Gino Borges:

Thank you all for joining us today on The Journey to Impact: A Virtual Fireside Chat Series. The Journey to Impact series is here to tell a different story of impact. While we naturally address some of the landmarks of the journey, this series is designed to create space for the uncovering of the emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges and successes along the path of impact. It is less about the outcomes or results of our actions, but rather the human components of what it feels like to operate in the impact world, illumining one’s inner journey. Today I’d like to welcome Howard Fischer and Eric Jacobsen. Together, they founded Gratitude Railroad, a community of investors committed to helping solve environmental and social problems. Eric and Howard met each other at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. Eric is the Co-founder of Dolphin Capital, a private equity firm investing in high growth companies in the Mountain West region, and Howard is the Founder and CEO of Basso Capital Management. Welcome Howard, and welcome Eric. It’s my understanding that you didn’t know each other in advance of Harvard’s advanced leadership initiative. What led each of you to the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, and how did the two of you decide to come together to build something new?

Howard Fischer:

My journey to Harvard really began in the financial crisis of 2008 which had a major impact on my business, my net worth, my wellbeing, and my emotions. Following the financial crisis, I spent a few years try to rebuild my business. Sometime in about 2011-2012, I began to think that we weren’t going to be able to recover, and I realized that I needed something better to do with my time, my life. Serendipitously, I saw an advertisement for the Harvard program in my alumni magazine. I applied assuming that, like it had many times before, Harvard would turn me down. I got in and didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go, but I did. And, it was magic. It was one of the best years of my life, including finding great lifelong friends, like Eric.

Eric Jacobsen:

I was running Dolphin Capital, and one of our investment theses was could we make more money by investing in companies that were not just making a product and capturing market share and generating return but that were actually doing something beneficial for humanity. It was very hard to define, figure out, understand, track, and measure. I was complaining to my wife that it was hard, and she saw the ad for the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, tore it out of a magazine, and handed it to me saying, “Eric, you should go to Harvard. They’ll teach you everything you need to know.” It wasn’t that, but it was really a magical year.

Gino Borges:

What does magical look like? Was it a retreat? What does magic look and feel like?

Howard Fischer:

It was a different journey for both of us. I went there first just to go back to school. I sometimes I describe it now as a sabbatical year and in a very different process than Eric. I ended up being there for three semesters. I took something like 25 or 27 different classes, and I put myself in classes that this 50-something-year-old, New York hedge fund guy didn’t really belong, two Buddhist scripture classes at the divinity school. I was just exposing myself where a whole nother world, this loony experience of growth, the people and professors I met just changed my entire outlook on life. If you ask my wife, who I’ve been with for over 40 years at this point, she’d say the person she knows now today after Harvard is a much more warm, loving person than I was before that. A lot of things are going to change you over your life, but the learning and the people I met helped. I went there the first day, looking around the room thinking everybody in the room was smarter, richer and better looking than me. Then overtime, as I got to know them, they’re just this incredible group of people that I enjoy spending time with. I’ve got a whole new outlook on life. I’ve got a whole new group of friends and the goal of the program is for you to move toward the social good that you can dedicate the rest of your life to. I came to study environment. That was my core area of focus. Eric, alluding to wanting to study what he was calling compassionate capitalism, and I, together, we created this idea of Gratitude Railroad, and it’s an important part of my life every single day. The magic is that I have this life, and not only had one of these great friends that I met at Harvard, but all the people that I’ve met through Gratitude Railroad are wonderful, warm, thoughtful, passion, smart, and harnessing capitalism for the benefit of mankind. My life is just so much better because of it.

Gino Borges:

Eric, I want to ask you to piggyback off that. What did the magic look like for you? Also you talked about it was hard about making the connection between conventional investment practices and those practices that could bring about good in the world. You had this thesis that potentially could creating social good be actually a wise thing in terms of business allocation. Why is that a hard connection? Then, did the magic that you experience at Harvard help you soften around the idea that you needed a clear connection, that you’re willing to be comfortable with the mosaic of potential mysterious factors that are also working in the world that you may never know?

