We got a lot of great manufacturers and builders out here. But what I kind of how I kind of see it is that there’s a lot of movement in the states that are anti gun, they’re becoming more anti gun. And the states that tend to be more gun friendly are becoming more gun friendly. So it seems like there’s a bigger contrast and a bigger divide between some of those states. What would you say to that?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
I think that’s true. Like I said, if you look at it over time over that the last generation, or the greatest sort of sweep of history, things have gone toward more gun freedom, however, That doesn’t mean that there aren’t forces going the other way specifically, and in certain states, states like Oregon, Washington that used to be very gun friendly, are no longer so things are about to change drastically in Virginia. And then you’ve got states that have been anti gun for a long time. You got the California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, you know, the usual suspects that regulate guns very heavily and will only continue to do so. So yeah, I live.

Rob McNealy
I lived in Colorado for 12 years if we left literally 2012 so about seven years ago, just before the mag ban went into effect, or the mag limitation ban went into effect. Colorado’s gone downhill very quickly, on a lot of different issues. And that has me concerned because Colorado was an amazing place because it was very done for Really, very socially open to lots of different things, but you know, on economic issues, and then the gun issue, they’re fairly conservative and, and seeing, you know, Colorado go down very quickly. That’s been kind of sad because I really loved Colorado. I love living there. And I’m getting a little concerned about places now like salt lake and Boise of all things. You know, we moved a little further west, but in part of its immigration, and I don’t want to sound like those kind of people. But what’s happening is there seems to be a I mean, the numbers are accurate. I mean, most of the, you know, the immigrants coming out or filling in the states now, you know, like Denver, Boise, Salt Lake and Boise and Salt Lake every similar demographically. And what’s happening is most of these people are coming from California. It’s not even a stereotype but they really are coming from California.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
The migration from California has had significant effects on states that used to be very Gun friendly. And that’s exactly why you seen what’s happened in Oregon happen there to a certain extent, at a, like you said,Boise I just read an article, there was yesterday, Mayor of Boise was, I think, was running and one of his one of his campaign planks was to build the wall around it to keep the California California zone. How wasn’t specifically about guns was because they’ve driven they’re driven by property prices, and it’s gotten difficult to live there. You know, because they, you know, they move out of San Francisco or the or San Jose or Los Angeles and they can buy three houses for the price of whatever whatever they’re paying and came from.

Rob McNealy
So not not a stereotype on my part of my day job is I go to Boise and Twin Falls on a regular basis, like every month, and I’m actually in people’s houses as part of what I do. And it’s interesting that you would not I would say, half of the people that I’ve you know, dealt with are all from California, and they’re coming they’re literally going and building you know, Somewhere between a 300 and $500,000 brand new house from scratch with cash. And the stereotype is it’s literally two ex government. It’s always two ex government employees and they’re doubling down on their CalPERS. And they’re making like 200 grand a year. And they sell their million to house you know, million 10 house or whatever it is in, you know, San Francisco, they they move in now they’re like basically pushing up the property values. They have their like forever liquid because they basically have downsize their cost of living, but they have an amazing pension because of you know, CalPERS and things. And, and it does make a difference demographically, when you get so many people in fluxing at one time and they don’t absorb. And I think the one thing that’s interesting, someone pointed this out. It’s not that people don’t want people coming from somewhere else. The problem is, a lot of these people that are moving don’t understand. And I think they don’t understand the connection between the political policies and candidates. They supported in the past are the reason the standard of living the cost of living in their previous state is so high. Or, you know, and they don’t seem to understand the connection and how it and I think that’s the problem is that they really don’t get it. They’re like, Oh, we should build a new park here. And we should build a new stadium here. And it’s like, that all has a cost.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
It does. And that’s the big objection that so many people have to the influx of people from the east and the west coast. Is that they, they import their voting habits as well. And they bring the the so they’re basically they’re electing the same kinds of people who made the places that they’re coming from such difficult places to live and work and, and, you know, my my world, so inhospitable to the right to keep and bear arms.

