LA Business Podcast

14. Kris Kelkar, Sparking Relationship

LA Business Podcast Kris Kelter
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We talk to Kris Kelkar about Startups, Entrepreneurship, Company Values, new Technologies, and how to deploy them successfully.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Welcome to the LA Business Podcast, a form for business owners and senior executives to share the experiences about the elements that drive their success. Your host is Robert Brill, CEO of, an Inc 500 company delivering the power of hyperlocal advertising. Robert writes for Forbes Inc. and Ad trade publications, our goal is to bring you the stories about successes and failures of people who are making big things happen in marketing, entrepreneurship, and management.

Robert Brill: [00:00:43] Everyone welcome to another episode of the LA Business Podcast. Today, our guest is Kris Kelker, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kris Kelkar: [00:00:53] Thanks, Robert. yeah, so I, was educated as an engineer. I left engineering early in my career, quite frankly, because I got bored with it. And they moved into, Marketing roles and then Operations roles, and then General Management.

And, what I’ve done throughout my, high tech career is I’ve actually been focused on startups, initially, startups within bigger businesses. And then finally, just standalone startup companies. So I consider myself an entrepreneur, in any field that I work in.

Robert Brill: [00:01:34] Okay. And so, we met at a party and you’re telling me about some of the interesting stuff you were doing at Xirgo Technologies.

You are the CEO over there, until September, 2013, at which point you exited. Can you tell us a little bit about what you were doing there and tell us about the growth story as we were going and like what type of company, you guys have over there?

Kris Kelkar: [00:01:58] Sure. so what we were actually looking to do is we were actually looking to create a company that really challenged a lot of the traditional roles.

the givens, if you will, that really didn’t have to be givens. And so what we really created, there were six of us that started the company, and what we created was something that had a, had a bedrock values and on what each person was seeking from the experience. And so, and so there was a way in which the company was part of us and we were part of it, but also what was different was that the company actually had this very, very strong core values.

And I think that really served us as we hit various, growing challenges and things of that sort.

Robert Brill: [00:02:49] So, tell us about the growth trajectory of Xirgo the fundamental nature of what you did there. Like give us an example of the output of the business over there.

When we talked, I found it really interesting there a lot of transparency. There was a lot of like focus on just being the absolute best you can be for the customer. Give us a little bit insight into that.

Kris Kelkar: [00:03:16] Yeah. So, so basically one of the premise, the premises that we built the company on was that we didn’t have to be the experts on a particular industry.

And what we really were the experts on was the technology that we developed and how to bring that to, scale deployment. And so what we did, is we focused on this industry, which was then called machine to machine communications, but it’s now called the internet of things or the internet of everything.

And the basic vision was that the industry was small at the time. And it was highly fragmented. And, what we saw was, sort of this vision of, of a breakout players, so leaders in their industries. So number one, two or three in their own industry that wanted to use this technology to basically change the industry, to flip it on its side so that they would get a competitive advantage that was much more strategic than, you know, basically cost reductions or things of that sort that are much more operational.

And so we scaled a company and develop the capability rather than developing products. And so we set up the capability for very, very fast time to market.

Robert Brill: [00:04:37] Can you tell us a little bit about either a brand or, or a type of like output of work.

Kris Kelkar: [00:04:46] Sure, sure. So, the companies, the companies sort of best known customer was Progressive Insurance and, basically, progressive insurance wanted to, take their industry of automotive insurance. Which was very, very commoditized and so very thin margins.

And it was all about categorizing risk. And insurance at the time was priced based, on, where you lived or on credit scores, which was loosely correlated to two driving habits. And, so, the way that insurance was priced was kind of imperfect. And so their ability to actually know their risk was imperfect.

And what they realized is that if they could know their risks better and they could price better, and then therefore they could make more money as well as change the industry because then all of a sudden people get insurance price based on how they drove rather than where they lived or their credit score.

And so they had been experimenting with different technologies for a while and had a lot of sort of pretty sizable trials. But when they were ready to go, they needed a company that could develop a customized product for them and could get it into market very quickly and deploy it in volumes that that industry had never seen before.

