Clever Talks Fest helps veteran’s transition to civilian life with business tips

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“I still do the grind,” voiced billionaire Mark Cuban, one of the ultimate entrepreneurs, who spoke at the Clever Talks Fest held January 14. Sage advice to not rest on your laurels.

“I still do the grind,” voiced billionaire Mark Cuban, one of the ultimate entrepreneurs, who spoke at the Clever Talks Fest held January 14. Sage advice to not rest on your laurels.

The event was focused on helping veteran’s transition to civilian life with tips on creating businesses, emotionally adapting to civilian life, and how to potentially succeed in business. The event was created by Chris Soriano, C.E.O., of Clever Talks and had veteran Brady Pesola, founder of the San Diego School of Survival, among others, sharing their experiences and advice. 

“East County has afforded me the opportunity to bring vets out into the wilderness and find peace,” said Pesola. “Cowles, El Cap, and the Lagunas” Part of Pesola’s hiking trips are geared to learning survival skills, dealing with decompressing from the military life, and building comradery.

Clever Talks, founded in 2014 by Chris Soriano believes in changing lives through ideas. When asked where do ideas come from said, “Our sense of finding a purpose.” He has organized other Clever Talks events as well.

The event drew an estimated 1,000 attendees and held at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. Soriano gathered panelists that shared how they found their purpose and shared how they made mistakes along the way. Speakers included new entrepreneurs and seasoned businessmen like Charles Brandes.

Geoff Cole, or Chef Geoff as he bills himself, is owner of Admiral’s Experience Restaurant off Navajo and Jackson. He worked the food galleys during his Navy service and used that experience to open the restaurant. Chef Geoff shared a story of catering an event for 500 out of a hotel room kitchen and pulling it off.

Panelists also shared philosophies about failing with Tyler Merritt, co-founder of Nine Line Apparel, pointing out many in the service know, “If you fail you die” in the line of duty. Out in the business world others answered the failure question with “I was too stupid to stop.” 

Chef Geoff explained about the cash flow cycles and that waiting for the check after the service or product is rendered must be factored into the business operations. 

Common topics among the panelists for transitioning vets were dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and drug issues. Other topics focused entirely on tips for creating businesses.

Transitioning tips from Brady Pesola:

1. Articulation – your job is to articulate your skills in an interview.

2. Networking – not just handing out business cards but building relationships.

3. Charisma – having the ability to attract people.

4. Swallow your pride – you walk into an interview you are now a civilian.

5. Hobby – create or find one. 

Cuban recommended education and knowing technology, accounting, and marketing. “Every start- up, every single company is the school of hard knocks,” he said. His bottom line? “Sales cures all.”

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