The NatureBacked Podcast

Exploring Infinite Games of Family Offices With Alex Felman

July 04, 2022 Single.Earth Season 1 Episode 19
The NatureBacked Podcast
Exploring Infinite Games of Family Offices With Alex Felman
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Companies of the future will naturally focus on the environment and impact to be able to make a business for hundreds of years, said Alex Felman from Felman Family Office.

Learn more about family offices and what makes the investment firms of family wealth different from venture capitalist investors from the episode recorded on the sidelines of the TechChill conference in Riga.

In the NatureBacked podcast of Single.Earth, we are talking with investors about the vision of the new green world.


A few key takeaways from Alex Felman:


I believe that most companies moving forward will have to be very impact- or environmentally-oriented with how they do business. 


For example, we tend to invest to exit. And, I mean, that could be five years, it can be 15 years, it could be 20 years.

Generally speaking, you probably want to have an investor who, once they're on the ride, is there until the ride runs out. It's probably an investor you want. 


Looking at more environmental sustainability issues, we are actually looking at problems of these longer timeframes that may not fit into a more standard kind of VC timeframe. 


If you're only trying to optimize for financial gain, it puts a very narrow perspective on your investment space. But suppose you're maximizing for other things or multiple things. In that case, it gives you much more flexibility to consider investment opportunities that you wouldn't consider otherwise. 

Follow NatureBacked across platforms:
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts
Twitter | Instagram

How To Trade It: Talking to the world's most successful traders.
How To Trade It podcast is all about making our listeners successful at trading. When...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Follow NatureBacked across platforms:
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts
Twitter | Instagram

Tarmo Virki  0:07  
Welcome to the NatureBacked podcast of Single.Earth. In this podcast, we are talking with investors about the vision of the new green world. My name is Tarmo Virki and in this episode, I'm talking with Alex Felman about family offices, and how family offices are different from classical VCs. And what's the investment logic for many family offices. Enjoy the show. Hi, Alex. Thanks for coming to the show. We're recording this NatureBacked episode at TechChill in Riga, and I think Riga is your hometown these days, right?

Alex Felman  0:40  
Yeah, no, I moved here right before the pandemic in 2020. Which is kind of surprising sort, so to speak. I moved right in January. And as I got ready, and then all of a sudden the pandemic, I was like, oh, okay, I'm here now. And it's a, it made for an interesting transition. As you could probably imagine, I've been an ex-pat for. I think it's like 13 years; for now, I left the US in 2009. And usually, I have been; this is the fifth country I've lived in. Usually, the transition is relatively easy. But moving right before the pandemic, even now, close to two years later, I almost feel like I haven't quite integrated as much as I would have otherwise, just because of almost the randomness of life, so to speak. Weird timing. But yeah, but this is now my home, and it looks like it's gonna be my home for the foreseeable future. So looking forward, and honestly, I really liked the region, I think it's quite, quite exciting, quite upcoming.

Tarmo Virki  1:34  
A lot is happening.

Alex Felman  1:35  
There's a lot happening. And I think, for me, from many places, I've been part of quite a few different tech communities. I think they have the right mentality here. I think they're very much, in a lot of ways, I think, have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder which has become a small, small country mentality of like, hey, we need to make our mark on the world. Let's go, let's go get it. Honestly, if we don't get it ourselves, like, no one's gonna give it to us. I think that that's highly necessary; in the tech space, you need to kind of have this mentality of like, oh, no, is gonna give this to us. We need to go take it. And I think that's very vibrant here. And yeah, so So that's quite exciting. There's a lot of other kinds of, I know, that's not the purpose of this talk. But I think there are a lot of other reasons that that it's actually quite interesting. I think I'm actually speaking on that topic. Next week. I'm going to an event in Vienna. And I think that's going to be one of the topics of, you know, why Eastern Europe? Why the Baltics? etc, in terms of investments. So, but yeah, I like it. What excited

Tarmo Virki  2:29  
Say a few words about your background? Are you from the US originally?

