The Primitive Podcast: Dusty Womble

Posted by Buffy the Bison | March 2, 2021

The Primitive Podcast: Dusty Womble

Establishing himself as an entrepreneur even before graduating from Texas Tech, Dusty Womble knows the business landscape through and through. Having both experienced and overcome a host of adversities such as Y2K and 9/11, Dusty utilizes his humility and wisdom when serving on the Board of Regents of the Texas Tech University System as well as the Board of Directors for Tyler Technologies.


Kade Wilcox (00:00):

Hey guys. Kade here, host of The Primitive Podcast. On this week’s episode we have Dusty Womble. Dusty Womble is a Lubbock businessman. He started a really cool software company in the 1980’s and eventually sold it to Tyler Technologies, which is a publicly traded company. Many of you may have heard of Tyler Technologies before but maybe don’t know exactly what they do, so you’ll learn that in this episode. Probably my favorite part of the episode is when Dusty goes into some things he’s learned getting to know Chris Bear, the Head Men’s Basketball Coach of Texas Tech, just everything he has learned by being around him. It was a really fascinating conversation and I really enjoyed it. And I am certain you will too. So thanks as always for listening. Share with your friends. Invite people to listen. And if you don’t mind please subscribe for us which really helps the podcast pick up some traction. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy.

Kade Wilcox (01:10):

Well Dusty, thanks for joining us. I know you're extremely busy. You have a lot of irons in the fire and I really appreciate you taking the time to connect and be on our podcast. Why don't we start out by sharing with our audience a bit about your background, where you're from, a little bit about your business background, and maybe some of the things you're involved in now, you're a Regent at Tech and involved in a lot of really great things. So let's start out there.

Dusty Womble (01:35):

Well, I appreciate you having me on Kade. I grew up in Amarillo, came to school here at Tech in 1977, graduated four years later with a degree in MIS through the School of Business here. Actually started my business before I got out of school, I started it the summer before my senior year. It was called INCODE stood for Interactive Computer Designs. This was actually before PCs came into effect. So these were mini computers that we were working on at that point in time, IBM system 34 and other brands of equipment. I started a little computer software company building custom software. As I said, I graduated in '81 and continued to grow the business. It was sort of a lifestyle business for several years, in the early eighties, had a handful of employees but usually had less than 10 employees.

Dusty Womble (02:46):

In the late eighties, a gentleman by the name of Steve Neiman joined the company and we decided to really try to build it into a bigger organization. So between the late eighties and the late nineties, we grew it into a regional firm. We were doing probably $5 million a year in annual revenue. And we had maybe 65 employees or something like that. And in the late nineties we were approached by a public company called Tyler Technologies in late 1997 and in 1998, we merged our company with two other companies to really form Tyler Technologies. Tyler had been a longtime company, it's been on the New York Stock Exchange for about 60 years now. So it's been there a long time. In the late nineties, they had really shrunk themselves down, our market cap at one point in time, in 2000 was probably around 150 million. So we got to be a pretty small company to be a publicly traded company. So we got involved in 1998 and Y2K happened in 2000. The internet bubble burst and in late 2000 it was a pretty ugly period of time for Tyler and those of us that had hitched our wagon to Tyler. I probably should backtrack a little bit, and talk through a little bit about what our company does.

Dusty Womble (04:29):

So INCODE, we ended up specializing and focusing on local government software. So we did everything at City Hall from municipal court, all the fund accounting, payroll, accounts payable, a big focus in utility billing. And we specialize in cities under 100,000 in population. And we had a pretty big regional concentration. And after becoming part of Tyler, we continued to focus on that. We added other components like public safety, jail, and other things to our offering. As I said in early 2000, the company really got pretty small. Our stock traded down to as low as a dollar for a period of time.

Kade Wilcox (05:20):

Was that scary?

Dusty Womble (05:22):

Yeah, it really was. Because this was a company that I spent my life building and being a part of, the people that were here working with me really saw it as a career. And I was really wondering, I had sort of lost a little bit of control during those periods. I ran my operation, Tyler had done about 30 acquisitions between 1997 and early 2000. And a lot of those companies had come under my control.