Rob McNealy
So one of the things that I’ve seen out there with this, this California you know, California mindset because it is directly related to Silicon Valley, this anti gun mindset that’s been out there now, last summer, a big Silicon Valley company called Shopify band, you know, there are 4000 gun dealers from their platform and that’s like an online shopping cart software. And then this last summer, you know, you now had Salesforce which is amazing to me. But Salesforce com also banned the gun world and basically, you know, very overt they made a very big public Overture about how they do not support guns, and and then they fired a bunch of their customers. Again, as an entrepreneur, this is baffling to me. But, you know, one of the things that I’ve seen in the gun space is that it’s very hard to do business, especially online right now. You know, when it comes down to payment, digital payment methods, like PayPal and stripe and square, but, you know, the advertising piece is also interesting. A lot of these platforms like Facebook and Google and Twitter also ban gun related marketing from their platforms as part of their terms of service. If I were a gun retailer or someone in this space, how does how does a group or an organization like the truth about guns fit in? How can you help as an organization, the marketing when so much of this industry is prohibited from doing standard marketing?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Well, I mean, of course, we take advertising, that’s what that’s what pays the bills. And we have documented a lot of these situations specifically, Shopify and, and others as, as they’ve happened. You know, there was the, the the let the public letter that about 100 or 150, CEOs of tech firms signed about 60 to 90 days ago, you know, calling for, I think an assault weapons ban or universal background checks, or maybe both of them I don’t remember. But you go back to the beginning. We’re talking said You know, one of the premises of You know, business used to be talking about the politics, you know, you’re only going to alienate part of your part of your customer base little seem to have any problem doing that seems to be they seem to be take pride in actually doing that and just associating themselves with a significant amount of their customers. And as you said, firing them. I think that we’re going to see more people coming in to fill that that void. I mean, there’s, you know, in terms of shopping carts and payment processing, there are options out there, there aren’t a lot of them yet, but there are some out there for for gun gun related businesses to to work with. As far as advertising, you know, turning to buy he can’t buy advertising on any of the big platforms. Google ads, Facebook Twitter under those will allow that there are other ways to do it, but the the electronic ghettoisation of the gun business and their customers has it’s been a story we’ve talked about we’ve covered for for years now, and I don’t see getting any better anytime soon.

Rob McNealy
You know, it’s very interesting to me that, you know, use the word ghetto ization and I think that’s a great you know, I think it’s a great description because the gun industry has been made into like this pariah now I and I’m gonna, you know, I’m going to, you know, kind of nuanced and say the lawful gun industry has been turned into a pariah

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
about criminals here we’re talking about you know, Miss Mr. Mrs. America owns a firearm, and likes to pawn on you know, every fall go out and get a deer, something like

Rob McNealy
that. And in to me It seems that, you know, trying to demonize so much of not only the general population, but to demonize, you know, a big part of American culture is is absolutely baffling to me, in light of history and things of that nature. and wonder, I just have to wonder, you know, you know, I don’t want to speculate, but I mean, there’s definitely, you know, it’s scary, where they I think, when I start speculating where I think some of this agenda comes from, but to demonize lawful gun owners and a lot of people don’t understand, you know, there’s a lot of this conflation between trying to make gun people being gun nuts or ammo, fetishes and all the you know, pejoratives they use against gun owners, but gun owners historically, are the most lawful people, their most peaceful, law abiding and charitable people on the planet demographically.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Statistically, yeah, absolutely.

Rob McNealy
And to me, you know, the gunden is doing the United States is one of the most heavily regulated god you know, really Retail industries that there is in the United States. And to me, you know, for all these big companies to like, basically give this really super duper heavily regulated industry such a hard time just doesn’t make sense to me. Because to me, if you’re providing services to a billion dollar industry, or you could provide services $2 billion industry that basically has the government overseeing so much of that industry, it would actually be a safe bet, to do business with those people. You would think,