Alex Felman  2:33  
I'll try to keep this short because I have quite a broad background. But originally, I'm an American; I'm from New York. On a high level, I do kind of three different things. Been a serial entrepreneur. Not going to focus too much on that in the context. But running a couple of different things. The second thing, which I think is quite relevant to this conversation, is my family has a family office. 
For people who don't really know what that is: It's essentially an investment firm of family money. So it's private wealth. And we're actually quite unique in what we do there. And we're unique in the sense that we have both. Our own family office, so my personal family started with my father, and my uncles are involved, etc. And now my sister has actually got involved relatively recently. But we also have a multifamily office, which means we work with other families around the globe. And where we're unique, there are a lot of multifamily setups. But we're I would say we're quite unique in that we act almost like a corporate venture capital as a service for these family businesses. So almost all the families you work with are still actually active in the core businesses that they work for. And for whatever reason, they don't have kind of an internal CVC. And so, we act almost like an outsourced CVC for these families. And that really kind of changes the way we look at investments because we're really looking for strategic investments, investments that families can use in their core businesses. And I think, let's say particularly in the context of kind of this conversation, I think it really brings self out towards impact, because let's say, a lot of them are looking for these types of potentially impact-related things. And we can kind of dive into specifics later. Because they actually need to do that for their businesses. It's not necessarily, let's say, for the philosophy of it are the values are, it's no, actually, you know, I'll give you an example. We work with families in the energy space, they have to go through the energy transition like just that's the nature of you know, I think most people, for example, oil, oil and gas, see the writing on the wall, they kind of know if they want to stay in the energy space in the future, they're going to have to do that energy transition. We're helping them find opportunities that help them do that, just as one kind of example. And I think that's quite different than then, let's say other types of investors who you might see other investors in the impact space. We're like, oh, we want to make a better world. So we're gonna kind of investigate, we're looking at like, I don't know, I actually strongly believe that most companies moving forward will have to be very kind of impact or environmentally oriented with it with the way that you do business. So We're seeing that play out in real-time for these companies. And that's really how we're looking. And I guess a different part of that, and kind of where I can fit in with my background, actually, in biochemistry and the deep sciences. And so I really look at some of the clean tech, a lot of also, what I would say is the intersection. Because I think a lot of the things I'd say with energy, food, and agriculture, and then sort of food health, and agriculture are really all connected, you know, there's, it's much more of a system. And so, looking at those different things, and how they intersect with each other and looking at some different opportunities, there is really how I get involved. And so I'm really looking at some clean tech, but also some ag tech and food tech and healthcare and, and these types of things. And some of the intersections between those.

Tarmo Virki  5:42  
You mentioned the gas and the energy industry transition. Have you seen that kind of change with Russia situation?

Alex Felman  5:51  
I would say just in nature, the short answer is not really. But I think it's more so because of how we view investing. I think, honestly, if you're doing stuff, in kind of what's called the impact or environmental space, you're not really looking at issues that are, let's say, short-term, three-month issues; you're looking at more five to 10-year issues, right. And if you look at things in a five- to ten-year timescale, then these kinds of immediate issues don't really make a huge difference. Maybe, but to be honest, I haven't seen it; maybe it will kind of be in the same way that, let's say, COVID accelerated a lot of digital transformation. So you might start to see that, like, let's say, plans that some of these not to say that I've seen this, but I could imagine this playing itself out that plans that these people already had for energy transition, all of a sudden, they go, Hey, let's, you know, put on the gas. Yeah, let's push it a little bit more then. We thought we had five to 10 years to do this. And now we realize maybe we have a year. But that's kind of practicality. Right? And I think I think there's always a thing, not necessarily just our business, I think in general, right? If you have an established business, there's always kind of this balance of, well, we have things that are making money today. And we still, if we don't continue to nurture them, then those things will kind of the revenue we're getting will kind of to disappear. But we also, let's say, see the writing on the wall and have to prepare for the future. So, how do you balance that right? And how do we balance it? Like? No, maybe we're making billions of dollars out of oil and gas today. But we know that long term, we're probably not gonna be able to do that. But if we kind of, say, take our foot off the gas and oil and gas at the moment, no pun intended, then we won't be making billion dollars today. And that's, that's a juggling act. Right. But I think a lot of them sort of know, and they're diversifying their assets into more sustainable types of forms of energy. And I think it'd be silly to say that, let's say these types of players don't see the writing, and well, no, they're well aware of where things are going. Right.