Dusty Womble (05:55):

But at that time I wasn't really involved at the corporate level at Tyler. But we survived that. We made some maneuvers. I think in 2005, I got promoted to Executive Vice President at Tyler and really ran about half the company. And we started to focus on not just acquiring companies, but really consolidating them, running a real business and really building the best business we could. So between 2005 and 2016 I had more of a corporate role at Tyler. I went on the Board of Directors, I think in 2005, might've been 2006, and assumed more of a corporate role and less of a role here in the Lubbock office. We grew the business over those years to a pretty successful business. Our market cap, well until a month ago, our market cap was probably around 14 billion. So we've sort of weathered the storm. I don't know where it is today, but I think we're actually trading, but our stock price yesterday closed a little over $300. I think at the beginning of the year it was right at $300. So I actually think we're up year to date.

Kade Wilcox (07:19):

Yeah. Kind of hang in tight.

Dusty Womble (07:21):

Yeah, it's been great. So we've had some big fluctuations. In the first quarter our stock traded up close to $340. And then with all of the Coronavirus issues and the shutdown of the economy, it's graded down probably all the way to 260. And then we sort of recovered back into the low three hundreds.

Kade Wilcox (07:45):

Yeah, that's good. I just have a few questions about your journey from a start up to, a lifestyle business, to publicly traded company. Did you at some moment in your journey decide this is what we want to do? Or was it more of just an opportunity that presented itself? How'd that happen that a couple of guys in Lubbock, Texas, next thing you know you're a part of a publicly traded company. Was that an intentional decision or did you just find yourself in the middle of an opportunity?

Dusty Womble (08:19):

No, I think we always strived to build the best company we could. We were not focused on getting bigger. We wanted to get better. And so we acquired a lot of the people that I hired 30 years ago and are still with the company.

Kade Wilcox (08:35):


Dusty Womble (08:36):

So we really never had debt with the company. We grew it out of our earnings. We tried to just get better every year and the industry that we were in, local government, it's not a fast moving industry. So our sales cycle is so long. Sometimes we'll work with a customer two or three years before we got a deal from them. But the good thing about that, once you have those customers and you do a good job, that relationship lasts for years and years. And so we've been fortunate that we were in a good market segment. We outlasted a lot of our competitors over the years. And it's not been something that we tried to build as big a company as we could or build a company that we could sell to somebody else.

Dusty Womble (09:25):

We've just tried to be opportunistic, try to make the company better every year. Our biggest key is we hired really good people and if you hire enough really good people, you're going to have a really good company.

Kade Wilcox (09:39):

Yeah, that's a good point.

Dusty Womble (09:41):

That's probably where we've been most successful.

Kade Wilcox (09:42):

Did you start out focused as a niche with municipalities or did you find that niche several years into building the business? Because that's something a lot of businesses I think struggle with a lot is the fear of niching. Like it's a little scary versus trying to be everything to all people. So what did that journey look like?

Dusty Womble (10:01):

Yeah. I think it was always a mission of mine to try to find something that we could leverage. If you're in a business where every month you started zero and you have to go sell customers, do service, deliver product, and you don't get the leverage over your past history, it's a very difficult business and it's very difficult to build that into something that you can grow year over year, over year, over year.

Dusty Womble (10:30):

And so I was always looking for a niche. Local government just happened to be something we fell into. We did a deal for the city of Littlefield and some other regional cities in the region. And we really realized there's a void here and we build a really good product. We can sell this over and over and over again. And so that was really how we found that. We looked at other opportunities that we had done custom software for and said, can we really turn this into a business? And local government just happened to be something that we settled on, but it wasn't something we picked out intentionally. But I was always looking for something that we could leverage. And the fact that we had 120 customers makes it easier to grow to 140 and 140 makes it easier to grow to 200. We were looking for that opportunity.

Kade Wilcox (11:36):

Yeah. That's good. What else are you involved in? It's an incredible journey with Tyler and INCODE. And I think for our listeners who aren't business owners, it's really hard to run and grow a business and to sustain success. And so congrats on that and it's clear that you've been able to do that. Your whole experience with Tyler has created a whole host of other opportunities for you. What are some of the other exciting things that you spend your time doing and that you're really passionate about?