And so we fortunately, ended up on their radar and, we ended up doing a deal with them and we ended up becoming their exclusive supplier. While I was there.

Robert Brill: [00:06:27] So, so Kris was a technology about understanding how people drive in, in the car.

Kris Kelkar: [00:06:34] The application was about how people drive in the car. The technology was, a device that plugged into a standard diagnostic court in what almost all cars out there have today.

And, what the device did was it actually talked to the car. To figure out how somebody was driving. And then the technology did not have GPS in it, but actually had a cell phone in it and it, and it basically reported back how someone was driving in real time. And so what progressive got in their backend IT was snapshots. And that’s what the, technology ended up being called with snapshot discount. It was basically snapshots of how somebody drove and they use that to price insurance and, to give somebody a rate that was indicative of how they grow, which meant the risks they were actually, giving to progressive.

Robert Brill: [00:07:37] Got it. And so the primary function here, like you guys saw an opportunity to help progressive with what we’ll call internet of things or internet of everything and technology. And so you custom developed that technology for progressive.

Kris Kelkar: [00:07:58] Yeah, we custom developed it. We actually went from a standing start to deployment productions in four months, which is unheard of in that industry. And, we deployed it at volume for many years, at least since till I left.

Robert Brill: [00:08:16] And so was that a primary driver of growth for the business? And if it was, what aspect of it is it the fact that you had a relationship with progressive, is it the fact that you created a technology that didn’t exist before?

Like what’s the turning point there?

Kris Kelkar: [00:08:32] It was a combination of things. I mean, basically we created a technology that didn’t exist before in that it was self-installable. So one of their requirements was they didn’t want to have to pay for installation, broke their business model. And so one of their starting points with self-installable technology.

And so we developed this thing that was basically, smaller than an index card. That plugged into a port underneath the dash, and that could be accessed by the customer. And so they, basically get a set of instructions on how to install it in their car. So progressive developed a database of where these ports were in different cars and basically, they were told how to install it.

And it was a simple installation. And then the device basically had the smarts do everything else by itself.

Robert Brill: [00:09:25] Got it. And so, you exited the company in 2013. Where you a partner in the company. You were one of the founding partners.

Kris Kelkar: [00:09:35] Yeah, I was the CEO of the company and, I was one of the founding six partners.

Robert Brill: [00:09:43] And so can you tell us a little bit about like the growth trajectory of the business? What did you learn, as you scale the business, and, and what were some of the, like, tipping points or areas that really made a, an exponential difference in the way a Zergo Technologies grew?

Kris Kelkar: [00:10:05] Well, you know, one of the things that we kind of built the company based on was that, we kind of figured that many, many companies actually have the right vision. They actually don’t have the right timing. And so they tend to burn out and so they’re at a run rate and things don’t happen as fast as everyone always thinks, especially optimistic entrepreneurs.

And so they actually run out of cash or they run out of something. And so what we did is we built a business that actually had a lot of time leaving. And so, we made decisions like none of us took salaries. We all worked off of profits. And so the business actually had to be profitable in order to do anything in order to actually spit out money to us.

And that was a big thing because then all of our costs were fungible. They basically could be slowed down or sped up based on what was actually going on. Rather than, having a run rate or a burn rate that we needed to fund. The second thing that we really built the company on was that, you know, most companies actually consume cash when they grow.

And you and I talked about this a little bit, and it really has to do with the cash cycle of the business. How quickly does the business get paid by its customers and how long does it take to get a product out the door and, actually have to pay the suppliers. And so a lot of businesses make mistakes because, they end up giving, because they’re startups, they don’t have a lot of leverage.

And so they end up giving, very poor, payment terms to customers and end up getting very poor terms for them from their suppliers. And so they end up shelling out a lot of cash. But the big thing is, is that when they grow, they actually consume a lot of cash. And so we actually scaled it. So the business actually was either neutral or generated cash when it grew.

And so what that meant is that regardless of how fast our customers scaled, we could always keep up with them without needing a ton of cash.

