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23 min read

Rocket Your Dollar Ep. 14: Investing in Culture

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Before you invest in a small business or a startup, whether it's your money or time, taking a look at their culture is essential. Leo Ramirez, Jr., CEO and Co-founder of Encast ™, Inc specializes in revolutionizing workplace culture and helps businesses drive engagement and productivity, retain talent, enhance community impact, and improve customer experiences.

 

 

 

 

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Today I'm really excited to have Leo Ramirez on the podcast. Leo has been a longtime supporter of Rocket Dollar, one of our earliest customers, and he's an all-around great guy. And I had the pleasure of being introduced to Leo about five years ago by a mutual friend of ours here in town, who felt that we should get to know one another. And I'm glad to say that he was right.

A little bit about Leo. Leo is the CEO and founder of Encast, a platform that helps boost culture and brand by aligning businesses with their most important asset. And that's their people. So Leo is a fixture in the Austin start-up scene. He's had a long, storied career. He's made the leap from tech to entrepreneurship to the nonprofit world and has seen and done a lot. And so we're excited to not only count him as a customer at Rocket Dollar, but I see him as someone that I can call and bounce ideas off whenever I come up against a difficult decision. Thanks for being here, Leo.

Leo Ramirez: You're welcome.

Thomas Young: So let's start kind of at the beginning with you. Tell us about how you got to Austin, where you're from, and how you decided to leap into tech and then entrepreneurship, the nonprofit world. Give us a little bit of background on you.

Leo Ramirez: Sure. Thanks for having me today. I appreciate it. And I'm a very proud Rocket Dollar customer and a happy one at that too. So I grew up in McAllen, Texas, which is a town along the Texas–Mexico border, about 10 miles or so from the border. And my mom is Mexican. My dad was born in the States, but he's also Mexican-American, and they taught us at an early age that giving back is just what you do. We didn't have a lot of money growing up. We grew up in a mobile home. My dad was a teacher. My mom gave up her career to raise me and my two siblings, but we still found ways to give back at church or clothing in my mom's neighborhood. But I didn't know it at the time, but that was a form of philanthropy. And many years later, I heard the term philanthropy. I thought it was reserved for the wealthy. And little did I know that I was way, way wrong.

Make a long story short, through my dad's coaching of our math team at our high school and the great success that he had, and, in nine years, my dad sent 23 kids to Stanford. So I graduated high school in '92, and we had a class of four, all from his math team. Every single person that went to Stanford from my high school went through my dad's math team at some point. So he had a lot of success. And as kids kept coming back from Stanford, my dad would help me go out with them and play basketball or football, and they'd tell these wonderful stories about Stanford. So when it came time for me to apply for college, of course, I wanted to go there, and thank goodness I got in.

My dream was to become an electrical engineer. But then I found that I didn't just like the electronics. I loved the programming. I started coding when I was in fifth grade and had a little program published in sixth grade. Another one published in seventh grade in an educational magazine. So I did a mix of the two. It's something called computer systems engineering. And in summer after my sophomore year, I went to work for Apple, which is the company I dreamed of working for. So I was an intern for their developer press and worked there throughout that summer, and then the next two school years and the summer in between as well.

I was going to stay in the Bay area, but then someone told me that I should apply to this company called Trilogy, that they were doing some amazing things in Austin, and they had a cool culture. And so I said, okay, why not? And I applied. They flew me to Austin. I was blown away. So when they gave me that job offer, I decided to take it versus the open job offer I had at Apple.

In '96, I moved to Austin. And Austin at the time, I tell people all the time that it took 15 minutes to get anywhere to anywhere. I lived up on Parmer and MoPac, and you can get to South Austin and 15 to 20 minutes. It was crazy.

Thomas Young: It's not that way anymore.

Leo Ramirez: Things are changed.

Thomas Young: Oh gosh, no.

Leo Ramirez: It's nuts. So Trilogy afforded me an opportunity and many others at work for Trilogy to take what limited skills we had coming out of college and become whatever it is that you wanted to become. And at an early age, at 21 years old, I was helping to sell in a pre-sales

I worked on huge consulting projects with Goodyear, for example. I even got to go in a Goodyear blimp once. Which is amazing. And Trilogy was just something else. It was an amazing, amazing place, and I learned a lot about not just high tech and culture, but that I can make it as an entrepreneur. I can be a vice president or a CEO because my whole life before that I had no examples in my life of people in my family who are even managers and that I feel limited my worldview of what was possible for me. So I've always believed that it's important for someone to have a mentor at least if not someone in their own families that that that gives them that high watermark that they can shoot for and believe in themselves. And I never had that until I went to Trilogy. And I realized that I could do it as well as some of the other amazing people that work there.