Eric Jacobsen:

Let me start with the magic, and then come back to the mosaics. For me, I was classically trained in my life from childhood to get a good education, to get a good job, to try to make good money, to try to live a good life. I had a very traditional classic education. In business, I had these very clear goals of where I was trying to get to all the time, and I thought I had a lot of control over that. Spending time at Harvard, it was really the first time in my life where I could just stop to ponder and think for hours every day and not have to deliver some output or go in tomorrow in order to accomplish some X or Y. It was a period of time for me to just open up my mind to think and learn what it really means to be a leader. To ask, what is business? What does it look like? Is it compassionate? Could it be compassionate? That was very magical for me: the ability to spend a lot of time thinking. Then, there’s the people. Howard mentions the people. For me, too, it was the people at Harvard. It was the people in my cohort. It was professors that I interacted with. It was connections that the professors helped me make. Having this Harvard business card allowed me to have discussions that I’m not sure I could have if it was just Eric Jacobsen making that phone call. I spent a lot of time in the Harvard Graduate School of Education with students there. It just was a really extraordinary mixture of people, a time I’d never really been able to have before.

Relating that back to the mosaic and connections, I think I got much more comfortable, maybe in life, but certainly in impact, understanding that it’s hard, and people don’t really know the answers. We don’t really know where we’re going all the time. People who think they have all the answers probably don’t. Are we trying to get to perfection, or are we just trying to improve wherever we are today? How do you measure heart? How do you measure compassion? How do you think about those things in a traditional business context? In my classical education, if you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it. The process very much helped me recognize that it’s a mosaic and it’s complicated. And, frankly that’s okay for me.

Gino Borges:

How did your intentionality evolve while immersed at Harvard, and how did the Gratitude Railroad project emerge?

Eric Jacobsen:

I don’t know if for me there was one singular “aha.” As a human I was really attracted to Howard: who he was, how he thought, the way he approached life, and the questions he asked. He was just an incredibly fascinating and interesting human being. We had really amazing conversations, challenging both of our previous assumptions about business and making an impact. How do we do it, and where does it go? Howard was and is still very fixated on the environment. How do we reverse the impacts of the effects of global warming? Howard did a lot of research on a gentleman by the name of Allan Savory. One of Allan Savory’s theories is that if we intensively rotationally grazed all the cows on the planet, we could sequester enough carbon to reverse the effects of global warming. Howard was sharing his learning and talking to me about it and I made maybe a little bit of a flippant comment. I said, listen, if it’s not profitable, intensive rotational grazing isn’t profitable, you’ll never convince all the farmers on the planet to do it out of the goodness of their heart. These two things have to work symbiotically together. When that happens, that’s pretty cool. That for me is when we really started talking about how do we blend what we know, business and finance, with what we’re both really passionate about, trying to make a difference somehow.

Howard Fischer:

AlIan did a Ted Talk in February of 2013 that I learned about at an event at Harvard. It was actually sponsored by a friend of one of my sons who was actually at Cornell. At the time, he came to Harvard to share this programming. That was really a major flip on my mind. This whole idea that these animals who in many worlds, many people believe are only negative for the planet can actually be a planetary good. Eric and I have our own ways of looking at this. Gratitude Railroad is much more than a convening organization. Eric had this idea to gather some people in Park City in the Summer of 2013 with the idea of beginning to explore impact investing.

We both cajoled a handful of friends to join us, and Eric recruited somebody he had been learning from in Pittsburgh. We’ve got a guy, Matthew Webb who showed up. We don’t even know how we got him to show up. We began to talk about this and learn about it. We felt that this was a great way to go. Eric, through Toniic and the 100%ers, decided to move his money towards impact. We thought that we could take what we had begun to learn and share it with people out there who’ve been doing it for a long time. We also felt that what we saw of the industry at that time, somewhat naively, because we certainly learned there is a lot more that has gone on well before us in incredibly capable ways.

We thought we could bring our “Wall Street attitudes” to impact, which sometimes certainly gets me in trouble in certain rooms. But, this was really an evolution. That began with the two of us just enjoying each other’s company and spending time together, figuring out what we could do best. The way I like to describe it is that Eric and I came to a couple of conclusions over the course of that year that we were at Harvard together. One is that capitalism is a solution to most of mankind’s problems. Also, the philanthropic model is largely broken. It has its role in the world, but, with capitalism, we do something better. We thought that our experiences in life as investors, as fund managers, and as entrepreneurs made us good at making investment decisions, made us good at identifying and hiring and managing investment talent, and made us good at marketing financial projects and businesses through belief. We thought we could put that all together in Gratitude Railroad. We also look at Gratitude Railroad as an extension of our experience at Harvard. At Harvard, you could study education, you could study healthcare, you could study the not-for-profit world. You can do anything you want which is absolutely amazing and incredible. Anybody out there listening who’s considering it, just go apply.

