Never Been Promoted | Unleash Your Entrepreneur

“Radar Revolution": Matt Markel on Transforming Industries with Advanced Radar Solutions

April 09, 2024 Thomas Helfrich Season 1 Episode 37
“Radar Revolution": Matt Markel on Transforming Industries with Advanced Radar Solutions
Never Been Promoted | Unleash Your Entrepreneur
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Never Been Promoted | Unleash Your Entrepreneur
“Radar Revolution": Matt Markel on Transforming Industries with Advanced Radar Solutions
Apr 09, 2024 Season 1 Episode 37
Thomas Helfrich

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Never Been Promoted Podcast with Thomas Helfrich

In this episode, Matt Markel, CEO of Spartan Radar, shares his journey from working in defense to leading a pioneering radar technology company. His story unfolds from early career roles in the Air Force research lab to pivotal positions at Raytheon, eventually steering towards the cutting-edge world of autonomous vehicle technology at Google, and culminating in his leadership at Spartan Radar.



About Matt Markel:

Matt Markel has a rich background in radar technology, having started in the defense sector before moving into tech and autonomous vehicles. At Spartan Radar, he focuses on pushing the boundaries of radar applications, from military to commercial uses, ensuring safety and efficiency in various operational environments.


In this episode, Thomas and Matt Markel discuss:

  • Journey Through Technology: Markel recounts his career trajectory, from defense technology with the Air Force research lab to leading radar innovations at Google’s self-driving car project and other autonomy companies.
  • Transition to Leadership: Discusses his transition from a technical expert to a CEO, emphasizing the shift in focus from R&D to product-oriented strategies and business growth.
  • Industry Insights: Markel provides a nuanced view of radar technology's role across different sectors, highlighting its critical importance in the advancement of autonomous vehicles and safety solutions.



Key Takeaways:

  • Entrepreneurial Mindset

Markel emphasizes the importance of perseverance and adaptability in leadership, especially in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

  • Strategic Decision-Making

Shares insights on making pivotal business decisions, transitioning from R&D to product development, and the significance of hiring and delegation in scaling a company.

  • Vision for the Future

Discusses the potential and future directions of radar technology, particularly in enhancing vehicle safety and operational efficiency in various industries.


“Understanding the dynamics of radar technology and its application across industries is crucial for driving innovation and ensuring safety in an increasingly automated world.” — Matt Markel


CONNECT WITH MATT MARKEL:

Website (Company):
Spartan Radar

LinkedIn:
Matt Markel


CONNECT WITH THOMAS:


X (Twitter):
https://twitter.com/thelfrich | https://twitter.com/nevbeenpromoted
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/hovienko | https://www.facebook.com/neverbeenpromoted
Website:
https://www.neverbeenpromoted.com/
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/neverbeenpromoted/
YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/@neverbeenpromoted
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

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Never Been Promoted Podcast with Thomas Helfrich

In this episode, Matt Markel, CEO of Spartan Radar, shares his journey from working in defense to leading a pioneering radar technology company. His story unfolds from early career roles in the Air Force research lab to pivotal positions at Raytheon, eventually steering towards the cutting-edge world of autonomous vehicle technology at Google, and culminating in his leadership at Spartan Radar.



About Matt Markel:

Matt Markel has a rich background in radar technology, having started in the defense sector before moving into tech and autonomous vehicles. At Spartan Radar, he focuses on pushing the boundaries of radar applications, from military to commercial uses, ensuring safety and efficiency in various operational environments.


In this episode, Thomas and Matt Markel discuss:

  • Journey Through Technology: Markel recounts his career trajectory, from defense technology with the Air Force research lab to leading radar innovations at Google’s self-driving car project and other autonomy companies.
  • Transition to Leadership: Discusses his transition from a technical expert to a CEO, emphasizing the shift in focus from R&D to product-oriented strategies and business growth.
  • Industry Insights: Markel provides a nuanced view of radar technology's role across different sectors, highlighting its critical importance in the advancement of autonomous vehicles and safety solutions.



Key Takeaways:

  • Entrepreneurial Mindset

Markel emphasizes the importance of perseverance and adaptability in leadership, especially in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

  • Strategic Decision-Making

Shares insights on making pivotal business decisions, transitioning from R&D to product development, and the significance of hiring and delegation in scaling a company.

  • Vision for the Future

Discusses the potential and future directions of radar technology, particularly in enhancing vehicle safety and operational efficiency in various industries.