I left Trilogy, unfortunately, got laid off after the third round of layoffs back in 2001 and ended up going to Coremetrics. And I worked for Brett Hurt there for two years as an account executive and implementation engineer. And after leaving Coremetrics, I went and worked for Sun Microsystems and I was an implementation engineer and then a practice lead for Latin America for a while. And then when I got sick of travel, I decided that I wanted to just work in technical support so that I could work from home and enjoy my family and my friends. And I wanted to find a better work-life balance because travel was killing that.

That all aligned beautifully with a friend of mine wanting to start a nonprofit, which was an accelerator for economically distressed regions. And we didn't know it was an accelerator at the time. That wasn't a term that was commonly used. But in hindsight, that's exactly what we were trying to do. And he wanted me to co-found it with him. So I worked with them for a while as the COO and the CFO of that company because I just gave myself titles.

Thomas Young: As startup founders do.

Leo Ramirez: As we often do. And of course, it opens doors like, "Oh, you're the COO. I guess I should talk to you."

Thomas Young: Of course.

Leo Ramirez: But I don't know what the hell I was doing and neither did he. But we figured it out. And then a few years into that, another friend of mine told me about this great idea for rounding up everyday purchases and donating the difference to charity-

Thomas Young: What year was that?

Leo Ramirez: That was in 2008.

Thomas Young: Okay. Because now, the roundups are such a common thing, right? But in 2008, this was pretty cutting edge.

Leo Ramirez: Exactly.

Thomas Young: That's cool.

Leo Ramirez: And so I thought this was such a cool idea that I wanted to support him in his journey to be the best damn CEO he could be. A year later, I realized that I should be the CEO. We had a very short talk, and he's like, "Absolutely, you should be the CEO." So I ended up spearheading many donations. That's what it was called back in 2009. And the funny story when we were in the early days, we applied to Capital Factory and their very, very first accelerator program.

Thomas Young: Where we're sitting now, for those of you not in Austin, we're in Capital Factory right now. And from 2008 to now, Capital Factor's a different place.

Leo Ramirez: Oh yeah. And so we applied and we were finalists for the first class in the accelerator program. And Josh Beyer, who runs Capital Factory, I had a conversation with them because I said, "Dude, I can't quit my job for 10 weeks to do this." And he said, "Well, that's the requirement." And so I ended up pulling our application, and we ended up becoming a nonprofit after that because we were a for-profit. But we thought we would do better as a nonprofit.

Suffice to say, back in 2014 after we'd had some good success, but unfortunately not enough funding for us to quit our jobs and do that full time, I decided to shut down mini donations, but I still wanted to be in this space because I had grown so deeply knowledgeable in corporate social responsibility and philanthropy and just the nonprofit world in general that I think the world was telling me that I needed to do something that combined my passions for social impact with my high tech prowess.

I kind of took the idea of mini donations and pivoted, realizing that if we played in a space big enough, we could make a tremendous impact on the world, on society. And so Encast was that pivot, the company that I'm the founder and CEO of, and we wanted to play at the intersection of big data, social networking, engagement. So workplace engagement, customer engagement. We felt that that combination afforded us a unique value proposition, but we didn't know what it was going to look like. And all these years later, we've kind of come around to what you just described so eloquently earlier is... We just rebranded actually, our platform and to the Encast culture cloud. So we literally want while our platform currently a philanthropically centric engagement platform for workplaces, we eventually want to expand into customer engagement.

We eventually want to expand into many other forms of engagement, and we eventually want this platform to drive culture in workplaces, in other organizations, in dating apps, in you name it. We want to know what people's values are. We want to know the things they are passionate about. We want to know who they are, what makes them tick, and we want to use that information to help them find other people that are like them. And even finding the people that are not like them, but to share common values. Because I think one of the issues that we have in society today is that there's a lot of disagreement in your worldview and your politics and your religion, and I think if we all were able to find common ground despite our ideological differences, I think there's a real possibility that we could cure a lot of the ills that are before us. We can cure a lot of the disrespect that exists between people if we first focus on the common ground between us.