Robert Brill: [00:12:14] So, so was that a fundamental change in the way you’ve done business in, in the past that, you started the business with the idea that you’re not going to get into a financial trap.

Kris Kelkar: [00:12:27] We’re not. Right. Exactly. We’re not going to get into a financial trap. And, and a lot of companies, they, they tend to put their emphasis on different things. So a lot of companies tend to put the emphasis on, on gross margins. We actually put the emphasis on cash. So we were actually at the time, willing to price things in a way that made sense for our customers where they would actually be able to pay us faster.

Robert Brill: [00:12:56] And so were you giving discounts for fast payments?

Kris Kelkar: [00:13:00] It wasn’t discounts? I mean, it was basically the agreements we structured. We actually ended up, disengaging with some customers because they weren’t paying the way they said they were going to. Yeah. And so, and so we had a particular criterion and the companies fit that criteria, then it would work.

Now, the reality is, is that all of our customers were much larger companies than we were.

Robert Brill: [00:13:25] Right.

Kris Kelkar: [00:13:25] They could afford the cash. They didn’t need us to fund finance them, and so it was just another bargaining chip for them. It’s not that they couldn’t do it, it’s just, it was another bargaining. So great. Well, we had a bargaining chip too, which was price, and so that was one of the things that we played with was, was giving things that we knew we could afford to give.

In order to get what we needed to structure the business the way it needed to be structured so we could basically grow. And so price is just an example. There were, there were a whole lot of things.

Robert Brill: [00:13:58] Can give you, give me an example of like how you use price as a bargaining chip and how they used payment terms as a bargaining chip.

Kris Kelkar: [00:14:08] I am not sure what you mean by an example. I mean, price to me is, is always a bargaining.

Robert Brill: [00:14:13] Got it. So our point is you’re pricing it in a way that the market, your customers are, that’s not going to be, your price isn’t so high that the customer isn’t going to buy.

That’s the point. Pricing it.

Kris Kelkar: [00:14:27] Right. Right. It’s pricing it. Right. But it’s also having some more flexibility in the price to give, on things that we need, like payment terms. I mean, that’s, sort of a very simplistic example because, you know, all of these contracts are 150 pages thick, and they have lots of terms and conditions in them.

Robert Brill: [00:14:47] Sure.

Kris Kelkar: [00:14:48] And so, and so that’s a very simplistic example, but, but it’s an example that, that, is, is a good one because a lot of companies focus purely on price. And they rarely focus on payment terms or they, sort of have these very, very extended payment terms, like, you know, 60 day, 90 day terms, which is great if you have the cash.

But our customers actually had the cash. We didn’t have the cash, so, so it helped us to have shorter payment terms. And, and then basically we’re able to do things to do cost reductions. And so, you know, you get into visit market visibility and forecasting. So there’s a lot of different elements of knobs that we can turn and in order and turning those knobs allowed us to get a lower cost.

And that allowed us to get more aggressive on price.

Robert Brill: [00:15:43] So one of the factors there, is your point, is get aggressive on price. In return, get more favorable payment terms they don’t find into financial liquidity challenge.

Kris Kelkar: [00:15:56] I would say it’s a more general thing because I don’t want to focus on price because price leader, we weren’t the price leader necessarily.

I would rather say that we focused on what we found important to us and we were very, very clear about what was important to us. So like forecast visibility. That was very important to us because it allowed us to meet our customer’s needs without having to carry a lot of inventory. And so that’s, that’s a thing that’s sort of in the bowels of the operations organization that a lot of, a lot of companies, especially new ones, don’t focus on.

So we were very focused on that. We were very focused on payment terms. So there were a number of things that we were very focused on that allowed us to basically do what we could do best and do it really well.

Robert Brill: [00:16:47] And so tell me about how you guys, so cashflow is important. You weren’t the market leader on price, which is understandable.

I agree with that. Like, we’re not the market leader on price either.

Yeah. And

Kris Kelkar: [00:17:02] I think it’s really knowing who you are and where you want to put your energy. Yeah. I mean, we had, we had limited resources and so does one, was this one of our customers want me to spend my time and making the product better or to deliver it faster or to create some new technology that helps them change their industry?

