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Think Like an Owner

Business & Economics Podcasts

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital. Episodes released weekly. Learn more at

This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital. Episodes released weekly. Learn more at


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This show seeks out conversations with business owners and private investors to learn how to acquire and run small companies, with a special focus on search funds, micro private equity, and permanent capital. Episodes released weekly. Learn more at






Kaustubh Deo - NYC Private Equity to a Tree Service Acquisition in Seattle - Ep.114

My guest for this episode is Kaustubh Deo. Kaustubh recently acquired a tree service business in Seattle through a self-funded search after working in private equity in New York. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Kaustubh over the last two years and have found him to be one of the most insightful thinkers in the search space. A good portion of our conversation focuses on concepts like risk-reward and making transitions, topics he has given a lot of thought. Throughout our discussion,...


Alex Mears - Lessons for Search from Large-Cap Private Equity - Ep.113

My guest on this episode is Alex Mears. Alex started his career in investment banking and consulting before leaving for the Navy and eventually returning to private equity at the Carlyle Group. Two years ago, Alex launched a non-profit called Search and Acquire to support veterans pursuing search. And he just recently announced a search investment firm he's co-founded called the Brydon Group to invest in searchers from all backgrounds. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Alex over the last...


Tony Layne - A Turbulent Journey of Entrepreneurship - Ep.112

My guest on this episode is Tony Layne. I met Tony and his wife Cassi at SMBash in February after several folks strongly recommended I talk with them and I'm glad they did. Tony and Cassi are lifelong entrepreneurs in various ventures, but by far, their most successful venture is Senior Dental Care, now called Aria Care Partners under private equity ownership. Senior Dental Care started as a mobile dental services company for senior care homes and evolved to partner with insurance companies...


Tom Birchard - Kicking Off a Home Services Rollup - Ep.111

My guest on this episode is Tom Birchard. Tom has spent a great portion of his career managing service and operations teams for Ingersoll Rand and Trane, and as of March 2022, has taken a president role with a family office to acquire home services businesses. The family office is Whitney Wilder and it's technically a multifamily office based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that operates like a private equity firm, but without a fund, giving them lots of flexibility, investments, and timelines....


Trilogy Search Series Ep.2: Ryan Turk - Ep.110

My guest on this episode is Ryan Turk. Ryan raised a traditional search fund in March 2020 and closed on Radiation Detection Company only nine months later in December 2020. Prior to searching, Ryan served in the Navy aboard nuclear submarine USS Michigan as an officer managing their onboard nuclear power system. Ryan used this experience to launch his impressively short industry focused search. Ryan and I talk about the pros and cons of being from the Navy prior to becoming a CEO, his...


Preston Holland - Transforming Flying Magazine - Ep.109

My guest on this episode is Preston Holland. Preston is the COO of FLYING Magazine, which was purchased in July 2021 by Craig Fuller and has been going through a broad transformation to a modern media business. Preston and I became friends over our mutual love of aviation and media, and our conversations are always wide ranging and leave me with a new idea or view of the world. I'm very excited to share today's episode on niche media and publishing. Over the course of our discussion, we...


David Dodson - Searching, Investing, Teaching - Ep.108

My guest on this episode is David Dodson. David started the second ever search fund after being a Stanford case writer, purchasing Smith Alarm Systems in 1989. Over his career, David has been the CEO or executive chairman of five companies, has and continues to invest in search funds today through his firm Futaleufu Partners, and he is a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching classes about search and the management of small companies. My conversation with David starts...


Glenn Gonzales - How to Fly Private as a Business Owner - Ep.107

My guest on this episode is Glenn Gonzales. Glenn is the founder and CEO of Jet It, a fractional share private jet business with a unique model serving customers across the country and in Europe. Prior to founding Jet It, Glenn was an F-15 pilot in the Air Force and sold private jets on behalf of Gulfstream and Honda. This episode is a deep dive into all options available for business owners who want to fly private. If you want to explore private travel options, fly private more frequently,...


Trilogy Search Series Ep.1: Nikita Sunilkumar & Kush Das - Ep.106

Welcome to the first episode in our trilogy search partner series with great entrepreneurs and investors from the traditional search world. Today, I am joined by Nikita Sunilkumar and Kush Das who both search and acquired home healthcare businesses through the traditional search process. Kush acquired Ennoble Care and works as a CEO today. Nikita acquired Crown Health in June 2020 and, in fact, just recently sold in early 2022. Both Nikita and Kush are fantastically talented entrepreneurs,...


Michael Curry & Keith Burns - Earn The Right to Lead - Ep.105

My guests on this episode are Michael Curry and Keith Burns who together have acquired 11 diagnostic radiation and other physics services businesses since 2014 through their platform Apex Physics Partners. This episode is loaded with wisdom and insights. I had a number of alternative titles I considered based on quotes for the conversation like "the CEO of Delta doesn't know how to fly" or "putting out fires with your face." Ultimately, earning the right to lead felt right as we talk...