Dusty Womble (12:07):

I don't know how exciting they are, but I retired from Tyler in 2016. I still serve on the Board of Directors, that doesn't require a lot of my time. But I still have what I consider to be an important role at Tyler from the Board of Directors just because I have a lot of history. I know the components that are at Tyler. I understand the landscape. I have confidence in our management team. I have a lot of direct communication with our management team and we talk a lot. And I really enjoy my time still at Tyler. I love being associated with the people at Tyler, they're great people. It's a great company.

Dusty Womble (12:52):

But I've gotten involved in a variety of other opportunities, some of which are just at the investment level. I'm involved in a company here that David Bateman runs called Amplisine. It was called Amplisine, now it's called SitePro that manages wastewater disposal from a whole variety of aspects in the oil and gas business. And I have very little active role there other than just an investment, but it's a really interesting company. It grows much faster than any of the companies I was ever running. They really have an appetite for growing that business in a hurry. And so we've done that a lot of different ways than what INCODE and Tyler has grown over the years. I got involved with Rhett Newberry and a group at a company that is called The PROS probably five years ago. I made an investment there and became Chairman of the Board. So I've got a pretty active role in that investment. When we originally got involved, it was a machine shop doing about two and a half million dollars a year in revenue. And we've grown that and morphed it now into a business that really rents compression equipment in the oil and gas business all over Oklahoma and now into the Permian. And it's a really good business. I've got several people in town that are investors in that business and it's in a really good segment of a really crappy segment of industry.

Kade Wilcox (14:44):

I'm not for sure how you're sleeping a lot right now with all the fluctuations in all the things you're involved in.

Dusty Womble (14:51):

Yeah. We've changed the name of that company to Metallenium and we really deliver a production utility. They have to have these compressors on site to produce the oil in those wells. And so we're really providing the power to get the oil out of the ground. And so unless they start to shut those wells down they're going to need compression. When the industry is under pressure, that flows downhill, and we feel that pressure. People put pressure on us on accounts receivable, price competition, they want to ride us for concessions. And other things. So it's not like we're immune, as I said, it's a crappy industry segment right now, but we're in a pretty good section of a crappy industry segment.

Kade Wilcox (15:44):

Yeah. That's positive.

Dusty Womble (15:46):

And so that's an interesting business. I think it's really unique as my whole business career, up until a few years ago, was really dealing with intellectual properties. When I originally got involved with Metallenium, it was a machine shop. And so it was a very blue collar, place to go. You saw guys with welders, and laithes, and all kinds of really hard asset equipment and it was a really different environment for me to be involved with. But it's been a really good experience. We've grown that business quite a bit.

Kade Wilcox (16:20):

What initially intrigued you about going from a business operator to an investor in businesses because those are a handful of businesses you're involved in, but on some level of involvement, you're involved with a lot of different businesses. And I'm curious, what intrigued you about going that direction? And then what is different about that role versus being a leader and an operator of a single business? So what are some of the things you've learned there and what made you want to get involved with so many different businesses?

Dusty Womble (16:55):

Well that's a good question. I probably got involved with maybe too many businesses when I first retired. I'd always heard, you don't want to get too un-involved because you lose your edge. And so I might've gone a little bit overboard and got in maybe too many investments at one point in time. But I also had the desire, I have a big exposure still to the stock market through my Tyler interest and so I wanted to not just take that money out of one stock, which was really good stock in Tyler and then diversify it across the market. I wanted to be invested in some other opportunities that were not so stock market related.

Dusty Womble (17:47):

So we've got a couple of partnerships that have got quite a bit of real estate in town. Most of it is commercial real estate, whether they're office buildings or strip malls. We have some land plays in that as well. And then I wanted to stay involved in businesses. Rhett Newbury, who runs Metallenium is a great guy. I really liked being around him and he brings the right kinds of questions to me. So I don't get involved in day to day stuff. It's all strategic level decisions that I'm involved in. And it's a great relationship between Rhett and I. I'm involved in a Buy Here Pay Here, Charisma. I'm a partner in Racer Classic car wash. We've got like five partners in that. And I don't have a lot of day to day responsibilities in either one of those two businesses.

