Christian Espinosa is the Founder and CEO of Alpine Security, a cybersecurity engineer, certified high-performance coach, professor, and lover of heavy metal music and spicy food. He’s also an Air Force veteran and Ironman triathlete. He used to value being the “smartest guy in the room,” only to realize that his greatest contribution to the fight against cybercrime is his ability to bring awareness to the issue through effective communication. Christian is a speaker, coach, and trainer in the Secure methodology, helping to make the smartest people in the room the best leaders in the field. For more information, visit www.christianespinosa.com.
Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp again and welcome back to the lucky Titan and today we are here with Christian Espinosa, the CEO of Alpine security and he's also the author of the smartest person in the room, which I thought was really a funny title and I just have to kind of share a joke here with all of you. This is the first time in forever that I've had to restart the intro. So curse you pneumonia, first off, but I'm excited to be here with everybody and especially here with Christian today to really talk about taking I would say, honestly, the topic is about taking a boring industry where people do you value your soft skills, and flipping, it's on its head so Christian, first off, say what's up to everybody, and we'll delve in.
Christian: Hey, everyone. Thanks for the intro. Josh. Glad you're recovering from pneumonia. Sounds like you're almost over it.
Josh: Trying to and I debated about just continuing on, but am I gonna I'm gonna hack out a lawn mower. So, well, Christian, you know, we had a good conversation before this interview. And I want to delve into a couple specific topics with you, you know, we initially thought about going into the cybersecurity side, but I really feel like your true area of expertise is helping shift industries, right, and you're talking about taking an industry that's very hard to work with, because they, they only value the hard skills and you're saying, hey, let's let's flip it on its head and work with a soft skills so walk us through a little bit of what you're teaching and the smartest person in the room.
Christian: in my industry, and in any technical history, as you mentioned, Josh, there's a valuation of technical skills at the cost of soft skills, there's almost like there's this belief that if you have a high IQ, you can't have a high EQ, it's like they're mutually exclusive disbelief so when I had my business, I have owned a cybersecurity business, I just sold it in December, I've read into a lot of issues, in necessity drove me to address some of these issues, because I funded the business, I found the business so I had to fix stuff I'd like go bankrupt, basically. So there's a necessity there so I spent about five years really fixing and resolving some of the issues with my team, some EQ skills and ultimately, I culminated that into seven steps, which I have in the book and I put those steps in order, I call it the secure methodology, because a lot of the issues in my industry and I think in just humans in general, stem from insecurities so the concept is if you apply these seven steps, you'll become more secure with yourself and if your inner world is more secure, than the outer world will can be more secure as well, because you're not going to be posturing and intellectual bullying, and doing all you know, your ego will be dissolved a little bit so the seven steps, and these are really like personal development steps. I put these in order, you know, they need to go in order, but you can really look at any of them individually and I'll just kind of tell you the steps, we can talk more detail if you want, the first one is awareness so having self awareness, awareness of others second one is mindset. So I talked about a fixed versus a growth mindset. The third one is acknowledgement so you need to acknowledge yourself before you can acknowledge other people the fourth one is communication in my industry, there's a lot of talking over people's head, and I'm a proponent of NLP neuro linguistic programming and one of the presuppositions in there is that the meaning of communication is the response you get so somebody's not understanding you, it's on you to take ownership and and change your communication style, the fifth one is mono tasking so mono tasking is just doing one thing at a time, it's the antithesis of multitasking and then I've got the sixth step is empathy so I talked about cognitive versus effectiveness, empathy and then step seven is Kaizen, which is constantly never ending improvement so that's my secure methodology and that's what I came up with, to address some of the challenges I was facing in my in my industry.
Josh: Yeah, I love that. I mean, I say, I love frameworks. First off, so it's cool that you've built this, this framework out to help people with that so I wanted to kind of go back in history a little bit here and talk through the why behind this and I mentioned this to you because I, I really love going to events, this business type events because the energy level is really high.