Tarmo Virki  7:55  
The nature of the family office - is it in a way different from the classical investment firm? Does the word family bring something into it, which is not there for maybe purely capitalistic VC?

Alex Felman  8:16  
Yes, and no, the answer to a question is yes or no. And I think on a certain level, different things, one, I think, in many ways, because its family, you're actually dealing with like real individuals. And with the fact you're dealing with individuals, you have a much greater, let's a variety of structures of how the actual company is structured. Right. Whereas let's say in VCs - generally speaking - if you go from one VC to another VC, the actual structure is pretty similar and relatively standardized, because it's an institution, there's kind of standards that they go to, right. And I would kind of argue, at this point, that most of them look more or less the same. There's a bit of innovation, but not so much. Families are kind of like it's my own money. So I'm going to run this. However, I decided to run it. And I think that's actually, in a certain way, kind of interesting because I think you're actually getting more of the innovation there. Because they have the ability of, well, if something goes wrong, like I made a mistake, and I'm the one who has to kind of deal with it. So, you know, that's what happens where I don't think you can really do that, let's say as a VC that takes other people's money because if something goes wrong, I mean, depending on how bad it gets, you might even get like lawsuit again. Yeah, it's a much bigger mess. Yeah. Right. And it's, it's sort of you, you don't have that responsibility in the same way. I mean, certainly, yes, you're responsible for your money, but at the same time, especially as an American, I also have the individual freedom to kind of use that money as I see fit. So I think that's kind of one. One aspect of, of people like to think of family offices, and it's kind of like one lump group that we go, yeah, we can kind of approach family offices, we start to realize, like, let's say, in the same way, that every family is very different. Every family office is very, very different. Right? And, and you're just seeing that play out in the finance space. So I think that's one thing, I think, and this is, let's say, slightly more of a generalization. But I do think, on the whole, especially, I like to tend to think that there tend to be, on a high level, realistically, two types of family offices, one that is more or less finance-oriented and one that is more entrepreneurial oriented. And certainly one of the differences is, let's say, how active they are kind of with how they do everything, to a certain extent how professional it is. But I think it's really about you know, you want to be kind of an invest in leaving, or do you want to kind of get your hands dirty, I imagine, you can imagine, you can imagine that the entrepreneurial families, just in their nature, they want to get their hands dirty, right. And they want to do that. And I forgot where I was going with this, this thread. But I think that's one of the big differences. And I think, generally speaking, as well, with the entrepreneurial families, their time horizons, I think are much more different than I think a lot of investors, right. And with that in mind, right? If you're looking at a fund, a fund, by definition, has like a fixed term, whatever it is, usually, it's 10 years with a couple of like, add ons to get out. But whatever they decide, they tell their investors, we're in for this long, we're getting out. And that's it. And I think a lot of families aren't that way. They're sort of, especially if we're looking into, like, these types of issues. They go, especially my family; for example, we tend to invest to exit. And, I mean, that could be five years, it can be 15 years, it could be 20 years, right? And, and it's just sort of like, Oh, do we like this, and if we're like this, we're getting involved, and we're gonna stay and as it plays out. And I think one of the things that, let's say that benefits kind of in the context of this is right, if you're looking at more environmental sustainability issues, we are actually looking at problems that are of these longer timeframes that maybe don't really fit into a more standard, kind of VC timeframe. And let's say we're a number of families who, let's say, interested in investing in this space, are more willing to take bets that they kind of know, I'm just gonna sit on this for a decade, or plus, and because I say, cuz I know that, for this problem to be solved, it might take a decade-plus, right, and just say, almost no fund can take those types of types of risks. Right.

Tarmo Virki
I've spoken, I've spoken with a number of funds who have said that that's one of the main problems in a way with climate and the environment sector that they have a fixed ten-year timeframe. You know, if they don't go in on the year one, maybe see three or four, when that opportunity is on the table, and then at the eight, they need to start to figure out what's the quickest way to get out of it, then there is not really that much time to actually have any impact.

