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The Journey from MBA to CEO


In this episode, we explore Mark Larsen’s journey from MBA to CEO of Connexure. Mark shares how his journey actually began in early childhood entrepreneurial ventures and has been guided by the sage advice of his father: “Mark, get paid to continue to learn.” This advice steered Mark’s post-MBA career to the Shore Capital CXO Fellows Program. From this experience, Mark offers his own hard-won wisdom about the challenges and opportunities of being a young executive in a private equity backed company.



Mark Larsen: When you're aspiring to sit in the CEO seat, it's easy to think that's around the corner or to want that to be around the corner. Don't worry about the timing of this. Chance favors those in motion.


Michael Burcham: Welcome to Microcap Moments. A podcast from Shore Capital Partners that highlights the stories of founders, investors, and leaders who have taken on the challenge of transforming ideas and small companies into high growth organizations.

The journey of building and scaling a business takes one down many unexpected pathways. It's a journey where we learn from our mistakes, fall down often, but have the entrepreneurial grit to pick ourselves up and persevere. Within this series, we will share these stories of success and failure. of the challenges and the rewards faced by those who dare to dream big and through their lessons learned, we hope to inspire others who are on a similar journey of becoming, growing, and leading.

What does the journey from college graduate to CEO look like? Today's guest, Mark Larsen, shares his story in doing just that. Mark began his journey with Shore Capital as a CXO, a participant in a program for new MBA graduates to join a Shore company in the role of a Chief of Staff. The X in CXO stands for simply do whatever needs to be done and that, you will learn, was the key ingredient that fueled Mark's rise from Chief of Staff to Merger and Acquisition to Chief Operating Officer and now to CEO.

I know you'll enjoy this riveting conversation between Anderson Williams and Mark Larsen.

Anderson Williams: Well, welcome, Mark, and thanks for joining me today. Will you just introduce yourself and tell us about your current role?

Mark Larsen: Sure. My name is Mark Larsen. I'm the CEO of Connexure, which is a vertical SaaS platform, the first vertical SaaS platform that Shore's invested in.

We serve a very unique market niche, self insured medical benefits in the stop loss market. So if you want to fall asleep at a party, I'm your guy.


Anderson Williams: So just a little bit further into that for anybody who's listening, what is stop loss?

Mark Larsen: Think of stop loss as umbrella insurance. So you might buy car insurance, you might buy, valuable personal property insurance, renter's insurance. And on top of that, you might have an umbrella policy that kicks in at a certain level.

Stop loss is the same concept, but for medical benefits. So when you get to a certain deductible, a specific deductible or an aggregate deductible, stop loss will kick in. And it's what allows the entire self funded ecosystem to exist because it allows small employers to take some risk, but not catastrophic risk.

Anderson Williams: So how long have you been in that role?

Mark Larsen: So we joke about this. I've been in that role for five days, but going on five months. So you do the math on, on how that transition worked.

Anderson Williams: So how did you get to being the CEO for five days and also five months at Connexure?

Mark Larsen: Well, what's unique about this is that I was going from one Shore Portfolio company to another Shore Portfolio company.

So the only way this really could work is because I'm within the same ecosystem, the Shore family. And we had been discussing this for a period of time prior to that and had gained alignment on the deals team with my current management team, specifically my CEO, Ben Frisch, on a transition plan to make sure that it could all work out and I could be sitting in my new role today.

Entrepreneurial Roots

Michael Burcham: In the opening segment of their conversation, Anderson asked Mark to share how he first became connected to Shore Capital. Mark shares the importance of doing the simple things that really matter and how that message from Shore Capital resonated with him as a student.

I love his story of growing up in the Czech Republic and with the help of his dad, creating a business selling candy at school as a young child. That was likely the beginning of Mark's entrepreneurial roots.

Anderson Williams: So let's go back a little bit because you reference and you've been with a previous Shore company and how did you first get connected with Shore?

Mark Larsen: So I first met Shore when I was at business school. I went to Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, up in Evanston, just north of Chicago.