Lori Harrington & Bruce Vanderzyde - Searcher and Seller Perspectives - Ep.104

My guests on this episode are Lori Harrington and Bruce Vanderzyde. Lori launched a search in October 2020 and recently acquired Bruce's company Anterra Tech at the end of 2021, which offers business intelligence software for the construction and real estate industries. This episode is a great discussion of how building a better relationship with a seller, negotiating upfront, bringing great advisors, and emphasizing strong and frequent communication can lead to a successful deal. Whether...


Live From SMBash: Justin Burris and Tim Ludwig on Majority Search - Ep.103

My guests on this episode are Justin Burris and Tim Ludwig who together have co-founded a new search investment fund named Majority Search. Majority Search aims to be the preferred buyer of small companies while giving searchers the chance to own the majority of the companies they operate. This is a brand-new model they've spent the last year working on, and I'm so excited to see it finally become public. This episode was recorded live on February 4th at SM Bash in Orlando, Florida, in...


Cross-Post: Owned and Operated with Alex Bridgeman

This week is a bonus episode. We are cross posting a guest appearance I had on John Wilson's Owned and Operated podcast. I'm a big fan of John and enjoy his podcast immensely, and I wanted to share it with you all. In this episode, I share more about my philosophy behind the Operator's Handbook and all the ins and outs you want to know about podcasting. Near the end, I manage to turn the mic around on him and learn about his idea of bloating before optimizing and growing Wilson Plumbing and...


Greg Geronemus - Traditional Search Misconceptions - Ep.102

My guest on this episode is Greg Geronemus, co-founder and managing partner of Footbridge Partners, a traditional search investment firm. This is my second episode with Greg, the first being episode 17 back in April 2020, where Greg shared his experience acquiring and operating his search company SmarTours and launching Footbridge. Well, two years later, Greg and his partner David have raised that fund and are halfway through their investment period with a budding portfolio of searchers. In...


Mehtab Bhogal - How to Fix a Failing Ecommerce Business - Ep.101

My guest on this episode is Mehtab Bhogal, co-founder of Karta Ventures. Karta is a Canadian based e-commerce acquirer investing primarily in e-commerce turnarounds, a corner of the world I didn't even know existed but that is incredibly fascinating. This episode is one of my recent favorites because of Mehtab’s ability to share high level insights and then, in the next sentence, dive deep into obscure e-commerce details. If you enjoy conversations with seasoned operators who love to get...


Sam Shepler - Video Testimonials for Growing Companies - Ep.100

My guest on this episode is Sam Shepler. Sam is the founder of Testimonial Hero, a company he bootstrapped that helps companies create more effective video customer testimonials. Sam and I spend much of the episode talking about how to create great testimonials for your company and what the driving reasons are for using video over text or other mediums. In addition to being focused on a really interesting part of a sales process, Testimonial Hero itself is an interesting case study at what...


Robert Graham – Running Two Businesses, in the Healthcare Space and in the Search Fund Space - Ep.99

My guest on this episode is Robert Graham. Robert worked in management roles at Eaton prior to attending Harvard Business School, after which he worked in investment banking and private equity. Eventually, he decided to search for a business after seeing his HBS classmates do it, and today Robert is Managing Partner at Pillar Health Group, the holding company for four healthcare businesses he acquired together as a searcher. He's also a partner at Search Investment Group, which advises...


Eric Friend – A Conversation About the 100+ Year Old Friend Family Business of Print – Ep.98

My guest on this episode is Eric Friend. I reached out to Eric after seeing him talking on Twitter about his family’s printing business Friend Paper, which was founded in 1908 in Zion, Illinois, by Eric's great grandfather. As a print publisher through our quarterly publication called the Operator's Handbook, I was curious to hear what ideas he had on using print as a content medium. It turns out he's an even bigger print publishing nerd than I am, and we hit it off immediately. I forgot to...


John Puskar – A Journey of Growing and Selling a Professional Services Company - Ep.97

John founded a professional services company in 1984 focused on energy conservation, inspections, and design work for large companies. He eventually grew the company to 43 employees and $13 million in sales and sold to Eclipse Combustion for $10 million in 2011. Since selling the business, he has taken on specific consulting projects to keep himself active and in the loop. I met John at a happy hour gathering in Akron, Ohio, of small business folks on Twitter and around Ohio. We shared a...


Jordan Evans – Acquiring and Growing a Family Business in the Industry of Language Services - Ep.96

My guest on this episode is Jordan Evans. Jordan grew up in an entrepreneurial family in California. His parents started a language translation and interpreting business when he was two years old, and it grew over the course of his childhood. It grew enough that he actually acquired it from his parents in 2019 and has since been growing the business organically and through strategic bolt-on acquisitions of other language companies. I love episodes of family businesses. I've become more...