Alex Felman
Yeah, I mean, I think that is one of its really interesting. And this is one thing that I've sort of thought about, not just with that, in general, but just the fact that you are forced to exit at some point - whatever it is - greatly changes the way you think about investing. And you sort of know, like, Okay, I need to get out, you know, and honestly, I think it actually hurts you as an investor of having to be like, oh, I need to get out before some time. Because basically, I promised the people who gave me money that they would get the money back by a certain date. And that's one of the things around the family office is, let's say, unless you find yourself in a situation where you're like, Oh, crap, I need the money, like now, then then you can just sort of ride it out for as long as you think it makes sense to ride it out. And that's something that is really, really different. And I honestly think you make better investment decisions that way; personally, I think family offices can make better investment decisions. Because they don't have this constraint that basically says, oh, we need to get out at a certain point. So you can just sort of get out when it's appropriate and

Tarmo Virki  13:35  
Using the same philosophy or philosophical logic: if you pitch your startup, maybe you don't always need the exit page or on your slide deck, right?

Alex Felman  13:46  
That wasn't exactly where I thought you were going with this, but yes, I'm with you .... 

Tarmo Virki  13:52  
you're building your company for an exit, or if you're building your company for something bigger?

Alex Felman  13:57  
No, I think sort of what you're getting at right is, I think about this way once he brought it up, and I think it's sometimes a good way of framing it. Simon Sinek talked a lot about finite versus infinite games. And very much whether you're playing a finite game or an infinite game, it very much changes how you play the game. And I think that's what we're talking about, right? If you have an exit, you're basically playing a finite game, though. And so if you're playing a finite game, you have to basically be like, just certain extent, like, I need to maximize my score, whatever score is in whatever context you're talking about, within a certain timeframe, because that's when the buzzer runs out. So I need to I need have the highest score before the buzzer goes out, otherwise, you know, you're out of luck or you lose it, depending on your on what the analogy is, you're playing an infinite game, that doesn't really matter. Let's just pretend there isn't really a score. It's sort of like okay, how can I kind of do the best that I can, you know, what can I do to let's say, maximize whatever it is you're trying to optimize for, and that can be allotted for things that might be money. But I do think, for example, let's say a lot of families just because the nature of how they are might not really be optimized for mine. And I think that's a different thing to write, if, if you're only trying to optimize for financial gain, then that also, let's say put you on a very narrow perspective on, on, on, let's say your investment space. But if you're maximizing for other things or multiple things, then it kind of gives you a lot more flexibility to, you know, you start to consider investment opportunities that you wouldn't be considering otherwise. You might go like, okay, maybe I'm getting slightly less investment returns, not to say that, you know, sometimes they say arguments against impact is about that. Not to say that that's the case. But you can say that, Oh, I'm getting slightly less here because it actually gives me greater I see greater value in this other metric. That isn't the finance metric, right? And so you can, you can really, watch that play itself out. It just gives you, I'm a big fan of optionality. It gives you, it gives you options. And instead of narrowing down your options, it opens up your options. And then you can really be much more strategic about how you choose to play your options, is one of the things.

Tarmo Virki  16:02  
I am maybe drawing too far-reaching conclusions, but based on that, one could say that raising money from family offices for environmental startups would make much more sense than raising money from VCs?