“Understanding the dynamics of radar technology and its application across industries is crucial for driving innovation and ensuring safety in an increasingly automated world.” — Matt Markel


CONNECT WITH MATT MARKEL:

Website (Company):
Spartan Radar

LinkedIn:
Matt Markel


CONNECT WITH THOMAS:


X (Twitter):
https://twitter.com/thelfrich | https://twitter.com/nevbeenpromoted
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/hovienko | https://www.facebook.com/neverbeenpromoted
Website:
https://www.neverbeenpromoted.com/
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/neverbeenpromoted/
YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/@neverbeenpromoted
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas

Support the Show.

Serious about LinkedIn Lead Generation? Stop Guessing what to do on LinkedIn and ignite revenue from relevance with Instantly Relevant Lead System

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Welcome to the Never Been Promoted podcast with Thomas Helfrich. Get ready for a thrilling adventure as we uncover entrepreneurial journeys and life changing business insights every week. And now, your host, Thomas.

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Welcome to another episode of Never Been Promoted, where we're helping you unleash your entrepreneur by learning from other entrepreneurs. And today I'm joined by Matt Markel. He's part of the royal family. Not true, but he's the CEO of a big giant company. No, Matt, I would introduce you, and I have you guys fill out tons of stuff where you come on the show. I tell everyone this, but it's really for you to get your mind ready. Matt, please. Thank you for coming. By the way, why don't you introduce yourself?

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Hi, Thomas. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm Matt Markel. I lead a company called Spartan Radar, and I've kind of been doing radar and technology things throughout my career. So I'm kind of, sometimes people call me like he's that radar guy. But, yeah. So where I am now is I'm leading a company. So I get to see not only the technology, but also all the other aspects of the business, the sales, the leadership, and so forth. Yeah, it's a lot of fun. We're having great time. We're selling products and we're taking it to the next level. So I've kind of been, had an interesting career throughout the span of things. Started out working in defense on the kind of on the government side, helping out the government. And they did some time with the Air Force research lab, working on some really cool things that I'm not going to say a bit about because I want to stay free from incarceration.

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Somebody, we're not sure who, I would.

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Have to kill somebody. And there's so much paperwork that's involved with that. Not even worse, murder has a lot of paperwork, I hear, anyway. And then I pivoted into working on the defense side from the industry perspective, working for a company called Raytheon and led a lot of their advanced electronic warfare and advanced radar efforts. And actually, I thought I'd do that forever. I thought that would really be the way I ended up. My career was doing defense sort of things. But I had, and we should double click on this a little bit later. I had an opportunity to make a pivot and leave defense after I've been working in it for decades at that point, pushing, shoot, pushing 30 years, and then joined the Google self driving car company and ended up taking over their radar team, building some fantastic radars, getting all the cars that are driving around today, that's my radar that's on that. And it's just super, super exciting to do that. And then since then, I've built radar divisions for other autonomy companies. And then I got an opportunity to join this one as started as an advisor, then became the president, and then the board asked me to be the CEO back in July of last year.

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Wow. And for those who are joining for the first time, thank you. We're going to dive into his entrepreneurial journey and just advice from that so that lessons learned. And if you're joining again, thank you again for joining. And if it's your first time, don't run away. We do do humor, specifically in this joke when you tell your wife that you're going to get something done around the house and you say, it's on my radar. Can't even question it. You can't even say, she can't be like, oh, he's full of it. Like, no, no. I mean, it's on my radar.

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It's on my radar. It's if I had a nickel for every one of those jokes or, hey, I'm going to go fly under the radar on this one. Yeah. So at the radar club, we kind of hang around, you know, telling a bunch of dorky jokes like that. And what's the best one?

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What's the best dorky radar joke?

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Usually it's somebody. So it's a little bit older now. Somebody will come up with something and there'll be a meme that pops up from radar O'Reilly from mash. And then you think back to, I don't know if you ever watched the show back in the day, but it's, it's got such cool, interesting, quirky humor and radar's, you know, clairvoyance in how he would deal with both the incoming of the wounded as well as his clairvoyance. And like, what the, what Colonel Sherman T. Potter, I believe was his name. Colonel Potter would want. And it was just so much fun. And then black did. Yeah. Great, great show. So that's usually the problem was like when radar rally pops up in a meeting somewhere.

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So we'll get it grounded. What does actually radar stand for?