That's been the journey from growing up in that little town in McAllen, Texas as a poor little Mexican kid to where I am today as an entrepreneur. I've been a mentor for many. I participated in this program called the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Initiative Education program or SLEI. It's a really interesting program that I hope your readers may look into and maybe apply for in the future of their Latinos. But basically, Jerry Porras, who co-wrote the book "Built to Last" and came up with the idea of the BHAG, the big hairy audacious goal, when he left Stanford business school as a professor, so he's now an Emeritus professor. He started this organization called Latino Business Action Network or LBAN.

He then partnered with Stanford business school to form this SLIED program. And every cohort, they bring in 70 to 80 Latinos from all over the United States and Puerto Rico to participate in learning how to scale their companies. Because what they found is that Latinos start businesses that are rate two to four times greater than every other ethnic group in the United States. And over the last 10 years, 86% of all net new businesses in the United States were started by Latinos. The problem is we don't know how to scale our businesses, so we tend to stay small. And they want to teach us the fundamentals of how to scale business so that we can not only scale our businesses, and the goal is that every cohort will have at least $1 billion company in it, but so that we have the skills to then teach other people, not just to work for us, but that work around us. People that we decided to mentor on our own or coach.

Not just Latinos, anybody really, because we're going to be 30% of the population by 2040. So we've got to pull our weight, and so we want to be an additive to our economy, not a drain on our government and our economy. So I think it's a really important program. And I was in the second cohort, and I've mentored everyone since. We're now in the eighth cohort, and I have two mentees at this moment. I love mentoring. I love supporting people in their entrepreneurial journeys. I'm a sucker for saying yes to everybody. I got to do a better job of saying no, but my personality is to give back and helping people any way I can. But yeah, if someone wishes to contact me, that's how they can do it.

Yeah. We're fundraising. So yeah, if you have a solo 401k you want to make an investment. But also we're looking for businesses to work with and apply our platform to help them not only have a stronger engagement and productivity and retention at their businesses, but also to impact their community. More and more, as you know, culture has become a competitive advantage, and social impact is one of those ways, especially with attracting and retaining millennials who are looking for purpose in the workplace. You give them purpose, they're going to come work for you, they're going to stick around longer.

Thomas Young: Yeah. It's gone beyond... Well, compensation is one thing, but it's gone beyond snacks and foosball tables, and it's really about the impact and how you feel about your work and the good that you're doing. I know as a millennial, that's true for me. And so looking at other ways of retention and boosting culture is I think crucial, especially with the job market in Austin right now with how competitive hiring is. Anything that you bring to the table that is not a foosball table or money, because money has become not the primary really retention. I mean, yeah, money's great, money's important. We all need it, right, to live our lives, but what we want to feel good about what we're doing. And Encast really does help you do that.

Leo Ramirez: Yeah. To that point, by the way that the Harvard Business Review found years ago that there are five primary reasons why people stay at a company, and the primary lever that businesses tend to operate is the compensation lever. That's cash out. That's bonuses. That's benefits, and that is what I call the lazy lever because it's easy for a lot of companies to just say, "Hey, you're not happy. Let me give you more. Oh, you don't want to come work for me. You want them to go work for that other company. Let me give you a little more something." And that is just absolutely lazy because the other four reasons why people stay are relationship with coworkers, relationship with their manager, the alignment of their job to their skillset and how happy they are with that connection, and pride in their organization.

If you are a small business, medium business, and you're struggling with finding and keeping top talent because bigger businesses in your community are taking them away, focus on culture, right? Yeah. You can pay more, but it's hard to do that when you're small. So if you can find ways of building alignment within your team, if you can do the social impact work, if you can find other engaging mechanisms to then have that culture that is so sought after that people want to come work for you, even though they're going to earn 10 or $20,000 less than they could at another job, that is a better reason to have someone work for you then necessarily having to pay more.

Thomas Young: Let me ask you a question on that point specifically. So when you're in a startup, tensions are high, stress is high, the stakes are high. How do you lead with that? Because it's really easy, and we've seen it sort of in our startup phase that there is a lot going on in a founder's mind and an executive's mind and, and culture sort of can fall by the wayside a lot of times. So how do you prioritize culture or what do you do when the stakes are high, tensions are high, you're stressed, you're maybe burnt out even, and you need to keep your team? How do you lead with that?