Alex Felman  16:19  
I mean, sure, I think no, no, I think I would say in general, I think you can often make that claim, not just environmental startups, but I think you can make that claim on many types of startups. And but I think the bigger reason you can make that claim, and we haven't really talked about it, but especially for talking about entrepreneurial family offices, right? They tend to be in the industry, they tend to be investing in industries where they have their businesses or, or adjacent industries, you know, because they're, they're knowledgeable about the space, which means that they are very often smart money. They very often care about those industries, right? They're kind of, let's say, if you've built your family's business in any industry, you're probably passionate about it often, right. And I think this is, the bigger part about it, it's as you can actually get better smart money. And I think that's why it sort of makes a lot of sense. I think the other thing about too, right is if you have them as smart money, I always do because I do a lot of sort of a little bit of a tangent, but I do a lot of sort of advisory mentorship, and whatnot. And one of the things I'm kind of always telling startups is, when you bring on an investor, they're basically becoming part of like a part of the actual company, they're becoming one of your partners, they're becoming part of your story, right? And so then the question starts to become like, Okay, I think, let's say assuming you have the option, and you're not desperate for money, then you should choose those partners very thoughtfully and carefully. And I would say, generally speaking, I think family offices become really, really good partners, for a number of the reasons that I just mentioned, a lot of them tend to be, you know, if they're getting into something, I'd say, unless you really screw it up, they're probably going to be until exit, right. And generally speaking, you probably want to have an investor who's, once they're on the ride, there until the ride runs out. It's probably an investor you want. They're most likely in the industry that you're in, having investors who are from the industry you're in, probably investors you want. And some of that is they probably have the expertise you need, they probably have the contacts you need, much more so than I say, a lot of funds. And I think for us, maybe a side of that is, generally speaking, will like we're mostly direct investors. But we do invest in some funds, but we're like, almost entirely only investing in specialist ones. We're looking for, basically, top two or three experts in a very, very specific niche. And then I think, you know, if I were a startup, like, that's kind of what you wanted, as an investor, if you have an environmental startup, yeah, there's probably a couple of really good environmental VC funds. But those are really what you want you to, like, why would you want - in my opinion - why would you want a generalist VC fund? If you really need the money, I'm not going to sort of downplay that some startups just struggle, raising funds and kind of need to take money from wherever they can. That is, let's say, a real part of the game, so to speak, it's a real reality of the situation is you can't always be choosy. But if you can be choosy, then you probably I always say is like choosing investor is gonna be the best partner for you. The best help you grow best open doors, kind of understand the path you need to go down, and in my personal opinion, that's mostly getting a specialist fund. The more generalist VCs funds, I don't know; I don't really see the value there.

Tarmo Virki  19:43  
I don't have too much experience with family offices. Do you guys usually or often go in with full rounds, or are you part syndicates of five or 10 different investors?

Alex Felman  20:05  
I would say it depends, okay. It greatly depends. I think this comes back to every family office is different. Each one kind of has its own. I think a lot of them, though, I think it's one of these things. And it kind of maybe connects a little bit of what I have heard in quite serious but slightly connected. Some things I said before, I would say is that because generally speaking, let's say, mostly talking about the entrepreneurial families right now, because that's a little bit more relevant to our conversation, is, let's say most of them have industry expertise, that they can help them de-risk their investment, right, because they can actually put their own resources into making sure the success of their investment. If that's the case, then they probably want to take enough of an investment where they can actually have Sway on the company because otherwise, then, if they can't put Sway on the company, then they're basically leaving resources on the sideline because they can't actually, let's say, leverage the resources to nudge the company in a direction that will help ensure the investment is a success. Right. So I think in a lot of ways, that is something that they can consider, right? We, we want to make sure we have enough of, let's say, our own skin in the game, that, you know, let's say, just as an example, we know that the founders in the management team will take our calls, just as an example, right? If you're a relatively small investor, maybe ideally they should, and, and but not always, but not always. But if you're a significant investor, most likely they're going to take your calls, just like that type of thing, and you know, you can open those doors and really leverage it, I think that's for us. One thing we noticed is that, on the whole, unless we can be like smart money, we pretty much don't invest. Like unless we believe that we can somehow, you know, add our own resources into the mix to kind of minimize, de-risk the investment, were more or less not going to invest. And I think a lot of at least entrepreneurial families think that way. And I think maybe more directly answering your question. So they're more like, you know, take at least some significant portion. Or at least, again, I think this depends on exactly what a startup is raising. But depending on what that is, you know, they kind of have a sweet spot to know that, oh, if we have an AI, it's probably different for every family. But we kind of know like, Oh, if we know that, as long as we have X percent, we know that we can kind of nudge the company in different directions. And so we kind of like having that much. Or it could be a type of thing because there are definitely, let's say, families; I think there is something that families do kind of like to invest in as kind of a syndicate. One thing, I think sometimes they're larger, sometimes they're smaller, we've kind of found to be perfectly honest, that we prefer smaller syndicates, we tend to find that, if the syndicate gets get too large, with too many cooks in the kitchen type of situations. And generally speaking, with the families we're dealing with, right? It's very successful businessmen, kind of, let's say, a lot of type A-ish personalities. So to get too many of those people in a room, and you know, egos start to get in the way, and just the politics of it starts to be like a, it's not worth it. So we honestly don't tend to get more than maybe two to three families in a cluster. But I think a lot of them do kind of like doing these kinds of small clusters, because they kind of know, oh, you know, oh, we have two or three families from the same industry. They all have the extra expertise; you kind of have this comfort level. And I think a lot of them do have sort of, you know, let's say, if you're successful in business, you know, other families who are successful in the same business industry, and you can kind of go together go, Oh, I did this, I like this, I'm gonna call. Maybe he's a competitor or whatnot, but you sort of, I think, in a lot of ways, right. To a certain extent, some of the competitors, depending on where you are, can be somewhat friendly with each other. Right? They, I think, if you're doing business properly, that kind of tends to be the case, right? You kind of know, know who the other players are, you kind of know them, 