Dusty Womble (18:46):

So it's been interesting. I've learned a lot. To some extent, I learned how great we had it at Tyler. When you're involved in a company that has really good leverage, really repeatable revenues you've really been able to be the premier provider in your market segment so you can control your pricing advantage. You have a lot of leverage, you have really great margins, and you can attract really good people to a long term career in a stable market because when you're dealing with public sector, as I said, they're really slow moving, but they're slow moving on the upside and they're slow moving on the downside. Our applications are mission critical, so we're not delivering park and recs applications that they can say, we're just going to get rid of that for the next two years. We're delivering payroll, public safety, tax accounting, or automating court systems. They don't really have an option not to do those things.

Kade Wilcox (19:58):


Dusty Womble (19:59):

As much as anything, I've learned how great we had it at Tyler.

Kade Wilcox (20:04):

That's good. How would you view your approach to leadership now? There's a major difference in the eighties and nineties when you were really in ramp-up mode of leading a single company. But right now, where you're at, you're heavily involved at Texas Tech, you're heavily involved with Texas Tech men's basketball. You're heavily involved in your investment companies, even though it's obviously at different levels. So how would you view your role as a leader now compared to what it was like when you were really leading a single company? How do you view that?

Dusty Womble (20:37):

Yeah, well, my roles are very different. When I was at Tyler for most of my career, I had direct day to day responsibilities. As you know, running a business, half of your business is dealing with personnel and the other half is dealing with customers. And the other half is dealing with growing the business and making financial decisions, or product decisions, marketing decisions, all of those things. And so now fortunately for me, I don't have a lot of the day-to-day personnel kinds of decisions. Somebody is between me and those decisions. We have been involved over the last few weeks about, what are we going to do with our staff? Or how are we going to navigate through this? So to some extent, I've been involved in some of those personnel decisions, not specific personnel, but visions that we're not going to trim staff and, and we're going to continue to compensate them, even if they can't work right now. We've been talking about how we enable them to be effective or as effective as they can be remotely and make sure we provide all those benefits and things like that.

Dusty Womble (22:00):

My leadership role probably now is to some extent a calming force. Nobody's been through what the country's going through right now, but I was here during 2008, and the financial crisis and the meltdown. I was in the IT world with Y2K, when the internet bubble burst. I've seen the late '80s when interest rates were 12.5% and people were trying to buy homes. I've been through times when we had the oil embargo and you couldn't get gas. 911. All those sorts of things. So to some extent, I think my role is to look at a big picture and say, we've faced big challenges in the past. We'll get by this. The world will be different, it'll be our responsibility to figure out what's different about it and how do we find our way there. How do we find an advantage and how do we position ourselves in the new world order? But I think to some extent it's a calming force and more of a reassuring voice that this too shall pass.

Kade Wilcox (23:20):

I think that's really good and I think they're all really lucky to have you. It's probably been the hardest part for me leading all of our stuff through this is I've not known anything but really good, in terms of the economy and people are buying and spending money and things are humming along and everyone is encouraged. And so this is really the first experience. What are some of the things you think, I was gonna ask you how you treat failure, but maybe just given the current current circumstances that pretty much everybody finds themselves in, what are some things that you think are really critical when you're making decisions in the middle of a crisis or a downturn or really difficult season? What are some things that you think are really important to consider as you're forced to make really fast decisions, but you still want to make good decisions? You mentioned all your experience going through those other experiences in downturns. What are some things you learned from that that you feel like you're able to leverage now in terms of wisdom and thoughtfulness as you navigate tough decisions in this crisis?

Dusty Womble (24:23):

Well, again, I think to some extent you'd have to have a long term view and know that while things are tough right now there will be bright days on the other side, even though the world may be different. On the other side, we're going to be in prosperous times again. Right? So I think you need to, especially in the leadership position, you need to be able to convey a sense of comfort and optimism on where we're heading. You do have to be able to make tough decisions. You have to make decisions whether those are personnel decisions, whether those are strategic decisions. And a lot of these decisions are not right or wrong. You don't really know what the right decision is, whether you're talking about a career change, a product direction, a personnel matter, who you promote, who you let go, what kind of teams you put together, all those kinds of decisions. There's no right or wrong answer most times. So Coach Beard uses a saying, you make a decision and then you make it right. I think that's a really good way to put that is that, you make the best decision you can and then you make sure that whatever you do from that point forward makes that the right decision.