Leo Ramirez: So for me, for example, you tend to put on a calm and composed face in front of your team. For those that need to be in the know, you're dead serious and you tell them what's going on and you share the good, the bad, and the ugly. But for the rest of your team, you have to exude confidence. And you do share with them as much as you can so that they can do their day-to-day jobs. But you don't always have to reveal all of the terrible things that might be going on. Because that's part of the job I think of a good leader is to protect your people and not just be a pass through. So another aspect is when you're hiring, make sure that every individual knows what it is that they're getting themselves into. And I'm completely upfront with folks to say, "Look, startups are hard and you're going to be expected to work in a lot of different things."

One thing that I fundamentally believe in as a leader is that I'm not above anybody. So even though I don't technically run a flat organization because I am the CEO, I will tell people I'll clean a toilet if I have to. Right? And I also have to be vulnerable. Because if people feel that the leader is vulnerable, then they feel that they can be vulnerable too and share what's going on with them. And that all kind of points to this kind of leadership philosophy that what you wish to be adopted by your team has to start from the top, right? If you want people to show up at eight o'clock, you show up at seven. If you want people to leave at five or six o'clock, you leave at seven, eight o'clock. And you set the bar and other people kind of adapt to it.

The early days culture is really shaped by the leadership team. And how you behave and what you say and what you do matters more than anything. What happens as you get older as a company is that your culture starts being influenced more and more by those that you're bringing in. And so while you still have a strong influence on your culture, your individual team members are going to start interpreting your values and interpreting what they hear from their managers and what they see from the leadership team about what the culture is and what's expected in their own way, their own experiences, their own backgrounds, their own education. All of that is going to come into play in how they interpret your culture. And it will fundamentally change your culture over time. So it's always important I think for a business to keep tabs in its people and who they are and what their passions are, where they come from, what their skills are, to know what is the actual culture, not the one I think it is. And if you can make sure that you have that alignment, then your hiring practices can find people that are more closely aligned with the culture you have. Or when people come work for you, they're going to be more aligned and fit in, versus you hiring toward some other standard that doesn't really exist. 

But I think, just to summarize, it's important for a leader to act in the way in which they expect everyone else to act. I think a leader should not be a pass through but be someone who filters down information that is relevant for the staff to know so that they can get their jobs done. And I think a leader should be vulnerable because — and this is true of any relationship really — the more vulnerable you can be, the more likely it is other people will open up and the more likely it is you can kind of discover not just a strong connection with that other person, which is, like I said, one of the most important things to building a strong culture is that human to human connection, that human to

But once that vulnerability, once that connection has been formed, it is much more likely that people will not just be more loyal to you, but they'll also open up when stuff is going on. One of the things that I always do as a manager is I tell people, "Look, I don't believe in human resources. That's bull. I believe in you as a person." And since the very first team that I managed back in '94, I told them the same thing. "You are not resources to me. You are people." And so the company treats you like a resource. You can be gone tomorrow. But if you're not doing well, if you had a family member pass away or a pet or you're just not feeling like it that morning, or you're sick, you got to go to the doctor, you got to do something, let me know. We'll take care of whatever you need to do while you're gone. I want you to bring your best self to work and to bring your best self to work. You need to have a balanced life. You need to take care of yourself.

I'm not one that's going to drive you to the ground. And then the sweet away when I'm done with you. I'm one who really, truly cares about the person. And I think that investment can pay dividends for the best leaders. Not to say that I'm the best later. I'm still learning, by the way, of course.

Thomas Young: We all are. We all are. We're just in different stages of our learning. But I really liked that, and what you said about vulnerability mixed with, not necessarily withholding, but the information that you choose to share with your team while still being vulnerable. I think that balance is really hard to find, but also really important because vulnerability isn't telling your team everything that's wrong. Vulnerability might be what you're feeling as a manager, not necessarily sharing that information. Does that makes any sense?

Leo Ramirez: Yes. It absolutely does.

Thomas Young: But it's super important and something that I know that I've struggled with and I'm sure many people do, but I think it's something to strive for certainly. I think that your story is one that, it's not a common story, but it is in a way. You've seen and done so much, and most of it is attributed directly to how hard you've worked because it's really easy to sit in a podcast room and talk about your story. But getting into Stanford from having grown up in McAllen is no easy feat. And then the experiences that you've had are a direct sort of testament to how hard you work. And I've seen you because we're sort of in the same orbit. And so it's really cool to see. And I'm excited to just be around you.

Leo Ramirez: So am I. I admire you too, dude.

Thomas Young: I'll tell a quick story about Leo, and this is when it was sort of... I always knew I liked him from the first time I met Leo. But one year, I think it was 2017, right, during South By Southwest. South By Southwest, for anybody that's ever been here, is a huge party. And then people are here with their own agendas, and they're going from free party to free party-

Leo Ramirez: It tends to be very self serving.