Tarmo Virki  23:44  
at least on some level, 

Alex Felman  23:45  
on some level and kind of professionally. And you can kind of go in with some of those people, right, assuming you're on good terms. And so I think you do see kind of some syndicates in this way. And I think there is some comfort level area. And I will say, for us too, a lot of the deal flow that we actually get comes from families within our clients. A lot of them were coming to us and being like, Oh, we want to take 50%, 60%, 70% of this deal. We're trying to fill out the other bits. We know you guys are working with other families and industries; can we pull some of them in? And we do quite a bit of that.

Tarmo Virki  24:16  
The in the syndicates, although often or do take venture funds also in or is it typically that syndicates of families? The answer is probably yes and no, right.

Alex Felman  24:31  
It's one of those things that's a mix. I mean, I think so one of the things of I mean, this is kind of a different side of how to answer this question. When I'm advising mentoring startups, one of the things I tell them is, generally speaking, to close your investment round, whatever investment rounds, you're looking at a minimum, like three to five investors. Right? So we go okay, basically what I was saying before, you're saying maybe two to three of those are family office, and then you have like one or two outside money from whatever. And I mean, that's sort of the thing that we do also do kind of more direct Please, you know, if we have something that's internal, we'll try to fit it fill it internally, sometimes we can't, sometimes we can't. And then if we can't fill it internally, I would say, you know, we're working with 55 families directly, but we probably have a greater network of easily a couple of 100 funds, other financial organizations that, you know, we kind of know what they want, as well, and on an appropriate basis, where we've kind of talked to them say, Hey, we're doing this, we're, you know, our group is going to take x percent, we're trying to fill out the remaining whatever, and, you know, we know this interest you, you want to get involved. Right, and there's a certain amount of that is, I really think it's a bit more of a, I think that's one of the things I've been really concerned with, I think there's a lot more kind of case by case thing. Because at the end of the day, it's an individual's money, so they kind of do whatever they want, right? But there's not any real mandate; there are no LPs that they have to answer to, like, none of these things are going on, right? Sort of the LP you have to answer to is essentially yourself. So there might be issues around, you know, having to police yourself, but most of these are professionals that have been some of the best in their industry. They do know how to do these types of things, right? 

Tarmo Virki  26:09  
It's maybe kind of taking the circle back to the beginning a little bit. The family offices, climate sustainability, future, how do you see this kind of thing kind of sector going forward?