Dusty Womble (25:52):

And as a leader, you have to have confidence because people are going to question your decisions. You have to be willing to listen to their opinion and you have to be willing to not be so rigid on your decision that you're not willing to backtrack. You have to be willing to say, that was a mistake. We went a wrong direction and I'm not going to try to prove that decision was right by plowing forward. I'm willing to reevaluate that decision and go in another direction. But for the most part, when you make decisions that there are no right or wrong answers on, you don't look back. You make that decision and then you do whatever you need to do to make that the right decision.

Kade Wilcox (26:32):

That's really good. Yeah, really good advice. You're surrounded by a lot of really great leaders. I mean you're a Regent, so you're around Ted Mitchell, you're highly supportive of the men's basketball. So you're around Chris Beard. You mentioned him. What are maybe one or two things that you've learned from either them or others that you think are some of the more kind of illuminating leadership characteristics and traits that you've learned over the last few years? Getting to really be involved and around those very high level, high quality leaders?

Dusty Womble (27:03):

I think one of the interesting thing, one of the interesting things I've learned from Dr. Mitchell is that I'm convinced he would have been successful anywhere he would have been, I think we could put him in charge of the law school. And he knows nothing about the law, but he understands how to manage people. He understands how to listen to and evaluate problems. He understands process. He understands team building, he's articulate, he's personable. People like him. He's a charismatic figure to some extent. And I think that it's proven to me that if you find really good people, they can be successful in any role you put them in. And so he's a great Chancellor. He was great at the Health Sciences Center even though I wasn't really involved at the administration level when he served in that capacity. There is no doubt in my mind that you could put Dr. Mitchell as Governor of the state of New York and you would think he's the greatest governor that the state has ever had in a matter of months because he's just good. He's a good leader and a good leader doesn't always have to have a lot of subject matter expertise if they're good at being a leader that translates across industries.

Kade Wilcox (28:33):

That's powerful.

Dusty Womble (28:33):

I think one of the things I've learned from being around Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Beard, I mean Chris Beard, is also very educational. He'd probably tell he was a doctor, that's been a really good experience for me. I would be a much better leader of a company or builder of a company after being around Chris for a few years in that his work ethic is second to none. He's very driven. He has a huge fear of failure and he instills that in his players. He really almost pushes back on the term Fearless Champions because he believes fear is a huge motivator. He wants his players to be very worried and concerned about playing, but he wants them to realize they can lose and what's on the line if they don't show up and be ready to play every night. He wants them to be concerned about every practice and if they don't get better at this particular practice they're about to have, somebody in the country is getting better and they're getting passed. So he has a fear of failure, which I found to be really interesting and a really good motivation for him and his teams. He is so process oriented. And because of that, his teams are going to be very predictable. Obviously players matter and he certainly recognizes that, but the process that he has is a machine. Because of his process, he can take players and turn them into more than they thought that they could be if they're willing to do the work. And that appeals to a lot of players. They have to be willing to put the team first. They have to be willing to buy into what he preaches. And that is not just basketball. That is you take care of your body. You sleep right. You treat others around you right. You will be a good teammate. You put in your work plus some. You care about your classwork. You care about all of the things around basketball. And if you love basketball and you want to be as good as you can be, it's a great program to be in. If you don't, it will not be a good experience. Talent alone will not get you where you want to get to inside of his program.

Kade Wilcox (31:21):

Yeah, it's fascinating. Who knows when things come back to normal and who knows what the new normal is, but I think they're going to be a really dangerous team next year. They were trying to figure it out this year, but they are going to be exceptionally good next year. So hopefully things are back to normal and we can really enjoy that. Cause they got some serious talent I think the thing that's always fascinated me the most about him is his work ethic. I've never met him. I don't know him at all and you can just tell he's so hungry. In that his failure will never be because of a lack of effort. And I really admire that. And it is a perfect fit for West Texas because that's who we are. That's how we continue to survive. So that's pretty great insight.