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
I think that a lot of the CEOs care more about the mutual admiration they get from their peers in signaling how strident and how anti gun they can be, than they do about their business. You look at somebody like an ED stack at Dick’s Sporting Goods, who by his own admission has hurt his business. The tune of about $250 million in revenue by dumping guns and hunting gear. He’s that’s a public company, he owns 60% of it or something like that he’s got a controlling interest, but it’s still a public country company still has a fiduciary duty to his shareholders. surprises have been sued. Maybe as I don’t know, those those kinds of suits don’t do don’t have very good prospects. But I mean, he did that. And he’s since written a book and it’s talking about running. I think once there was rumors of him running for president, I don’t think you then. But yeah, I think that a lot of these things are, in effect vanity projects for CEOs. I mean, it’s an overused term, but it’s basically virtue signaling for for those companies to tell the world how enlightened and progressive they are by marginal marginalizing. All the different Horrible aspects of society. And it’s I mean, it’s I think there’s a bigger symptom that’s a bigger sentence, not just gun or I mean,if anybody’s paying a paid attention to politics knows the polarization of this country left and right. And that’s only been exacerbated in recent years, the political tribal ization and the rhetoric rhetoric gets hotter and hotter. And I think that a lot of that is fueled by the internet and social media and people’s ability to communicate with like minded people and also with people on the other side of the issue. Whatever the issue may be,

Rob McNealy
So demographically speaking, you know, I’ve seen out there you know, there’s a lot of Boomer millennial hate that’s really popular, especially in social media these days. Where do you and you and there’s some money polls that I’ve seen that, you know, a lot of millennials aren’t really into the gun thing. In fact, and so what are you seeing out there about the millennials and and their kind of relationship with the gun world?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Well, they’re more of them than you think there’s a term called gun culture 2.0 that was very popular for a long time. And these are the people that grew up playing Call of Duty and other first person shooter type games and probably know more about guns than I do, I will ever know, based on the level of detail and the options that are available in these games. For very, for the weapons that you can use use as you play and all the level of detail that’s that’s built into this these games. So you learn about these things. And then the next phases then once they shoot you shoot them, you know on their x xbox system. something done they want to actually the real thing. And so they try to go to a good arranges and read these guns and learn to shoot one thing that the gun the American gun culture has done a really poor job of is reaching out to these people and bringing them in and cultivating that and making them feel welcome. They’re out there. If you’ve ever been to some of the places, and Las Vegas machine gun Vegas or or some of those places where you can go and rent rent a machine machine guns in MP fives, fn skaars, whatever. And basically, you know, shoot money out the end of your gun, those places. And if you go to those places, most of the people who were there are younger people, a lot of foreigners to who come and you know, can’t wait to this. You know, try like all the crazy Americans But there are a lot of younger people there. So they’re out there people are, are there terms of hunting and bringing people up through hunting. Like dear old dad and grandpa dad is slowly diminishing over time. It’s been for a long time as there are a lot of efforts by groups like the nssf and others to bring more people along and bring a get new people into hunting. But that’s kind of an uphill, uphill battle.

Rob McNealy
You know, it’s interesting with the crypto world, which is the other part of what I’m involved with, you know, I’m in kind of got feet in two different worlds, the crypto world global, it’s not just, you know, United States thing, and a lot of our tough communities actually international and a lot of its in Asia. And it’s interesting because when we, you know, decided to rebrand and venture into this in focus on one target market, no pun intended. It was interesting the response from the people in Europe versus the Asians, you know, Americans you know, most people who are into crypto in the US are kind of already more into guns anyway. But the Europeans really they tended to frown on the gun peace a lot. And same as the Galster aliens, but then the Asians it’s interesting, I tend to really get excited about it, especially as Singapore Hong Kong and Korea and I started figuring out certain little checking this out and you know, I didn’t realize that they even though they basically can have any guns in any of those, you know, countries. They have these really big paintball and airsoft culture there. And a lot of it is being fueled in part by the anime you know, I call them cartoons but you know, people get mad if I call them cartoons, but I’m old enough that I’m funny enough that I can say their cartoons but the anime world is really it’s bringing you so like how the video game world is bringing millennials into guns. The anime world and the guns in the anime world are bringing the Asians and the guns. And it’s interesting because they have like some amazing tournaments like sponsored, you know, airsoft tournaments over there that are fascinating. And so when we started talking about tusken, talking about guns, you know, we had, like, we had to present it and basically convince our community that that was the good thing for our project. And it was always a good thing for me, because I’m a gun guy, but you know, it’s, it’s not just my project. It’s like, it’s a community project. So, but the it was interesting seeing the difference between the Europeans were like, poopoo, Asian, you know, poopoo guns are bad, guns are bad. And the Asians are like, thumbs up. And it was really interesting. And now that you’re seeing the stuff in Hong Kong right now, where they’re actually many respects more pro American than a lot of Americans are these days, and when it comes to freedom, and the founding fathers and things and I’ve said to more than one of I have some friends in Hong Kong, and I’ve said more than one time, you know, things would be very different if you guys had guns right now and they’re kind of wishing they did