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Radio detection and ranging. That's a little bit of a pop quiz right off the start there, Thomas.

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I was testing your not, I'm getting your creds set up for everybody because I didn't know that you could have answered anything.

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Remote, anti distress, blah, blah. No, it's a, it's a and radar has actually been around for, like, a long, long time. It started background the world War two timeframe, the English with the chain home system and so forth. And the idea is, you have something that emits in the electromagnetic spectrum. That's basically, the electromagnetic spectrum is, like, what we see in what radio waves are, microwaves, all that send signals off out in the world. They reflect off things. You come back, and you do a whole bunch of really cool signal processing on that to figure out what's there. Is there something there is something not there. Is somebody trying to deceive you? Is there? And there's a whole bunch of different applications, like, oh, you could be imaging the earth or imaging the sky or finding out whether there's an f 15 coming at you or a missile coming in or people trying to break into your house. Just a ton of cool applications.

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Yep. And when it was first coming out, this is a true story. I'm looking for more validations. Is true. Before Pearl harbor was bombed, a technician and it was new radar had just been kind of installed recently. I don't know how recently, but recently they had detected it and dismissed it as an anomaly. Is that how that had worked? Like, it actually picked up the fleet of people coming to attack Pearl harbor, and they're like, oh, no, that must be an error.

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So that's. So I've been doing this for a while. I wasn't quite around in World War Two, so I can't give you firsthand knowledge that that was occurred, but I've heard that story as well, so I believe that to be true, which gets into, as we start thinking about how we use the technology, the concept of making it a declaration that something's there, something's not there is actually a big portion of what we do in radar when we think about them. So I worked for several years in the self driving car space. That was huge for them, because it's one thing to say that, okay, there's somebody there. Got it. And it's okay for you to say, okay, I don't see anything. Nothing's there, and that's okay also. But if you say that nothing's there, but there really is something, that type of an error is where we call that a free space estimation error, where you're basically estimating where stuff is. And if you say up, nothing's there, that space must be free or clear. And if there's actually something there, that's when accidents happen. So that's the. That's kind of the thing that we have to deal with. And that's actually one of the things my company does is we make software that helps the radar, not make those types of errors.

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Well, let's dive into that. So as you've built this company and you're taking off of it from an entrepreneur standpoint in teaching, others talk about maybe the idea, because you're working on big ideas and a lot of entrepreneurs, you myself, we have a marketing company. It's niche. It does what it does with LinkedIn for yours. You're solving huge problems and maybe delineate between the entrepreneur listening of well, this is applicable to me. I'm just trying to do a small services or coaching business or something else. How do I learn from, how does someone learn from you who's solving massive problems and you're in a big game? How do you apply that across entrepreneurship?

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First of all, I'm not the founder of the company. I was brought on by the founder and the board to basically take the company to the next level. So when I started, there was a little bit of duress and distraction at the company and they had cool technologies, but they needed somebody who has the experience in leadership, experience in the technology, and can really basically turn this from being an R and D focus to really a R and D focus, not selling anything to a product focus, where we're going to sell and sell a lot and make a lot of money.

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Is that where you're. So maybe from the value statement to that would be if you're focused and you're good at the R and D and that's how you've gotten your id and you've gotten the funding, the lesson is you're going to need to productize it or find somebody who can.

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Exactly. You know, as I see people across the spectrum of their entrepreneurial journey as well as across the spectrum of the types of businesses that they're starting, I guess always really focus on what are the key things that you bring to the table that you, Thomas, with your company, what do you bring to the table? What are your critical skills or vital functions or some people call it, and then figure out how to, how to either outsource or hire for or delegate or just not do the rest of it because you easily get distracted on a lot of things starting a company and like, oh, I need to do this or I need to find somebody to cut my tie off or something like that. Throw a nod to the half tie shirt that you're wearing there. But also when you look at the things to delegate, understand when as your company grows. When is the right point to bring in somebody, maybe to take over for you? And you might find that it's important for two reasons. Number one, it can help the company if you see things from the lens of a ten person company. But you really need to be a 2000 person company. You're not going to be the right one for it. You're not going to have the right skills and you're going to continually feel frustrated. The employees are going to be frustrated, the company's not going to scale all those sort of negative things. The other thing is for you personally, if you want to be doing the early R and D or the I've got an idea. Let me grab three friends and see if I can get some money to get this kicked off and get it going, then that's your happy place. Running a 2000 person company is going to make you continually sad every day. So understanding that not only what do I need to delegate, but when is this no longer the right role for me?

