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Dream Water Founder Shares Entrepreneurial Lessons

David Lekach is the former Founder and CEO of Dream Water, LLC, a natural and safe sleep aid. David is also the South Florida Learning Chair for the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) South Florida, the world’s only peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs and business owners. Before launching and selling Dream Water, David worked briefly as an investment banker and a managing partner in a small Miami-based law firm, handling a variety of legal and business development consulting projects. In this role, he was responsible for the structuring and general oversight of international real estate ventures worth more than $50 million as well as the licensing and product development engagements for numerous consumer goods projects.

Intro  0:04 

Welcome to The Future is Borderless podcast with David Nilssen, we feature top entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world, those who bring a global mindset and a unique perspective to their life and business. Now, let’s get started with the show.

David Nilssen  0:22 

Hey, David Nilssen here, and I’m the host of the show. Here I connect with business leaders from around the world who have this borderless mindset. And they can share ideas and innovation, maybe new best practices that can be applied in both life and business, ultimately helping us to lead and grow in a rapidly changing world. Now this episode is brought to you by Doxa Talent. Doxa helps businesses to source full time highly dedicated workers from around the world. And as a result, the companies can scale faster, increase margin and improve culture. To learn more about Doxa Talent, go to All right. I’m really excited about today’s show. Today, we’ve got David Lekach, who actually started his career as a lawyer, he was a managing partner of a law firm. Then he transitioned to investment banking before starting Dream Water, which he served as the CEO until he actually sold the company in 2018 I believe. Dream Water is a natural zero calorie liquid sleep enhancer that comes in two and a half ounce bottles. You’ve probably seen it in the drugstore, maybe as you’re at the airport, and it’s in a format that you can take without drinking water. Today, he’s consulting with and driving strategic initiatives with a handful of companies that are industries like CPG, cannabis travel, and even executive coaching. I should also note that he holds an MBA and a JD from the University of Miami, and he’s still licensed to practice law in Florida. So total underachiever. David, it’s great to have you on the podcast.

David Lekach  1:55 

Thank you. I don’t like to lead with the lawyer part because I like to say, somebody’s going to think I’m an asshole, let me earn that not because I told you as a lawyer, but thanks, Dave for blowing me up there.

David Nilssen  2:05 

We’ll call it a recovering lawyer then. And by the way, I’m an extremely loyal Delta Airlines customer, have been my whole life. In fact, they just sent me this beautiful box because I reached 2 million miles with them, which just means I travel way too much. But I had this like, high five, I had this concoction that I had created, which I called my sleepy cocktail. And I won’t tell you all the components of it, but it included Dream Water. So when I first got a chance to connect with you, I was super excited because I actually was a raving fan. I told people about it constantly. And so if we can, I’d actually love to just start there. Where did you come up with the Dream Water concept?

David Lekach  2:45 

Well, as you noted, I was actually doing some investment banking in 08, 09 when people used to say, what do you do, I say have a front row seat to the end of the world. It was my second financial crisis in my adult life. The first one was I graduated from the University of Michigan Business School in 02 and the whole .com bubble had burst. And then the financial crisis in 08, 09. We just came out of, whatever this was, and I met my co-founder, Vincent, because he came into the office looking to raise some money, like, so many people would, the issue was in placing it. I took home this 8 ounce sort of poorly packaged concoction that was called Dream Water and it worked on me. And sleeping, so work on me. So I was like, I was floored. And I remember waking up at 6am, after a full night of sleep, I probably got to bed by like nine, 9:30, which had never happened to me, falling asleep before midnight in my late 20s, early 30s. And I woke up feeling like, oh my god, did I just discover the anti-Red Bull. And then I guess that little fucked up entrepreneurial gene jumps in and says, but this has to exist, right? Like, it’s so logical that there’s all these things that energize you in, especially in the liquid space, right? And fiber energy was kind of getting going at that point. And obviously Red Bull and things like that. So I was like what this has to exist. And when I didn’t find it literally anywhere online, it was in Manhattan. So walking in and out of everybody, I was like, man, let’s go do this. And that’s how Dream Water got started.