Josh: this last year, right before the shutdowns all happened. I was I was in Salt Lake, Utah and went to Silicon slopes. It's a conference that they have there. They brought in Mark Zuckerberg and all this and what was really intriguing is the energy level was just way down. There wasn't a lot of networking, there were no networking opportunities, really and it was it was just really intriguing because they were all speaking, I would consider myself a one out of 10 when it comes to tech knowledge and maybe a two out of 10 and they were talking so over my head, the entire conference and I would go to these things, thinking it was like a business lesson and it was just tech, really hard to understand and it seems like you were talking about that's kind of been your entire career is being in these around these people, even though you're a technologist, far further than mine, right but even then they're trying to talk over your head, and what you call like intellectual bullying so I kind of address that topic a little bit, how do you feel like that is applied, especially in entrepreneurship?
Christian: I think it's a it's a general human condition, we want to feel significant and with highly technical career fields, most people get their significance by being smarter than someone or the smartest person in the room, which is why I wrote, you know, title, the book, the title, I titled it, and even with entrepreneurs, like with my own journey, when I first started my business, I thought, you know, I have it all figured out, you know, I'm pretty smart, I don't need anybody's help but then what I quickly realized was, I didn't have it figured out, so I had to, like, get over myself and start asking other people for help because I would join like, you know, CEO, peer groups, and entrepreneur peer groups, and I would sit there and, you know, pretend I had it all figured out. Whereas inside, I didn't have it figured out, I was really struggling and it took me quite a while to get over myself and start asking for help and being vulnerable and I think it's a difficult thing for a lot of people to do, because you hit but the reality is, none of us have it figured out everyone is struggling with something and when you when you open up and just ask for help or save where you are, it facilitates connection and facilitates you, you know, getting where you want to go, it's like you open up the possibility to getting help from other people so yeah, it's extremely important.
Josh: And I love that. And so I want to ask you this, because you were talking about potential and how far you can go and, you know, we talked about in the pre interview the rule of ones in threes, right, we get stuck at 100,000 300,000 1,000,000, 3 million in our businesses, how would you help somebody to break those barriers, that wasn't three barriers.
Christian: To break the one in three barriers, I recommend you, you change your strategy, or get someone else to help you or look at it so some of the best things I did, when I hit those barriers, which get outside help and outside perspective, is, what I tend to do when I get to those barriers, is I tend to try to brute force my way through it and if you try to brute force your way through it, it's gonna be extremely frustrating, because you're trying things that you got you there, right to the one or the three, but they're not going to get you beyond that, because that's why you're stuck, right but you keep trying them and try it and think if I work harder, if I do more of this, or if I do more SEO for my website, or whatever, it's gonna fix it, but it's not so you can't solve the problem with the same mindset you have when you when you you know, the problem came to you so that's why the outside help is very important. and it could even be, you know, going talking to someone else, or even like, for me, peer groups are very important coaching is very important. I've had like a business coach and a life coach for several years now so hearing the outside outside perspective, and identifying those blind spots, or talking to someone who's been through what you're going through, is what I recommend, because you have to change your strategy and sometimes you don't know how to change the strategy until you talk to somebody else
Josh: yeah, and that's a good point. I mean, we've we've found that we've almost always had to hire a coach anytime we get stuck and when we got to one of those first barriers and the plateaus, I remember, like you said, trying to brute force it I that's just the natural human, especially like as men, I think it's kind of like our initial reaction is like, I'm gonna figure this out. I'm gonna go until I figure it out but the reality is, like you said, it almost takes humbling yourself and saying, who can help me with this problem and then admitting, not even defeat but admitting you have a weakness that can be fixed by somebody else so and I want to ask you this, especially, you know, you've recently been acquired and everything. What do you feel like drove your company to the point that you've, that you felt okay, selling, selling the business, right because you've, you've this thing's become your baby, you've grown it really quickly, you've broken many of those barriers, but selling it off to somebody else, or getting acquired is kind of a dream for some people and for other people that I Oh, man, that's my baby how did you guys get to that point where you felt like it was it was time to be acquired.