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I mean, that's, I love that you said that because I look at my own personal, I do a lot of self reflection in this regard. And I remember sitting at some networking event where this, this guy was talking about how he took his company IPO, like a billion dollar IPO, whatever it was, and I'll leave the company name off, but he's describing all the hours and the deal making and the posturing and all, and he's like, oh, it took 18 months. And I'm like, man, this guy hasn't seen his family in 18 months. And I was like, I don't think I want that. That doesn't sound that interesting to me to be so stressed out over that. It sounds more fun to go build it to the $10 million level, sell it and go build another one. Knowing your own personality, like, no, I have no interest in that rough stuff. I'd rather take it from ten to 100 than go do that. Knowing that about yourself tells you when you should start looking for what phase or what season or your exit strategy is part of it. Because where you came in, you're like, you're going to take it to the next level and probably go do that again for another company at some point. I think that's a great lesson.

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Yeah. And it's something to think about as you hit on something that's super, super important. It's the self reflection. It's a knowing yourself. I mean, almost every trouble that comes up is because some aspect of you, when you have like personality things, because you don't know yourself very well. That can change. Remember, that can change. You know that the. What's fun when your twenties may not be fun in your thirties or forties or fifties or whatever, but to continually looking at that, continually honing what you want because, you know, money's money, right? But your happiness, you only have a certain number of, you know, a certain number of days on this earth and you only have a certain number of, was it 168 hours in the week? So do those figure out what's the best use of those hours for you?

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Agreed. 100%. And you'll be happier for it. I mean, because typically, if you are doing something productive, that's value in the world at any level, you should find enough happiness and money to make it all work. If you look back from just your own journey in corporate world and you've interacted with founders, what's the one piece of advice you'd give to that earlier stage founder that where you've taken over beyond just know yourself? What's something else you've seen as maybe a common mistake or a common success factor that you would want to share to them?

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So the number one thing as a CEO or entrepreneur or whatever, someone who's basically, who's the architect of what they're, of their company, is perseverance. You absolutely have to be able to grind it out day in, day out. Now, 18 months, you can question whether that's maybe for one deal, maybe that's the right thing, I don't know. But you have to be able to grind it out. You have to be able to take a punch to the face day in, day out, because the. The things that look fun are a small fraction of what you actually will be spending your day doing. What you'll be spending your day doing is addressing areas where there's troubles and addressing areas where you need to be pushing on something that's. That's not easily pushed on. And so you need to be. You need to be grinding out on those things and those don't sound fun, you know, when you get those. When you get those big successes. I signed the biggest deal in the history of spartan radar. That's the name of my company, the biggest deal in the history of the company from 35,000ft, actually, as I signed it on an airplane, like the second Friday, I think, of December. That's a lot of fun. That was a good flight. I had a good time on that flight. When I got that through and was able to sign it. I don't know if you fly and use the Internet on flights a lot. That was a little bit sketched, too, because it was like, is unit going to flake out on this? But I got it done. That was a lot of fun. But the lead up to that was a ton of work, a ton of negotiation, a ton of restructuring of things, a ton of looking at like, well, we thought they were going to do this and now they're not going to. And it's just, you know, in the end, it's going to be awesome. We're going to make a, we're going to make a really fantastic product with this, with this other company and it's going to be, it's going to be great. It's going to help save lives and make things safer, but it's a lot of work to get there. So don't just look for like the happy moments. Be able to find comfort and find happiness in the grinding, and then that just makes the happy points and the big celebrations that much more fun.

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Absolutely. And I think we tied two things there with reflecting self reflection and that the self reflection will also tell you why you're not getting things done. And I know personally, sometimes I avoid creating the processes to be repeatable because I hate doing it. But when I have them, I crush it when I actually take the time and do the hard work on stuff. And, you know, and personally, I know, like that that's small scale versus large scale. But if you do the same processes in your, in your mentality or your sales process or in how you do product development and you start applying those and you take the hard work to get there, the successes come and they come easier because you've done the hard work to do, the repeatability and so even negotiation and just, you know, it's, I understand that fully just from some time I had in corporate world. But I will tell you that, that perseverance and resilience, it ties to a lot of other things. But the end of the day, you have to show up and you got to focus on the things that are highest value and try your best to not get too distracted.