David Nilssen  4:24 

Awesome. At what point, so you guys obviously then must have partnered together because it sounds like he had sort of come up with the concept was really struggling with where to go next steps, right?

David Lekach  4:35 

It was more how do you launch it? I had to grapple with that too because America, the United States is such a big territory. The markets are all different. I mean, you’re in Idaho, and I’m in Miami, Florida. We’re both American but totally different markets, right. And the direct to consumer world was not as evolved as it is today. Back in 09, 2010 really was my first year in market so it was just a totally different sort of world of panorama and it was how do you take this idea to market? Where, Why how you know, and that was a fun part of getting started in this whole thing.

David Nilssen  5:12 

Yeah. So at what point did you know you had a product market fit, right? So you took it home, you drank, it worked for you. But like, just because you think it’s a great idea doesn’t mean like, that everyone else will. So like, what was the signal that told you I need to scale like it’s time to go?

David Lekach  5:28 

It was probably even earlier than that. Vincent had won a Syracuse business plan competition, even though he didn’t go to Syracuse, his brother did. And that gave me the initial seed capital to make an initial production on the Dream Water. So it was all these eight ounce bottles, the one that he handed me. And I had the same feeling as you right Dave I was like, but I’m a case study of one. So he probably gave me like 100 to 200 bottles. And I gave it out to as many people as I could. And I want to say I had almost 100%, if not 100%, amazingly positive response rates. And most of the time was like, “How do I get more?” And that gave me this little indication that it’s not just me, right? Especially because sleep aids don’t work on me. So I could take a Tylenol PM right now. And you won’t notice a difference in my energy levels or anything like that. It just doesn’t do much for me, that definitely drew me that is so common in the over the counter sleep aids. And so that gave me a lot of momentum right out the gate in terms of internal momentum to really want to go after this. And for what it’s worth, I did look at almost the entirety of the journey, especially the beginning of Dream Water, all it’s like a case study, like a real world. Let’s put it out there, let’s do the best we can in terms of how we put out that we launched with Duane Reade in focus on Manhattan, in mid-December 2009, with the idea of putting the city that never sleeps to sleep, and then putting it out there and seeing what those interactions look like, seeing what the customer feedback looks like, seeing what the uptake looks like myself through. So the entire thing was really just it, let’s see, right. And I really had that mindset. And that curiosity, I think served me a lot of good. As we were going through this, I wasn’t attached to an outcome, I was more attached to creating the framework for Dream Water to exist, and letting the market to some degree dictate to me. So how am I doing, right?

David Nilssen  7:18 

Yeah, so it’s funny, you sort of glazed over a point there that actually I didn’t know about you. And I’ve, in full disclosure to our listeners, I’ve known Dave for a couple of years, high regard for the work that he’s done. But as I shared earlier, I used to see Dream Water in the airports all the time still do, actually. And I still use it. But that wasn’t the initial distribution strategy. You talked about Duane Reade here, I read as I was preparing for this about your launch in Manhattan. So can you just tell a little bit more about that? And how you guys came up with it? And then what did you learn from it?