Thomas Young: People come here with goals, and it's expensive and not knocking what anybody else is doing, but you and I ran into each other at a party. It must've been seven or eight o'clock at night. And I'd been running around all day trying to drum up business or meet certain people or whatever. And I asked you how your day had been, what you'd done, what you'd seen, and you told me that you just wrapped up serving meals a few blocks away with your team. And it struck me because here we are in this totally, not self-serving, but it's just ostentatious. I mean there's money being spent in just ridiculous ways, and you'd just come from serving the homeless people in the area of which Austin has a growing population, and it's an underserved population. And you'd just spent your entire afternoon in one of the most highly sought after networking environments in the country. And that's when I knew that you were just somebody that I wanted around in my circle and that you were just a good human.

Leo Ramirez: Thank you.

Thomas Young: But yeah, that's the story about you that I tell every time that you come up either in the Rocket Dollar offices. You're kind of one of our persona customers. And so that story comes up all the time.

Leo Ramirez: What I loved about that experience, just to add a little color to it, was we had a panel at South By on a Sunday, and one of our panelists was this lady named Doniece Sandoval, who founded an organization called Lava Mae in San Francisco. And they converted city buses into mobile showers for those experiencing homelessness. And I thought it was just such a brilliant idea. So one of my team members discovered her. I had no idea who they were and were so inspired that we invited her to be on our panel. She accepted. So we were so inspired by the work they did in the Bay area, not just with the showers, but they had these things called pop-up care villages where they would offer showers, clothing, health screenings, resume assistance. They had music. They had like these... They try to make a positive experience for those experiencing homelessness. And it's incredible the dignity that comes back to someone with something as simple as a shower, which they don't get to have all the time.

Leo Ramirez: So we were so moved and inspired by their work that we decided to do a pop-up care village of our own, even though we had no idea what the hell we were doing. What was incredible was we served 400 people in the rain before the event happened. And this goes back to my company Encast and what we do. We give people at Encast a certain amount of money every pay period that they can give away anywhere they want. So there's 1.8 million organizations in the US, and we don't care what the money goes. We make no restrictions. What comes back is data. So I can see in aggregate where it is that they're focusing their dollars and their time to give me an indication of the things that they're passionate about.

I knew from their giving that they loved human services organizations, in particular, those helping the homeless. And so when I chose to do this pop-up care village, even though everyone said we were crazy, I knew that we were going to have a really positive turnout. And sure enough, every single person in my team showed up, most of their family members showed up, and a lot of their friends also showed up. So it was an amazing experience. And our panel was called "Shut up and do something" because so many people always have-

Thomas Young: Talk about it.

Leo Ramirez: "I think we should, da da da." Well, just do it. And we did. And it was profound. And now all these years later, an organization in town called... I forgot what they're called offhand, but there's Lighter Loads in Austin is now creating their own mobile shower in partnership with Lava Mae, and I'm helping them get some funding as well. So I love that what we started back in 2017 is now becoming something that might be a permanent presence here in Austin.

Thomas Young: That's awesome. And, yeah, a true testament that you do this for a living but, but you sort of eat your own cooking, right? And you really do participate and we love that about you. But Leo, let's pivot a little bit. We'd be remiss. This is the Rocket Dollar podcast and you are a Rocket Dollar-

Leo Ramirez: Oh, that's why I'm here?

Thomas Young: You are a Rocket Dollar account holder. Tell me about your experience with a solo 401k and why it made sense for you and how you use it as an entrepreneur because the solo 401k specifically is for entrepreneurs. So tell me a little bit about how you came across it. How you decided it was for you and how it serves you not only as an individual but as an entrepreneur.

Leo Ramirez: I came across it because of you, and to be honest, when you first explained it to me, I was like, "What the hell is that?" And I just didn't get it. And I wasn't, to be honest, sophisticated enough financially to even I think understand what it was that you're talking about. So I needed another one or two conversations for it to really, really sink in and what all the possibilities were. And then I was sold and just blown away by the idea. I thought it was brilliant. And the fact that the solo 401ks had existed for so long before anything like this ever came around was beyond me, the fact that I could have done this a while ago. But now you're making it so easy for anybody to do it at such a low price I thought it was just a brilliant, brilliant business model. So as an entrepreneur, as you know, there are sometimes many ups and downs, and a lot of entrepreneurs don't talk about the downs. They tend to always talk about all the pluses and how wonderful they are and how fun it is. And it sucks. It mostly socks. Especially in the early days.