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Say it that way. Yeah. When you're having troubles, you can almost always trace it back to one of two lacks. Either a lack of trust or whether it's in yourself or whether it's in those around you or those that you've delegated to, or a lack of discipline. Almost everything. Search to your audience, think about what's going wrong in your career, in your company, whatever. Lack of trust or lack of discipline. One of these things is probably at the. Or both is at the heart of it.

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Yep. Lack of discipline is a big one for a lot of people is because it's especially the entrepreneurial add. It's like, you know, just write the idea down and go back to executing what you needed to. You'll come back to it, I promise. Right, right. Totally get that. So, like, look to the future now on your company, and maybe from the perspective of who do you need to, like, hire? Like, how do you go to the next. How do you take a company to the next level?

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So we are. So, first of all, when you think about the future, you know, there's, you know, there's a. There's a phrase like, there's nothing new under the sun or the, you know, the sun that shone on our father shines on us today. Basically different. Different versions of the ecclesiastes, basically. But basically. So you think about the things that we continue to need to do for the future. Whether you're in an AI space or you're in a. You're in a marketing or whatever, is you have to be thinking about the people because people are the same, you know? So learning how people think and people act is a huge, huge benefit to how things are to your success. Right. If you don't know people, you're not going to know the ones who are making the decision for you. So we're not going to be at the. We're not at the point now, and I don't think we will be at any time in the future where the AI is making the final decision on things, especially unlike a business deal. It's going to come down to people and negotiation and how to deal with those. So realize that if you're at all freaking out about all things are changing so fast. Yeah, they're changing faster, changing faster than they did. And you're going to look back to today is like one of the happy times when things weren't changing so fast. If you think about, what, five years from now, looking back on now, 2024, but people are the immutable parts of that. So how people think, how people act, how to make people feel valued, how make people feel wanted, make people give them the autonomy and the mastery and the purpose that they need, that's going to be the same going forward. Specifically with us. We're looking to staff up in a couple of key positions. We're looking for as we continue to grow in the markets that we're penetrating into adding some more really key radar people. We're looking at a product manager and a few other things, but mostly in 2024 is we're going to be heads down and focus on delivering on a couple key big things and not worried about staffing up too, too much other than these key strategic positions. And then as we go into 2025, then we'll start probably opening up the gates a little bit more and staffing up in the right areas, depending on which of the specific things land and how we best service that.

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Yeah. And as you staff up, I think a theme that I've heard often when I've interviewed is you hire deeply. Right? So from the advice standpoint, don't hire somebody just because they said yes. Hire them because they feel a strategic need and they are absolutely the right person, not a cousin, not a friend. Like, they are the person with the right attitude and right skill set, or at least propensity to learn. I'd say it's probably the other one.

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So there's this excellent point. There's like, kind of two things that you should really think about on that is, number one is, so by all means, I'm a huge fan of, like, always higher a players. You know, that's this. They will, they will pay for themselves in some way, shape or form. Always hire that. Hire the a players. Those are the ones who are the, who are hungry, who take, who are accountable for things. So whether it's, you know, the lowest level, you know, back in the, you know, a long time ago, the guy that work in the mail room or whatever, the lowest level is, you know, your admin or whatever, the make it an a player. But then that's the next thing you brought up because anything less is going to basically be a drain on the company, and you'll pay a tax on that every single day that that person is still within the company, period. Dot. That's Matt Markle's role. You know, you hire only a players. You know, the other thing you said of, like, hire for a strategic need. There's two schools of thought on that, right? There's one for, like, you need. You have a position open and you put somebody, you find the right person for that. The other school of thought is like, always keep your eye open for, if I can get a rock star, you know, if I can get really an a player, maybe I don't exactly have the, have a rec open for them right now, but if I find that they're available, most of the time, the people that are really awesome are not, you know, they already, they're already doing gigs, right. They're not, you know, not just, you know, sitting around looking for things, but somebody does come available and all of a sudden like, wow, we could get, we could get Doctor Markle or we could get Thomas or we could get whatever on our team. Do we exactly know what they're going to be doing? No. Do we need to figure that out before they start? Yeah, 100%. Because you want the onboarding to be super solid so they feel engaged because they're going to come in and they're going to pour rocket fuel over everything and light a match. So you need to make sure that they're ready for that. But there are a lot of people that think you find an a player, you hire them. There's another school of thought, though, that's like, nope, you hire for the strategic needs, otherwise you grow without bound and you can't control costs and can't control burns. Yeah, that's kind of up to the situation. Update the individual. But I think that the. But know which of those two camps.