David Lekach  7:46 

I think that sort of the learning point, it was that we were very good at opening the door. And I was very clear that our goal was to open the door and let the Dream Water itself do the selling. Because one of the things that we were faced with a lot was, you know, debating whether or not we should do clinical studies and things like that. There’s a lot of legal reasons to do it. There’s a lot of marketing reasons to do it, and what have you. But I always ultimately said no to that, because what I cared about most again, Johnson, Johnson, with Tamil RPM can try it out whatever they want in terms of studies and diphenhydramine how originally, but there’s no perfect sleeping. So what I really wanted to do was make sure that I got it into people’s hands first and foremost, right, that was always my goal, and putting it in people’s hands. And you found that by the way, because Seattle Tacoma was a huge market for us in terms of airport travel retail, because there’s so much, let’s say, Red Eye flights or distance flights from their LAX, and we would crush it with Hudson news and that type of retailer in the airports, because those reasons. But when we looked at the market, and we a couple of my the people that I brought in, it was a team of four of us total that I brought in, there was my younger brother, Joseph, and then Vincent and another friend of mine, Adam, we had all had roots, or certainly three of the four of us had roots in and out of Manhattan. And then we really looked at this and I said to myself, but why am I going to put around on the periphery? In other words, I’m from Miami would have been the easiest thing in the world to launch in Miami. But again, the thesis, it was all a thesis, like, do we have something or not? And up until the launch time, I would only talk about what you want to was if you sign an NDA, and then you say to me, what am I signing an NDA for? So you have to sign the NDA and then I’ll tell you, that was a stupid 29 year old and all that stuff. So but in my mind, I was like, once I come into market, there’s no more NDAs there’s no more secrecy around this, because it was so unique and novel and it just didn’t exist that I said you know what, if we’re gonna go let’s go into New York. And once we decided in New York, I also had this sort of mindset around fish where the fish are. So if I told you go get me a single can of Coke, you’d probably in your mind thing 711 Or a local convenience store, right? If I said to you go get me a sleep aid or headache, medicine or whatever, your default will tend to be a drugstore. So Walgreens CVS, Rite Aid, whatever. And, and so when I thought about New York as a geography again, America’s huge what I thought about New York is geography. And this idea that I want to be in a drugstore, Duane Reade became very obvious. And then one of my guys Adam happened to when we settled on Duane Reade, it turns out that the beverage buyer, the thymus, lady Jackie, used to do Christmases with him and his family, I mean, coincidence of the world, right? And so we reached out to her, and like I said, we were good at opening doors, and then we put it in front of her was very unique, very novel, a lot of white space, that doesn’t really exist in today’s CPG world. And that’s how we started.

David Nilssen  10:43 

It worked. I love that fish where the fish are, I think a lot of entrepreneurs, sort of take the build it and they will come strategy, I love that you went to go find out, you know, you went out and sought out the places where people are going to instantly be that would be drawn to that talk, talk to me a little bit about you know, with business, I love that, we always share the positive stuff, like everything that was going well. But I just curious if there’s any times in your journey there Dream Water where you guys were on the ropes? Or were you really up against something challenging and sort of what that looked like?

David Lekach  11:15 

Like every day. Or most days awesome for you, like in your role like?

David Nilssen  11:24 

Well, the reason I asked the question, because I remember when I started my first real entrepreneurial venture Guidant Financial, we were in the real estate and business environment in 08. And I remember 08, we had to make some really tough decisions because the market, real estate imploded, small business, finance and dried up the stock market was crashing, unemployment. Like, there were so many issues happening during that time, that was a time when I felt really against the ropes. And I’m wondering if there’s something similar for you?

David Lekach  11:51 

Yeah, I think I was being a bit jokey about it, but I think most days, if I could just be blunt about it. And I don’t mean stuff, like I walked around the press or whatever, it’s just like, you either mundane or it always felt like we were taking a step forward and two steps back, a lot of that. And I think that one of the things that we have to worry about as entrepreneurs is, as the leaders of our organizations is that it’s incumbent upon us to exude strength, confidence vision. And there’s a whole other conversation around how do we draw that for ourselves? And how do we communicate that outwardly. But we definitely had major hiccups along the road, I would say the first three plus years, as much of a grind as it was, it was fun as hell man, when I look back at it, we talk about culture a lot, and EO entrepreneurs, organization and all that, but none of it was designed for me, none of it was thought about None. None of it came because I went to a class and heard about culture, it just was, I was being me. That was, I think infiltrating sort of the overall way that we were building the business and hiring people and who we were hiring, and so on, and so forth. And in September of 2013, it was a terrible month. For me for my divorce perspective, I don’t remember all the details, a lot of that sucked. But I just remember that month being terrible. And I had had my highest highs and lowest lows with Walmart, who was my key customer about 30% of my business at that point in about a four month span. So I started this the start of 2013 had hiring, they had a real hockey stick growth curve, like you felt it, when you hear about this hockey stick growth curve, we felt it, we were on it, for sure. And so the world was great. And then the program that they gave us, ultimately, I always say it’s not about getting into the stores, it’s about how you’re in stores that matters. Good program that they ultimately gave us was never going to work. We got onto the front end of Walmart, which is the mecca of all retailing, even now, and even with Amazon, but we were just at the bottom shelf and the front checkouts, and I’ve never seen somebody bend over to the front on a checkout and just explore new sleep a product anyway, all these things. And what happened by September is when we were unwinding from the front end the relationship, we still had the relationship with the pharmacy department at Walmart, but we were unwinding the front end relationship that was very problematic, very difficult. And so much of our work had been to lead up into that is very demoralizing. I lost three of my key team members. Vincent was one of them, I ultimately reconciled with him and brought it back down on a daily basis, but on a 1099 basis. And I lost my head of finance my head of ops, and I had to make real cuts like real strong, not that I had a bloated infrastructure to begin with, just to be able to survive that moment. And that was definitely that punch in the stomach moment that I can point to in my Dream Water journey over eight plus years. That almost, you know, was a knockout blow like, you know, like the markets were for you in 08, 09 for good.