Or do they want me to spend my time on calling them to get them to pay their bills? Right. It’s that simple. Right. And so really it’s sort of. Knowing where the leverage points are and knowing what value that we added and focusing on that value.

Robert Brill: [00:17:38] Absolutely. What, were some of the important turning points within your, within Zurich technologies?

Like how, like can you give us a sense of like, like what, what types of actions you took to scale the business? Did you grow off of relationships? Did you have a strongly defined like lead generation system. I imagine a lot of it has to do with relationships. Consider your of business. Yeah, it was.

Kris Kelkar: [00:18:09] It was those, those are good examples. So, so relationships was a big thing and where we actually placed a lot of emphasis. So it’s relationship among the six partners and then with our employees. Because at the end of the day, that was sort of the nucleus of that pen that needed to work well. And so we actually did things like bring, communication tools in and bring in things that allowed us to trust each other.

Because trust was a big deal. When there’s six people, it’s like any one person can’t look at everything. They just can’t. And so, there’s so many moving parts that I needed to trust my partners. They needed to trust me. And so each of us had, a good understanding of what everyone’s capabilities were, and we developed a trust for them.

And a lot of that was actually based on clear communication and, clear conversations and clear decision making. So relationships internally was a big thing. And then externally, of course, it’s always a big thing. You know, your customers need to see you as a partner. And that’s how we positioned the business because we want it to be the technology arm of these bigger companies.

In the specialization that we wanted to do. So they had their own in house tech people, but like in progressive insurance case, their tech was focused on big backend servers and getting those to run well and to get their databases and information systems running well. They weren’t experts in cranking out small, cute devices that could be consumer installed and mailed out and ramped up in production. That wasn’t their expertise.

So did they want to actually spend the time and money to build their expertise and stub their toes and make the mistakes? Or did they just want to hit the ground running? And that’s what we were selling was we were selling a capability of basically renting out effect in effect a technology arm that had this expertise to allow somebody or a piece companies to change their industries very, very quickly.

Robert Brill: [00:20:21] What did you end up focusing on car insurance or did you, end up with like a variety of clients across different industries? Cause I imagine a lot of this stuff is applicable in many different ways.

Kris Kelkar: [00:20:37] Yeah. The core technology actually is a lot of flexibility. I mean, it’s basically bringing, diagnostics control and status monitoring, to the desktop or to, some sort of server back home. And, and so that applies to a lot of different industries. And so, yeah, we actually didn’t just focus on car insurance.

We, focused on a lot of different industries, some of which, you know, most people haven’t even heard of to basically revamp the industry. So another big industry that the company focused on when you were growing was, in the high risk vehicle financing industry. So, so basically, people that can’t afford to buy cars and don’t have good credit ratings, ended up paying an arm and a leg for insurance.

I’m sorry, for getting loans for the, the interest rates that they pay. And so, what we did is we, worked with some companies and we deployed, a technology that allowed the banks or the owners of the loans to know where the car was. And so if a car needed to be repossessed because somebody wasn’t paying their loans.

they would basically reduce the cost of reposition. And so it was interesting because we were like, Oh yeah, you know, we make reposition possible. And our customers like, no, no, no. Repossession happens no matter what. No matter what you guys do, the repossession is going to happen. Right? It’s a question of what does it cost to repossess it and, and how confrontational is that?

Repossession. And what our technology did was it allowed banks to basically monitor the usage of the vehicle gob and to understand when it was actually safe to repossess the car when something wasn’t, when, when a bill wasn’t being paid over a long period of time. Wow. Whether it already in.

Robert Brill: [00:22:43] Got it. So was that, that wasn’t already installed in the car, that was like monitored in some other, in some other fashion?

Kris Kelkar: [00:22:50] Right. It was, an installation that the dealers did. And so the dealers for these kinds of vehicles install these devices in the cars and got the customers to sign off on it in exchange for a lower interest rate.

Robert Brill: [00:23:06] That’s fascinating.

Kris Kelkar: [00:23:08] And it goes back to the same thing. You know, it’s all about risk.