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You fall in well into the timing of it, too. Because if you need a rock star that, let's say, in sales, whatever else, and they haven't sold in your world, but you're like, that's why it said the propensity to learn. So picking somebody up who can adjust, adapt, think creatively, motivate lead is not a cancer of your company. It's rather like a healer and an uplifter. That's what I meant by that, is that they may be strategic in nature, but the idea that this person, I think, is going to do more if they really want it, and I think that's your budget's going to determine some of that. There are key things you need to do, but when you do, do it deeply and thoughtfully and don't do it the way a lot of people do it, which is they said yes.

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Right, right. Yeah. Just one last thing on that is like, when you hire somebody just because they said yes, what you're probably doing is you're undervaluing yourself and your company. Right. Because like, oh, you know, I only. I'm only good enough to take this person here. No, don't do that. I mean, if you don't think. If you don't think big for your company, if you don't put this in its in the highest regard, you know, this is, you know, this is my company. No one else will.

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So they'll treat it as collect money and go home kind of thing. And you don't want that to. Typically.

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Exactly. Exactly.

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I don't think any company can really afford that? Some do. And that's how you get these, you know, honestly, mass layoffs and bloats, because you just. More and more things get added that don't add value, that incremental value. But, no, I agree with that. Like, you. You have to be thoughtful. You have to. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else is, right? So if you don't, you don't project that out. You're gonna get a group that's gonna be the same way, and you're also not gonna get a rock star if you're like, I always take this part right here. Right? So who does it? You know, if someone's listening to this, I know you probably have longer sales cycles and other things, but I always wanted to know who should get in touch with you. Like, is it. Is it only big companies? Is it government? Like, who's your ideal kind of customer to get in touch with you so the.

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So anybody can get in touch with us? Because there's, you know, radar is pervasive. It's good for everything, a good group for what ails you. But the specific people that should reach out is if you're in the commercial vehicle space and are concerned about safety for your commercial vehicles, by all means go to spartanradar.com dot. That's a huge resource for how we can help provide the technology or hook you up with the distributors to get you the technology you want so that your vehicles can be safe. And construction. Commercial vehicles are everything from construction, agriculture, mining, forestry, class eight, et cetera. If you're starting to get into that or you have a small fleet or you've got a radar on there now that's not meeting your needs, by all means, you can get in touch with us. In addition, we're already pretty well plugged in across the perspective of tier one s and tier two s and oems and automotive. But if there's someone who's on that, like, you know, wants to double check to make sure that we're their companies engaged with us, you know, go ahead and reach out to us as well. Spartanradar.com. And if you're interested in talking to me at all more about the, either, you know, the autonomy industry that I've been in, or radar, or you have questions about the book I wrote, radar portfolio, autonomous vehicles, then you can get to me@mattmarkle.com. Dot nice.

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Is there a place where there will be personal radar for vehicles or for, like, meaning like my minivan or whatever else it's an older minivan, for example. It has some sensory. But is there technologies like, no, you can just plug this device in and now you have the most alerted sense of what's going on around your car. Does that have a space or is it, is it too small?

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So, so aftermarket, basically is what you're asking, right? Yeah. So that's an interesting thing for pass cars. I'm not so sure that that's because, I mean, those are, like, so shrink wrapped. It's hard to get stuff in. And the model is not. There's a lot of touch time on that, too. So there is on commercial vehicles.

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Commercial vehicles like a bus, a semi.

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Like that bus, semi excavator, you know, bulldozer, you know, forklift. All those sorts of things can all be. All, those are all because they're much more expensive vehicles. Typically, maybe not a forklift, but most.

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Of those forklifts are much higher. They move a lot more, too.

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Right, right. So those are those. Aftermarket is a huge market. There's a lot of great distributors for that. You know, Panama, Pacific, River park. Others that are, that do, that do can really get you the products that you need for that across everything, not only for radars like ours, but for the other sensors and other systems and displays and so forth that you might need to help the operator. For passenger cars, it's, you know, so depending on how old your minivan is, it may already have a rate. It probably already has a radar in it. But the question would be, is that doing the needs of what you need for autonomy, and if that's the case, you probably should. The other aspects of it as well, the dual redundancy controls and so forth, they're probably not there as well. So I don't know. It's a tough market for aftermarket with today's cars. Back in the long time ago, it used to be bigger, but now it's not so much.