David Nilssen  14:50 

Yeah, no, I appreciate you sharing that. I just I always feel it’s important to sort of expose the good and sort of the challenging things that come along with what you do. Secondly, we were talking a lot about talent, right. And as you know, I started Doxa Talent to help businesses scale faster by accessing new labor pools across the world. And I think it’s a really important capability for people to develop to be competitive long term. It’s becoming more and more sort of widely accepted today. But you actually were, well, I would think a little more as an early adopter in that area. Again, as I was preparing for this call, and knowing some of the things about you I did, I thought it’d be great to just hear your experience, leveraging global talent to help build your business, tell me, where you found that talent? And what was that experience like for you?

David Lekach  15:40 

Yeah, this idea of remote work and all of that is very commonplace for us now, in a post COVID reality. But for me, I just remember, even from the earliest, earliest stages, like, even in 09, as we were thinking about this, whatever, whether we were in New York, Miami, wherever we happen to be. And even as we started the business, I always said, “Man, I just need my laptop, my cell phone. And that’s it. I don’t care where I am.” I was on the road a lot. You just told me you joined the 2 million mile club in delta. And I’ve gotten almost there with American the hard way, because I don’t do a lot of traveled to China or Europe, it’s, it’s mainly all domestic travel, and I never really cared where things were located. And if you look at a macro level, and look at who I’m telling this to, but if you look at a macro level, not every geographic location is supposed to be great at everything, right. And so from my perspective, and really, from the very beginning of this idea that I just had needed a cell phone and a laptop, it allowed me to build the organization. And we were even though we were based in Miami, I had literal employees all over different geographic points in the US, mainly on the sales side. I ended up installing them back into Miami at one point in the process, I almost the entirety of time, had my production facilities between Dallas and Phoenix, I three PL down to Dallas. So I was always, if we want to call it a virtual company, or whatever, even though I have my home office and a real office here in Miami, and most of my w two here. As part of all of that, my twin brother Isaac in Mexico has always had a lot of access to high level people and through his own journey and endeavors and all that in Mexico. So he always tell me about these people. And he had had this operations lady who was just awesome and her name was Kenya and she was awesome. And then there was this moment in time where he’s like, “Who wants her?” Isaac’s a great networker connector of people and all of that and I was looking for help in streamline a lot of my processes, establishing SOPs, you know, all that stuff, whatever. And this girl Kenya, and she was in her 20s, and just leaving a big department store chain there called Sanborn’s if I’m if I’m not mistaken, she came in and fit right in. And then the next time that I needed something, or I wanted something in terms of potential people, it wasn’t like a weird thing to think like, hey, Isaac, who else do you have in Mexico, because what I was finding was, Kenya was a super high level talent. But I had, I was paying her less than I was paying my office worker, literally, like my office admin, to do almost nothing, right, like just to be around and organize the office, whatever. So the economy in my mind was like, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But you know, what, I want to go get the best people that I can. And this idea of remote work, which wasn’t as ingrained as it is today, I was a green nice, he has an office in Mexico. So when I hire them, I could just be like, “Great go to that office in Mexico.” Not that they always went to the office in Mexico, but I ended up building a lot of my tech team out there. And obviously, Kenya, she remained with me past me selling a Dream Water. And it was always a great talent pool for me, but not because of the, I mean, the price was a gravy. It was I was finding really good talent there. And then at a fraction of the cost, right.