And Ryan Kelly actually came to speak at one of the events at Kellogg. I went to a ton of these different types of events, but really connected with what Ryan was talking about and very practical approach to business.

I'll tell you a quick story. I first kind of fell in love with business as a kid. We were living in the Czech Republic. This was shortly after the Czechoslovakia broke into Czech Republic and Slovakia and my dad worked for an accounting firm and he thought it would be a really fun idea for me to support me in creating a little business of my own. I'm a five year old kid. And this was pre spreadsheets, pre Excel, and we drew on a little piece of paper, some unit economics of a bag of candy that I got from my grandma from the U. S. And I went and sold my little pieces of candy to different kids at my international school. And the business kind of worked and it was a good learning experience that, you know, there's a high demand for Hershey's in a post Soviet world. So that was a fun moment for me to experience business for the first time.

That's also a really simple example. And I think the way Shore approaches businesses is let's do the simple things that really matter. Let's take a business that had success, that has strong client base, that has opportunity to grow, and let's do the simple things that will accelerate that growth. And Ryan really spoke to that in me, and it felt like an interesting place I might want to be.

Anderson Williams: And from that, you joined the CXO program, right?

Mark Larsen: That's correct.

Get Paid to Learn

Michael Burcham: In the following segment, Mark shares with Anderson how he became part of Shore Capital's CXO program. He talks about how that experience helped prepare him to lead a business. He also shares another valuable lesson his dad taught him.

“Mark, get paid to continue to learn.”

Mark states he found that opportunity to continue to learn in the CXO program at Shore.

Anderson Williams: Describe a little bit about what the CXO program is and what it was that you were looking for when you made that choice. I assume you were looking at a variety of opportunities after business school.

What was it about the CXO program that made sense for you?

Mark Larsen: Absolutely. So if you start with the CXO program, the CXO program takes young, hungry, driven, player coach type mentality, early career energy. And typically this is post business school. gives you an opportunity to grow and develop in a way that you may not in a larger organization. You wear a lot of hats, especially early on.

And by doing so, you gain a broad set of expertise almost before you gain a functional expertise. The functional expertise comes because you're working in a specific industry for a specific business. But when you're starting out, it's a broad set of expertise across every function of a business.

What I was looking for post business school was an opportunity to learn and to grow. My dad, big influence on me, he used to say that one of the best ways that you can succeed post education is to get paid to continue to learn. So get paid to continue your education. And for me, I was thinking about where can I do that? You know, post business school, I'm not necessarily seeking the highest paying job or the job that has the best title.

I'm looking for where can I learn the most in the next five years. And I was looking at search. I was looking at early stage startups. I had a fallback of consulting where I came from, but really I wanted to, I wanted to own something I wanted to gain ownership in something, cause that's exciting to me.

It's motivating to me. And I knew I'd give it my all and try to really dig in and learn. And that's what the CXO program does. It allows you a little piece of ownership in a business, a lot of responsibility, a ton of learning in a short period of time and room to make mistakes and to grow and to learn. And that's what I got.

Ferrari Engine in a Corolla

Michael Burcham: In the next segment, Mark describes his first role with Shore Capital, becoming the CXO of Point C, a third party administrator of medical claims. He talks about being dropped into the business where the individuals there had never worked with anyone quite like him. Besides being very young and lacking key knowledge of the industry, he also describes himself as being a Ferrari engine dropped into a Corolla car.

This frames some of the key lessons he learned the hard way in adaptability and learning to work with others.

Anderson Williams: And you started with Point C, and will you just describe a little bit about those early stages and what Point C look like when you joined?

Mark Larsen: Yeah, so if you want to fall asleep at a party on vertical SaaS, you're really going to fall asleep now when we talk about Point C.

Point C is a third party administrator for self insured medical benefits. So it's the same ecosystem that Connexure is in, and what Point C does is we enable self funding by taking the administrative burden of a plan and their medical benefits onto ourselves. Such that they can procure the services needed to enable self funding.