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Yeah. I think if the president of Boeing wants to get a hold of you, that's a good one. They'll take, you'll take the Boeing call or anybody who's air traffic control, you'll 100%.

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I'll talk to them.

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That'd be great.

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That'd be awesome. I appreciate that, Thomas. I like to talk. Anyway, it's very rare that I'll say, like, I'm too busy to take a call from somebody, especially if it's the president, Boeing.

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So, yeah, you'll probably find five minutes or so for him or her. I'm not sure who it is at this point. So let's pivot a little bit and let's give some, like, I call it the hot seat. I'm not, you know, not in love with that name, but the truth is just faster questions. Let me start with this. I kind of mix these up sometimes. What do you think for just people up and coming running companies, like the leader of the entrepreneur, the person who's come into where you are, what's a must read business book?

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Two books. Number one would be the hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz. Ben was the, he's with a 16 z, which is a venture capital firm. He founded and was CEO of a software company called what's the name of opsware or something like that. And then that was the name they changed to. They were originally called, like, loud cloud. But if you want a must read book for a CEO, you absolutely have to read the hard thing about hard things. Now, it's a hard read, not because it uses, like, a lot of big words or anything like that, but it's a hard read because the situations he describes are tough situations that he went through that you will, basically, you may not go through all of them, but you'll go through a lot of them. And having, and knowing that, you know, number one, someone else has gone through that and survived, and number two, that it's, it could be coming. So prepare yourself. It's not going to be all that, just the happy days. And then the, to think about the, you know, the, the fact that there's other CEO's that have kind of gone through this as well that you could maybe reach out to and get some, get some insight on. It's really good because when you're, when you're in the, when you're in wartime, as a lot of us are middle, it feels like it's extremely lonely and there's no one to talk to anyway. So I know there's like a lot of verbs for, like, what should be the hot seat or quick questions. The hard thing about hard things, the other one is Chris Voss has never split the difference, which he was a former FBI negotiator and talks a lot about the human insight and how humans think. And as I was talking about before, about the people are the key thing. Great, great insights in that. Both of those are must read books for CEO.

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That's great. I've never heard, I've never heard anyone recommend either. I've heard of the first one, and now I've heard of the second one. So I will actually, add that to my audible list today after the show here. If you were to think about, I think you've talked about this, the one trait that's absolutely needed for a CEO running a company, is it persistence again, or do you have another one that you think this one's even more important?

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It's two things. Perseverance, like we talked about before, that's absolutely critical. You have to grind it out, grind it, grind. The other thing is you have to make the most out of every day. You know, you have to move the needle every day. The day I took over at Spartan, they, as president, they, I met the whole team together and I basically said, like, look, where we are now as a company is we have to move the needle every single day. I kind of told this story about in defense, where a lot of folks in our company came from, the defense industry. Defense is kind of like a cruise ship, right? You might go work in the engine room for a while, but then you're going to go, you might sit up on the deck and there's some people that I don't think ever make it down to the engine room or work, but that ship's going, and you're going to be on that ship, you know, and it's going to get to a certain point. It may not steer quickly or whatever, but you're going to be on that ship and that's going to be probably, you know, that's going to be. It's going to get there whether you need to, whether you particularly personally take a role in it or not. With us, we're like on a rowboat, it's about to go backwards over the waterfall. So we need everybody to row. Everybody needs to be rowing together. We need to move the needle every single day. I actually had our art department created. I can see it up on my wall now, this really cool graphic they made into a poster for me of us in the rowboat about to go over the falls, but we're rowing together. We're going to make it back, and then you can see off in the future, there's the pretty lake and so forth that we're going to get to. The title of it is row well and live the line from Ben Hur. Anyway, those two things, I think those.

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Are both very important. I think my second chapter of my book is about command the stage of opportunities, and you have to have opportunities every time. Otherwise, if you don't seize them, you'll miss them and they don't come back, typically. So I agree with you on this.

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And you'll fill the day with. You can fill the day with b's stuff that doesn't move the needle. You should ask yourself at the start of every day, how am I going to move the needle today? Actually, pro tip. Ask yourself the night before, how am I going to move the needle tomorrow? And at the end of the day, you know, if you ever move the needle, keep grinding.

