After-Action Report: RVM #63 with Scott Mackes

Many thanks to Service Academy Business Mastermind founder Scott Mackes (USNA ’01) for his talk on the origins of SABM and the lessons he has picked up along the way!

Let’s time-travel…

If you met me at a RINGKNOCKER Meetup, you may have the impression that I’m one of those Naval Academy grads who bleeds blue and gold and eats a roasted Army mule every year for Thanksgiving dinner.

NOT the case! I was a very disconnected alumnus until Natalia and I decided to move from Chicago to Miami in 2018. I was two years into an epic divorce, my business had evaporated, and I didn’t know a soul in Miami. I needed a network in place before I got there.

Somebody pointed me at a Zoom call run by this guy Scott Mackes. I jumped on a call and immediately met a bunch of people who still exert a powerful positive influence on me to this day. Bill Watkins of The Lion’s Pride (now a RINGKNOCKER Sponsor) joined the call that day from a hiking trail halfway up a mountain, and I distinctly remember wanting less of my apartment in Chicago and more of THAT.

So fast-forward to 2021. When I look at Scott’s profile from my LinkedIn account, one thing jumps right out at me: I don’t know how many LinkedIn connections YOU have, but as of this morning Scott and I have 3,167 connections IN COMMON. That’s just epic, and a testament to just how deeply Scott is plugged into this community!

Meanwhile, Scott has built that Zoom call into an empire. SABM does business masterminds, talent search, real estate investment, angel investing… and, of course, coffee mugs! The list is endless.

This week Scott shared some of the key failures he experienced along the road, along with the lessons he learned and has passed on to his own cohort. Among them:

  • Scratch your own itch. If you create a product to solve a problem you actually have, then you are guaranteed a minimum audience size greater than zero.
  • Niche down… and then niche down again. There is enormous power in knowing precisely whom you serve, and infinite clarity in knowing whom you DON’T!
  • Do the work. It doesn’t all pay. Don’t sweat it. Instead, make it all serve.
  • Know yourself. It’s hard to focus on your strengths if you don’t know what they are. So find out!
  • Get a better coffee cup. Try one of these!

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