It’s somebody that has an intention not to pay their bills, going to sign up for a device that can help repossess the car. No, they’re not. So therefore, anybody that signs up for it is a lower risk, and so they should get a lower interest rate.

Robert Brill: [00:23:29] So does Xirgo Technology still exist today, right? Is that right?

Kris Kelkar: [00:23:38] Yeah, it does exist today. Some of the partners have left. Some remain and I’m, yeah, the company does. I honestly, I don’t keep track of it anymore, but I do know it exists.

Robert Brill: [00:23:53] So, the elements of growth there are, advantageous payment terms, understanding internal and external communications, and really being open with the folks who you partner with and having a great amount of trust on leveraging relationships, to the, larger marketplace.

Kris Kelkar: [00:24:19] And I would say it’s also, on the customer side, it’s also on the supplier side. So we had very, very close working relationships with the technology suppliers.

So we were very, very fast to develop products. So for example, when we were shifting from 2G technology to 3G technology and now probably 4G and 5G technology, our product development cycle and the way that we were able to roll out products is very, very fast because we had such close working relationships with the technology partners that provided the technology for these things.

And so, it wasn’t just customer relationships, it wasn’t just internal relationships was sort of preexisting. All our relationships, were valued and we leveraged them to the extent that we could. And then, in terms of payment terms, I would say, you know, payment terms is one aspect.

It’s really sort of managing the things that we need to manage in order to make sure that our business runs. And, and focusing attention on that and getting our customers to understand that those are important to us in order for us to survive and be healthy. And then in exchange, we would help the customer basically change their industry based on whatever they needed and you know, prices just one lever. There’s a lot of different levers that go into it.

Robert Brill: [00:25:46] So, you exited when we met, you told me you were retired. I don’t believe that cause you’re still doing interesting things here. So tell me about Sparkling Relationship.

That seems to be a big divergent path from what you were doing before. How did you kind of come to be doing Sparkling Relationship and tell us about what it is?

Kris Kelkar: [00:26:09] Sure. So it’s Sparking Relationship.

Robert Brill: [00:26:12] Sparking. I’m so sorry.

Kris Kelkar: [00:26:14] Not a problem. It’s actually funny because you know, we came up with that name, and then like a year or two later, somebody mistyped it as sparkling and it was just like, really I hadn’t even thought of that.

Robert Brill: [00:26:28] I wonder if it makes sense to buy the URL.

Kris Kelkar: [00:26:32] Yeah. I mean, I have a many different variants of that URL. It’s sparkling wasn’t one that I thought of when they did all that, so, yeah, absolutely. So basically relationship was a big thing when we created Xirgo.

I’ve also been in a longterm relationship with my wife. We’ve been married for over 30 years now, and a lot of that journey has been around how do we keep things fresh and, you know, not get stale, and how do we, wake up every morning excited to see the other person?

And so, there’s like a vibrancy that we’d been chasing. In our relationship, what we’ve done is, I’ve actually, we both done a lot of personal growth work, sometimes common, sometimes different. A lot of that stems from, my own personal growth path. So through the process of, starting Xirgo ago and starting it, in 2010, I was diagnosed with leukemia.

Robert Brill: [00:27:47] Really.

Kris Kelkar: [00:27:47] And then in 2012, I needed a triple bypass operation.

Robert Brill: [00:27:53] Wow.

Kris Kelkar: [00:27:53] So I had some major health crises. And what that got me to, realize is that, relationship was, a big deal for me. And stress was a big deal for me and they actually didn’t work well together. And so, what we’ve been doing is we’ve been taking a lot of what we’ve learned and taking it out.

And so the basis of what we teach as well as our personal growth work in relationship is listening to the voice of the relationship. And so, basically, if the relationship had its own energy and its own voice, what would it be saying to us. And what we found is that that voice is always, always pointing us to more vibrancy, more love, more compassion.

And so, we’ve been playing with a lot of different tools that allow us to expand to that and always open to that. Now, what we’ve found is that we’re all built for that. We all have it within us and we let things get in our way. So one of the big things we like get in our way is what we call the incoherent mind.