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Yep. Well. And I'll take the pro tip and enable it. I did that with process. Am I every day, and I'm a guy who does not like to follow process, like to have freedom to, but if I don't follow in process, it's game over. So it's like, it's good for a day. You know, occasionally check out. I will tell you this, occasionally it's nice to check out. Just like I'm playing video games and that's it. That's all I'm doing. And I'm going to just. That's my thing. But don't do that every day. I'll leave you. The last kind of question before we kind of wrap up here a bit is who do you like? Who do you think people should follow on LinkedIn, like content or up and comer? Who's a good resource for you?

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Me. Follow me.

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We need to be altruistic here, sir.

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That's the. So I'm kind of on LinkedIn a lot for business sort of things, but I'll tell you who I really like, and she doesn't know me at all, but I've been following someone from Google called Jade, and I'm probably going to butcher her name, Bonacolta. And what she does is she provides useful nuggets of synopsis of useful nuggets that are usually a synopsis of a book or a synopsis of someone's thought or a sampling of several different things on there. It's an easy to digest. Here's two or three of those little. I don't know what they're called in LinkedIn terms. Would you like. There's a screen and you click and there's like three or four slides kind of built together into like one post.

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Carousel? Yeah, yeah.

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Carousel. Okay. That's. And she kind of nails it on that. So she's done very well. And it's always when she posts something on there, I'll usually take a, you know, take 30 seconds or so to read it. There's a lot of stuff that comes up that's kind of this kind of, you know, fluff and self promotion. But the. But hers. I'll actually take a. Take a second to. To stop and give that up, give that a quick read. So. So, you know, kudos to Jade and the work she's doing on that.

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And what was your last Jade? What was it?

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Bonacolta, I think. B o n A c o l t a.

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We'll tag her in the posts that are coming up. She's gonna. Oh, she's gonna know you told her. Call her out. It's gonna. We're gonna.

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Maybe we can meet.

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Very good. If someone's gonna hold you, what's the best way?

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So, spartanradar.com. Sbartanradar.com. You can get in touch. Anything we talked about here on radar, commercial vehicles, right up for passenger cars, right up for automotive, et cetera. And then for me personally, there's a bunch of different ways to get in touch with me. They're at the bot link at the bottom of my personal website, mattmarkle.com. So, yeah, and then you can find me on LinkedIn there. I think there's Facebook. There is, like, MySpace just getting onto MySpace from back in the day. Are they around? I don't know. I don't want to be disrespectful of them if they're still around anymore, but I don't. It's. Anyway, so, yeah, that's. That's. That's probably the best way, is through one of those two, um. Uh, online resources.

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Will do. And are you going to limit your company to 300 warriors only, spartan, the, uh.

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The, uh. No, no, I know, I know.

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I probably hit it off the rim, but that's all right.

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I probably. I was trying to think of, like, something about, like, well, it's 300 people that have abs like they had in that movie. How about that? That's it?

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Yeah, I have those. They're just under construction.

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Yeah, it's the minor under a white shirt. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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I think if I got some brown Spain paint and maybe a little cocoa butter, I could get some abs like that. Actually, my twenties, I had abs like that. I mean, I will. I will throw that out there for anybody who cares. No one does. My wife, still waiting to see them. She's never seen them.

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Nice.

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48. Chances are getting smaller and smaller that that's gonna happen. So, Matt, thank you so much for joining today. I appreciate it.

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Absolutely. Thomas, good luck to you and good luck to all your followers.

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I appreciate it. Thank you, guys. Anyone who's made it this long, thank you so much. Please give Matt Markel a follow and check out spartanradar.com dot. They're going to do a bunch for you, I think, if you're in the space. And at the very least, I think if I saw right, there's a lot of education on there as well. So you can learn quite a bit about what you're doing. But I appreciate everyone who's listened to this point. And until next time, go unleash your entrepreneur. Thanks for listening.

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Thanks for listening to Never Been Promoted with Thomas Helfrich. Make sure to check the show notes for our guest contact information and any relevant links. Connect with Thomas personally at neverbenpromoted.com.


Introduction and Welcome
Guest Introduction: Matt Markel
Matt Markel's Career Overview
Engaging in Humor and Career Insights
Radar Technology and Cultural References
Technical Explanation of Radar
Historical Anecdote and Radar's Role in Safety
Entrepreneurial Advice and Leadership
Strategic Hiring and Company Growth
Future Plans and Final Thoughts