Anderson Williams: And, you know, you were speaking about your dad and quoting your dad about learning and finding the way to get paid to learn. You've been candid and honest in our conversations about the early days at Point C and having a lot to learn and things weren't always smooth for you. Despite a great education and a top tier school and CXO program, it still wasn't just easy street.

Will you just talk a little bit about those early days?

Mark Larsen: Sure. So when I joined Point C, there were 36 employees. We were 9 million in revenue and just over 2 in EBITDA. And we didn't have a professional CEO, so I was being dropped into a business that had never experienced working with someone like me.

And if you think of what this is like to a business, think of the business as a car and the driver is the CEO. The CXO is the engine. Well, a lot of the businesses that Shore is buying, they tend to be really happy as a Corolla. Well, what happens when you take a Ferrari engine and you throw it into a Corolla?

All of a sudden, you are just firing pistons like crazy and you're trying to move that thing. And often, especially if there's not a professional CEO yet, is like, I'm driving in a school zone. Like, what are you doing? Like, I'm pumping the brakes. Quit, you know, and now you're just spinning the tires. You're burning rubber.

And it creates a lot of friction and a lot of challenge. And the CXO is like, get me on the freeway. This thing has room to run. Well, the business has to evolve. They have to choose to go from, you know, a Corolla to a Camry to maybe a Lexus and then get to the Ferrari. But you're dropping in the talent as if it's already running on the freeway and you can sprint at 100 miles an hour.

And that's just not the reality of these businesses. They need time to grow and to develop on their own.


Anderson Williams: Yeah, you've bought the vision, you're aspirational in your own career, and you're stepping into, it's not a day one business, this is new acquisition and partnership with Shore, but there are existing people who have managed things the way they manage things and been a part of a team the way they've been part of a team and kind of recognizing that you're stepping into that with your excitement and energy, but you got to temper it in some ways in the process, I guess.

Mark Larsen: Well, and by the way, you're a CXO coming in, you're a young person, doesn't know anything about the industry, and they're looking at you like, why are you here? I have to explain to you what stop loss is? I have to explain to you what a TPA is? Like, what value are you providing? You're just sucking my time.

So you're starting at a disadvantage because there is some ageism. It goes both ways and there's a knowledge gap and there's a desire to be really helpful and to support the business, but the business is not always ready for that yet. And so you have to pace yourself such that you're meeting the business where they can be met.

Adding Value Early

Michael Burcham: Change once partnering with a private equity firm is inevitable. This includes personal change. In the upcoming segment, Mark shares some of his lessons learned, beginning with where can I possibly add the most value. Mark's background was in operations, but the business needed his help, and he could add value in acquiring other businesses.

Then when the CEO joined the firm several months later, Mark pivoted to operations leadership. He leveraged his insight from the diligence he had done in acquiring those first few firms to then lead the company's operating initiatives.

Anderson Williams: And so you obviously had great success ultimately going into M&A for a while and then into the COO role and now obviously you've transitioned into a CEO role of another company.

What was the big learning? What was the evolution that you had to work through in those early days to not flame out. I mean, or not burn everybody else out in that process.

Mark Larsen: Yeah. I think the big question early on for a CXO is where can I add value? Where will I add the most value? And we had a frank discussion with my deals team that early on I came in having an operating background.

So I was a consultant before I was focused on operations on process change. I felt like where I could add value was operationally. And the business did not need that. They were not ready for that. We had acquired one business at the time. Well, how do you share best practices across one business? It's what you're doing.

So there's nothing to do.

Anderson Williams: It's best practices and worst practices. It's the practices.

Mark Larsen: It's the practices. Best practices, worst practices. It's the practices.

So for me, The question was, where can I add value? If I thought coming in, I'm going to focus on my operational chops or my operational knowledge, what is it that I can do now to support the business?

And for me and for my deals team, that was M&A. And I transitioned from very quickly from being what I thought was going to be ops focused to let's go buy businesses. And I supported our deals team as we acquired three more businesses. And at that point, it had been about a year, year and a half. And we hired a professional CEO and his name is Ben Frisch.