So, you know, when people get into these things where they think they have to get things done and then all of a sudden, you know, the person in front of me is not helping me, they’re actually in my way and I just need to get this done. So get out of my way. That is not conducive to relationship at all.

And that is, that is one of the symptoms of an incoherent mind. Where the mind and the body are actually out of sync with each other. And so we actually, have cultivated a lot of different practices. And we offer them to our clients, both coaching as well as in workshops that we give, that help people expand more and more into this state of seeing the bigger picture of actually seeing the nuances of situations, of recognizing that there’s multiple perspectives involved here.

That my perspective isn’t the right one and everybody else’s is the wrong one. And those are all things that translate into any kind of relationship. And so what we’ve found is that the people that come to our workshops are actually looking to change their lives, to change their relationships in general, not just with a romantic partner.

They want to change their business relationships and their family and their friends and things of that sort. And so it’s more honesty, more trust, more transparency.

Robert Brill: [00:30:41] And so, is this learning? Is this feeling? What do people experience when they go to this? When they go to these. It’s a retreat, right?

Kris Kelkar: [00:30:57] Yeah. Yeah. So, it’s workshops and we have various formats. We’ve done intensive residential retreats. We’ve also done multi-week formats where you go back to your life and you come in one weekend, one week night, a week for a few hours.

And so, basically one of the things that we do is, we actually recognize that learning isn’t enough. Like understanding something isn’t enough. You actually have to translate that into learning, through body integration. And so we teach through experiences. So we give them the concepts, but we also have a lot of experiencial exercises that allow people to actually feel what it feels like.

So what does it actually feel like to be in cooking coherence and what does it feel like to be in coherence? What does it feel like to be connected to someone? What does it feel like to be open and expanded to different perspectives and possibilities. So, we basically give a lot of experiences and the experiences progress throughout the workshop to the point where at the end of it, people are hopefully grounded in what things feel like in their bodies as well as they understand the reasons why they’re doing practices.

So it ends up creating a lasting change for people.

Robert Brill: [00:32:27] So, is that feeling internal and different to everyone or is it sort of universal? Is there a universal descriptor for how it feels to be in the state of coherence?

Kris Kelkar: [00:32:46] I think it feels different for everyone only because we perceive things differently.

You know, people have described it as an expansive feeling in their chest, feels like, you know, their minds are clear and they’re not overly focused on anything. It may feel like some people call it a grounded feeling where they feel like, there’s like a weight that’s basically anchoring them to the ground, as opposed  to floaty. Some people feel clear as opposed to foggy. It can be different aspects of these things. And so I think everybody’s perception of their sensations is different. And, that’s part of what we do is we help people actually cultivate their relationship with their sensation because everything starts from sensation and we don’t recognize it.

So even when I see something. It’s actually the sense of some light hitting my eyes and being able to discern what that means. And so we are very good at seeing, we’re very good at hearing. We’re not as good at feeling. And so what is it that I’m feeling in my body? Now what’s been proven recently is that we all, actually transmit our thoughts and emotions through an electromagnetic field.

And so we interact on so many different levels that most people don’t even recognize. And so our senses are, the way we actually, sense other people. So it might be this feeling of like, almost like walking on eggshells. Why do I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

Robert Brill: [00:34:30] Yeah.

Kris Kelkar: [00:34:30] Is it just because the other person is angry at something, or is it because they’re angry at me?

Or is it because they feel like they’re walking on eggshells? I don’t know. And so, really it’s this thing of developing the vocabulary and the trust with other people to start exploring this, world of sensation and how connected we truly are as opposed to just the three of years where we focus on.

Robert Brill: [00:34:57] You know, I think the way you’re talking about coherence, I think that’s the way I feel when I look at my little boy. When I go in, so I work from home. He’s about to turn one on December 28th, and so when like every like couple hours or whatever, what I sort of finish one task and I’m excited to do the next thing.

I’ll just take a few moments. I’ll go inside. And I will just hold a little boy and he’ll be wrestling around and he’s very active. And I just look at his face, all the little features on his face, and I’m just, I get a clear wipe and I get a chance to like just focus on his beautiful face and now come back reinvigorated. And with clarity in my head about the next thing that I’m going to do. And it’s, it’s a really great feeling.