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
We hear about all the time I actually have a correspondent in Hong Kong, whose son is photographer sent us a couple of batches of photographs that a son, it’s taken through the, through all the protests, they’re going on for what, two, three months now. And there is no shortage of people there who believe that if, if they, if they had the right to keep and bear arms, things would be very different. And they, you know, they they wave American flags, and they talk about gun rights. You know, that’s not something that’s going to happen anytime soon. But it’s interesting what you say about some of the people in the Asian countries who are living under the strictest anti gun regimes and some of the strictest in the world are the ones that are most most interested in firearms and the right to own them, much more so than people in Europe were. Yes. It’s really Directed you can own certain firearms if you want to, but it’s not nearly as as strict as it is in Asia.

Rob McNealy
And the end, but the culture thing is really baffling to me. You know, I always and I am putting myself out there because I do have lots of opinions but I always tell people we’re trying I think Trump’s trying to ban the wrong people coming to our country and they look at me and they go What do you mean? I go Who the hell invented all the socialism and communism shit, it was Europeans. Why are we letting go Why are we liking those guys they’re the ones that are the worst when it comes to that and I live in by the way I lived in Europe and I worked for both the Japanese company when I and I worked for a Swiss company in my past so I spent a lot of time in Europe and and unlike the other ones invented all this crap and then you want to import more of them. You know, you want you want to import these hard work in like, you know, you know more conservative people that want to just come here and work and and you know, your people are like, Oh, we want to get these white people from wherever And I’m like, have you been to Europe lately? Not working out over there. And every time we try to, you know, import that stuff here, it’s not working out for us either. I think we need to ban Europeans. That’s my point. I know people are gonna like that, but I think it’s the thing. They’re the ones that invented it. So. So you know, truth about guns, you guys, you do allow, if I say I had an idea, and I want to do a review, do you guys take submissions from you know, the audience and readers?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Or do we always, we absolutely always have many welcome that anybody who would like to submit something and send it to the truth about guns at gmail. com and we’re happy to consider it. Gun review, editorial, you name it. We’re always happy to, to consider it and we’ve printed lots and lots and lots of customer content, or I’m sorry, reader content over the years.

Rob McNealy
You know, and I think that’s one of the things I really liked about gun culture. You know, Even just in my own my own journey of learning about guns, and then learning the technical aspects about them is that the gun world is full of people that really want to help other people learn. And it’s a really tight community, that if if you’re not a jerk, you know, because you know how it is, with online forums, there’s always trolls and things. But if you really are genuinely trying to learn something, the community is really, really supportive and inclusive, and I really am excited about that. And that’s why I’m here even like, you know, you guys are a big publication in this space. And it’s nice to see that you guys too are part of that community where you know, you help get the word out if people are willing to, you know, produce good content and share and that’s really good. I’m glad you guys are there. I think it’s important.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Well, thanks. I found the same thing that the gun industry and the people in it and gun owners in general are just amazingly nice people. If you go to the range and you need some help with your gun, you can’t figure it out or it’s jamming your somebody’s always willing to help as long as You’re not doing something unsafe. And being a jerk people there just couldn’t be nicer and more willing to help you out and, you know, bring you along and educate you if that’s what you’re looking for. And people in the gun industry as well or just surprisingly, not not even surprising anymore. They’re just an amazingly nice people. almost without exception,