And he came in and he said, what are you doing doing M&A? You don't know anything about M&A. And I said, I bought these three businesses. We've got, you know, I've, I've done something. And he's like, well, you know, this is probably not your highest, best use. And, and the other thing that happened was as we started talking about all the different initiatives that we had and how we could create synergies across these different businesses.

I had an enormous amount of knowledge because I had done all the diligence. So as part of M&A, you go very deep into the business. You talk to all the key stakeholders. You look at all the financials. You work with third parties to validate what's going on in the business, the vendors that are being used, the contracts.

And every time there is a question, Ben would come to me and say, How should we be approaching this? How is this structured at this different business? Well, I had answers to those things because I had done the diligence. And at the time, he was looking for a chief operating officer, was about to launch a role for a chief operating officer.

And it became clear that, hey, maybe I could do that. I haven't done that before, but would you be willing to try me in that role? And to his credit, he did, he did try me in that role. And we ended up hiring a VP of M&A to be dedicated on M&A, who truly knew what he was doing versus me just guessing. And I got to guess at something else at chief operating officer.

Anderson Williams: Well, and I love that though, cause it's that going back to keep that spirit of learning and what you're going to get out of a microcap company. It wasn't like you were going in and doing M&A with a whole deals team in place. Like when you say you were doing the due diligence. Like you were doing it.

Mark Larsen: It was me, it was me at midnight emailing Duffin Phelps.

Anderson Williams: And not an M&A person, right? Like, I think that that's one of the things that's such a cool part of this opportunity is the learning that can come from just getting in and doing every part of the business in an early stage platform.

Michael Burcham: Anderson asked Mark to talk about the work he did to launch the Care Management Department for Point C.

What began as an Excel model and a de novo has grown to 10 percent of total revenue and 20 percent of total earnings. Listen as Mark shares this part of his story.

Anderson Williams: So, in addition to M&A, you also helped bring in the Care Management into the Point C business. And I would love to hear you talk just a little bit about that in terms of how that effort was also part of the Point C story in terms of growth beyond acquisitions.

Mark Larsen: Sure. So, Care Management, without going into details on what that business is, the way we think about it, is it's a de novo and de novo is Latin for from the beginning or the first occurrence, right? So when we think of a de novo, we're thinking of a business that we're building rather than a business that we're buying.

And Care Management was a unique opportunity for us to do this. We were outsourcing a lot of work associated with this type of product. And this is where boards come into play. One of our board members, Michael Burcham, had a lot of expertise in this area and he gave us a lot of feedback on, hey, you know, this might be something that you want to consider.

This business that you don't have today could be interesting for you to buy or build. And so we started looking at the marketplace. Well, do we buy it or do we build it? And we decided to build it. It started with an Excel model. I mean, this was Mark on his laptop. crunching some numbers saying, Hey, if we hired some people to do this and we spun this up and we had to get licenses, you know, how long would it take?

I mean, this is a standard like burn rate business model running your P&L how many months before you're profitable. And I had to go pitch that to the board and say, look, if we start this up, this is the cash we're going to burn. And this is where I think we'll, we'll have an ROI on this. And the board had to sign off on And one thing that's different about a VC type model versus a PE type model is PE funds don't like burning cash.

That's not exciting. To pump a bunch of money into something that may not have a return is not exciting. And so there were a lot of discussions around, is this something that we want to pursue? We decided to pursue it. This is a business that has grown to 10 percent of our total revenue, 20 percent of our total earnings.

So when you think of the value of the business, it's been extremely accretive to our overall deal because not only is it net new revenue and earnings. But it's also net new revenue and earnings that we did not have to pay for. Meaning that, you know, eventually every business gets sold. When we sell this business, we will have generated more equity value from that than something that we would have bought.

Unexpected Path to CEO

Michael Burcham: In the following segment, Anderson asks Mark to talk about his journey from Point C to now becoming the CEO of Connexure. He highlights the camaraderie built between his team at Point C and as a client of Connexure. Mark was invited to sit in on a Connexure board meeting, but his interactions with the team and his knowledge of the space opened the opportunity for him to be considered as CEO.