Gino Borges:

I want to understand a little bit more on why you think a “Wall Street attitude” would have been beneficial to the space and whether there are limitations to that attitude in this space.

Howard Fischer:

I have this conversation a lot, and I always caveat with all due respect to everybody out there that’s trying and doing things, whether they started last week, they’re going to start next week, or whether they started 25 years ago like Jonathan Rose or Peter Stein. What we saw just didn’t fit in the kinds of discipline, practice, and focus that we were used to. Whether it was unfair or accurate or naive, we can debate, but we felt there was room for an opportunity to invest in a manner that was maybe more focused on financial discipline and financial return while at the same time, taking all the good things that we as impact investors want. It’s a very complicated discussion. Sometimes, I get confused myself.

I just finished reading The Purpose of Capital by Jed Emerson. You mentioned John Fullerton, who pushed us really hard when he spoke at the conference a couple of weeks back, including talking about having a significant dose of philanthropic allocation within your network but also calling it a moonshot. Why don’t you invest in things that may be really risky? This is a totally new idea that may not meet your financial discipline, but if it works, it’s really going to make change. Speaking for me alone, what I saw as opportunities to invest didn’t directly appeal to me at that time. Having been in the hedge fund business for 35 years, I felt I could bring back experience and practice into what I wanted to see in an impact investment opportunity set.

Gino Borges:

If I read between the lines you’re suggesting that what you saw in terms of underwriting and diligence was weaker than what you felt comfortable with.

Howard Fischer:

That’s a very accurate way of reading between the lines. Yes. Now again, since then I’ve learned a lot. I’ve met a lot of people. I’ve just mentioned two: Peter Stein and Jonathan Rose, both of whom I’ve invested with. They’ve been doing this for an incredibly long time and are incredibly successfully. But at that time, my limited purview brought me to that conclusion.

Gino Borges:

Eric, do you characterize your life in similar terms of a “Wall street attitude?” You mention “classically trained.” Is there something you would add in terms of the benefit of that? Just wondering on how the impact space has invited you in to understand where you’ve been able to contribute and then where you notice your training is actually a handicap in a way that if I don’t pump the brakes a little bit here, I’m not going to be able to see an opportunity or be able to go down this path.

Eric Jacobsen:

I might take it a little bit of a different direction. I believe that Howard’s and my training and others’ training now in the Gratitude community generally come from traditional finance such as CEOs of traditional businesses that experience bringing it into impact. Not just us, but a lot of people come from that perspective. The impact space can give credibility to people like us who may not believe that impact has a lot of credibility. The reason they may or may not believe that impact has a lot of credibility is because there’s a mantra out there that you must give up returns in order to have an impact. That’s a very entrenched traditional way of thinking. The more of us that come from that traditional world to impact and invest and generate impact and generate returns that we can point to and show this is credible, the more we hopefully can get more and more people to come from that traditional way of thinking into the world of impact. From my perception, historically, the impact world was from a let’s do good and let’s figure out how to scale it, coming from the other side of the bell curve. I would argue today we haven’t even bridged the gap. We’ve come a long way since 2013. But, we need to figure out how to bridge the gap and how to prove, as an economic system, that the symbiotic relationship between making an impact and generating returns is actually a wonderful thing and very possible. It’s not one or the other, and they don’t necessarily offset each other. I don’t know if that answered the question, but it’s the way I think about it.

Gino Borges:

You’ve mentioned John Fullerton was pushing the envelope at your most recent gathering. Howard, you mentioned you’re currently reading Jed Emerson’s book, The Purpose of Capital. Obviously, those two guys are stretching the possibility of capital in their own suggestions, their own way of doing it. What keeps you potentially from leaping as far forward as much as you potentially would want to? It’s like, “Wow, I thought I was really down the path of impact. But, it seems like these guys are laying a lot more bricks along the path and there’s much more to travel.” Is there a part of you that is holding back? Just trying to understand what it is, internally or cognitively, that keeps you from a similar movement down the path. And, I could be wrong. Maybe you are moving as fast as you want to, but I think all of us who are on this journey have people talk to us and think “Wow, I am pulling back my chips. I am pulling back my efforts, just slightly, because I don’t know this area. I’m fearful. Ego identity. That’s not who I am. It’s not letting me get there.”