Kris Kelkar: [00:35:47] That’s awesome. That’s really amazing. Yeah. And you know, just when you said that, I notice my shoulders soften and my hands felt a little warm and tingly, and all of a sudden, you know, I really started feeling good.

And so this is. You know, we’re not near each other right now. And you know, we’re doing this over a video conference and yet I can still sense you. And so this is, this is where the magic comes in, is how we actually relate to each other goes so much beyond what I say and what you see me do.

It actually is this level of connection that transcends space and time.

Robert Brill: [00:36:28] I liked that. I’ve been told my entire life, like when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, why are you so serious? And. I know, and sometimes there’s a lot going on  in my head that doesn’t always, that just translates to why are you so serious?

Because I’m like thinking about things and that I forget to have an expression on my face. But I totally liked the idea that I could change the way I relate to other people. And make them feel a different way, then I think I am unintentionally giving them the cues for.

Kris Kelkar: [00:37:17] Yeah, I mean I relate to what you’re talking about as well because, you know, I kind of related to my needing to act like an adult when I was very young.

Robert Brill: [00:37:29] Yeah.

Kris Kelkar: [00:37:30] But, I have this thing of like when I’m focused on getting something done, I have very little expression on my face and people are like, Oh, I’m going to get away from him.

And so, yeah. What I, noticed is just slowing down actually helps me soften. And, allows people to actually like notice that it’s like, Oh, okay, there’s a lot more going on here than him just trying to get something done and get out of my way allows me to make more eye contact and allows me to, you know, basically express myself more.

You know, there’s, I’m not suggesting that for you, but in general, you know, it’s like, for me, the path has actually been slowing down.

Robert Brill: [00:38:13] Absolutely. No, absolutely. I went, and so I went to a conference in October and we heard a speaker named Nir Eyal who has a book about distraction. Are you familiar with him?

Kris Kelkar: [00:38:27] I’m not.

Robert Brill: [00:38:28] Yeah, he’s, it was interesting. So he spoke on stage, it was the inc 5,000 conference. And one of the things that I really enjoyed that I came away with was. When, a person gets distracted to pay attention to how I feel when I get, distracted. It’s usually about procrastination or feeling uncomfortable with something and that feeling of being uncomfortable, results in me not wanting to experience that, which goes a little further into, I’m not going to do the thing.

Which then goes into, I’m basically gonna do something else that makes you feel a little better. So the result of that, it’s again, a sensory experience, not doing something comes back to how I feel about, you know, I got to do invoices, or I gotta have a difficult conversation and I push it off because there’s a feeling in my stomach and I don’t feel comfortable.

Kris Kelkar: [00:39:32] Yeah, no, absolutely. And there’s a way in which it’s like when I don’t feel that, when I don’t feel comfortable, I tend to kind of wall that off and then I stopped feeling because I’m walling it off. And then I just basically run through life trying to get stuff done without feeling. So yeah, no, I get that.

Absolutely. So one of the things I wanted to mention is you brought up, books, is that I published my first book back in April of this year. It’s called ‘Dancing with the Field, Bringing Joy, Passion, and Play into Everyday Life’. And, really it is about, this thing that I called the field that, is sort of around us and in us, and it actually responds to us.

And so how do we actually play with it? And, you know, you can call it playing with life. We can call it playing with the universe and called use whatever name. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s basically how do I get to a point where I’m actually playing with life. Or everything that comes to play and everything, you know, even if I need to get something done, it’s to actually allow me to create the structure that I need to play.

Robert Brill: [00:40:47] Yup. Yup. Absolutely. So I like that. I actually consider everything I’m doing a game until it’s not until I get out, you know. You know, one of the things that’s important to me is I’m a first time Chief Executive Officer. And so, like, there’s things that I’m doing that I’m doing for the first time over the last couple of years, but generally speaking, it’s, you know, new and interesting for me.