Mark had already built great talent around him at Point C, which made the transition to Connexure workable for both organizations.

Anderson Williams: So, Mark, how did the Connexure opportunity even come to you in the first place?.

Mark Larsen: So, I was not looking for a CEO role, let alone a CEO role with Connexure. I was very happy in my role at Point C.

There's a lot of growth. We had built a really great team. I'm still very excited for what Point C will experience in Point C's future. What happened was Connexure was acquired by Shore, and I happened to hear about this because Connexure was a vendor of mine. I had worked with or at least known of the management team, and I happened to also know the team at Shore that had been part of the diligence and purchase process.

And I went to them and talked to them about my thoughts on them, Connexure, as a client. So I'm a client of theirs and this is my perspective. And that was something that the Shore team valued and they, they invited me to attend the board meetings as an observer.

Why don't you come? This will be good for your development. You can learn. Maybe you'll have some insight here or there. There's things that you could do to maybe enhance their product or their value prop to clients. And that's how it started. I went to a board meeting and while we were attending that board meeting, there was discussion around a CEO search and there were some very impressive, good candidates that would be an awesome fit for CEO.

But the management team, this was a big decision. They weren't sure yet which way they wanted to go. And as the meeting went on, there were some other topics that were discussed. One of the board members turned to me after a comment I had made and said, Well, you seem to know a lot about this. Why don't you be CEO?

To which everyone chuckled and, and we all, we all moved on. No one took it seriously. But there was an individual on the management team of Connexure who did take it seriously. And after that board meeting, met with the Shore Deals team and said, What about Mark? We actually really like Mark. We know him, he gets our business, he has a vision for this space, like this is someone that we could follow.

And they asked that I be included in the CEO search. Which was an awkward conversation, for Shore, because they're taking away a key employee from another business if they were to pursue this. And so we first had to approach my CEO, Ben Frisch, and have the discussion with him to say, you know, is this something that you'd be even open to?

And to his credit, you know, he'd never wanted to hold someone back from an opportunity and said, you know, if this is something that you want, I'd encourage you to pursue it. And so I did and as we got into the opportunity, it was the right fit culturally, strategically, professionally, and it was much more of a pull than even a push and it got me really excited.

So again, when you think of these types of opportunities, this was not me even raising my hand for something. This was me being in the right place at the right time, trying to be helpful, trying to grow and learn professionally from others, and effectively being given an opportunity because of that.

Anderson Williams: But one of the other things you mentioned in our conversation was that you also felt good that you had built people behind you at Point C to step into your place, that you weren't leaving Point C in a lurch when this opportunity came along.

Can you just talk a little bit about that talent development and that succession thinking, even when you weren't necessarily planning your succession yet?

Mark Larsen: Absolutely. So one of the things that I learned pretty early on, again, I was never an expert at M&A and I knew that role long term wasn't for me. The other thing I learned is that I wasn't really a very good Chief Operating Officer either.

And, and, and the reality is, you know, a Chief Operating Officer can't always say yes to everything. Sometimes you got to say no for operational reasons. And I, it's not that I'm a yes man from, I'm not thinking about it. I'm a yes man because I think we can do this. Let's figure this out. And I was very into building things.

Well, as you scale and as you grow, There's things you gotta say no to, and I realized that what I wanted was someone that had the expertise to really run the operation and challenge me, challenge my mindset so that I was saying yes to the right things. So, about 18 months ago, I started looking for an SVP of operations.

Someone that could be my right hand to support me. I started looking for this role fully knowing I was going to find someone with 20 years of industry experience who was going to come in, know way more than me, and be better at this job than me. And I knew that. I was good with it. In fact, I was thrilled by that.

That's what I was looking for. And that's a little different than your traditional large company that's like, you want to keep your threats away from you. For me, I thought there's no better scenario than for this person to come in and eventually take over my role so that I could go do something else.