David Nilssen  19:05 

Yeah, that’s what I was trying to tell people is like, don’t worry about the price, like different geographies will offer different value. But you’re what you’re looking for high quality, highly skilled individuals who can help you go further faster. And it just turns out that when you look at other geographies that can align with making more aggressive bets as well. So I just thought that was interesting. Right now, you’re right, because of COVID, it’s a widely more acceptable idea. Whereas it was harder for people to wrap their brain around. But hey, if I live in Idaho, which I do, I’m going to manage somebody from Florida, it’s no different than if I managed from the Philippines or Ukraine or Mexico, lots of different places.

David Lekach  19:41 

Well, also because technology makes it a lot more seamless, right? Dave like we’ve hung out a couple of times in real life, but I can see you a pretty good friend, right? So it’s because we’re able to do things like this. And the improvements in technology that I believe across the board, not just in video conferencing or anything like that, that allow for that to happen. I don’t want to get some esoteric tangent, but it’s just we live in a more easily connected world. Again, if I didn’t care where we were in 2010, let me be clear 2010 we didn’t have Instagram, we didn’t have Facebook as a lead gen entity the way it is today, there was no Shopify, if I’m not mistaken, like, there wasn’t a lot of stuff out there. But look at the advancements in one decade later, is just normal.

David Nilssen  20:27 

Yeah, the barriers have come down significantly for that sort of digital communication. We were all forced into it anyway. So let’s talk about the exits. We’ve kind of gone through the journey. But so many entrepreneurs, I think, their identity is tied to the business that they have. And you chose to sell Dream Water, which as I know, is a very successful exit. Walk me through the emotional side of selling, what was that? What was that? When you started the process, it’s probably really exciting. But like, you signed the paperwork deal is done, money’s in the bank. Like, what happened after that? Like, how did you sort of reconcile that oh, today’s a different day?

David Lekach  21:02 

So no, that’s a great question. And we could start there. For me, we’ve done exercises, and I’ve referenced EO Entrepreneurs Organization, there’s chapters all over the world. And it’s a forum really, that you have in a safe space to go in and communicate, for those of you that don’t know what EO is but you have your own forum, and you communicate about you say things out loud, that you wouldn’t say to other humans. And that’s one of the beautiful things about EO. And it helps fill in this gap of, let’s call it loneliness, or whatever you want to call it as being like, the person that has to run the show, and, and all of that stuff. And I did a lot of work into the sale process. Because we have monthly meetings, I did a lot of the work leading up to that signing of the paper and getting wired the money to make sure that we were clear that I was clear with my journey, that I was good with my process inside of my EO group. And it helped a lot. It helped really a lot for me, because I was able to be present to not just be reactive to and keeping a subconscious, that 100% of my identity was tied into Dream Water. Like, I would go to dinner with friends. And all they wanted to do, even if they had cool jobs was talk to me about Dream Water, it doesn’t matter what it was. So I couldn’t even escape it when I was just being me and I’m just living my life. And, and so to be able to come out of that process. Not only that, but Dream Water, my daughter are the same age, I had him in the same year, or I started them in the same year, if I could say like that. And so in the most literal sense, Dream Water was like one of my babies. And just being able to go into the room and be clear about it. What really worked for me was feeling good and complete about my journey that I really gave him my all, it didn’t turn out to what exactly I thought it could be and would be. But I was satisfied enough with the outcome. Not just financially, but just how it ended up that when I looked at that moment in time, I said to myself, look, either they’re going to grow it and scale it and turn it into something awesome, right? Of which I’m a part of that story. Right? So I was rooting for that right? I want my baby to do well. Or they’re either going to keep it in neutral or sink it, in which case it’d be like, I was able to do more with less resources, because the company that bought me post-closing had over $60 million in their bank account with no debt. I mean, they imploded over the next couple of years, very, very quickly. But I just look at with huge teams and things, whatever. And it hasn’t continued to scale like crazy, which would have been my preference, but I was very complete with both outcomes, because that was it. That was the entire in my mind, potential outcome. Either they’re going to feel it, or it’s gonna stay flat and decrease. And either way, I felt good about it, for myself, my own selfish interests.