Dusty Womble (32:18):

This shutdown is difficult for him because he wants to outwork everybody and right now his hands are tied. He can't keep up with all the recruiting that he would be. Our players would be getting so much better in this four or five week window. There's some things that would have really been applicable to me as a businessman after being around Chris. Everybody on that program knows exactly what their job is. There is not a GA, and there's a bunch of GAs in the program, there's not a GA or not a member of that staff that doesn't know exactly what they're supposed to do every day and every minute you go to practice. There may be 45 people at practice counting the players and nobody is standing around. Everybody knows what their role is. Whether I'm responsible for rebounding for players or having the clipboard or all those sorts of things. It is a machine. And so that's part of it.

Dusty Womble (33:18):

He's also brutally honest with everybody, not just players but coaches, staff members, GAs, everybody around that program, he is brutally honest with them. And so they know if he tells them, you did this well or you can get better here, or whatever that he is being exact. He does not play mind games with those kids. He doesn't play mind games with his staff. Everybody knows exactly where they are. So when he says, this is what you've got to do to win, those kids believe that and it's a really great way to run a business but it's difficult as you know, when you do evaluations of employees or when you're hiring a person or you're selling to a customer about being brutally honest about what it's going to be like. If they're become a customer of yours or they are currently, or they're wanting to understand why they didn't get a promotion or whatever, it's difficult to be really honest with everybody all the time.

Kade Wilcox (34:25):

It really is, but it makes a huge and profound impact on your organization. If I reflect back two or three years ago, it's a long story, but we were hiring too many people too fast. And I think that, where we were at that season, we wanted everyone to be happy. We wanted to be able to serve our clients. We wanted our clients to be happy. So it stems from what you think is a genuine place, but it has so many unintended negative consequences when you're not really clear and people don't know what's expected of them, both positively and negatively. There's a lady named Brené Brown, and she always says it's clear is kind.

Kade Wilcox (35:08):

And when you talk about Coach Beard and his athletes and he doesn't play mind games and they always know where they're at, that's actually demonstrating kindness to them that there's no guessing game. There's no thinking, you're in a good position but you're not or vice versa. And so it's really encouraging to hear you say that. And I don't know why, but it's not natural as humans to be really transparent and honest. And it seems like that really gets him a lot of results in terms of how athletes trust him and how parents trust him and how coaches trust him and all the people you were mentioning like GAs and others that are connected to the program. I love following, I think his name is John Riley. Is that the strength coach? I love following him on Twitter. He's bought in man.

Dusty Womble (35:53):

He is. And everybody that's in that program is going to be bought in or they're not going to be there. That's the way it is. You don't end up with players at the end of the game that are disappointed because they didn't get playing time or whatever. They all know where they are and they know exactly what they've got to do to earn playing time. They also know that something could happen in that game, whether it's an injury or foul trouble or whatever, and they may be called on and they'd better be ready. And he talks a lot about body language on the bench, and how they react to what's happening on the floor. There's just no part of that game that goes untended to inside of Beard's program.

Kade Wilcox (36:39):

This is turning into multiple podcasts. So thanks for all your time. One question I have for you and then I'll ask you my last question and we can wrap again, I really appreciate your time. But one thing that that seems to be true from an outside perspective, and I'm really big on this because my granddad and my mom were big on it, and that is details. Just details, details, details, and he seems to have everything in place. Like no detail goes unnoticed. This became really obvious to me even recently when John Riley, I think it was yesterday, put on Twitter this photo of the locker room after the National Championship game. And it was impeccable. It looked like a cleaning crew came through there five minutes after the team left. And it occurred to me, they take every single detail seriously, winning or losing. And I wonder, because you have so much knowledge of the whole program, is that true? Is that a big deal to them in terms of detail and small things? Is that what it looks like from your perspective?

Dusty Womble (37:43):

It's unbelievable. And I've been in Kansas when we won, I've been to Kansas when we've lost at Allen Fieldhouse. And the way they do things is, again, it's a process and nothing happens by chance. There's probably two GA's that are responsible for making sure that that locker room looks like when we leave, but the players do their part. They have a saying No Entitlement. And I guarantee you if there's ever a player that gets up and leaves a plate on their table, whether it's breakfast in the morning or pregame meal on the road or whatever, that player only does it once because they will be ridiculed unmercifully set out as an example. Yeah, there are a million details and while he cares about details if you go look at his war room, it is not the most organized place in the world. But it matters to him. And so he puts people around him that makes sure all that stuff gets done. And like I said when we leave a locker room, nobody's wondering who's supposed to do what. Everybody knows exactly what their role is and they know who's responsible for making sure this looks just like it was supposed to when we leave.