Eric Jacobsen:

I’ve thought a lot about this question. I need to give a little background as I understand John Fullerton’s and Jed Emerson’s pushing and why they are further down the road to impact. I may have it wrong, but they’re much bigger thinkers and much smarter than me. I’m just trying to catch up to their thinking. But, to some extent, if I think through my thoughts of the evolution of capitalism, capitalism was there to make a profit for shareholders. That was the only thing that mattered, and the key driver was that money was not spent on anything that was a detriment to profit. That’s how the system worked and needed to work. It was the government and nonprofits that were responsible for benefiting. That’s been my training. Through Harvard, I took this step that wait a minute, there may be a lot of benefits off the balance sheet or off your income statement to treating employees well that aren’t reflected in the cost of treating them well, per se, but will benefit the organization. A lot of capitalists understand that next step in that next evolution. I certainly understand the theory of stepping into a circular economy, pricing, and externalities. There’s much more we can and need to do in our economic system to keep pushing it forward. I drink that Kool-Aid. I understand that, I understand and believe in the moonshot that there are things that you can invest in that might change the world. Then, there are certain things you invest in that might just be incremental improvements. What I understood from John is that we need to get beyond just circular. We need to regenerate it. We need to have the economic system not just be pricing and externalities so it’s a closed loop, but we need business that are actually adding back if we’re going to get out of the mess we’re in. That’s really interesting me that. I can get my brain around that concept. I think that’s quite a ways out there. Then the question comes, what’s the best for society in the systems? Should we incrementally move there? Getting incrementally better over time? Or, do we need to blow up the system because we don’t have time and we need to jump right to the dream. That’s where I start to break down in my own thinking and get overwhelmed because if it’s a blowing up the system, forget me, that’s a scary prospect for everyone. For me personally, then, the question is if I jump in full force, at what point do I personally lose credibility in trying to bring a bunch of people along? That’s probably my own hang up. Do I want to be a drastic change maker, or do I want to be an incremental mover?

Howard Fischer:

That’s a very important point. If part of the goal of Gratitude Railroad is to make this change in investors as to how they look at their investing, we can be extreme. We could tell everybody about our friends like John Fullerton, and say that’s what we’ve got to do. But the kinds of people that Eric and I are bringing along from the edge, they are not ready to make that leap. Let them start that journey by investing in something that makes him very comfortable. It’s not a leap. As they learn and they listen to people like John Fullerton and Jed Emerson, they may do something else that may push them a little bit further along, whatever that means, but that’s a positive. I think that’s really important. One of the things I would like to say in terms of my own personal investing, there’s a struggle. What is the right line, and what is the right investment process? I suffer when I talk about this a lot with the life coach I share with Eric. I talk about irrational financial insecurity. So, I feel that I don’t have enough. And therefore how I manage that is important for the needs that I have and the needs I perceive to have or the psychology of having more or less. To some extent, I am dealing with that issue. I had a long dinner with a person who I’m trying to bring more actively into the Gratitude Railroad community, very wealthy, very smart, very successful, has an incredibly active and brilliant investment practice of his own. We had this long discussion of what impact investing is. Basically, he said that every dollar that you return to an investor reduces the good that the business does. We didn’t really come to conclusion and it’s easy to say, of course, we all know that, but if I have no return, the business has more money. But overall net, it’s deeply embedded in me that unless businesses run for profit (it can have a bigger overarching right belief system, it can be a conscious capitalist company, could be a B Corp, it could be a benefit Corp, it can manage rural stakeholders) but it’s still not run to meet a bottom line perspective. It takes an edge away and you reduce your ability to compete, you reduce your ability to attract employees and motivate them. It’s really inherently important that the company, in addition to whatever mission and purpose and value systems that it has is boldly and openly focused on making profits. How we distribute those profits, we can discuss. But, that’s an important discipline.

Gino Borges:

Isn’t there a part of the inner child, the inner dream, the inner maker inside of you that really wants to animate your full existence? To come face to face with the corpus and see “wow, you are awfully heavy on my life. I spent an enormous amount of time servicing you. My ego services you.” Ultimately, what is the weight of the corpus?