But when I recall that it’s a game and that generally overall things are going well and I’m winning. But even when I’m not winning, I’m learning and I’m getting an invaluable experience that I really just manufactured for myself. Like I never would  have been a Chief Executive Officer at 38 how did not created the role for myself.

Kris Kelkar: [00:41:41] Yeah. No, that’s great. And for me, it’s when I think that I can’t make a mistake or when I think that the consequences of making a mistake are going to be huge, that’s when I get tight and that’s when it stops being play. But, if I can just remember that it’s a game and that, you know, there are no mistakes because I’m always going to get some learning out of it or something like that.

And I can just hold that strongly then life literally becomes play. Everything becomes play.

Robert Brill: [00:42:13] So, Kris, we gotta wrap up. Our parting question. I’m a foodie. I love good, good food. I don’t know if you also feel the same way, but even if you don’t. Tell us about what’s your favorite food?

What do you like to eat? What’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Kris Kelkar: [00:42:31] Oh wow. What’s my favorite food? I am such a foodie as well.

Robert Brill: [00:42:36] Yeah.

Kris Kelkar: [00:42:37] I really am. I just love different kinds of food. What I really enjoy is I enjoy things that are creative and colorful and use ingredients in novel ways. I like being  surprised.

And, I really like also really enjoy ease. Like if I’m making something, I like it to be easy. I don’t want to have to use 20 pots to make something.

Robert Brill: [00:43:05] Oh yeah.

Kris Kelkar: [00:43:06] And so I’ve, I’ve actually fallen in love with this thing that we had just bought recently called an Instant Pot. And I’m finding all of these wonderful recipes for it.

And so what came to mind when you said, what do I like is, I found this Curry recipe and, what surprised me about the Curry recipe is it had sweet potatoes in it. And Curry usually doesn’t have sweet potatoes in it. And I think I made a mistake and I’ll put that in air quotes mistake, because I think I overcooked it.

And so the sweet potatoes disintegrated. But what I was surprised by was that the blend of the Curry spices and the sweet potato that just became the sauce made it this thick, rich, really delicious sauce. Slightly sweet, slightly salty, slightly spicy. It had such a complex flavor profile.

Robert Brill: [00:44:08] I’ll exchange it with you. I love to Tik Tok. I think is the best thing since sliced bread. And, I just saw a video last night, this young woman, showing a cooking recipe on a hotpot, which all, chicken breasts, Cumin. you know, some spicy chili powder.

But the Coup de Gras in the ingredient was too full, like, two bricks of Philadelphia cream cheese. It’s probably a very heavy dish, but she puts it in a, in a, in an instant pot, let it cook for like four hours or six hours or something. And it looked delicious, and so I’ll send you that and I haven’t tasted it, but it looked really good. My favorite is my mom’s schnitzel, which I haven’t had. Mom, if you’re listening to this, you, I hope you are, I need some schnitzel.

Kris Kelkar: [00:45:16] Give her your FedEx number. Is she nearby?

Robert Brill: [00:45:23] Yeah she is. I saw her yesterday. And like every, two weeks I’m like, mom, where’s the schnitzel?

Kris Kelkar: [00:45:29] That’s funny.

Robert Brill: [00:45:33] My wife makes them really good, like chicken, Adobe adobo. I don’t know what, or whatever. And it’s really fantastic too.

Kris Kelkar: [00:45:42] Anyway, awesome. Well, we’ll have to talk more about foodie stuff. That sounds like a fun conversation.

Robert Brill: [00:45:48] Indeed. Kris how can how can people reach you.

Kris Kelkar: [00:45:54] [email protected]. That’s probably the best way to reach me. I also want to just say that my wife and I are now writing a book called Relating Revolution and, that should be out sometime soon. And, that has some of the basics that we teach in our workshops.

Because what we’re trying to do is take this work out to a broader audience and create more positive impact for people in their lives.

Robert Brill: [00:46:26] Very good.

Kris Kelkar: [00:46:28] Awesome. Thank you very much, Robert. I really appreciate the time. This is fun. Okay, bye.

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Intro Music: Echegoyen Productions

Created By: Brill Media