David Nilssen  22:30 

Yeah, that’s good. I’m curious. I’m coming away from that experience. I remember started guiding financial and I felt like we were figuring it out as we went, right. Like it was a new entrepreneur sort of learning as we go, started Doxa Talent, I felt like I was way better prepared that time around to really lead an organization. Just curious, like, if you were to start a business today, what would you do differently than maybe what you did when you first started Dream Water?

David Lekach  24:24 

I think it’s too open ended up a question because I think it depends on the nature of the business. I stepped out of Dream Water and we had started with my family of cannabis business that I’ve nurtured all along the way. And mainly in a problem solver role right kick-starting in and then mainly the problem solver role in a really nice, not nice session is in it,  in a really complex, crazy challenging environment called cannabis. Starting it in like 2014, at least really looking at it in 2014, we had to have debates around how do we tell my mom that we’re doing this? Like literally me, my brothers would have debates like how do we tell our mom that we’re doing this cannabis thing? Because none of us are really stoners or anything like that. It’s not like a logical next step, acceptance into the extended family and community and whatever. That was also a little bit tricky. It just really depends on what, I think that not to pump the question, but just it depends on what that opportunity is. I feel like from what I know about Doxa, you were already doing a lot of that stuff, right? You were using it for yourself, you were already in that mindset, you were already thinking about those things, and doing those things for you. You just had this epiphany that there’s a lot of me’s out there that could benefit from the two plus years of learning. I’ve heard your story. I’ve heard you speak like the two plus years of learning that it took you and all the pain that it took you to get to somewhere where the model that I believe that you have at Doxa was working inside of Guidant. So I have a feeling that just specific to that opportunity, you were just better prepared, because you went through it already. You just had this epiphany, you say, let me make it into businesses help others. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, right. 

David Nilssen  26:15 

No, that’s okay. But what I what I’m learning is a few things. One is you’re really good at deflecting questions and turning it back on other people. Second thing.

David Lekach  26:22 

I want to answer, but it just feels too open ended.

David Nilssen  26:27 

Yeah, that’s fair. I love though that you were concerned about mom’s feelings in the new business venture. I think that’s awesome. But I think my favorite part is it tells me a little bit something about your personality when you start by saying this nice industry. And then said, well, actually, it’s crazy. It’s challenging. And it’s exciting, and the first word that came to mind for you was nice, when other people would be like that is overwhelming. It’s insanity. So I love that.

David Lekach  26:54 

I love complicated, complex situations. One of the things I’ve learned about myself post exit, especially but even during the Dream Water journey is I gravitate to complicated difficult, because I get so much, I don’t know what the word is. But I get so much out of trying to just tackle these crazy challenges. I mean, even look at Dream Water, like the idea of a liquid sleep aid the mainstream, simple water that helps you relax if you had never existed before, right? Cannabis is still a new frontier with so many challenges that you have to overcome. But imagine doing that even earlier than us, right? And we stepped in at a pretty early stage. I love the challenge. It gives me more than anything more than money more than anything else.

David Nilssen  27:40 

I feel like that’s a character that is fairly common with entrepreneurs, whether they’re good at it or not, I can’t really judge but I think a lot of entrepreneurs are energized by that excitement, the change, the challenge all that. And then when it comes to actually the maintenance level of business, we sort of disconnect. It’s like, oh, let somebody else do that. So, again, tell me about what you’re working on right now. What are you most excited about today?