Alex Felman  26:25  
So here's one of the things that's really, really interesting. As an aside, I didn't actually think this is where I'm going in this conversation. But I think one of the things that I've noticed about kind of the family offices, and I think a lot of people you deal with is, I think a lot of people, at least a lot of the things that we deal with, they actually, honestly, don't really like let's say, what I would call the trends around how the space is discussed. And they just basically have said, we just believe this is the right way to do business. And I think you can really break it down depending on what framework you want to use. I think ESG is, okay, his framework, for example, just to break things down as an example. But you can really look at, for example, like, oh, one, one example I use is, okay, let's look at the E, for example, and you go, Okay, if you're doing bad on the e side, that also means most likely your processes are not particularly efficient, and their business issues about like not having efficient processes, you can probably improve both. And I think this is a lot of the mentality of just like, No, this is just like proper business practice. You can kind of call it whatever you want, and give you different frameworks, and so on and so forth. But at the end of the day, you know, just using ESG just to break down to specific areas. In general, you want good governance, like you want good governance, regardless of the framework you're talking about, oh, actually for doing bad for the environment? Actually, that probably means there's something wrong with your, your factories, or the processes you have in place. And if you fix those, there's usually a pretty obvious business case for it. I think it's similar with sort of the society element of like, if you have bad really like, and what scenario Do you Do you have does a really good business, let's say, have a terrible relationship with society. I mean, you can sort of, I don't know, in the States, one of the businesses like that would be, let's say, the cable companies or whatever, but like, they're getting disrupted, like those industries get disrupted, probably the fastest at anyone is like, all the industries that like people are like, I hate this. Let's visit, let's pick someone, someone's going to come in and fix that. Right. Yeah. And I think for us, and I think that's the thing, too, is some of the families we work with, we're talking, you know, at this point is third, fourth, fifth, maybe they've been running this for hundreds of years, I think they've kind of learned those lessons of like, Oh, if we want to be in this game for a long time, and I'm not talking about I heard someone, for example, talk about a lot of companies, you can kind of map out the rise and fall by of how quick the rise is how fast they fall, you can actually sort of map out that's kind of the standard thing, right? And so we're looking at now, let's say a lot of the tech companies, a lot of them are getting out of here, you know, even if they're super big within a decade, 15 years, you go, that's your entire lifecycle. A lot of these companies have realized like, oh, no, if you want to be a couple 100-year company, then yeah, we have to be doing these things correctly, regardless of what, whatever it's called. And I just think a lot of them just sort of seeing this in ways of like, alright, if we want to be if we think of this game as an infinite game, and we want to be in this game infinitely. This is just how we have to play. Yeah. And there's just, there's just almost, and if you really think like there's almost no other way to play. And at least one of the things that I'm saying this is not necessarily for the family side, but in general is, is I do generally think, generationally, more and more younger people are sort of demanding. That's the way you play. They're basically saying, like, Oh, we're not going to support companies that don't play in this way. And I would, I would almost argue that that's, you know, generally speaking quite a good thing of just thinking about this, like, we're basically establishing that we believe these are the proper rules to play the game. And if you don't play by these rules, then you shouldn't play. And I was giving a talk about it, about how that I do think that is a little bit of a generational thing is I think younger generations are kind of demanding that however, I do think and I was at an event, and some of the older generations were kind of, let's say, getting on my case for being an ungrateful, younger generation person, blah blah. But I think part of the reason that I think a lot of these people are able to make that and demand that is because older generations have been able to fix a lot of the basic problems. So we don't actually have to deal with a lot of the basic problems. We're, we're at a point where, you know, for most people on the planet, and hunger is not really a big issue. I think that's down to under a billion, shrinking really fast and at the lowest percentage of population percentage in the history of humanity. Most people have housing and clothing; most people's basic needs are met. All of a sudden, you can start to be like, Oh, we want to, we're gonna demand that you can do all these other things. And then I think, kind of tying it back around is, again, these are smart business people, they see, and they say, Oh, this is the future, oh, we're gonna sell these people. Oh, those are the demands of the future if we want to, if we want to play this game infinitely, that's what's required to play this game. So that's how we're gonna play. It's, I know, I almost see it as that simple.

Tarmo Virki  31:31  
I mean, it's a good point to kind of finish on simplicity. I think it very nicely wrapped the discussion. Thanks, Alex. Until next time. Thank you. Join us again for the next episode. Thank you for listening. If you liked the show, please give us a good rating and leave the feedback in your podcast player, so others will find it too. We will be back next week. Turn on to the NatureBacked podcast.

Transcribed by

(Cont.) Exploring Infinite Games of Family Offices With Alex Felman