Christian: For me, the without with my business, I got to a point where we were growing organically, we didn't have any investors so to grow organically, we had to increase revenue, enough and increase profit enough to hire someone else then repeat the cycle over and over and over and it's like a slow you know, journey up a steep hill basically so so I was like getting frustrated with that so I decided, I need either find a private equity investor, someone to, you know, to get some capital infusion of capital to help hire people in market or look at an acquisition so, I just happened to have an opportunity land kind of on my footstep through some mutual connections about the company that acquired us, and the culture and their model, like aligned perfectly with what you know, I wanted to do so it seemed like, you know, if I just surrendered a little bit I, you know, to the universe, it's like, I held these messages, they're like, this is the right thing to do at this time so rather than like dismissing those messages, I listened to them and went forward with it.
Josh: Love that. Absolutely love that and for you it was more of like the size is a strategic play to tap into resources into to scale your company and what's funny is I've been learning this more and more recently is that that's one of the fastest ways to break a plateau because some people are like you said, they're trying to brute force it, but it's like, well, could you work with somebody else who maybe isn't of equal size bolt on together and say, Okay, let's let's build this together, right, let's client share and share resources and share office space in some cases, right. It's, it's a cool, cool deal you just did there. So let me ask you a couple final questions here for you so Christian, I am first off, where can people get access to your book?
Christian: My book is on most common reselling platforms, like Amazon is the biggest one, obviously, Barnes and Noble so Amazon's the best place though
Josh: love it. So make sure you go check it out. So the book is the smartest person in the room, I will said in the world buy
Christian: that'll be the sequel
Josh: that will be the sequel, interview billionaires and be like, which one of you thinks you're the smartest one in the world I think that'd be kind of funny and give me a funny conversation. There's some free content for you, right content ideas so make sure you go check that out everybody and then as well, um, you're talking about launching an entire program around helping people with this, is that correct?
Christian: Correct. I want you to program about my secure methodology, which I cover in the book.
Josh: Love it. So walk us through kind of like what that program looks like, and how people can get in contact with you.
Christian: Yeah, so the program is going to be on the secure methodology. It'll be training, and there'll be several offers, there'll be like a do it yourself sort of offer where someone can take the course themselves, a pre-recorded course, there'll be a deal with you where it could be a live course, or they take the pre-recorded courses and coaching sessions and they'll be more of a not really a do for you sort of offering but it'll be more access to me privately, working with people to help them and their team, get through the secure methodology so the target audience is really technical leaders but inevitably, once a technical leader gets trained, they're gonna want to help train their team so they're all speaking the same language, and improving together.
Josh: Love that. Absolutely. Love that. So make sure you go check that out, you can check out the book in and on all the platforms, Amazon, for example and then Christian, one final question for you here today. So, you know, we have covered a lot of different topics here and I hope people have gotten some real value from, you know, taking, taking the weaknesses, finding people to help you maximize your strengths but what what would you say is your final parting piece of guidance to our audience?
Christian: I think it's important to look at get some help, basically but also, we all have weaknesses and to find somebody that's good at the areas that you're not good at so if with me, I don't like structure, I've done like the disc assessment. I've done a lot of the behavioral assessments, I don't like structure. I don't like systems. I don't like compliance. I don't like all that stuff but in order for me to scale my business, I needed those things, I need the systems I needed the structure so if I can't do that, because I you know, I try to do it, but I don't I hate it. So it's not going to work. So I need to find somebody that loves that and that's what I did that really helped me scale the business so to look at, you know, your weakness, and we all think we can overcome our weakness, but behaviorally motivational, you know, motivationally we often are incapable of doing that so finding someone else to shore that up is typically that's what that's what I recommend.