Eric Jacobsen:

I totally get where you’re going. I need to give a little bit of background about the weight of the corpus for me. I’m a relatively recent corpus owner so I haven’t had that weight for very long. I still carry a sense of ego and pride about having been able to generate the corpus. So I’m still growing in the glory a little bit as opposed to spending a bunch of time on the weight of it. That said, I am really thinking about the weight of it. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but I heard Charly Kleissner talk about getting to 100% impact, and it was like a two by four hit me by the side of the head. I thought, “Of course, I have to do that.” Charly’s words resonated with me. For me the weight of it is, what does it mean to be 100% impacted? How do I reconcile that over the things that Howard mentions, which is, I have a home and I have three kids that are in college and I have two dogs, etc. I’m gonna stop earning income at some point and I’m still gonna need to eat. How do I reconcile all of this? And, what does a 100% impact mean? It relates back to John Fullerton’s and Jed Emerson pushing us. What does all that mean? I don’t know if I answered your question, but I think about it. Where is it? Sometimes I’m think, should I just write a check and give it to somebody much smarter than me and have them figure it out as opposed to me trying to learn all this on my own. I go through all these personal gyrations for sure.

Howard Fischer:

I don’t feel the corpus is a burden at all. I feel it’s a wonderful provision which allows me to do things. When I first met Eric, we talked a lot about spray and pray investing. I was certainly guilty of that. For me, that we’ve developed Gratitude Railroad, and we’ve got not only a team of really talented investors, but between the board of directors, the owners of Gratitude Railroad and our partners group, which is a dozen or so of wealthy families that committed to investing actively alongside of us. I’m spending time and have the resources to make reasonable, thoughtful investment decisions. I’m happy to make them. I feel that I’m not struggling with where I am though. I think John Fullerton released me back a little to if you really love it and it really can change the world, why not invest in it? Maybe I’m a little bit freer with writing that next check. There’s a company that presented at the conference this year that is changing process in the death industry. I’m going to invest in this company. I probably shouldn’t say it publicly because it’s gonna make it harder to negotiate a transaction. But I’m going to invest where the team comes out, but I believe it and maybe I’m too optimistic. Every company we invest in, if it’s successful, we’ll have a great return on capital. If they lose money, they go out of business. I could’ve written another check to another not-for-profit. I would much rather write off the investment to this company in three or five years, hopefully not, and use that deduction than rather write a check to my university where it doesn’t do anything or to another religious organization. That to me is so much more important and rewarding. I lived this ability to know that I can make a lot of money and the intellectual stimulation from dealing with the entrepreneur and learning about the company and seeing how we can help. It’s all wonderful. I like where we’re at and where I’m at in the process. I don’t really struggle with it at all. Again, could I make less money? Sure. I can make less money. Do I have enough? Sure. I have enough so I believe I have enough. But that’s a struggle for most people like me.

Gino Borges:

Is it possible that if we honor the “enoughness” of life and reconcile our egos that we could potentially leverage our impact? How can our community benefit from these conversations of the finitude of life? Could be go deeper into impact?

Eric Jacobsen:

I certainly think if people have honest conversations with themselves about what’s enough, that tentatively frees up a very large portion of their wealth that can then be moved to impact somehow for sure. It’s an interesting exercise. I’ve tried to go through it. I can’t claim that I know the answers. I’ll just share one small learning. We were at the 100% impact event at Charly’s in Big Sur. They presented the T100 report, data of about 91 portfolios. I’m don’t remember the exact numbers, but the percentage of assets in public equities was way lower as a percentage than I thought. I pondered something under my breath, and the person sitting next to me said, well, I have even less than that. He said, because I have enough fixed income to pay for everything I could ever want to pay for, and everything else can be in the highest impact asset class I can possibly find, whether it’s liquid or illiquid because I have enough liquidity just from fixed income growth. For me, it was like this giant light bulb went off. I need to really think about this. I need to think about each asset class that I have and its ability to have impact. They don’t all have the same impact. You can get a lot more impact by investing in a private directed investment than by being in a public equity. Whether or not I buy Exxon Mobile I don’t think really makes any difference. But, if I take that same amount of money and put it into a cool startup, I could potentially make a lot of money and have a lot of impact. The thought process around what do you need, what does one need and how does that then reflect over your wealth, whether it’s asset allocation or charitable donations, impact or liquidity, it’s really important for people to think about. I don’t know how many people were thinking about it, but –

Howard Fischer:

I’m gonna push back a little bit. How do we know what impact is? Why is my investment in company X, Y, Z, not as impactful as a different company? How do we measure that? Eric and I agree that we know when we see it. There is no doubt that there is an emotional aspect, but if it’s product or service does good, whether it’s environmental or social, that’s enough for me. Let’s say my investment in a cross-laminated timber company is not as impactful than If I invested in a company that does lending to small businesses that are women, minority owned. Who’s the judge?