Not that I was looking to do something else. I just knew that that succession planning was an important part of my growth story. So we hired MJ Brown in March of 2023. And if that hadn't have occurred, I could not have had the opportunity at Connexure today because she came in. Industry expert has become an MVP at Point C and the board would not have had confidence in me leaving without someone behind that could take the reins.

Anderson Williams: Yeah, I think it just keeps coming back to that growth mindset. That's not just about your growth. That's not just about the business growth. It is truly a mindset, right? Like. Even when you're succeeding, even when everything looks good, that you're continuing to think about what's the right next move for the company.

What's the right next move for me, even if that's not a new role or a new gig, that those two things are kind of going back and forth with each other. And I feel like that's how you grow a company, the way Point C has grown. And it's kind of the only way you grow a company, the way Point C has grown.

Self Awareness is Key

Michael Burcham: In the upcoming segment, Anderson asked Mark about his lessons learned to prepare him to lead a business as a CEO.

Mark talks about having reps to improve his decision making skills. He speaks to the kinds of decisions he should make versus trusting others to make decisions. Mark talks about the learning curve of leading, of meeting people where they are, and really knowing your audience. Mark also emphasized his need to develop more self awareness as a leader.

Anderson Williams: What of that whole experience with Point C building Point C to where it is today, do you feel like has most prepared you to take on the CEO role? And then maybe a second part of that question is what's the part that still gives you a little bit of indigestion as you think about becoming a CEO for the first time.

So we'll start with. What you're taking with you that you're ready to build on and then we'll come to the indigestion.

Mark Larsen: So I think one of the things that has prepared me well is repetition. When you start to see things over and over again, doesn't mean it is the same thing occurring, but you start to get some muscle memory on how to approach certain issues, opportunities, challenges.

Some of this is in decision making. I've learned a lot from Ben, the CEO of Point C, that sometimes the right decision is to not make a decision. It's to defer the decision to someone else. And even that knowledge, sometimes when you go into thinking about being a CEO, you think, I'm going to make the decisions.

And it's important to think, well, what are the decisions that I need to make and that I want to make versus the decisions that shouldn't be made by me? That's something that I don't think I had thought about before I entered this role. And I've learned over time, hey, these are the things that I need to care about and these are the things that others need to care about. And that allows you to focus on what's most important or play at the top of your license.

The other thing that I think was really surprising to me in preparation is how much industry expertise matters. Originally, When I came into this, I thought, look, you know, smart, hungry person, I'll learn it. I'll figure it out. I could go into any industry and be successful, right?

I've changed my tune some. I think anyone can learn an industry if they put in the time, but I think that there's a big learning curve in how effective you can be based on your base knowledge of an industry. Knowing a vision up front versus building a vision while you're running the company are two totally different things.

Anderson Williams: What about from a leadership perspective, as you think about taking on the CEO role, in addition to that idea of what decisions you don't need to be making, what other kind of key leadership lessons do you feel like you're taking into that as you go over there and not only inherit a team, but start to build a team and scale a team?

Mark Larsen: I think one of the very important lessons is meeting people where they are. There are some people that are sitting in their role and they are dying for more. They want to be given more responsibility, more opportunity, they want to be promoted. And there's others that want to punch the clock and go home at the end of the day.

And you can't treat everyone the same. This is a broad spectrum of an employee base at any company. And knowing your audience, and knowing how to address your audience, and how to reward your audience, and how to motivate your audience, has been a big learning curve.


I came from consulting firms where everyone's a type A personality. We all will work until the wee hours of the morning to get the job done. People in the real world go home to their families. That's not how it works. There's nothing, there's no client issue that could keep them in the office past five. Actually, they probably don't even want to come to the office in the first place post COVID.

So I think even just learning. How to interact with people from a broad breadth and recognizing that it's not inherently good or bad. You know, people have lives. They've got their own agenda and it's how do you meet them in their agenda so that it works for the business and it works for them. Self awareness is key.

Intentions may be good, right? My intentions were benign, but I came across hostile. And it doesn't really matter how you mean to come across. It matters how people interpret it.

