Being a One Percenter in Leadership, with special guest Dusty Wunderlich

This is a rather special interview. It will be the first one that incorporates the dialog from the interview with video. For this groundbreaking occasion, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dusty Wunderlich – founder and CEO of Bristlecone Holdings amongst other things. I could sit here and tell you about the great things that Bristlecone is achieving, or about some of his previous endeavors, but I’ll leave that for you to research after readings and listening to what we talked about in our sixteen minutes of face time.

First of all I want to apologize, I didn’t have the camera set up optimally so part of my head is cut off. But, that’s really okay because there’s a great money shot of Dusty, and a mug.

To start off, to preface, it was a little fortuitous that the night before I was to sit with Dusty, I was listening to NPR and heard a blurb about the richest 1%, and how much control they have over the worlds wealth. Statistic: 85 of the world’s top wealthiest people control the same amount of wealth in the world and the bottom 50%. The fortuitous nature of it was that I had also watched the 80’s classic movie Wall Street the night before also. You know the one with Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen? Classic! In that movie they hit on some very poignant topics that are still very relevant today. This all tied into a TED Video I was recently shown about a plutocrat whose talk was directed to the top 1%, and how they need to wake up because the torches are coming. He actually equated it to the French Revolution.

Tying Wall Street to the TED Video to the NPR piece I walked into Dusty’s office knowing I had some thoughts on all of it. What do I think about it, and what if anything could I do personally? Now I’m sitting in this room with this guy who’s has already experienced very serious business growth and is personally and financially successful. He’s on his way up running an incredible startup and I’m sure his fingers are already in other things where he could see additional rapid growth. So some of these concepts I was marinading on, maybe he’s already thought about them. This was kind of a perfect storm for this topic since Dusty had recently returned from a trip to South Africa where he experienced some of this stuff first hand. He apologizes for the phone but the conversation and the message is clear. Let’s listen to some of what he has to say now.

So, we’re poised for an answer but I want pause here to remove some of my own opinions about the matter. I want this to focus primarily Dusty’s thoughts and what the topic might provoke in you. What he follows up with is great also because he ties it into Reno and gives it a local perspective. He defiantly answers from a place experience and links it to what they are trying to do at Bristlecone which is more than you would expect.

“Creating a hundred millionaires,” sounds good to me. How do I get in? Seriously, what Dustys talking about there is as leaders, we’re not only in it for our own gain, if we can bring others up along with us, we can then send them out as ambassadors.

Wow! This is some great stuff that Reno is in dire need of. I feel comfortable inserting my own little opinion here on Reno. And that is this wonderful place has had an identity crisis for so long. At least ever since we tried to compete with Vegas and after losing that battle we’ve been scrambling and grasping at straws to really get our legs underneath us. So now that we understand where Dusty is going, and what we as individuals can do about the wealth inequality gap that exists today, how does the guy out on the street combat that? How does the individual who doesn’t have the means get his voice to be heard?

So what are we up against? A system that was setup two-hundred plus years ago to work effectively in those times, for those men? And now, it’s a radically different time and we’re struggling in that same system that itself is struggling to respond to current times. From a business perspective, we’re trying to fit our environment into that same outdated box. We end up with a lot of old school mentality that is striving to implement change in a way that is antiquated at best while declaring: “This is how we’ve always done it in the past.” This is Institutionalist mentality and just because we have always done things a certain way doesn’t make it right, nor does it fit in today’s environment. So we need people from within and without to come in and push for change. Let’s look at this from a different perspective, let’s switch our way of thinking and get the word out.

“You never arrive.” I seem to recall another gentleman talking about the same thing. A Mr. Mark Estee and his passion for never being satisfied. So, it’s not that we haven’t asked this question before or are grappling with the something different than our parents wrestled with. It’s a new generation and we’re asking the right questions it’s just that ….

So this time we’re in now, it’s kind of exciting as everything is becoming so branded. People are aligning themselves with companies and products that fit their taste and their lifestyle. There are all these niche groups that are created and according to Dusty: “It’s phenomenal! It’s never been easier to be an entrepreneur with things like Kickstarter, social media, and the internet. This is what we should be embracing, products and services created out of nowhere that traditionally would have been impossible. A time that can increase the greatness of America and address the problem of those 1%ers.”

What a great interview! I want to thank Dusty for his time and to Kristin Stith also at Bristlecone for aiding in setting up this interview.

Image Credits: Video by Author