David Lekach  28:07 

Yeah, lately, I’ve been the learning social chair for my EO chapter here in South Florida for the last couple years, it’s given me a lot of exposure to a whole host of entrepreneurs, that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have met or not built the relationships that I have within that. And I started to realize, there’s been a whole cottage industry, maybe it’s not a cottage industry, but a whole industry around coaching. And I like this idea of even LeBron James has a coach, right. So I don’t care how good you are at what you do, having that person to guide, create accountability, see the things that you don’t see, help you with strategy and vision, and all those things matter. And I see that there’s a lot of people out there, including a lot of my friends, in EO and out of EO that have been very successful at it, but what I think I’m seeing is a gap between people that can give you homework as the entrepreneur is the one sitting in a chair, and people who can actually help you get that done. Whatever that is, a lot of times you don’t even know what you have to do. And so, for fun to some degree, I’ve been doing strategy sessions, as long as I have a whiteboard and things and that’s turned into really stepping in and helping entrepreneurs to do the executional side of the equation. As much as I’ll bitch about the work part of it like the mundaneness of legal and financial and accounting and all that stuff, whatever. I’m pretty good at it. And I can see things in a very clear way. And when I meet these really amazing, interesting people, I’m just so inclined to be like, “Come here, let me help you.” And I’m at the earlier stages of figuring that out for myself and what that looks like and how to monetize it. I welcome any feedback from you or the audience or anybody out there but I’m at the earliest stages of figuring it out. But I have some very dynamic entrepreneurs with some very cool companies that I’m now kind of a team member for. Again, I’m still trying to figure out how to regulate my own time because I’m not good at charging for my time. I’m not used to charging even if, with a legal background or whatever I’m making use to time based, reward financial reward. But I’m finding my way because again, I first and foremost, get kicked up over the challenge and the opportunity. And I gravitate toward these people doing cool shit, if I could say like that.

David Nilssen  30:29 

Well, you did say it like that. So that will keep it. So that’s awesome. Well, look, we’re getting close to the end, I think I want to just, I guess, ask for some perspective, as a final question. I’ll preface it by saying, my belief is that we’re living through a fundamental transformation in the way that we work and live. I mean, a lot of it has happened with COVID. And people who say, like, hey, COVID sort of didn’t really change much just accelerated, brought the future closer to us. But either way, I think, in order for people to survive, it requires a borderless mindset, looking beyond the way that we have thought and the way we’ve learned in the past that we can grow and lead in a dynamically changing world. So I guess my final question is, what advice would you have for a business leader today who is struggling to adapt as fast as the world is shifting?

David Lekach  31:19 

Just to be clear, not to deflect, adapt in what sense? Like what are you seeing is more of the Challenger issue? So can speak to that?

David Nilssen  31:26 

Well,  I’ll give an example, one of the big conversations I’m seeing today that the world is just out of nowhere, this sort of idea of centralized workforce is sitting in an office all day long, it just blew up. And we knew that remote and hybrid was coming, but it is now here, and we’re all having to forced, we’re forced to look at it in real time. I’m just curious, like top of mind, what are some of the key issues you think that leaders are going to have to figure out or work their way through in the near term?