Advice for Aspiring CEOs

Michael Burcham: In the final segment, Anderson prompts Mark for any advice he might give someone aspiring to become a CEO. Mark speaks to getting to know the industry through the vendors, the salespeople, and your teammates.

He also reinforces that you need to not only know the industry, but the people in the industry, their history, and how they embody the culture of an industry. But my favorite piece of advice he shares is simply this. Chance favors those in motion. Let's listen in to these final remarks.

Anderson Williams: So anyone who's a CXO is looking at you as a new CEO and is going to kind of aspire to be in your position at some point as they work through their early stage career, whether they're a CXO with us or just an early stage executive.

Based on what you've learned through those early struggles, through the growth and success of Point C, both through acquisition and through the launching of Care Management and all of the things that we've discussed, what advice do you have to that person who's the youngest executive in a room that is hungry, may have a little hubris too.

What's your key point of advice for them as they aspire to becoming a CEO?

Mark Larsen: The first thing I'd say is get to know the industry. That matters a lot. You will not be successful until people believe you are competent in the role that you're in. One of the ways that I learned the industry the best, and this can't necessarily work for every industry, but I think it's applicable to many, talk to the people who are willing to talk to you that are not on your team. Who are those people?


I went to every vendor I could and I just set up calls to just learn, like, what do all these vendors do? Because they're all trying to sell things to me. Well, that means they have to understand my business. I would just learn about my business from them. And that actually created a very compelling opportunity because then every time that a salesperson reached out to anyone on the team, they said, send it to Mark.

Well, now I'm doing them a favor. right? Because they don't want to talk to a salesperson. They're going to bug them and keep calling them and say, Hey, I want to, I want to sell you this and blah, blah, blah. Well, I'll talk to them. I'll talk to anyone. And I learned a ton about the industry that way. That was actually how we came up with a lot of the ideas of things to insource was learning how another vendor operationalize something, what they were trying to sell.

Well, if they're trying to sell something to me, that means it has value. dollars and cents. Is this something I should look at potentially insourcing? Well that's how probably half of my ideas I came up with them was just meeting with vendors.


The next thing I'd say is you have to get to know the people in the industry. So it's not just that you know the industry now. Industries are small and especially in the small business world people know the story of that guy or this woman who was the original pioneer and they're going to talk at the bar about the good old times. And you have to meet some of the players there because if you don't, and you don't know what they're talking about, you're missing out on the culture of the industry. And that culture's important if you're going to fit into that growth strategy or the change of the industry.

And then the last thing I'd say, you know, when you're aspiring to sit in the CEO seat, it's easy to think that's around the corner or to want that to be around the corner. Don't worry about the timing of this. Chance favors those in motion.

Eventually, something will occur, some opportunity will present itself, where it will be the right fit for you, and you'll be in the right place at the right time. But you don't always have to go looking for these, they will sometimes come to you if you're just doing what you should be doing, putting your head down, working hard, and see what happens.

Anderson Williams: Well, Mark, this has been incredible. I could talk to you for hours and appreciate you sharing your wisdom and fast rise from those rough days of burning rubber to finding yourself in the CEO position. And congratulations on that. And I look forward to interviewing you in a year or two and hear how the first time CEO experience is going.

Mark Larsen: Thanks. Appreciate it.

Michael Burcham: If you enjoyed this conversation, please check out other episodes of Microcap Moments at There, you can find episodes of our two complimentary series, Everyday Heroes And Bigger. Stronger. Faster. each exploring the unique features of the microcap investment space.

This podcast was produced by Shore Capital Partners with story and narration by Michael Burcham. Recording by Andrew Malone. Editing by Reel Audiobooks. Sound design, mixing and mastering by Mark Galup of Reel Audiobooks. Special thanks to Mark Larsen and Anderson Williams for a great conversation.

This podcast is the property of Shore Capital Partners LLC. None of the content herein is investment advice, an offer of investment advisory services, nor a recommendation or offer related to any security. See the Terms of Use page on the Shore Capital website for other important information.

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