Rob McNealy
That that has been my experience too. And it’s funny and it goes back to the, you know, the media and the portrayal of people especially it’s the people in the coastal cities, it seems to be the worst at this, but when they try to, like, you know, come up with this caricature of like what a gun owner is. It’s just not anything close to reality. How they describe them in it, it’s obvious that they have just don’t have any direct experience or they’re deliberately trying to malign people but you know, it’s just not how it is gun, the gun people out there that I know one Some of the most talented people when it comes to things like machining and making things and you know ballistics and things, but they’re generally helpful people and say that these people are all these you know rabid like Rambo kind of types that that stereotype I don’t actually ever see that.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
No, I’m sure it’s out there. I mean just like any group we’ve we’ve got a group of 100 million people on firearms, you’re going to get some people on the fringes, you’re going to get some people who you’re not going to get along with but by and large, as you said earlier, statistically, gun owners are the most law abiding and the easiest to get along with people. There are period. You mentioned the media, I love the thing pieces of people that every once in a while, we’ll go on safari to the flyover country and try to figure out who these people are that own guns and carry firearms on daily basis and could actually make it back Washington or, or New York after their their expedition and write about these things with, you know, with you can tell that they’re just the dark their jaw dropped when they found these people and can turn out these people are actually very nice, very accommodating and you know, they weren’t as a citizen militia members are on ammo sexuals they’re not married to their sisters or anything like that these are normal everyday Americans that own firearms and just want to be able to hunt to protect their family, to to compete, all the things that you do with people do with firearms, and they just don’t want anyone to tell them that they can’t do it and that they have to sell their guns back to anyone because that just isn’t going to happen.

Rob McNealy
I don’t think so. Dan, we’re running out of time here. I’ve really enjoyed talking today with you and I hope that In the future, we can do this more on a regular basis. You’re more than welcome to if you you know come back on the show if you got anything interesting to tell about or anything you need to report that our audience would be interested in, you know, you just let me know. So where can people find out more?

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
At www that truth about guns calm were there every day of the year we publish anywhere from six to 10 times a day depending on what’s going on. And we were of course on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and we welcome your participation anytime.

Rob McNealy
Thank you so much.

Dan Zimmerman – TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Thanks for having me.

Episode Links

Audio Interview
Video Interview
Interview Transcript

Owen York, Artist and Founder of Gun Industry Marketplace

Owen York, Artist and Founder of Gun Industry MarketplaceIn This Episode

In this podcast, Rob McNealy interviews Owen York, Artist and Founder of Gun Industry Marketplace.

About Owen York

Owen York is a Fine Artist, Executive, Marketing, Sales & Business Development Pro. Starting his first business of 15 staff at age 17, his career has spanned Firearms, Public Safety, Defense, High-Tech and The Arts over 20+ years. He is expert in Marketing, Sales and Business Development, with specialties in Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Recruitment, SEO, Social Media, and Web Development. He has created market trends, viral trends & industry buzzes. He was listed in the Moz.com Fab Five in 2012 as one of the top five most actionable & ethical SEO Consultants. He is the Founder of The Gun Industry Marketplace. The Gun Industry Marketplace is the hub for the Firearms Industry as a unified location for its businesses, law enforcement and governments. Last, but not least, he is an award winning and well-known Fine Artist with a résumé of exhibitions, features, interviews, TV, radio, and internet spots and is versed in many areas of The Arts including Fine Art, Film, TV, Writing and Music.

About Gun Industry Marketplace

The Gun Industry Marketplace is the hub for the Firearms Industry as a unified location for its businesses, law enforcement and governments. Its Mission is “To protect and assist “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” by helping the firearms industry to better survive, unify, expand, strengthen their power and numbers, and achieve their goals.”

Links

Gun Industry Marketplace
Owen York on LinkedIn

Chad Krupa, Political Director of the Utah Firearms Association

In This Episode

Chad Krupa, Political Director of the Utah Firearms Association

In this podcast interview, Rob McNealy interviews Chad Krupa, Political Director of the Utah Firearms Association, about the dangers of “red flag” laws (ERPOs).

 

 

 

 

About Utah Firearms Association

Utah Firearms Association LogoThe Utah Firearms Association exists to fight for the 2nd Amendment rights of all Utah citizens. Even in a gun friendly State like Utah, the 2nd Amendment is under constant threat. The UFA will focus on the following areas:

  • Fighting against proposed laws that would infringe on the 2nd Amendment.
  • Overturning or repealing laws that currently infringe on our 2nd Amendment.
  • Voting out politicians who do not defend the 2nd Amendment and voting in politicians who do.
  • Working with businesses, universities, and other organizations to encourage them to allow citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.
  • Continuing to educate the public on the importance and necessity to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

It may be argued that the 2nd Amendment is the most important. Without the ability to oppose an oppressive government, none of the other Amendments would exist.

Links