Maybe that’s unfair; maybe that’s that exit. I certainly bring that the impact in lending money to small businesses owned by minorities and women is much more impactful than doing something in the construction industry. So maybe I’m the arrogant “Wall Street” guy that some people think I am, but what I’m doing works really well. Could I do more? I appreciate your question. Could I take more risks from one bucket and put it in riskier buckets? Sure. What would happen? Life probably wouldn’t change. I see so many credible business opportunities to invest in, some of which require far more capacity than I could possibly have. So, I keep looking at my portfolio and say, “Well, what are you going to exit?” You’ve got some things that are really marked up nicely. We can read the play of the capital. I would rather make you know another $10 or $15 million or something and then begin to continue to push. Where’s that edge? Again, where’s my irrational financial being? Where is that balance? I don’t know. The numbers always bigger of course early on, at least for me, it seems to be. But, it’s hard to say that I could do more impact if I took some money out of my fund business and put more of it someplace else. Gratitude Railroad typically doesn’t do anything outside the US. There’s a lot of trouble outside the US. A lot of poor people suffering. We can invest more money there, but we don’t. I don’t know how you define that.

Gino Borges:

Howard, how is this message received when you go back and hang out with your Wall Street friends over dinner in Manhattan and you bring up this three dimensional investing?

Howard Fischer:

Is that a setup?

Gino Borges:

Tentatively. It depends.

Howard Fischer:

On one hand, I spend a lot less time with many of those people, especially in a professional way. I can’t stand being in a room that’s just hedge fund people. I joined the board of 1% for the Planet recently. Somebody in an investment banking meeting, we talked about it, and they couldn’t fathom the idea that I would give 1% of the revenue of my business to not-for-profits that focus on the environment. For the people who I care enough about to still spend some time with, or my lovely wife who’s a much nicer person than me, still wants to retain the friendship. We end up having warm, loud conversations about these issues because I’m dedicated, devoted, and hopeful that I can get some of these people to think a little bit more about what they do. For me, it’s about what you do every single day — how you fly and what you buy, how many clothes that you buy. There are lots of things to talk about. So I spend less time with those people and when I do, I tend to engage, if not battle. How’s that?

Gino Borges:

Pretty good. Are people coming up to you more often now than they were previously and wanting to learn more as a result or do you feel like you still have to beat the preacher drum and saying, please follow me into the desert?

Howard Fischer:

The answer is that there are those who will not be swayed. There are those who believe that investing is investing and charity is charity. Whether I know them or not, whether I meet them in a social context where we can have a more active conversation, maybe I have no filter there. At the same time, it’s in the news every day. The work of Gratitude Railroad is more wide now. It’s pretty common for someone to reach out. There’s a guy I hired on my trading desk in 1985-86, just lost his job, and reached out. The email was like a voice in the past. I haven’t spoken to him in 20 years. He’s ready for his next thing, and he wants to do something that’s better. He’s been following me, whether he sees it on LinkedIn or wherever, he’s heard about it from other people. There are people who are open to it and come to me as a bridge, as the person that they know has been doing it. But, there are plenty of people who I try and engage them who have no interest. It’s just a mix. I don’t think there’s a single answer.

Gino Borges:

Howard’s a midwife, and he just didn’t know it. But, you’re a cultural midwife, Howard. You’re birthing new life here.

Howard Fischer:

I think that’s the role of Gratitude Railroad. For Eric and I both, one of the most rewarding things that we do is bring people to this space. There’s this quote. There’s a member of our group, one of our partners who came to his first conference. When we gathered at the end of the conference, he stood up to say “this was like a shot of WD40 for my rusting brain.” That’s what we want to do. That’s the really most rewarding part about work for me: to take somebody who’s been a conventional business person or investor who’s been seeking something, and now they find a way to use what they’ve learned with meaning and value.

Gino Borges:

Thanks Howard. That’s a nice internal summary of what you touched on this past hour. Eric, do you have something to share on your end as we wrap up the conversation?

Eric Jacobsen:

I am just thinking about the process of trying to share my own internal struggles. It’s an interesting way to phrase the question the way you did. Where am I? What am I thinking? Versus, what am I doing out in the broader world to try to move the ship a little bit? I struggle because sometimes they’re different. I don’t know if I like that they’re necessarily different, but it’s an interesting way to phrase the question because I struggle with it. I struggle with my example, and what do I do and how do I live it versus how do I meet somebody where they are and bring them on the path of the journey a little bit further than wherever they are. Interesting questions overall.

Gino Borges:

Well, thank you so much Howard and Eric, and hopefully you enjoyed the hour just as much as I did.