Thomas Young: Side note, it's not all parties and fast cars. It's actually-

Leo Ramirez: It can be, but...

Thomas Young: It's not.

Leo Ramirez: It's not. And so in those down times, sometimes it's necessary to tap into your savings, tap into your 401K, tap into family and friends or work side jobs in order to pay the bills. Especially like me, you have kids. And so I have responsibilities to keep up health care and take care of my kids. And so I'm really dedicated to being a great dad and also maintaining my responsibilities while also pursuing my dream. And sometimes I just need to tap into whatever resources I have.

So when Rocket Dollar came around and I realized that I can take some of my existing IRA dollars and put them into a solo 401k and then potentially deploy them in emergency situations to give myself a loan so that I can maintain my livelihood so that I can continue to work on my company. I've actually done that, and that's the kind of short term implementation that I've used for Rocket Dollar. But my longterm goal is to kind of grow my Rocket Dollar account so that when I'm more financially stable and independent, I can make contributions into companies and to real estate. I just have so many more options than I currently have with my financial services provider. And I just love the flexibility that is afforded to me with Rocket Dollar.

Thomas Young: Yeah. And it's great to hear how the different uses that everybody has because some people come to us and they're ready to make an investment in real estate. Some people, they want to do crypto. Some people just the loan option is of the solo 401k is what you're looking for. And that's what I love about the solo 401k versus the IRA, which we also sell. And it also allows the flexibility and investment options or what have you. But the solar 401ks specifically is such a strong tool for self-employed people. I mean, that's typically who purchases a solo 401k and who operates it. And because of the ups and downs that come with being a gig economy worker or being a contractor or being an entrepreneur. And sometimes you do need both the coverage that the loan option, but then also when you are making money or you make more than you need is you can reduce your taxable income with the contribution. So it really does play both sides. And that's one of the things that I really like about it.

Leo Ramirez: You better. This is your company, dude. No, but it is a phenomenal idea. And again, the flexibility that it affords is second to none. And Rocket Dollar just makes it so easy to start and manage your solo 401k that it should be a no brainer for anybody that wishes to expand the diversity of their investments, which is always a smart idea.

Thomas Young: Yeah. Well like I said, the flexibility of what you can do personally with it but then also, for example, you can use a solo 401 to fund a company like Leo's and make sure that they can pursue their mission and their goals as a startup. That's one of the-

Leo Ramirez: Although as I found out, I can't fund my own company with it.

Thomas Young: Well that is one of the rules.

Leo Ramirez: There are certain rules.

Thomas Young: There are rules. It's not a free for all.

Leo Ramirez: I did my research.

Thomas Young: Right. There are rules around what you can do with it, but someone that is listening to this and that wants to get involved in impact investing that has a solo 401k or a self-directed IRA can make investments into companies like yours or into companies that are near and dear to their hearts. And then it's really not just 14 mutual funds that you own, but you can really impact not only job creation in your community, not only funding companies that are going to have a return, right, but also that you care about as an individual.

Thomas Young: And that's powerful too. Because, I mean, I know at Rocket Dollar we took money into our seed round through our own accounts, which was sort of a cool case study. But it's great to see in the Austin ecosystem other people doing the same thing. And so you can impact people not only directly as an investor, but also as just bringing up an entire community. And one of my favorite stories is someone took their solo 401K and they bought a rental house for someone in their church had fallen on hard times. They couldn't afford market rents or they couldn't afford rent. And so they went out and bought a, I don't know, $100,000 house with their solo 401k and then rented it to that family that was in their church. And they did it all... It's an investment, right?

Leo Ramirez: That's awesome.

Thomas Young: But now they're serving their community and they're housing someone that had fallen on hard times, and they could do that because, while they couldn't have done it with cash, they could do it with their sole 401k or their 401k dollars that they'd saved. So there's all these cool stories of people doing cool things and it's exciting.
Thomas Young: Well Leo, we'll keep this brief, and thank you so much for coming and joining us. If anybody wants to get in touch with you to talk about Encast or talk about working with you or pick your brain or talk about Rocket Dollar or whatever, is there a good way to get in touch with you?

Leo Ramirez: Oh yeah, for sure. So my email address is leo@encast.gives. And my work number is (512) 918-1697. Feel free to text or call. I meet with almost anybody, really.

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