David Lekach  31:55 

I have several thoughts that come to mind, I can tell you from an experience share perspective, that was sort of I had that hiccup in 2013, at the end of 2013, with Walmart, and it sort of sort of reassess, why am I showing up in this office? Why am I here doing what I’m doing? I lost Joseph, my brother is a co-founder and VP of sales, I lost Vincent as a co-founder and CEO, in that sort of moment, and whatever. And when you start to replace it with other people that just didn’t necessarily feel the culture on the way up, most of the team was consistent, but they didn’t really feel it when it was like awesome, and great. And all that stuff, whatever. I had one guy who would show up at nine, then leave a five. And just remember asking him, why. Why do you feel like you did a good day’s work today? And if you do, leave it three, if you don’t leave at six, it’s my mindset. And I would encourage those listening, it’s, it starts with, in my mind, my mindset, right? Like, how do I view it? And it wasn’t because I’m going to outwork all of you. Because that was very present. It was very real. I mean, I was usually the first one and last one out of the office. But to me, I never understood the idea of FaceTime. And being there from this hour to that hour, I always, my mindset was always around what needs to be done today to get to tomorrow. And that was always very present to me. So this idea of this borderless workforce and all that, to me, it’s more of a function of how do you think about the work that’s being done, not the time that it’s taking to get there. Because if you can detach yourself, from the time, I don’t really care how long it takes you, if you give me a contract, and it took you an hour to give me a great contract, or took you 10 hours, I personally give a shit, I got a great contract. Just by way of example, lawyers to charge my time. Same thing here, why should it be any different than anybody else? Us, obviously, certain jobs require, I’m not saying this is across the board statement across every kind of job out there. But a lot of office jobs, if we can call it that, to me, it’s about shifting that and being focused on the outcomes of the work, not the time it took to get there, or the how it took to get there. I believe maybe potentially one of my roles as a manager is to help that how be as effective and efficient as possible. Right, but that’s it not, oh, why did you leave at this hour, or why did you show up late? Because life happens at the end of the day. The other thing for whatever it’s worth, and we didn’t get into this at all, but that came to mind is I can’t tell you in how many places especially where I have older CEOs or I interact with older CEOs or leaders or what have you, is it they’ll flat out say like, I don’t understand these Millennials, and I’m an older millennial myself, but I don’t understand these Millennials or God forbid the generations below. And fundamentally, I don’t know that there’s anything that’s different for any of us. We all have kids that ideally, ideally we want to go see their soccer games, right? We all have gym time that we want to get to end fitness things that we want to accomplish for ourselves, we all have this desire to be with our spouse and do something, not just dinner, and be with them from seven o’clock at night to nine o’clock at night and go to sleep. And if you think about humans as being humans, not what their age is, or anything like that, again, this fits into this borderless world, which is, we all have things that motivate us, that push us that get us there. Some of my best thoughts, we didn’t get into this. But in COVID, I became a pretty big cyclist. And some of my best thoughts, my best cracking of the codes or whatever happened when I’m on a bike. If I have to be at a certain place at a certain hour, I lose that. And also what that does to me from a mindset perspective, right, during the course of my workday, when I started day, having biked 25 to 50 miles, the rest of my day, and that’s a small bike ride for me, just to be clear, but the rest of my day is just better, even if it’s spent in bed the rest of the day. And when you look at all that not every human is the same. Let’s stop trying to label people into boxes, let’s stop trying to force our own ideologies or ways of being on to other people. And in this borderless, frictionless world that we’re living in, let’s let people be people in a way where we’re focused on the outcomes of that, not on how we got there, and support the how, in and when possible, if that makes any sense.

David Nilssen  36:29 

I love it. In fact, it’s something I recently had a conversation with another individual. And we were talking about the fact that we out of nowhere many businesses were forced to move from a management by site to management by objective, which is completely different skill sets and a completely different sort of ideology around management. But to your point, I have this belief that we can create the life that we want, but we have to be given some autonomy and flexibility to be able to do that and still be accountable for what we need to accomplish. So I think it’s awesome. Well, for those of you that are listening, we’ve been listening to David Lekach, he’s the founder of Dream Water. But Dave, if somebody wants to connect with you, or learn more about you, where can they go?

David Lekach  37:10 

Yeah, I’m on Instagram, David.Lekach, my email is [email protected], they can reach out to you, Dave, and you can connect them to me directly. I’m on LinkedIn as well, David Lekach, and I make myself very available. I try to, I believe in paying it forward when it comes to entrepreneurship. And part of how to do that is you never know, 30 minutes or an hour with somebody could help a lot. And I believe that very much, and I encourage any of the viewers or listeners to reach out. And let’s talk and we’ll see what happens.

David Nilssen  37:46 

Awesome. All right. Well, thanks again for being on the show. Appreciate you.

David Lekach  37:49 

Of course, you too, Dave.

Outro  37:52 

Thank you for listening to The Future is Borderless podcast with David Nilssen. Be sure to click subscribe to future episodes so you can hear from more top entrepreneurs and thought leaders, and we’ll see you again next time.

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