Kade Wilcox (39:16):

That's awesome. If I could just pause everything I have going on in my life for one year and work for free for someone for 12 months, it would be Chris Beard for the reason you said about how much you can learn about leadership and leading a company. I think everything you're sharing and everything I've observed from watching him run the program from the outside, it's 100% applicable to your own personal life, to business, to any kind of organization. Coach Beard is probably a lot like Dr. Mitchell. You could probably pluck him out of the basketball program and let him be in charge of Primitive. And he'd probably do a lot better job than me.

Dusty Womble (39:51):

Well the difference is that Chris loves that. And so the idea of spending 18 hours a day worrying about basketball. He doesn't watch TV. He does read books, but the only books that are going to help him be a better basketball coach. He loves basketball. He loves competition. He loves the fact that there is a winner and a loser. So I think to him, doing something in the business world that he's financially successful, unless he could see the real competition and know that there's a winner and a loser that would be difficult. Now I do think you could take him and put him as the volleyball coach at Tarleton and he would be successful there. Because he's great at motivation. He does understand and is a great X's and O's Coach, it's unusual that you have a coach that's really good at X's and O's. That is really good as a motivator. And really good as a recruiter. Those are three skill sets that don't always go together.

Kade Wilcox (41:06):

Yeah. I think he's the Nick Saban of college basketball. I mean, what do I know? But I think he's the Nick Saban of college basketball and last year after the championship game, I was terrified he was going to leave and ultimately decided just on my own that I didn't think he would because he's perfect for this situation and he would much rather build his own kingdom and his own dynasty, then go walk in the footsteps of someone else's. And I think he's going to do it. He's just so obsessed with winning and doing it right that good things follow. And that's been obvious in a very short period of time. So we're really lucky to have him around these parts and it's been really fun as an outsider just to watch and to learn. So thanks for all the insight there. That's really unique and not a lot of people get the insight that you have. So thanks for sharing all that. My last question for you. If you could speak to your younger self, in your 20s, young thirties, if you could speak to your younger self, what advice would you give yourself based on what you know now?

Dusty Womble (42:12):

You know, I would probably tell myself to look up. I think so many of my years I spent worrying about the problems that I had on my desk right then. Things that we're not a problem two months later, two quarters later, two years later. You get to be so focused on what's on your plate right now that you lose perspective on where you're headed. Where your business is headed, where your personal life's headed, where your family is headed, that you end up being consumed with minor details. And what's the saying, don't sweat the details. To some extent, that's really what I would say is that you have a perspective that you've got 40 years of a professional life and what are you going to have at the end of that period of time to look back on.

Dusty Womble (43:22):

And so you have to be able to blend. It's a blend. You can focus on the long term and say, I'm only worried about what happens five years from now because what happens between now and five years determines where you are in five years. And so you have to deal with the immediate day to day stuff, but prioritize and blend with that the long term vision of what we're truly trying to do here. What kind of brand are we trying to build? What kind of company are we trying to build? What are the market conditions that are changing around us from a business perspective? And from a personal perspective, am I being the best dad that I can be or the best husband that I could be?

Dusty Womble (44:14):

Am I giving to my church the time that I really want to do there? And make sure that you have all of your priorities in place, cause it's a balancing act for so many of us. And you can be very consumed on the little stuff that's on your desk right now that you don't have time to think about the bigger picture. So I sort of use the term lookup and that really means don't just look down at all of the stuff that we have right in front of us, but look up and say, where are we headed? What's going to happen? What's the longer term play here? Where do I want this segment of my life to be a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now? And what do I need to do? What kind of course corrections can I do now that get me headed in that direction?

Kade Wilcox (45:09):

Yeah, absolutely. That's really good. This has been really fun. Thank you for joining us. There's lots of really great insight and I think this is something I'll relisten to and learn from. So thanks for sharing your wisdom and for taking time to join us.

Dusty Womble (45:24):

Well, I appreciate you saying that, Kade, and it was fun for me. I'd be happy to join again anytime.

Kade Wilcox (45:30):

Thanks Dusty.

Dusty Womble (45:30):

Thanks Kade, I appreciate it.


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